The Lord Remembers Us

The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless the house of Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord – small and great alike. Psalm 115:12-13

I just recently returned from Chicago where I attended the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Board of Directors meeting. As someone living with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I count this astounding group of professionals as one of the many blessings God has delivered my way. They are inspirational, encouraging, dynamic, focused, passionate, and dedicated to the cause of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and expanding care and support for those living with the disease. I stand in awe of the amazing things this group has accomplished and their plans for the future. I always return from the board meetings with renewed hope that a cure for this disease will be found in my lifetime.

Perhaps that is why I find today’s passage especially important for anyone who loves the Lord, trusts in His heavenly guidance, honors Him, and stands in awe of Him (in other words, fears the Lord). Why? Because the Psalmist proclaims that the Lord will bless these individuals; small and great alike. It doesn’t matter what your standing in society may be, whether you suffer from illness, or what struggles you face, the Lord will remember you and bless you accordingly just as He has blessed me!

I find this particular Psalm passage very comforting as I struggle with the daily demands of early stage dementia. This passage, along with so many others, assures me God has not forgotten my plight and will, in spite of my disease, continue to bless me if I will continue to revere Him. How do I know this passage to be true? Because I’ve experienced His blessings in so many ways since my diagnosis. He provides me comfort, peace, safety, security, purpose, passion, and strength for my daily battles. He has also blessed me with the Alzheimer’s Association which has provided support and allowed me an opportunity to help others struggling with this disease. You see, God always finds ways to bless us in spite of our circumstances. He is always with us, He is always looking for ways to encourage us, and He will never forsake us!

If you are struggling with the daily demands of dementia, spend some time reading and mediating on Psalm 115. Come to know who God is, where He is, what He has done, and what He promises to do for those who fear Him. Then ask the Lord to bless you and begin to trust in Him, love Him, honor Him, and stand in awe of Him. He loves you dearly and understands your struggles. Therefore, remember Him and He will remember you!

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He Is Your Help and Shield

O house of Israel, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield. Psalm 115:7-8

Not only do the Psalms bring me peace and comfort, they also bring me an unending source of wisdom. With every Psalm, I learn something new and exciting about our Heavenly Father. In today’s passage, which is one of my favorites, I learned a little more about what trusting in the Lord really means. This particular passage calls on the house of Israel, the house of Aaron, and all who fear God to trust in the Lord for He is their help and shield.

To trust in the Lord means that you attach yourself to Him (He is the vine; you are the branches – John 15:5), your Hope is in Him (We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure – Hebrews 6:19), and you have faith in Him (because it is by faith you stand firm – 2 Corinthians 1:24). As you trust in the Lord (attach, hope, and have faith), then He is your help and your shield. Wow! What a perfect promise to hold on to because we all need help and a shield!

Do you need help in your life? Perhaps you are struggling financially, emotionally, relationally, physically, mentally, or even spiritually. Well the Lord is your source of help if you will trust in Him. When you attach yourself to Him, place your hope in Him alone, and have full faith in Him, He will help you according to His will, His timing, and His perfect plan for you. That is great news especially when you are struggling.

Do you need a shield? Perhaps you are under attack at work, in school, at home, in your community, by creditors, by evil men, by illness, or even in your church. Well the Lord is your shield if you will fully trust in Him. He will shield you from everyone and everything that intends you harm. But once again, you must attach yourself to Him, place your hope in Him alone, and have full faith in Him. When you do, no one or thing will be able to stand against you because the Lord will be your shield.

When we truly trust in the Lord, He helps us with our struggles and He shields us from our enemies. How can I claim this? Because He has done this for me in my battles with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He is my help and my shield every day which enables me to stand firm in the face of this disease! Turn to Him today and let Him be your help and your shield so you can stand firm as well.

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God’s Grace

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water. Psalm 114:7-8

As I ponder on the awesome power of God, I am completely humbled when I realize my all-powerful God cares about what is going on in my life. The same God that spoke the world into existence; separated light from the darkness, the sky from the water, and the water from the dry ground; and created all creatures and things cares enough about me that He longs to hear my voice. My Holy God, the God of Jacob, is pleased when I have complete faith in Him in the midst of my most difficult struggles.

When I come into His presence, I realize how small and insignificant I am, I understand how sinful my life is, and I know my life has not been lived in accordance with His perfect will. As this sinks into my spirit, I tremble knowing that one day I will fall before Him and be judged for my shortcomings. And then I remember grace. Grace that cares about insignificant me, grace that forgives my sinfulness, and grace that pardons my veering from the perfect path. It is God’s grace that gives me hope and keeps me humble.

Although I will still tremble in His Holy Presence on judgment day, it is God’s grace that makes me long to be there in His Holy Presence. As I continue to deal with the daily demands of early stage dementia, it is God’s powerful grace that helps me persevere, helps me write, helps me praise Him, and helps me wonder in delight as I read His Holy Word. Grace is God’s amazing gift that just keeps on giving.

If you are struggling today, for whatever reason, always remember God’s grace. It was His grace that parted the sea, turned the rock into a pool, and the hard rock into springs of water. It is that same powerful grace that brings you strength in your struggles, comfort in your calamities, and peace in your pain. In the presence of the Lord you will surely tremble, but here on earth God’s grace will surely save you.

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A Paradise of Praise

Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:2-3

St. Augustine claimed that man’s chief work is the praise of God. As I pondered these words, I wondered how God has viewed the chief work of my life thus far. Have I earnestly, enthusiastically, and energetically been diligently working at my chief work? I would honestly have to confess a resounding no! Please don’t get me wrong, I do praise God but I often let the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of earthly treasures, and the desires for other things get in the way of my praiseful purpose.

Today’s insightful passage from the Psalms reminds us that the name of the Lord is to be praised now and forever. Then the Psalmist claims that this praise is to be done from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. In other words, in every waking hour and in every place on earth.

Perhaps this is where I fall short. I praise God when I pray, when I’m in a pretty good mood, or when I’m reminded of it in Scripture. Obviously, this is not enough! My praise should flow continuously from deep within my spirit. Since the joy of the Lord is my strength, then the praise of the Lord should be my passion!

Believe it or not, I’ve gotten better at praise since my diagnosis of Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve come to realize that praise should not be based on external influences but on deep spiritual joy. Whether I’m successful or suffering, whether well or weak, whether prosperous or poor, and whether fulfilled or frustrated, God is still worthy of all my praise, all the time.

As you go about your day today, remember your chief work; to praise God! Praise Him when you awake in the morning, munch your meals, engage in your work, take your rest, soak in the Scriptures, perform your prayers, adhere to your schedule, cruise in your car, speak with your spouse, and lay your head on your pillow at night to sleep. Begin to cultivate a paradise of praise and ask God to help it grow!

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Be Steadfast

Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast in the Lord. Psalm 112:6-7

Have you ever wondered what the benefits of living a God-centered life are? Psalm 112 provides some significant spiritual insight on this specific subject. According to this wisdom Psalm, living a God-centered life produces the following:

  • Children that will be mighty in the land
  • Wealth and riches in the home
  • God’s light in the midst of dark and dreary times
  • Good in the life of one who is generous and acts justly
  • A life that will never be shaken, that has no fear of bad news
  • A steadfast heart
  • The ability to triumph over ones foes
  • A spiritual legacy lifted high in honor.

What more could a righteous man ask for in life? As I examine this list, I am drawn to the words “a steadfast heart.” For me, this is perhaps the greatest earthly benefit of living a God-centered life. Why? Because if you completely trust in the Lord, no matter what may happen in your life, you will always know God is with you and He will work for the good in your particular situation. As a result, you will have no fear of bad news and you will never be shaken which is exactly what the Psalmist expresses in today’s passage.

Unfortunately, we will all have bad news in our lives. It is part of living life on planet earth. But those with a steadfast heart, who completely trust in the Lord, will have no fear of what happens in their lives. They will joyfully persevere through their trials. The peace of God will guard their hearts and His strength will be more than sufficient for their situation. How do I know this? Because God has done these things for me as I wrestle with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in my life!

As you face your struggles today, ask God to create in you a steadfast heart from this point forward. Lean on Him and begin to fully trust in His divine goodness. He will give your strength, support, and solace for your situation. He loves you dearly so turn to Him today and be steadfast!

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A Blessed Man

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. Psalm 112:1

I have three lovely long-haired Chihuahuas that provide me with companionship and tremendous joy at their antics as they race around the Hornback Homestead on our daily strolls. Now each one of these beautiful animals has a unique personality and disposition. The only female, Poco, can be a delight at times but is also a bit hardheaded, obstinate, and independent. Slayer, the genius dog, is exceptionally smart but extremely temperamental. But Blackjack Savage, the biggest of the three Chihuahuas, has a remarkable zest for life, is the most obedient, is extremely loyal, and delights in his master. He will curl up beside me for hours and never move just so he can be close to me. He lives to please his master and he is obviously my favorite!

Today’s Psalm passage reminds us that if we fear the Lord and find great delight in His commands, we are blessed. Perhaps you are taken back by the expression “fears the Lord.” In this particular Psalm, it simply means to revere, honor, stand in awe, and take seriously the Lord. Our relationship with Him should never be flippant and it must be the top priority in our lives. We must always have a righteous fear of the Lord while desiring to be in His presence.

Following right on the heels of fearing the Lord is to delight in His commands. Simply put, we must delight in reading, meditating on, and obeying His Holy Word. Why? Because this is how we continue to grow closer in our relationship with Him. It is how we come to know, respect, revere, honor, and worship the only one who can bring peace, joy, contentment, and purpose into our lives.

Like my dog Blackjack Savage, who loves to be by my side, I love to be close to my Lord. Whether it is reading His Word, speaking with Him in prayer, writing about His greatness, praising Him for His creation, or worshiping in His House, I delight in His presence. In spite of my daily dealings with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I am a blessed man because I righteously fear the Lord and delight in His commands.

If you are struggling with the daily demands of dementia as well, perhaps today’s Psalm passage is speaking to you. Praise the Lord, fear the Lord, and delight in the Lord’s commands. Take these words to heart and you will be blessed in spite of your struggles!

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Faithful and Just

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. Psalm 111:7-8

Today’s passage from the Psalms contains a powerful message about how God deals with everything. First and foremost, all the works of His hands are faithful and just. Now this is an extremely important concept to remember as we encounter the difficult situations that often arise in our lives. Since we live in frail, earthly bodies we will inevitably get sick, we will get hurt, we will experience emotional upheaval, and we will eventually die an earthly death. In other words, God does not necessarily cause us to get sick, get hurt, experience emotionally distressed, or die; that is just part of living life here on planet earth.

Jesus put it quite succinctly in John 16:33 when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” You see, Jesus knew the simple facts of living life on planet earth; it is, and always will be, filled with trouble. However, He prefaces His troubling statement with an affirmation that “in me you may have peace.”

This leads us to the second powerful message in today’s passage; all God’s precepts (laws, words, and messages) are trustworthy. If God says something, then we can take it to the bank. It is the truth and can be trusted! Therefore, if we are sick, hurt, distressed, or near death, we can have peace if Christ is in our hearts. Now that is great news because we will all experience each of these things, and possibly more, in our lives. Why, because in this world you will have trouble!

If you are struggling today because of some “trouble” the world has brought to your doorstep, remember the words of Christ, “In me you may have peace.” Peace is the one thing you need when trouble strikes. Peace to endure suffering, peace to persevere to the end, peace to prepare for the future, and peace to patiently pray through your ordeal. Peace only comes from knowing God and trusting that His strength is sufficient for the “trouble” you are facing. As you face your troubles today, lean on the One who is faithful and just and you can have peace!

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Great Are His Works

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2

Psalm 111 is a beautiful Psalm that implores us to praise God for His magnificent works here on planet earth. In fact, today’s passage reminds us that so great are the works of God, they are pondered by all who delight in them. As I read the passage a couple of times, I thought about what it meant to ponder the great works of God. As I pondered, I realized that pondering (at least for me) always leads to praise.

When I go to the seashore, stand atop a rocky mountain, breathe in a beautiful sunset, walk a twisting trail through a forest, gaze at the immense night sky, or look into my wife’s beautiful brown eyes, God’s spirit cries out to me, “Look at what I created so that you might enjoy life on this earth!” As I ponder these great works, how could I not praise God for all He has done so I might have life to the full? Even in the midst of my daily struggles with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, His great works always humble me and implore me to praise Him!

Perhaps you wonder if I have bad days, well I do. Perhaps you wonder if I get whiny, well I do. Perhaps you wonder if I get depressed, well I do. But somehow in the midst of these difficult days, God draws me away from my somber struggles and reminds me of His great works. As I ponder whatever God has brought to my attention, I delight in knowing He created this particular thing so I might have joy in my life. Then my somber struggles seem so petty and once again my praise and prayers of thanksgiving begin to flow heavenward.

Perhaps your somber struggles are becoming the sole focus of your life. If so, spend some time reading and meditating on Psalm 111 and 112. God will surely bring to mind, or even present for your eyes to see, one or more of His great works. Then I pray that you will find hope and joy in knowing God did this for you so that you might delight in Him and all His great works.

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The Lord Is At Your Right Hand

The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. Psalm 110:5

As today’s passage so aptly puts it, the Lord is at your right hand. In other words, if you are a child of God, then He is always with you. Perhaps that is a hard concept to understand but because of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we are assured the Holy Spirit is within us and therefore, God is always with us.

One of the Greek words for the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is paraclete. This particular Greek word comes from two words: para, meaning by, very near, or beside; and kaleo, from which we get our word call. In some translations of the New Testament paraclete is translated as advocate, comforter, or helper. No matter what the translation, the Holy Spirit guides us into truth, helps us remember what Jesus taught, comforts us when we are down, brings us peace, strengthens us for service, and assures us of God’s never ending love. He is always close by so all we need do is call on His help.

I often pray to the Holy Spirit asking for His help, His prayers, and His guidance especially now that I struggle with the daily demands of Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As a member of God’s holy family, the Holy Spirit is at my right hand helping me deal with the demands brought on by dementia. Even if I don’t call upon His Name, He is there assisting me throughout my day. Because of this, I often say a prayer of thanks to the Holy Spirit at the end of the day for His strength, guidance, comfort, support, and encouragement.

If you are dealing with dementia or some other serious struggle in your life and you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit is within you working to bring you peace, comfort, guidance, strength, assurance, comfort and God’s enduring love. Ask for His help when your struggles are overwhelming. Then, rest assured that as a member of God’s holy family, the Holy Spirit is right beside you, in your corner, and working on your behalf.

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Under Attack

In return for my friendship they accuse me; they attack me without cause. They repay evil for good, and hatred for friendship. Psalm 109:3-4

Psalm 109 details David’s plight when evil and deceitful men attacked his unquestionable character. Perhaps you have been in a similar situation as the one in which King David found himself. Men or women have unjustly attacked your unquestionable character or spoken bitter, hurtful words against you. Friends may have even joined in to the gripping gossip leaving your heart hanging, your emotions enraged, and your character charred.

When this happens, how should you respond? For most people, their human nature immediately goes into defensive mode and they begin to prepare slings and arrows of venomous verbal retribution. However, as Christians what action should we take when under unjust verbal assault? Perhaps the best course of action is to do as David did; immediately go to the Lord in prayer. And when you pray, don’t hold anything back! Give it all to God! Let your enraged emotions, hurting heart, anxious anger, and troubled tears pour out as you unload your terrible thoughts to the only one who can fully comprehend your concern and ease your suffering spirit.

Whenever your charming character, your serious situation, or even your daily dementia demands come under attack causing anxious thoughts to rise within you, remember what the Apostle Paul said to his beloved people in Philippi:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by petition and prayer, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This passage is one of my power passages and I have used it to calm my troubled spirit many, many, many times! Besides, this is exactly what David did in today’s Psalm and it is the best course of action when you are attacked without cause.

Therefore my dear friends, spend time in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving as you present your situation and your requests to God. Then the God of hope will fill you with all joy, peace, and understanding so your hurting heart can be healed. What more could one ask for?

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