Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Psalm 46

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

"'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth'.  The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."  Psalm 46:10-11

In life we face many challenges and problems and sometimes deep trials, but God has promised us in Psalm 46:1 to be "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." He will be my "refuge and strength" and your "refuge and strength."  We can have fearless trust in Him no matter what upheavals are occurring in our lives and no matter what catastrophic events are happening all around us!   Psalm 42:2-3 reminds us that we need not feat even if "the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

We can trust the Lord even if all we hold dear is taken from us, because He is our powerful "refuge and strength!"  He is our constant help and strength in all kinds of problems and in the deepest of trials!  He gives us just what we need of His strength day by day and moment by moment.  The Lord has been our help in the past, and He will be our help and strength in the future!  When we can't see our way out of a problem situation in our lives, the Lord already has a plan in place for our lives!  We can trust Him.  His will and timing are always best.

Sometimes the Lord allows trials in our lives to get our attention and to help us grow spiritually. Sometimes trials are given to us to help us grow more dependent on the Lord and to help us grow in our love for Him.  Even in trials the Lord is smiling down on us, protecting us, and seeing us to victory!  He sustains us, protects us, and pours His blessings on us sometimes especially in difficult times in our lives,  Even in the difficult times in our lives we can be full of the Lord's joy, because no ultimate spiritual harm will ever come to a child of God!

Psalm 46:4 reminds us that our Lord is the "Most High" who dwells within us!  Nations rise and fall because of the Lord's power and control.  This same powerful God is our fortress and our protection! So all we have to do is rest in His care and not fear.  He says to us in Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God."  The Almighty Lord of the universe is with us eternally!

We must put aside the voices of the world and of self-reliance, and we must trust in Him to meet our every need.  We must trust the Lord to lead us through even very difficult times.  We need to grow in our love for Him.  We need to truly rest in the Lord and listen for His still small voice of direction for our lives!  The longer this devotional writer walks with the Lord the more she sees His faithfulness in her life.  His grace is always sufficient.  His victory is always sure, and His promises are always reliable!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ll Chronicles 14-16

"Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, 'Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty.  Help us, O Lord, our God, for we rely on You."  ll Chronicles 14:11

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."  ll Chronicles 16:9

In the beginning of King Asa's reign Asa displayed a deep desire to serve God in obedience and truth. ll Chronicles 14:2 tells us that Asa sought with all his heart to do "what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God." Asa sought to bring God's people back to God, and he removed many of the idols that were prevalent in the land.  Because of this God's people experienced God's blessings. Asa said at on point during this time, "The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought Him and He has given us rest on every side (ll Chronicles 14:7b)"

But then one day God's people were attacked by an enemy from another country.  This enemy's army greatly outnumbered King Asa's army.  King Asa knew he was helpless against such an army without God's help,so he prayed to the Lord for help.  Asa prayed in ll Chronicles 14:11, "Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty.  Help me, O Lord our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this vast army.  O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You."

Asa knew that He was powerless in himself, but he also knew that with the Lord on his side a great victory could be won.  Asa depended on the Lord and proceeded in the Lord's strength. Because of his trust and reliance on the Lord, Asa won a great victory that day.  When seemingly insurmountable difficulties arise in our lives we also must turn to the Lord.  God is the all powerful God who can bring all His resources to our aid.  The Lord is the only One who can and will bring victory to us in our deepest and darkest times.  Like Asa we must say to the Lord, "we rely on You."  We must trust and rest in the Lord alone.

For many years Asa continued to be filled with a zeal for serving the Lord and doing the Lord's will. Then a time came, however, when King Asa and God's people were threatened by another country. This time King Asa did not go to the Lord in prayer for help.  King Asa relied on another country for help.  King Asa made a treaty with a pagan king from a pagan land that did not even acknowledge the Lord.  King Asa put his trust in a worldly king rather than in the Lord.  King Asa forgot to go to the Lord for his only source of help.

This should be a warning to us also.  We must always rely on the Lord alone in a time of need and crisis.  We must not panic and run ahead of the Lord.  We must not rely on our own devices or on human resources.  We must rest in trust in the Lord our God.  He will bring His sure victory in His perfect timing, if we rely on Him.  ll Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."

Because King Asa relied on human resources that day the army who fought against him escaped, and King Asa did not win a victory that day.  Sadly, King Asa became bitter and angry until his death and did not continue to rely on the Lord.  We must rely and rest in the Lord alone for all our needs.  There is no other source of help, strength, protection, and love than from the Lord.  The Lord has to be the one to whom we run with all our needs.  He alone will "strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."  If we are truly committed to the Lord, He will prove Himself strong on our behalf in every need.  We then will go from victory to victory in the Lord!