Archive for November, 2011

Wholehearted Worship Inspires Faith

Daily God Walk for Saturday, November 19, 2011

 I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:1-2

 Some scholars believe that this psalm was written after one of David’s victories over the Philistines. In these first two verses David is praising God from the depth of his heart, then beginning in verse five he gives the cause of his praise; “My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you; For you have upheld my right and my cause.”

David was a man of well documented weaknesses, but he was also a man of great faith. God calls him a man after His own heart, and so he was. David trusted God when he went into battle and when he had won he did not take credit for himself but rather gave God the glory.

He writes, “The Lord reigns forever, He has established His throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (v7-10).

“Those who know your name will trust in you.” The psalmist here is not just referring to those who have heard of the name of the Lord. He is speaking of those who “know” Him in a close and intimate kind of way, the way one knows a close relative or a dear friend. To know Him in that way is to trust Him because He is altogether trustworthy.

I pray that all of us who know Him and His name would have the kind of confidence that David had. That his full trust was in God is evidenced when he faced the giant, Goliath, with only five stones and a sling.

Did God honor David’s faith, prompting David to worship Him wholeheartedly, or did David worship God wholeheartedly and because of that God gave him great faith. Either way David worshipped. Wholehearted worship does inspire faith.

 Prayer: God, grant me the heart of David to worship you. Amen.

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Watch and Praye

Daily God Walk for Friday, November 18, 2011

 When Solomon had finished all these prayers… He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying, “Praise be to the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. – 1 Kings 8:54-56

 It was a glorious day for Israel. The temple Solomon built for the Lord had been completed. The Ark of the Covenant had been put in its’ place in the Holy of Holies. Finally, centuries after Israel left Egypt, they had a magnificent home for their God.

The priests had brought the Ark of the Covenant from the old Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle. Every step they took toward the Temple was marked by the offering of another sheep or bullock in sacrifice. On that day they offered so many sacrifices that they could not keep track of them all (1 Kings 8:5).

Not only were the people moved by the day, but so was God. Verses 10-11 read, “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.”

After he had blessed the people and praised God, “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and [prayed]” (v22). This prayer is one of the most moving prayers in the Bible because he not only asks God to remember his promises but he also asks him to forgive the people when they have failed and turned back to him in repentance.

When he had finished praying Solomon stood before the people and said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. May he turn our hearts to him , to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers” (v56-58).

 Prayer: Lord, Give us a heart of thankfulness that we might, in our finest hour, give unqualified praise to you. Amen.

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Praising God Together Every Day

Daily God Walk for Thursday, November 17, 2011

 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.– Acts 2:46-47

 The early days of the church were days of amazing grace and wonder. Jerusalem seemed filled with folks who had believed in Jesus and had been born into His kingdom.

There were all kinds of folks whose lives had been affected by the Christ. Some of them were from the rulers of the Jews, but most of them were just common folks who had believed in Jesus. Now, regardless of their station in life, they gathered in small groups in their homes to break bread and praise God.

Apparently they established a pattern early on. The pattern was that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (v42). Our verses today give a little more explanation to their pattern; they went daily to the temple courts for prayer then they went to their homes, apparently in groups, where they broke bread together and had a time of fellowship and praising God.

When I was very young there were several churches in our town with the name of “Revival Center.” These churches would have meetings nearly every night of the week with a parade of evangelists coming through. I remember that as a time of having a lot of fellowship with other believers.

We not only went to church together frequently we also had others to our house for dinner fairly regularly. Many of my fondest memories are of setting around the table listening to mom and dad recite stories of healings and miracles which had happened in our family.

I’m afraid too many of us have gotten away from meeting together with other believers on a regular basis just to fellowship, break bread and praise God for his many wonderful works. Our lives are too busy and our interests too varied. It might be time to get back to celebrating our faith like those early believers did.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to get back to the basics of fellowship, breaking bread and praising you frequently with others. Amen.

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Overwhelmed With Thanksgiving

Daily God Walk Wednesday, November 16, 2011

 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. – Psalm 26:6-8 KJV

 David was a master at writing songs of worship and thanksgiving which not only exalted the Lord God but celebrated the relationship we can have with God.

David seems to be saying that he washes his hands that he might appear before the Lord innocent and clean. Then he speaks of “compassing” the altar. What is meant we aren’t really certain, but it seems that he is making reference to moving about the altar, perhaps in a dance singing songs of celebration.

We get the idea of singing praises from the statement, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all thy wondrous works.”

I can almost see David dancing, for he was known to dance before the Lord, and singing as he worshipped the Lord giving thanks for all of His wondrous works.

As I read the accounts of the kind of worship and celebration Israel had when David who was not only a gifted king but also a gifted worshipper of the Lord God, I become a bit jealous. There are times I long for the chance to dance around the altar singing praising to my Lord.

Maybe we in the 21st century of Christianity have become just a bit too subdued. Too often we sing the songs of Zion with little enthusiasm and we would never think of singing at the top of our voices and we would certainly never even think of breaking out in a dance. No, we are far too much in control to do such a thing.

Have we become so controlled, so subdued, that we cannot let our emotions flow and broadcast for the world to see and hear our thankfulness for the good things God has done?

Ah, but alas, I will return to worship next Sunday and be a good 21st Century Christian singing softly and praying quietly.

 Prayer: God, give me the courage to sing and dance like David.

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Jacob Praises God for Prosperity

Daily God Walk Tuesday, November 15, 2011

 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said  to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. – Genesis 32:9-10

 Jacob had been on a long hard journey since God had given him the promise that his descendants would inherit the land. He had fallen in love with Rebecca and had been deceived by Laban, her father, and he married Leah the oldest sister.

He worked with his father-in-law for about 21 years total and God blessed him. When it was time to return to his homeland he had become a wealthy man.

Laban didn’t want to let him leave and Jacob had to sneak away with his wives, children and livestock. When Laban found out he was gone he pursued Jacob and finally overtook him. They made peace, but Jacob’s journey wasn’t yet over.

Word came to Jacob that Esau was preparing to meet him and he had 400 men with him ready for battle. Jacob is fearful for his life and the lives of his family. There is but one thing to do; he must separate himself from the chaos and pray.

Jacob begins his prayer by giving praise to God for the way he had bountifully blessed him. He is reminded of God’s promise to prosper him and make his descendants like the sand of the sea (v14), then he gets down to earnest prayer.

After spending the night wrestling with God in prayer, and as the day is breaking, Jacob cries out, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” That was when God changed his name from Jacob, the deceiver, to Israel, the prince.

It should be remembered that his prayer for favor began with giving God praise for how He had blessed him. We will be facing hard times on our journey of faith and when those times come we must face them with thanksgiving in our heart for the goodness and faithfulness of God and God will see us through.

 Prayer: God, in the midst of trial give me a grateful heart. Amen.

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Offer a Sacrifice of Praise

Daily God Walk for Monday, November 14, 2011

 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  – Hebrews 13:15-16

 What should be the fruit of our lips? David cried out to God, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight” (Psalm 51). His desire was that his words would give honor to God. That is the thought the writer of Hebrews is conveying.

We are being told to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise,” but the problem many of us face is that rather than getting a focus on God and his goodness we are influenced by the conditions around us and the words which come through our lips are not often enough praise to God.

I think the reason the writer calls continual praise a sacrifice of praise is because we can’t always see things to praise about. It is hard to praise God when you have a flat tire and you are already running late to an important appointment. It is even harder to praise God when one of our children is sick and we feel helpless to make them well. Then praise becomes a sacrifice.

How can we praise God in those circumstances? The answer is in this passage: Through Jesus. It is by faith that the grace of God is released to us and it is by faith we continue to live in grace. The longer we live in grace and the more mature our faith becomes the easier it is to praise God, through Jesus, in any and all circumstances.

This passage not only calls us to continually offer a sacrifice of praise, but it also calls us to make a sacrifice of service, doing good works and sharing with others. I have found that it is easier to praise God in my circumstances when I am making a sacrifice of service for the benefit of others. That is particularly true when I am serving those whose circumstances are worse than mine.

Make a sacrifice of service and it will not be such a sacrifice to praise Him. Try it I think you will like it.

 Prayer: I praise you for grace and ask for grace to serve others.

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Give Thanks – This is the Will of God

Daily God Walk for Sunday, November 13, 2011

 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 The church at Thessalonica was founded shortly after Paul and Silas left Philippi. As was his custom when he entered the city he first went to the synagogue, but being quickly rejected there he went to the Gentiles to preach Christ.

Paul was in the city only long enough to get a body of believers established then he moved on. It is interesting that the same Jews who rejected him now began to cause trouble among his Gentile converts.

In the early days of the church communication was always a problem. Paul would stay in one place long enough to establish a work then move on to the next city. Once he had left a city he would appoint elders to lead the church and he would stay in contact with those elders. Nearly half of the New Testament is letters Paul wrote to the leaders of churches throughout Asia Minor and into Europe.

Paul knew that he would have very little time to spend with new believers so he was constantly warning them against the sins of the flesh and encouraging them to be consistently praying for God’s grace and leading in the affairs of life and the church.

It is in this context that he is writing to the church. In his closing words to the church he writes these instructions:

ü  Be joyful always;

ü  Pray continually;

ü  Give thanks in all circumstances;

ü  Do not put our the Spirit’s fire;

ü  Do not treat prophecies with contempt;

ü  Test everything – hold on to the good.

ü  Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)

That is a good set of instructions for all of us and especially that we should give thanks in all things because that is the will of God for us.

 Prayer: Help me to be consistent in my walk and gratitude to you.

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Devote Yourself to Prayer and Thankfulness

 Daily God Walk for Saturday, November 12, 2011

 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  – Colossians 4:2

 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. – 1 Timothy 2:1

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:5-7

 I have known a few people who did not know the meaning of thankfulness. It seems they see a caveat in every blessing. I know one man that when you tell him of a project idea or a dream he will say, “yes, but the thing of it is…” and he goes on to give all of the reasons why it can’t be done. And the truth is that his attitude is what keeps good things from happening.

In all three of the scriptures above there is a pattern that we should follow. First, there is prayer. Then we are instructed to present our petitions to God with thanksgiving. Prayers, petitions and requests are to be made with thanksgiving.

Some of the unhappiest believers I know submit their petitions with complaining rather than thanksgiving. It’s almost like they only see God as a reluctant vending machine that they have to keep pounding on to get what they paid for.

You can rest assured that those complainers not only have many unmet needs they also don’t have much peace in their life. Their glass is always half empty and their just waiting around to see what is going to be the next bad thing to happen to them.

Paul gave us the secret to righteous rejoicing and being thankful in all circumstances. He said he had found the secret of being content in every situation, whether he had plenty or was in need. The secret was that he knew God would supply all of his needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:10-19).

 Prayer: Help me to present my needs to you with thanksgiving.


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Overflowing With Thankfulness

Daily God Walk for Friday, November11, 2011

  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7

 There is a man in our ministry with a 35 year history of drug abuse. He gave his heart to the Lord on September 11, 2009 and he hasn’t looked back. He is now clean and sober for over two years. I mention him because every time we come together he says, “I’m so thankful that I don’t have to go hell.”

My friend has experienced enough hell in his drug abusing days and now because he has received Christ Jesus as Lord he has heaven to look forward to. He has told me that he came to Jesus out of fear of dying and going to hell, but now he serves Jesus out of love. He is overflowing with thankfulness.

Like so many others who have lived addicted to drugs my friend has many problems in his body. He has had cancer and struggles with Diabetes. Yet, he never complains and always has a cheery greeting. He is overflowing with thankfulness.

I have knocked on many doors with him and he loves to tell the story of how Jesus saved him and delivered him from drug abuse. In fact, he has told his story at two of our community outreaches and each time people respond to give their heart to Jesus. He is overflowing with thankfulness.

He not only received Jesus as Lord but he continues in Him. As Paul wrote he is “rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness.”

I find in my friend a challenge for all of us. When the world starts to get us down and the circumstances of life try to steal our joy, then it is time to be strong in the faith and rejoice in the goodness of our God. Paul wrote in Romans 5, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (v2-4).

Let us rejoice in the hope and overflow with thankfulness.

 Prayer: Thank you Lord for the hope I have in Christ Jesus.

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Be Thankful for Deliverance

Daily God Walk for Thursday, November 10, 2011

 Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.” – Isaiah 48:20

 Isaiah not only predicted that Babylon would invade the Jews and take them into captivity but he also predicted the one who would in turn invade Babylon and even names the king (Cyrus) who would end their exile and free them to go back to their homeland.

An interesting thing happened when the people were freed to leave Babylon; many of them chose not to leave. While in exile many of the Jews established new lives, intermarried and put down roots in Babylon. Their freedom came and they chose to use their freedom to stay there.

In our passage today Isaiah gives a mild rebuke coupled with a great promise. He is saying that it is time to flee Babylon; it is time to get back home and take care of business there.

I am reminded of many who have become believers today but they aren’t anxious to leave their Babylon. They don’t see Christianity as embracing an entirely new lifestyle, they just see it as adopting a new philosophy of religion. These folks are quite comfortable with their lifestyle and would just as soon not be disturbed.

But there is another group of Jews in Babylon who are ready to go home. Psalm 132 reads, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps” (v1-2). They could no longer sing the songs of Zion for their hearts longed for home. These are the ones who would return when the cry rang out, “Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians.”

There will always be those who are more comfortable with this world system and its pleasures. Those are the ones who will choose the comfort of Babylon over the labor of restoring what the enemy has destroyed.  There will also be those who can no longer stand for the ways of the world and who must flee to the hope held in the promises of God.

Are you ready to announce to the world with shouts of joy and proclaim it? Are you ready to send out to the ends of the earth the message, “The Lord has redeemed me”? It is time to leave Babylon (this world system) and declare the righteousness of God.

 Prayer: Help me to leave Babylon rejoice in your deliverance. Amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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