Devotional

The Value of Friendship

Oil and perfume make the heart rejoice, as does the pleasantness of a friend’s suggestions from the heart. Proverbs 27:9 MLV

A dear friend moved out of state this week. Rose has been my confidant and prayer partner for twenty-seven years. While I am happy for her that she and her husband will be closer to their family, I will miss her greatly. Our biweekly get-togethers will switch to phone and video calls, and the occasional visit.  

I’m thankful that the Lord gives us people to go through life with. Some are with us for a short season, others for life even when far away. A true friend is a blessing. The Lord knows we need those close relationships. Friends are mentioned in Scripture, along with what to look for in a person, and how to be good friends ourselves.

A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17a RSV. I’ve been blessed to have many friends who love me no matter what my mood, circumstances, or schedule. They are quick to forgive. Like Rose, they love me in my good and my bad times.

Loyal friends don’t listen to gossip or spread it. I know that when I share with loyal friends, that it won’t go anywhere without permission, not even disguised as a prayer request. Rose has prayed for my situations and family members, as I have for hers. We pray with complete confidence that our prayer requests are confidential.

Better is open rebuke than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend… Proverbs 27:5, 6a NKJV. Sometimes it takes courage to be a true friend. I will never forget Rose lovingly rebuking me for a bad attitude I was carrying about a ministry that had ended for me. I wasn’t happy to hear her words, yet she was brave enough to suggest that maybe it was God’s will at the time. My friendship with Rose was important enough to me that I knew I had to get past my defensiveness and consider her counsel. In time I realized she was right. At other times Rose kindly prayed that I would have the wisdom, humor, or change in attitude to deal with a struggle I was having. She is good about receiving a rebuke as well.

A good friend helps others improve. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 RSV. As we hold each other accountable and lift each other up, we become better people. I’ve become a better wife and mother through my friendships. I learned to pray for my family through the friends I gained in Moms in Prayer International and in church.  I also gained skills in sewing, cooking, and gardening through others.

Relationships take time. Rose and I found we needed to plan to meet every other week, even if it was just for an hour, or our busy schedules quickly could crowd out our time for each other.

Relationships require communication. Do we actively talk and really listen? Do we hog the conversation, or perhaps not contribute? Sometimes I see people at a table in a restaurant, and each person is on their phone, not interacting with the people they are with. It’s a sad way to spend time together. 

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How are our friendships? Are we being a good friend? Let’s think of a friend and tell that person what they mean to us.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of friends. Thank you for the richness they add to my life. Please help me to stay in touch and to be a better friend. In Jesus’ name. 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.

Devotional

Psalm 71 —Part 5 of 5: I Will Praise You, LORD

My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23 ESV

I love singing to the Lord. It doesn’t matter the style: hymns, praise songs, or even a few lines of Scripture that I memorized to music, they all cause me to think about the Lord when I focus on what they are declaring instead of just singing the words without thinking. Praising the Lord quickly brings me from focusing on myself or my to-do list and into the very throne room of God Almighty.

We can also praise the Lord in many other ways. Worship is concentrating on the Lord, not just the instrumental and vocal music time of a church service. We worship God through our actions, our words, our thoughts, and by meditating on God’s Word. The Psalmist of Psalm 71 wrote, My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day. My lips will shout for joy (verses 15, 23).

I hope you have been with me for this five-part journey through Psalm 71. In light of whom the Lord is and what He has done, how can we do anything but praise the Lord God? He has redeemed our soul!

Praise the Lord for being trustworthy! We can bring everything to Him and know that He can be trusted with it. He has our best planned for us. He was with us in the womb, and He will be with us through our death and resurrection if we have a personal relationship with Him.

He is our refuge in times of trouble and our fortress of protection. Praise Him for being our security in a dark and dangerous world. He is our deliverer from the unjust, the cruel, and from the devil himself. Our accusers are put to shame and disgrace. We can run to our Heavenly Father and know that He loves us. He will wrap His arms about us. He calms our fears.

He alone is our certain hope! The Lord is Sovereign. He knows our life journey. He revives and comforts us (Psalm 71:20, 21). He guides and teaches us. Hope in God leads to praise.

Our God is righteous! Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? Psalm 71:19 ESV

The Lord is faithful! He is our reason for joy.

Let’s praise the Lord! Let’s appreciate the Lord and tell Him so. We like to be appreciated, and so does He!

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Let’s declare who the Lord is and reveal to others what He has done. The next generation needs to learn what the Lord has done in our life. The best information they can have is about Jesus and His salvation.

How many ways can you praise the Lord? What do you praise about Him?

Dear Lord, My praise shall be continually of You… My tongue shall also talk of Your righteousness all the day long. (Psalm 71:6, 24a)

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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.

Devotional

Psalm 71 — Part 4 of 5: I Will Declare You, Lord!

I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Psalm 71:16-18 NKJV

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” [1]

I think that belief in the Lord God is also “never more than one generation away from extinction.”

The Lord often told His followers to tell what He had done and to teach others so that they would know that He is the LORD. He specifically addressed that charge to parents in Exodus 10:1, 2; Deuteronomy 4:9, 10; 6:6, 7; 11:19, and other passages.

Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” Deuteronomy 4:10 NIV

Is it a guarantee that our children will follow the Lord? Sadly, I think not.

If it was a guarantee, than the descendants of Jacob (Israel) would have all gone into the Promised Land instead of wandering in the desert for forty years. Their repeated rebellion against God brought punishment in the captivities into Babylon and Assyria. Finally, in their misery, the people would turn to the Lord, and He would deliver them and free them from captivity.

We all know of prodigals who faithfully attended Sunday School and heard God’s Word at home, but didn’t keep on God’s path. I pray that yours (if that applies) and mine will come home to God again. Each of us has a free will to choose Jesus.

We are charged to tell everyone, including our children and grandchildren, about the LORD. How can any come to know Jesus Christ unless they are told? How can they turn again to God unless they learn of Him in the first place?

Sometimes it seems easier to share Christ on a mission field than at home or with friends. On a short term mission trip, I knew that was why I was in the country. Witnessing at home and in my circle of friends can be scary. I let my fear of not knowing what to say stop me from doing what is of the greatest importance — sharing Jesus.

Something my missionary leader told me helps me talk about God. He said, “Share what you know. Share what God has done in your life.”

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Let’s share what God has done in our own lives with our families and friends. Your details are different than mine. What is the same is that the Lord works in our lives in wonderful ways, and that He loves us, our children, and others.

Choose someone to tell about Jesus this week. Pray about who it is, and make that commitment. Let’s not let belief in the Lord God become extinct in our generation.

Lord, please give me boldness. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. (Psalm 71:16 NIV) Amen.

[1] Ronald Reagan quote. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/13915-freedom-is-never-more-than-one-generation-away-from-extinction

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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.

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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