Seek His Face Always

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:3-4

I started today in a funk. I did not want to read the Bible, sit down to meditate on writing, sit at my computer to write, or even begin my morning prayers. The fog in my mind was not excessively heavy today but my emotional fog was thick with despair. As I moped around the house, I contemplated how I could muster enough motivation to begin my daily routine.

So I forced myself to sit down and read God’s Holy Word in hopes of becoming enthused, encouraged, and eager enough to write today’s devotion. After reading much of Psalm 105, my mind meandered back to today’s passage. My eyes focused in on “seek his face always.” I knew what I had to do, I had to pray and seek his face to let my heart rejoice in Him.

The Holy Spirit was urging me to do this all along. Morning prayer is even on my daily checklist, the crutch I live my life by now days. But for some reason, I had not even looked at my daily checklist. After praying, I felt so encouraged and inspired. As I meditated on “seeking his face” I remembered, isn’t this exactly what the shepherds and the Magi did over 2000 years ago. They sought the face of Christ so they might worship the new born King and rejoice in His birth.

If your day is starting out in a funk like mine did, I urge you to stop what you are doing and “seek His face.” You will be enthused, encouraged, and eager to go about your day as you serve the Lord and bring glory to His name. Spending daily time in prayer is a glorious opportunity we all have. Therefore, let us seek his face always so our hearts might rejoice, we might gain strength for our day, and we might continually glorify His name!

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Unfamiliar Journeys

When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:12-15

Today’s passage presents the plight of Abraham when God called Him to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance. Abraham and his family were few in number and became strangers in the land as they wandered from nation to nation until God brought them to their final destination. During their journey, God protected them because they were faithful to His calling.

God’s children are constantly being called to take unfamiliar journeys to places, situations, or circumstances we never imagined. By faith, we embark upon these journeys knowing full well that God will be with us and protect us along the way. In many cases, these journeys are not necessarily in line with the plans we had for our lives. None the less, as servants of the Most High, we faithfully embark on unfamiliar journeys.

No matter how difficult the journey, as long as we remain faithful and focused on God, we will reach the divine destination marked out for us. My personal journey is through the Early-onset Alzheimer’s valley. It certainly isn’t a journey I would have chosen on my own. However, by faith, I can walk this valley knowing God is with me, He will protect me, He will give me strength, He will comfort me, and He has a divine purpose for my journey. Along the way, I shall write books about my faith and experiences, post devotional blogs to encourage others, and do all in my power to help those on similar unfamiliar journeys.

Perhaps you are on an unfamiliar journey of your own. Perhaps it is also a very difficult one as well. As you continue forward, do so with faith knowing full well God is with you and He will never forsake you. Your journey is a special one, God has a divine purpose in mind, and He will work it to the good somehow. All you need do is trust in Him and rely on His strength when the journey wears on you. Therefore, faithfully persevere on your journey and seek God’s help as you press on toward the divine destination God has laid out for you. Remember, He was most certainly with Abraham and He will most certainly be with you as well!

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1,000 Generations

He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. Psalm 105:8

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England during much of the 1650’s, once said, “What are histories but God manifesting Himself?” In other words, the flow of world history is truly the result of God sovereignly building his kingdom here on earth to reach all of humanity. Psalm 105, one of three historical psalms, records the invisible hand of God intervening in the affairs of men, the events of nations, the course of kingdoms, and the rise of rulers. God is truly the hinge upon which all history turns.

Today’s passage promises that God remembers His covenant, the word He commanded for “a thousand generations.” As I consider this statement, I am amazed at the sheer number of years this denotes. A generation’s time span can be between 20 and 30 years (depending on the developmental status of a nation). Therefore, this passage is referencing over 20,000 years which is far greater than even recorded history!

So what does that mean for me today? It simple means God will keep His word for the rest of human history which obviously includes my generation. Therefore as a child of the Living Lord:

  • If God spoke it, it can apply to me
  • If God intervened in the past, He can intervene in my life
  • If God was personally involved with men in the past, He can be personally involved in my life
  • If God used men in the past to further His kingdom on earth, He can use me to do the same no matter what my circumstance may be.

If you are a child of God, then all these same things apply to you as well. God hasn’t changed over the course of human history. He is still God Almighty and His invisible hand still moves in the affairs of men today.

No matter what struggle you are going through right now, God can intervene. Why? Because He is a personal God who loves His children beyond all measure! You see, He never gives up on His children, His love is unconditional, and He always works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. And how long will He do this? For at least a thousand generations!

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Meditations That Please

May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:34

Today’s Psalm passage poses a particularly perplexing problem for me personally. Are my meditations pleasing to the Lord? In other words, do my personal thoughts bring joy to the Lord?

I have to admit, I occasionally have passing thoughts that are definitely not pleasing to my Lord! I’m sure we all do from time to time. But these passing thoughts aren’t what troubles me. I’m more concerned about my meditations and thoughts about spiritual things.

When I read God’s Holy Word, do I really think about what God is saying to me? Do I hang onto every wonderful word? Do I meditate on His precious words and ask God to help me understand how they apply to my life right now? Do I acknowledge how His words of wisdom help me each day with my struggles brought on by Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease? Do I thankfully praise God for His gracious gift of divine wisdom and inspiration after I’ve thought about the passages I’ve just read?

I must admit, I don’t always do these things when I read and study Scripture. However, I should! If I did, God would more likely be pleased with my thoughts and meditations. His Holy Word is too precious to be pushed aside or read half-heartedly. When I do, God must be disappointed!

If you read your Bible every day (or almost every day) like I do, spend some special time meditating on the passages you’ve read. Ask God to help you understand them. Ask Him how they apply to your life and circumstances right now. Then praise God for His gracious gift. Doing these things will be pleasing to Him and they will make your relationship with your Heavenly Father and His Son much stronger and deeper.

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Praising God As Long As I Live

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalm 104:33

Merlin Carothers authored a powerful book entitled Power in Praise. This book is not for the faint at heart because it postulates that we should always praise God no matter what our circumstances. Merlin Carothers buts it this way in his book:

Praise is based on an acceptance of the present as part of God’s loving, perfect will for us. Praise is not based on what we think or hope will happen in the future. This is an absolute “law,” clearly observable in the practice of praise. We praise God not for what we expect will happen in and around us, but we praise Him for who He is and where and how we are right now.

Praising God is a way of life for the true believer. It is Scriptural and therefore spiritual. Today’s Psalm passage puts it perfectly, “I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” The Psalmist reminds us that as long as we live and breathe, we are to praise our Heavenly Father. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it! No matter what our circumstances may be, we should praise God.

Perhaps you think this is just too tough to accept because your circumstances are far too difficult and despairing to offer praise to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romans 8:28 reminds us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. So if you love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, no matter what your circumstance may be, God works for the good for you. That in itself is reason to praise God!

No matter what your circumstance may be today, praise God for who He is and where and how you are right now. God loves you dearly and He is worthy of all our praise no matter what is going on in our lives. Make praising God a daily habit! If you can do this, then, like the Psalmist, you too can declare that you will praise the Lord as long as you live.

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Bearing Fruit

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works – he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. Psalm 104:31-32

In the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel, John records a beautiful teaching of Christ regarding the vine and the branches. Christ lovingly explains to his disciples that they must bear fruit in their lives. However, if they are going to bear fruit, they must remain in Christ and Christ must remain in them. After telling the disciples this, Christ proclaims this precious passage, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:8).”

Bearing fruit, doing good works, serving the Lord, displaying the fruit of the Spirit, living a godly life, obeying God’s commands, and loving the Father and His Son are but a few of the things that bring glory to God. Today’s Psalm passage declares that the glory of the Lord endures forever and He rejoices in His works. As I read the passages from the Psalms and John’s Gospel this morning, I came to understand that the glory of the Lord endures in part because of our Christian actions here on earth. You see, good works, when done with Christ like love and compassion in our hearts, bring joy and glory to the Lord.

Perhaps you struggle with doing good works because of the daily demands of dementia, the difficult circumstances you face, or the struggles brought on by some other serious illness. But Scripture reminds us that anyone can bear good fruit if they remain in Christ. No matter what our circumstances may be, if we remain in Christ and Christ remains in us, not only will we bear fruit, but we will bear much fruit!

How can this be true when experiencing dire circumstances or illnesses? Simply put, the perfect power of Christ that flows through the believer who has a living union with Christ overshadows the dire situations so good fruit is still produced. I have seen earthly evidence of this in the lives of true believers who continued to bear much fruit in the face of insurmountable odds and devastating illnesses.

You see, Scripture offers no byes on bearing fruit because of difficult circumstances! So let us bear fruit today as we remain in Christ and Christ remains in us. Christ is counting on us. May His glory endure forever!

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Faithful, Obedient, and Praiseful

Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Psalm 103:20

Where would the world be without the presence of God’s angels? These celestial creatures, like today’s Psalm passage declares, do God’s bidding, obey His word, and bring His message to mankind. I surmise that without God’s angels, the world would be dark, dreary, and downright unpleasant to live in. A world without the presence of God’s angels would mean a world in which God had turned His back on mankind.

The Gospel of Luke opens up with two visionary visits from God’s angel Gabriel. The first is Gabriel’s visit to Zechariah to announce that God has heard his prayer and his wife Elizabeth will bear a son and they shall call him John. In the sixth month after Gabriel’s visit to Zechariah, Gabriel returns a second time to earth to visit the Virgin Mary. Gabriel announces, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Gabriel declares that Mary will be with child through the Holy Spirit and his name will be Jesus.

Gabriel, who stood in the presence of God, was obedient to God’s commands. His unquestionable obedience prepared the way for the birth of Christ. These events stand as an eternal example of what God expects from each of us: unfathomable faith in His message and overt obedience to His commands.

Despite our earthly struggles, despite our earthly illnesses, despite our earthly circumstances, and despite our earthly emotions, God still desires us to remain faithful, obedient, and praiseful. Like God’s angels, we are His servants who bring the message of hope and salvation to those who live in darkness. Therefore, let us set our hearts on minds on this: to be faithful, obedient, and praiseful so God’s light might pierce the darkest corners of our communities.

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Obedience

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:17-18

Obedience is such a challenging word for some people in today’s society. In fact, obedience is often seen as conforming to an organized society way of life and a sign of weakness in the eyes of the rebellious. But true obedience takes strength, faith, courage, and love.

Today’s passage reminds us how important obedience is in the eyes of the Lord. His love and righteousness is always with those who fear Him, keep His covenant, and obey His precepts. It is interesting to note that there are no exceptions to this passage. In other words, we don’t get a bye on obedience just because we are young, sick, poor, or neglected. In all of these circumstances, God still requires obedience.

Since my diagnosis of Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I’ve learned how important obedience truly is in the eyes of the Lord. My desire to love the Lord, keep His covenant, obey His precepts, produce fruit, and live a life filled with the fruit of the spirit is far more important than the things I used to cherish. God did not change His demands because I got sick, they just became more important in my eyes.

If you are struggling today because of some difficult situation or illness, remember, God still demands obedience from you. Is it harder to do this because of your situation? Probably, but the rewards are far greater than you can possibly imagine. Obedience always brings blessings but more importantly it produces everlasting love which strengthens your relationship with the Lord. And that is more important than anything else!

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Thankful that God is Good

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:2-5

Today’s Psalm is a perfect praise passage to start a new day. Why? Because God does so many good things in our lives; things that we often take for granted. Forgiveness of our sins, health, salvation, love, compassion, provisions, goodness, and life itself. I am sure you could add much more to this brief list taken from today’s passage. However, the point is that we should be thankful.

I would personally add to the list faith, family, and friends. All three are gracious gifts from God. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without my faith, family, and friends. They are truly a magnificent blessing when faced with a serious illness.

  • My faith keeps me persevering through my daily struggles with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
  • My family loves, supports, and encourages me thereby allowing me to press on in the face of insurmountable odds.
  • My friends keep me actively serving God and show me the love of Christ which brings me hope.

As you enjoy this new day, remember to thankfully praise God for all the benefits He sends your way. In spite of your struggles, God brings goodness and grace that sustain and protect you every day. God’s love endures forever, His grace is never ending, His forgiveness is eternal, and His goodness covers His children like a warm blanket. Be thankful today for God is good!

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Like a Bird Alone on a Roof

I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. Psalm 102:7

Many Bible commentators suggest that Psalm 102 was written during a troubling time in the history of God’s people. It most likely refers to the Babylonian captivity when God’s chosen people were held captive, God’s house was in shambles, the holy city was in ruins, allies had deserted them, and God’s work on earth was seemingly at a standstill.

Today’s passage describes how lonely and distraught the Psalmist felt. But haven’t we all felt this way at one time or another? Either our finances are in ruins, loved ones have deserted us, we are being held captive by our afflictions, our lives are in shambles, or all we’ve worked for on earth has been for naught. We feel alone and isolated from all hope. Because of our dire circumstance, we often believe God has deserted us and we wallow in deep despair.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. God remains forever with the believer. His Holy Spirit lives within the heart of His children. All we need do is to focus on God and not on our circumstances. How do we do this? Whenever I begin to feel discouraged, distraught, or in despair, I pick up the Bible and read my favorite passage from Philippians, Psalms, or Galatians. These always remind me that God is an ever present force in my life and His strength is sufficient for all my struggles brought on by Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Then I pray and thank God for His help and goodness in my life!

If you are struggling with despair today, read God’s Holy Word. If you are lying awake at night because you can’t sleep, recite familiar passages and pray. You will feel God’s presence which always brings hope and peace. God is always with you. You are never like a bird alone on a roof!

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