Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shelter of His Wings

 3For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
 4I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. 

 Shelter of His Wings

As a Christian teen, if you were to evaluate your Christian experience, to what would you attribute your success or lack of success? Are there certain activities or attitudes which specifically correlate to the state of your walk with the Lord? In truth, our success or lack of success as a Christian does not depend upon us! If it did, we would all be dismal failures.

In saying that, however, we must not think that we are not responsible to put forth an effort to live faithfully for God. The lesson is that, when all is said and done, we will always agree that our hope always rests upon God and not upon ourselves. When our hearts are attuned to Christ, He leads us in the paths of righteousness; when our eyes are fixed upon the Lord, even in seemingly hopeless times, God proves to be faithful again and again.

The psalmists seemed to have an uncanny sense of this truth, finding God to be not only the source of their strength, but also a shelter in times of trouble. As a matter of fact, the idea of God being a shelter, specifically the thought of us hiding under the shelter or the shadow of His wings is mentioned several times in the Psalms.
 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalm 17:8, King James Version)
 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalm 36:7, King James Version)


 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalm 57:1, King James Version)


 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. (Psalm 63:7, King James Version)


 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4, King James Version)

Just as God was a shelter in the time of David, so is He still our shelter today in the 21st century. God covers us with His love, He equips us with armor to face the battles of life, and provides us shelter under His wings so that we are not overcome by the often overwhelming difficulties of life.

This is the amazing God we serve. He loves us, He keeps us, and He will bring us safely into His kingdom where we will live with Him forever! As a teen, you are already learning that there are very few guarantees in life, but the love of God for His people--for you, as His child--is a guarantee you can count on!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda



Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Rock

 1Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
 2From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

 The Rock

What comes to mind when we read the phrase, "The rock that is higher than I"? Do we think of massive mountain ranges like the Rockies or the Himalayas, or do we think of sheer rocky canyons or gorges dug out by thousands of years of rain. Maybe we envision a single gigantic boulder towering like a sentinel over an expansive grassy plain. No matter what vision comes to our mind, we rightly equate "the rock" with impenetrable strength and stability.

As David cried out to God in prayer, he reminded himself that no matter where he was--even unto the ends of the earth, God, His Rock, was always there. No matter where he was, he could always look up to God, his Rock, and find strength and help in the time of need.

Sometimes, I fear that we take God for granted; at other times, we forget that God is even there. However, even though we may forget, we know that God never forgets; there is never a time when God is not available to help His children. There is never a time when God is too weak, too tired, or too ill to come to our aid--He is always that Rock, standing tall and firm.

Even more amazing is the fact that God is not impassive like that same rock. Christ came to this earth and lived among us; He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities. This same Christ, even now, is sitting at the right hand of God, our Rock, making intercession for us! Without trying to be trite, we must ask, "What better team could we have?" God is our Strength, Christ is our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

God does not sit upon a grassy plain, unmoved by all that is going on around Him. Rather, He is right in the trenches with us; He is moved by our difficulties, touched by our pain, and ready to heal our aching hearts. Even before time began, God knew us by name! 

In response, should we not, as Christian teens, fall down before God, the Rock of life and eternity, and praise His name for the great things He has done for us? When our hearts are overwhelmed, He is there! By His grace, let us live the remaining days of our lives with our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our souls, and God, the Rock.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Through God

 9Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
 10Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?
 11Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
 12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. 

 Through God

They were being crushed by their enemies; things could not have looked worse. Where was God in all of this? God had cast them off to the point that it seemed that God Himself had refused to go out with their armies. Where could David turn? Nowhere!

What does God have to do in our lives to get us to the point that we realize that we do not have the strength to live this life on our own? Nothing that the world offers will help, for vain is the help of man. It sounds so simple, does it not? Why, then, is that such a hard lesson for us to learn?

When all seemed to be lost; when even God had forsaken him, David turned back to God.
Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
It is so very difficult for us to trust in God whom we cannot see. We are much more prone to go to the world again and again for help with our problems. Yes, there is much the world has to offer, and God has blessed man with much wisdom and knowledge. It is not wrong for us to seek the help He has provided, but spiritually, there is nowhere else to go.

When we take the time to think through our circumstances, could it be that our heart is in the wrong place? God loves His children with an absolute love; in return He only asks for our allegiance to Him. We cannot serve two masters! 

Why should we forsake the world? As Christian teens, we should forsake the world for it is only through God that we will do valiantly. Let us, by the grace of God, seek His face, alone. Let us go to Him and immerse ourselves in His love, joy, and peace. Through God, all things are possible!

God Bless You,
Linda



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God Has Spoken

 6God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
 7Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;
 8Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.

God Has Spoken

To what is David referring in Psalm 60, verses 6 through 8, and what does that have to do with us today? David is recounting God's promises to the nation, Israel, and just as David had supreme confidence in God's promises, so can we equally trust in the promises God's has made to us, His people, as well.

Though David was king of Israel, there still remained enemies who had not been conquered in the land which God had promised to the Israelites. As David surveyed the land that Israel already possessed, he gained assurance that God would continue to aid him in conquering the land yet not subdued.
Gilead is min, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver.
They were God's people! What other nation could make such a claim? This same God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, accompanied them through 40 years of wandering, and brought them safely to the promised land, would continue to bless them and come to their aid.

Though the final victory had not yet come, David could look to Moab, Edom, and Philistia and be assured that God would sustain them through the weeks, months, and years to come and give them victory over their enemies.

How could David make such bold assumptions? David could make such bold assumptions because, "God has spoken." That was enough for David. God, in His holiness, could not lie; the things He promised would come to pass.

As Christian teens, can we have this same confidence in God today? Yes! The promises of God are just as sure to us today as they were to David. However, we must remember that with the promises came some conditions. God's promises to Israel rested upon their remaining faithful to Him. Sadly, when Israel rejected Him as God, He turned His face from them.

God will faithfully uphold us all the days of our lives, because God has spoken. As we faithfully love and serve Him, we have complete assurance that this God will be our God, from now and 'til forever!

God has spoken, and it will come to pass!

God Bless You,
LInda



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turn to Us Again

 1O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.
 2Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
 3Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
 4Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
 5That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me. 

Turn to Us Again

Do you think God gets tired of hearing us ask for the same things again and again?

As in so many of the Psalms, we find David pleading with God, "Turn to us again!" And, as in so many of the Psalms, it seems as though God has turned against David.
Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
Whether God gets tired of hearing us ask for the same things again and again or not, we know, from the Psalms of David, that God was faithful to David over and over. David knew in his heart of hearts that his only hope was in the Lord. Though God might get tired of hearing the same pleas, David continued to cast himself upon the mercy of the Lord.

The same is true for us today. At times, as Christian teens, it seems as though our prayers are just carbon copies of the day before, yet it is right for us to continue to go to God. Life seems to go from mountain top to valley to mountain top to valley, etc. in one continuous cycle. We find ourselves praising God, then pleading with Him, then praising Him, and then pleading with Him again.

However, we must never give up. Like David, we are continuously faced with our own sins and the sins of others, yet God who has been faithful in times past will continue to be faithful all the days of our lives upon this earth. 

Perhaps God allows our lives to be in constant turmoil so that we will never think we have the power to live life on our own. The peace and joy that are ours in Christ are gifts from God; we do not earn that right, neither are we capable of supplying that peace and joy to ourselves or others. 

It pleases God when we cry to Him, "Turn to us again!" All of our hope, joy, peace, and righteousness are gifts from God, who will continue to abundantly supply more than we can ever imagine. So, in the difficult days, go to Christ; turn to Him again and He will supply all of your needs.

This is the amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda




Monday, October 24, 2011

But I!

 14And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.
 15Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.
 16But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
 17Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. 

But I

David was secure in his relationship with the Lord; though his enemies tormented him on all sides, his focus always came back to God.
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.
As Christian teens, we have the same choices to make in our day as David had. We are surrounded by the things of this world, but at some point we need to make a choice as to whether we will follow in the ways of the world or follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

How did David find the inner resources, day after day, to follow Christ, when he seemed to be surrounded by enemies on all sides? How do we find the inner resources to follow Christ when we seem to be surrounded by one catastrophe after another? When it seems as though we are the only one left who desires to faithfully follow the Lord, how can we bravely assert, "But I. But I will follow the Lord; but I will remain faithful to Him."

We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5, that our strength is in Christ, alone, and not in ourselves.
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
It has never been about our strength; even our salvation rests upon Christ and not on us! When we were without strength, Christ died for us, and when we are without strength, Christ gives us the power and resources to continue living faithfully for Him.

As God was David's inner resource and strength, so is God our strength today. When we come to the realization that we cannot live another moment in our own strength, we are exactly where God wants us to be! It is not our strength, but rather Christ's strength that gives us the power to face impossible odds and live faithfully for the Lord.

It is the Lord who gives us the ability to say, "But I will follow Christ." Go today, in the power of Christ and follow your First Love!

God Bless You,
Linda



Thursday, October 20, 2011

God Rules!

 11Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.
 12For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.
 13Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah. 

God Rules

As we traverse through the Psalms, sometimes it seems that many of the Psalms, such as Psalm 59, could be taken right out of today's newspapers. The enemies of God seem to multiply on the earth daily. As Christians, our prayers could easily echo those of David. It is interesting to note that in His pleas to God, he asks God not to slay the wicked, lest his own people forget. Forget what?

David does not want his own people to forget that God rules, not only in Jacob, but to the ends of the earth. Is that true in our day as well? Does God rule over the earth? Many people, world wide confess to be Christians, but not all of them would agree that God rules over the earth?

We must be careful that we do not come to the Word of God with preconceived ideas as did the Pharisees in Jesus' day. In their expectations of the coming Messiah, they were not prepared for a man such as Jesus. They were expecting a triumphant king, and thus missed the obvious when the true Messiah stood before them.

What does it mean when we say, "God rules?" What preconceived conceptions do we have of a world ruled by God? What burdens do we place on God in order to accept the idea that He does, indeed, rule this world?

Truly, we are arrogant beings! We foolishly hold God to account for a world that is steeped in sin, expecting God to suddenly remake this world into a utopia. Because we do not see that happening, we are more comfortable saying that Satan has been given temporary charge of this world. Is that really true?

David did not believe that, and neither should we! The great comfort for Christians is the knowledge that God, from before time began, already had a master plan in place that would rescue mankind from his sin, and would ultimately place those who came to Him in a new heaven and a new earth. The very kingdom which we envision will certainly exist, but not until the day God has ordained it to come to pass. What implications does that have for you as a Christian teen?

Sadly, those who reject Christ will not be part of that glorious kingdom! In his understanding of these very things, David said, 
"Slay them not," and just a few verses later, "Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth."
As we go about the duties of this day, may we be reminded by the words of David, God rules! As Christian teens, we are part of the greatest kingdom in the heavens above and the earth beneath! How amazing is that?

God Bless You,
Linda


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

God is My Defense!

 1Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
 2Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
 3For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.
 4They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.
 5Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.
 6They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.
 7Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?
 8But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
 9Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense.
 10The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. 

God is My Defense!

 There was no safe place for David. What had he done to deserve such treatment? King Saul, again seeking the life of David, sent his men to stand guard at David's house so that they might kill him when he returned to his home. David's only crime was that of being so popular with the people that the king was jealous--jealous enough to have him put to death.

As in times past when David was on the run from King Saul, he penned the words to what became part of the Psalms in our Bible. David was frustrated and angry, but never, even during such times as this, did David forget God.
But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense. The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
Is God our defense today? Can we rely upon Him in the same way David relied upon Him over 2000 years ago? We know the entire story--we know that David lived to be an old man after serving 40 years as king. However, we must remember that David, when he penned these words, did not know that. He knew that God had plans for him, but during times such as this his faith in God was sorely tried.

Would we, as Christian teens, be as faithful and confident in God if enemies were standing guard at our houses. If we were considered enemies of the state because of our faith in God, how far would our own personal faith extend? I am sure that, as Christian teens, we all wonder what our true answer would be, while hoping that we will never have to find out!

Now is the time we need to be reinforcing our faith in God. Now is the time we should be burying ourselves in God's Word, and seeking faith and fellowship with Him. Rather than being consumed by the cares of this world, we need to be found faithfully preparing ourselves for the next world. 

In truth, this same God who laughed at the enemies of David will laugh at our enemies as well. We can say, with David, God is my defense. By God's grace, let us immerse ourselves in His Word and pray that He will grow us in our faith and love for Him, that we would find our times of fellowship with Him to be filled with joy and peace.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda









Tuesday, October 18, 2011

God Judges the Earth!

 6Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
 7Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
 8As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
 9Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
 10The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
 11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. 

God Judges the Earth!

Psalm 58 certainly does not seem like a very loving Psalm, does it? Where is the love and compassion we are to show for the wicked? As Christian teens, we must be very careful that we do not entertain such sentiments, for it shows our lack of understanding the reality of life! God judges the earth, and for that we must be extremely glad!

It is easy to become so involved with life as we know it that we forget the reality of life. Truly, the world as we know it, is a battle between the forces of good and evil--the forces of Satan and the forces of God. It is easy to forget this when we are taking a walk in the lovely fall weather, and the colorful leaves are swirling around us.

Most people, if they even believe in God, see Him as One who maybe created this world, but if He really is the Creator, He washed His hands of the world when His work was done. What happens will happen. C'est la vie!

Is that the picture the Bible paints of our world? No, it is not! From the beginning of the Old Testament through the book of Revelation, we see a world in which God takes an active part in the lives of His people. Nothing happens by chance; nothing thwarts His will. The enemies of God are used as tools by Satan to destroy and corrupt this world, and he seems to be doing quite well!

Yet Satan knows what most people do not: Satan is already defeated. He cannot win this war, but that will not keep him from trying! He is undaunted by Christians; if he cannot keep someone from becoming a believer, he will discredit them or discourage them so that their life is a weak testimony, at best, of the grace of God.

It is time that we, as Christian teens, wake from our stupor and take an active part in this great battle between good and evil. God has bestowed upon each one of us gifts and abilities that we are to be using to advance His kingdom on this earth. Christians are the salt of the earth; by God's grace let us not be salt that has lost its savor, or its preservative qualities.

While it is true that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us, it is also true that we should not be naive! When we observe life around us, personally and world-wide, we should rejoice when we see the enemies of God defeated. We must never forget that God judges the earth, and His judgment is righteous and true!

As Christian teens, whose side are we really on?

God Bless You,
Linda





Monday, October 17, 2011

Judge Rightly

 1Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
 2Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
 3The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
 4Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
 5Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. 

 Judge Rightly

Sadly, in our day, a person who is accused of wrong-doing, though innocent, may not necessarily receive a fair trial. Equally disturbing, it is not enough to prove that a person is guilty; those who are truly guilty are often released on mere technicalities. Should we, then, be too surprised at the words of David in Psalm 58?
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the dear adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmer, charming never so wisely.
Surely, the psalmist is exaggerating? At least it would seem so to us. However, the psalmist is not exaggerating; we need to remember that it is true that the wicked are estranged from the womb. 

That seems like such a harsh judgment upon mankind, especially at a time when sin is not taken all that seriously. Indeed, a person who seems too perfect does not make a good hero or heroine for a story. We seem to prefer the one who has a little spice or "naughtiness" to their personality.

As Christian teens, we should be careful that we do not, unobtrusively adopt the attitude of the world regarding sin. Sin--all sin--is abhorrent to God! It is poison like the poison of a serpent, and its end is death! Christians, just like the wicked, can be easily charmed by the devices of Satan, and led into sin.

Satan seems to take great delight in bringing down the righteous. Indeed, the bigger the "splash" the better. In our city, we have had a situation where a pastor, unknown to his congregation, was living a double life. For all appearances he was a model pastor, but in secret he was an adulterer. When his sins were made public, the entire community was rocked to the core.

However, even in times such as this, God is not mocked. Sin may continue for a season, but God will not allow sin to go on unchecked. It is an extremely difficult situation for the church of this pastor, but God will be glorified in it, and the congregation will come through much stronger for it. What a good reminder that our pastors are but men; our faith and trust must always be in God, and not rest in the "perfection" of our spiritual leaders.

By God's grace, may we learn to judge rightly, by keeping our heart and soul nourished by the Word of God, that we may not be guilty of giving in to the voice of charmers! As Christian teens we must always remember that all decisions need to be made in light of the Word of God, that we will be "pleasers" of God rather than "pleasers" of men!

God Bless You,
Linda



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fixed on God!

 7My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
 8Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
 9I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
 10For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
 11Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. 

 Fixed on God!

What was so unique about the life of David? Why was David known as a man after God's own heart? David, whether as a young shepherd boy, or an old and dying king, never forgot his First Love! David's heart was fixed on God!

We know that, like us, David was certainly not a man without sin, even great sin! However, even in his darkest hours, after his sin with Bathsheba, David humbled himself, plead with God for forgiveness, and returned to God.

It is because of Bible passages such as Psalm 57 that we, as Christian teens, have such hope in the Lord. When we sin against God, He has not gone anywhere, but it certainly seems as though He has left us. Our sin immediately separates us from that sweet fellowship with our Lord, but restoration is but a step away. When our hearts are again turned to our Lord, He gathers us in His arms and restores our sweet fellowship to Him.

We can safely say that David truly found the secret of life! He was known as a man after God's own heart because, even from the days of his youth, his heart was fixed on God. Can it be so simple? Is restoration and sweet fellowship with the Lord as available to us, as teens, today as it was to David?

As weak and sinful creatures, it is so easy to have our minds and hearts diverted to the empty things of this world. When we perceive our hearts going astray we should run quickly to verses such as Psalm 57:10-11.
For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
God's mercy is great unto the heavens, and His truth unto the clouds. There is no spot on this earth below or in the heavens above where God's mercy and truth do not reign. Indeed, His glory is manifested, not only on the earth, but above the heavens as well. This is our God! His dominion is over all!

It is easy for us to forget the magnificence of our God whose glory supersedes the realm of this single planet on which we live. Let us take some time today and ponder this great and wondrous God, who has chosen to provide a means so that sinful man can be made clean, and can have a personal relationship with Him! By His grace may our hearts and minds truly be fixed on God!

God Bless You,
Linda


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Glory of God

 4My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
 5Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
 6They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah. 

Glory of God

The middle verse (verse 5) of Psalm 57 seems to be out of place, being nestled between two verses filled with descriptions of the enemies of David. David describes his enemies as lions that are set on fire in verse 4, and as preparing a net for him in verse 6. Right in the middle of these two verses David says,
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
Surrounded on all sides by enemies ready to cast a net over him and throw him into a pit, David remembers the glory of God. The armies of Saul have surrounded David, who is hiding in a cave, and David remembers the glory of God! He understands that he is no more in danger than if he were comfortably sitting in his own house, or safely tending his father's sheep. He is so comfortable with the defeat of his enemies, that he understands that they themselves will fall into the pit they have dug for him.

How confident are we in God? As Christian teens, do we shy away from speaking with people about the Lord because we fear their reaction? Do we love the praise of men so much that we are willing to forgo the praise of God? If our persecutors surrounded our house, would we collapse in fear, or would we remember the glory of God?

That does not mean that God would necessarily spare our life, but it would mean that our death would take us into the very presence of Christ, our Redeemer. Nothing on this earth can compare to the glory of God which awaits us when we stand before Him in all of His heavenly glory.

Unfortunately, as teens, most of us have become so consumed by the things of this world, that we forget our own true heritage. We are not here to amass great fortunes, live lives consumed with pleasure, or make a great name for ourselves. As children of God, we are here to use our God-given abilities and circumstances to bring glory to God. 

Amazing as it is, God uses the foolish things of this world (that is us) to confound the wise of this world. Do we love this world so much that we have so little concern for those among whom we live each day? Do we understand their lost estate? Do we pray for their salvation? If they have questions about the Lord, are we the kind of people they will choose to come to for answers? Do they see the glory of God in our lives?

These are good questions for us to ponder. As a teen, you are making major decisions regarding your future lives or careers. I challenge you to remember that, no matter what choices we make, our greatest purpose on this earth is to bring glory to God and to enjoy Him forever!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, October 14, 2011

His Mercy and Truth

 1Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
 2I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
 3He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. 

His Mercy and Truth

Psalm 57 begins on a glorious note when David cries out for mercy from God.
Be Merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
As Christian teens, where, but the Lord, can we find such mercy today? Over 2000 years later, we still find His mercy and truth as we rest in the shadow of His wings. Just as David had complete confidence in God, we, too, can immerse ourselves in His mercy and truth.

What does that mean? How do we apply these verses to the daily hum drum of life? When we face another day of school, how can we see evidence of God's mercy and truth? If we go to a public school, we certainly have a hard time seeing Christ there, do we not? Unfortunately, that can even be true in Christian schools!

I am reminded of the time the Israelites, tired of waiting for Moses who was on Mt. Sinai speaking with God, pleaded with Aaron to make a god for them to worship (Exodus 32). Only forty days earlier they stood before God, committing themselves to His commandments, saying, "All that you command us, we will do." Yet, here they are, forty days later, worshiping a golden calf! (What was the first commandment? "Thou shalt have no other gods before me!" Exodus 20:3, KJV)

Do we do such things? Do we presume upon God's mercy and truth, and yet quickly abandon His Word when difficult times come upon us? David had a tumultuous life, and though he sinned grievously, he never rejected God. Psalm 56:3 is so typical of David's heart.
He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
As Christian teens, do we expect God to give us a life of wealth and ease? Are we faithful to Him only when everything is going our way? What happens to our Christian life when everything seems to go wrong, and when God seems to turn His back upon us? Do we, like the Israelites, quickly turn elsewhere for help and comfort, even to the point of worshiping other gods, or are we like David, quietly trusting in his mercy and truth?

These are good questions for to ponder, for now is the time in your life when you are establishing life-long patterns of living. By God's grace, I pray that we all  remember Christ, our first love, and find shelter in the shadow of His wings when troublesome times come upon us. He, alone, is truly worthy of our love, honor, and praise!

God Bless You,
Linda




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vow of God

 12Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
 13For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? 

 Vow of God

The vows of God are upon all of His children! What an amazing thought. Have you ever thought about God making a vow to you, as His child? God has made a binding vow to love and care for each and every one of His children. How can we do less than render all of our thankfulness and praise unto Him?

In that vow of God, He has promised to deliver our souls from death and will keep our feet from falling so that we may walk before Him in the light of the living. Is it too presumptuous for us to expect any less from God in our day than in the day David wrote these words, over 2000 years ago, in Psalm 56? 

Do we, as Christian teens, walk as though we are aware of God's perfect love and protection? In our day to day activities, is it obvious to those around us that our lives are committed to Him? Why is it that we expect so much from God, but require so little of ourselves in return?

In a day when the world is quickly turning against anything that has to do with God, where are the believers? Are we being the salt of this earth that God commands us to be, or are the things of the world so ingrained in us that it is hard to tell the difference between us and the unbelievers around us?

Why is it, that in a "Christian" nation, such as the United States, God is being outlawed from public schools and government buildings throughout the land? We can publicly pray to a false God, but not the real God. The very things our founding fathers feared are quickly becoming the norm in this country. As Christian teens, how will you change the world?

There is more to being a Christian than receiving eternal life! Let us, by God's grace, stand up and live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. As we ponder the vow of God, let us also ponder our own vows to Him. 

One last question--when we stand before Christ, in the final day, will he say to us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."?

God Bless You,
Linda





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

God is for Me!

 9When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
 10In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
 11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. 

God is for Me!

David had such amazing confidence in God. Look at his bold words,
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this is know; for God is for me.
He did not say, "This I think." No, he said, "This I know."

How confident are we in our God? Can we say with David, "This I know; for God is for me."? David then goes on in the next two verses,
In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
David again expresses the aspect of fear. He was a man who understood fear. Not just once, but several times in his life, beginning when he was still quite young, possibly still a teen, he was forced to flee from his enemies. This was not just idle talk; he came face to face with death. He spoke truthfully when he stated that he was not afraid of what man could do to him.

As Christian teens, how important is God to us? Can we safely trust God with all aspects of our lives, or do we live in constant fear? Do we stay awake nights worrying over circumstances over which we have no control? Do we spend all or most of our days complaining about our own troubles?

Do you remember David's words from Psalm 4:8?
"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety."
I must confess that the reason I have that verse memorized is that I struggle constantly with worry, so I find myself repeating those words over and over. It is not easy, is it? We become so involved with the every day issues of this life that we forget the Lord Jesus Christ, who, alone, is the only One who can intercede on our behalf. 

Let us take some time today and ponder the words of David, "This I know; for God is for me." As a Christian teen, may we, by the grace of God, walk in peace, confidence, and joy, knowing that God is, indeed, for us!
God Bless You,
Linda


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tears in a Bottle


 5Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.
 6They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
 7Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
 8Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? 

 Tears in a Bottle

The Psalmist, David, is again wearied by the continual harassment of his enemies.
They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
Did God hear the complaints of David? Yes! He knew that, because God is righteous and faithful, his enemies will not escape by their iniquity. Though God is long suffering, the time comes when God says, "It is enough," and in His anger will cast down the people.

But, there is even more. God not only deals with our enemies, but God is compassionate toward His people. He even puts their tears in a bottle. Imagine that! When we get to heaven, how big will our bottle of tears be?

Who has a God like unto our God? The people of the world worship many false gods. Some are actually idols, but others are gods of materialism, pleasure, and power. Are their gods aware of their times of hardship? Do their gods preserve their tears in a bottle?

As Christian teens, no matter how many hours we spend in the study of God's Word and the attributes of God, we will never fully understand or appreciate the amazing God we serve. He created this world in which we live, along with all of the stars and planets, and set them in their courses. We observe the creation of God, but can do nothing to keep the planets and heavenly bodies from spinning out of control.

But, God does so much more. In spite of our sinning against Him and causing an eternal separation from Him, God made a way for us to come to Him. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we have access into the very throne room of God!

As if that is not enough, God, through the Lord Jesus Christ involves Himself in our daily lives, knowing the thoughts and intents of our hearts, even to the point of storing our tears in a bottle. He did not place man on this earth and then abandon him to fend for himself, but purchased a people for Himself, through the death of His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a Shepherd, Jesus tends and cares for us, His sheep. He leads us in paths of righteousness, feeding our souls with the truths of His Word. He cares for us even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death. As Christian teens, we need fear no evil, for He is always with us.

What have we ever done to deserve such love and tender care? Not a thing! Our salvation is all of God and none of ourselves! David understood all of these things when he asked,
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
God even keeps a book of records? How amazing is that. To God we are not just a number, we are real people, with real names. As we go about the duties of this day, let us take just a few minutes to thank and praise this wondrous God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda







Monday, October 10, 2011

Afraid!

 1Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
 2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
 3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
 4In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Afraid!

As a Christian teen, is it OK to be afraid? The Psalmist was afraid; it seemed as though his enemies would swallow him up. His pity party did not last long, however, when he acknowledged the Most High God.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
As Christian teens, can we say the same thing today? When life surrounds us with weariness, when we are simply overcome by the sin and miseries of this life, or when our enemies seem to overwhelm us with their taunts and threats, do we remember our Most High God?

Why is it so difficult for us to walk in the light and joy of Christ? Why does it seem that the difficulties of this life rob us of the sweetness and joy of the Christian life? To some extent, it is our choice! Oh, we may not have a choice as far as what troubles come our way, but we certainly have a choice as to how we respond to those troubles.

It is true that we are not stones; it is impossible to not react when the hard times comes. As a matter of fact, it would be most unnatural to continue going about life as though nothing is different. Even Christ wept. However, Christ did not weep for days on end. 

I think that is the key; as Christian teens we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Our grief and despair is tempered by our love for the Lord Jesus Christ. As we bathe ourselves in the promises of the Word, we understand that we are not left alone during the times of difficulty. We have an advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered more than we ever could, even if we did not have one good day on this earth!

Christ, our Advocate, sits at the right hand of God interceding for us! Because God is omnipresent (He exists everywhere at the same time), we are never left alone. Christ is our way, our truth, and our life. He guides us in the way we should go, offers comfort when we feel we can not go on, and brings us safely into His kingdom where we will be with Him forever!

As Christian teens, these promises of God will continue to be more and more dear to us. Living in a time when it is not "politically correct" to be a Christian, it is most likely that world wide persecution will increase. However, we are not to be afraid; Psalms such as Psalm 56 will be a great comfort to us.

Let us pray for the grace and strength to stand firm in the Lord Jesus Christ even during the days of trouble!

God Bless You,
Linda




Sunday, October 9, 2011

Promises

 22Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
 23But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee. 

Promises

Psalm 55 ends with two very distinct promises of God: one to the righteous, and one to the wicked. No matter what happens in life, these two promises will always be upheld, for in the end, it is God who determines justice for the righteous and justice for the wicked.
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
The righteous can, with confidence, cast their burdens upon the LORD, because when all is said and done, it is true that God will sustain them. The hope of the righteous is secure and nothing in this world can diminish or sway that hope. Though the trials of this life may, indeed, be severe, the hope of eternity with the Lord is held secure in the hands of God Himself.

But, what of the wicked?
But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.
Just as secure is the ultimate judgment for the wicked. No matter how good life may be for them, the righteous judgment of God will not be held off forever. The time will come when God will bring them down to the pit of destruction. Of all the enemies we may have in this world, we do not want to be enemies of God!

David wrestled with many things in Psalm 55, but in the end, he was secure in saying, "But I will trust in thee." Where does our trust lie? As teens, are we so caught up with the things of this world that we cannot see beyond our daily circumstances of life, or do we have an extended view of the promises of God, and are resting in the hope of those promises?

It always seems to come back to the same simple truths, does it not? God is God and we are not. Are we willing to trust in the things of this world that have no hope for tomorrow, or are we determined to put our hope and trust in the promises of God?

God Bless You,
Linda






Saturday, October 8, 2011

Heart of War

 20He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.
 21The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. 

 Heart of War

David again returns to ponder his friend who had broken his covenant with him and displayed a heart of war. As we think of David's words, it is helpful for us to understand that God does not want Christians to be naive. While it is true that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44), we must understand the true nature of the heart of the wicked.

First we must remember that there are only two classes of people in the eyes of God: the saved and the unsaved, or the righteous and the wicked. In saying that, we also must understand that the difference between the two groups has everything to do with the heart attitude of the individual and not their worthiness or outward appearance.

As Christian teen, we are not righteous because we are better than the wicked, but are, in actuality, redeemed wicked. Once we were lost, but now we are found--found by the Lord Jesus Christ. In His great love He reached down and plucked us from the burning embers of wickedness that is so affluent in this world in which we live.

Second, we must understand that the wicked are classed as wicked because they are enemies of God, not because they are our enemies. No matter how loving they may appear on the outside, their inner heart is a heart of war against God Almighty. Our goal in this life should always be to present Christ to the wicked, and pray that God will pardon them just as He has pardoned us.

Having said all of that, we must return to the theme of these two verses. The difficulty for us is that we are not able to see a person's heart. A person can appear to us to be one of the righteous. When we have befriended that person, perhaps for years, we are truly shaken if we find that they never have been a child of God. When grievous sin appears, or they become our enemy we must understand that their great sin is not what they have done to us, but rather that they have sinned against God.

Even in their sin, because we do not know their heart of hearts, we do not always know whether they are a Christian who has fallen into sin, or whether they have been "wolves in sheep's clothing," never having possessed Christ.

How then, do we respond if we find ourselves in circumstances similar to those in which David found himself? Whatever the true state of their heart, which only God knows, these words from Matthew still apply.
 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44, King James Version)
There is a reason that God does not allow us to see into people's hearts. Whether our former friends are Christians who are temporarily entering into a time of great sin, or whether they truly possess a heart of war against God, we must pray that God will graciously save them just as He has saved us. We do not deserve God's great mercy and love any more than His enemies around us seem to deserve it. We must remember that, as a Christian teen, our life is all about serving God, not about serving ourselves!

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda


Friday, October 7, 2011

Evening, Morning, and Noon


 16As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
 17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
 18He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
 19God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. 

Evening, Morning, and Noon

"As for me!" We should not underestimate the importance of these three words. David was overcome with grief over a close, personal friend who had deserted him, becoming one of his worst enemies. Where was God in all of this? Did David charge God foolishly? No! No matter what the circumstances, David never forgot his First Love. Look at the confidence God displayed in God.
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.
As Christian teens, our salvation is a personal salvation; each and every person must answer the, "As for me," clause. No matter what our friends and families do, we each will personally stand before God and give an account for the choices we made in this life. When God looks upon us, our friends and families will fade into nonexistence! 

How did David maintain such a close relationship to the Lord? As a king, he certainly must have been a very busy man. David said, Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Because David was so busy, and because David was the king, he understood that he did not dare neglect God. He needed God's help to live his life successfully and to maintain his peace with God.

How often do we spend time with the Lord? How important is it to us that we do not neglect our personal relationship with Christ? Are we too busy to take time to fellowship with Him and meditate upon His Word? In truth, the busier we are, the more important it is that we do not neglect our personal times of fellowship with the Lord. 

David, we know, was not perfect; he fell into grievous sins which had dire consequences in his life. Yet, when facing those sins, we see him falling before God in true repentance. I am sure those sins remained a grief to him for the rest of his life on this earth.

We live in a perilous time, a time when God is scorned, and Christians are ridiculed. In many countries, Christians are persecuted for their stand for the Lord. As a matter of fact, it is very likely that that persecution will spread to more and more countries as God continues to be spurned by the people of this world. As Christian teens, what will we do when persecution comes to our door? 

By God's grace, let us take the time now--evening, morning, and noon--to maintain a rich relationship with the Lord. We need not fear times of persecution, for our God will faithfully sustain us. Whether by life or death, we will find Him with His arms of love wrapped around us. 

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death of a Friendship

 9Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
 10Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
 11Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
 12For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
 13But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
 14We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
 15Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. 
(Psalm 55:9-15, King James Version)

Death of a Friendship

What is David's real problem? Surely wickedness was not a new thing for David; he was old enough to have seen much wickedness in his land. Why, then, is he so adamant that the Lord destroy the workers of sin and wickedness?
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
It is always difficult to deal with our enemies, but what do we do as teens when one of our best friends becomes our greatest enemy? Here is someone who knows everything about us; we shared our deepest secrets and our greatest ambitions. And, we thought that this person was a fellow believer.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
It is true that those who are closest to us--the ones we love the most, are the ones who can hurt us the most.  What are we to do when we experience the death of a friendship--when our closest friend turns against us? Our first reaction is probably very similar to David's reaction.
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell.
As a teen, there is no easy way to go through times such as these, but there are certainly some hard lessons that we can learn from the experience. No matter how close we become to anyone on this earth, it is so important that we remember that no one should be closer to us than the Lord. Our love for God should triumph over any experience we have on this earth. Friends will fail us, maybe even to the point of their becoming our greatest enemy, but God will never fail.

I cannot help but believe, that at some point David rethought his emotions and quick hatred of what his friend was doing to him. If we truly love our friends, then we should be greatly alarmed at their separation from God. We are told to pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us. This is never more necessary than when that enemy is a former friend. It is certainly true that our former friends need our prayers more than ever.

Unfortunately, most of us, at some point or other, have experienced, or will experience the death of a friendship. There are no easy answers, and no easy solution to the difficulties we experience at that time. As in all things, our hope is that we would find the Lord our all-sufficient Friend who will never leave nor forsake us.

God Bless You,
Linda




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Terrors of Death


 4My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
 5Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
 6And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
 7Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.
 8I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. 

Terrors of Death

Why does life have to be so filled with difficulties? Are we alone when we, as Christian teens, ask such questions? Do other Christian teens share the same sentiments? In answer to these questions, we have only to look at Psalms such as Psalm 55 for our answer. Here we see David, a man after God's own heart, practically consumed by the terrors of death.

David is so consumed by his fear that he cries out,
Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
How many times do we as Christian teens feel the same way? How many times do we wish we could hide in our houses and ignore the storms and tempests of life altogether?

One of the blessings of the Bible is that it presents Christians in a realistic light. When we read the lives of Old Testament saints, we begin to realize that life was not an easy road. The natural conclusion should be: as Christians we should not be surprised by the difficulties of life that sometimes seem to consume us, even to the point of being fearful of the terrors of death.

We are often way too hard on believers when they go through times of difficulty to the point of seeming to have no faith. Instead of encouragement and prayer, we are too quick to only offer our criticism. As a matter of fact, our friendship takes the form of that of Job's friends, who offered criticism and condemnation to Job rather than encouragement and consolation.

We must realize that our success as Christian teens is not due to our own greatness, but rather it is due to the grace of God! It is through His power, alone, that we walk faithfully before Him. If His arm of protection is removed from us for just a moment, we fail miserably. That is one of the reasons that God allows us to go through times of great difficulty; it is important to realize that our strength lies only in God.

In the verses shown above, we leave David at a very vulnerable time, but as we continue through this Psalm, we will find David seeking and receiving God's help. As Christian teens, we must not despair as those who have no hope. Even if we are consumed by the terrors of death, we have access to the mighty throne room of God! Let us remember the words of God from Psalm 46,
 1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. (Psalm 46:1-3King James Version)

Go with God; in Him all things are possible!

God Bless You,
Linda