“Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how He brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; He burns the shields with fire.”
Psalms 46:8-9 NLT
No matter how advanced a generation may become in technology, God is still the One who holds all power in His hand!!! No finite intelligence or military might can withstand His Almighty person or power. Any nation, people, or culture that think they can somehow ignore God, and not pay the consequences, is utterly foolish. At the Tower of Babel, in Genesis 11, God had to set things straight when man felt that he could somehow ascend to the place of God. This has been the primary problem from the time of Satan's rebellion in beginning. We see a description of this in Isaiah 14. Although the text is referencing the king of Babylon, this could easily be seen as type and shadow of Satan because the king of Babylon was displaying the very nature and character of the original fallen one, Satan. Mankind often displays the nature and character of Satan because we are fallen to sin. Satan is the father of sin. When men are rebellious and arrogant, they are portraying their father, the devil! (see John 8:44). “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! (Lucifer in the KJV and NKJV). You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble? Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wasteland? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?’” Isaiah 14:12-17 NLT Jesus seems to allude to Satan's original, prideful fall in Luke: ““Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!” Luke 10:18 NLT Sinful, arrogant, pride will always end in destruction. “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 NLT
“Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.” Proverbs 18:12 NLT God will have His will accomplished regardless of the ways of sinful men. He is sovereign!!! We would do well to humble ourselves before Him and submit to His will and way! Prayer for today: Father, in the name of Jesus, forgive me of my sinful pride! Forgive our nation of its sinful pride! I beg You to shower Your mercy upon us, O Lord!! We do not deserve Your blessings but we plead for Your loving kindness and tender mercies! Without them, O Lord, we will fail and fall! Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may walk in accordance with Your Holy Word! Amen!!
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. " Psalms 46:1-7 NLT
God is our refuge! God is our strength! There is no other place to turn in trouble. We turn to God in our times of trouble because we want His intervention. God wants us to call on Him and come to Him. He is our Father! He genuinely loves us and cares about our welfare. He has the power to protect, provide, promote, prosper, and punish. God is a mighty fortress in the midst of the battle! He is a shelter in the time of storm! He is a shield in time of assault! He is comfort in distress, peace in trouble, joy in sorrow, and so much more. If you will make God your daily priority, He will be all of these things to you. Don't wait until trouble comes to draw up close to Him. “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:8 NLT Make God your first priority, not your last resort!! Let Him love on you each and every day of your life. Then, when life gets tough, He will be right there, working things out for your good. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT
“But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle. You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.” Psalms 44:9-10 NLT
Israel was God's covenant people. Although they were special to Him, He allowed them to experience oppression and even captivity. Just because we are "America" doesn't mean that God somehow gives us a pass. Like Israel, we can expect to have enemies, inside and out. We are not immune to hardship and even defeat. As a nation, our dependence should be in the Lord Jesus Christ! The only sure victory is in Him! Our future is directly connected to our relationship with God. I am afraid that we are being invaded by enemy forces and they are currently at work trying to defeat us from within. The first enemy is Satan. His nature is stealing, killing, and destroying. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT The second enemy is our own sin. Our own sins are degrading us and exposing our vulnerability. We are drowning in a sewer of wickedness. This can only lead to destruction. “The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” Psalms 9:17 NLT “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NLT The third enemy are those who seek our captivity. There are those living among us that are currently at work to undermine our Judeo-Christian heritage and lead us into a secular, socialist state. “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ”” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NLT These people are godless and are not our friends. They are our enemies. They are actively pursuing an agenda that will bring this nation to a totally opposite end than our founding fathers intended. Yes, we must love them, but we cannot allow their ways to infiltrate our lives and acclimate us to their heathenism. We must ask God to open our eyes to the dark forces at work among us. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NLT We must seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit. He will reveal the truth to all who seek God's Holy Word and desire to be filled with His righteousness. (See Matthew 5:6).
We must wake up and smell the coffee. Our nation is under attack from these three areas. If we do not repent of our wickedness, turn to God, and embrace a life of godliness, we will meet our bitter end, not too many days down the road. We cannot sit idly by, in our own selfish pursuits, while Satan, sin, and our enemies dismantle our beloved land. Stand up children of God! Preach the gospel! Win the lost! Live in righteousness! Beg God to forgive our nations sins. Ask Him to raise up men like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego (See the book Daniel), Stephen, Paul, Timothy, and other great men of God. We need God's Word now more than ever. We are at a precipice in our nation. The question is this: Will we go over and plunge to our death? The answer is directly linked to our own awareness, willingness to engage, and the fortitude to get involved. What will you do? You can sit, soak, and sour or you can make a difference. The choice is yours.
“O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago: You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors. You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free. 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. You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us. O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name. Interlude” Psalms 44:1-8 NLT
The psalmist remembers the faithful hand of God in bringing Israel through their past battles to the place of their possession. The psalmist knew that it wasn't their own might that had gained them the victory or given them the land. Remembering where we have come from, and where God has brought us, is something we should never forget. America has been brought to life by the hand of God. This land, in which we now dwell, was given to us by God's favor. The blessings we now enjoy have been afforded us by God's merciful kindness. Our prowess and power have not gained us this land. May we humbly bow in worship to the One who has redeemed our past, granted our present, and holds our future in His hands. Are you thankful to God for His blessing of living in this land? Are you constantly aware of His great kindness to you for the blessings you have received? You did not earn this land, it was given to you by God's loving favor. It is not your right to go about your daily business, it is your privilege. Do you realize how quickly that can change? Do you think we somehow "deserve" these bounties? We have all been recipients of the blessings of Almighty God! Had it not been for Him, we would be impoverished. The sad thing is this - many in our great nation have left God out of their lives and want Him out of our local, state and national affairs. This is our nations downfall! America is teetering on the precipice of disaster. Our only hope is to turn back to the One who gave us this great land. He is the only One who can sustain us!!! Like Israel, let us have this realization and make this declaration: “I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them. “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”” Joshua 24:13-15 NLT
“Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!” Psalms 43:1-5 NLT
The psalms are laden with the laments of the child of God. The struggle against their own sin, the assaults of their enemies, and the adverse circumstances of their daily living causes them to cry out to God in honest desperation. Through their trials, their faith in God is what helps them overcome. When life had left them battered and broken they called out to God for His saving power. We are just like the psalmist! We, too, are battling our own sin, dealing with enemies of various kinds (physical and spiritual), and we are challenged by the circumstances of our daily living. Let's admit it - sometimes life leaves us battered and broken. Our spirit is thirsty, our soul needs healing, and our body is tired. We need a place to rest and rejuvenate. Often we try to fill that need with the things of earth. This leaves us unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Our longing grows and intensifies. We keep trying "things" we "think" will help and we keep coming to the same conclusion, only deeper in our despair. In our moments of darkness we make choices. Our choices are influenced by the way we feel and what is easiest. Like electricity, we follow the path of least resistance. What we must learn to do is turn to the Lord. Only He understands every detail of our lives. Only He identifies fully with our situation. Only He can deliver us from our sin and give us true freedom. Only He can give us strength for the journey and joy in our spirit. Today, don't turn to the weak and beggarly elements of this carnal life. Turn to the only One who ran this race and won it - JESUS! Fall into His arms of grace and mercy. Rest in His embrace. Let Him love on you. In response, love Him with your life.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. 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. “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”
Psalms 42:5-11 NLT
Is your heart discouraged and sad? Has life left you bewildered and broken? Put your hope in the only One who won't fail you. Praise Him for His constant companionship, His steadfast love, His unfailing mercy, and His absolute faithfulness! Praise your way out of the pit. Place your trust in the One who can rescue you in any situation. Let your heart be glad in Him! Today is a new day, another chance. Embrace the moment and seize the opportunity. God has given this day to you. Celebrate!! Rejoice! Don't let the circumstances dictate your joy, let your joy overcome the circumstances. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NLT
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NLT
Today, as we get back to our routines, let us continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May it be at the forefront of each day that we live. The reason we have a forgiven past, that we can live today, tomorrow, and eternally, is because of the resurrection! The resurrection is the exclamation point at the end of the earthly life and ministry of our Lord! His birth, life, ministry, and miracles are all authenticated, validated, and forever commemorated in His resurrection. Without the resurrection, His purpose of incarnation would have been unfulfilled. The resurrection makes Him stand above all of history and proclaim that He is the One that created and recreated it. His life divides the timeline of human history, B.C. and A.D. Only the timeless, infinite creator could reverse the course of sin and death! Hallelujah!!! Let us shout and celebrate each and every day of our lives!! “And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.” Revelation 5:9-14 NLT Then, when we are gathered in His presence (see a Revelation 19-22), face to face, we will forever celebrate the matchless King of kings and Lord of lords!!!
“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.”
Galatians 6:14 NLT
“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!”
Psalms 42:4 NLT
Are you at a time and place where something has happened and you feel so far away from God? Perhaps you are going through health problems, a financial crisis, a domestic disturbance, an attack by adversaries, or sin has left you longing for that place you once knew. Whatever the circumstances, you feel so far away from that delightful place with God you once experienced. You long to return. Right now, the dark clouds of life are keeping you from seeing the light. Don't doubt in the darkness what God has revealed to you in His light. Cry out to Him in your moment of desperation and let Him drive away the discouragement. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here, and today is where you are. If sin is the issue, repent and receive forgiveness. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalms 51:7-10 NLT If circumstances are weighing you down, cast the burden on the Lord and leave it there. “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalms 55:22 NLT “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT God is right there! He stands with open arms to revive and restore you. Run to Him. Let His embrace pull you into His bosom and let His love reassure you of His faithfulness. You may fail Him, but He will never fail you!!!
“Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”” Psalms 42:3 NLT
Adversity is common to all people, even followers of Christ. We are not immune to physical problems, financial struggles, emotional distress, domestic disturbance, and taunts from our enemies. In moments of hardship it is easy to lose sight of our Lord! We become clouded by the storms around us and we become fearful. In these times, the enemy likes to drive his dagger deep into our hearts. He uses various tactics such as negative words from those around us, especially those who despise our faith and want to gloat over our trouble. They mock us with questions like the one presented in today's scripture - "Where is this God of Yours"? Our resolve is tested in these moments. The devil knows that discouragement is one of his most potent weapons. Don't listen to him. Listen to God!! No matter how difficult it may seem at this moment, let your hand push through the dry, parched ground of this trial and raise it in praise to God! He is with you and will not fail you! “...And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:20 NLT
Rev. Curtis Norris