Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Circumstances’

Great Faithfulness

Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.

My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” ~~ Lamentations 3:18-24 (NKJV)

There was a time in my life when I could have written these verses. The personal desolation of the first twenty-one verses of Chapter 3 in Lamentations describes the circumstances of the last two decades of my life. It began with the murder of a beloved family member and spiraled downward from there.

But when the grief would have overwhelmed me, could have swallowed me whole, the words of an old hymn  built upon verses twenty-two and twenty-three seemed to rise up out of the middle of my spirit. The music and theology in that hymn buoyed my spirit to survive the waves of sorrow.

In 1972, Malcolm Smith published a book entitled Turn Your Back on the Problem. The premise was that as long as you focus on the problem you will be overwhelmed. But when you quit looking at the problem and start looking toward God, you see things in a different perspective.

No matter what the circumstances are, God is the faithful rock upon which we can build our hope. He is the source of all our strength. He deals mercifully with us.

And He starts again each morning as if it were the first morning of creation.

Great is His faithfulness.

Let us begin by being faithful to Him.

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom and strength to keep our eyes upon You in every circumstance. Help us to focus our attention on Who You are, not on what is going on with us, within us, and around us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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The Sacrifice of Praise

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.   ~~  Psalm 138:1-3  (KJV)

If you have never experienced difficulty or tragedy in your life, you are among the very few. Most of us will go through turmoil and trouble at some point or at several points in our lives.

How you handle that trouble comes from who you are at heart. If your heart is set upon the Lord, you will spend as much time praising Him as asking for help.

Our lives may not be happy at all times, but we can still be joyous. As we look at God and Who He Is, there is every reason for a deep-seated, pervasive joy. That joy is multiplied when we praise Him in the midst of circumstances that are not in themselves joyous.

That is the definition of “sacrifice of praise“. We praise Him in spite of circumstances, not because of them. Who He Is and His power are the source of our joy.  He lives in the praises of His people.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.  ~~ Psalm 22:3  (KJV)

When the day is black and circumstances are dire, we can praise Him for Who He Is and all He has done for us. This sacrifice of praise brings us closer to Him, focuses our attention on Him rather than the momentary circumstances of our lives.

Nothing surprises God. He knows all that will happen before it occurs. He knows us – knew who we would be before he called us forth. We can trust Him with everything.

Father, God,

Help us to remember that You are our only security in this uncertain world. Grant us the faith to see You in all circumstances rather than focusing on the distracting machinations of the enemy. Let us praise You with a full heart of gratitude for all You have done for us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Focus verses: Lamentations 3:1-33

There was a time in my life when I could have written these verses. The personal desolation of the first twenty-one verses describes the circumstances of the last seventeen years of my life. It began with the murder of a beloved family member and spiraled downward from there.

But when the grief would have overwhelmed me – swallowed me whole – the words of an old hymn built upon verses twenty-two and twenty-three seemed to rise up out of my spirit. The music and theology in that hymn buoyed my spirit to survive the waves of sorrow.

In 1972, Malcolm Smith published a book entitled Turn Your Back on the Problem. The premise was that you will be overwhelmed as long as you focus on the problem. But when you quit looking at the problem and start looking toward God, things fall into a different perspective.

No matter what the circumstances are, God is the faithful rock upon which we can build our hope. He is the source of all our strength. He deals mercifully with us. And He starts again each morning as if it were the first morning of creation.

Great is His faithfulness. Let us begin being faithful to Him.

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom and strength to keep our eyes upon You in every circumstance. Help us to focus our attention on Who You are, not on what is going on with us, within us and around us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Thanksgiving And Joy

Focus verses: Psalm 95

Let us sing for joy to the Lord. Sometimes we don’t feel joyful. How do we sing then?

If we remember who God is and what He has done for us, we can get a better perspective on why we don’t feel joyful. Generally it’s because we are concentrating on some external circumstance or condition that appears to be negative.

Finding the joy comes from remembering that He is the rock of our salvation. When we focus on God, who He is and what He has done for us, the current negatives of our situation seem to fade into the background.

When we think of all He has done for us, we cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Living with this thanksgiving is what gives us the joy of the Lord.

When we praise Him, we draw closer to Him. He inhabits the praises of His people. Singing for the joy of the Lord is one of our highest callings – whether we can sing on key or not. We are called to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

Father, God,

Keep our minds on You and all that You have done for us. Help us not to be distracted by circumstances, but always focused on Your generosity to us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.