Don’t Get Used to the Dark

Don’t Get Used to the Dark

Have you ever been seated in a very dark restaurant? Your eyes have to adjust to the dark before you can read the menu.

Getting used to the dark is a problem if what you are getting used to is not good.

Deviating from Standards

Pilots have detailed procedures prior to flight. They carefully “walk around” the airplane checking for any problems. They have a checklist to assure they have all the instruments and flight controls correctly set.

Suppose one day they forget to do something and the flight works out well. The next time they also omit that item and everything is fine. Pretty soon, that item is no longer on the check list. They have gotten used to deviating from the safety routine. Deviating from the standard has become normal.

That is true in society as well. We now accept behavior that would have horrified our grandparents. Many (most?) of our movies and TV shows use sin as entertainment. A recent review described a book as “deliciously wicked.” Oh my.

Do We Blush?

Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, and they did not know how to blush. (Jeremiah 8:12)

Do we blush? Are we light in the world?

Challenge:

When you watch a movie, consciously review what you see against God’s standards, His commandments and precepts.

Pray God shows you when you accept behavior in yourself or others that is not acceptable to God.

Pray to know when to speak about the sins our society accepts.

Pray to be light and salt. (Matthew 5:13-16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise the Almighty

NASA/ESA/STScl–Hubble, Lagoon Nebula

Almighty God

I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.(1 Chronicles 29:11)

God Can Do All His Holy Will

God can anything and everything consistent with His character. He is able to do whatever He pleases, all consistent with His holiness. He is working everything in accordance with His will.

All power belongs to Him and nothing and nobody can stay His hand.

Power belongs to God. (Psalm 62:11)

Everything is possible for Him.

With God all things are possible.(Matthew 19:26)

For nothing will be impossible with God.(Luke 1:37)

When He speaks, His word is fulfilled.

Now the Lordhas fulfilled His word which He spoke.(1 Kings 8:20)

When He promises, He performs.

[Be] fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:21)

What He has done is what He purposed.

My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.  (Isaiah 46:10)

His Power for His Beloved

He redeems us

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people. (Luke 1:68)

He keeps us

[Nothing]will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:39)

I give eternal life to them [His sheep], and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.(John 10:28)

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.(Hebrews 7:25)

He raises the dead

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (John 11:25)

There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.(Acts 24:15)

His total victory and reign is coming

We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.(Revelation 11:17)

~~~

Almighty God, we praise You. You, our eternal, creator God, have power over everybody and everything from eternity past to eternity future. Your infinite power is beyond our comprehension, yet we thank You for revealing Your power through Your creation, by upholding all things, through Your gracious redemption, and by raising the dead (including us someday). Thank You that You use your power to accomplish all Your righteous purposes. Thank You that through Your infinite power towards us You have redeemed us, keep us within Your love, that You accomplish what concerns us, and, one day, Your almighty power will bring us to You in heaven. All glory and praise be Yours.

 

When God Says “No!”

 

Recently a prayer was answered, but over the top, with unexpected extra “goodies.” It was sort of like praying for a pony but being given the entire ranch.

I was on cloud nine, easily and fervently praising God for His generous blessing. I cannot overstate how excited I was, or how grateful.

After a few days, I realized that I should be every bit as grateful when He answers my prayer with a “No!”

When He says “No!” it is because He loves me and is working His eternal plans that result in my (my!) glorification. I will be presented to Him holy and blameless, and His “No!” now is part of the journey to my future bliss.

He knows better than I do, and when He says: “No!” it is in my own best interest.

Lord, help me give thanks to You in everything. Help me fervently praise You for both Your “Yeses” and Your “Noes.”

Bless His Heart

Jesus commands us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and do good to those who hate us. (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27).

We are to bless and not curse. (Luke 6:28Romans 12:14)

But HOW?

I know the motto: “Just do it.”

But HOW?

At one point in my career I was furious at what I thought was unreasonable behavior that hurt others and hurt the company, and I let others know about my anger. God showed me “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)

I wanted to obey. I didn’t want to displease my Lord with my anger. I wanted to love, pray for, and do good to those I thought were enemies. I wanted to bless and not curse.

But HOW?

I was stuck.

One day I read a story about how to tell a true southerner: “A true Southerner knows you don’t scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 mph on the freeway. You just say, ‘Bless her heart’ and go your own way.” I laughed, but immediately saw how to apply this to my situation. So, when I saw or heard something that made me angry, I deliberately said: “Bless his/her heart.” The thought made me laugh and provoked me to bless and not curse. (And more and more often, I really meant it.)

You may not need a crutch like I did. But that quip helped me get unstuck and obey God’s commands.

~~~

From When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? page 214

 

After the Storm

You came through the storm! Praise God!

Assess

Look back. Look around.

Did the storm:

  • Hurt your relationship with God?
  • Did others hurt you?
  • Did you hurt others?

You need to clean up the mess.

You and the Lord

A storm often provokes responses that the Lord will show us as sinful.

We often don’t trust God during the storm.

Both require confession and humility.

You and others

Your storm may have been caused by others.

Forgive!

Forgiveness is commanded by God. What was done to you may seem unforgiveable, but God still commands it. You can forgive.

Reconciliation is not always possible or desirable, so pray about that.

You and Yourself

You may have caused the storm yourself or hurt others in the process.

You may be newly aware of sinful patterns in your life.

Confess!

Make things right with others, if possible.

Thank

God promises to use the storm in your life for good. Thank Him.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Press on

God promises to forgive when we confess. He promises.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:9)

Believe that He has forgiven you.

And press on.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:13–14)

~~~

See Before the Storm and During the Storm.

 

 

Praise the Zeal of God

Are you unconcerned when you see your young child in the street? Of course not! You get your child out of harm’s way and make sure your child knows not to do that again.

Do you think God is indifferent to your plight? He’s not. He is zealous for you.

God’s name is Jealous

The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God(Exodus 34:14)

[In both Hebrew and Greek the translation might be “jealous” or “zealous.”]

God is Jealous/Zealous about His Name, His Holiness (and you)

I will be jealous for My holy name.(Ezekiel 39:25)

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.(Deuteronomy 4:24)

God’s Zeal

The Bible demonstrates God’s zeal over the Jews, Israel, His church and His enemies. His zeal to fulfill His eternal plan is evident.

I am watching over My word to perform it.(Jeremiah 1:12)

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lordof hosts will accomplish this.(Isaiah 9:7)

God’s Zeal Prompts Him to Act in Love or in Wrath.

He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.(Isaiah 59:17)

Praise the zeal of God.

God, I am so grateful You are zealous. It would be awful if You watched the mess we are in and… did nothing. It would be awful if You were indifferent to my circumstances or my future. But You care, passionately, about us, about Your creation, about Your name, Your holiness, and, with zeal, You are bringing Your righteous plan to fruition.

I praise You that we can rely on Your righteous acts, knowing Your zeal prompts You to action.

Thank You, Zealous One!

~~~

What are you zealous about?

~~~

This completes Volume 1 of Praise A to Z. For a complete list, see Praise A to Z Volume 1

 

 

During the Storm

nasa.gov

 

During the Storm

The storm hit.

During Hurricane Harvey and its 40 inches of rain, friends in Houston had to build a system to channel water from their overwhelmed gutters away from their house. Family in New England had to shovel snow from their roof.

What should we do during a storm?

Remind Yourself

During a storm, remind yourself of how you prepared for the storm:

Remember

Get Centered

Pray

Repeat the steps you took to get ready. (See Before the Storm.)

Do

Do whatever the Lord is telling you: channel water away from your house; shovel snow from your roof to protect the structure; do what He leads you to do during your particular storm.

Determine

And, then, determine to:

Trust your sovereign, loving God.

Run to Him—He is your refuge.

Give thanks, for this is God’s will for you.

Be a light in your world, showing God’s truth and mercy.

Press On!

And—Press On!

 

Christ Lives!

biblica.com

 

Jesus Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!

Christmas

Jesus Christ came to us as a baby, came in the flesh that He might, as a man, seek and save that which was lost.

Good Friday

Jesus Christ died, sacrificially, that He might atone for the sins of those who believe and put their trust in Him, making us new creatures.

Easter

Jesus Christ is not on the cross.

He is not in the tomb.

Jesus Christ was resurrected, proof His sacrifice was accepted.

Christ lives!

Death was conquered.

Satan was defeated.

Ascension

Jesus Christ ascended, taking back the glory He had before the world was.

Christ sent the Holy Spirit

Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.

Christ is preparing a place for us so that where He is we may be also.

Because He lives, we live

Because He lives: we (believers)

  • Have been redeemed
  • Have been adopted by the Father
  • Are in Christ
  • Have everlasting life
  • Have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us
  • Have been blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • Have everything pertaining to life and godliness
  • Are co-heirs with Christ. (and more)

Contemplate the wonder of what God has done.

All glory to God.

Halleluiah!

~~~~

God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thank You. Thank You we rejoice today for Christ’s resurrection. Please help us feel the wonder of what You have done. Help us praise You with our lips and our lives.

~~~

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Before the Storm

 

We have family in New England, who have lived through several bomb cyclones! And family in Hawaii, which has had flooding. And friends in Houston who endured Hurricane Harvey and its 40 inches of rain.

We usually have warning of impending bad weather and can take some steps to weather the storm.

We can take steps before any storm to prepare for it and help us reach safe harbor. And the steps we should take when we know a storm is coming are also the steps we should routinely take to sail through life.

What to do?

Remember

Remember God is sovereign over everybody and everything all the time.

Remember God loves you—believer in Christ—with an everlasting love.

Remember God uses the trials of life for good.

Remember God is with you.

Remember God will guide you.

Remember the great things He has done for you.

Get Centered

Remembering the truth about God enables you to face any storm with trust.

Remembering God will be with you and guide you, empowers you to be grateful.

Pray

Pray in thanksgiving for all He has done for you, and all His promises.

Pray, trusting Him, for His love for you, and He loving control over the storms in your life.

Pray, asking Him for His direction, and His power enabling you to honor Him through troubled times.

~~~~

See When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? for a helpful study so you can be ready for anything.

 

 

 

 

 

Praise Yahweh

 

God declared His name to be Yahweh, I AM.

I AM WHO I AM. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15)

Personal Name

God chose to tell us His personal name!

There is so much more about His name, but I am thrilled that God shared His personal name with us. If we work in a large company or study in a big school, we don’t know all the names of our co-workers or faculty or students. In larger churches, we don’t know the names of all the congregation or, probably, the names of all the staff. We’re friendly when we meet those folks, but we don’t learn their names unless we start building a relationship.

God giving us His personal name means relationship!

Character

“I AM WHO I AM,” reveals foundational truths about God. “I AM” signifies eternal existence. God is God from eternity past to eternity future, from everlasting to everlasting.

When He revealed His name, He also declared that He is with us, and that He will deliver us. (See Exodus 3:13-17)

I AM eternal, and near My people to deliver them.

In the Old Testament there are many compound names of God, which reveal more of His character. A good study is to identify these names and their meanings, for example: YHWH-jireh, The LORD  Will Provide (Genesis 22:14).

~~~~~

Yahweh, I praise You for revealing your personal name to us, and for manifesting Your character and Your attributes through Your Word. I am so grateful You want a personal relationship with me, with us. I praise You for Your infinite…infinite everything…infinite power, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. You are incomprehensible, and yet You chose to reveal Yourself to us that we might have a loving relationship with You. All glory and honor and praise to You.

Praise Yahweh!