“I look up to the mountains-
Does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
The one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord Himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
Nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
And watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
Both now and forever.”
There is none like our God. No one always fulfills promises like He does. No one cares for us as much as He does. No one else is capable of the constant dedication that God is able to provide. No one is as patient as He. No one is able to forgive as fully as He. No one is as anxious as He is to hear all of the tiniest details of who we are and what we have done today. There is no one like our God.
Everyone in some way or another will let us down. We are not created to be satisfied with what people can give us. We will always need more. Our parents are not created to fulfill all of our needs, try as they may. We are created to be fulfilled by only One.
Only He can fill us to overflowing. In His presence we can be filled up with joy, peace and love. With this fullness we can pour out on other people. But we will never be enough for them, and that is how it must be, that is how we were created. We must point them to their Author. When we get filled up with Him and start becoming a reflection of Who He is to those around us, it whets their appetite. If you see the person thirsting, bring them to the Source. Teach them to drink in deep from the rivers of Living Water. This is our sole purpose. Drink ourselves and lead others to the Well.
“And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” Psalm 107:22
Whatever state we are in, God is always to be praised. Often, it is the hardest job to force ourselves to say that first “Thank you” when all of our circumstances have us in the pit of despair. But say it, we must! This first “thank you” takes us out of ourselves and sets our affections on God.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them….But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you…do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!…’ [Then] the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’” At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves (instead of against Judah).” For the whole story, it is very encouraging, read 2 Chronicles 20.
This is not to say that God does not want to hear all of our complaints, agony, tears and anger, He does. There is, however, a time when God challenges us to praise Him. Then, we are lifted from the mire of despair onto the hills of victory. He asks us to praise Him when the armies are present, not just when the victory is won. What faith these singers had when placed in front of the armies! They believed God!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:6-8
The Holy Spirit cannot force us to obey. He encourages. He nudges. He pleads. But this is our duty. We think on the things that will cause our mouths to open in thanksgiving. Imagine the response the world will have when you have a victory that no one thought could be won. We do this through praise.
Come to the house of the Lord and sing His praises with His people. Kneel before Him in your home and speak His truth. Stand with hands lifted to the One who saves. If nothing good ever happened to us, save for the cross, He would deserve our praises unceasingly.
Do you have a Christian friend or relative that has an annoying or deeply hurtful sin that they commit every single day?
We must forgive.
Not because the person asks for it.
Not because the person deserves it.
We forgive because we have been forgiven and are commanded to forgive.
When we forgive, we are obeying Jesus.
“Character flaws” in a submitted Christian can grate on your nerves day-in and day-out.
But the submitted Christian is in a battle to allow God in to break old habits and form new God-honoring habits. Grace and patience are needed. Forgiveness is needed. Encouragement is needed. Sometimes 70×7 times per day!
That we would take this high calling of forgiveness is a mark of love.
Jesus said that the world would know us as disciples because of love.
Love is what separates us from the rest of the world.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9
What can truly help us while we wait for this new character to form in others is to mind our own flaws.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
“For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:2
If your faults and failures are someday made known, would it not be nice to be treated with forgiveness, grace, patience and encouragement?