Category Archives: Protector / Deliverer

Blessed Is He Who Sings Praise To Jehovah

We all experience difficult times in our life. Much of what defines who we are and whom we serve is revealed in these times. David consistently turned to Jehovah even when his situation was desperate. He always made time not just to ask God for help, but also to ask forgiveness, praise and thank God with joyful heart. We should all strive to follow David’s example in his relationship with God.

Psalm 40

God Sustains His Servant.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

     1I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

      2He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

      3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the LORD.

      4How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

      5Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.

      6Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.

      7Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.

      8I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

      9I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O LORD, You know.

      10I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

      11You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.

      12For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has failed me.

      13Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;
Make haste, O LORD, to help me.

      14Let those be ashamed and humiliated together
Who seek my life to destroy it;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight in my hurt.

      15Let those be appalled because of their shame
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

      16Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”

      17Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the Lord be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

Each of us should take time to prayerfully consider… “Do we take time to joyfully praise and thank God?” This is an important part of our relationship with our Father in heaven. Do not wait until everything is going amazingly well to thank Him… but thank Him even while you are still experiencing difficulty.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Stop Defining God By How You Would Do Things

I hear many things said today by people who reject Jehovah and even by those who claim to follow Him that reflect a poor understanding of Him. Yes, even many who claim to follow Jehovah through Jesus Christ still do not understand the God they worship. They try to define God based on how they feel comfortable or what the world tells them is right rather than understand God as He has revealed Himself through the Bible.

“I don’t want to believe in a God that would allow pain and suffering in the world.”

“The God I know would not hurt anyone.”

“God is a God of love so that behavior cannot really be sin or why would he make people that way?”

“God would not hurt animals.”

“God would not use the wicked or suffering to bring about His plan.”

The above are all examples of wildly false statements that people use when they do not understand God. If we constantly try to view God through a man made box in which we constrain artificially how we are willing to accept that He interacts with this world, we will continue to drift farther and farther from Him. If we seek Him as revealed through the Bible and through prayer, accepting Him even when we disagree or do not understand, we will draw near to Him and He to us.

Exodus 11

The Last Plague

      1Now the LORD said to Moses, “One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely. 2“Speak now in the hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” 3The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

      4Moses said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, 5and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6‘Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. 7‘But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ 8“All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.

      9Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

Yes, God not only allowed, but caused the firstborn of all the Egyptians to die. He did not only do this for the ruling Pharoah or the rich and powerful but explicitly even to the lowest slave and the cattle as well. Oh, and He hardened Pharaoh’s heart to get to this point without releasing the Hebrew people so that He could demonstrate signs and wonders. Yes, that was God. No, He was not wrong to do it. His ways are above our ways. Just because we don’t understand it does not mean it is wrong. We must break away from always assuming we are wise and understand the big picture… we do not. God does.

I could spend a lot of time debating why God worked this way and how I process it, but instead, let’s go back to what God said about it.

      9Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

God wanted to demonstrate an amazing series of wonders so that the Egyptians and the Hebrew people would know that He is God. This establishes a strong and memorable foundation to help His people as they go on their journey out of Egypt and into the wilderness and eventually into the promised land. These wonders are still talked about today as an example of God’s power and deliverance for His people. They also serve as warning to watch how quickly some of His people forget Him and fall away from faith as the times get tough, despite amazing wonders done in His name.

If we are to draw near to God, we must try to understand Him through studying the Bible and not through surface opinions of our own or the world that try to say what He should or should not do. His followers seek Him to understand Him and we follow Him even when we do not understand Him. We do not redefine who we think He should be to make us more comfortable.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Those Who Oppose Christ Rationalize Much

Many who oppose Christ will do so with such passion that they will violate the values the claim to believe in order to oppose Him.  They rationalize absurd contradictions to come against Christ. We see examples still today in similar fashion to those documented in the Old Testament from thousands of years ago. People have not changed. One of today’s examples is those who zealously demand tolerance for all belief systems, no matter how vile. These same people then practice no tolerance of Christians and our beliefs. They prosecute Christians with a passion that defies logic. They will try to ruin people for not baking them a wedding cake for a gay wedding, but then turn around and embrace Muslims who, under Sharia law, throw homosexuals off a building to their death without a trial. It defies all logic.

Paul experienced this kind of persecution continuously because he dedicated his life to the purpose of sharing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People came against him constantly, as they did Jesus Himself. They were not concerned about what was lawful, but rather plotted as they saw fit regardless of the law of the land.

Acts 23:11-35

     11But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

A Conspiracy to Kill Paul

      12When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15“Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.

      16But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” 18So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” 19The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21“So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” 22So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”

Paul Moved to Caesarea

      23And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.” 24They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25And he wrote a letter having this form:

26“Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.

            27“When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.
28“And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council;
29and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment.

      30“When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you.”

31So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, “I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,” giving orders for him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

As Christians, we should absolutely get involved in our local and national governments to try to ensure Christians and Christian values are protected. Do not give ground to the ungodly even if they win a court battle here and there. Wrong is wrong. We must engage and support our brothers and sisters in Christ to receive the protection of the law they are due. We see how helpful it is for Paul when the Romans actually protected him as a Roman citizen from those who wanted to kill him because he served Christ.

Of course we can also be encouraged that God can use all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him. God uses this situation with Paul to help lead him to Rome, consistent with God’s plans for him.

Romans 8:28

28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

When you experience persecution because of Christ, turn to Him prayerfully for help and turn to your true brothers and sisters in Christ. When you see others facing persecution for Christ, engage in intercessory prayer on their behalf and help them where you can yourself. Do not accept the lies, deceit, or persecution presented by the world as reason to turn away from any element of what God calls us to do. Stand firm and proclaim the truth boldly.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Lord Is Good To Those Who Wait For Him

It is easy to get discouraged at times when we feel as though we are doing what God has commanded, but we do not see the results coming as quickly as we expect. We trust Him, but then we also expect to see results and quickly. We may find encouragement in reminding ourselves to be patient and trust in God while we continue to do what He has commanded. His ways are not our ways… they are better.

Isaiah 55:8-9

      8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

      9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

As we continue to submit to and follow God in our lives, we come to realize that not only does God do things differently than we expect in terms of “how”… but often He does things differently in terms of “when”. We tend to be impatient and look for quick results. It can be discouraging at times, but be encouraged and place your trust in God and in His timing.

Lamentations 3:25-26

25The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

26It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

Isaiah 40:31

31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Even Moses was discouraged  when things did not turn out well at first (Exodus 5)… and God actually told Him ahead of time that Pharaoh would not let the people go until God compelled him to do so (Exodus 3:19-20).

Exodus 3:19-20

19“But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. 20“So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.

Exodus 5

Israel’s Labor Increased

      1And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’” 2But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” 3Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!” 5Again Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!” 6So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, 7“You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8“But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9“Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.”

      10So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I am not going to give you any straw. 11‘You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but none of your labor will be reduced.’” 12So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters pressed them, saying, “Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw.” 14Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?”

      15Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16“There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people.” 17But he said, “You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ 18“So go now and work; for you will be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks.” 19The foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, “You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks.” 20When they left Pharaoh’s presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them. 21They said to them, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

      22Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23“Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”

Often the immediate results we face when we begin a mission for God do not appear to be successful or turn out the way we expect. We do well to remember to be patient and continue to obey God’s instruction, put our faith in Him, and wait upon His timing.

Are there any areas of your life where you are discouraged? Always good to humbly and prayerfully consider if you are obeying what God instructed you to do. If so, continue to come before Him for help and continue to obey His instruction… and wait upon His timing for the results. God is never late… He is never early… He always completes something precisely when He intends to.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Pray for Deliverance From The Worldly

I invite you to pray with me today for deliverance from those around the world who attack and persecute true followers of Christ. Many are the political leaders that reject Christ with their hearts and actions, even while their lying lips claim the name of Jesus to fool people into following them. Arise O Lord and confront the wicked who seek only after the things of this world. Raise up revival amongst your people who behold You in righteousness and truth.  Let this revival sweep across many regions and nations and across the globe. Deliver us as Your followers from the wicked and worldly in political office and leadership at all levels. Raise up a generation of godly men and women who will stand for you in righteousness.

Psalm 17:13-15

     13Arise, O LORD, confront him, bring him low;
Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword,

      14From men with Your hand, O LORD,
From men of the world, whose portion is in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your treasure;
They are satisfied with children,
And leave their abundance to their babes.

      15As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

What He Says He Will Do…He Will Do

God makes a variety of promises to His people which are documented in scripture. Some are true for all followers, such as the promise of salvation through Christ (John 3:16-18), and some are specific promises to individuals for specific circumstances. One thing we can be sure of is that what God says He will do… He will do.

Acts 18:9-22

       9And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” 11And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

      12But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, 13saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” 14But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; 15but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” 16And he drove them away from the judgment seat. 17And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.

      18Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow. 19They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, 21but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus.

      22When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.

When God told Paul that He would protect him, He meant it. Paul did not even have need or opportunity to open his mouth to defend himself. God took care of it, as promised. Further, we see that Paul was in no hurry to leave after this display of open hostility, despite having been chased out of several other cities on the same missionary journey. This time he had God’s promise of protection and specific guidance to continue proclaiming the gospel here.

While this is just one specific example, it should encourage us to trust in God no matter our circumstances. This was no small matter to Paul, who had been chased out of several cities up to this point on this missionary journey. People wanted to hurt or kill him to silence the message of Christ.

Take some time to reflect on some of the promises that God has made to all of His people. Are you living like you trust Him to do as He says?

Now reflect on any promises you believe God has shown you specifically. Are you trying to bring these promises about by your own will and action in your timing, without waiting on God? Are you avoiding doing it all together because you know you can not do it on your own? Both approaches are tempting at one time or another, but in truth we must walk in faith and do our part to obey what He tells us and then trust Him to do what He says He will to help us.  I sure appreciate that He will help us to do what He calls us to do and that I can trust Him to do so in His way and in His timing… even when it conflicts with my ways and my timing.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

To Whom Shall We Go For Help?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed because of a difficult situation you face? Has there been a time when you felt that there was no way you can resolve the situation by yourself? I sure have. I believe most of us have felt that way at one time or another. To whom shall we go for help when we feel like the situation is bigger than we can handle on our own? Turn to God. He is at the same time our loving Father and our all powerful Creator.  He wants to help and He wants us to ask Him for help.

Psalm 35

Prayer for Rescue from Enemies.

A Psalm of David.

     1Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.

      2Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.

      3Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

      4Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.

      5Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the LORD driving them on.

      6Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the LORD pursuing them.

      7For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.

      8Let destruction come upon him unawares,
And let the net which he hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

      9And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD;
It shall exult in His salvation.

      10All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You,
Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him,
And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”

      11Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.

      12They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.

      13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

      14I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.

      15But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me,
They slandered me without ceasing.

      16Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth.

      17Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.

      18I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng.

      19Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me;
Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.

      20For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.

      21They opened their mouth wide against me;
They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”

      22You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.

      23Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right
And to my cause, my God and my Lord.

      24Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness,
And do not let them rejoice over me.

      25Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”

      26Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.

      27Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”

      28And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

I am always inspired by David in that he praises God even while he is still in the middle of difficult circumstances… still facing what seems like an overwhelming number of enemies.

What situations are you facing that you feel are too much for you to solve on your own? Have you asked God for His help yet? He wants to hear from His children and He wants to help. Bring your concerns no matter how big before God and ask Him to help you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Our Hearts Rejoice As We Trust In His Holy Name

Take some time today to simply rejoice in our loving Creator. Praise Him as you reflect on who He is and how He demonstrates love for those who choose to obey Him.

Psalm 33

Praise to the Creator and Preserver.

1Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.

      2Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.

      3Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

      4For the word of the LORD is upright,
And all His work is done in faithfulness.

      5He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.

      6By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

      7He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.

      8Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

      9For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

      10The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

      11The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

      12Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

      13The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;

      14From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,

      15He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.

      16The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.

      17A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

      18Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

      19To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.

      20Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.

      21For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.

      22Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You.

We can trust in our Lord. We can rejoice in Him regardless of our circumstances.

Are there areas in your life where you have neglected to give thanks and praise to God? Are there areas about which you are worried? Seek comfort and peace by remembering who God is and that we can trust in Him regardless of our circumstances.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Prayer For Him Was Being Made Fervently By The Church To God

Have you ever experienced some breakthroughs in your life in terms of living for God only to find that the resistance and obstacles increase? Indeed that is common. Often when Satan sees a Christian or Christians having a significant breakthrough or possibly on the verge of reaching many for Jesus, he steps up his opposition. So, too, do men who reject Christ. Sometimes you face both at the same time.

In Acts 11, the early church was growing, reaching out to Gentiles and receiving them in large numbers. Fellow believers were helping one another, even across different geographies… not just home town help. Then Herod stepped up his resistance to followers of Christ, much to the pleasure of the Jewish religious leaders of the time. Herod killed James, brother of John, and then arrested Peter.

The followers of Christ were not strong enough on their own to resist or overpower the government at the time. Instead, they turned to the power which God provided. The believers responded with fervent, intercessory prayer on his behalf. Prayer is a powerful weapon and brings about mighty things from God. Do not underestimate it and do not limit yourself to half-hearted, “when it is convenient and I have nothing else to do” prayer. Fervent prayer for a righteous purpose made by those who submit to Jesus can be very powerful.

Acts 12:1-19

Peter’s Arrest and Deliverance

      1Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. 2And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

      6On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.

      18Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.

There is no about how Peter got out. There can be no credible “conspiracy theory” that someone bribed the guards or such. The guards surely would have revealed it and brought Peter back … they were led away for execution due to their failure!

Trust in the power of God to protect us. Of course we must also trust in God’s decision about whether or not He does so and how. Remember that James was killed at Herod’s hands.

Perhaps the principle lesson we should focus on from this scripture is the power of wholehearted, fervent, righteous prayer on someone’s behalf, especially when a team of believers come together in this prayer.  This is specifically highlighted in this scripture and is pivotal in the situation with Peter.

Do you know of some specific individuals or situations which could use the kind of help that Peter received in Acts 12 from God? Gather together with other followers of Christ and pray fervently for God to act in this situation for the glory of His kingdom! Expect Him to answer and keep praying. You just might be amazed by the response you see from our Creator and Lord.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

In You, O LORD, I Have Taken Refuge

Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord today, there is no doubt in my mind that you (and everyone else) have personally experienced suffering in this world. You have found yourself at times feeling overwhelmed with how to deal with the problems and people that oppose you and try to do harm to you. Let us cry out to God in faith… seek refuge in Him… and never be ashamed of Him for He will deliver us.

Psalm 31

      1In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.

      2Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.

      3For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

      4You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.

      5Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.

      6I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the LORD.

      7I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,

      8And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.

      9Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.

      10For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.

      11Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.

      12I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.

      13For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.

      14But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, “You are my God.”

      15My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

      16Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.

      17Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You;
Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.

      18Let the lying lips be mute,
Which speak arrogantly against the righteous
With pride and contempt.

      19How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

      20You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.

      21Blessed be the LORD,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.

      22As for me, I said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.

      23O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!
The LORD preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.

      24Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.

The older I get, and the more difficulties I face… the more I find joy in reading, studying, and praying the Psalms. David truly strikes an important note in verses 7-8.

      7I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,

      8And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;

David rejoices and praises God for His lovingkindness even when his situation has not been resolved yet. David rejoices in that God has seen his affliction and knows what he is going through… that God sustains him through the difficulty.

This can be really difficult to do in our lives. Even in the midst of hard times, rejoice in God… rejoice in knowing that He is with us and understands what we face and that He can sustain us and deliver us.  What a powerful demonstration of faith to give glory to God while still in a difficult situation! I pray God would lead me to do the same as I encounter difficult situations in this fallen world. May I give Him praise and honor even as I lean on Him to sustain me through suffering and hardship.

What situations are you facing in your life  that you may find encouragement and joy in remembering that God is with you and understands what you are experiencing? He can sustain you and deliver you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.