The Wonders of His Love

Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege. Psalm 31:21

It’s quite easy to see the wonders of God’s love when we’re fed and happy and have no cares in the world. But when the chips are down and there is serious trouble, it’s especially important that we’re able to recognize the wonders of His love. What are these wonders and what do they look like?

Look around you.
Look at nature.
Look at people.
Look at microscopic organisms.
Look at a sunrise and sunset
Look at the vast number of stars and planets at night.
Look at men and women in love.
Look at a mother and her newborn.
Watch a carpenter ply his craft.
Listen to an well-rehearsed orchestra.
Gaze at an artist’s painting.

There are countless other examples of the talents and gifts of His creation, as well as creation and all its splendor.

Often we’re too busy looking for the miraculous signs and wonders to see the tiny miracles all around us.

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The Good Things

How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
    from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
    from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:19-20

You look at these verses and rightly ask, what are those “good things” that the Lord has stored up for those who fear Him? In this life I can think of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians: 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Think of how difficult those characteristics would be to attain apart from the Holy Spirit working in us.
I know we are all a work-in-progress, but if we didn’t even have a hint of those qualities, it would not be pretty.

To embody these qualities, however, requires us to give ourselves over to the Lord daily. Romans 12:1 teaches us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

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Losing Grip

Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
    for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
    and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
    for with pride and contempt
    they speak arrogantly against the righteous. Psalm 31:17-18

You don’t have to go far to find out about groups who have mistreated, lied about, and even slaughtered Christians – i.e, the righteous in this verse. As Satan continues to lose his grip on Believers, he tries to kill and destroy (John 10:10) because it’s what he knows. It’s never really worked before in the long term because the Church continues to get stronger despite of the persecution (or perhaps because of the persecution).

Continue to pray for the persecuted church around the world. Choose a country and find out all you can about the church and the Believers there. Then pray.

Know this: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

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Art

Let your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your unfailing love. Psalm 31:16

You’ve never met Art, and yet there’s a dozen people just like Art in your life: quiet, unassuming, never making waves, unnoticed.

As we drove home from a singing engagement last night, Art mentioned almost in passing that his wife had passed away three weeks ago. He and his wife had been married 54 years. He spoke of the incredible loneliness he had after that time. He is still a very lonely man.

To those of us in the car it was like a bomb had been dropped. No one knew. We knew his wife had been ill but that was the extent of it. I found out more about Art in that 20 minute ride home than all the years I’ve known him.

Thing is, each of us know someone like this. They’re not flashy so they are easily overlooked and sometimes ignored.

Had we known what had happened, we would have come alongside him, so the obvious questions I ask is this: why didn’t we know? Why didn’t we even ask Art the most basic questions such as:

  • How’s your wife?
  • How’s your health?
  • How’s your family?
  • How can I pray for you?

I would like to pray this verse over the Arts in our life.

Lord Jesus, Art and those like him are hurting. They’re lonely and even confused. Would you shine your face on these people? Would you give them peace in their sorrow and grief? Help us to know how to help them. Keep us attentive to recognize other Arts in the world, the hurting but silent individuals that we could easily overlook. Amen.

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Be Here Now

My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:15

When I lived in Tajikistan a co-worker was discussing what he had to do to get to the field. His organization required him to work two years in the U.S. in a church before they sent him overseas. This is what he said that has stuck with me, “I wish I had given that congregation my full attention for those two years. I was so worried about getting the attendance up and I overlooked the people God put in front of me. They were a small group but I wish I would have ministered to them more.” Plus he admitted the setting he was in was merely a stepping stone for his work internationally.

He recognized that he didn’t give his people the attention they deserved. His agenda (international work) interfered with that.

I’ve thought of his words often because daily i pursue things other than those right in front of me. Our life, our words, our actions, our times are in God’s hands.

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