A Vicious Cycle

The Lord is a God who avenges.
    O God who avenges, shine forth.
2 Rise up, Judge of the earth;
    pay back to the proud what they deserve.
3 How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant? Psalm 94:1-3

Without God in their lives, people will sin more and more.

It’s like an addiction.

At first there’s a euphoric feeling and nothing can ever change that, until you come down from the high about an hour or two later. Then it becomes reality again. But you want to go back to that high because it felt so good and didn’t harm anyone except for yourself. So you do it again and again and again. You can’t stop and you can’t get enough. It’s the very definition of a “vicious cycle.”

And because people sin without apparent consequence, they continue to sin. There’s no end to what they can do.

Or so they think.

As practicing Believers, we know that there will be a day of reckoning. It may not be in this life (though often it is), but it will come.

The Judge of the earth will in fact return. Nobody gets away with anything. Those who went to their graves thinking that their deeds went unnoticed and unpunished are in for a big surprise.

So, the encouragement we can gain from this is that God sees it all. He may not act right away (or even at all) but He sees it all.

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Standing Firm

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days. Psalm 93:5

There is a reason why the Bible has stood the test of time: it’s God’s truth.

Critics have tried to debunk the stories.
Atheists have sought to demean it.
Hedonists have mocked its morals.
Dictators have tried to eliminate all remnants of the book from society.

Still, the Bible remains firm.

Sometimes, though, we feel that we are alone in this quest to stand up for the truth contained in the Bible. We are far from alone.

Across the country and around the world, there are millions – millions! – who feel the same way. It’s a lie to believe you are alone. The enemy wants to discourage you from reading the Bible and from worshiping the Lord God Almighty.

Keep the faith.

Keep doing what you’ve been doing to get this far. You are not alone. Not only have millions gone before you in this quest, but many are only a phone call away. If you’re discouraged, reach out and phone someone. Let them know how you’re doing. You’ll be glad you did.

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Out of Control

3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
    the seas have lifted up their voice;
    the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
    mightier than the breakers of the sea-
    the Lord on high is mighty. Psalm 93:3-4

If you’ve never done it before, you should go stand on a beach near the water’s edge in the middle of a storm. I’ve done it a few times and would do it again if I had the chance.

This single action helps you to see how small we actually are in the grand scheme of things. We are one infinitesimal figure against a vast ocean full of water and fish, a raging storm that we have no control over, and the deafening sound of a roaring ocean.

And that’s just one ocean out of five.

The Bible tells us that the Lord is mightier even than this. To be more accurate, the Lord made these oceans and the roaring sounds and the storms that rage.

If God has that kind of control over the physical world, then certainly He knows what’s happening in and around our lives.

Don’t be bashful about coming to Him. He wants us to.

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An Eternity Away

Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. Psalm 93:2

Since most of us will not live to be 100 years old, it’s difficult to comprehend eternity. We read history books and science fiction to read about what was and what could be, but eternity eludes us because it’s such a abstract concept. We know that there is no end to eternity, but we often fail to realize that there was no beginning either.

How in the world could something have no beginning or no end?

Exactly. That’s the point, isn’t it?

We’d certainly want to investigate the claims of someone who has no beginning or end, and yet those investigations have been going on for thousands of years.

Many have found faith through those investigations. Others have turned bitter because their investigations have brought them to God but they refused to cross that line.

I recall reading a textbook by renowned linguistics scholar (and admitted leftist) Noam Chomsky. He was talking about the innate nature of language (that everyone has the ability from infanthood to learn a language). After putting down the book (more than 20 years ago), I recall thinking that Chomsky really had to dance around the topic of God without ever mentioning Him. It literally was a small step towards God (and His act of Creation) but he refused to take it. It would have explained his theory to the tee. Pity.

One day we will spend an eternity with Almighty God. The concept of eternity is still elusive because of the finiteness of our bodies. One day we will all understand.

Be encouraged, my friends, eternity is not that far away.

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Robed in Majesty

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
    the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
    indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Psalm 93:1

The imagery of a Supreme King is fascinating. There is none higher or greater. Nor will there ever be one higher and greater.

Majesty. Strength. Control. Secure. Firm. Stable. A reigning God. Sovereign.

Because He is in control of everything about the world, we can trust Him in all things.

Even though this control is a common theme throughout these devotionals, it’s something we need to hear often.

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Invisible Fruit

14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:14-15

The benefits of sustained growth through the years is that you will bear fruit in old age. The truth is we may not know what kind of impact we have had on others until we get to glory.

In fact many have gone before us who have never seen the “fruit” of their labor in their lifetime. But they were faithful. They did what they believe God told them they needed to do despite the lack of visible fruit.

Recently I was rummaging through a list of bus ministry kids I worked with more than 25 years ago. By now those kids are adults and fully functioning in society.

Whatever happened to them?

Did we do all we could with what we had?

Whatever became of their faith?

I have faith that God moved in their lives and has continued to move in their lives. I’ll never know for sure what became of these kids, but I trust Him for He is the bedrock of my faith, the Rock on which I can stand.

I’m sure you have similar stories of ministries you’ve been involved in. Rest assured that God will continue to water the seeds you planted. You may never know the end result in this life, but you will know soon enough about the contributions you made into the lives of other people.

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Of Cedars and Palm Trees

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:12-13

It’s encouraging to read verses like this. For all the negativity that the news brings us each day, it’s nice to read uplifting, empowering words.

Many reading this may not feel like you’re flourishing. Life has beaten you down. The enemy has lied to you and you’re beginning to believe the lies. It’s a struggle just to hang on.

Thankfully, the Lord of Hosts is as close “as the mention of His name.” We can call on Him, lean on Him, stand firm on Him, and rest in Him as needed, which in most cases should be daily.

As verse 13 notes, since you were planted in the house of the Lord, you will flourish. The palm tree and the cedar didn’t get to be strong and mighty overnight. It took years and years of steady growth through all the harsh seasons. They didn’t grow in the sunshine alone.

Take a few minutes to meditate on these two verses. The words are powerful and life-changing.

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The Fate of Our Adversaries

My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. Psalm 92:11

When we think of heaven, we don’t often consider the fate of our enemies. We know a bit of what awaits them but for the most part, they are “out of sight, out of mind.”

We know they will be defeated in a big way but are unsure how that will happen. Should we be cheering on their ultimate defeat or sad that they didn’t listen when presented?

Today as you read these words, consider the plight of your lost family member, friend, or neighbor. When we put names or faces with these “enemies of God”, it’s a little more sobering, isn’t it? When you think of these people, pray for them.

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Of Sludge and Oil Changes

10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. Psalm 92:1

Recently I was watching a YouTube video of a mechanic changing the oil in a car with only 135,000 miles. The oil had only been changed three times from the time it was new. The sludge build up was thick and really attached to engine parts that it should never attach to. Had the owner simply changed the oil every 5000 miles, he would be looking at a $2000 bill to manually clean out the goo from the engine. “Changing the oil regularly,” the mechanic said, “was the single best way for a car owner to maintain his vehicle.”

In the Scripture above, the horn denotes power, and fine oils probably refer to freshness.

Just like oil being changed in a car regularly, so should Believers in Christ be experiencing the fresh power of the Holy Spirit regularly. As the sun comes up so should our reliance on the Holy Spirit to fill us, empower us, and renew our strength. Otherwise we won’t be at our peak.

I am convinced that the Holy Spirit, in fact, wants to fill us and empower us. He realizes our tendencies to rely on our own strength.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- John 14:16

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