Psalm 30:5-7

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face; I was dismayed.

I am amazed at how it never seems to matter how often the Lord shows himself faithful and all sufficient…. yet I am so ready to carry my own burdens.  I even realize that I am reluctant to come to Him in prayer until I have identified my specific need, plan of attack, the way it should be implemented, and so on, and then come to the Lord asking Him to give me the strength and grace to have everything turn out as I think it should. Verses 6 & 7 of Psalm 30 show a picture of our struggle with pride; something which is all too familiar.  The Lord has blessed us with many talents; intellect, social skills, physical abilities, and many other thing that enable us to live fruitfully each day.  The problem is we begin to use them in our own strength, and for our own ends.  In our deception, we don’t give thought for our need to dependently walk with Him in areas of ‘our’ perceived strengths.  But the Lord, out of his love for us, will not allow us to continue down the road of pride, which only ends in destruction.  

The apostles James and Peter remind us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  If the Lord himself, the God of creation, decides to hold us back, then all the strength and might we attempt to put together in pursuing something will amount to nothing.  Out of His wisdom, He can place a problem which may seem to be an immovable mountain in our path.  As I have discovered in my own life, it may even be a very small or quite insignificant thing which becomes a huge point of challenge.  Something which looking back I might have said to myself ‘I got this’, even after it gets out of my ability to handle.  Thankfully, in a moment of grace, that mountain can be thrown into the sea and we can experience a new and secure place that the Lord has created for us.  Out of His perfect love and mercy, and at His appointed time, He restores us to joy. And He does it in a way that clearly shows it was Him (not us). 

Lord help us to remember to seek and wait for You. Help us to know that You are Sovereign and You are always at work to humble us, for only then can we see Your face and be renewed. In Your presence is joy. Amen.

– Glen Wilder

Psalm 119:11-16

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

    As I sat to begin writing this devotion, I realized that the date was August 24, 2020.  The mere realization of this was enough to stir up in me a concoction of mixed emotions almost instantaneously, so much so that I was unable to find the clarity that I needed to put to words what the verses in Psalm 119 mean to me.  “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

    August 24, 2014 was when I chose to be baptized here at Leroy Community Chapel for the third time in my life.  I was sprinkled as a baby, baptized as many teens are at 13 during a very emotional week of church camp. However, this time was immensely different.  I was in the hardest and darkest place of my life in 2014. I had lost complete control of every aspect of my life and I began to see myself in the reality of who I am before God. I saw my utter helplessness apart from Christ. I realized that I had not known Jesus, I only knew about Him.  I only had heard about Him in the stories and the sermons over all of those years.  But now, something was truly different.  He had known me all along and I, in my pride and selfishness, could not see Him; nor did I care to look to be utterly honest. I had everything in control (or so I thought). Following Him simply took the form of checking off a box that I had attended church and read a chapter in my bible everyday. 

    This time was absolutely different.  I read my testimony that day and I don’t recall the words exactly anymore except for one small part: ”I choose Christ.  I choose Him today and I will choose Him tomorrow.  I will choose Him everyday for the rest of my life.” As I wrote those words, I meant it.  As I read those words, I meant it. And it is ONLY by the grace of God that enables me to live that out on a daily basis.  He is perfectly faithful. Do I do this perfectly? No, absolutely not. I know I don’t. That is exactly why Jesus is my treasure. That is exactly why I need Him every moment and cling to Him so desperately. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and unchanging whether or not we receive it. I know it was only by the grace of God that I was able to now truly receive it for the true gift that it is. The sufferings of Christ were and are still working to cover me. 

    So, on the seventh anniversary of my third baptism, as I sat down to write a devotion for my LCC family, I was overcome with awe and emotion due to the treasure that I have been given in the gift of Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  Not one minute of my life is the same today as it was seven years ago and I can only reiterate the words of the Psalmist when he says, 

11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! 
13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 
15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.  

    Friends, my words do not even begin to compare to the words of the Scriptures. There is nothing divine in my words, but what’s there is a heart that realizes its need for a Savior and an awareness that in every moment, following Christ is a choice.  Today, begin to store up His word in your heart.  Today, choose Christ.

    Lord Jesus, Although we cannot see You with our eyes, we know you are real and the One and only source of truth.   Jesus, You ARE the Word and it is only because of Your completed work on the cross do we have what we have. Lord, Your Word is a treasure to our hearts and minds, and we are eternally grateful for it. We thank you for Your intimate presence and care for each one of us as You transform our lives. May we be used as vessels of Your goodness and grace to an unbelieving world. We love you, Lord Jesus.  Amen. 

– Vicki Krnac

Psalm 42:5-6

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

Not long after I committed my life to obedience to the Lord, I was placed at a difficult crossroads. My earthly desire greatly longed for something, but the Lord had clearly revealed that it was not mine to have. The desire itself was not of an inherently sinful nature and had I not known that the Lord had directed me away from it, I would have done all I could to obtain it. However, in obedience to the Lord I pursued it not, which proved to a very difficult decision and one that caused much torment. Many times did I seek solitude with the Lord in tears over it, with no other reason but for the relief of my anguish.

I daresay that all of us may have had to go through something in life that results in a feeling of utter hopelessness and despair at one point or another. Perhaps it was the loss of a beloved family member, or life circumstances demanding all that you have and more. Our enemy seeks to direct our gaze inward so that we see but the smallest circle of the world in which the Lord has placed us. The Psalmist gives a remedy for this tunnel vision. Remember who the Lord is and what He has done! Such remembrance will lift our eyes away from us and redirect our gaze toward our great God. He renews us day by day.

Lord, help me to remember all that you have done. Let my soul turn to you quickly. You are a great God and no matter what I may face, you are my Hope. I will praise you, O God of my salvation!

– Andy Brown