Praise Him Today and Forever

Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. Psalm 72:19

I simply love to be outdoors in the early morning just before the sun rises above the horizon. The morning is quiet, the birds have begun their morning songs, and the sky is filled with the pastel colors of the rising sun as it breaks through the morning darkness. God’s glory is always revealed in His creation first thing in the morning and I begin my day praising Him for all He has done.

Today’s passage from the Psalms reminds us that the whole earth is filled with the glory of God. All we need do is step outside and breathe in the majesty of God’s glorious creation. If we can do this every day, then we will find a daily connection with God as we offer up our praise for His marvelous works. Even on the foggy days brought on by Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, when I can do little else, I am able to go outside, take in the splendor of the morning, and offer my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord who blesses me every single day. For instance:

  • In the midst of my struggles, He shows me spiritual strength.
  • In the midst of my confusion, He provides me certain clarity.
  • In the midst of my uncertainty, He offers me unfathomable peace.
  • In the midst of my heartaches, He delivers me heartfelt comfort.
  • In the midst of my human weakness, He showers me with heavenly power.

His blessings surround me, hold me up, and remind me of His glory each and every morning. If you are struggling today, do as King Solomon did in today passage; praise His glorious name and acknowledge His glory which fills the whole earth. He is our King, He loves us dearly, He continues to shower us with His blessings, and He longs to hear our heartfelt praises. Praise Him today and forever for He is God Almighty. Amen and Amen!

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My Confidence

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. Psalm 71:5-6

Today passage from the Psalms describes my relationship with the Lord who has been watching over me since my birth over 62 years ago. The Psalmist uses this particular Psalm to express his gratitude and praise for a Sovereign Lord who has delivered him time and time again since his youth. He cries out for deliverance one more time so that he might be able to continue to glorify God, tell of His righteous acts, and praise Him before all men.

As I read this Psalm, I could certainly identify with Psalmist who needed deliverance from his wicked enemies one more time. In my case, the wicked enemy is no mere man. No, my evil enemy is Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease which is a much fiercer foe. Like the Psalmist, I have also petitioned the Lord for divine deliverance from this evil enemy time and time again.

Of course, divine deliverance can come in many wonderful ways. Therefore, I trust fully in the Lord to apply His miraculous method of deliverance in my situation. It could be through heavenly healing, safe and secure refuge, softening of the symptoms, purposeful and meaningful activity, sudden death, or a unique method He has perfectly picked for my particular predicament with this disease. You see, God has delivered me in the past when trials have hammered my doorstep. Sometimes He chosen to remove the trials while other times He simply kept them at bay. But one things for sure, His deliverance is always perfect!

In my current situation with this disease, it makes no difference to me what God choses but only that His will be done in my life. Whatever form of deliverance He decides upon, I will continue to praise Him! Why? Because He is my confidence, my hope, my strength, and my refuge.

If you are struggling from the daily demands of dementia, remember today’s passage from the Psalms. Contemplate on the times God has delivered you from trials since your youth. Praise Him for His presence, power, and protection in the past. Then petition his deliverance today so you can confidently continue to praise and glorify His Holy Name before all men.

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Come Quickly

Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay. Psalm 70:5

This past weekend was marked with difficult days filled with fogginess, unsteadiness, confusion, and a complete lack of focus and concentration. Of course, this is to be expected when struggling with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As we all know, there will be good days and “not so good days” as we journey down this dementia road.

However, today I am strictly sticking to my daily routine which brings comfort, confidence, and consistency during a foggy day. On difficult days like I’ve experienced this past weekend, I realize how much I depend on the Lord and my beloved wife who compassionately care for me. They watch over me, keep me safe, and help me when I’m not sure exactly what to do.

Today’s passage from the Psalms is a perfect passage for those difficult days we often experience with dementia. In this passage, David petitions the Lord to come quickly to his aide (as he so often did) and earnestly pleads that God doesn’t delay. David recognized that the Lord was his help and his deliverer during all the difficult days he faced in his life. Isn’t David’s prayer just the perfect petition for the difficult days we face when dealing with the demands of dementia?

If you are struggling today because the fog of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has set in, use today’s Psalm passage as your petition to the Lord for help. He will surely hear your prayer and come quickly to keep you safe, secure, and satisfied as you persevere through the fogginess. How do I know this? Because God has been faithful to me during my difficult days even when I have not been completely faithful to Him.

Like David said; when we are poor and needy, let us seek the Lord to come quickly to our aid and not to delay. Remember, He loves you dearly and longs to be your help and your deliverer during your difficult days. Seek Him today and do it quickly!

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Blessings in a Storm

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. Psalm 69:30-31

This afternoon we are having a terrific rain storm which is drenching the Hornback Homestead. As I watched the storm unfold from the front porch, I was glad I could nestle down in the safety of a sturdy home to stay out of the wind and rain. As I  watched it rain, I thanked God for His gracious blessings of a home, family, and friends.

Sometimes, we get caught up in the raging storms of our lives and fail to see the beautiful blessings God has surrounded us with. Perhaps the clashing thunder of adversity, the flashing lightning of illness, and the winds of anxiety occupy our minds and cloud out the blessings God has given us. That is why I try not to focus on my storm, Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but instead focus on the blessings God continues to bring into my life in spite of my disease. These blessings make living with Alzheimer’s so much easier. These blessings appear in strange ways:

  • The encouragement of family and friends to continue forward in the face of unfathomable odds
  • The care and support from the University of Kentucky’s Sanders Brown Center on Aging where my clinical trial and long term study are administered
  • The programs and people of the Alzheimer’s Association
  • The compassion and nurturing of a church family
  • The joy of God’s strength which enables me to do something in the fight against this disease
  • God’s overwhelming presence in my life as I continue to serve Him.

Whatever the blessings may be, God deserves my praise and thanksgiving even in the midst of my raging storm.

If you are struggling today because of your raging storm, look past the storm and focus in on the beauty of His bountiful blessings which surround you and hold you up. They are there waiting for you to enjoy and to acknowledge them before God. Remember, it is your praise in the midst of a raging storm that truly pleases God. As today’s passage from the Psalm declares, God wants your praise and thanksgiving far more than any offering you could give. Glorify Him today with praise and thanksgiving for He is compassionate, gracious, and caring!

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Rescue Me

Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes. Psalm 69:18

Have you ever had one of those days in which God’s blessings seemed to pop up everywhere throughout the day? Well yesterday was one of those blessed days for my wife and me as we walked the 16 miles for the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day fundraising event. It was an incredible day during which God made His blessings undoubtedly clear to both of us.

Our day started out great with a wonderful article on the front page of our local paper about our efforts for The Longest Day event. As we started our walk around 7:00 AM, the temperature was pleasant and as the sun rose and the temperature did likewise, a massive cloud formation moved in and shielded us from the heat until around 11:00 AM. As we walked along the highway clad in our purple The Longest Day shirts, people honked and waved at us. Whenever we passed people on the street or in their yards, they encouraged us and asked how far we had already walked. We even had people offer us iced tea, water, and Gatorade to drink as we passed by.

Throughout our walk God’s people were so encouraging and inspirational. We even had folks make donations as we were walking along our route or during our rest stops. It was a red letter day and I felt God’s wonderful presence as we walked. Like today’s passage from the Psalms implies, I felt that God came near and rescued us from the heat, monotony, and aching joints of our walk. He is truly an amazing God who touches our lives every day whether we see it or not.

Even in the midst of my struggles with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, God comes near and rescues me from my foe. He brings me contentment, purpose, joy, strength, and peace which makes living with this disease so much easier. I can’t imagine living with this Alzheimer’s disease without His help and support.

Perhaps you are struggling with dementia or some other situation today. Allow God to come near and rescue you as well. Allow Him to come into your life and move on your behalf. Lean on Him today and He will rescue you, empower your life, and allow you to touch the lives of others as well.

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His Great Mercy

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Psalm 69:16

Today is the day I will be hiking 16 miles for The Longest Day fundraising event for the Alzheimer’s Association. I am hiking the 16 miles to represent the 16 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year (1 mile for each hour of daylight). This will be the first time I have participated in The Longest Day event and I’m excited about it.

My wife is worried that I will overdo and pay dearly for the overexertion required to walk the 16 miles. So I will be praying for strength, perseverance, and resolve to walk the distance while pacing myself so I don’t overexert myself. Perhaps the Lord will answer me out of the goodness of His love just like today passage from the Psalms implies. Perhaps He will grant me mercy as I walk and keep me safe, secure, and shielded from the heat of the day.

I am excited to get started and make my goal before the day is over. I also pray the Lord will allow me to share my story throughout the day as I encounter people who want to know something about The Longest Day and why I am walking.

I walk to raise money for research, services, and programs which the Alzheimer’s Association provides. I walk to raise awareness about the disease. I walk to remain in the fight against this disease. I walk to support those who can no longer walk.

To all of you who have contributed to my Longest Day event, a heartfelt thanks and a sincere appreciation for your donations. They will be well used by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Well it is time to get this chicken kickin. I’m off to start the 16 mile trek! May God grant me strength, safety, and support along my journey today. May His great mercy follow me all day long.

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Summon Your Power

Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. Psalm 68:28

A few years ago, on a vacation trip to Maine, my wife bought a t-shirt imprinted with a very beautiful nature scene and some natural words of advice. The shirt had in bold letters “Advice from a TRAIL.” Below the scenic picture was the follow trail advice:

Walk into beauty
Pack life with good memories
Find inspiration around every turn
Tread lightly
Stay on your path
Life has its ups and downs
Watch your step!

The advice was priceless and I thought it fit perfectly for my situation with Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. You see every day:

  • I try to walk into and breathe in the beauty of God’s creation because it calms my anxious thoughts and reminds me God is in control
  • I try to pack my life with good memories and not dwell on the things I can no longer do
  • I look for inspiration everywhere so I can remain positive, faithful, and joyful
  • I tread lightly so I don’t overburden my caregiving wife and do my best to avoid hurtful thoughts and words
  • I stay on the path of righteousness so I can stay in touch with my Lord
  • I understand my disease has its ups and downs so I praise God during the up times and seek His strength and comfort for the down times
  • I watch my steps along the journey and stay rooted in the Holy Word for encouragement, inspiration, strength and hope.

I often have to summon God’s power to help me do these things but He is always gracious and willing to strengthen me just like today’s Psalm passage implies. Without His help and strength I would stumble and fall along my journey with this disease. So today I praise Him for all He has done and continues to do in my life. Without Him I ‘d be lost on the trail!

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God Bears Our Burdens Daily

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

I love to read books and especially enjoy reading Christian literature. Unfortunately, I am unable to remember most of the information that I read at any given time even though I have read it multiple times. Nonetheless, I still take pleasure in reading even if it only brings enjoyment and momentary knowledge at the immediate moment.

One of my recent books was The Promises of Grace by Bryan Chapell. Bryan weaves the threads of grace into his book by using Chapter 8 of Romans as his literary loom. One particular verse which touched my heart and stuck in my mind was the following:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38

As I thought about the encouraging words of this special Scripture, God reminded me through the Holy Spirit that even Alzheimer’s disease would not separate me from His everlasting love. No matter what happens, no matter how bad I might get, no matter how forgetful I become, no matter where I may end up, God’s love will always be with me. Therefore, I should not burden myself with thoughts of how the future will unfold for my Heavenly Father will carry that burden for me. All I need do is praise Him, serve Him, talk with Him, have faith in Him, and love Him. His glorious grace and everlasting love will take care of everything else!

Like today’s passage from the Psalm prescribes, God our Savior bears our daily burdens. Why? Because He loves us unconditionally and nothing can separate us from His love – not even the ends of the earth. Praise be to God!

If you are struggling today because of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and are worried about what the future holds, let God carry all the future burdens for you. Then allow His grace to fill your life as you begin to completely trust in Him. He alone holds the keys to your future. So, instead of worrying, spend your time in prayer, service, praise, song, and purposeful activity. Let His glorious grace and everlasting love handle the rest!

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God Will Bless Us

Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. Psalm 67:6-7

There is a wonderful old Christian hymn entitled Count Your Blessings written by Edwin Othello Excell in the late 1890’s. The closing words of the first verse are:

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

The words of this familiar hymn ring in my head for days after singing it during a Sunday morning worship serve. The words of the hymn stand as a vivid reminder of how God showers His blessing upon us because of His glorious grace and unfettered love for us.

In today’s Psalm passage, the Psalmist declarers that “the land will yield its harvest and God, our God, will bless us.” It is a beautiful passage that prompts us to praise God for the countless blessing in our lives. I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome when he said, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all, and richly blesses all who call on him.” This is as true today as it was when Paul wrote these words of encouragement and instruction to his fellow believers in Rome.

We often forget how blessed we are especially during difficult times. Alzheimer’s disease can certainly be one of those difficult and distressing times that clouds one’s life. However, it doesn’t mean God’s rich blessings no longer flow in your life. The closing words of Count Your Blessings remind me I’m not alone in my battle with Alzheimer’s disease:

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

I find comfort in the simple truth God is Lord over all things to include Alzheimer’s disease. I am grateful His angels attend to me daily for I most certainly need the Help. Because of His great love, I know I will undoubtedly have help, comfort, and blessings all the days of my life and Alzheimer’s disease can never steal that from me!

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God Is Gracious

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. Psalm 67:1-2

Today’s passage from the Psalms is one of the most beautifully written expressions of a perfect petition for blessings for God’s people. But the passage goes much further than just a petition for blessings. The Psalmist expresses the underlying purpose of these blessings: to spread God’s message and salvation among the nations.

The opening of this precious passage, “may God be gracious and bless us and make his face shine upon us,” is a prayer that I have offered up to God on many occasions since my diagnosis of Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. You see, I figure as long as God grace continues to flow in my life, as long as His blessings do not cease, and as long as His face continues to shine upon me, then I can endure whatever Alzheimer’s disease may bring my way and continue to be of service to the Kingdom.

Perhaps you think I’m being too Pollyanna and a bit naïve. Let’s face it, Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, is pretty devastating and demoralizing in the final stages of the disease. I know, I’ve read all about it and even seen its impact on many of my family members. However, as long as God continues to be gracious to me, what have I to fear? Nothing! God is with me and He will never forsake me just because I have dementia. And maybe, just maybe, my dealings with dementia have a distinct purpose. Perhaps I am to spread God’s message of grace to others who are suffering with dementia. In fact, that is exactly why I write these devotions. To encourage, to bring hope, to share God’s love, and to assure others that God’s glorious grace, bountiful blessings, and magnificent mercy continue even in the midst of our worst storms.

If you are struggling today because of dementia, use today’s Psalm passage as your prayer. Ask God to be gracious to you, to bless you, and to make His face shine upon you. Then allow His Holy Spirit to fill you with perfect peace, complete contentment, and heavenly hope so your daily dealings with dementia won’t be such a struggle.

God longs to ease your struggles, your suffering, and your sorrows if you will allow Him free reign to work in your life. Then maybe, just maybe, you can be a beacon of light for someone else who is struggling with dementia. May His grace and blessings fill your life today so you can be a blessing to the nations!

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