“Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.”
Psalms 32:6-7 NLT
This world in which we live is filled with wickedness. Judgment awaits those who refuse to turn to God! Those who fear God are aware of the awful consequences of sin. The godly acknowledge their need to pray to God. Deliverance comes from Him. We pray to Him because He is our refuge and strength. Victory is found, only, when we humble ourselves and pray. Our hope isn't in a political leader. Our hope is in Jesus! “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT Are you facing a battle today? Have you fallen into sin? Turn to God! Cry out to Him. In His mercy He will rescue you from defeat? He takes pleasure in delivering the godly out of trouble.
“So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.” 2 Peter 2:9 NLT He delights in saving the sinner. God isn't a cosmic kill joy that gets kicks out of punishing people. “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” Ezekiel 33:11 NLT
To the contrary, it is His will that men be saved. “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.” 2 Peter 3:9-10 NLT He has thrown out the lifeline of salvation through Jesus. If the lifeline is refused, the inevitable will happen. What is your choice?
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 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. ”
Psalms 32:1-5 NLT
This is another Psalm of David! David was guilty of sin, just like us. He knew the turmoil of un-confessed sin. For the child of God there is a conscience toward sin that alerts us to our wrongs. This is called "conviction" of the Holy Spirit. When we sin, an alarm is set off that causes us to feel guilt and shame. When we continue in the same practice, we become callous and cold. We become indifferent (unconcerned). This is a dangerous place to be. Sin is detrimental to our very lives and has no promotional benefits. To the contrary, sin demotes and destroys. When we allow sin to go un-confessed and not repented of, we set ourselves in a place of great difficulty. Peace alludes us. Joy is absent. Our hearts and minds become unsettled and uncertain. The Bible says that way of the transgressor is hard.“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”Proverbs 13:15 KJVSin may be pleasurable for the moment but it sours at the end of its experience.
When we try to carry the burden of our sins, we fall beneath its crushing load. What we must do to be free is:
1. Recognize that there is a way out. Jesus is that way out!“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”John 14:6 KJV
2. Confess our sin to Jesus!“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”1 Timothy 2:5 KJV“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9 KJV
3. Repent of your sin. Turn from it and relinquish it into God's hands. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”Acts 2:38 KJV
4. Accept forgiveness! “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”Ephesians 1:7 KJV (see also Colossians 1:14)
Today, if sin has you pinned to the mat and you feel like you are awaiting the countdown of defeat, turn to Jesus. There is forgiveness with Him. Freedom waits at His feet. Don't continue to wander in sins dark night. Come into the light!
“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!”
Psalms 31:24 NLT
The child of God should realize that God is their strength, protector, defender, and promoter. This begs an answer to the question - If God is all of these things to us, why do we allow the devil to make us feel discouraged and defeated? If the enemy can get us to believe that we are paupers instead of children of the King, he has accomplished his task of winning the fight before it even begins. Satan is a liar!! In John's gospel, Jesus confronted some Jewish people who simply claimed to be God's children by their genealogy. In His remarks He clearly called Satan a liar and the "father of lies". “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT No family line can save us. Certainly, a good family line can rear us in the teaching of the truth. However, simply being born into a particular family doesn't make us a child of God. Only those who truly know Jesus Christ are God's children. When we are His children, we are under His protection and care. Our Father knows what we need. He cares about our welfare. He is right here with us. He will not fail or forsake us!! Let us place our full confidence in His ability, not our own.
Today, you may feel weak and without strength to overcome. If you trust in the Lord Jesus as your Master, don't listen to the voice of the liar, Satan. Listen to the voice of the Triumphant Lord of lords and King of kings. He is with you right now. Trust in Him. Lean on His everlasting arm. Be strong and courageous! Let me leave you with this verse from Joshua: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua 1:9 NLT
“Love the Lord, all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant.”
Psalms 31:23 NLT
Loving God is the first and most significant commandment. There is nothing more important. Everything in life is wrapped up in that one command. Loving God is the basis of civilization. In order to have civility and stability, society must know the love of God and learn how to love one another. The greatest command in the Jewish culture was to love God! “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NLT
This is part of the daily prayer of the Jew. This is called "The Shema Prayer" Jesus reiterated this very truth in the Matthew 22:37-40 and Mark 12:29-31. We, too, would do well to begin every day with a prayer that declares that we "...love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and strength." Take the time to do this today!!
O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe. You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone. I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.”
Psalms 31:1-5 NLT
David continues his expression of the struggles he faced. In writing these Psalms (sacred songs, hymns, carols, or anthems), David expresses his feelings regarding the circumstances of his life. As you read through the Psalms you will discover the regularity of these expressions. Putting our struggles to words helps us process our feelings and allows us to make declarations of faith. Regardless of the struggle, David declares God as "faithful"! To be faithful, someone must demonstrate continuity, consistency, dependability, and trustworthiness! God is all of thee above!!! Can I get an AMEN from anybody? No matter what you are going through today, the one thing you don't have to be concerned about: the faithfulness of God! He is the same throughout all time and beyond all time! “All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”
Jude 1:25 NLT
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”
Psalms 30:11-12 NLT
David knew the bliss of God's deliverance. What a cause for praise! Just when he felt there was no way out, God brought victory over the enemy. How sweet it is to experience deliverance from something that has tried to defeat us. I've always heard "the higher the mountain, the sweeter the victory"! Perhaps you are going through one of those seasons right now. Things couldn't be worse. The bills are too high, the stress is unnerving, and you are tempted to submit to the taunts of the enemy as he jeers at you with discouragement. Let me encourage you today. Take a new hold on life. Put the past behind you. Embrace today. look ahead to what God has in store! Live in the mercy and goodness of Almighty God. Trust the things that threaten you into His hands. Rest in His arms and receive the strength to carry on. Just like David, God will grant you victory over the enemy. Look ahead and don't look back. The battle belongs to the Lord! You aren't fighting FOR victory, you are fighting WITH victory! David made a public declaration as he went out to fight Goliath the giant. “And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”” 1 Samuel 17:47 NLT We know the rest of the story. Victory was granted that day! God brought deliverance to the nation of Israel from an unexpected source, a shepherd boy. Don't underestimate your own ability when God is with you. No enemy of hell can defeat the child of God when God is their defender. Today, if you are His, and you have given your battle to Him, let this promise give you a backbone of steel: “But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 54:17 NLT “So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment.” 2 Peter 2:9 NLT Dance before Him right now. He has turned mourning to dancing. The joy you have longed for has returned. Revel in His presence. Celebrate His goodness. Sing and make a joyful noise! Shout thanksgiving to God! He is worthy!!! Hallelujah!!!
“When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered. I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.””
Psalms 30:6-10 NLT
How many of us have had the same experience? Things are going well financially and in other ways. In those moments we "feel" on top of the world. How quickly things can change! Circumstances take a direct opposite course and we "feel" forsaken. How easy it is to praise God when things are well. How difficult it is to praise Him when things are not well. One moment God seems so close and the other He seems so far. Our hearts cry out in loneliness and discouragement. Instead of "feeling" so spiritually on fire, we are cold and cruel. The situations of life cause us to experience such a spectrum of emotions. How can we plummet so far away from the way things were yesterday? "If only God had kept us from the current struggle" we cry. Naturally, and instinctively, we tend to blame God for the things we don't understand. The beauty in all of this is the simple reality that God is unchanged! He is undeterred by our momentary condition. In fact, He is compassionate and understanding, more than anyone, humanly, can be. In His mercy, He lets us vent our frustrations and vomit our disdain of the circumstances. He knows how healthy it is to process our emotions to Someone who understands it all, even more than we do. For many years, growing up, I heard people say "we aren't supposed to question God"! Since that time, I have come to learn this simply isn't true. God knows our human frame and, more than anyone, the natural bent of our depravity. Who, more than He, can tolerate our need to express our innermost struggles? Who, more than He, is able to see beyond our words to the need of our heart? God, and God alone, is the One we should be able to be, unreservedly, honest with. After all, He already knows what's processing inside us. Let me be clear here! I am not advocating being belligerent or foul toward our Heavenly Father. However, I am advocating being fully honest with Him about our struggle with life's grappling issues. Take a listen to Job's words from the Old Testament: “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me— tell me the charge you are bringing against me. What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while smiling on the schemes of the wicked? Are your eyes like those of a human? Do you see things only as people see them?” Job 10:1-4 NLT
This is only an excerpt from the total chapter. I encourage you to read the entire text. Without doubt, Job had a conversation with God that clearly stated his questions and perspectives. In today's scripture, David found himself in the same situation. Perhaps that is where you are right now. Take time to vomit up the stewing, turbulent things that grapple with your soul. God is big enough to handle your questions! He is patient enough to endure your temporary eruptions! When you express what has been suppressed, you can experience relief and freedom from the molten lava that lies, like magma, beneath the surface. Other people don't see the unseen struggle that torments your soul. God does! Take off your mask today. In your honesty, intimacy can be found. In our marital, physical relationships we must take off our outer garments for intimacy to take place. Even when we take a bath or shower, we must do the same. The same is true spiritually. We must relinquish the facade we present to others and get naked before God! Only then can we experience the cleansing we so desperately need. May God help us take off the mask, strip off the outer "shell", and help us release the magma that is boiling within. As Jesus said “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NLT
“Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Psalms 30:4-5 NLT
God is long suffering and merciful, yet He is also just. The word "just" is defined as righteous, honest, and true. He renders impartial judgment! Yes, God has anger. Now, before you jump to the wrong conclusion, stop for a moment and recognize that His anger is based on His being "just". Therefore, His anger is righteous indignation toward evil. Only God has absolute righteous anger. Anger isn't a sin to us either, unless we act upon it in our sinful nature. Anger is an innate response of emotion. How we act on our anger is based on the condition of our spirit. If we are conducting our self in the natural, fallen, sinful state of our depravity, we will allow anger to drive us into sinful action. However, if we live under the control of the Holy Spirit (God), we will not be controlled by the wicked passions of our sinful nature. Listen to Galatians 5: “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:16-17 NLT “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, OUTBURSTS OF ANGER, (all capitals added), selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 NLT Listen to how the NASB says this: “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB The KJV says it like this: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 KJV Anger isn't the sin. The sin is found when we allow the devil to use our anger to prod us into sinful actions. God has no sin!!! He cannot sin!!! Therefore, His anger is wholly "just"! God's wrath is utterly righteous! The good news in today's scripture is that His anger doesn't abide. His anger is much shorter than His long suffering and mercy. AREN'T YOU GLAD?? I sure am!! Praise Him child of God! Praise Him! God's favor far out weighs His anger. If This weren't true, we'd all be destroyed! Surely you can recognize how His favor has kept you and delivered you. Like David, take time today to praise Him for this very fact! Weeping from the the adversity of circumstances may come to visit, but don't let it pack its bags and move in. Let God's joy return to your life today!
“I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.”
Psalms 30:1-3 NLT
Has God brought you out of a horrible pit? Have you been granted deliverance from enemy attack? Give glory to God! Exalt Him with your declarations of praise! Shout His greatness to the world! He is worthy of all of our praise! Have you been in a valley of health challenges? Have you experienced the healing hand of God? Give Him praise! He is Jehovah Rapha - "The Lord who heals"! Do you need a healing touch right now? Call on Him! He waits for your genuine, humble cry. The woman who had a hemorrhage of blood for 12 years came to Him in the bustling crowd and pressed her way to Him. As she touched the outer fringe of His robe, she was instantaneously healed! (see Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48). This woman had seen physicians and had spent all of her financial resources on medical help. Nothing had helped her. In her desperation, she came, in full faith, to her only hope - Jesus! She didn't care what others thought. She didn't have to decide whether He could heal her or not! She simply acted in faith! Faith touches the heart of our Father! He is moved by our cries of genuine trust! (see Hebrews 11:1 & 6). When she finally reached the place where she could touch His clothes, virtue went out from Him and dispensed, to her, what was needed. Her faith was so genuine that Jesus called her "Daughter"! This declaration makes a statement of belonging to the family. I believe that Jesus saw her act as a statement of faith in who He was. She didn't just "want something from Him", she truly believed in Him with all of her heart! There are those who only want Jesus as long as they need something. Jesus is looking for those who believe in who is and who are committed to Him as their LORD! Today, I want to declare my full trust in who He is and what He has done. Sure, He has rescued me from circumstances that were adverse. Indeed, He has delivered me from the valley of despair many times. I have even experienced physical healing in my body that only He could provide. However, I praise Him, not only as a recipient of His acts of greatness, but as LORD of my life! For this reason, I praise Him eternally! Truly, He has delivered me from eternal death and damnation! If he has done the same for you, please join me In praising Him with absolute celebration! For that we should give Him glory throughout all of eternity! Hallelujah!!!!!!!
“Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning. The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
Psalms 29:1-11 NLT
David exclaims the glory, holiness, power, and majesty of God! All of us should, on a regular basis, take the time to ponder the greatness of God. Let us stand in awe at the display of His mighty works! As the great old song says: Verse 1: "O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder. Thy power throughout the universe displayed" Chorus: "Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art. Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art!" Verse 2: "When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze" Repeat the chorus! May we never loose the awe that should accompany the consideration of our Great God!
Rev. Curtis Norris