“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—-come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—-let not the rebellious rise up against him.” (Psalm 66:5-7)
Praising God is always appropriate, and noting those things that He did, that benefited us all. Way too often, we tend to look only at our own situations, when God is looking out for all of His people and on a much grander scale that we could ever comprehend. This does not see or recognize individual needs or hurts, for He can address them as well, but He wants us to look beyond ourselves and towards the multitudes that are in greater distress than we are. If we only look at our own things, we cannot possibly see others hurting, too.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, guide us in our daily lives to take our attention to more than just on us, but to so many others who are in dire straits. Our joy comes from serving the Lord and the more involved we are serving our brothers and sisters around us and beyond, the less we focus on the smaller things in our own lives. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Let your burdens make you better—not bitter.”
“Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. Your brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but your brought us to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:8-12)
This psalm reveals that the people recognized (probably justly), that they had undergone tough times, but throughout God was with them and ultimately that He brought them to a place of abundance. If we look back and only remember he tough times, then we didn’t learn anything. I often work with people needing spiritual guidance, and I will ask them to journal. I tell them it is not for me to look at; rather, for them to look back and see those tough time, and then see where God was working in the midst of them for better times. This way, you not only recognize that you have been through tough times, but you were never truly alone, as you can see God’s actions all through those tough times. I also ask them to create a prayer room at home. It may be in an office you already have set up or a bedroom closet you can go in and everyone knows you are not to be distracted, as you are praying. Then, before you begin to pray, look at the rough spots and the “God spots,” so as you pray, you can also remember to praise Him for all He has done for you.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Psalm 98:1-3)
God’s awesome involvement in Israel’s national and individual lives called forth praise from His people and from the nations. They revealed God’s love was more than an abstract idea used by theologians. Instead, God’s love gain concrete expression in His historical actions.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“If I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from His storehouses. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of men and animals. He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings—-Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan and all the kings of Canaan —-and he gave their land as an inheritance, and inheritance to His people Israel. Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on the servants. The idols of the nations and silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouth. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” (Psalm 135:5-18)
History reveals God’s uniqueness, compared to all others who “claim” to be God. It also teaches us that evil fores cannot keep God’s people down forever. God’s grace come to the aid of His people. God has established laws in this world, but He is not a slave to them, and nor does He intend to enslave His people with them. Our God gives us free will to accept Him and not. He loves us and provides for His people, but He does not expect us to lie around and wait for Him to provide us with essentials. We are able to work and should work, to provide for the needs of our families. He also want us to reach out to others, with the same love that He reaches out to us. Without rules, we would simply have chaos, so we must abide by rules or suffer the consequences. In contrast, if we do not accept Him, there is a consequence for that action as well, but He will not make us love Him, he want us to love Him because it is the right response to all He has done for each one of us. Your choice, as they say. “Choose wisely.”