The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
Many evil people, not necessarily atheists or agnostics, justify their evil deeds because they supposedly have been done to ensure the welfare of their loved ones. Of course, this is just a demonstration of the pride that reigns in their hearts that makes them think that their loved ones should have more privileges than the rest of humanity. Protected by this false justification they oppress their neighbors and they find ways to place their relatives in strategic positions that guarantee them a high standard of living even if they do not have the skills necessary to fulfill the assigned duties, thus leading them to live in corruption . In order not to feel alone in their spiritual mediocrity they advise others to think the same way they do and say things like, “If it is to feed your children, stealing is not bad.” These people say these things because their crass ignorance keeps them from realizing that all we are, or have received comes from the generous hand of God. Those who justify a bad action will stop at nothing to justify any other wrongdoing. If stealing is not wrong then lying, greed, hate, getting carried away by low passions and killing is not bad.
Let us be clear, nothing, absolutely nothing can justify a sin. The Lord does not need to use lies to carry out his plans and he will not either because this would go against his holiness, honor, glory and existence. As children of God we are constantly going through certain situations whose purpose is largely to learn to trust fully in God. Trying to get out of those situations by means of sin is like copying or cheating on an exam. Can anyone be proud to have gotten high marks in an academic test as a result of a dishonest action? Only evil heart may think so. Let us learn how to depend on God in every situation. If we do we will be serving and pleasing God and he will honor us. Otherwise we will only be giving a bad example and many will take advantage of our failures to discredit God, as if this were possible. God is not too far to save. Only to God be the glory!
the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked,
with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.
It is easy for some of us to be thankful to God when all is going well. Others cannot even raise a thankful glance to heaven or mutter a simple “thanks God.” when everything is going superb. And there are those who, despite adversity, amid the most terrible storms, when everything falls apart and all hope is lost, can say “thank you Lord, for I know that whatever happens to me is for my own good.” The latter are those who have understood perfectly what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Not only are they have perfectly understood this principle but they have also taken ownership of this promise of God for His children. Be it storm or peace, they are always trusting that everything is under the absolute control of God.
The author of Psalm 89, Ethan, was one of these people because despite the wealth of aggression and adversity to which he was subjected he was able to send blessings to the Lord, knowing that everything that was happening in his life and also in relation the nation of Israel was part of the good, pleasing and perfect will of God. Do you understand this biblical principle? Can you thank God for all that you have received, whether good or bad, recognition or insults, blows or kindness, curses or blessings, hate or smiles, contempt or acceptance, health or sickness, scarcity or abundance, joy or pain, etc.? When you learn to maintain your spirits high despite the circumstances around you, you will fully understand what Ethan was thinking when he ended his long list of complaints and lamentations with a heartfelt blessing for God. So, the next time you complain, also give praise to God. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Amen, anointed, Christianity, enemies, forever, God, LORD, mocking, praise, taunts, understanding
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
In these postmodern times no one knows and few care about what is right and what is wrong. The characteristic ambiguity of postmodernism makes no distinction between black and white, all boundaries disappear and everything becomes a range of gray tones without limits. Gradually we can see how practices and customs that until now have always been considered sin, are now being accepted as normal for the sake of a misunderstood tolerance. The world, which has plunged into total confusion, would rather accept whatever comes its way so it does not have to bother to separate what should be from what should not be. Everything is accepted and taken for legitimate and nobody cares what is going on as long as all thoughts are focused on putting man at the center of the universe. No one seems concerned that values have become obsolete, but as soon as someone is affected by the vices of another, that someone becomes outraged and calls for justice.
Existentialism placed emotions above reason, the world accepted these ideas without objections and now we all suffer the consequences of living in a world of confusion and violence where tolerance becomes the cardinal virtue and the traditional scheme of values has lost relevance. The psalmist Asaph ends the psalm with a clear and firm statement: “But as for me, it is good to be near God.” Who can refute this truth? What about you? How close are you to God? What gives meaning to your life? Do you just go along with your emotions and your sensual pleasures or rely upon the word of God to make your decisions? Your actions are controlled by your scheme of values. And for you, Who is above all things, you or God? Calibrate your values against the word of God and you will know how close or far you are from Him. Only to God be the glory!
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
If anyone needs an example of how to put his hope in God, just remember the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ as He hung on the tree seconds before submitting His spirit, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” We know that Jesus’ hope was honored by God because on the third day, God raised Him from the grave, freeing Him from the chains of death and giving Him absolute victory over the great enemy of mankind and antithesis of all that Jesus Christ means to all creation. The Lord said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The Lord, who is life Himself, could not be bound by death because God is above all things for He is the Creator of all that is, seen and unseen.
When you think that everything has failed and you have no more hope, approach the only one who truly you can go to and who will never disappoint you. He is our hope. We long for His return to get rid of this physical body full of sin and destined to fall into the clutches of death. Let us say together with the Psalmist King David: “I put my hope in you!” And let us rejoice like David also saying: “I put on the Lord all my hope, he leaned toward me and heard my cry. He took me from the pit of death, the mud and mire, and set my feet upon a rock, and planted me on solid ground. He put in my mouth a new song, a hymn of praise to our God.” Only to God be the glory!
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
I can imagine how the Jewish religious leaders who were responsible for convincing the crowd that demanded Pilate the indignant crucifixion of the righteous, once having witnessed the bloody execution and confirmed that the humble carpenter would not be any longer a nuisance to them, returned to their homes to begin the Sabbath that Moses had instructed them to follow by orders of God himself. They should have arrived home minutes before sundown to start the day of rest. They must have felt very pleased to have achieved the goal that they had long had committed themselves to take the life of the humble but popular and dangerous (for them) Galilean leader. They should have eaten that night with great pleasure and joy because they believed that their problems had been solved once and for all. Little could they imagine that him who had died on the cross a few hours before was whom they had been waiting for so long and who was the fulfillment of the promise of freedom given to the people by God.
Just the night before they had held the annual ritual of the Passover, that is the commemoration of the protection with which God covered the people of Israel when the Angel of the Lord fulfilled the ultimate measure of pressure on Pharaoh to let free the people chosen by God. Little could they imagine that lamb that they were chewing on the night before was the sign of the true Lamb of God that few hours before had been sacrificed for all, Jews and non Jews. Like Satan, their guide, they were glad to see how things were going. By no means they came to suspect that the next day, the death that they had used to get rid of the teacher from Nazareth would be defeated forever. May the glory of the resurrection of the Lord always prevails over the sadness of the painful and bloody sacrifice which the Lord had to go through to rescue us from sin and death. Only to God be the glory!
LORD, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior.
When we depart from the right ways of God to get into the darkness of sin everything becomes strange and uncomfortable. Being stranded from our Good Shepherd, we realize that we are unprotected and exposed to various attacks of the world, the flesh and Satan. Our trust in the Lord has weakened and the hope that things will go right is lost. Now we can see clearly the dangers that before we could not even realize because we were shielded by the power of the Holy Spirit acting in and directing our lives. The protection has diminished to the point that we no longer feel safe anywhere ever. The enemy knows we are undefended and he makes the most of the opportunity redoubling his attacks with greater fury, knowing that God’s protection will rise again as soon as we cry out to God confessing our sinfulness and seeking his help.
We must always bear in mind that we have been chosen by God and that our place is always with him regardless of the circumstances we have to go through. Christ’s love will always be there to rescue and protect us as soon as we lift up our eyes to him. As the apostle Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” And he replies, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What are we waiting for, then, to raise our cry to Him who redeemed us from death and to give us eternal life? Only to God be the glory!Only to God be the glory!
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
On the lips of the children of God there must always be a word of thanksgiving for all the good that God has bestowed upon us. The grace and mercy of God became effective in the life of each one of us and that’s more than enough reason to always be grateful and satisfied with what we are and have. If so, then why do we sometimes feel as if we had been dealt the worst hand? Why doesn’t our heart overflow with joy at all times because of the kindness and blessings that God has given us? Why our mood flags and sometimes we feel as if we were defeated and tired? There are two or three things that exert a strong influence on how we feel every day. One is our sinful nature that leads us to listen to the messages of the world and the tares of the enemy instead of awaiting the promises contained in the word of God. When we listen to what the world tells us we find that do not meet the criteria of what the world considers as successful and we are frustrated because our whole effort has been wasted.
On the other hand we have that we rely heavily on our own strength and therefore underestimate the power of God in our lives. When relying on our power we are heading quickly towards failure because the vast majority of problems and things cannot be solved by ourselves. Third is our limited attention span, which is the ability that we need to focus on a task without being distracted by the environment. This limited attention span reduces the time we need to devote to studying God’s word. With these three powerful influences acting negatively in our daily lives it should not be surprising then that joy and satisfaction are not part of our ongoing mood. Let us identify those negative forces that want to take away the joy and let us fight with persistence its influence on our lives by regularly immersing ourselves into the reading and study of the wonderful gift of God’s word. We’ll see how our mood changes from sadness to joy and from grumbling to praise. To God alone be the glory!
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
The Lord’s people have many enemies. These enemies are always lurking, threatening, scheming, plotting and preparing to do as much damage as possible to the chosen people of God. But just as the people of God have so many enemies, so they too have strength and protection from the Creator. He who formed the universe by his word and to whom all the forces of nature obey promptly and without question takes care that nothing wrong happens to his people and that they can always stand on their feet despite the many obstacles of all kinds that come up on the road.
Do you know the strength of the hurricane and its capacity to destroy everything that comes its way? Have you seen the river waters cover vast plains of what once looked like solid and safe ground? Have you noticed how solid concrete and steel structures come crumbling down when the earth’s crust trembles? Have you seen the glowing lava flow from the mouth of the volcano at high speed to burn and raze everything that gets in its path? The same destructive power is used by God to prevent evil forces reach beyond where they have been allowed to go. Nothing can resist the power of God. Let us trust, then, in the immense power of God that enables us to live in peace and security according to his perfect will. To God alone be the glory!
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
There are people who seek God but never find him just because they seek him with the wrong attitude. Many think God is like the mythical genie trapped in the lamp that goes out to fulfill three wishes each time the lamp is rubbed and is completely at the disposal of his master. These people usually live totally separated from God and only remember him when they encounter some difficulty in their lives. They believe that God will get them out of the hook simply because they have cried out to him and God is obliged to respond positively. Others look to God for certain benefits which in their opinion may seem very convenient, but that in the eyes of God are completely incompatible with his plan and what is expected of them. An example of this is the large number of Christians that include in their prayers that God grant them to win the lottery jackpot, as if that money were to address the spiritual and behavioral problems that affect them. There are also those who seek God as victims, as if they deserve a positive response from God for the many sufferings they have endured.
James, the brother of the Lord Jesus said: “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Some people ask and do not mention the Lord Jesus at all. He said: “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” And last but not least, always ask according to God’s will. Other obstacles to effective prayer include the lack of forgiveness, the presence of sin and lack of repentance. God gives good things to those who ask but you have to meet the requirements or your prayer will end up being just mere talk. Seek God with the right attitude and you will get a response from him. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged answer, beating, Christianity, cry, dust, God, help, LORD, mud, salvation, trampling
A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand their own way?
The eternal questions of man remain the great unknowns without apparent response. Who am I? Where did I come? Why am I here? The answers to these and many other questions have been revealed since the creation of the world and despite being available at a glance men have preferred to ignore them. Men chose digressing in their futile arguments over drinking from the fountain of wisdom that has always been there, visible and available, right under their noses. And although some of them who think they are very clever believe they have managed to unravel the mystery by their own reasoning and efforts, the truth is that they still are shrouded in darkness and do not know what course to take to understand the purpose of their lives and achieve happiness. How can they understand the plan of God if they stubbornly refuse to believe that God exists?
The universe is expanding and no one knows how it acquired the momentum or where it came from. Philosophers and scientists have agreed to try to reach the truth by different paths but could not achieve anything because they seek the truth with erroneous assumptions and their reasoning is flawed. The only possible way to find the answer to all the doubts and concerns of human beings is through Jesus Christ the Savior. Only Jesus Christ can say with all property that he is the way and the truth and the life. Only he can say with certainty that no one can come to the Father except through Him. Emanuel, God with us, is the only answer to every man’s existential concern. You can trust him.To God alone be the glory!