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All Times - A Devotion

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Psalm 34:1-3 (Amplified)
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

All times. It is my goal to become an “all-times” believe. I want the title of uncompromisingly righteous. There was a song that came out many years ago called “Tubthumping” that is commonly known by its catchy lyric – “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never going to keep me down.” We all have those “Job” moments in our life when it seems like the enemy is hurling every insult and assault possible to knock us down or take us out. We experience long wait times just like Abraham. Three are many years of feeling as though we live in bondage just like Joseph. All of these men prospered through adversity. They got knocked down…but they got up again. Too many times we forget that God is good at all times. Confusion sets in as we attribute the qualities of man to a God that is not like a man. (Numbers 23:19) He is incapable of lying or ever changing His Mind. He was right the first time. He does not second guess His Calling or ever take it back. His Word will never return to Him void or useless but must accomplish what it set out to do from the beginning which means that no matter how many times we get knocked down or even fall down that all we must do is get up and continue walking in the Presence of God to receive His Promise. This is important! Too often, we allow the temporary circumstances and opposition of the enemy to change our mind about God. We must have a transformed mind in order to live by faith. “I will bless the Lord at all times!” His Praise will continually (day and night in every season) be in my mouth. My life makes its boast (to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride) in the Lord. Let the humble (submissive and meek) and afflicted (distressed with physical or emotional pain as well as greatly troubled) hear and be glad. We are to magnify the Lord. Magnify means to glorify or increase in actual size. The Lord is great! He doesn’t need to make Him supreme or position Him to reign – He does! I must magnify the Lord in my life so that I can live in the shadow of His Great Love and refuge of His Presence. I do this when I exalt (promote) His Name. I need to give the Lord the “promotion” that He should have in my life to live under the banner of His Love. This seems good but not possible “at all times”. I must make it my priority in life.

Psalm 34:4-7 (Amplified)
I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers.

Yesterday was one of those days! You know the kind when everything that can go wrong does. It becomes the “pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed” kind of day. It is when faith begins to seem like a mustard seed rather than the “righteous” oak that you have been working so diligently in growing. Hope is no longer a mighty anchor but a tiny buoy barely keeping us afloat. What happened? Where is the Lord? Surely it is not His Intent or Desire to crush, abandon or destroy me? It began around eight o’clock with the illness of our oldest child who was in route to the emergency room. Nothing life threatening but nevertheless causing obvious concern. This would take about seven hours of our day away. The next morning after only a few hours of sleep, I knew that the day would be challenging due to sleep deprivation. Did I mention that each and every moment of the day that we anticipate a call from the hospital to begin a bone marrow transplant for our other son? As the day goes on, the dryer which was on the fritz two weeks ago decides to act up again halting any progress on the mounds of laundry that loom over us. No worries. I begin to prepare dinner not only for our family but my mother-in-law who has been in a rehabilitation center for the last two months. With food that is less than desirable, we have added bringing dinner to her each night to aid in her recovery. Lost in thought and daydreaming of bedtime when I could escape the chaos for a moment I drift preparing dinner, that is until I feel the knife that I am using plunge into my left hand so back to the Emergency Room for a quick repair. Throughout the day, those closest to me who know of the events of the day, weeks and months preceding offer prayer and encouragement with phrases like “you need a break” or “you could use some relief”. They mean the best but my mind takes it and wraps it with disappointment, discouragement and looming defeat as I look around at others. Fatal error number one is looking at other people and comparing our life to theirs wanting what they have and hoping for a life like they have. The moment that I felt the dreaded “D’s” begin to sweep over me – I was done. But rather than rant and rave, I have tried to learn from my mistakes. I instead cling to one word, “Done!” Heading off to bed hoping to find His New Mercy in the morning. (Lamentations 3:21-24)

I must learn to inquire of the Lord in every situation and season of my life to be consistently and uncompromisingly righteous but with the details of my life I am confused. But it is in the reality of my weakness as a human being that I gain the strength promised by the Lord. He must become the daily requirement for my life. To require means to have need of, depend on and want. These are all very different elements of a full-time relationship with God. He is our necessity for life – a life labeled as abundant and overflowing. I must be delivered of all fear that God has forgotten me, left me behind, is ignoring my need or overlooking His Promise to grab hold of faith that allows everything God has promised to be a reality in my life. I must learn in all things and at all times to look to the Lord. To look at the Lord requires repentance which is to turnaround. When do you know it is okay to stop turning? When you see Jesus as your future and that is enough to hang on by faith to His Promise. In this place, you begin to prosper. Prosperity is not something you do or what the Lord is necessarily giving you. Prosperity is fulfillment. It is completion according to His Plan not our own. It is to cause to succeed and render happy. It means to mature. Prosperity is your promise fully delivered and your purpose fully achieved. You are to be complete lacking nothing. This is only available who are able to look over the circumstances, around the situation and go through problems allowing nothing to stop them who seek the Lord as a daily necessity. Our faith in God encamps His Angels around our life to protect us in our pursuit of the Lord and are ushered in by our ability to worship God in our trials and praise Him in the tests.

Psalm 34:8-10 (Amplified)
O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear. The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing.

Lions are called King of the Beasts. Jesus is called the Lion of Judah. The Word of God tells us that the young (inexperienced and immature) lions lack food and suffer hunger. It is that inner instinct and drive that keeps them going. They are hungry. We must learn to seek the Lord with such hunger. No longer looking into the mirror walking away and forgetting who we are (Children of God) and settling for the substitutes and counterfeit compromise that the world offers labeled immediate gratification. Taste and see that the Lord is good goes further than “Sunday and Wednesday” Christianity but becomes a daily pursuit of constant nutrition from the Word of God to feed our soul and nourish our spirit so it will become stronger. We must also inundate our mind with God’s Way of thinking and doing things in order that we will lack no beneficial thing. This comes in the knowledge that He is working out every detail of our life for good. (Romans 8:28) No longer looking to provide for ourselves, our sole dependency becomes Jesus Christ. He teaches us what Living Water and the Bread of Life are to change our appetite which changes our desire from this world to the things of God that will always bring us satisfaction and contentment no matter what season we are going through – we can bless His Name at all times from the reserve that is created when His Love overflows in our life.

Psalm 34:11-17 (Amplified)
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to revere and worshipfully fear the Lord. What man is he who desires life and longs for many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it! The eyes of the Lord are toward the [uncompromisingly] righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles.

Over the years my theme song has changed from “Tubthumping” to “The Desert Song”. This song differs from “I get knocked down, but “I” get up again” to “All of my life, in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship”. I woke up this morning with this in my head. It is my heart and soul’s intention to worship the Lord and sing His Name with good reason. He is still God. even when I am going through a drought or living in a season of famine. His Plan is in full effect. I am not missing out on everything but walking straight into my destiny. I can go there singing with full confidence. The Lord says to come into His Presence with boldness. We can be bold thanks to Jesus Christ who has made us righteous so that even when we fall down or try to turn back – His Grace holds our place awaiting our return. I am to revere the Lord living in complete awe with deep respect that He is good and doing all that He promised so I will prosper. My inheritance is not contingent on other people or accessible to them. They cannot have what the Lord labeled as mine. He is no respecter of persons. To whom much is given much is required. That is why I my faith is challenged so that it will increase and grow into the prosperity. Confident hope is evidence of faith’s maturity allowing us to hold our position in the storm when life is chaotic such knowledge keeps us from turning back to evil or running back to darkness because the pressure is too much, persecution is overwhelming or the strike against us devastating. We must learn in the midst of such opposition to guard our mouth and the words that come from our lips that have the power to give life to our promises or kill them on the spot. We must decide to depart from evil – all evil and stop making excuses or using grace as a cover-up for a sinful existence. There are two choices – good and evil. There is no place labeled “middle of the road” or “gray area”. You must seek to live a peaceful life at all costs which means loving everyone without exception even yourself because God does. God is love. He does not put unnecessary and great expectations upon you but asks you to do that of Him. Put all your expectancy in the Lord at all times and stop expecting so much out of other people and yourself. In such a position, you are free to love. Love covers a multitude of sin. (I Peter 4:8) God’s Love had a Name – Jesus. He paid the price not only for my sin but yours too. All of our sin is covered by the Blood including the past, present and future sins. We are to encourage each other not to sin but we are not called to expose sin and expect accountability for it. We are called to love one another. Sin separates us from God but it does not mean that He turns His Back on us but rather than we have turned our back on Him. When I complain, grip and grumble about my present conditions or envy the life of another who is blessed in this midst of overt sin, then I am saying that His Blood was not enough to cover that multitude of sin and that His Grace is not sufficient for me. When my righteousness and full expectation are invested in Christ, it doesn’t matter what happens around me because I expect nothing from this world. My full faith, hope and confidence is in the Lord which results in prosperity and productive reproduction according to the Will of God for those who choose to walk in His Way.

Psalm 34:18-22 (Amplified)
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent. Many evils confront the [consistently] righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall cause the death of the wicked; and they who hate the just and righteous shall be held guilty and shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the lives of His servants, and none of those who take refuge and trust in Him shall be condemned or held guilty.

The Lord is close. I believe that with all my heart today because of the intensity of the enemy’s opposition over the last couple of days. It always comes when I am fully expecting God to move. If the enemy can distract me, I might miss it. So he is clever in hurling every single insult and trying to build obstacles that I am too weak to overcome. The Lord is close the broken hearted. My heart is broken in so many ways. It has been for a long time. But it is in such a state that keeps me pursuing His Healing, Renewal, Restoration and Revival in my life. It is my total and complete weakness and lack of ability to remain righteous and faithful to the Lord that I fully accept His Righteousness and Faithfulness as the primary necessity for my life. When I magnify the Lord, study His Word, converse with Him on a regular basis and choose to pursue His Way every day is when I become an “all times” believer. Why is this important? Because I want God’s Best all of the time. I receive such a life through the love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ – ALONE. I can do nothing to earn it but must learn to humbly receive it to be all that God has created and called me to be. We learn to receive by living a fully repentant life apart from sin daily striving to continually seek the Light of His Love to fill the void the darkness left behind. It tells us plain and simple that “many evils confront the (consistently) righteous.” You are going to have problems. Trouble will come your way. Temptation will also be right behind you. But wait there is more…”BUT the Lord delivers them from them all.” All these things that I am going through will either press me into the Lord or completely separate me from Him. When I experience persecution, I will either stand on the Word that I have found to be true or turn from it rejecting it in full. When I am struck down, it is my choice whether I get up or remain in my pity party. “But God” is our guarantee that “this too shall pass” for those who choose to live in the Shelter of the Most High. No matter how many times that we think our faith is weak or failing. Even when it seems our mercy has run out for this day, and all we can do is wait for the morning that brings His New Mercy, God is with us. In the waiting rooms and prisons of life, He never leaves us or forsakes us. We are not abandoned but being trained so that we will never go hungry or lack again. He is changing our appetite for this world to a hunger for only Him that will lead to satisfaction. God is always good. He is always working out the details of our life (good or bad) for His Glory. No matter how many times we find confident hope to be a less weighty anchor for those who refuse to give up, quit or let go, there is hope. For those who do give up, quit and let go, there is a second, third and fourth chance. It’s called His Sufficient Grace that is more than enough to cover our shortcomings so we win in every situation. His Name is Jesus. I will bless the Lord at all times. Even when all hell breaks loose, I will not be moved by the chaos in my life. I will continue to bless that Lord at all times. Even when I don’t understand all the struggles that I am facing, I will still bless the Lord. “He is still God and I have a reason to sing. Yes, I have a reason to worship!”

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (Amplified)
However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; we are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies. For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death. Thus death is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] life [may be actively at work] in you.

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