Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Ps. 103: 1-2).
The neglect for God’s grace and mercy is enough to justify sudden destruction; yet, by His great grace we live on. We strive on as if it is by our own strength and ingenuity that we have life.
God has allowed us to peak into a small piece of his design as another means of providing for us. This we have taken and called it science, physics, astronomy, etc. and many who practice these arts do not believe in their Creator; even with the evidence at their finger tips.
The futility of our thinking is evidence against us, that we could not have evolved. Man’s denial of the Omniscient God is just another way of trying to control the world. It is simply another form of rebellion against the One who gives us life.
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”. (Ps. 103: 3-5)
The angel told Daniel that “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4) and knowledge has indeed increased. God has given us the tools to sustain life and to search out His mysteries but we have taken Him out of the equation; leaning on our own understanding and taking credit for what He has revealed to us. In doing so, we have wrought our own destruction. We continue to talk of peace while our hands create devices for destruction. We slowly remove God from public squares and lease them out to the devil.
Still, we who keep His covenant are not surprised nor are we afraid for what is happening. We bow before Him in prayer and supplication for our brothers and sisters; both saved and dying. We recognize these things as part of the birth pangs Christ warns us of; we know how this will all come to an end. we know that “The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all”.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name; On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand (Edward Mote, 1797-1874).
This is the song that suddenly began playing in my head after rising from my morning prayer today. This is the only verse I know completely but it alone is sufficient to start the day off the right way. Who better to turn to in such difficult and uncertain times than Christ!
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
These words created a flurry of accusation that Jesus was bearing false witness of Himself but they now serve to bear us up in difficult and uncertain times; both of which are now all too common. So common that my prayers are inundated with intercessions for my brothers and sisters who are sick both physically and emotionally; for those who have lost loved ones, and for so many around the world who face death everyday because of the wars, terrorism, and unrest that have plagued the world.
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
This song reminds me that even as the world around us seems so distressing, God “is” in control and He is faithful to deliver us. Christ’s words remain in the present tense always, reassuring us and of His gracious provisions. It is often very difficult to remain optimistic when all seems so wrong. Christ urges us in Revelations to endure, knowing that these things would happen. We only see the part of the picture that we are in “but God” sees all. If you are prone to looking at the glass half empty, try to change that by recognizing the blessings He has poured over you and give thanks.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
What we must do is stand fast on our faith. Be encouraged that rain clouds will appear in the middle of a drought and that greener fields are just beyond the dry horizon. That nothing is too difficult for God Who is mindful of us and considers us more valuable than the birds of the air and lilies of the field, which He cares and provides for. Rest in His assurances and hold fast to His promises. God does not make idle speech nor does His word return to Him empty. Stand fast on your faith and pray always. God still works supernaturally in us; His Spirit still guides us.
There is no such thing as getting up on the wrong side of the bed. If it was true, it would be an easy fix.;just get back in bed and roll out on the other side. Yes, we do often start the day in a provoked mood but we can change that by engaging in prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to take over. Just stand on Christ, our solid Rock,
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. (Ps 75:1, NKJV)
I read this out loud as I knelt in reverent prayer yesterday morning. Immediately after which I closed my eyes to pause and allow His Spirit to guide me in my prayer. Images of what is going on in Israel and Gaza suddenly filled my mind. I began to think of the children on the US, Mexico border, the many people who have been victims of terrorism and religious wars and my heart began to melt away. I was so overwhelmed that I began to pray for Christ to come and put an end to the cruelty of this world. I prayed for the children, the parents, the victims, and the perpetrators. I prayed for the leaders who so often make things worst, and for those who have the ability to make a difference. But my prayer was still filled with anguish as the images of pain and suffering filled my mind.
Then I opened my eyes and read the next verse. “When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly. The earth and all its inhabitants are dissolved; I will set up its pillars firmly”.
It was as if the audible voice of God said those words to me and I was floored. I melted away in prayer acknowledging his grace and love which, above all things, is the reason He allows these things to happen. Some may argue that this is not love but only because they do not see with spiritual eyes; they remain behind the veil.
I often get so entangled in the things that affect me that I do not acknowledge that in all things, good and bad, God has a greater plan. You many also be able to experience this in your life but we must endeavor to always remember that God is in control. Even when this world seems so chaotic, He has already determined the end of all things and he still directs our paths. Our broken prayers are made straight when we give in to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide our thoughts. Our narrow view can be made broader and made clearer when we allow Him to take away the blinders and the veil that covers our spiritual eyes. Yes, the world is in an uproar as violence seems to prevail in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Africa, Ukraine, South America, and even here in the U.S. Violent protests seem to be the norm; so much so that we shrug at news of them. I ask you to keep watch and pray with me but let us not allow what is happening to break our spirits, for the Lord has said:
“I said to the boastful, do not deal boastfully, and to the wicked, do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck. For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is judge: He puts down one and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup and the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth Drain and drink down”. (Ps 75:4-8, NKJV)
Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8: 15 NKJV)
Leaven, the ingredient used to puff up bread, is akin to pride which is the ingredient that puffs us up. I have not always heeded to this warning that now extends well beyond the religious leaders of Jesus’ time on earth. We are in a time when pride is the main ingredient to having a rewarding and successful life; at least that’s what society teaches us.
“Be proud of where you are from, be proud of who you are, be proud of what you have, be proud of who you know, be proud of what you have accomplished be proud of …..”
We life by the phrase “I can do all things” and often forget the part where it is “Through Christ who strengthens me”.
Pride is so ingrained in us from an early age that it seems to become a natural part of life. It is an often unnoticed cancer that slowly eats away at us and is sometimes never diagnosed or treated.
Just as leaven (yeast) causes bread to rise, too much of it will cause it to explode. So too is the result of pride in us, no matter how small. Pride, the original sin, was powerful enough to cause an archangel to revolt against God and be cast out of heaven. How much more damage can it do in our lives.
Believe me when I say this is not a lecture; I am merely reflecting on the damage it has done in my life and the continued attempts of the enemy to keep it going. I was puffed up by pride and it brought me low, very low. But I thank God that he has revealed these things to me because pride is an enemy to meekness and meekness is what I desire.
The Apostle John warns us that “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16). Many of us find justification around the Word of God and slip into the very sins they warn against. Lust and pride are, to me, accomplices in this Bonnie and Clyde world. Pride causes us to lust after things because we feel we deserve them. This is a warning sign; anytime we begin feeling that we deserve something we should stop and pray.
This brings me to my next point; prayer is the key to everything. The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”. This reassurance was again given to me in a dream this week which was then reaffirmed through a brother the very next day, without me revealing my dream. It is not that I didn’t know, but I was battling with pride which could easily lead to malice and even as I was praying, the attacks kept coming.
So family, please be on you guard again the “leaven” of this world and keep me and each other accountable. Set aside pride and put on meekness. Seek first the kingdom of God.