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WANT TO BECOME AN ANGEL?
Marie asked her mother what she could do to become an angel. After a moment’s thought, she looked caringly at her and said, “Be good, Marie – very good, and if you are, someday, when you go to heaven, you will become an angel.”
But no one goes to heaven because of the life they lived or their good deeds. Entrance to heaven – eternal life with our Heavenly Father – is through Jesus Christ His Son, our Savior.
Angels, or heavenly hosts as David calls them, have an interesting status. They are older than man, but they are not eternal. They are mighty, supernatural beings who surround the throne of God and follow His commands and do whatever He asks them as His “special messengers.” They are part of God’s angelic army and His celestial court. While there has never been an increase in the number of angels, the Bible says that their company – or number – is “countless.”
David says something very interesting about them, “Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.” As His servants they have special roles and relationships with Him. But more importantly, they have special responsibilities. They are His messengers, bring comfort in times of need and distress, give military assistance, provide protection, guard and give guidance to those who are His own.
Finally, an angel will come from heaven, seize Satan, bind him in chains and cast him into “the pit.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live in complete obedience to You as do Your angels. May we always follow Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
LORD OVER ALL!
The Taj Mahal of India is one of the most costly and beautiful tombs in all of the world. It was built by an Indian ruler, using twenty thousand men, in memory of his favorite wife.
It is built of white marble and rests on an eight-sided platform of red sandstone. Each side is one hundred thirty feet long. A beautiful dome covers the center part of the building. It is famous for its remarkable acoustics and visitors entering the building are advised to be cautious of their voices and the sounds they make. It is to be a place of quiet respect.
Years ago Henrietta Mears, founder of Gospel Light Publications and one of the greatest Christian educators in the history of the church, visited the Taj Mahal and asked the guide, “May I say something?” When she was granted permission she walked on the platform and exclaimed in a moving voice, “Jesus, Christ, Son of God is Lord over all!”
Like rolls of thunder echoing in a canyon between majestic mountains her powerful voice reverberated from wall to wall and down the corridors and who were inside of the tomb heard the message, “Lord over all, over all, over all, over all…”
There are times when we look at the conditions that surround us and the problems facing us when we doubt that essential fact – “Lord over all!” God had David encode that fact in Psalm 103:19b: “His kingdom rules over all.” It was then; it is now and ever will be. God rules!
Prayer: May we never doubt, Lord, that You are the one who controls all things – and trust in Your sovereignty! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
OUR “NO ASSURANCE” POLICY
Quite frequently a dear, young friend, who is very concerned about my health, comes to my office to visit me. Each time we meet he “reviews” my work schedule and responsibilities in great detail. He wants to know what time I get to work and what time I leave; what I did on each Saturday and Sunday since we last talked. He wants to know the last time I preached at a church, where it was and how long it took me to drive to and from it. His questions are not meant to be invasive or abusive. He is concerned about my health and wants to know whether or not I am taking proper care of myself.
After we conclude his lengthy interrogation, he looks at me and makes the same statements every time we visit: “You’re working too hard. You’re working too much. You need to go on a vacation, or you will kill yourself. Why do you work so hard? Do you want to die?”
Each time we have this discussion I give him the same answer: “Dear friend, I am going to die. But I do not know when. So, I want to get as much done for the Lord as I possibly can. But I promise I will care for myself.”
And then I remind him of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”
Our days may be few, or they may be many. But one thing is for certain: We have fewer days to serve the Lord after today than we did yesterday. We must seize each opportunity for the Lord!
Prayer: Help us Lord, to realize the importance of each day knowing that we have no assurance of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
While watching a large oceangoing cargo ship slip quietly into the Atlantic, I noticed a mark on the side of the ship. Having been in the Navy for several years, I was rather embarrassed to ask my friend what it meant.
“It’s a Plimsoll Mark,” he said with authority. It was not an answer that helped at all, so I asked, “What’s a Plimsoll Mark?”
“It’s a load-line on the ship that shows how much cargo the ship can carry safely under different conditions. For example, the closer the line is to the water, the more ‘at-risk’ the ship would be in a storm.”
The Lord has a “load-line” marking on each of us. As we read in Psalm 103:14, “for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” The Psalmist assures us that God knows our limitations – what we can safely and securely “carry.”
None of us are immune to trials – nor are any of us excused from being tempted. All of us, in one way or another and at one time or another, face similar types of trials and temptations. None are new. None are different. They come at different times in different situations from different directions appealing to our different weaknesses.
As Paul wrote, “No temptation has seized you that is not common to others, And, God is faithful! He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide you a way out.”
He knows our “load-lines” and will not let us sink. However, we must be careful not to put ourselves at risk.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You created us, that You know us and that You will protect us if we allow You to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
RELIEF FROM SEARCHING
Many missionaries who travel to visit distant tribes in the most remote villages of the world. They all seem to have a similar experience: when the natives learn and understand that there is only one God, whose story is in the Bible, and whom they can come to know through Jesus Christ, they lose their fear of “their gods.” Most of them have many different gods whom they do not know nor understand – only fear. So, they live lives filled with fear – afraid that they will displease the god they have created who may punish or kill them, their families or tribe at any time. So, they live lives that are haunted, not helped, by their beliefs.
How different is the God of the Bible whom we can come to know, love and understand? Our God has the heart of a loving Father. The Psalmist described Him in wonderful, gracious terms when he wrote, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear – stand in awe of – Him.”
He has compassion on us when we are weak and need His strength to make it through difficult days and long nights. He has compassion on us when we hurt and need His hope and healing. He has compassion on us when we have failed Him and need His forgiveness.
One day two fathers were talking. “If your son was my son, I would never speak to him again for what he’s done to you.” “Yes,” replied the father who was filled with grief, “but he’s not. He’s my son and I’ll always love him.” How like our compassionate Heavenly Father.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your compassion which we so desperately need – yet can never earn nor deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
HOW GREAT IS GOD’S LOVE?
Miss Burrell was my second-grade teacher and next door neighbor. It seemed as though I could never get beyond her “watchful” eye. When she called on me in class, I would “shrivel” up inside and have difficulty getting any words out of my mouth. And when I was out in our yard playing, I imagined that she was “peeking” at my friends and me from the corner of a window. Perhaps it was feelings of guilt for not being a better student or more gracious when she came to visit my mother.
But in spite of those feelings I remember the many evenings she would knock on our front door and ask me to join her in the front yard and study the stars and constellations. She would bring her flashlight and point out “The Big Dipper” and “The Little Dipper” and all of the constellations that God formed in the sky. She would also point out different stars – some that shined brightly and some that we could barely see. I remember asking her often how many miles they were from where we were standing.
“No one will ever be able to measure the most-distant star because we will always be finding new ones that are even farther away.” So, “we’ll never know” was her answer every time I asked that question.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who stand in awe of Him,” said the Psalmist. What a marvelous statement about the love of God. It is so immense, as are His heavens, that we will never be able to measure it.
Prayer: Lord, we will never understand why You love us, nor how very much You love us. But we do thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
HOW MUCH MERCY IS ENOUGH?
Albert came home from school with bruises, a torn shirt and tears. “Fighting again?” sighed his mother. “I thought it was clear that you were to be a good Christian, not get angry and to stop getting into fights. Did you count to a hundred like I told you to?” she asked.
“Well, I tried,” he said with resentment in his voice. “But John’s mother told him to only count to fifty, and that’s when he knocked me to the ground and jumped on me.”
Many of us get angry quickly. But not the Lord. In Psalm 103:8 we read that “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”
Imagine what life would be like with an angry God – one who was quick to punish us for any and every sin. Imagine, if you can, living life in fear of being “hammered” for breaking a commandment. And, if He were not compassionate and merciful, there would be no provision or pardon for our wrong-doings. Or again, if we were suffering and brokenhearted and filled with grief and guilt for betraying Him we would never hear Him say, “My grace is sufficient.” In the Lord, we find mercy for our sins and comfort for our sorrows.
If God were not gracious, there would be no grace – no matter how wonderful and needed it is. But it only has significance when we understand that it means God, at no cost to us, will unconditionally and willingly forgive us of all of our sins. The Lord erases the ugliness of the past and provides us with clean, blank pages to fill with the potential of a new life committed to Him. Amazing grace!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your love, combined with Your mercy that is freely ours because of Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
GOOD REASONS TO REJOICE!
Centuries ago, there was a legend that mystics would share with their followers. “The Lord, at one time,” went the legend, “colored all the flowers green. But one day He dipped His finger in the pot at the bottom of the rainbow and when He took it out it was covered with many different colors. When He saw how beautiful the colors were He decided to paint each of the flowers a different color and give each of them their name.”
“One morning,” the legend continues, “a beautiful flower with small blue, pink and white flowers was asked, ‘What’s your name?’” The flower hung its head, sighed and said, “Oh my, I forgot.”
Embarrassed, the flower confessed to the Lord, “I’m so sorry, but I have forgotten my name.” And the Lord said, “That’s all right. Everyone forgets some things. But I have not forgotten you.” Then He added, “Whatever else you do, ‘For-Get-Me-Not,’ for I am the God who created you!”
From that day until today, this lovely little flower has been called “For-Get-Me Not.” Whenever we see it, we need to remember the words of David, “Praise the Lord, all my soul, and forget not all – or perhaps better stated – forget not any of His benefits.”
We seldom think of the extensive range of God’s gifts!: Every beat of our heart, every breath we inhale, every sight we see or noise we hear, every step we take, every taste we enjoy, every friend we have, every blessing we receive, every promise of His that we claim – and mostly our salvation – are only the beginning of His benefits to us.
Prayer: Lord! How gracious You are to give us so many gifts. Most importantly, though, give us thankful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
RENEWED LIKE EAGLES
Eagles have a unique place in nature – certainly a place that differs from all other birds. They represent strength, power and freedom from the things of this world that would distract them. No wonder they have a special place in God’s Word. Isaiah promised, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles.” No doubt David had this in mind when he wrote, “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” What makes eagles special?
Eagles have great vision and sharp focus. Their eyes were designed by God for long distance and clarity. Their vision enables them to see what other birds do not see. We as Christians need God’s vision so we can see what we need to do for Him.
Eagles are fearless. As God’s representatives, we need to be fearless as we represent Him and present His message to others. We must never bow to others in fear.
Eagles are tenacious. Other birds fly from a storm. But eagles fly into the storm – taking advantage of life’s difficulties – and rise to greater heights, never giving up.
Eagles are “high flyers.” They easily fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Pigeons stay on the ground and “grumble” all day long. The eagle quietly soars above the noises of life and finds peace with God.
Eagles possess vitality. They are full of life yet find time to reenergize themselves and extend their lives.
Eagles nurture their young ones. No other bird is more attentive or gentle to its young than the eagle.
Prayer: Grant us, Lord, the qualities of an eagle. May we live lives that distinguish us from others as we serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
CROWNS AND COMPASSION
He “crowns you with love and compassion,” wrote David. What an amazing statement. Is it possible for us to understand what this means? Is God Himself crowning us with His love and compassion? What might our author have had in mind when he wrote this? Could it mean that we are kings in God’s eyes?
Not really. It means that when we became His children, He crowned us with His loyal, never-ending, steadfast love. We are His now, and we will be His forever throughout eternity, and nothing will ever separate us from Him or His love.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “If we die with Him we will also live with Him, and if we endure hardship we will also reign with Him.”
Although we may suffer great hardships in this life, God assures us that someday we will live eternally with Him. So, it’s worth it. And when we live in Christ’s Kingdom, we will share His eternal reign with Him.
There may be times when our suffering may cause us to doubt God’s love. When these doubts arise, we must never forget that we have been crowned with His love and compassion. “Our present sufferings,” said Paul, “are not worth comparing with the incredible glory that will be revealed in us.” The assurance of His love gives us hope.
Once crowned with His love and compassion we need to remember that we will, as Paul also said, “see the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness.” When we are crowned by God Himself, what more can we ask?
Prayer: Father, Your love is beyond our understanding. But we accept it with grateful hearts and rejoice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:4b and crowns you with love and compassion,