Saturday, May 30, 2009

Under His Wings

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. Psalm 17:7-8

The Lord has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even when times are tough, when the tempests are wild, we can trust Him for He has made us that promise. Just like the author of this hymn, I am confident that He will keep me, because He has redeemed me and I am His child!

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" Isaiah 43:1

When we are afraid, or we face times in our lives that are tough, it is a wonderful assurance to know that we can hide under God's wings and safely abide. We know that no one or nothing can sever us from His love!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Because we can abide safely with Him, we know that He is our refuge in times of sorrow. When Earth has nothing for us, we know we can run to Him for comfort and blessing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. II Corinthians 3:1-5

Under His wings. There I will hide until life's trials are over. When will that be? When Jesus returns to earth and comes to claim us and establishes His kingdom forevermore.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
Revelation 21:1-4

Until that day comes, I will hide in the shelter of my God and Savior. He will protect me, keep me, shelter me, love me and comfort me.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. Psalm 91:1-6

Under His Wings
Words by William Cushing

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let Your Heart be Broken

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. James 1:22-24

The world is longing for examples of faith. The broken people in the world need to see that Jesus is alive and that He is at work in the world. As followers of Christ, we need to show, through our actions, that we are His. As James said, it is not enough to HEAR the word. We must be DOERS of it.

We are called to love others because He first loved us.

We love, because He first loved us. I John 4:19

Love is an action. We must share, serve, soothe, and be the means by which the Lord reveals His grace.

As this hymn so eloquently states, the principles of love that we display to the world are a visible expression of the God who rules above. We are a living illustration to those who have never heard about God and His love for us.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

We must add to our believing the "deeds that make it true." We are not saved through our works. However, our works do show that we have been saved, and that we are living lives of faith and belief.

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:17

Each one of us has something to share with the world - we can all give and give again. Time, money, hospitality, a meal, a listening ear, an encouraging word from Scripture, a ride to church - we must all work to fill the vacant places where people in our world are left wanting.

We must all be willing to risk ourselves for the cause of Christ and the gospel. Daily, we must follow in His footsteps, loving as He loved, bringing the saving grace of Jesus to a broken world all around us.

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
I John 3:23

Let Your Heart be Broken
Words by Bryan Jeffery Leach

Let your heart be broken for a world in need
Feed the mouths that hunger,
soothe the wounds that bleed.
Give the cup of water, and the loaf of bread.
Be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead.

Here on earth applying principles of love.
Visible expression, God still rules above.
Living illustration of the living word,
to the minds of all who've never seen or heard.

Blest to be a blessing, privileged to care,
challenged be the need, apparent everywhere.
Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place.
Be the means through which
The Lord reveals His grace.

Add to your believing deeds that prove it true,
knowing Christ as Savior, Make Him Master too.
Follow in His footsteps, go where he has trod;
In the world's great trouble risk yourself for God.

Let your heart be tender and your vision clear;
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near.
Let your heart be broken by a brother's pain;
Share your rich resources, give and give again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

All That I Am I Owe to Thee

As we continue in Psalm 139, we see God as Creator, Sustainer and Righteous Judge.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

I continue to be amazed by the human body. How all the parts, large and small, work together. From the cones in our eyes to the organs that convert food we eat to energy, all the parts function together perfectly! What a design! God the Creator formed each of us, and wove us together in such a way that each one of us is truly unique. What a Creator!

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

Take a moment just to give God the glory and the praise for making YOU so fearfully and wonderfully.

As Paul reminds us in Romans, even those who don't know God cannot deny that there is a God because they have seen His handiwork in the things He has made, including each of us!

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Psalm 139:15

Even before each of us were created, God knew our frame. What love! God knew us before He even made us.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:16

Not only did He know us, but He knew the plans He had for us! Before any of us were even woven together in our mothers' wombs, God had all our days already written in His book! This is so encouraging to me. God has the plan for my life. I cannot see what it is as of yet, but He knows, and He has known from before I was born. Nothing that is happening to me is a surprise to me, and He is using it to sanctify me, and make me more into the image of His son.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139:17-18

God's thoughts are precious to me! I find them in His word and through my relationship with Him in prayer. His thoughts are higher and deeper than mine, and the vastness of them is incomprehensible.

O that You would slay the wicked, O God; depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, and Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies. Psalm 139:19-22

We need to trust God as the righteous judge to deal with our enemies. When we trust Him with all our heart, He will scatter our enemies and put our feet on solid ground.

Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before Him. Psalm 68:1

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

The Lord wants us to trust Him and turn over our anxious thoughts to Him. He will protect us and will never leave us or forsake us. These last two verses are an invitation to Him - as we've seen, God already knows us, He has known us from before we were made. But it is our joy and privelege to invite Him to search us and know our hearts, and to be the leader in guiding us in the everlasting way.

Almighty God and Loving Father,
I thank You for being my creator, for knowing me from the beginning of time, and for knowing everything about me, including each day of my life. I ask that You would search my heart and show me any hurtful way that is in me, that I might confess and seek Your abundant forgiveness. I ask that You lead me in the everlasting way, that You might have Your way with me, that I would know and do Your will.
In Your powerful name,

All That I Am I Owe to Thee
from the Psalter

All that I am I owe to Thee,
Thy wisdom, Lord, has fashioned me;
I give my Maker thankful praise,
Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.

Ere into being I was brought,
Thine eye did see, and in Thy thought
My life in all its perfect plan
Was ordered ere my days began.

Thy thoughts, O God, how manifold,
More precious unto me than gold!
I muse on their infinity,
Awaking I am still with Thee.

The wicked Thou shalt surely slay,
From me let sinners turn away;
They speak against the Name divine,
I count God’s enemies as mine.

Search me, O God, my heart discern,
Try me, my inmost thought to learn;
And lead me, if in sin I stray,
To choose the everlasting way.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lord, Thou Hast Searched and Seen Me Through

I've been studying Psalm 139 in my morning quiet times, and I have renewed appreciation, and awe, for the attributes of God. This hymn was written after the first 12 verses of Psalm 139 which cover God's omniscience and omnipresence. This psalm is such a good reminder of God's power and His plan, and such a good reminder that I can trust Him, for my days are already written in His book. I urge you to spend some time prayerfully studying Psalm 139 - your relationship with the Father will take on a new depth of intimacy and understanding!

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. Psalm 139:1

It is so amazing to me to think about God's knowledge. He knows me. He has searched me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. Psalm 139:2

There are very few people who understand my thoughts! To know that my Savior and Lord understands them all, from afar, is a great comfort.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:3

Intimately acquainted! With MY ways! I am only one of millions. God, my heavenly Father, is intimately acquainted with ME!

Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all. Psalm 139:4

Because He knows my thoughts from afar, He knows even before there is a word on my tongue. Being reminded of these two things has convicted me anew to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (II Corinthians 10:5)

You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5

God is my protector! He has enclosed me and laid His hand on me. My life is in His hand, and I can be confident that everything that happens to me has been filtered through His "fingers of love." I am an object of concern to the Almighty God! He has inscribed me on the palms of His hands!

Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. Isaiah 49:16

God will never forget me, or you. The nail prints on Jesus's palms from that day at Calvary are there forever.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Psalm 139:6

I certainly cannot attain to it! It is too wonderful - as I have studied this psalm I am more and more in awe of God's knowledge and subsequent care for me.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139:7

Well, there's no where I can go. I cannot escape from His Spirit or presence. Hallelujah! As a child of God, you are never alone. God's presence and Spirit is with you all the time. Through the mountains and the valleys of life, through good experiences, challenges, dark times and high flying times, HE IS THERE!

If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psalm 139:8-10

It doesn't matter where I go, He is there. He will lead me and guide me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night," even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. Psalm 139:11-12

There have been times in my life when I think the darkness will overwhelm me. But God was there! Darkness and light are alike to Him, and the night is as bright as the day to Him! He can work in darkness as well as in light, and He has promised that the dark times will not overwhelm me. He will protect me and provide for me.

Today, join me in worshipping the Father who knows you, guides you, and is WITH you. He is worthy to be praised!

Lord, Thou Hast Searched and Seen Me Through
Words by Isaac Watts

Lord, Thou hast searched and seen me through,
Thine eye commands with piercing view
My rising and my resting hours,
My heart and flesh with all their powers.

My thoughts, before they are my own,
Are to my God distinctly known;
He knows the words I mean to speak
Ere from my opening lips they break.

Within Thy circling power I stand;
On every side I find Thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.

Amazing knowledge, vast and great!
What large extent! what lofty height!
My soul, with all the powers I boast,
Is in the boundless prospect lost.

Could I so false, so faithless prove,
To quit Thy service and Thy love,
Where, Lord, could I Thy presence shun,
Or from Thy dreadful glory run?

If up to Heav’n I take my flight,
’Tis there Thou dwell’st enthroned in light
Or dive to hell, there vengeance reigns,
And Satan groans beneath Thy chains.

If, mounted on a morning ray,
I fly beyond the western sea,
Thy swifter hand would first arrive,
And there arrest Thy fugitive.

Or should I try to shun Thy sight
Beneath the spreading veil of night,
One glance of Thine, one piercing ray,
Would kindle darkness into day.

The veil of night is no disguise,
No screen from Thy all-searching eyes;
Thy hand can seize Thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.

Midnight and noon in this agree,
Great God, they’re both alike to Thee;
Not death can hide what God will spy,
And hell lies naked to His eye.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.