Maranatha Devotionals
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Day 4 - Five Things God Did for the Sinner

Romans 8:29-30, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (29) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (30)

As a young believer, I struggled with Paul's words in these two verses. I was easily confused when the doctrine of predestination crossed my path. I knew that my Heavenly Father would not want His child to be confused as to where she rested in His family. After all, I would not want my child to wonder if he truly was part of my family or not - or in the family one day then out of the family the next because of something he did wrong. It was then that the Lord began to reveal His Word to me - teaching me as He used my earthly family as His teaching tool and related it with the Scriptures. He revealed to me how I rested in His Kingdom. When we view our relationship with our earthly family, it is easier to see how God has carved out our place in Heaven. It was then that the Word of God finally etched my eternal security deep into my heart and I knew that my place in Heaven was securely held by Him.

In these two verses in Romans 8, we see that God has outlined five things that He did for us. The number five is the number used for grace. Oh what glorious grace is found in these two verses! Join me in the blessing:

(1) He did foreknow: Romans 8:28 shows me that God knew me from the beginning - He did foreknow. The Word of God reveals the complicated issues of life with its own words. When we are confused about a passage, we can find our answers in other passages. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16) God knew from the beginning that Kate was going to be His child on April 1, 1980.

(2) He did predestinate: Jesus knew from the beginning that His role was to include redeeming the lost. Yet He came willingly and died willingly for our sins. The redemption story is seen throughout the Word of God and is called the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. What an awesome study that is and promises a blessing to anyone who decides to dig deeper. The first mention in the Word that a Redeemer would be needed is found in the oldest penned book of the Bible. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25) Another passage in Genesis gives the promise of a Saviour. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15) How precious it is when the Christian meditates on and realizes that Jesus knew from the beginning that His creation was going to need Him to leave His royal place, take on a pauper's existance, die and take the penalty for the sins of all mankind on His sinless body. He knew from the beginning yet He still went through with it! He knew He was going to be stabbed. He knew from the beginning that He was going to have His beard plucked out. He knew from the beginning that His creation was going to reject Him and mock Him. All this He did so He could be the first born - the first to experience the resurrection! All this so that we could receive this new life as well! Oh my! Does this not place you on shouting grounds? I know it surely does for me! Those who believe on His Name, repent and are saved were known from the beginning of time. Even the lost are known. It does not mean that God had predestined us to be saved and others not to be. It means that God knew us from the beginning.

(3) He did call: The next verse continues to bless - it does not stop there! The Word says that not only did He know from the beginning that a Saviour was needed and that I would need this Saviour, but He called me. Christian, are you not excited? The sentence could have ended after "whom he did predestinate" but it did not. God gives us all an opportunity to make up our own minds. He does not force Himself on us but calls us. This very verse proves the false doctrine of predestination all wrong. That false doctrine says I have no say so. But they fail to read further. It is up to us to answer when Jesus calls. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20) (emphasis mine). Notice who opens the door! God does not open the door in this verse - we open the door. I love this verse! Many use it for salvation but I also see it in another light. Notice that Jesus will come and have a meal with us? This is an intimate relationship. You don't just have anyone into your home to sit at a meal with you. Usually, people who enter your home have a close relationship with you. This totally blessed me! My Precious Saviour is my intimate Friend. He told us in His Word to what extent He would take His friendship. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 Jo 3:16) Thank You, Lord!

(4) He did justify: Those that God called, those that allowed Him in, are justified by the very death of our Saviour! Noah Webster has the best definition for the word justify:
2. In theology, to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit from guilt and merited punishment, and to accept as righteous on account of the merits of the Savior, or by the application of Christ's atonement to the offender.
Today's definition according to Merriam Webster is
1 a: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable b (1): to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2): to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property. 2(a) archaic : to administer justice to (b)archaic : absolve (c): to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
The world has no concept of what this word truly means. They treat the true meaning of justification as "archaic"! When you read Noah's definition and apply it to our text today, there is more of an impact on what Christ did for you and I. Christ pardoned us - He cleared us from the guilt of sin - He absolved us and acquitted us from guilt and deserved punishment - the Father accepts us as righteous because of the merits of the Saviour - by the application of Christ's precious blood's atonement to me! Glory! Christ did this for me!

(5) Lastly, He also glorified: Noah Webster defined the word glorify in this verse as:
2. To make glorious; to exalt to glory, or to celestial happiness.
Christ will make us glorious, my friend! He will exalt us to glory and celestial happiness because we opened the door of Rev. 3:20 and allowed Him in. We accepted His punishment for our sin.

I think the best Internet story that went around was the allegory by Dennis Hensley about a father having to sacrifice his own son to save people on a train. I wanted to add it here for those who have never seen it.

To Sacrifice a Son - An Allegory
by Dennis E. Hensley

There was once a bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass through freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing a train to cross it.

A switchman sat in a shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed. One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped onto the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was about to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river, where there was a lever switch he could hold to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety. But he realized that he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.

He took a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locking lever long after the train had passed. They did not see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked; to tell his wife how their son had brutally died.

Now if you comprehend the emotions which went through this man's heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Father in Heaven when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His son died? How does He feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through Jesus Christ?

When was the last time you thanked Him for the sacrifice of His Son?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 3 - Sevenfold Praise - Part One

Psalms 100:1-5 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 is a short Psalm, but one of the most powerful. Out of all the Psalms, there are only two that are specifically designated as Psalms "of praise" - this one and Psalm 145. In it we find the psalmist listing seven ways to praise the Lord, then giving seven reasons why God's people should do so.

Seven Ways to Praise God:

1. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2. Serve the LORD with gladness:
3. come before His presence with singing.
4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
5. and into His courts with praise:
6. be thankful unto Him,
7. and bless His name.

How many of these seven ways of praising the Lord have you actually done in your walk with Him?

The phrase, "make a joyful noise" figuratively means "to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy)." Have you shouted out in joy or sang aloud in praise? His Word tells us to make a joyful noise. While there is a place for skilfull playing and singing, God doesn't demand that. He wants praise flowing out of our hearts - even if it is noise to the ears of those who cannot see our hearts, to the Lord it is a joyful noise, and He is pleased with it.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines gladness as "Joy, or a moderate degree of joy and exhilaration; pleasure of mind; cheerfulness." Then he adds this comment, "Gladness is rarely or never equivalent to mirth, merriment, gayety and triumph, and it usually expresses less than delight." Have you been serving the Lord with gladness, or with drudgery? Have you been going through the motions out of duty, or has your service been one that sprang forth from a glad heart?

Are you entering into His presence (whether with other believers or on your own) with singing, with thanksgiving, and with praise?

Thanksgiving is defined by Webster's as "The act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies." Are you grateful and thankful for the Lord's mercies and goodness in your life? Have you been expressing that to Him? Too often we (myself included!) get too caught up in merely giving our concerns and needs to the Lord in prayer and we forget to thank or praise Him. When was the last time you told your Heavenly Father you loved Him, or truly thanked Jesus for saving your soul and washing your sins away, or praised the Holy Spirit for the work that He is continuing to do in you?

Praise is defined by Webster's as "1. To commend; to applaud; to express approbation of personal worth or actions. 2. To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works. 3. To express gratitude for personal favors. 4. To do honor to; to display the excellence of."

Praise and thanksgiving are part of worship. It is interesting that the word worship indicates that the person being worshipped is worthy, as that is the root of the word.

Have you poured out your heart in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord - not only for what He has done in your life, but for who He is?

Have you blessed His name? Jesus' name means "the Lord is salvation." Do others know what His salvation means to you?

According to Webster, bless means "To praise; to magnify; to extol, for excellencies." The Way Of Life Encyclopedia defines bless as "To be thankful for and to bestow benefits upon something in a general sense; to speak well of and to desire God's blessing upon." Are you boasting of your Saviour, are you speaking well of Him to all those around you? Webster's defines magnify as "1. To make great or greater. 2. To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. 3. To extol; to exalt; to elevate; to raise in estimation." Are you praising the Lord Jesus Christ and magnifying Him in your life? When others look at you and your walk with the Lord, do they see Jesus, or do they just see you? As John the Baptist stated in John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease.

May 24th/05
(Preached May 19th/07)
Jerry Bouey

Dear God...
Behold the Lord, the Lamb of God
Who died upon the tree
We magnify Thy Holy Name
And worship only Thee

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Numbers from the Bible - Table of Contents

Day 60 - Three Steps to Christ in a Two-Fold Way

Day 58 - The God of Second Chances

Day 58 - Five-Fold Trust

Day 57 - Turning Bitter Waters to Sweet

Day 56 - Be Ye Holy

Day 55 - Behold Fivefold Picture - Part Two

Day 54 - Jesus' I Am Statements - Part Three

Day 53 - Behold a Five-Fold Picture - Part One

Day 52 - Fear and Wisdom

Day 51 - Forgiven

Day 50 - Happy is the Man

Day 49 - He is Their Help

Day 48 - Precious and Growing Faith

Day 47 - God's Perfect Grace

Day 46 - The Gift of God

Day 45 - Laodicea - The Lukewarm Church

Day 44 - The Perfect Water of Life

Day 43 - Be Strong and of a Good Courage

Day 42 - The Son of God

Day 41 - Given by the Father to the Son

Day 40 - My Seven Favorite Verses

Day 39 - Ten Plagues

Day 38 - My Seven Most Used Passages

Day 37 - The Seven Depictions of Christ in Revelation

Day 36 - The Perfect Holy Spirit

Day 35 - Jesus' "I Am" Statements Part II

Day 34 - The Armour of God

Day 33 - Jesus' "I Am" Statements Part I

Day 32 - Twelve People God Considers Blessed

Day 31 - Threes Found in Psalm 1

Day 30 - Gracious and Compassion Come in Threes

Day 29 - Overcoming

Day 28 - Eight Things God Requires of Man

Day 27 - Three in One Blessing

Day 26 - Eight Daily Blessings

Day 25 - Seven Points of Prayer

Day 24 - Is Your Name Written Down

Day 23 - The Seven Comforters

Day 22 - I Am Thine

Day 21 - Five Peculiar People

Day 20 - Eight Reasons David Loved the Lord

Day 19 - I am the Lord that...

Day 18 - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part 4

Day 17 - Eight Ways the Lord Gets Personal

Day 16 - Paul's Final Exhortation to Timothy

Day 15 - God Gives Perfect Rest

Day 14 - Five Ways God is With Us

Day 13 - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Two

Day 12 - Seven Reasons God Wrote to Believers

Day 11 - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part One

Day 10 - Grace To Fret Not

Day 9 - The Eight Rocks of Scriptures

Day 8 - The Lord's Eight Provisions

Day 7 - Fourfold Picture of Water from the Rock

Day 6 - The Nine Cares of a Shepherd

Day 5 - Sevenfold Praise - Part Two (Seven Reasons to Praise God)

Day 4 - Five Things God Did for the Sinner

Day 3 - Sevenfold Praise - Part One (Seven Ways To Praise God)

Day 2 - Bless the Lord

Day 1 - Be Glad and Rejoice

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Day 2 - Bless the Lord

[A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psa 103:1)

David is the master at blessing God. He knew Who provided him with help and Who delivered him. Psalm 103:1-5 is a beautiful picture of a man after God's heart. As our series progresses on the "numbers" which can be found in Scriptures, I was pointed to the seven different ways that David blessed his God.

Psalm 103:1-5, [A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (1) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (2) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (3) Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; (4) Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. (5)

David sure had a way in blessing the Lord in song and in word, didn't he? I suppose that the Book of Psalms is near and dear to my heart because I love poetry and I love to write about my God. I noticed that David's style of writing is all from his heart. His life's experiences and how God brought him through are at the center of each psalm. As I meditate on his songs, I can truly relate to many of them. Although I will never go through the same experiences as David, I do experience some of the same results.

While I studied out the five verses this morning, I was so totally blessed! David opens this beautiful Psalm of praise with blessings to God. He was preparing his heart - focusing it on the Creator and what God had done for him. He did not dwell on his simple needs being met because he knew God would provide. Instead, he focused his entire being on blessing God. Notice in verse one how David says "and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Every fiber of David's being was singing out to God for His provision and benefit. Could an earthly father ignore a child who would approach him in this manner? I doubt it! Our Heavenly Father desires this passion from His children. This display must bless our Father!

There are seven different things David praised and blessed God for.

(1) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.: David knew the depth of his sin and was deeply remorseful. Noah Webster defines remorse as:
The keen pain or anguish excited by a sense of guilt; compunction of conscience for a crime committed.
There is no finer example of this type of remorse than in David's own life. What a beautiful lesson for the believer! David knew from where his salvation and forgiveness came. When we read the account of David and his hand in Uriah's death in 2 Samuel, we see a David who totally repented of his sin. David was remorseful, David repented and David changed. There are no more accounts of David falling into sin. His repentance brought forth righteous fruit. This is not to say that he never sinned again, but he did not remain in sin. David was able to write about his experiences in Psalm 103. He was able to pen such beautiful words and pour out from his heart a beautiful picture of a repentant man who loves his God. [A Psalm of David, Maschil.] Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psa 32:1) David did not take this lightly! He knew who provided his forgiveness and his blessings!

(2) who healeth all thy diseases;: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Pet 2:24) Diseases are a by-product of Adam and Eve's sin. Once this happened, death came to us spiritually as well as physically. Everything Adam planted was now subject to weeds and pestilence. However, God loves His children and He provided a way for us to be healed spiritually. Can He heal us physically? Absolutely! Does the Word promise that God will heal us from all physical problems? No! The effect of sin is sickness and disease. As long as we are in these earthly vessels, we will be sick because we sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 Joh 1:8) Only when we are Raptured will we receive our glorified bodies, free from sin and the disease it brings. 1 Cor. 15:50-54, Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (50) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (51) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (53) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (54)

(3) who redeemeth thy life from destruction;: David lived what he believed. He knew that God would keep him. The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. (Psa 34:22) We are not desolate because we have a Redeemer who stands ready to petition the Father on our behalf. For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. (Pro 23:11) Christ stands ready to mediate on our behalf. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 Joh 2:1) How beautiful our Bible is - so complete from cover to cover. Even David penned that his Redeemer would plead his cause with the Father! Our Redeemer, our Advocate, our Attorney stands before God on our behalf! Ole slew foot stands before God and says, "Look what Kate did! You're a Holy God - Surely You cannot allow her entrance!" And our Beautiful Saviour and Advocate responds, "Father, she is one that I hold in the palm of my hand. My blood covers her sin because she has asked me to be Saviour of her soul!" What a beautiful, beautiful picture! No wonder David was so grateful! No wonder he was so passionate about it! After that, how can you not be?

(4) who crowneth thee with lovingkindness;: The epitomy of kindness can be seen in John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Noah Webster defines kindness as:
Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love.
When you look at the definition in this light and compare it with Christ's act of love driving Him to the cross, do you not just want to explode with gratitude? God loves us so much that He displayed this act of kindness while we were yet sinners! But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) Christ delighted in contributing to our happiness! Christ exercised cheerfully in going to the cross for our benefit! Christ cheerfully supplied our wants and alleviated our distress of hell! The One who loves as no other can, displayed the ultimate kindness to us! Oh that we should be like David and bless the Lord!

(5) who crowneth thee with tender mercies;: Oh my ... tears cannot be held back at this point! Thank You, Lord, for your tender mercies! The phrase "tender mercies" appears ten times in the Book of Psalms alone. David knew the mercy of God. He knew what he deserved. We deserve hell, but praise God that Christ died for us! But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (Eph 2:4)

(6) who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;: Only God can satisfy our soul! At the moment we are born again, we are complete. We are one in Him. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (Joh 17:21) We fill ourselves with the Word of God which renews us day by day. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16) The Word says God allows it to rain on the just as well as the unjust in Matthew 5:45. However, the unsaved soul cannot be satisfied. David knew how to thank God for satisfying his spiritual needs!

(7) thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.: This seventh blessing was one of perfection and completion. His spiritual strength had been renewed and he was now ready to soar as an eagle. His strength had been made new. He was rejuvenated and able to take on life because he knew from where his strength came. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psa 121:2) He had a new purpose! He took what God taught him and he was able to help many through the years with the words that God gave him to pen.

Do you know how to bless your God? Does your prayer life include this type of prayer time? Do you bless God in the course of your day for what He has done for you? These seven blessings are a good lesson in how to bless our God. [A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psa 103:1)

O Thou My Soul, Bless God the Lord
Words: Scot­tish Psal­ter, 1650, alt.

O thou my soul, bless God the Lord;
And all that in me is
Be stirred up His holy Name
To magnify and bless.

Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
And not forgetful be
Of all His gracious benefits
He hath bestowed on thee.

Such pity as a father hath
And shows his children dear,
Like pity shows the Lord to such
As worship Him in fear.

Yea, unto them that fear the Lord
His mercy never ends;
And to their children’s children still
His righteousness extends.

To such as keep His covenant
Nor from it go astray,
Who His commandments bear in mind
And faithfully obey.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Day 1 - Be Glad and Rejoice

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines glad in part as "Pleased; affected with pleasure or moderate joy; moderately happy... Expressing gladness or joy; exciting joy." The Way Of Life Encyclopedia states this in regards to joy, "Christian joy and rejoicing is, above all else, steadfast confidence in God regardless of one's circumstances." I have heard it expressed as "a deep-rooted sense of contentment and trust in the Saviour." Happiness depends upon what "happens" to us - if something good happens, we are happy; but, if something bad happens to us, we are sad. However, the true believer can still have joy in the midst of the worst of their trials - knowing that God is still in complete control, and that they are firmly held in His loving hands. When both my parents went home to Heaven within six months of each other, I was not happy - but I did have joy, knowing they were in a much better place, that all their pain was gone, that they both were healed completely and walking in the light of Heaven, and that I would one day see them again. There was sadness, as I did miss them; however, there was peace and joy in clinging to God's promises and knowing He was at work all the while.

Seven times the phrase "be glad and rejoice" is used in the Bible:

1) Psalms 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O thou most High.

There are many things we can run after in our search for pleasure in this dark world - but the things of this world will never truly satisfy. Here we see what David was glad and rejoiced in: the Lord his God. If you are glad and rejoicing in the Lord, are you singing praises to Him?

2) Psalms 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities;

Are you rejoicing in God's mercy? That is certainly something worth being glad about! The Lord knows our souls in the adversities we go through in life - that is worth praising Him for! We are never alone, nor struggling through each trial by ourselves - the Lord is always there! He sees us, considers what we are going through, and truly cares for our souls (see Psalm 142:4-5).

3) Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after Thee: the king hath brought me into His chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in Thee, we will remember Thy love more than wine: the upright love Thee.

The Holy Spirit is drawing you to the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you received His gift of salvation, and are you now running after Him? He desires to fellowship with you each day. Brought into the King of Kings' inner chambers, into His very presence, drawn to the Saviour. As you remember His love, be glad and rejoice!

Working at the Gospel Mission, I see many people who pursue wine (ie. alcohol) or drugs, pursue the pleasures of sin for a season. The pleasure is fleeting, the consequences are devastating, and they end up hating the wine they once thought they loved. However, the love of the Lord is so much greater than anything the world could ever offer. Are you glad and rejoicing in His love for you?

4) Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

The primary context of this verse is dealing with the endtimes. In the time of Jacob's trouble, the Jewish nation will be tried in the fires of affliction and many will perish, but through it all, the Lord will reveal Himself to them. They will see the Saviour and God they once rejected, but now they will have their eyes opened and they will rejoice in His as their Messiah. They will see Jesus as He is, and will proclaim in rapture (ie. extreme joy or pleasure), "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him."

Are you rejoicing in your salvation, rejoicing in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has saved you and that He is your God? Whenever I read this phrase, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him," it comforts my heart so much, and thrills my soul as I anticipate the rapture (ie. being caught up together with our loved ones to meet the Lord in the air). One day in the future, we will no longer be looking for Him by faith, but seeing Him face to face - "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him!"

5) Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.

Be glad and rejoice because the Lord is working on your behalf! When we call upon Him, He will answer us and shew us great and mighty things which we knew not before. (See Jeremiah 33:3)

6) Zephaniah 3:14-15 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

Are you glad and rejoicing with all your heart? The Lord is in our midst spiritually (see Matthew 18:20) - and one day He will be physically reigning in our midst, reigning from Jerusalem.

If you want your heart stirred with praise in anticipation of Jesus' return, just meditate on the very next verses in this chapter:

Zephaniah 3:16-17 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

In the first part of this passage, we are exhorted to be glad and rejoice in the Lord our God, but then we see Him rejoicing in us! Ah, what comfort, what assurance, what peace, what love! Be glad and rejoice!

7) Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.

The Bride of Christ is all true believers in this church age - those who have trusted in Jesus to save them, those who have been washed in His blood and been given His white garments of perfect righteousness. The Bride (wife) has made herself ready by receiving the Groom. A time of great gladness and rejoicing is just ahead!

Weddings are always exciting. Are you anticipating our upcoming wedding with the Saviour? It will be a glorious event - one which all of creation has been looking forward to. Be glad and rejoice! I know I am!

Seven passages teaching us to "be glad and rejoice", seven reasons to take our joy in our Lord and all that is found in Him. Are you glad and rejoicing in Jesus?

May 21st/07
(Preached May 20th/07)
Jerry Bouey


Dear God...
Be glad and rejoice
So Your Word does teach
May we always be open
So our hearts you may reach.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

New Upcoming Series on Numbers in the Bible

I am so excited to announce that next week we will be starting the next 30-day series. Brother Jerry Bouey and I will be working together to bring you devotionals dealing with "Numbers in the Bible." We'll be starting with sevens and eights, but not limiting ourselves because there is so much to glean from in this area! We're looking forward to working together on this and pray that you will join us over the next 30 days and receive a blessing!

God's Goodness - Day 30 - Trumpeter Swan

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; (Song 2:12)

The largest of the North American waterfowls, as well as the largest of all swans, is the graceful Trumpeter Swan. What a beautiful bird it is with its pure white feathers and long slender neck. Next to the dove and cardinal, this is the one bird that has had the most spiritual impact on me. When I see a Trumpeter Swan, I think of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! His grace and beauty are seen in many of the swan's characteristics. I wanted to share with you what the Creator of all gave me this morning as I meditated on this remarkable creature. God's Goodness cannot be matched - His Greatness cannot be exceeded - His love never ends! Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psa 31:19)

About 25 years ago, John and I went on a motorcycle trip from Virginia to Northern Maine. We stopped overnight in a small town in Connecticut. The motel had the most beautiful large pond in front of our room. This beautiful pond was surrounded by Weeping Willows all around. It was picture perfect, so serene! Unfortunately, those were the years of 35 millimeter cameras and Polaroids and I do not have a picture to post here. However, the one to the right is quite close. After dinner, John and I relaxed while we sat under a willow tree. We watched these beautiful Trumpeter Swans lazily gliding across the pond. Back and forth they would go with their young cygnets frantically swimming behind them. As they swam, the peaceful waters were disrupted, creating ripples all the way to the shore line.

The swan's beautiful white feathers remind me that my Perfect Redeemer's blood has made me white as snow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18) My sin is seen no more by my Heavenly Father because He sees His Son's blood over me. The white feathers also remind me of when Jesus was transfigured. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (Mar 9:3) The Creator, Jesus Christ, gave this beautiful swan colors and grace to remind us of Him - to draw us to Him. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:8)

As the swan glides across the waters so gently and gracefully, it reminds me of how the Holy Spirit gently works in our lives to mold us into the image of Christ. As we read the Word and are convicted by the Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Col 3:10) God patiently works in our lives, leading and directing, molding and forming us so we can be like Him. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10) Jesus promises us peace and rest when we come to Him. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27) Not only does our Saviour give us peace but He carries our burdens if we allow Him to! For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:30) It took me a while to grow in this area of allowing the Lord to carry my burdens. Once I learned this blessed truth, what a fool I felt I was for not having done so sooner. There is no happier and more peaceful place to be than in the center of your Saviour's Hand. We are secure there. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (Joh 10:28)

As the Holy Spirit works to change us and mold us into the image of Christ, the changes create a rippling effect in our lives, just as the swan creates when it swims. These changes touch other lives through our testimony and leads them to Christ. Their lives touch other lives, etc. Thus the rippling effect goes to the shores of our lives. My testimony should have this effect on others, reaching out to the uttermost! For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (2 Cor 1:12)

I did a little research on the internet about this magnificent creature. I learned that they often mate for life. The female (known as the pen) moults and loses her flight feathers shortly after her young hatch. She is vulnerable to predators at this point. The cob (the male) goes through this process about a month later when the female has completed her moult. The Creator knew that they would have to protect one another during their flightless time. What a merciful God we have - He watches over every creature in such a tender and caring way! Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Pet 5:7) Our Heavenly Father does not leave us defenseless. He is not like the devil who will kick us while we are down. Peter warns us that ole slew foot is like a roaring lion. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8) God does not leave us to be devoured by the devil. We have nothing to fear because while we are spiritually moulting, the Lord is right there protecting us against evil and the evil one. God wanted us to rest assured so much so that He penned it in the Word by giving us an example when Jesus prayed for us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:13)

One of the swan's predators is the wolf. This beautiful creature can be attacked without notice and quickly. We've all see nature shows about wolves and how they run in packs and have no mercy on their unsuspecting victims. Just because we are saved does not mean that we are exempt from the wolves of this world. The devil sends his minions out within the very walls of our churches to attack from within. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Act 20:29) We are to be vigilent, ready and prepared for the enemy. Notice that Luke does not say that the wolves are from the world but these wolves are among us in our very churches! This tells me that we should be even more vigilent in this case. We have a tendancy to let down our guard when we are in church because we believe we are in a safe haven. However, the wolves are among us and the Word says they are grievous. Noah Webster says that grievous means "Causing grief or sorrow." Have you ever been prey to a grievous wolf in your own church which has caused you grief or sorrow? The Word says it will happen - Luke said "I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you,"! Luke knew it would happen. Don't be deceived - be alert! Know your Bible so that you can spot trouble from afar. God gives us more and more discernment and wisdom and we grow in grace.

And lastly, I discovered that the swan makes a trumpet-like sound like that of a french horn. That is why it is called the Trumpeter Swan. God used the trumpet sounds quite often in the Scriptures. The word trumpet appears 59 times in the Bible. A trumpet was sounded when danger was spotted. Christ left us His Word so that we would be able to find encouragement within its pages. He left us His Word so that we could learn to spot danger. Seeing a swan encourages us to be in the Word, seeking out the warnings. The prophecies of the end times are good examples of these warnings. The trumpet was also used to make an announcement. My favorite verse relating to a trumpet is found in Rev. 4:1, where the rapture is depicted. After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (Rev 4:1) Jesus Christ will call us up, "Come up hither!" 1 Thess. 4:17-18, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (17) Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (18) Glory! Does this not comfort you? Just as I sat tranquil and comforted watching the beautiful swans on that pond, so should you be with these words!

The next time you see the Trumpeter Swan, I hope you see our Magnificent and Almighty Lord in its beautiful features. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; (1 Tim 6:15)

Dear God...
Oh Lord, my God, I sit amazed
At Your creation, with beauty bright
Revealing Truths in such bless'ed ways
Reflecting Your power and might.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 29 - Snow Flakes

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. (Job 37:6) Most snowflakes are known to have six sides. Some do have three sides, which I found to be interesting because scientists say that this three-sided snowflake is still a mystery. Don't you love it? Man still cannot figure out God's creation!

Although it's widely believed that no two snowflakes are alike, scientists cannot prove it nor can they disprove it. Their finite minds want to believe that it is impossible for no two things in the whole universe not to be alike in some way. But their "fact finding" minds have to concede that it could be possible. They hate the fact that the Christian's God could make something so beautiful and unique so they deny it. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. (Pro 23:9)

But as Christians, we know that God created all things, including each snow flake. Job 37:6 says that God places them on this earth. What more proof do we need? None whatsoever! When I think of all the sizes and shapes of snow flakes, I am astounded at God's wonders! It equally boggles my mind to know that He has every hair on my head numbered, as well as yours and every other human being that has ever lived on this earth! Jesus said, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Mat 10:30) Jesus, Himself, said this! If you are not baffled, you should be! Meditating on the intricacies of creation, such as the snow flake, will cause you to know the God you serve!

The snow flake, on the most part, has six sides. The number six is the number of man. I wonder if no two snow flakes are alike because no two human beings are exactly alike. We see this truth in finger prints. God teaches us that as the snow flake is unique, so are we. He knows each one of us intimately. Have you ever stopped to think about that? Our Father knows us better than our spouse. He knows us better than our parents. He knows us better than we want to admit in knowing ourselves. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (Psa 139:2) For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (Psa 139:4) God knows our thoughts (afar off) even before I have thought them and my words even before I have spoken them. This makes me trust in my Maker, my Creator, so much more because He knows who He is dealing with and knows how to mold me into His image. Knowing what God knows about each one of us, He molds us into unique creatures - each one of us having different talents, different colored eyes, different skin, different hair, etc.

God also creates snow flakes with three sides reminding us of his Triune nature. There is none like Him. It is this Triune God who made man. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Gen 1:26) (emphasis mine). How can we look at a snow storm and not see the Lord God in it? Growing up in Northern Maine allowed me to witness the most beautiful snow flakes ever! I remember those storms where the flakes were huge! You could see each of the designs so beautifully. More recently, we had such a snow storm in Northern Virginia and viewing those beautiful nickel-sized flakes revealed God's Goodness to me. I was awe struck!

Oh Christian, we don't have to look far to see God's Goodness in His creation. All we have to do is to be still for a moment and behold the beauty around us. Why do you think God tells us to be still? Yes, He means for us to stop getting in His way and let Him work in our lives. But He could also mean for us to be still long enough to recognize His Goodness. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psa 46:10) When we look at snow flakes and their simplicity, we can see God. This beautiful pure white, six-sided (man's number) piece of creation is likened to our Precious Saviour and His work on the cross for us. The next time you behold snow with your eyes (whether in real life or in photos), meditate on Christ's purity and how God sent Him to save your wicked soul. Meditate on His purity and allow His Spirit to change you.

So, my friend, did you think that meditating on a snow flake would be so rewarding? I didn't and walked away this morning totally blessed! Thank You, Lord!

Whiter Than Snow
James L. Nicholson

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Refrain

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract ev’ry stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Refrain

Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself, and whatever I know,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Refrain

Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat,
I wait, blessèd Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Refrain

Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait,
Come now, and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never saidst “No,”
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Refrain

The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
O glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.

Refrain

Monday, May 21, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 28 - Waterfalls

Psa. 114:7-8, Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; (7) Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters. (8)

What a beautiful work of the Master's Hand! The waterfall's beauty brings such peace as we behold it. All along the water's edge one sees the life that the water produces. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. (Psa 65:9)

Our Heavenly Father provides everything for His creation. Not only is His provision useful for our bodies but also for our spiritual nourishment. The thunderous sound of the waters falling remind me that no matter how beautiful the waters are, the force of the water as it hits bottom stirs up the loose earth and debris below. So should God's Word stir up our souls and move us forward in our Christian walk toward spiritual maturity. [To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.] As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psa 42:1) When we "pant" for God's Word and time spent with Him, we are rewarded with refreshing waters from the water of Life. Thank You, Lord!

My heart was full this morning after my time with Him. All I could do was pen what He had done for me. I share this with you now in hopes that it will bless you.

My Heart Panteth for You
Kate Plourde (May 21, 2007)

My heart is full as I sit with You,
During this time of solitude.
A time ever precious and so sweet
Each day my heart's made new!

Despite the problems of the day
I'm not feeling overwhelmed.
The loving Captain of my ship
Stands watchful at the helm.

The Master of the sea loves me!
My best is His loving plan.
He guides me through the storms of life.
I find rest in His bless'ed Hand.

Dear Lord, be the Commander of my life,
For You care so diligently.
The Word has promised You'll never sleep,
While you guide me on life's sea!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 27 - Thunder & Lightning

When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: (Job 28:26) One of the most awesome of God's wonders to me is a good lightning and thunder storm! I love to sit and watch one and I stand amazed each time a lightning bolt goes across the sky and the sound of thunder claps afterward.

Man in his "finite wisdom" still does not know exactly why this phenomenon occurs. Here we are in the 21st Century and it is still a mystery! But here is what they do know. Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity that happens mostly during a storm. It also occurs during a tornado, along with hail, as well as when a volcano erupts. It also occurs when it's hot, called heat lightning. Scientists say a bolt of lightning travels at 100,000 miles per hour and that its temperature reaches almost 50,000 °F! It is said that the average bolt of lightning can produce enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for two months! The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. (Psa 77:18)

When I see lightning, I think of the Lord's return. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Mat 24:27) A lightning bolt shoots across the sky so quickly (100,000 mph), so will Christ's return be! What a glorious thing to behold!!

When I was a little girl, my father told me that when I see lightning, all I have to do is to start counting when I hear the thunder. The number I reach is the distance in miles the lightning is away from me. It's amazing what people attribute thunder to: the angels bowling, the clouds colliding, etc.! But even today, scientists do not completely understand what causes thunder. The current theory is that plasma expands in the lightning bolt's trail and creates a sonic shock wave caused by the rapid heating and expansion of the air around the lightning. We see lightning before the thunder because light travels faster than sound.

I love the fact that even with all the head knowledge of our scientists today, they still cannot figure out lightning and thunder completely. They have but a "theory"! Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. (Psa 81:7) God's Word says that thunder is in the secret place ... I wonder if God intends to keep it a secret from man until His return!

How appropriate to end today's devotional with the great song, "How Great Thou Art" by Carl Boberg! In 1885, he was walking home after church and watched a storm over Monsteras Bay in Sweden. The storm captured his attention and inspired him to pen the words to this beautiful hymn.

How Great Thou Art
Carl Boberg

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Chorus

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Chorus

Thursday, May 17, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 26 - The Wind/Part 2

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; (Gen 8:1) The first mention of the wind is in Genesis 8:1. You all know my love for God's use of numbers in the Word - and I believe He continues this love right down to the chapter numbers and verse numbers. The number eight symbolizes "new beginnings." When we are born again, we have a new beginning - we receive the Holy Spirit of God within us who seals us. The Holy Spirit stirs our hearts like a breeze stirs the embers in a fire.

Another beautiful analogy I noticed was how the wind blew across the waters and caused them to asswage (to move and pull back). Christ, through His Word, is our Living Water and His Spirit moves within us to convict us, grow us, and pull us away from the world. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) The Living Water of the Word of God is stirred by the Wind, the Holy Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (Joh 3:8)

As the Holy Spirit stirs our spiritual embers, we grow in grace. He stirs us and reveals to us what His Word says. He guides us in our spiritual walk and reveals false doctrines so we can be equipped when cultists come our way. He pricks our hearts when we "hear" a different gospel. He reveals God's will in every page of the Word. He shows us how to communicate to our Heavenly Father. God uses examples of the wind and makes His Word come alive through examples. The Master Painter paints a picture in our mind's eye so we can better understand what He is communicating to us. God didn't just give us His Word but He uses His creation to explain Himself more clearly. How blessed we truly are! But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (Jam 1:6)

Another aspect of wind is its force. Wind carries dust and debris and sometimes it clutters the way and creates obstacles, like in the instance of a tornado. The Christian who spends time in the Holy Spirit breathed pages of the Bible will be able to discern teachings which are not scriptural. The new believer is a prime candidate for falling victim to deception. They are not yet experiencing the meat of the Word and they will be easily deceived. Spending little time in the Word invites debris and obstacles in their spiritual path.

However, the Christian who spends time in the Word, growing thereby, can recognize the devil's winds about him. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14) The devil is the father of lies according to John 8:44. But God did not leave us helpless, my friend. We have two of the most powerful defense weapons known to man: the Bible and prayer. The Holy Spirit wrote the Word of God through men and He speaks to the Father through us when we cannot find the words. How many times have I searched for just the right words to express to the Father what my heart contained. Yet, the Spirit had already told Him! The Spirit had already completed the mission and was revealing God's will and plan through the blessed pages of my Bible in my reading time.

The wind is a magnificent part of creation to which much of God's teachings can be attributed. How blessed we are that we can look at every facet of creation and see our God and His character. As Christians, we should take advantage of it and meditate on whatever it is that God puts in our path each day. God is waiting there to teach us and bless us through His creation. Thank You, Lord!

Dear God...
Your blessed Holy Spirit
Is seen in the softest breeze
Please move and stir within my heart
And mold me as You please.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 25 - The Senses

I wanted to do something unusual and not "obvious" in today's God's Goodness. I immediately thought about the body's five senses. As I meditated on that this morning, I quickly recognized the Lord in all of our senses. We are so blessed! Of course, the first thing I noticed was the number five - for five senses. By now, you've noticed I have a love for God's references to numbers in the Bible. The number five is the number for grace. I decided to look for God's grace as it affects all of our senses. As I dug in, I was totally blessed and so I hope this is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me.

Let's look at the the first sense - sight. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (Isa 64:4) Can you imagine this? Just think of the most beautiful waterfall or majestic mountain that you have seen. God says that your eye (or anyone's for that matter) has never seen what awaits you in Heaven. Glory!!

It amazes me how God intricately created the eye. Just the eye alone has so many parts and all work together to enable us to behold God's beauty! Have we every stopped to think what we would do without our eyes? We would stumble in darkness. God likens the lost in this way: The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Pro 4:19) Does not this just illuminate the song verse "I once was blind but now I see"? Truly such amazing grace!!

The next sense is that of hearing. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Co 2:9) As Paul was quoting Isaiah, he pointed out that nothing that we have heard with our own ears can be compared to what we will hear in Heaven! I have heard the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir singing Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah chorus, and I thought this was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I was certain this would be sung in Heaven. I've also enjoyed listening to the beautiful coos of a newborn baby. But God tells us that no one has any idea, or even a clue, of what we will hear in Heaven! Double Glory!! Christ used the sense of hearing seven times in the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. The Word says that with our sense of hearing we will come to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)

God is so good to His children. He has given us eyes and ears with which to enjoy the beauty and sound of His creation! The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them. (Pro 20:12)

The third on our list is the sense of taste. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psa 34:8) How can you "taste" God? Have you not walked away from your Bible reading with the feeling that you ate sweet honey because God has healed your broken spirit? Have you ever walked away from your reading with a "bitter" taste in your mouth where God has revealed a sin to you? How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psa 119:103) I think of how Christ used the sense of taste in His words to us. He is the water of life - He said we should be like salt to the unsaved! Christ used the senses as examples to us so as to teach us. So did Peter. 1 Pet. 2:2-3, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (2) If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (3)

The sense of touch is next. Touch not; taste not; handle not; (Col 2:21) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Co 6:17) We touch thousands of things in the course of a day. Our hands touch what our eyes see and our brain leads us to touch. We must be so careful to protect our eyes so that our hands are not led to touch what we should not. If we protected ourselves in this manner, we would be able to fulfill 2 Co 6:17 without a problem. Our desire (our heart) should be to touch what is good in God's eyes. I love sitting with my Bible and running my fingers across its leather cover and eagerly anticipating my time spent in reading its blessed pages. I love to hold a rose and touch its velvet-like petals. I love to touch a baby's skin and nuzzle my nose into its sweet, precious soft neck.

Lastly, let's look at the sense of smell. I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. (Amo 5:21) God even used the sense of smell to reveal to us His desires and His will. God does not want the work of our hands - He does not want us to play religion. This verse says that God hates the smell of our unrighteous sacrifices. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. Man's relationship with God was severed in the Garden of Eden. However, Christ came to restore that relationship. He has saved us and His sacrifice is the sweet savour that God smells. In kind, our testimonies should be a sweet savour to a lost and dying world. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (2 Co 2:15) The lost should be able to see that our "religion" is not one of burnt offerings of our own works but the blessed sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what they should see in us - our testimony should smell like a rose to them, not like a skunk.

God's Word has so much on the senses. I never gave it much thought until this morning. Just doing a word search in my Bible software showed me just how much God used the senses to teach us. What an awesome God we serve!

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. (Psa 49:3)

[Maschil of Asaph.] Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Psa 78:1)

Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things? (Job 6:30)

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. (Psa 45:8)

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Six Ways to Prove That I Am Saved

I have been overwhelmed at work as of late and not added to my devotional series on God's Goodness for quite a few days now. I will finish it - I promise. I wanted to take a break today, however, to share with you a topic that recently resurfaced at Fundamental Baptist Forum which I had shared in June 2006. As I re-read it, the blessing was stirred again and I wanted to share it with you.

I took these notes on a message preached by Evangelist Hal Webb at our revival in June 2006. It was an awesome message! It was the first time I had ever seen a check list, so-to-speak, of how to prove your own salvation. We've all been there, haven't we? Moments of doubt arise within us at times of spiritual failures and defeats. Also, we've all met people who live like the devil but claim to be saved. They prayed a "prayer-ette" and thought this gave them insurance against hell. The born again creature is a new creature with new desires, desires for righteousness - if this is not true, then God is a liar. But God does not lie - man does. God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; (Rom 3:4a)

Re-reading my notes blessed me so much that I expanded on it and added verses. I have put it in my Bible so that I can share that with those who "think" they are saved but their lives don't show it. I hope it is a blessing to you!!!

Six Ways to Prove That I Am Saved:

1. I have no desire for habitual sinning in my life. If I smoke, my desire will be to quit and I will succeed with Christ's help. If I struggled with lying, my desire will be to stop and I will be under conviction each time I do so.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 Jo 3:9) Our soul is converted at the time we are saved. This soul is no longer bound by sin but free. It is the "house," our flesh, which desires to sin. That is why we battle sin in this body. No one explained that better than Paul himself in Rom. 7:14-15, For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (14) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (15)

The born again believer will hate the fact that he has sinned. 1 Jo 3:9 is not talking about the flesh but the soul. Our flesh is corrupt and will not enter Heaven. It is our soul which will enter. God sees Christ's blood upon us - He sees His Son when He looks at us. As Paul battled, our own soul battles daily with the flesh. The more we feed this flesh with the Word of God and the things of God, the flesh will sin less.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jo 1:9)

2. I have a personal belief in Jesus Christ. I truly believe He is God Who left Heaven to come to earth; in His virgin birth; His sinless life on earth; He is the Messiah of mankind Who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary for my sins; He was buried and on the third day, He arose from the dead; He ascended into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father awaiting His return to reign on earth.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (1 Jo 5:1)

I was raised catholic and I learned about Jesus Christ. However, I never knew Jesus Christ. I had a head knowledge of who He was but I did not possess Him in my heart so He was just knowledge to me. It did not phase me in the least to use His name in vain. I did not have a desire to even "think" on Jesus Christ. However, after I was saved, I had a deep desire to get to know everything about Him. I could not stop reading the precious milk of the Word - the Gospels! I would call my spiritual mother almost daily with new things I had discovered and was excited to tell her what God had shown me in His Word! All these were golden nuggets to me and I was energized each time I read one!

3. I live righteously.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (1 Jo 2:29)

I will have a different holy life. Do I try to please Christ every day? Do I find myself trying to please Him? Am I doing His will? Do I avoid evil? The greatest joy in life is the joy of serving Christ.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17)

Those who doubt their salvation can many times attribute this doubt to a lack of righteous living or doing God's known will. Pastor Eugene Zorbas, of Tabernacle Baptist Church, preached a message on a similar topic last week. He said that being a Christian is not about keeping a list of rules but it is all about developing a relationship with Jesus Christ. The better our relationship, the better the results will be - keeping those rules because of your relationship with Him. Your desire will be to please Him with righteous living.

4. I will have a love for fellow Christians.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (1 Jo 3:14)

I can tell I'm saved by the crowd I choose to hang around with. Am I eager about Christian things? Do I desire to be around other Christians more than my worldly friends?

After I got saved, I wanted to be with other believers. I was so anxious to attend church for the first time just so I could share with others who believed as I believed!

I also discovered that this new nature caused my old friends to feel uncomfortable. It was not too soon after that they did not wish to "hang around" me any longer. As well, I did not enjoy being around them either. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Co 6:14)

5. I'm overcoming the world.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 Jo 5:4)

There's always some Christian you know that "everything in their life is always going wrong"! Are they overcoming their circumstances? This is not to say things won't go wrong, but what is their attitude as they go through these circumstances? Are they overcoming or are they defeated?

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33) Jesus said that we shall have tribulation - not maybe. Christian, we will have tribulation in our life time here. However, Jesus said to be of good cheer! The Christian who does not overcome his circumstances does not fit here. That Christian has a "poor, pitiful me" attitude and is defeated already. However, Jesus said to be of good cheer! If it was not "do-able," would Jesus have told us to be of good cheer? Of course not. Jesus went on to say "I have overcome the world." Now put that with the following verse: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phi 4:13)

This is the Christian's recipe for overcoming the world - through Jesus! Look at this example with me: A man had two dogs which he raised since they were puppies. They were kept in separate parts of the property away from each other. One dog was fed good dog food and nurtured with love and care. The other dog was given bits which would fall from the table. The nurtured dog was solid - sound muscular structure - and full of energy. The other dog was scrawny - his rib cage was noticeable - and he had no zest at all. One day, the two dogs were roaming free on the property and met each other for the first time. As their instincts took over, a territorial battle took place. Who do you think won the battle? Yes, the strong and nurtured dog won.

It is the same with Christians. If we feed our flesh with worldly things, we will be weak when it comes to spiritual battles. However, if we feed our spiritual nature with the Word and righteous living, we will be strong, ready and prepared for battle.

The world's opinion is not to be my standard of living. My standard is the Word. I am not to please the world but I am to please the Lord, Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (15) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (16)

6. I will have a desire for purity.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 Jo 5:18)

I am to care for my soul and protect it from evil. The flesh desires to sin. So protect yourself from evil. Whichever you "feed" the most will thrive in your life. If you feed your soul more, you will desire to be pure. If you feed your flesh more, you will desire the lusts of the flesh. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 Jo 2:16)

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (Amo 5:15)

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1Th 5:22)

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. (Psa 101:3)

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:16)

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. (1Ti 5:22)

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phi 2:12)

I'm so glad I was brought to read this again this morning. Once again, I was blessed by Brother Webb's words from a year ago!

Friday, May 04, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 24 - The Cockroach

Probably one of the worse subjects for me to talk about is that of the cockroach - or any bug for that matter. As disgusting as this little creature is, there is something there that God can use to teach us. God's lessons can not only be found in the most beautiful of His creation but also in the most loathsome creature! When I think of cockroaches I think of the pestilences of Scriptures. Whether the cockroach was a part of these pestilences or not, they certainly are pests to be reckoned with today. He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; (Psa 78:50) Unless you have experienced an annoying pest problem, you can't begin to imagine in your mind's eye what a pestilence can truly be.

Did you know that here are roughly 3,490 species of cockroaches in six families??!! Cockroaches are found worldwide, except for the polar regions. Only a handful of these species dwell in buildings. But once you find a cockroach in your house, you can be sure there are a lot more hidden in the walls. The most common cockroach in the U.S. is the German cockroach. Their female carries an egg case on the end of her abdomen. (OK - I just had a chill run up my spine!) The egg case holds about 30–40 long, thin eggs, packed like hot dogs in its case. As disgusting as all this sounds, it brought to mind how the world is filled with lost sinners, packed together living their lives without thought of their spiritual condition. There is no better place to view this than at a night club. I do not need to elaborate on this - all you have to do is remember your unsaved days and when you visited these places - sinners crammed together like sardines just so they can fulfill the lusts of the flesh - all in the guise of fun! Yet, in this darkness sin runs rampant - no one is seeking to walk righteously. God says in His Word that pestilence walks in the night. I wondered if He was referring to the likes of cockroaches. Ps. 91:5-6, Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (5) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (6)

One thing that I did find fascinating about the eggs were how they hatch. The hatchlings continuously gulp air until they "swell" like a balloon. Their combined pressure causes the case to break open. These little nymphs are initially white in color and they continue inflating themselves with air. Within about four hours, they have hardened and darkened in color. This process reminded me of a baby coming into this world. As this baby grows, the sin nature takes hold and this beautiful innocent child becomes harder and harder to win to salvation because the sin nature now reigns. The inflating cockroach brought to mind how our sins are multiplied every day - I can see why God likens them to filthy rags. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6) Once salvation is found, those filthy sins - those scarlet sins are made white as snow because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18) Our hard, sinful nature has been replaced with a heart filled with the seed of the Gospel planted into good soil.

Once you see a cockroach in your home, you have to admit that it's too late. Killing the one roach won't do you a bit of good - you already have a problem. The female may produce up to eight egg cases in her life with an end result of up to 300-400 babies! Just writing about this topic gives me the woollies! Because of our sin nature, our sins are multiplied daily. Just think of it this way - if you were to live until you were 80 years old and you commit only one sin per day, you will have sinned 29,200 times! And that's only one sin per day! Our Heavenly Father created Adam and Eve perfect and sinless! It was not His desire for them to be sinners. He created them perfect, as well as the entire earth. God gave them a free will so they would serve Him willingly, not as robots. They exercised their free will by succumbing to sin. This sin had them kicked out of the perfect Garden of Eden! This sin brought curse to this earth. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5:12) It is not God's choosing but ours.

Anyone who has had roaches in their kitchen can verify that they are a nocturnal creature - they come out by night. The minute you turn the light on, they scatter, thus the phrase, "scatter like roaches." The sinner finds comfort in the night because he thinks he cannot be seen. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa 29:15) The sinner is blind to the things of God. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? (Luk 6:39) A believer cannot hang around a lost person for very long because he will find himself going back spiritually. Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; (Pro 2:13) We do not need to walk in darkness any longer. We have the ability to say no to sin and to walk in the paths of uprightness. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1Th 5:5)

Even looking at the cockroach we can see God's Goodness in the lessons He has for us. So as the cockroach scatters when the light is brought forth, so should we scatter when sin crosses our path. We have the blessed light of the Word of God to lighten our way. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) We do not need to stumble as the lost do. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Pro 4:19) Learn from the cockroach. Use this piece of creation to teach you how to be a better Christian.

Dear God...
You have used the vilest of creatures
To teach Your child today
May we watch and diligently listen
As Your Word lights up our way!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

God's Goodness - Day 23 - The Wild Columbine

This beautiful flower, the Wild Columbine, can be found growing in the State of Wisconsin. It reminded me of a dear, precious sister in the Lord who lives there. Today's devotional is for this dear friend. I am praying that the Lord would bless it and use it to encourage her.

Looking at this magnificent piece of God's creation, I noticed that its colors are so vivid! The bright yellow center, like rays streaming from the sun, is surrounded by a beautiful reddish-dark pink blanket. It reminded me of Christ's precious blood covering our sins and how His Spirit should shine forth in our lives. Christ's agape love drove Him to die for us so that our sins would be covered! It sure opened my eyes to the true meaning of: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Pe 4:8)

At its center lies the sweet nectar used in pollinating! Oh that our lives should be sweet nectar to the unsaved world! We should be ready with the sweet honey from the Word - ready to show them salvation through Jesus Christ. Doesn't the entire flower look like a lantern bursting forth with light? This beautifully clad flower is an example to us that we should be a light to a lost and dying world. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. (Luk 8:16)

The little buds on the same plant are waiting for the perfect time, God's time, to open up and reveal the beautiful flower within. Our new life in Christ produces a spiritual bud which will burst forth as we grow in grace. When we are born again, we become new creatures. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17) We possess the wonderful Holy Spirit who molds us and forms us into the image of Jesus Christ. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Co 15:49)

Buds on a plant pop up and grow at different times. The bud cannot survive without the plant - apart from the plant, this bud would die. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (Joh 15:5) As we view the life of a Christian as it relates to this plant, we see the new born again believer - he is like a new bud. The bud then begins to open, beginning its life as a flower - so the believer grows in grace and begins to look like his Saviour. The more the bud opens, the more it looks like the flower it is going to become. The same goes for Christians - the more we grow in Christ (through trial and tribulation), the more we become like Him.

Each bud belongs to the same plant just as each believer belongs to the Vine. Yet each is unique in its own way. They are all Wild Columbines but yet different in the time they bud and in their appearance. Some may have blotches due to disease - some may have little holes due to insects. Each Christian goes through life experiencing trials and tribulations which produce blotches. Each Christian will go through physical trials because of Adam's sin. But we have encouragement in the Word because nothing is unique - somewhere, someone has been through the same trial (whether spiritual or physical) and we are not alone. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Co 10:13) The Lord's mercy is seen here - we can encourage one another during various trials so that a brother or sister does not get totally discouraged. We are to use the gift(s) God has given us to lift up those who desperately need to see the Lord. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ it is when each Christian is using his gifts for His glory! The church works together as one to bring glory to the Son! All our gifts working together in harmony will form a church family that is ready to meet the needs of a lost and dying world. These same gifts will be as a healing salve for the hurting Christian. Just as these buds on the Wild Columbine plant contribute to the whole plant, so does each born again believer contribute to the Body of Christ!

Lastly, this beautiful flower reminds me that not all Christians are at the same place spiritually. We are all growing at different paces - we are a work in progress. We need to be patient with one another. We will not achieve perfection until we reach Heaven. In the mean time, our Heavenly Father is busy molding us into a vessel fit for His use. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isa 64:8) As Christians, we will fail as we walk this pilgrim's path. However, God's Word promises that He can pick up the broken pieces and make something new fit for His use. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Jer 18:4) Did you notice that the potter here did not throw away the marred vessel? Instead, he "made it again" into another vessel! God can take our sins, our mistakes, our messed up lives, and mold us into something new that he can use! He is the God of second chances - and, yes, third, fourth and even more!

Never did I dream when I started meditating on the beautiful Wild Columbine that I would walk away this blessed! Oh Lord, "Marvellous are thy works." Ps. 139:14


Thank You, Lord (for saving my soul)
Words and Music by Mr. and Mrs. Seth Sykes

Some thank the Lord for friends and home,
For mercies sure and sweet;
But I would praise Him for His grace
In prayer I would repeat:

Chorus
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

Some thank Him for the flow'rs that grow,
Some for the stars that shine;
My heart is filled with joy and praise,
Because I know He's mine.

Chorus

I trust in Him from day to day,
I prove His saving grace;
I'll sing this song of praise to Him
Until I see His face.

Chorus

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