Relax! God Doesn’t Play Favorites

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“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6)

Psalm 118 falls right before Psalm 119’s sometimes unappreciated, lengthy serenade to the law’s beauty and virtues.  In 118, the psalmist urges his audience to give thanks to the Lord because he is good and his love is steadfast. To these reasons, the psalmist adds his personal testimony: he was either troubled internally by mental or physical pain or suffering or he was in an external state of danger or desperate need, per the meaning of distress. He prayed to God for help, God answered him by freeing him from whatever was causing his distress.

Here he turns from past tense to present tense: the Lord is on his side. He will not fear now what men can do to him, he knows God is in control. This switch is implying that the psalmist is one again in difficult times; he is confident because he has past experience with God. He remembers what God has done for him in the past and trusts God to do what he has always done before.

Faith and trust in God grow over time, with each blind leap and each instance of God doing what he promised in His word. If you are young in the Lord and have not many personal experiences,  you can still make that leap with confidence based upon His peoples testimonies, if you trust in the accuracy of the bible (there are ministries who can feed your intellect with proofs of this) and also through the testimonies of your living brothers and sisters in Christ today.

God is not a respecter of persons, beloved. He does not play favorites with his children.  If you are His, and you know for a fact what God has done for His people in your situation, he will do it for you, too. Maybe not the exact same way, or with the exact same timing, but if you draw near to him and place your life and your situation wholly into his hands, daring to trust him completely, taking refuge in Him and His work in your life, he will deliver you and bring you through this, if not out of it. Even if we do face the pain of death, if we continue on with God, even in death, he will set us free forever.

Lord, forgive us for the times we have forgotten what you have done. Strengthen us today, remind us of what you have done in our lives and in our brothers and sisters’ lives in similar situations. Increase our faith. May we trust in you and your declarations over us, not the threats of men. Give us thankful hearts that praise you for who you are and what you do. Deliver us from fear and all emotional distress this day. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Slipping in the mud? God has his hand out. Grab it.

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“When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:18-19)

Is your foot slipping, stumbling and falling flat into sin’s mud? Trust in the steadfast love of the Lord–not to make the mud less muddy and falling acceptable–but to catch you by the hand and hold you up from doing a face dive into the mud.  His blood washes us clean, and his love can keep us clean. In the hour of temptation, take your eyes off the mud of this earth and look up to Heaven’s righteous king. He will give you the strength to safely walk around it and keep going on, hand in hand with him.

Burdened with a huge pile of debt? Medical problems? Marriage difficulties? Work politics ? Family drama? Afraid of natural disasters? What the government might do? What  your neighbor might think? If you’re drowning in a sea of fears and worries today, again cry out to Jesus. Let him take your hand and lift you up. It may not happen right away.  We often have to confess it all to the Lord, name what we’re afraid of (gasp!) and then loose it from our hearts, releasing that concern to him. Only when we’ve gotten it out of us do we often have room to listen to his voice in our hearts, receive his words of comfort and peace, to alleviate our grief, to soothe our distress, lift the heavy burden from our hearts, and give us joy and satisfy our need. Gratitude is our best response in that hour.

Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers. Thank you for consoling us and giving us peace and joy. Thank you for holding our hands. We pray in the hour of temptation, we would be reminded in our hearts to look up to you, and we ask you to strengthen us in our hearts to have the spiritual discipline to obey and meditate on your love, to hide in it from sin, rather than using your steadfast love as an excuse to roll in the mud like pigs. Forgive us for the times we’ve done that, wash us clean, and polish us until you see your son’s face reflected in us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Yes, You Do Have Time to Abide, Young Lady

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“But he was wounded for our transgressions;  he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

So Easter is upon us and our verses of the day are turning our eyes towards the cross. Not a bad focus to have. It can be so easy in the rush and the stresses of life to focus on our problems and leave the lord out. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to step away, find a quiet place, and pray. Lord knows how hard that is for some of us. He understands, but we need to do it any way. (OUCH.)

Reach out, if you find yourself locked in a tizzy, absolutely convinced you’re far too busy for abiding in the very Lord you’re serving, and ask him to set you free from that mental, physical, and spiritual strong hold. Deep down we know it’s not healthy to live in go-go-go mode. We need healing in our minds.

Christ died to give it to us. He took our suffering and our iniquities on himself so we could be set free. Lets seek his way today.

Lord, forgive us for the times we’ve fallen pray to our weaknesses. We stop and we seek you now. Thank you for your finished work on the cross. Thank you for healing and freedom. We lay our hearts and our minds before you. Transform us into your perfect image. Give us willing hearts, tender to you and  your way. Strengthen us to walk in your spirit. In Jesus name we pray, lord, amen.