The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern His errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep Your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas His hands the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Maltbie D. Babcock (1901)
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get thee behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
The shadow of the cross was there always.
Jesus knew what lay ahead of him but when he tried to prepare his disciples they didn’t want to hear it. This was a hard teaching. One that did not fit the narrative of a conquering Messiah. And so they resisted. Peter even went so far as to “rebuke” Jesus for saying such things. The definition of the word rebuke is “to criticize sharply; to reprimand. How could Peter dared to address Jesus in that way? Just prior to this confrontation Jesus had asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” Yet when hearing a difficult truth Peter balked. He could not accept that Jesus must suffer a horrible death.
Jesus doesn’t allow Peter to speak in that manner. He reprimands the disciple harshly. Peter is not thinking of God and His purpose but instead is thinking only of himself and his wants and needs.
Jesus reminds him and the others that there is a cost to discipleship. Not only will Jesus carry a cross but each one who decides to follow Jesus must be willing to take up their cross, to surrender self, and serve him whatever the cost.
What does this mean to you?
If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.
So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.
My Utmost For His Highest
What does this mean to you?
The world we live in is fractured by sin. People have wandered far from God. There is anger and resentment on all sides. We have an opportunity to share God’s love with them. Not to preach to them but to love them. We may not agree on anything but we can respond with dignity and respect even when disagreeing. Shouting angry words doesn’t change anyone’s perspective.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Let us live out our faith.
Let others see Jesus in you.
Father God, we have an amazing opportunity in these times of trouble and turmoil.
When so many are filled with anger and resentment,
where hurtful words are spoken, written, or spewed across the internet.
Help us to respond with love and compassion.
Let us answer angry words with truth spoken in love.
Let us reach out to hurting people with compassion.
Let us stand firm on Your Word and offer them Christ.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven:
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” He said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Repent and believe the GOOD NEWS!
This is the good news:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
That whosoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
Therefore Jesus said again,
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
This is the good news.
Our relationship with God our Creator was broken by sin.
Jesus Christ is the bridge by which we can have that relationship restored.
What does this mean to you?
Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost For His Highest:
Sin is a thing I am born with and I cannot touch it; God touches sin in Redemption.
In the Cross of Jesus ChristGod redeemed the whole human race
from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin.
God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin.
The condemnation is not that I am born with a heredity of sin,
but if when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it,
I refuse to let Him do so,from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation.
“And this is the judgment.” (the critical moment),
“that the light is come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the light.”
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight:
that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.
For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering:
then shalt they offer bullocks upon Thy altar.
David, the shepherd boy that God made king over Israel, was not without sin. In chapter 11 of II Samuel we hear how David sinned against God and how he tried to cover up his sin. This psalm is David’s confession and repentance. God promises that when we confess our sin and repent, He is faithful to forgive us our sin.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent in the Christian calendar. These weeks leading up to Easter Sunday are a time of reflection and meditation. We think of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. We listen to the lessons He taught. We remember the miracles He performed. We ponder His arrest, His trial, His death on the cross, and His empty tomb. What does it mean to me? That is the question we need to answer.
Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians:
We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
What does it mean to you?
Are you reconciled to God?
Do you understand just what it was God did for you when Jesus went to the cross?
He made Jesus, who was without sin, take on all the sins of the world, my sin, your sin, all sin, and by His death, made atonement for us all. “It is finished.” That is what He said as He was dying on that cross. The debt has been paid. All you need to do is accept God’s gift of salvation.
Jesus warned of what happens when we live for the world and ignore God.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
What does it mean to you?
Where is your treasure?
Where is your heart?
The prophet Joel warned the people of the coming “Day of the LORD.”
The people had turned from God and there was coming a day of judgement.
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Those who repented and turned back to God would find forgiveness and restoration.
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.
What does it mean to you?
Are you prepared for the Master’s return?
Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost For His Highest:
The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses— repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.
What does it mean to you?
Will you join with me in this season of Lent, to read God’s Word, to meditate on His Word, to pray for God to make His will known, and to examine where you are on your faith journey?
Will you join me in this prayer?
Lord, as we begin this season of Lent, I pray for the “gift of tears.”
Show me my sin.
Reveal to me the places in my life where I have put other things above You.
I want more of You.
I pray that there will be a revival throughout this land – a turning back to You.
And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them. “Let us pass over to the other side.” And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was asleep in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was great calm. And He said unto them, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?”
Is this how you feel today?
Does it feel as though you are in the boat and the storm is raging all around you? Is your boat taking on water?
Are you fearful or are you trusting?
Do you begin each day thanking God for another day to serve Him?
Or is your morning prayer something like this –
“Lord, Wake Up! Do Something! Fix this mess we are in.
Are you focused only on how your life has been impacted or are you looking for ways to show others that God is here in the midst of all our troubles?
Remember, if you’ve read the BOOK then you know the outcome of this battle. God wins!
YES there is a virus.
YES people are getting sick.
YES there have been deaths.
But there are also those who haven’t caught the virus. There are those who have it but have no symptoms. There are those who were sick but have now recovered.
And YES there is division in our nation.
We can’t seem to agree on anything.
But this isn’t new. If you read history it has always been so. They just didn’t have the instant communication available today. It took longer for news to travel and to organize opposition. But there was division.
Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and many others – all great men who loved this country but in the struggle to form this “more perfect union” there was great discord. There were some who believed that a strong federal government was needed while others feared too much power at the federal level and wanted the states to have more control.
We are still arguing the same things today. The good news is that we have the freedom to have differing opinions and we can back up our opinions with our vote.
As for the political process, it has also not been easy.
When we lived in Missouri we visited the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois during our last election. I remember walking through an exhibit showing Lincoln’s presidential campaign. They had you walk through this hallway where there were election posters – all derogatory – protesting his candidacy. And as you walked there were voices – angry voices – shouting vile names and comments vilifying his character. We think of Abraham Lincoln has a great leader but it was not always so with his countrymen.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
So do not despair.
Yes, things are difficult right now.
But we’ve had difficult days before and we are still here.
Yes, the waves are high and crashing over us at times.
God never promised that it would be easy only that it would be worth it.
I am not worried that this ship will sink – at least not until God decides that it should sink. I believe that God has a plan. I don’t have to know the details of His plan. I choose to trust in His plan.
I don’t understand why we have this virus.
I don’t understand how people that I admire and respect can have such differing opinions from my own. But they do.
But the one things that I do understand is the nothing touches me that doesn’t go through God first.
So He either sent it or He allowed it for His purpose.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are called according to His purpose.
Do you believe that?
ALL THINGS – Even this virus – Even having our schedules disrupted – Even having our church programs dramatically altered or even cancelled – Even this election process ?
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are called according to His purpose.
Paul goes on to say in this same chapter: For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Did you get that?
NOTHING not a virus not a political system not social unrest
NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE GOD WHO LOVES US
God says, TRUST ME.
Have you trusted in God’s plan of salvation?
Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Do you believe that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sin?
Do you believe that Jesus blood can cover your sin?
Do you believe that because Jesus died for you that you can spend eternity in heaven with Him?
If you can trust God to save you from hell can’t you trust Him with everything else?
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, Peter was the one who resisted. He actually told the Lord, “Thous shalt never wash my feet.” In today’s terms what Peter said was, “You ain’t washing my feet!”
When Jesus told him that it was a requirement, well then Peter wanted a bath! Oh Peter! But Jesus was patient with Peter just as He is patient with each one of us. Jesus told him that although he couldn’t understand what Jesus was doing right now, one day he would understand.
I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t understand what God is doing. But one day I will see it all worked out.
So, we are back to the question we began with.
Are you fearful or are you trusting?
You don’t have to understand.
You just have to trust.
Trust that HE know what He is doing.
Can yo pray with me: Lord, we trust You even when we don’t understand. Lord, we worship You because You are worthy of our praise. Lord, we love You because You first loved us. Lord, we will serve You because we love You.
But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.
Where is my trust this day?
It must remain in You, O God, or I am lost.
I know what You have done in my life.
I know what You can do for any who seek after You.
I pray for all those who do not know You, who are facing each and everyday in their own strength. What a tragedy! I pray that You would surround them with those who do know You. I pray that they would be inundated with messages of Your love so that they cannot ignore the fact that You love them, that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ to die on a cross for their sin, that they might have eternal life with You. I pray that they would choose life, a life lived for Christ.
I pray for all those who serve You. I pray that they will keep their eyes on You and not give in to the pressures of this day. I pray that they will remain steadfast in their faith and trust that no matter what happens You have them safe in Your hands.
I thank You Lord, for this new day, for another day to serve You.
This Fourth of July weekend has been like no other.
I hear a lot of complaints from those wanting more restrictions to those wanting less restrictions. But let’s stop the bickering and think of all those who have lived through much worse and survived.
There are those who came to this country fleeing oppression, seeking a chance for a better life. They came from every nation in the world, some leaving everything dear to them behind in their quest for a better life.
There are those who served in the military who came home, some with visible wounds and others with wounded spirits.
There are those who stayed at home sacrificing for the ones in battle by using ration cards, growing victory gardens, buying war bonds, and doing without.
They worked together to get through the tough times. That is different in this time of crisis. We are not working together. This must change if we are to come through this with our nation intact.
I give you Psalm 37. The Triumph of the Man of Faith
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.
The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
Three times we are told FRET NOT. Do you believe that God is who He says that He is? Do you believe that God can do what He says that He can do? Our fretting has no place if we are followers of Jesus Christ.
Instead of fretting we are told to trust in the Lord, to delight in the Lord, to commit our way unto the Lord, to rest in the Lord, and to wait patiently for the Lord. In other words stay close to God. Read His Word. Be diligent in prayer. Talk to God and listen for what He has to say to you.
However, we are not to sit idle while waiting for God to move. We are to “do good” – be active in your faith. God will give you opportunities every day to be a blessing to someone else.
We are to “cease from anger – that doesn’t mean accepting bad behavior. Pray for those who have hurt you. Ask God to give you the wisdom to see why they act the way they do.
We are to “forsake wrath” – give up your right to retaliate. Let the hurting stop with you.
These are wise words needed for the times we live in. We cannot change our circumstances by worry, or by anger, or by wrath.
Again I ask you:
Do you believe God is who He says that He is?
Do you believe God can do what He says that He can do?
We must live each day as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Do you know what this day signifies? It is the fortieth day of the Easter season, Ascension Day in the christian church. Today we remember that Jesus died on the cross but that He did not remain in the grave. The third day he rose and on this day He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. We read of the account in the Gospel of Luke, chapter twenty-four, verses forty-four through fifty-three.
And He said unto them,
These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.
Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them , Thus it is written, and thus it behoved 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 among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.
Oswald Chambers writes in his devotional My Utmost For His Highest:
His cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His Resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to any man, and by His Ascension Our Lord enters heaven and keeps the door open for humanity.
On the Mount of Ascension the Transfiguration is completed. If Jesus had gone to heaven from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone; He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the Mount to identify Himself with fallen humanity.
The Ascension if the consummation of the Transfiguration.Our Lord does now go back into His primal glory; but He does not go back simply as Son of God; He goes back to God as Son of Man as well as Son of God. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God by the Ascension of the Son of Man.
Jesus opened the door for all who desire a relationship with God. He provided the bridge that spanned the gulf created by sin. This day is important to the community of faith. There are no Hallmark Cards to mark the day, no public celebrations, no gifts to buy or special meal to prepare, only your heart, mind, and soul focused on what God has done to bring us back to Himself.
Are you feeling under pressure these days? As this crisis goes on the pressure mounts because we are disconnected from the familiar. Some are unable to work because their work is deemed “nonessential” while others are stretched to the breaking point because they have no relief. We think of those who are working in the medical field but this pandemic has made working in a grocery store hazardous. This is true for others as well.
Uncertainty raises our stress level. We are living in uncertain times. When will everyone return to work? When will the schools reopen? When will we be able to take a trip, visit family, go out without a mask, shake a hand, give a hug? When will we be able to gather together to worship as we choose?
We are blessed with the technology that allows us to visit over the computer, purchase items for delivery, even have contact with our doctor. These things are all helpful. However, over an extended period of time they are not a substitute for personal contact. We need human touch. We need to see the smiles that a mask hides. So we find ourselves under pressure.
The devotional reading from Streams In The Desert for yesterday was very timely. Reminding me that it takes pressure for us to grow as Christians.
Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intently it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure byfoes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.
Grapes can’t become wine unless they are squeezed. Dough is kneaded and baked to become bread. As followers of Christ we are called to be “broken bread and poured out wine.” We will face pressure but Jesus gives us His word in John 16: 33.
LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return ye children of men.
For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
Thoucarriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut sown, and withereth.
For we are consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath are we troubled.
Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance.
For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knoweth the power of Thineanger? even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants.
O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.
My Bible titles this psalm “God Man’s Refuge In All Ages.” We all need to be reminded of this in these troubled times. God is our refuge and God is our strength. He is with us in this situation. Let us not take our eyes off Him.
Today I finish my sixty-ninth year on this earth and begin the journey through the seventieth year. I have been thinking of the words in the tenth verse: The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.
So as I approach this birthday I thought of all God has blessed me with. I thought of what I have done with those blessings. I thought also of wasted opportunities; things I should have done and did not; things I should not have done and did anyway. I thought of words I neglected to say and words I should have let remain unspoken. I thought of time wasted on things that really did not matter while I neglected the tasks God had for me to do.
I am so glad that God is patient with me – always!
I will spend every day He leaves me here on this earth serving Him. At this moment I have no idea what that will look like since God has uprooted me once again. But that is a story for another post.
I am thankful this day for sixty-nine years, for blessings beyond measure, and for His mercy and His grace. Thank You, God.
LORD, I may not understand but I trust YOU. I trust in YOUR plan.
I will keep my eyes on YOU and trust You to work out the details.