May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14 NLT
You can tell someone's heart by the way they talk. Words are a reflection of the heart. Jesus said this: “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Matthew 12:34 NLT Words have such power. They can build us up or tear us down. They can fan a flame in someone's heart or extinguish it. The old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is one of the most foolish statements ever made. Often, a person can heal from physical injury easier than they can words that have inflicted hurt upon them. James chapter 3 is a very clear passage about this matter. “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.” James 3:2-12 NLT Words can start wars, destroy marriages, snuff out the spark of child's spirit, and so many other negative things. However, words can also speak life and blessing. “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21 NLT Our tongues are an instrument that God has given us to communicate. How we communication is the issue. We can use it to bless or we can use it to cause a mess. So many of us use our tongues in evil ways. We are pessimistic, we grumble and complain, we are cynical, and we criticize more than we commend. We find ourselves in a routine of talk that is laced with the venom of the world around us. We get caught in a rut, speaking in accordance with the culture around us rather than from the Spirit of God. The tongue only weighs 2 or 3 ounces, yet it unleashes such havoc. As children of God, our tongues should be used for the glory of God, which, in turn, will bring about a righteous result. This is not to say that we aren't to be firm, truthful, and even corrective in our words when necessary. In fact, this is a righteous thing to do when addressed with the Spirit of God as our teleprompter. There will be times when we simply need to confront an issue with forthright reproof or rebuke, but we must never forget to exhort as well. Paul told Timothy this: “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2 NLT Whatever the words may be, let us speak under the influence of the Holy Spirit and not our sinful nature. The Spirit brings life! The flesh brings death.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, guard my tongue, guide my tongue, and glorify Yourself in the way I use my tongue. Take my heart and make it Yours. Fill my heart with Your Word! If my heart is Yours, so my tongue will also be.
Clean and Forgiven
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.”
Psalms 19:12-13 NLT
There is no way for any of us to know all the sins lurking in our hearts. By nature, our hearts are deceitfully and desperately wicked. No matter what the "new age" humanistic culture may say, we are not essentially good at heart. We do not need to look within ourselves to find ourselves or our "inner peace". That is nothing but hogwash (nonsense). Listen to what God's Word says about the sinful, human heart: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT Only God knows the depth of our sin. Only He can shine His light into the darkness of our hearts and drive it out. The only antidote to our wicked hearts is the blood of Jesus Christ!!! The lyric of an old hymn comes to mind: "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!" The only hope of cleansing and righteousness is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Him, and Him alone, are we clean and forgiven.
Take a look at these Bible verses:
“So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.” John 6:53 NLT
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT
“But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13 NLT
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” Hebrews 10:19 NLT
“So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood.”
Hebrews 13:12 NLT
“God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” 1 Peter 1:2 NLT
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NLT
“and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.” Revelation 1:5 NLT
None of us are "good" people. We all are sons of Adam. We are inherently evil because of sin. Our hearts are prone to wander. Only through the blood of Jesus Christ are we redeemed, made holy, and "good". As I so often say in sermons "Jesus is the 1 and I'm a 0. Without Him I'm a 0. With Him I'm a 10". Only when He is Lord of our lives are we good. Through Him our hearts are transformed from darkness and sin to light and righteousness.
Prayer for today:
Father, in the name and blood of Jesus Christ Your Son, and our Lord, wash away my sin. Cleanse me and make me whole. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and make my heart like You!
God's Word Is Eternal
“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.”
Psalms 19:7-11 NLT
God's Word is perfect!!! Imagine the world without the Word of God! What a mess we would be in without the Word of God. As the psalmist says, God's Word revives the soul, is trustworthy, makes wise, is right, brings joy to the heart, and gives insight for living. When we reverence Him and His Word we, too, have an everlasting promise. God's Word is true and fair! There is no where else where one can find all that mankind needs to live life at its best. If only we sought it with the passion we have for gold and silver! Gold and silver are used for a time but God's Word transcends time. God's Word is eternal!!! God's Word brings warning to His servant and brings great reward to the obedient.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, forgive me of my neglect of Your Word! Help me to make Your Word the foundation of all that I am. Saturate me in Your Word, O Lord!
God Is Awesome
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.” Psalms 19:1-6 NLT
Creation reveals the majesty of God. He is the Creator! The complexity and comprehensiveness of creation is testimony of the intellect and meticulous nature of God. The engineering ability of God is beyond our comprehension. He is the Master Engineer, Architect, and Builder. He needs no approval from an agency or department in order to proceed with His work. His work is perfect and absolutely glorious. I stand in awe of His handiwork. Whether it is the wonder and complexity of the human body as it forms in the womb, the variations of animal life, the mighty oceans that roar, the rivers and creeks that flow, the colors of the under water world, the grandeur of the mountains, the waving of the grass in the fields when the wind blows, the splendor of the celestial evangelists (stars), or an endless list of earths beauty, I am awestruck. God is AWESOME! Can all of God's people say AMEN??
God's Way Is Perfect
“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.”
Psalms 18:30-36 NLT
God's way is perfect!!! Let all of God's children say AMEN!!! All of His promises are fulfilled! God never lies. When God says something you can count on it. As someone has said "You can take it to the bank"! God is our shield of protection in the midst of the battle! Just as David poses the question, may we echo it to our generation: Who is God except Yahweh, Adonai, Elohim, Yeshua HaMashiach - Jesus. Yeshua is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek name Jesus (Yehoshua - the Hebrew long form). God is our rock. We find our strength in Him. He prepares our way before us. Our steps are established with surety and steadiness. This makes us capable of standing on the mountainsides with confidence and raises us up over our enemies. God enables us to scale the heights and grants us superior position in the battle. Our strength is derived from His supernatural bestowing. In Him, we are able to pull the bronze bow and shoot the lethal arrows of victory, with precision accuracy, to defeat our enemy. We are not fighting for victory, we are fighting with victory. Praise His Holy Name!!!
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, thank You for being my strong tower and my defender! In You I have victory!! Give me Your strength and help me be a mighty warrior for You. May I not concern myself with the power of the enemy. May my focus be upon You.
God Is For Us
“You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.”
Psalms 18:28-29 NLT
God will always light the path of those who are His. He will turn darkness to light. I love the way David boasts in the LORD! With God, not even an army can defeat us. With God, there is no barrier that can't be overcome! As the Apostle Paul declared in Philippians 4:13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” NLT Listen to Romans 8:31: “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” NLT Consider the Prophet Isaiah: “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 Take a moment to read Psalm 27. There is no one to be afraid of but God. He alone possesses all power. If He is with us, if He is for us, if He is in us, then whom shall we fear? Embrace this declaration: “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NLT
Greater is God in us! Jesus is with us, for us, and in us. His Spirit dwells in the very body of the true believer (see I Corinthians 6:19). We need not be afraid. Take heart child of God. Everything is going to be ok. Trust in Jesus and fall into His arms of grace.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I know You are with me, for me, and in me. Your Spirit lives inside me. I love You and trust You. Help me rest in the assurance of Your mighty power and not my fleeting circumstances.
The Character of God
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.”
Psalms 18:25-27 NLT
God honors faithfulness, integrity, purity, and humility. These characteristics are synonymous with the character of Almighty God! When we claim to be His child, we are, in essence, claiming that we are like Him in our character. After all, if we are truly His, shouldn't we have the traits of our Father? Are you faithful in your Christian conduct? Are you a person of integrity? Are you pure in your motives and methods? Do you demonstrate humility in your behavior? Anyone who professes Jesus Christ as Lord should seek to live their life with these characteristics. Jesus is always faithful. His character is flawless, completely pure. He lives in utter integrity. He humbled Himself in obedience to the very act of sacrifice. Because of these traits, He is exalted and has the name above every name. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians Chapter 2: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11 NLT Jesus is the epitome of faithfulness, integrity (honorable ethics and morality) purity, and humility. Let's strive to be like Him! Ask Him to live through you. Ask Him to tear down all the things in your life that are not like Him. Then, ask Him to mold you into His image and begin living your life under His Lordship rather than your own carnal nature. If you ask Him, He will baptize you with His Spirit and give you the power to live like Him. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can any of us live as we should. “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves" "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:16, 22-25 NLT
Prayer for today: Father, in the most mighty name of Jesus, forgive me of my shortcomings in these things. I beg you to baptize me in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let me experience Your purging, purifying power. Mold me into Your likeness and help me live like You. May my character demonstrate that I am truly Yours.
Protector and Provider
I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.”
Psalms 18:1-6 NLT
David, the king, praised God for being his strength, rock, fortress, and protection. God had delivered him from his enemies and had given him victory. He describes the intensity of his struggle with "ropes of death"and "floods of destruction". His mind had contemplated the grave. His mortality had certainly come to the forefront of his thinking. In the depth of his circumstances he cried out to God. God knew his innocence, heart, and his situation. God heard his cry and granted him deliverance. Today, may we, like David, cry out to God in our circumstances. He knows our hearts, He will hear our cry for help and will grant us deliverance. God shows Himself strong on behalf of those who are His! “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..."
2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I come to You declaring my absolute dependence upon You for everything in my life. You have been my merciful protector and provider all the days of my life. I trust You as my protector and provider today and for all of my tomorrows. I'm in Your loving hands. In Jesus name! Amen!!
Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.”
Psalms 17:15 NLT
David, the King of Israel, knew that he was innocent of the accusations of His enemies and that the attacks from his enemies were unjustified. David was speaking of his practical righteousness. He was, in his practice, doing what was right. David did not know the atoning work of the Messiah, Jesus. However, he did place His trust in God! By doing so, his faith was accounted for righteousness with God! Now I'm not talking about intellectual acknowledgement of God. I'm speaking of placing his complete trust in God. There is a very stark difference in the two. Believing in God intellectually is good, but not good enough. The definition of the word "belief" must be clarified. In the scripture, when we read of "believing" it refers to the idea of fidelity (to place one's life into the trust of). The devil knows there is a God but that doesn't make him a saved devil. “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” James 2:19 NLT Positional righteousness (our standing with God) can only be received by faith. It has always been about faith!! “And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6 NLT The thought of being righteous is uncomfortable to a sinner. When we see ourselves, we see imperfection, inadequacy, insufficiency, and all the other descriptions of less than enough. The fact is, we are all less than. We have all sinned! “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 NLT None of us can achieve the standard of God's holiness. It is impossible in, and of, ourselves. This leaves us hopeless if we have no hope of rescue. Without redemption, we are aimlessly lost. The only hope we have is God Himself. He became a man, in the person and body of Jesus Christ. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 NLT “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” Colossians 2:9 NLT The reality of positional righteousness is true for those who believe in (trust their lives completely in) the Lord Jesus Christ! We cannot achieve it, but thank God we can receive it! Can I hear a Hallelujah!!! Jesus has made it absolutely possible for us to be made righteous. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT (Learn these verses and commit them to memory - John 3:16-18; Romans 3:23; 6:23; I John 1::9; Romans 10:8-10, 13; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; I John 5:13).
I know I'm saved! Do you? Are you trusting in Jesus for your salvation? Have you truly repented of your sins and given your life to Him? This question demands an answer. The choice is yours. Why turn away from the One who offers redemption and righteousness?
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I come to You repenting of all my sin! I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Forgive my sins and fill me with Your Holy Spirit! May I truly know that I am a righteous child of God. I know that in myself I am undone. Through Jesus Christ I am made righteous! Thank You LORD! Thank you LORD! Thank You LORD!
“Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart— like young lions hiding in ambush. Arise, O Lord! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! By the power of your hand, O Lord, destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants.”
Psalms 17:7-14 NLT
Continually, David prays for deliverance from his enemies. He pleads with God to demonstrate His unfailing love. He states faith in the mighty power of God to bring him victory over the wicked enemies that pursue his life. He knows that God's character cannot abide the wicked, but defends His children - the treasured ones. He ends with a statement of faith toward the righteous - plentiful provision and an inheritance for the succeeding generations.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I come to You asking forgiveness of any sin that may stand between You and I. I come to You with absolute dependence. You are the source of my life. Protect me from all things that seek to harm me. Place a shield around me and all that You have given me. I cannot rise above the challenges of my life without Your faithful love and grace. Grant me victory over anything that opposes my walk with You. Let me live a life that sees Your bountiful provision to me and all those whom You have given me. Bless all who are Yours. May I take what You place in my hands and glorify Your Holy Name!
Rev. Curtis Norris