Psalm 84 (NIV) 1 How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. 9 Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
12 LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Speaking of trusting in the Lord, "Trust and Obey" by John H. Sammis is one of my favorite hymns. What a beautiful hope it awakens; grace and peace to you dear readers!
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey. Refrain Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey. Refrain
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, But is blessed if we trust and obey. Refrain
But we never can prove the delights of His love Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey. Refrain
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet. Or we’ll walk by His side in the way. What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey. Refrain
Today's devotional by Elisabeth Elliot was too beautiful not to share. Enjoy!
Psalm 143:8 (NIV) Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Elisabeth Elliot's Daily Devotional Title: Discerning the Call of God Author: Elisabeth Elliot Site: http://www.elisabethelliot.org/devotional.html
As a little girl I especially loved the story of God's call to the child Samuel as he lay sleeping in the temple. I wondered if God would ever call me. Would I hear Him? What would He say? Throughout my growing years I read missionary stories and heard them told at our dinner table by guests from many lands who came to stay with us. I was always eager to know just how they were called. As a college student I worried much about whether I would fail to follow the Shepherd, would be deaf to His call. I thought it such a bewildering matter.
It is not a worry anymore. Experience has taught me that the Shepherd is far more willing to show His sheep the path than the sheep are to follow. He is endlessly merciful, patient, tender, and loving. If we, His stupid and wayward sheep, really want to be led, we will without fail be led. Of that I am sure.
When we need help, we wish we knew somebody who is wise enough to tell us what to do, reachable when we need him, and even able to help us. God is. Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent--everything we need. The issue is confidence in the Shepherd Himself, a confidence so complete that we offer ourselves without any reservation whatsoever and determine to do what He says.
What He says? But how shall I know that?
He calls us every day, "o'er the tumult of our life's wild, restless sea." He comes to us in the little things, in the ordinary duties which our place in life entails. When I was a child He called me. The duty which my place in life entailed was obedience to my father and mother. In school and Sunday School He called me through the teacher. What she said I knew I was supposed to do. In first grade (yes, in public school) we sang the hymn, "Father, We Thank Thee." The second stanza says, "Help us to do the things we should, to be to others kind and good, in all we do at work or play to grow more loving every day." God's call again.
It's alluring to think of our own situation as very complex and ourselves as deep and complicated, so that we waste a good deal of time puzzling over "the will of God." Frequently our conscience has the answer.
My friend Jim O'Donnell tells how he, a hard-headed, hard-hearted man of the world, found Christ. His conscience was awakened. The call of God was immediate: "Go home and love your wife." The change was so sudden and so radical, Lizzie could not make head or tail of what had come over him. This self-confident and self-interested man had quit living for himself. He had died. An altogether new kind of life was now his. The first difference it made was the difference that mattered most--in his private life. It was there that he began to obey.
We are not talking here about audible voices. Although people in Bible times often heard God speak, we can expect that He will usually speak today through conscience, through the written Word, through other people, and through events. Events themselves, the seemingly insignificant happenings of every day, reveal the will of God. They are the will of God for us, for while we live, move, and have our being here on earth, in this place, this family, this house, this job, we live, move, and have our being in God. He "pulls strings through circumstances," as Jim Elliot said, even the bad circumstances (see Genesis 45:8, 50:20).
Three questions may help to clarify the call of God. Have I made up my mind to do what He says, no matter what the cost? Am I faithfully reading His Word and praying? Am I obedient in what I know today of His will?
One of my favorite expositors is Dr. J. Vernon McGee (see Thru the Bible for more info). I greatly appreciate his ability to explain complex concepts and teachings in a plain straightforward manner. Last week I read a challenging exhortation by Dr. McGee on relying on the power of the Holy Spirit rather than our own strength (The Secret of Power). Interesting to note is that despite it's 1988 copyright, the truth of the message is timeless.
"My beloved, it is only as you and I yield and our will moves out of the way that the Spirit of God can move in and bring God‟s will to bear in our lives." -Dr. J. Vernon McGee, The Secret of Power
Zechariah 4:1-6(NIV) And the angel who talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked and, behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps on it, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top of it, and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side of it. So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel who talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NIV) All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
The first verses and refrain of Horatio Spafford's hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" have been running through my mind of late. What a lovely picture of contentment independent of circumstance. Dear friends for you I pray: "Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance." Jude 1:2(NIV)
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Hebrews 10:19-25(NIV) Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
Psalm 139:23-24(NIV) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I mentioned a while back that I have been reading through the Book of Psalms. Rather than try to narrow down my favorites to only a few posts, I've decided to share several over the next few weeks. I pray they would bring light and hope to your heart as they have to mine.
Psalm 119:18 (NIV) Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Psalm 119:27 (NIV) Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.
I'm continuing to work my way through the Psalms and one of my favorite chapters this week was Psalm 92. The opening call to praise and the description of God's character were refreshing. I pray you are revitalized by them as well as you contemplate God's greatness.
Psalm 92:1-5 (NIV) "It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts!"
In the time since I began writing this post, I came across another wonderful passage on praise:
1 Chronicles 29:10-13 (NIV) "David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."