A Challenge For You and Me


Sun rise

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
   I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”

Psalm 9: 1-2 (NIV)

How often do we stop to thank God for all that He has done for us? How many times do we pass up an opportunity to tell others about the things that God is doing in our lives? Do we make it a point to be glad in the Lord? Do we make it a point to sing the praises of God and His goodness?

These Scriptures that I have chosen for today point out four specific things that I believe, as Christians, we should be doing. As I read this passage this morning I realized that in my own life I do not do these things as often as I should. I would like to take each one and talk about it and then I have a challenge that I would like to share with you.

The first part of this passage reads, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.”How often do we stop to thank God for all that he has done in our lives? I am afraid that if we are honest with ourselves we will find that we do not thank God nearly as much as we should. Take a moment and think about all the things we have to be thankful for in just one day. God has blessed us beyond measure and we need to remember to thank Him for those blessings every single day.

The next thing that David says is, “I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” When was the last time you stopped and told someone about all the wonderful things that God has been doing in your life? I know in my own life, I am much more apt to tell someone about the problems I am facing rather than all the things I have been blessed with. I believe that as Christians we should make it a point to focus on all the wonderful deeds that God has done and is still doing in our lives rather than to focus on the trials we are facing. Yes, we all face troubles and trials, but I believe the more we focus on our blessings the smaller our trials and troubles will seem.

The third line in this passage tells us, “ I will be glad and rejoice in you.”Are you glad today? As Christians we should be the happiest people around. No matter what difficulties come our way we can be glad and rejoice in spite of those difficulties because God is taking care of us. We are told in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in the world, but that we can also have peace because Jesus has overcome the world. That should give us a reason to be glad and to rejoice. Let us always do our best to be glad in spite of our circumstances and to rejoice in the Lord no matter how what difficulty we are facing.

Finally, we read in the last part of this passage: “I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.”  Now, I am sure some of you are thinking, “You do not want to hear me sing.” I am here to tell you today that God does not care what you sound like; He wants you to praise Him anyway. I read a quote the other day that said, “When you can not sing, hum.” No matter how you sing praises of the name of Jesus, just remember for whom you sing. I do not believe that this verse means that you must literally sing, I believe that it means we are to praise God at all times. No matter how we choose to sing our praises to God, the important thing to remember is that He is worthy of our praise. We have been blessed beyond measure and we need to sing about that every day.

I want to challenge you this morning. Make it a point today to do each one of these things. Ask yourself these questions today:

Do I thank the Lord with all my heart?

Do I tell of all His wonderful deeds? 

Am I glad and do I rejoice in the Lord?

and finally,

Do I sing the praises of the Lord?

If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, I want to encourage you today to focus on that and begin to work on it. Make it a point today to thank God. Tell others about all that He has done in your life. Rejoice in the Lord and sing His praises.

God is so good to us. Whether we take the time to realize it or not, we are blessed beyond measure. I want these words to be a challenge to you and me. Let us take our focus off of the troubles around us and let us begin to count our blessings and to thank God for all the things that He does in our lives.

Nailing Down Stakes and Setting up Altars


climb

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Do you ever get discouraged? I think we can safely say that from time to time we all get discouraged. Whether it be in our spiritual walks, in our jobs, or in our families, we all face discouragement. It is important for us to understand where this comes from and what we can do about it.

The devil knows if He can discourage us, he can beat us. I have said before that the devil has no power in himself. He knows that his fate is already sealed, and he wants nothing more than to see us fail. The only way he can do that is to use our own weaknesses against us. If he can cause us to doubt, he will. If he can cause us to worry, he will. If he can cause us to get discouraged, then he will. Satan is no fool. He knows exactly where to attack you and me. He knows our weaknesses and he will try to use them to defeat us.

It is important for us to recognize when the devil is attacking us. If we can understand how the devil works, then we can be better equipped to fight him. From time to time my dad preaches about two things we as Christians can do to resist these lies of the devil. We can nail down stakes and set up altars.

 My dad says that when mountain climbers are climbing they will place stakes along their path so they can see how far they have come. As Christians we must do the same thing. The reason for this is so that when the devil attacks, we can have something to hold onto, something to look back on to see how far God has brought us.

When we are first saved, we nail down our first stake, a moment that we can look back on and know in our hearts that Jesus touched us that day. If the devil comes to us and tries to cause us to doubt our salvation, we can go back to that day, and know that it is the devil trying to get us to doubt. As we grow as a Christian, we can nail down different stakes. When the devil tries to get us to doubt, we can go back to that stake and let it be a reminder of how far we have come.

As a blogger, I can remember the day that I felt God speak to my heart and tell me this is what He wanted me to do. Each time the devil tries to discourage me, each time he tells me I am not making a difference, each time He tells me that I am failing, I go back to that day. I remember that moment when I felt God speak to my heart, and I am able to resist that lie that the devil is trying to get me to believe.

Not only do we nail down stakes as reminders, but we also set up altars to thank God for what He has blessed us with and brought us through. Many times in the Bible people built up altars as a reminder of what God had done for them and also as a way to say thank you for God’s blessings. I am not saying that we have to set up physical altars. I mean we need to remember to be thankful to God for all that He has blessed us with and how far He has brought us.

One way the devil will try to discourage you is by reminding you of all your trouble. He will try to make you believe that your life is so hard and that you have no hope. I believe the fastest way to put the devil on the run is to begin to count your blessings.

You see, the devil wants to deceive us, he will paint a picture that is not real and try to sell it to us. We must recognize when the devil is at work and be equipped to resist him. I believe the best way to do that is to nail down your stakes and set up your altars. How can the devil stick around when we are remembering where God has brought us from and praising Him for it? I do not believe he can.

I do not know what the devil uses to try to defeat you. I do not know the lies he tries to tell you. I can tell you that God knows and He understands. God has equipped you with what you need to resist those lies. Nail down your stakes. Remember when God saved you from your sins. Remember each time God helped you to grow in your Christian walk. If God has called you to do a job, hang onto that moment when you knew it was a calling from God. Finally, remember to set up your altars. Remember to thank God for all the things which he has done in your life.

The devil can not fill your mind with all of his lies when you praising God in your heart and letting Him fill you will his presence. I pray today, if you have not done these two things, that you will take some time and nail down your stakes, and then set up your altars. God has been so good to us. Let us give Him all the honor and all the glory today. In doing so, the devil will flee.

Do Not Forget


dont forget

Then beware lest thou forget the Lord,

   which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt,

from the house of bondage.

Deuteronomy 6:12

Have you ever had something really good happen to you?

Maybe you got an unexpected promotion at work, or you have gone to buy groceries and everything you needed is on sale. Maybe you are in college and you get that paper back you worked so hard on and find that you have received an “A”.

Do you know where those blessings came from? Sure, you had some part in it, but ultimately the blessing came from God.

In this passage of Scripture, God is warning the Children of Israel that when they get to the promised land, not to forget who brought them there and supplied their needs. In the verses just before the one I shared this morning, God is reminding the people of all the things with which He will bless them. He tells them not to forget how they got their houses filled with all the good things they would need, and how the wells were already prepared, and the vineyards  had already been planted. He is warning the people not to forget that they did not do any of that. God did that for them, He had already provided for their needs before they even got there.

I want us to remember the same thing this morning. And trust me, I needed this reminder.

Sometimes in life, when good things happen, we forget to give praise where praise is due. I want us to remember that no matter what happens in life, God should receive all the honor and the glory for it. Without God’s love and mercy on our lives, we are hopeless, helpless creatures. Our very existence is due to God and His unfailing love for us.

Let us always remember to give God all the praise and glory for the things that happen in our lives. When you receive that promotion, Praise God. When you get that “A” you worked so hard for, Praise God. When you find that item on sale that you needed to buy, Praise God.

We are nothing on our own. Everything we have and everything we accomplish is all because of God. Let us remember to praise Him for those things today.