Follow It and You Will End Up in God’s Peace. SYNOPSIS: The wise counsel that comes to us when we live “according to” God’s Word lifts us far above our limited, shortsighted, earth-bound perspective and provides a heavenly view of life as we ...
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Your Divine GPS

Follow It and You Will End Up in God’s Peace

SYNOPSIS: The wise counsel that comes to us when we live “according to” God’s Word lifts us far above our limited, shortsighted, earth-bound perspective and provides a heavenly view of life as we journey through it. God’s Word becomes, as Timothy Dwight described, “a window in this prison-world through which we may look into eternity.” It is, as Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbour is, and how to reach it without running on rocks and sand bars.” That’s why we must invest the first and best part of our day (Psalm 119:147) to reading, studying, meditating, and applying God’s Word.

Your Divine GPS - Ray Noah Blog

Moments with God // Psalm 119:24</strong

Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

As you read through all 174 verses of Psalm 119—the longest chapter in the Bible—you will notice the repetition of the phrase “according to.” In fact, it’s found twenty times—that is once every eight or nine verses. Obviously, it is an important phrase to the writer since he repeats it so often.

But what is of import is that the phrase is describing the one whose life is lived “according to” the Word of God. And to the one who so orders their life, the rest of the psalm is mostly a detail of the various benefits that follow. And, of all those wonderful benefits, perhaps the greatest is that these holy statutes serve as a personal counselor—a Divine Guidance System, if you will—your divine GPS!

What a comfort! The counsel that comes to us when we live “according to” God’s Word lifts us far above our limited, shortsighted, earth-bound perspective and provides a heavenly view of life as we journey through it. The Word of God becomes, as Timothy Dwight described, “a window in this prison-world through which we may look into eternity.” It is, as Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbour is, and how to reach it without running on rocks and [sand] bars.”

That’s why we must invest the first and best part of our day (Psalm 119:147) to reading, studying, meditating, and applying God’s Word. Psalm 119:130 reminds us that “the unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” As you can see, not giving full devotion and the highest place to the Word of the Lord would be nothing less than foolish.

If you have chosen to read God’s Word each day, whether through this blog or in some other form, I congratulate you. There is no better investment. Psalm 119:89 says the Word of the Lord is eternal—nothing else in this world can lay claim to that distinction—so while all else around you is being shaken, because you have delighted in his laws, you won’t be!

As Psalm 119:165 promises, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” That’s what you get when you follow your Divine Guidance System.

Take a Moment: If you are not consistently devoting the first and best part of your day to reading, meditating on, and applying God’s Word. Then I would challenge you to begin to do just that … first thing tomorrow!

The mystery of the Bible should teach us, at one and the same time, our nothingness and our greatness, producing humility and animating hope.

— HENRY DUNDAS MELVILLE

  

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Don’t Miss the Central Point

God is at the Center of it All!

SYNOPSIS: The literal and exact center of the Bible is Psalm 118:8, which reminds us that by miles, it is far better to put our trust in God than to depend on flawed, inconsistent, undependable human beings. God has a track record of indefatigable goodness, boundless faithfulness, perfect timing (although not our timing), undefeatable strength, and unmatched authority, and he is more than willing and always able to unleash his move and might on behalf of his children. You may be tempted to day to lean on the arm of flesh in whatever difficult circumstance in which you find yourself, but don’t! Open your Bible to its literal, exact center and let the eternal word of God remind you that far better than any human option is to lean on his everlasting arms. While I can’t predict what you will have to endure, I will assuredly predict that you will come out on the other side with the everlasting God holding you securely in his loving, protecting arms.

Don't Miss the Central Point - Ray Noah Blog

Moments with God // Psalm 118:8

It is better to find refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

This isn’t original with me, but I thought you might find it interesting nonetheless:

The shortest chapter in the Bible is the previous chapter in the Book of Psalms, Psalms 117. The longest chapter is Psalm 119. Tucked between these two chapters is Psalm 118, the literal center of the Bible.

There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118, and there are 594 chapters after Psalms 118. If you add these numbers up, you get 1188.

What is the center verse in the Bible? None other than Psalms 118:8 (Msg), which tells us,

Far better to take refuge in God than trust in people; Far better to take refuge in God than trust in celebrities.

Does this verse say something significant about God’s perfect will? Obviously, it does! So, the next time someone says they would like to find God’s plan for their life and that they want to be in the center of his will, just send them to the exact middle of His Word, and there they can read the central point of God’s purpose for mankind:

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in human beings. (NKJV)

Now, isn’t it odd how this worked out, or was God at the center of it?

Take a Moment: If you are facing a difficult challenge and you are wondering where or to whom to turn, go first to God. Before you do anything else, lift up your thanks-in-advance offering to the One who holds you in his everlasting arms. The final verse of Psalm 188 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:29) Do that, then expectantly await for a manifestation of his faithful love.

The Holy Bible is an abyss. It is impossible to explain how profound it is, impossible to explain how simple it is.

— ERNEST HELLO

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Indeed, Dynamite Does Comes in Small Packages

The Bible’s Shortest Chapter is its Most Profound

SYNOPSIS: The Bible tells us that we will never be declared righteous in God’s sight by our best efforts to be righteous. In fact, all of humanity is in the same boat: we all sin and fall way short of God’s standards for righteousness. Yet scripture also tells us that God proves his love for us in that while we were still in sin, God sent his son Jesus to die so that his death would pay the legal debit for our legal adjudication of innocence. In other words, God has stubbornly persisted in loving us. And what can diminish his love for us? Nothing—not even our best efforts to drive him away. No wonder the authors of these psalms would often exclaim after writing of God’s great love and enduring faithfulness, “Praise the Lord!” What else is there to say?

Indeed, Dynamite Does Comes in Small Packages - Ray Noah

MOMENTS WITH GOD // Psalm 117:1-2

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

They say that dynamite comes in small packages, as does one of the most powerful truths in all of Scripture. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, with only two verses, but how profound they are. The entire message that God has graciously communicated to mankind through his Word be summed up right here:

God’s love toward us is great, and his faithfulness is unending.

Love and faithfulness—that is our God in a nutshell. He loves us unconditionally. We did nothing to deserve or earn his love. We can never earn his love through our best efforts to be righteous and to do righteous things. In fact, we have gone out of our way to repulse his love for us. Consider these declarations from scripture:

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 4:6)

Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law, we become conscious of our sin. …[Saving] righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:22-23)

Yet Romans 5:8 adds, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, even at our worst, God has stubbornly persisted in loving us. And what can diminish his love for us? Nothing—not even our best efforts to drive him away:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,, 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 8:38-39)

Praise God. He is faithful morning after morning, with each new day, to extend mercy, cover us with grace, shower us with goodness, and embrace us with everlasting love. His love endures forever.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is God’s faithfulness.

No wonder the authors of these psalms would often exclaim after writing of God’s great love and enduring faithfulness, “Praise the Lord!” What else is there to say but …

Praise the Lord!

I would encourage you to listen to this song—How Deep the Father’s Love—then let it inspire you to lift up a prayer of gratitude to your loving, merciful, gracious Heavenly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2mn86HdQFY&feature=related

Take a Moment: Join me today—at this very moment, wherever you are—and give a heartfelt “praise the Lord” shout-out to our loving and faithful God!

God loves each and every one of us as if there were only one of us.

— ST. AUGUSTINE

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A Near Death Experience

It’s Where What is of Utmost Importance is Revealed

SYNOPSIS: There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with death to bring clarity to what is most important in life. In Psalm 116, the psalmist had either come through a literal near-death experience or he had gone through something spiritually that was so intensely difficult that death would have been a welcomed option. Whatever the reason for this deeply personal psalm, staring the Grim Reaper in the eye led the writer to this bottom line: I love the Lord! I don’t wish a near-death experience for you, but I do pray that you would come to the same overriding conclusion of what is first and foremost in life: The extension of God’s mercy to you and your response of love to the Lord. Tell me, what else in life is more important than that?

A Near Death Experience - Ray Noah

Moments with God // Psalm 116:1-6

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.

There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with death to bring clarity to what is most important in life. The psalmist had either come through a literal near-death experience, or he had gone through something spiritually that was so intensely difficult that death would have been a welcomed option. Whatever the reason for this deeply personal psalm, staring the Grim Reaper in the eye led the writer to this bottom line: I love the Lord!

I don’t wish a near-death experience for you, me, or anyone, but I do pray that we would come to the same overriding conclusion of what is first and foremost in life: The extension of God’s mercy to us and our response of love to the Lord. Tell me, what else in life is more important than that?

Now I understand, as do you, that “love” is a term used rather loosely in our world. We love our favorite food, a certain TV show, a song, or a celebrity—we even love our pets (dogs I can understand; cats I can’t). And when we are teenagers, we love our best friends one day and hate them the next. Love is a squishy thing in our culture.

But when a near-death experience peels all the false “likes” and faux “loves” back from the core of what love truly is, we find a response of love for God that expresses itself in very real terms and quite practical actions. The psalmist mentions several:

Prayerful dependence on the Lord in daily life: “Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Please, Lord, save me!’” (Psalm 116:3-4)

Calm assurance in the face of death: “The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.” (Psalm 116:15)

Heartfelt gratitude for God’s goodness: “I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” (Psalm 116:17)

Ruthless follow through of our vows to obey God’s law: “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord…” (Psalm 116:18a)

Authentic demonstration of public praise for the God we claim to love: in the presence of all his people—in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 116:18b-19).

Do you love the Lord? I do! How about we don’t just say it but show it today in one of those ways? After all, in his mercy, he has saved us from a great deal of bad stuff in life (“Then I called on the name of the Lord: Please, Lord, save me! … He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling” Psalm 116:4,8) and from even worse stuff after death (“The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die” Psalm 116:15).

Wow! Now that I think about it, I really do love the Lord!

Take a Moment: While I don’t wish a near-death experience on you, I do wish for you to realize what that kind of experience brings: a realization of God’s mercy and your response of love back to God for it. So, how about skipping that brush with death and offering your love to God for his mercy anyway? It will do wonders for you!

When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.

— CHARLES SPURGEON

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The Certain Doom of the American Idol

God Never Accepts Second Place

SYNOPSIS: In Biblical times, idols made of wood, stone, or precious metals were a constant enticement to God’s people. In our day, we don’t worship literal images as the ancients did, but wouldn’t you agree that we are just as susceptible to the seduction of less obvious yet more sophisticated idols of health, wealth, comfort, celebrity, power, pleasure, and self-preservation? Don’t you agree that the love of money, the pursuit of fame (or at least the homage we pay to those who have attained it), the jockeying for top position, and the relentless indulgence of the flesh come between many and their singular devotion to God? Honestly, if you are placing importance, expending energy, and making personal investment in something that drowns out your full-throttled devotion to God, you have made it into an idol. At the end of the day, however, our idols will have amounted to nothing. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, act, or offer anything that benefits our preparation for eternity. The wealth, power, pleasure, and fame they may produce in this life will crumble on that day when all creation stands before Almighty God—and so will all who have worshipped them along with or in place of God. So don’t give your worship to another. It belongs to God alone.

The Certain Doom of the American Idol - Ray Noah

Moments With God // Psalm 115:8

Those who make idols will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

American Idol! When the show was still in its infancy, nearly 100 million Americans tuned in to vote for one lucky dude who, only weeks before, was just as un-famous as you and me. But after several episodes of weekly exposure to the American masses, he hit instantaneous stardom when he was crowned the new American Idol.

By the way, even after several seasons, my wife still loves the show, so I dare not use this blog to trash it. That would not go well for me. But as entertaining as this and similar shows are, they expose a growing problem in our culture: Far too many people are way out of balance in their adoration of anything celebrity. We have an American idol problem, so to speak. Just like the people to whom the psalmist referred, we, too, have our idols, and we would be wise to take note of his warning that not only will these idols come to certain doom, but so will those who have created them, as well as those who elevate them to places of disproportionate importance in their lives.

Of course, we don’t worship literal images made of wood, stone, silver, or gold like the ancients did, but wouldn’t you agree that we are just as susceptible to the seduction of less obvious but more sophisticated idols of wealth, celebrity, power, and pleasure? Don’t you agree that the love of money, the pursuit of fame (or at least the homage we pay to those who have attained it), the jockeying for top position, and the relentless indulgence of the flesh come between many and their singular devotion to God?

Perhaps you would have to admit your guilt of divided devotion. Maybe you sometimes struggle with hanging on to “your” money when you really ought to be investing it in God’s work. Perhaps you wrestle with the desire to be admired for what you have done when you should really be offering acts of selfless, anonymous servanthood. It could be that there are times when it is difficult for you to put the things of God ahead of your own plans for pleasure, comfort, entertainment, and self-preservation.

If you are placing importance, expending energy, and making personal investment in things that drown out your full-throttled devotion to God, you have made them into an idol. If so, here’s the deal: At the end of the day, those things will have amounted to nothing. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, act, or offer anything that benefits your preparation for eternity. (Psalm 115:5-7) The wealth, power, pleasure, and fame they may produce in this life will crumble on that day when all creation stands before Almighty God—and so will all who have worshipped them ahead of God.

Don’t give your worship to another. It belongs to God alone. As Psalm 115:1 tells us, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Friend, worship only God, and he will be for you:

Your protection: “All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.” (Psalm 115:11)

Your provision: “The Lord will bless those who fear him, both great and lowly.” (Psalm 115:13)

Your posterity: “May the Lord richly bless both you and your children.” (Psalm 115:14)

Your prosperity: “May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity.” (Psalm 115:15)

Your peace: “The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. But we can praise the Lord both now and forever! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 115:17-18).

No idol will do that for you—American or otherwise. Only God can, and only he is worthy of your worship.

Take a Moment: If you dare, invite the Holy Spirit to point out where you have elevated money, pleasure, power, comfort, self-preservation, or anything else above your full and singular devotion to God. Then, let him take your idols out to the trash.

The Human heart is an idol factory.

— JOHN CALVIN

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