I WILL Wednesday 1/22/2020

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  Psalm 34:1

One of the most well known “I WILLs” in scripture is Psalm 34:1. It was written from a cave when David was hiding from King Saul. Ironically, while he was hiding, many others found David and began to follow him. They joined David on the run. Saul sought to take his life. All that he knew had changed. And now others had come under his care. Not ideal circumstances, but from what should have been a dismal situation, came a beautiful song of praise.

The entire Psalm is filled with admonishments, as David gives encouragement when he himself could have used it.
“oh magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together” (v. 3)
“Taste and see that the Lord Is good” (v.8)
“Fear the Lord you holy people” (v.9)
Here David only uttered what would be an encouragement to others and to himself. Praise continually.

It is difficult to praise and complain at the same time. Near impossible! Complaining keeps you in self pity. Praise lifts you out of that pit! Choose praise! Praise continually.

It is interesting to note that this Psalm was written like an acrostic poem in Hebrew. Each line starts with a letter in the Hebrew alphabet. This was a feature used to help the people remember and rehearse these truths over and over. David wanted them (and us) to remember this situation changing strategy. Praise the Lord at all times. Don’t let your circumstances change you, keep a praise on your lips and watch God move.

Can a beautiful song of praise rise from your dismal situation? Will you raise a hallelujah in the presence of enemies? Will you lift every praise to God when you are pressed on every side? Can you let praises rise from the inside so that you can be lifted up? Choose praise, and praise continually! Make this powerful declaration, “I WILL bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

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Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Well, we are three weeks into 2020! The New Year’s excitement is waning and many are settling into their “normal.” Some are still grinding away at their goals, but, for some, discouragement and even disappointment is starting to set in. It’s not for lack of effort, or lack of motivation, but lack of results. Three weeks of advertising and promoting and only a few sales. Three weeks of praying, fasting, and dedication to a reading plan and no apparent breakthrough. Three weeks of diet and exercise and only a few pounds lost. Or worse, only three short weeks and already messed up, or, even worse, given up!

Last week we saw, in Zechariah 4, that Zerubbabel received encouragement to continue the work of rebuilding the temple.  (The Limits of Your Best) Discouragement had set in, and the Lord’s messenger reminded him, that it’s not by his power or might, but only by the Spirit of the Lord would the work be completed  (Zechariah 4:6 ).

A second part of this message speaks volumes to us. The Messenger goes on to pose the question, “Who dares despise the day of small things . . . ?” (Zechariah 4:10). Sadly, I’m guilty. I sometimes look at my meager results and wish things would move along a little—no a lot faster. And because it is not, I feel defeated and deflated. This is a hard one for me. I know that starting small is par for the course, but slow growth can be discouraging and frustrating. It is at these times, that I need this reminder not to despise small beginnings. The passage goes on to tell us why. “. . . for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT). He lovingly looks on to see us start the work He’s assigned to us. Our faithful Father’s eyes watch over the work and sees to it’s completion. Philippians 1:6 admonishes us to be “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Don’t resent small beginnings! If God has given you the vision, resist discouragement. It may start out small but hold on.  He may give you a glimpse of the end result.  You may feel ready for that end right now, but you have to walk through each season of growth, preparation, and refining.  Starting small allows you to GROW through the process.

If your heart has been stirred with expectancy, don’t let your expectation dwindle. Don’t let small beginnings hinder you.  If God gave it to you, trust Him to bless it, grow it, and cause it to prosper and bear fruit.

Blessing,

EB

**read the other posts in this series Write the Vision (2020)  and The Limits of Your Best.

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I WILL Wednesday 1/15/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:4-6

Sometimes we just feel generally happy. Needs are met, family is well, doggy is wagging his tail. All seems right in your world. We just feel good. This was not the case for David. Yes this Psalm begins with David confessing faith over fear, but he still had enemies! Vicious enemies who desired to utterly destroy him. Wickedness came against him, armies surrounded him, threats of war rose against him. Everything was not good!

In this period in David’s life, he could have asked for anything. Protection, peace, an end to all this turmoil. Instead, the one thing David desired was the presence of God. He names several blessings that he found in God’s presence.

1. In the Lord’s dwelling, David was safe. (Vs. 5). This was not just a position, but also a posture—the presence of the Lord is a safe place. Though danger looms, my heart can rest in the safety of my Savior.

2. In the shelter of the Lord, David was hidden. Concealed from all the noise around him. He was very conscious to the reality of his situation. However, David’s security, as our security, is found in the Lord.

3. David was set high upon a rock. Jesus Christ is the Rock, our foundation that we should build upon. If I am on the Rock, the storms may come but I will not be moved.

4. David was able to lift his head above his enemies. Yes his enemies were still present, but David did not set his focus on them. He set his eyes on the Lord so that he might gaze in His beauty.

With all these blessings that stem from God’s presence, it’s no wonder why David responded, I WILL sing! We should respond that way too! Singing praises to our Lord, for He is worthy, He is faithful, He is constant, and He loves us. It is in Him where we can truly rest in the midst of danger, in the midst of the rain, in it the midst of our enemies. We can rest in Him. He is my safe place. He is my hiding place. He is my rock. So I will shout and offer sacrifices of joy, and I WILL sing a song of praise to My God.

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I Will Wednesday 01/08/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  Psalm 27:1-3      

Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year brings renewed focus. We look at our dreams and aspirations and we set out to put practices in place that help us reach those goals. If you are anything like me, you do this year after year. Some years we do well, but most often, by February, we’re adjusting our plan or even resigning to defeat. So many times obstacles appear and deter us from our goals. One main deterrent is fear.

Fear can stop us in our tracks and make us succumb to doubt.

King David thwarted fear with his confession found in Psalm 27. Though enemies threatened him and uncertainties loomed, David said “in this I WILL be confident.” “In this” refers to the truths declared at the beginning of the passage. Two beautiful truths that we can rest in.

The first truth, “the Lord is my light and salvation.” Darkness cannot cause me to fear, because The Lord is my light, He illuminates my path. No darkness can exist in the presence of His brilliance. Enemies cannot cause me to fear because the Lord is my salvation, He rescues and He saves. No enemy is a match for the power of God.

The second truth, “the Lord is the strength of my life”. King David was a skilled warrior. He was victorious in battle many times, but He never attributed his success to his own skills or abilities. He knew that, only in the Lord’s strength, could he win. The word strength here can be translated “Stronghold”-a fortified place of protection. In God’s strength I can only prevail.

We, too, can look forward with confidence knowing that we walk in the Lord’s illuminating light, in His Divine protection, and in His unrivaled strength. Then, come what may, we can say I WILL be confident.

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I Will Wednesday 12/11/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.   Psalms 18:3

In today’s passage, King David declares, “I WILL call upon the Lord. . .” Remember, Psalm 18 is a psalm of praise to God for deliverance from enemy oppression. David acknowledges that it is God who delivered him from his enemies. Not his prowess, bravery or might, not his skillfulness or any other ability. Only the hand of God was strong and mighty enough to deliver him.

As we look back over 2019, every moment hasn’t been great. Many have been very difficult, and if you are like me, some moments seemed designed to destroy me. Oh, but when I called on the name of the Lord, He delivered me. He saved me from distress. He saved me from going under. He saved me from myself. He delivered me.

After this point, King David faces many more trials, disasters, and disappointments, as will we. We can, however, face them confidently knowing that we don’t face them alone. We call upon The Strong One, The Mighty One, The Faithful One, The Only One who is Worthy to be praised.

The ONLY One who is mighty to save us from our enemies, even the enemies of our soul. Enemies like depression, loneliness, anxiety, illness. So whatever may come and whatever may go, I WILL call upon the Lord, I WILL cry out to Him, and I WILL trust Him.

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I WILL Wednesday 12/4/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I WILL love you, oh Lord. Psalm 18:1

In today’s I WILL passage, King David declares that he will love the Lord. This is very timely for the Advent season. This season is all about love. God loves us so much that He sent His Son. ( John 3:16) Jesus loves us so much that He came to earth to show us the way and became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (John 1:1; Romans 5:8 ).  With love on display in such a beautiful way, we are compelled to respond.

Sadly, such a beautiful love has been rejected by a sinful world. Instead of embracing this love, some turn to the pleasures of sin that only provide temporary gratification. Even still, God’s love pursues us, seeking to change our hearts by His grace, favor, mercy, goodness, and kindness. God took the initiative, He made the first move. Therefore, “we love because He first loved us”( 1 John 4:19 ).

We should love the Lord God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Jesus says that it is the greatest commandment, and also to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Let’s make an intentional effort, this holiday season and every day, to love. First, love the Lord emphatically. Then love others, which should be a natural extension of our love for God. And not just with words! Intentionally demonstrate love! Love is the reason Jesus came. That’s why we can say, I WILL LOVE!

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I WILL Wednesday 11/27/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I WILL trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

This is another praise filled passage from the heart of King David. He ascribed to the Lord, the glory due unto His name (Psalm 29:2 ).  Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Strength, Shield, Horn of Salvation, and Stronghold are the attributes used to describe God. They are the reasons David could confidently say “My God . . . in whom I will trust.” Every beautiful truth about our Father proves that He is fully trustworthy.

Though this is true, many believers struggle in the area of trust. We believe, yes, truly believe, but when it comes to seeing the fruit in our own lives, we stop short of trusting with abandon. Even when we want to. Especially when we need to.

Some translations read “in whom I take refuge.”  To take refuge is to find a safe place. This reminds me of the old hymn “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” The hymn writer shares about a sweet, tender place in his relationship with the Lord—a place of trust. That is a place where we can lay our burdens down, cast our cares at His feet, and receive the comfort and strength we sometimes so desperately need. The hymn writer ends the chorus in the popular hymn with the line, “O, for grace to trust Him more.” The days that I need to trust the most, are usually the days that my faith fails.  That’s when I pray,  “Father, give me the grace to trust you more.”  He is faithful to give me the grace that I need to confidently trust.  That’s why I will confess daily, I WILL trust!

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