Devotional

Psalm 71- Part Three of Five

You Are My Hope, O LORD God

For You are my hope, O Lord God: You are my trust from my youth. But I will hope continually, and I will praise you yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of your righteousness and your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  Psalm 71:5, 14, 15 NKJV

I recently traveled from San Diego to Tennessee. I didn’t know the way, but I was confident that the pilot of the plane did. I could have worried that the pilot would get lost, or that the plane would not have enough fuel. Instead, I sat in peace, able to read and write. I had the certain hope that I would arrive at the right location because the pilot knew where he was taking me.

Our Lord knows where we are going. He has our whole lives planned out before even one day has come about. He knows what each day has in it. He knows the direction and end point of the journey for each of us.

I know the Lord has everything in His capable hands, so why do I fret over the what-ifs of possible illness, or if my husband and I will be able to work until we want to retire?  Why do I get so upset by small things, like the item I can’t find at a given moment? Do you find yourself anxious about things beyond your control?

Why do we worry? Can it be that we forget who the LORD really is?

The Lord God is Sovereign. He is in control. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Satan couldn’t attack Job without God’s permission. (Job, chapter 1) When God gave His permission, He set limits to the attacks on Job. I don’t pretend to understand that. However, it is assuring to know that our righteous God filters everything through His hands.

In Psalm 71, the Psalmist shares his hope in God’s deliverance. He looks at the Lord’s presence in his past and knows that God will be with him in the future. This hope leads him to praise God.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, since my youth. …I will ever praise you. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.  Psalm 71:5, 6, 9, 14, 20, 21 NKJV





Jesus Christ also had a certain hope. He knew He would endure pain, ridicule, betrayal, suffering, and ultimately, death. Yet He willingly chose to die on the cross for our sins knowing that he would live again, and that through Him, those who believe in Him would receive eternal life.

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We can have a certain hope if we are following Jesus. We can rely on our Pilot, the LORD God. He knows our journey. He will be with us, guiding us and providing everything we need.

Let’s take hope. Let’s remember who the Lord is. Writing out what God has done for us in the past also helps us have hope in the future. As we look at God’s faithfulness, may we praise the Lord!

Dear Lord God, You are my hope. I will praise you. When I waver, please strengthen me and help me to remember You are trustworthy. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

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Devotional

Psalm 71- Part Two of Five

The Lord is my Refuge

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. Psalm 71:3,4 NIV

Do you ever want to run off and hide? I do. I hear of war, disease, and of the shocking values being promoted to our children in public education, and I want to flee from the news. It’s overwhelming. Other times, a storm in my own life threatens to drown me, such as a great discouragement, or the cancer I had. I need a refuge, a place of shelter or protection from danger or distress. To me, a refuge is also a place where I know I am loved. The Lord is my refuge.

The Psalmists often wrote of the LORD being their refuge, their Rock, and a fortress.

David of Israel certainly saw his share of problems. Pursued by King Saul who sought David’s life, David lived his life on the run. Later, King David’s son, Absalom, usurped his throne. Yet David hoped in the LORD. The Psalms are full of David’s laments of his problems, his plea for God to act, and his praises for the LORD who delivered him. Consider a few:

Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me….You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.  Psalm 59:1,9, 16 NKJV

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2 NKJV

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How can we take refuge in the LORD?

 We can call to the Lord for deliverance. He loves us. He will deliver us. He will be with us through the storm. We can turn to Him when we are troubled and know He cares. He has the ability to see the whole picture. God will do what is best for us and for His purposes.

As our Rock, the Lord is immovable, permanent, and a firm foundation. He is our hiding place.

We can hide in the LORD, our fortress. A fortress brings to mind fortified castles or walled areas of defense. There is safety in a fortress because it is defendable. The LORD fights for us. Jesus already won the battle against evil when He conquered sin and death on the cross in our place.

Our enemy, the devil, loves to scheme and try to trap us. He seeks to devour us. He wants to kill our trust in God. If he can ruin our walk and our testimony or cause us to wallow in defeat, he sidelines our witness for God. The devil does not want us to grow in our faith. The enemy does not want us to share what Jesus has done for us. We can run to God when temptation comes. By keeping God’s Word in front of our attention, we can lean on God’s commands and guidance.  

May we, like the Psalmist, seek and find our refuge in God.

Lord, thank you for being my rock on which I can stand. You are my shelter of protection in which I can take refuge, and my fortress of defense. I love you, Lord. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

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Devotional

Psalm 71-Part One of Five

In You, O LORD, I Put My Trust

In You, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; Psalm 71:1-3 NKJV

I often put my trust in myself, not wanting to be disappointed by others letting me down. When I fail, I beat myself up for it. Trusting in things like cars, finances, or jobs doesn’t work either. Cars break down, finances fluctuate, and jobs end.

How much better it is when I put my trust in the LORD! There is no shame in Him. The LORD is my strong refuge to which I can continually go, knowing God welcomes me.

I’m learning to trust God more. One lesson is that God is faithful to provide. My husband, Cliff, was laid off from jobs as cell phone manufacturing and other technical jobs moved out of the United States. In 2008, Cliff was training his replacements in another country, so we decided I needed to rejoin the work force after years as a stay-at-home mom. Cliff was laid off a few months later. With the 2008 economic crisis, companies weren’t hiring. As unemployment stretched from weeks to months, our hope drained as fast as our savings. We both worried. Cliff applied to about 470 jobs, but only two companies interviewed him. I wondered if I should leave the teacher’s aide position I enjoyed and find full time work, but our high school aged son was not driving yet and we were his transportation. Our daughter was in college. The job search and financial situation seemed hopeless.

We were praying, but it took awhile to realize that God was answering our prayers differently for a reason. In the eight months that Cliff was unemployed, God was teaching us to trust Him to provide. Sometimes His provision was a meal or financial gift from a friend or from our church. Other times it was an odd job of house repair, or extra hours at my school. We rejoiced when Cliff was hired! Trusting God to provide was a lesson that we’ve reviewed. Another eight-month period of Cliff searching for a job in 2013 found me at peace, knowing that while it was difficult, I could trust the Lord to provide as He had done before.  A job loss doesn’t mean that God stops caring for me and my family.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Let’s trust God in our situations. Let’s rely on Him and not on ourselves. He has the best plans for each of us. He loves us. He hears us when we pray or cry. He delivers us in His righteousness.  As we recognize that, we can release our grip on our lives and allow the LORD to be in control. Even when life seems to be spinning faster than the washing machine spin cycle, we can choose to remember God’s faithfulness in our own life. Reading through the Bible passages will show us the Lord’s faithfulness to those in Bible times.

Dear LORD, help me to trust You instead of myself. When I rely on myself, my foundation is sinking sand that shifts with my moods and insecurities. Help me remember that You are my firm foundation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Top photo Image by Lisa Caroselli from Pixabay 

Devotional

Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday – Part Two of Two: A Journey from the Cross to Christ’s Resurrection

Jesus said to the disciples, “Thus it was written and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:46-48 NKJV

Imagine the disciples’ dismay as they saw the Lord Jesus go to the Cross. Their leader was gone. They expected He would set up His earthly kingdom. Instead Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Killed between thieves, Jesus lay dead in a rich man’s tomb, as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53; Matthew 27).  

They didn’t understand Jesus’ words that He would die and then rise again in three days. They saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, but had anyone ever raised themselves? How hard it was for the words to be real to them.

Then Sunday morning came. Resurrection Sunday! The faithful women who went to anoint Jesus’ body discovered the empty tomb! An angel of the Lord told them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell the disciples that He is risen from the dead…” Matthew 28:5-7 NKJV

The disciples thought the women’s words were idle tales. Jesus appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus, to Simon, and to the disciples in the upper room before they believed Jesus was alive! (See Mark 16; Luke 24; John 21)

Believing in the risen Lord changed the disciples’ lives! No longer fearful and hiding from authorities in a locked room, the disciples became courageous for the message of Jesus, making disciples and teaching people to obey Jesus.

Would I have believed the women? Would I have been like Thomas and doubted all of the reports? Thomas did not believe until Jesus came saying “Reach…look…Do not be unbelieving but believing.” John 20:24-29

I believe that Jesus is God and that he died and rose again. It is the day-to-day living I struggle with. Sometimes I forget that Jesus’ promises apply to me. Remission of sins…My head agrees, but how quickly I listen to the devil’s accusations that I am not good enough or obedient enough for God.

Jesus promised “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. When things are going badly, it is hard for the words to be real to me.

  If I lived like I believed Jesus was always with me, would I be fearful when facing difficulty? Should I instead trust Him in all things? Yes, in all things.

How about you? Do you believe that Jesus is the risen Lord? Do you doubt like the disciples did? Or do you stand firm in God’s promises?

Let’s bring our doubts and fears to Jesus. He triumphed over the grave! Is there anything too hard for Him? Jesus can change us!

Dear Lord Jesus, Please help me to trust You in all things. When trials come, help my heart and my head to both say “I believe in You, and that You keep Your promises.”  Forgive me of my doubts and attitudes that reflect me and not You. Help me be a witness for You. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.

Devotional

A Journey From Palm Sunday through Good Friday and the Cross

Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday – Part One of Two

Yet it was the LORD’s will to bruise him; He put Him to grief. When His soul shall constitute an offering for sin, He shall see His followers, He shall prolong His days, by His hand shall the LORD’s will advance. The results of the sufferings of His life He shall see—He shall be satisfied. By knowledge of Him shall My Righteous Servant make many righteous, for He shall bear their guilt.  Isaiah 53:10-11 MLV  

Resurrection Sunday is coming! It’s a joyful time for Christians, of far greater importance than Easter egg hunts and candy. Yet before we can get to Resurrection Sunday, we must journey from Palm Sunday through Good Friday and the Cross. Without remembering the significance of the Cross, Easter Sunday has little meaning.

Picture the crowd on Palm Sunday, placing branches down on the path before Jesus as He came into Jerusalem on a donkey. They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! The King of Israel!” (John 12:12-19) Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and fed the multitudes. The crowd was ready for Him to be king.

Being a political king was not Jesus Christ’s purpose of coming to earth. During His illegal trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus told him, “You say that I am king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” John 18:37 RSV 

It was not truth the people were interested in. How quickly the crowd was swayed to shout “Crucify Him!”

The Cross did not surprise Jesus. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup of His sacrificial death would pass from Him, but He willingly submitted to His Heavenly Father and to all He knew was coming. “…Not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus was committed to His Father’s will. His love for mankind prompted Him to provide the rescue for us even while we were yet unfaithful to Him.      

The Savior’s death should not have surprised the disciples.  Jesus told them, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2 NKJV) At the upper room Jesus said, “One of you will betray Me.” The disciples were unaware that Judas Iscariot had made arrangements with the chief priests to betray the Savior for thirty pieces of silver, as prophesied by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25) Mary of Bethany was one of the few to understand He would die; she anointed Him for His burial. (John 12:1-8)

How can we prepare our hearts as we journey from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday?

  • Reflect on why Jesus came to earth. He bore our guilt to make us righteous through belief in Him.
  • Set aside time to thank God for His love for us. Let’s remember what His love cost Him.
  • Let’s examine the areas where we struggle and need to be faithful to Jesus.
  • Seek truth.

The second part of this devotional series will go into the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, may I never take Your love for me for granted. Thank you for suffering and dying for my sins. Thank you for the hope I have in You because You live! In Jesus name, Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience. The previous devotional follows this one on the web page.