“…Don’t Be Dejected and Sad…”

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our ear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Purify Me From My Sins…”

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. — Psalm 51:7 NLT

Psalm 51:7-15 NLT

David was chosen by God to rule over His people Israel.  God had brought him from the lowly position of shepherd to the highest position in the land. He had watched over and protected David from all of the enemies of Israel and had given him victory after victory. Springtime was when all of the kings went out to war.  Whatever David’s reasons were for staying home in the spring we will never know.   Instead of going out to lead his army as he should have, he sent the army out to fight while he stayed home living a life of leisure and idleness. As the trite old saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.   David got caught in that trap and fell into sin.  His sin led him to adultery and finally to murder.  As we are told in the book of James, sin brings death.  It brought the death of a marriage, a husband and finally, the death of David’s son.  When Nathan confronted David about his sins, David became humble and repentant.  God forgave him but there were still the consequences of his sin that he had to face.  We must be careful to stay on course and not deviate from what God has called us to do. If we stop and stay idle before the job is finished, we put ourselves in jeopardy. When God shows us our sins, we need to have the same heart David had and react the same way.  God is not looking for ways to punish us but to forgive us and restore us.

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…They Didn’t Even Smell of Smoke!”

27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!— Daniel 3:27 NLT

Daniel 3:25-30 NLT

Shadrach, Meschah and Abednego had refused to bow to the ninety foot statue of Nebuchadnezzar.  They, instead, chose to remain faithful to their God. They told the king that whether God chose to deliver them or not, they would always remain faithful.  For their faithfulness, they were thrown into a fiery furnace that burned so hot, the soldiers throwing them into the furnace were killed.  Rather quickly, Nebuchadnezzar learned that his plan to destroy the three men did not work.  God joined them in the furnace and delivered them so completely that their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them.  An amazing miracle!  So amazing that even the king gave the praise to the God of these three men.  He also quickly promoted them to a higher position in the government.  They were saved from the fire because they had more work to do here on earth.  Contrast this to the deaths of the apostles whom God chose to deliver in a totally different way. He allowed them to die and to come home to heaven.  Their work here on earth was finished.  I wonder which of the two methods of deliverance the three men in the furnace would have chosen, if the decision had been left up to them.  Paul might have wondered the same thing.

Philippians 1:20-24 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…The Blinding Light From Your Face…”

3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;  it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. — Psalm 44:3 NLT

Psalm 44:1-8 NLT

Israel was the smallest of all nations (Deut. 7:7).  Had they been left to themselves, they would not have been able to leave Egypt and safely cross the desert to get to the Promised Land.  But God chose them and fought their battles for them.  He gave them manna from heaven and water from rocks to sustain them in their journey.  When they complained about the food, God gave them manna and quail to eat.  God gave them victories over every enemy that attacked them on their journey using miracle after miracle to defeat the attackers.  He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River bringing them into the Promised Land at harvest time.  God gave them a great victory over the ancient, walled city of Jericho and they ate crops that they had not planted and drank from wells that they had not dug. Why? Because He chose them and loved them.  Why does He give us spiritual food and water in a spiritually dry and barren land?  For the same reason.  He has chosen us and He loves us. They were to bear His standard and carry His name throughout the known world.  Just as God called them out of Egypt, He has called us to come out and be a special people and a royal priesthood. Just as He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, so He will bring us safely out of this world and to the new heaven and new earth.  Not because of who we are but because of who He is and His promises to do so.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…Praying to God Who Gives Me Life.”

8  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT

Psalm 42 NLT

This Psalm was written  by the descendants of Korah.  ( There were 4 Korahs mentioned in the Bible, likely the most remembered one is Moses’ cousin, the one who was swallowed up the earth, the sons of Korah that wrote the Psalms are a different bunch) Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.  When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining.  It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times.  The writers of this Psalm question themselves.  What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ?  We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did.  If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness.   We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water.  God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression.  Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…Out of the Mud and the Mire…”

2  He lifted me out of the pit of despair,  out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along. 
— Psalm 40:2 NLT

Psalm 40:1-5 NLT

When we hit those rough patches and we all do at some point along the way, we need to remember passages like the one above.  There are times when friends can’t comfort us.  There are times in our lives when from all outward observations things are going fine, but inside we are in turmoil. There are times when what we feel is inexplicable because we don’t quite understand it ourselves.  How do we pray about things that we can’t even put into words?  How do we turn to the One who has lifted us out of the pit of despair when we don’t know what to say?  What do we do or say when being still and knowing that He is God is not enough.  How do we move from here back to solid ground and continue on our journey with Him? God has made a way for that to happen.  We bow before Him and tell Him that we are unable to pray.  He doesn’t get angry or upset, instead, as we wait before Him, He prays for us.  Just imagine God the Holy Spirit praying for us and through us, God the Son, Jesus, is at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us! God is listening to the 2nd and 3rd persons of the Trinity praying for us and He sees His own righteousness in Jesus Christ!  What more assurance do we need that whatever happens will truly be for our best?

Romans 8:26-28 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Stop Being Angry”

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8 Stop being angry!  Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm. — Psalm 37:8 NLT


Psalm 37:1-9 NKJV 

Considering all that is going on in this country and around the world, this is a very timely message.  Every day we see the wasteful results of those that choose to express their anger with violence and illegal acts.  God gave us our emotions and one of those is anger. There is an anger that comes from righteous indignation when we see the evil being done to others in our cities across the world.  But that anger must be controlled and pointed in the right direction.  Our response must be to hate the sin and love the sinner.  Unless we are expressing our feelings about sin and evil actions, we should never use the word “hate”. Jesus has set the standard.  We are not allowed to pick what we will love or hate, He has already shown us the right way.  We are all guilty of allowing our anger to control us at times, so we need to learn to pray before we react to any situation.  We must pray for those that have been deceived into thinking that violence is a solution to their issues.  Each of us needs to set aside a few minutes of each day to pray about this issue and for praying especially for the cities that we call home.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Does Anyone Want to Live…?”

12  Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?  — Psalm 34:12 NLT

Psalm 34:11-18 NLT

When I read this verse, my first thought is this:  Is there anyone who doesn’t want to live long and prosper?  Our bodies were originally designed in God’s image to last forever.  Then sin entered the world bringing decay and death with it.  Now, our bodies wear out and decay because sin still exists here on earth.  God designed a garden where man could live forever and prosper.  Sin entered that garden, seduced humankind, so God had to remove man and never allowed him to re-enter.  So, living long and being prosperous has taken on a whole new meaning.  Actually, it has taken on two meanings.  One is defined from the worldly point of view and the other from the Godly point of view.  We are bombarded on a daily basis with how the world defines prosperity.  As Christians, we can be very prosperous in the Kingdom of God and the world will little know or pay any attention to the wealth we have built up in heaven.  But God knows where we are laying up our treasures and He also knows  that where our treasure is, there will be our hearts also.  What is worldly will perish in the fire, that which is Godly will last throughout eternity.  A worldly long life of a hundred years or more is nothing but a speck of dust compared to eternal life with God.  We, as Christians, shall all live long and prosper!  God has promised and so shall it be!  So, let us join in the praise of thanksgiving!

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Get Up and Go…”

10 “I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’  “And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.’.   — Acts 22:10 NLT

“Get Up and Go”

Saul used to sit at the feet of Gamaliel learning about the Old Testament and the Jewish traditions and laws.  He became very zealous in defending the Jewish customs even to the point of putting Christians to death.  I think we can be very sure that in those times, he never considered the fact that Jesus was training him for a specific purpose.  It probably never crossed his mind that he would be the missionary of the ages and the man responsible for writing most of the New Testament.  The transition from Saul to Paul took over three years.  Our salvation experience was probably not as dramatic as that of Paul.  Nevertheless, it is just as necessary as that of Paul for the spread of the Gospel and the increase in the Kingdom of God.  Let each of us look at our lives and experiences.  What do those things tell us about what God has trained us to do to add to His Kingdom here on earth?  We cannot come to the conclusion that we are trained to do God’s bidding, that would devalue the work of Jesus on the Cross and our value to God.  Every person God has called to salvation has a part to play in the Kingdom here on earth.  Ask God to show you what that part is and then, get up and go!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“…And You Forgave Me”

5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. — Psalm 32:5 NLT 

Psalm 32:1-6 NLT

When we accept Jesus as our Savior we confess all of our sins up to that point.  But we still live in the flesh and all of the fleshly desires are not magically removed overnight. The Holy Spirit starts a process of sanctification in each of us.  This process is designed to change our hearts’ desires so that we no longer choose to live a lifestyle of sin.  However, there are times that we will fail and we will think, do or say something that is not pleasing to God.  Perhaps we will fail to do something that the Holy Spirit urges us to do.  Most of the sins that Christians are guilty of are sins of omission, not sins of commission.  We rebel against God in refusing to follow His leading in our lives.  The problem I have is agreeing with God that I am being rebellious and confessing it as sin.  But God does not negotiate, He will stand firm and I must agree with Him and confess.  We must get to the point the Psalmist got to — “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord” and He will forgive me.

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous