Thursday, November 25, 2010

God is our Salvation

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
 7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
 8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. 

God is our Salvation

What a great Psalm. David was discouraged by the lack of faith of others, but, upon pondering the God he served, was able to go forward trusting that his salvation belonged to the Lord. 

Look at the bold statements he made.

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. . .  8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.

I do not know how long David wrestled with his faith until he came to the glorious conclusion in verse 6. Judging from my own experience, sometimes this can take very little time, and yet sometimes, it can take days, weeks, even months (dare I say - even years) before we come to our senses and realize that God is our Salvation. 

All of our vain attempts to strengthen our own faith are fruitless; only by falling before our Lord and claiming his salvation can we understand our need for Christ. Is this really true of Christians as well? Yes! Christians may not be able to lose their salvation, but they can certainly lose the sense of the comfortable presence of God in their hearts and lives.

Let us remember that our battles belong to the Lord. What a valuable knowledge to gain in your teen years. As we continue through life and see His faithful hand at work, we realize more and more, that it is God, alone, who saves us and who keeps us. Remember, our enemies are also God's enemies.

God is our salvation, our rock, and our fortress! There is no need for another!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

God Bless You,

Linda

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Glory!

 3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
 4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
 5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

My Glory!

As David pondered his situation, look at his glorious conclusion. "But thou, O LORD art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." Notice, he did not use self help, or self actualization therapy; he knew his true estate. What did he say about the Lord: the Lord is my glory!

We may believe in the power of positive thinking, but without the Lord, where would we be? It just makes one want to shout for joy! David cried to the Lord with his voice, and what happened? "He heard me out of his holy hill." We serve the very same God.

We put our trust in many things: other people, money, popularity, etc., but all of those things may fail. Even so, God will never fail His children. Even from his teen years, David was so assured of this, that he laid down and slept.

The older I become, the more difficult it is to sleep if something is on my mind. Perhaps you have that problem even in your teens. It may not even be a negative thing--it may just be anxiety over events in my life or the lives of my loved ones. David was troubled, yet, when He pondered the Lord he was able to sleep.

What did he find upon awakening? 

I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

Let us go to the LORD today, and live in His power and grace. We must each say, it is not my glory, but rather, it is the glory of the Lord that sustains me.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Help!

1Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
 2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 

No Help!

In the Psalms we see David and other writers right down in the trenches where life is not always so pretty. As Christians, we can certainly identify with the Psalmists. The very nature of our weakness as humans is demonstrated in our wavering faith: some days the Lords seems so close, and yet other days He seems so far away.

Of course, this is aggravated by unbelievers (sometimes even other believers) who say, "There is no help for him in God."

Even David, a man after God's own heart, wrestled with his faith. That is a good thing for us, and is one of the reasons God has included the Psalms in His Word. If all of the Old Testament patriarchs and heroes never faced such things, where would that put us? If we saw the Old Testament Christians as perfect creatures, we would know that we could never be one of them.

Therein lies our help. As David found help in the Lord, no matter what the obstacles, so do we find help in the Lord all of our days, not only just in our teens. That may mean that we have to go against the views of the crowd, or our families, friends, and neighbors, but we are not left with no help. This is not easy to do in the teen years, but oh what a blessing to discover that God is always there!

Let us think about that today when impossible circumstances or discouragement seems to overwhelm us. God is our help; no other help is needed!

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, November 18, 2010

 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Psalm 2:12

Kiss the Son


Psalm 2, verse 12 gives us both a warning and a blessing. We are warned to kiss the Son and we are reminded of the blessings we receive by putting our trust in the Lord.

Why does the Psalmist say, Kiss the Son? It seems a rather strange way to tell us to love and serve Christ, does it not? Think of the state of Israel when this Psalm was written. The heathen nations surrounding Israel worshiped idols, often falling down before the idol, kissing its feet.

Yet, what could that idol do? Not a thing! The heathen put their trust in their man-made idols.

As Christian teens, we do not do the same thing today, do we? Of course we do--anything we put before the Lord Jesus Christ is an idol. What idols do teens kiss in our day? Friends, money, and popularity, are just a few. Is it wrong to have friends, be wealthy or popular? Of course not! The problem comes when we we place these things before our relationship with the Lord.

Let us, by the grace of God, fall before our God, and kiss the Son. May our hearts, our lives, and our very souls be focused on our service for Him. He has given so much, and we are asked to give so little in return.

Make these commitments now, while in your youth, and they will stay with you for your entire life. Truly, the blessings of God will satisfy us more than all of the other things we crave!

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ask

8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

 9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

 10. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

 11. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Psalm 2:8-11, King James Version


Ask!

Most of us are familiar with the story of Israel conquering the holy land, and therefore Psalm 2, verse 8, seems to bring to mind visions of a great battle between believers and unbelievers with the assured victory going to the believers. I think, though, we miss the point of verse 8.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.

How can the heathen be our inheritance if they remain heathens? Do you think, perhaps, God is telling us to ask for the conversion of the heathen, and He will answer our prayers?

Though we have the entire Word of God before us, we tend to live each day as though God really will not answer our prayers, especially in regard to the lost we encounter every day. Maybe God does not answer our prayers because we do not ask!

What further admonition does the Psalmist give?

Be wise . . . serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

Is wisdom possible for teens? Do you have to be older to be wise in the things of the Lord?
Wisdom is timeless! It is not a matter of age, intelligence, or even Bible knowledge. Rather, it is a matter of the heart. May we, as Christian teens, serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

May God increase our faith and give us a vision for the lost who are all around us. Let us pray, and then see how God answers our prayers!

Ask!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 15, 2010

My King

 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 

My King
 
The heathen rage and foolishly set themselves against the Lord, bringing His wrath and displeasure upon themselves. Can you imagine a worse situation? We may have many enemies, but the one enemy we cannot afford to have is God!

As Christian teens, where are we? Who is our king? Are we so busy trying to keep up with the world that we not only do not care about the lost, but we really do not even care about our own relationship with the Lord? God offers everything to us, and provides it through His only Son, the Lord Jesus. Do we dare flaunt it in God's face?

There is no mistaking the real message of Psalm 2. This is a Messianic Psalm: a Psalm which points directly to Christ.

Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Let us not take this message lightly. May we all say with the Psalmist, "You are my King!" Then, by God's grace, let us ponder what that really means, and focus on our true reason for being here. This is critical during our teen years; the things teens do for the rest of their lives are based on the decisions they make today. Better to have no friends at all than to have God as an enemy!

When we look around and see the lost, let us remember that, there, but for the grace of God, go I! Let us be busy about the Lord's business in whatever capacity He gives to us.

I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rage

 1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

 3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

Psalm 2:1-4, King James Version


Rage


Rage! That is a rather strong word to use, and yet that is exactly the word used in verse 1 of Psalm 2. The question is asked, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

It is not popular to use such terminology in our day even when talking about the enemies of God. After all, people are not really all that bad, are they?

We, as Christian teens, need to remember that this world is a battleground between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. As a matter of fact, it is easy to see the derision that many have toward believers. Why is that true?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

This is not just a happy little disagreement; the enemies of God hate Him so much that they rage against Him. And, they rage against God's people as well.

How should we respond? How does God respond? God laughs! Though we may live in a battleground, the battle is already won; Christ is the victor! God laughs at the foolishness of men who think they are worthy opponents of Almighty God!

Understand then, the true nature of those who hate God, and therefore hate us as well. It is not a simple disagreement; they are in a rage.

Everything we think, say, and do is our reaction to this battle; let us go forth boldly knowing that the battle has already been won, and we are on the winning side.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Way of the Ungodly

4. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1:4-6, King James Version


The Way of the Ungodly

As I was reading through these last three verses from Psalm 1, I noticed that verse 6 does not say that the ungodly shall perish, but rather that the way of the ungodly shall perish. We already know that the ungodly shall not stand in judgement, but what is the significance of the way of the ungodly perishing?

As a teen, how would you define, the way of the ungodly? It does not take too much of an imagination to begin to list the differences between believers and non-believers. However if you observe the patterns or lifestyle of people, it is not always easy to see the difference between Christians and non-Christians.

Yet, we, as Christians are called to be different, are we not? Unfortunately most people believe that attending church is all it takes to be a Christian or at least an inner belief in God is sufficient. The Bible does not agree. God calls His children to come out from the ungodly and be separate.

That does not mean that Christians should establish their own little communities and never mingle with the world. It does mean, however, that as Christians live in the world, they are not to run after the attitudes and ideals of this world. Why? Because, the way of the ungodly shall perish!

As a Christian teen, I encourage you to take your outward lives more seriously! Who are you really trying to please? Who are you really trying to model? May you, by the grace of God, seek to turn away from the natural tendency to run after wordliness and seek, instead, to follow Christ, our first love!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delightful Tree

1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth for his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3, King James Version


Delightful Tree


For our devotion today in our series entitled, First Love, we will continue in Psalm 1. You will note that I have returned to my beloved King James Version of the Bible. All of my Bible memory work has been done using the King James Version, and thought I would return to it for this series from the book of Psalms.

Since getting a wonderful little dog, (my therapy dog), I have been taking daily walks. How can one not be impressed by the lofty trees God has created for this beautiful world He has made for our enjoyment. It is fall, and our ground has been transformed into lovely green, brown, yellow, and red carpeting.

We are reminded in Psalm 1, that as a Christian, we are to be like a tree, a delightful tree, which God has planted by the waters. Like that tree, our leaf of righteousness will not wither, and by the grace of God, whatever we do shall prosper.

What does that mean? There are many days that do not seem very prosperous to me! Are we here for our own prosperity? No, we are here as servants of the Lord. Wherever God leads us, we prosper spiritually. Whether we are experiencing the new growth of spring, the exhilaration of summer, the fading colors of fall, or the dormancy of winter, our righteousness through Christ shines as a living testimony of His faithfulness to us.

[I know, it is not necessarily easy to think like a tree - but take some time to meditate on what God is saying in this Psalm. As a Christian teen, does your life show evidence of the solidarity of a tree? If not, what can you do to change that? Where can you go to change that? The answer to both questions is to go to Christ. Study the Word and ask the Lord to make the Bible real to your heart, that in your heart of hearts you may purposefully seek to love and serve Him alone. May He always be your first love!]

Go, be a delightful tree for the Lord!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Love

It is not always easy for me to get two devotionals written every day, so I have decided to use the same devotional for each blog, with this exception. I will make changes or add comments that I think are especially relevant to teens today. The comments I add will be enclosed in brackets [ ].

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

First Love



I love reading mystery and even science fiction books, especially those written by Christian authors. Recently I finished a book entitled, The Restorer, by Sharon Hinckly.

[This was really a great book that I think would be well worth your while, as a teen to read. In many ways it illustrates the importance of the Word of God in all aspects of life. Besides that, this book is really good! I hope you will read it!]

Somehow the author was able to meld our time with that of the time of the Israelites - say in Joshua's day. The power of the Word of God in everyday life was emphasized throughout the book.

After reading the book, I thought about my own life. How much do I meditate on and repeat the Word of God throughout each day? Do I even take time to read the Word and pray once a day, much less weave it throughout my entire waking hours.

[Make your daily time with God a part of your daily life, and it will stay with you for the rest of your life. As a Christian, this is not optional!]

Then, I thought of of the church at Ephesus mentioned in Revelation 2:4-5a. What did God have against this church?

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first.(New English Standard Version)

Then I thought of the world in our day. What nation bows before God at the onset of a battle and cries out to Him for victory? Even more personally, how much do we, as Christians, approach every battle of life empowered by the Word of God and with a prayer on our lips.

What is wrong with Christians in our world? Most have lost their first love! With that in mind, I am beginning a new series which I expect will last for more than a year. I am entitling it, First Love.

I have a series of Psalms devotions on my website, (http://devotional-reflections-from-the-bible.com) in which I have written one devotion for each Psalm. In this series, I plan to go through the Psalms a few verses at a time, that we may glean from the impact that God had in the life of David, as well as other Psalms writers.

Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

May that describe you and me!

God Bless You,
Linda

[Make God bless you, and make your teen years a vibrant testimony for His glory. By the grace of God, may He be your First Love all of your life!]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Self Denial

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."
(Matthew 16:24-27, New King James Version)

Self Denial

As we continue our devotions on "self" we are going to look at the topic of self denial. What is self denial, and what does it mean to us today?

As Jesus ministered to the people, thousands followed after Him. Why? What did these people want? Jesus was often saddened when He perceived the hearts of the people, as He understood that they wanted His healing touch, but not His salvation message. Are we guilty of the same thing?

What do we see in Christ? Who is He to us? We are truly a selfish people; all through life we strive to take care of number one. Of course, that is not totally wrong, but the error lies in being so consumed with ourselves, that we do not see our need of Christ, or care about those around us.

Was Christ selfish? Did He come for His own purposes? Of course not; He came for the sole purpose of saving you and me. Was His life easy? Was He easily distracted by the world around Him? No! Christ was born, lived, and died with one purpose in mind: to save a people for Himself.

As Christians, what does God expect from us? The most basic understanding we must come to is that God brought us here for a purpose. The day we became His child, self died! Our purpose changed from one of living for ourselves to one of falling before Christ and seeking His purpose for our lives. We changed from not caring about those around us, to loving the lost and desiring to present Christ to them.

Does that describe you?

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

By God's grace, let us fall before our Lord this day and ask Him to help us in our own self denial; ask Him to give us a greater love for Him and for others than for ourselves.

It is not an easy task, but truly, the end justifies the means.

26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buy Gold!

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(Revelation 3:14-21, New King James Version)

Buy Gold!

As we end these devotions on self deception, I think this is a very fitting Bible passage. In the book of Revelation, God is commenting on the state of the New Testament churches, in this case, the church at Laodicea. This is particularly suitable to us, as I think it describes the state of so many professing Christians in our day.

What was the problem in Laodicea? They were not doing anything that was really bad, were they? No, they were not. The problem was that they were not doing anything very good either! God called them lukewarm -- neither hot or cold. The people were quite content in their lives; they did not need anything.

The real problem was that they did not need the Lord. Does that describe us today? As a Christian teen, how important is the Lord in our life? How much do we need Him? In reality, the people in Laodicea did need the Lord, but they were self deceived; they did not realize their great need. Consequently they did not possess Christ as their Savior.

What a trick of Satan! He does not have to convince us their is no God; instead, he just convinces us that we really do not need God.

What did God say was the solution to this problem? Buy gold!

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

What is this gold, and what are these white garments? As Christians, God clothes us in white garments, purchased for us by the blood of Christ. Though we sin, yet Christ's blood covers that sin in white, holy garments. The gold is the Christian virtues we receive through the trials of fire which God allows to come into our lives. Why are these trials necessary? They are necessary so that we do not become complacent or lukewarm before Christ.

By the grace of God, let us praise our Lord and Savior every single day for the new life He has granted to us. Though this life may be filled with trials, yet Christ covers us with white garments and allows us to buy gold!

What an amazing God we have.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Sin!


5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
(1 John 1:5-10, New King James Version)

No Sin!

I do not know about you, but when I was a teen, I could not stand to be corrected, especially in front of others. I truly did not understand my heart of hearts. The Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

God knows us well, does He not? Now, years later, I have been "beaten down" (not literally) for my foolish pride, until I came to understand that before Christ, I deserve nothing. The only good in my life is because of Christ and not because of me.

That is exactly what we understand from John 1. We are people of darkness, but in God there is no darkness at all. How then, can we walk with God or have fellowship with Him if we continue in our darkness? We cannot, except for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though He walked among a people of darkness, He was filled with light. Even as a man, Christ knew no sin. However, as a fellow human who understood our plight, He made a way to God through His own death as a payment for our sin.

Does that mean we, too, are a people with no sin? Absolutely not, but it does mean that when God looks upon us, He does not see our sins, because they are covered by the perfect blood of Christ. Does that mean we can continue to sin, because we are covered?

No! Becoming a Christian is a heart matter; our life changes from our heart outward. In our love and zeal for Christ we want to serve Him, and desire to be obedient to his will. To scoff at our own sin only points to our own self deception.

In this world we will always be grieved with the sin in our own lives, but someday, when we stand face to face with our Lord Jesus, He will grant us a new life--a life with no sin!

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,
Linda