Acts 27:27-44 – Crash Bang!

Read Acts 27:27-44

Frightening. Panic is setting in. Paul takes command again. I can’t even imagine the fear that was coursing through the veins of those on that ship. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced fear like that. I’ve had my share of adversity but never a shipwreck. That’s when circumstances are really out of your control. The men on the ship tried to avoid the inevitable.

We often try to throw out anchors in life to keep ourselves from sinking. We grasp at straws to avoid the inevitable. Getting older. It’s inevitable. I have spent a lot of time in nursing homes this past week, and seen a lot of old people. Sad old people. Their joy seemed to have vanished. I was sad.

We need to hold on to the things that matter. Our faith, for example. No matter what happens in life, God’s love never changes. His promises are always true. We can always rely on him. That is where we get our joy. Continue reading “Acts 27:27-44 – Crash Bang!”

Psalm 138 – Assurance

Read Psalm 138

When I read this psalm, I told myself that I wanted to see if I could sum it up in one word for the title. Assurance is what came to me in an instant. Read the psalm again and write in the comments what word came to your mind.

David is giving us a great example of how we praise and bless our God. With thanks, singing praise, bowing down, prayer. When is the last time you bowed down or got on your knees during your time with God?

There are some really great worship songs that talk of that total surrender. Here’s one of my favorites. Click here.

We can boldly come before our God knowing he is there and listening. He deserves our undivided attention.  How do you get yourself to a place of such reverence? Does it take a while to feel connected and as one with your Savior?

Let’s take a look at using David’s example here in this psalm as our prayer outline or guide. We start out by giving thanks. Coming with a grateful heart is always pleasing to God. Bow down, kneel, sing praise, pray, whatever it takes to close out distractions.

Then, the psalmist looks to others, perhaps this is where we pray for others, use good examples from the faithful to draw us deeper into our admiration.

Finally, once in total communion  with God, affirm God for all the good he has done and is doing in your life. Give him your troubles and concerns. Trust him to make all things right as he sees fit for you.

My favorite verse in this psalm is verse 8. “The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Take a moment to resonate with that promise and assurance. God will work things out for us. I am confident that even when we take the wrong turn, he is there to help us find a new way. 

Like GPS will redirect and recalculate when you miss a turn, so our God, in an even greater way, helps us get back on track. Have you gotten off track during your life? Do you ever wonder what would have happened if….? Trust that God has given you a beautiful “Plan B”. He has for me!

Let’s pray. Thank you Lord for being there to walk with me. When I take the wrong turn, thank you for finding me and getting me back on course (or helping me chart a new course). I love to sing your praises and lift your name on high. May my life be a shining example of your grace today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 126 – Joy!

Read Psalm 126

Have you ever been happy like that? As the psalmist talks about the Israelites returning to Jerusalem after years in exile. They were so happy, they thought they were dreaming.

As the story goes, however, these Israelites had probably never seen the true beauty of Jerusalem before. Why? Because the exile had lasted so long. Those that had been the ones to leave had long since died. But the dream of returning, the memory of God’s promise, the desire for Jerusalem lived on.

I have “pinch me” moments quite often when I wake up to another beautiful, sunny day here in Mexico. I’m retired now with no more alarm clocks. I have joy in that, and often have to  remind myself I’m not dreaming.

We should all have the Israelite’s kind of joy in our hearts at the mere thought of our loving God. He showed us he loved us in a big way when he sent his son. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us, for our sins, was the triumph of greatest magnitude. Every follower should be jumping for joy and having a “pinch me” moment at the very thought.

As the history continues, it didn’t take the returning Israelites  long to see that their beloved City was in ruin. The glory days had long since ended. The second half of the psalm is a beautiful call for God’s provision to restore and renew. I appreciate how it is done with such integrity and not selfish plea.  In the strength of those words, there is no doubt that God will act, and when he does., their response…JOY!

Do you have that kind of assurance when you pray? Do you know without a doubt that God will make “lemonade out of lemons” for you? Are you ready to sing and shout for joy at the thought? Think on that for a while. Is it time to rejuvenate your allegiance to God? Your prayer life?

Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for all you have done for me! You have changed my mourning into dancing and left me stronger in the wake of my struggles. Thank you for guiding me through those dark days to such a sunny and bright future. I know that your hand is at work to guide and direct us here in our new surroundings. Thank you for the opportunity to reach people I wouldn’t have otherwise reached through this transition. Use us to make a difference. In Jesus’ name. Amen.