• "Who's Simple?"
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on July 1, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     “God gives prudence to the simple?” Who are the ‘simple ones,’ and what does ‘prudence’ mean? And, if I’m not simple, do I need prudence?” asked a student in rapid succession. Trying to answer him while the class listened carefully was very important to me. I didn’t want them to think I didn’t know what I had been talking about. Solomon was not being smug, or putting anyone “down,” or ridiculing them, or being sarcastic. He was too wise to do that. He was being compassionate and giving a warning to those who are “easily led” or “gullible.” There are times when all of us fall into one of those two categories: following the wrong leader or not thinking things through carefully. And the word, “simple,” as used here, refers to people who are “aimless,” or “inexperienced,” who allow themselves to “drift into temptation.” They are unaware of what is going on around them, and, unfortunately, do not care to do anything about it. People in this condition are easily led astray because they have no interest in doing what is good for themselves, nor what the right thing to do might be.  Honoring God is of no concern to them when faced with temptation. The “simple” refuse to accept God’s wisdom as a guide for their lives and even refuse to hear and accept His guidance because they refuse to honor Him.         But, because of His love and grace, God continually reaches out to them, wanting to impart His wisdom to them. First, however, they must accept Him as Savior and enthrone Him as Lord.  God’s wisdom is available to those who hear and respect Him. Never forget that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Those who do not hear and fear Him will remain “simple.” Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for reaching out to us in love, and wanting us to have Your wisdom to guide us each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today’s Bible Verse: For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. Proverbs 1:4

  • Look At It This Way...
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 30, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    “One thing is for certain about you, Guido,” he said as he looked at my messy desk, “you don’t have OCD!” “What do you mean, I don’t have OCD?” I asked. “Well, if you had an obsessive-compulsive disorder you would be arranging and rearranging your desk to make it neat and orderly. Then you would do it over and over again. But, it’s not neat, never has been, and probably never will be. I’ll bet that your drawers are the same.” Realizing that he was right, I decided not to argue with him. He was a psychologist, and I was embarrassed. Many people do arrange and then rearrange things. Some people do things over and over again, and then again, to make sure that everything is perfect, or as close to perfect as it can be. They check and then recheck what they have already checked. Being around people who have habits like that make me feel guilty. They have to do things right! But there is a vast difference between doing things right and doing the right things. We can waste an entire day arranging and then rearranging food in our homes while our neighbor goes hungry. Or, we may arrange and then rearrange our cramped closets when we know there are people who wear worn out, ragged clothing because they have no other choice. We may be doing things right but we are certainly not doing the right things. Righteousness in God’s Word is a combination of both behaviors. Not only do we want to do things right  - as He commands us to do in His Word - but we must do the right things that will please and honor Him, as we serve others in need – spiritually and morally. Prayer:  Help us, Father, to be aware of how we do “righteousness.” May our lives meet Your expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:    For receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair. Proverbs 1:3

  • Right Choices
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 29, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     “When you come to a ‘fork’ in the road, take it,” is an oft-quoted bit of advice from Yogi Berra. It has brought a smile to the face of many when they first hear it. But if you listen to what he is saying, it’s rather dangerous. Let me explain. “Wherever you want to go, is OK. Just follow your own path and enjoy life,” is what I think Yogi Berra is suggesting. But, is following our own self-designed path the best thing we can do with the life God has given us? God gave us His Proverbs for us to have His understanding to know right from wrong. In fact, if we go back to a conversation between God and Solomon, his first request of God was for the gift of insight: he wanted to be able to discern right from wrong. Solomon, at that time, wanted to honor God with his whole heart. He knew that honoring God would be difficult without God’s insight to guide him. What a wise request! “God,” he begged, “please guide me.” Perhaps he saw his father, David, struggling with his humanity when he had to choose right from wrong. Perhaps he saw his father grieve over a poor decision that cost someone their life. Perhaps he saw David, his dad, deal with guilt when he did not follow God’s guidance. There was something deep within him that challenged him to “be insightful, or discerning.” So, he asked God for this gift of “discernment,” and when he understood and applied it in his life, he recognized its value. When he recognized it’s value to him, he wanted to pass it on for us to use in our lives. How thoughtful of him to want to share God’s Word with us to guide us and keep us from sin.      God has given us the only resource we need to be discerning: His Word. If we choose to honor Him we can find His directions in His Word. Life is safe and certain if we follow His Word! Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we know that You will guide us and guard us if we seek Your will and stay obedient to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:    For giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.  Proverbs 1:4

  • Attention!
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 28, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    There are very few pictures of “Attention!” that can rival a US Marine standing tall after hearing that word. As soon as that “word” is shouted by a “superior” heels come together, muscles tighten, and faces freeze as though they were carved in granite. Persons who have served in the military know the significance of that word. When “shouted to subordinates” it results in an external rigidity that is very visible to the onlooker and represents an internal attitude of concentration that is waiting for a command to be obeyed and followed with no hesitation. Throughout His Word, God uses many different ways to get the “attention” of His children. There are times when He speaks directly to a person. There are times when He speaks to one person through another person. When God wants the attention of His children, He has many options. We read in Job that one of God’s options to get our attention is through suffering: “For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hand also heals,” wrote Job. In Proverbs 1:2 we find a word that can be translated with several different meanings: instruction, discipline, training and chastened. But, in this instance, there is no doubt that it means “to teach by discipline” or “through punishment.” We often hear stories about people who “have to hit bottom” before they are willing to do something about a problem that is destroying them. It may be God at work. He often uses suffering and hardship to get our attention by “raising the bottom” to “save” us because He loves us. “The Lord disciplines those He loves,” wrote Solomon. God often uses discipline to get our “attention” when we abandon Him. Why? Because He refuses to let us destroy ourselves!” Prayer:  Lord, we know You love us. Do whatever is necessary to keep us in Your will - even if it means we must suffer for You to get our attention. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:   For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight. Proverbs 1:2

  • Always Room For More
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 27, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     Whenever I hear the word “gain,” I think it is related to “weight,” especially my weight. There are very few mornings that I do not step on the scale to get my “daily report” on what I ate yesterday. Most nutritionists do not recommend such a program. But, my hope to see the arrow pointing downward remains steadfast. A gain or increase can be good or bad, exciting or depressing, encouraging or discouraging, depending on what the gain refers to. If we depend on the stock market, a gain can be a good thing. But, if we see a gain in our debt, it can be disturbing. Our gains or losses, for the most part, are usually in the physical or material realm. Solomon speaks of a particular type of “gain” - of being able to achieve some “things” that will last as long as we live. These “gains,” these valuable lessons are available and offered to us in Proverbs.  Our “attaining” more of God’s wisdom, or “life gains” is very important for all Christians because we are constantly challenged to “grow” throughout Scripture, and Proverbs provides this path for us if we want to grow. The word used for “wisdom” in this verse also means skillfulness - applying knowledge that comes from God to our lives every day. If we do so, we will “do the right things the right way.”   When we go one step further, we come to the fact that it is possible to develop decision-making skills that are God-honoring and enable us to establish life-principals that will bring us success. God’s proverbs can guide us through life, help us in our relationships with others, lead to good practices in business, enrich our homes, and bless God and others. Prayer:  Lord, You've left us “no excuses” on how we are to live life if we are Christians. Thanks for the directions on how to live a successful life! Now, give us courage! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:   For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight. Proverbs 1:2

  • The Importance Of Words
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 26, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     “What’s a nanosecond, Keller?” I asked my ten-year-old grandson. “Papa, everyone knows what a nanosecond is,” he replied with a wry smile across his lips as if teasing me. “Well, not quite everyone. If I knew, I wouldn’t ask.” I felt like I needed to go back to school. Immediately! “It means one, one billionth of a second. It’s used to measure the speed of light and other stuff,” he replied casually. Not having any need to measure the speed of light, I thought it was a good time to end the conversation. I realized how little I knew about some things. But there is one thing I do know without any doubt: God took great care to choose the exact words He needed to explain His message of redemption. No second guessing about what He wanted us to understand. No hidden meanings for a special class of people. Nothing is left to the imagination that could cause us to make an error in knowing God’s message or direction for our lives. This is very obvious in Proverbs 1:2-4. God, through Solomon, let us know that there is a right way and a wrong way to “live life.” Each of us has choices to make about the way we will live: either a life of righteousness with God’s power that will honor and glorify Him or a life that is sinful, self-centered and leads to our death and damages others. Ten of the approximately forty words in Proverbs 1:2-4 provide different aspects on ways to understand, see and apply God’s wisdom for daily, God-centered, living. Check them out! God leaves nothing to “chance.” He wants us to succeed! Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for the “God is My Helper” successful living guide-book – the Book of Proverbs. May we follow it carefully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:  For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. Proverbs 1:2-4

  • A King's Resume
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 25, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     Recently I was asked to write a resume. Since I had not written one in nearly 30 years, it presented a real challenge. As I thought about the many things I had done, some well and some not so well, I was grateful for the fact that the choice of what I would include was up to me. Solomon did not write his resume. God did. Nor was he the last one to make a statement about who he was and what he had accomplished. God did that as well. (And, by the way, God will do the same for you and me.) Even a casual review of Solomon’s resume is impressive. -Early Childhood Education: Exposed to sages, philosophers, wise men Observed troops preparing for battle Studied large building construction Accompanied his father in foreign affairs Sang Psalms written by his father Involved in worship, prayer, and praise -Major Life Achievements: The third king of Israel Built God’s Temple in Jerusalem Diplomat, trader, patron of the arts Recognized as “wisest man who ever lived” Author, sage, and philosopher -Final Notations: Leadership accomplishments destroyed Married pagan women, compromised his God Enslaved God’s children What could have been, never was. Sadly, sin defeated Solomon, and he lost everything. Prayer:  One day, Father, we will all stand before You to be judged for the lives we lived.. May You bless us and say, Well done, Faithful Servant! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:  Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Nehemiah 13:26

  • Looking Deeper
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 24, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    Advice only has value if it achieves its goals. Often, we follow the advice we get if it agrees with what we want to hear or if it comes from a trusted friend. When we need sound, reliable, and timely advice, we need assurance that our sourve is wise. Certainly, advice coming from David, a “man after God's own heart,” would be worth following. So, when he gave advice to his son, it was a tipping point in his career as a king, husband, father, teacher, and warrior. And, his advice was simple, and can be summed up in a few words: “Be strong and obedient to God.” But, what does this mean? First and foremost, Solomon, if he chose to succeed, needed a deep, personal relationship with God. As he grew up in David’s household, he saw his father reading the law and prophets, worshipping and praying, writing the psalms and following God faithfully. David proved what obedience was. And, when he failed, he repented, and returned to obeying God’s teachings! However, he had to know God’s laws to obey them. To know them, he had to study them before he could apply them. This would take time from other things - but would be time well invested and keep him from failing in life by being disobedient to God.  He also was given advice to worship God wholeheartedly, surrender to Him completely and serve Him willingly and faithfully. Sadly, history shows us that he refused to do that. As the story of Solomon unfolds in the Bible, we read of “what might have been” if he had surrendered to God completely. His lack of surrender destroyed the plan God had for him. The same is true for us. We must study God’s Word and, surrender to Him, or fail. Prayer:  Father, may we willingly study and obey Your Word, and then surrender our lives to You and bring honor to Your Name and peace to our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse: When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.  “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” 1 Kings 2:1-3

  • Fatherly Advice
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 23, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    There is no shortage of advice in today’s world. We can discover endless resources in the exploding number of self-help books and magazines, radio and TV shows. No matter where we look or what we listen to, someone has some formula to solve our problems, enrich our lives, make us more attractive, add years to our lives, and make us wealthy. Solomon, apart from his Proverbs, also offered insight on how to live life well in some of his other writings. And, at the end of his life he wrote, “Of making many books there is no end...all has been heard, and here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments.” In these few words, he went back to the beginning of his reign when his father, David, gave him some “fatherly advice” – “Solomon, be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires.” There are, as mentioned earlier, many sources and resourses on how to live life. But the advice we find here is different. After reflecting on his life and reviewing his successes and failures, he summed up the essence of life: “Life, apart from God, is meaningless.” David, “a man after God's own heart,” offered his son, Solomon, a man who would one day be recognized as “the wisest man who ever lived” the formula for success. God’s wisdom, however, only has value if followed. As long as Solomon followed the advice of his father, David, God honored and blessed him. And, nothing since then has changed. If we follow the advice of our Heavenly Father as He presents it in His Word, He will honor and bless us, guide us and guard us, too! Prayer:  To accept and live by Your requirements, Father, is easier said than done. But, with Your power, it is possible if we trust in Your strength, not ours.. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse: Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:12-13

  • Where Did The Proverbs Come From?
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 22, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    No one has ever asked me to answer a question that had no limits. Sometimes, I have been asked questions that have encouraged me to “think big” or to “go beyond what I have thought of in the past,” or to “think into the future for what could be.” Those questions have been very challenging. However, no one has ever approached me and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you, and I will!” At least, no one who had the power to give me a “whatever.” But that happened to Solomon. And, the one who asked him that question was not his father who he would replace as king. It was One who was much more powerful than his father, and One who, indeed, could grant Solomon the “whatever” he wished for. It was God Himself! He realized and admitted to God that he was not qualified to be a king. He saw himself as “a little child.” So, he asked God to “give Your child a discerning heart” – (not mind) – “to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?” Then, the very next verse begins with, “The Lord was pleased that Solomon asked for this!” And, God responded: “I will give you what you asked for and what you have not asked for: wealth and honor, and in your lifetime you will have no equal!” What an interesting question: “Ask for whatever you want” - and what a humble answer: “Nothing for myself. My only desire is to have a discerning heart.” God granted his request and through him gave us His inspired, infallible, inerrant Proverbs as “life guides.” Prayer:  Father, in Your wisdom, You gave Your servant wisdom to offer to Your children so they could “live well!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:   So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? 1 Kings 3:9

  • Why The Proverbs Of Solomon?
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 21, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     Wisdom was a very important matter to those living during the time of Solomon. The Bible gives special recognition to the wise men of Israel’s neighbor, especially those in Egypt, as well as Babylon and Phoenicia, Arabia, and Edom. The Old Testament also refers to Gentile “sages” with a certain degree of respect – but does not mention the Gentile priests and prophets. It’s important for us to remember that there were many in that period of history who were very intelligent even though they did not speak as one having a “special revelation” from God. Individuals throughout the ages, even today can think, speak and write wisely within many different fields of knowledge, and yet not speak on behalf of God. It is this simple, significant fact that makes The Proverbs of Solomon different. Solomon spoke on behalf of God, the truth of God, to guide the people of God into “paths of righteousness for His sake.” Then, as now, following the teachings and instructions of Solomon, God's children have God's “filter” to see God’s world through God’s eyes. We often talk about “hindsight” and “foresight,” but God’s Word gives us insight into the way we are to live. We may have wisdom from other sources, but the wisdom that comes from God enables us to live victoriously and successfully, and let the world see and understand the value of submitting to His teachings. We are, of all people, most blest to have His wisdom! One more fact: We, as the children of God, also have access to the power of God, to live lives that are pleasing to God, through the strength and power of God. Prayer:  Heavenly Father, may we know, understand, accept and live in the light of Your wisdom every day! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:  The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel. Proverbs 1:1

  • What's A Proverb?
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 20, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    Little Ruby was saying her bedtime prayers. “Dear God,” she prayed, “please help bad people to be good and good people to be nice.” Whether Ruby knew it or not, she provided a simple way of describing what the book of Proverbs is: “a guidebook for living a life that pleases God.” Over the years, various cultures and societies have established different criteria to describe whether or not one is “successful.” Many have put “wealth” at the top of the list. And, money, to some degree, is important and necessary if one is to have the necessities of life. Others would speak of power, prestige, and one’s position in society as being critical. Those words express the core values of individuals who want to be recognized for what they have accomplished on the world’s stage in politics, the military, banking, or finance. No doubt some want to be remembered for doing some “thing” that no one else has done - like discovering a medicine that extends life or setting a record in a particular sport, inventing a product or procedure that makes life better or is useful, valuable or delightful. But, those whose lives are guided by the lessons that we find in The Proverbs are those who fear God and allow Him to guide them, guard them and give them His gifts. We often talk about hindsight, sometimes we wish we had foresight, but Solomon’s Proverbs gives us the insight to make decisions based on God’s laws. Proverbs provide us with God’s wisdom that is underwritten by God to give us His power to live good, godly lives. Prayer:  Grant us willful hearts, Lord, to obey Your laws. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:  The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel. Proverbs 1:1

  • Lasting Impressions
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 19, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    One dreadful day, many years ago, a large sailboat capsized on Lake Michigan. It was near the shore, and the lifeguard on duty, Edward Spencer, jumped into the lake and rescued all seventeen people who were on board. Finally, he fell exhausted on the shore and was taken to a hospital to recover. As he was carried into the emergency room, he kept asking, “Did I do my best?” Years later, Dr. R.A. Torrey, an evangelist, was telling this story in a revival in Los Angeles. Suddenly, a man electrified the audience. He stood up and shouted, “Dr. Torrey, Edward Spencer is here.” Shaken, Dr. Torrey asked, “Would you please come to the platform?” Slowly, the white-haired Spencer made his way to the platform as the people applauded wildly. Dr. Torrey looked at him with grateful eyes and asked, “Is there anything that stands out in your mind in the saving of those seventeen people?” “Only one thing, Dr. Torrey,” he replied. “Of the seventeen, not one of them thanked me.” “Ingratitude is the mother of every vice,” is a famous French saying. And the Spanish add, “The earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man.” Why is it so difficult to say, “Thanks?” Is it pride? Is it self-centeredness - the attitude that I don’t need you or anyone else? Is it because we are weak and want to appear strong? Is it a false impression of our own value? How interesting that the last verse of the Psalms reads, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Prayer:  Lord, give us an alert mind to recognize the many gifts we receive each day. Give us grateful hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:     Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

  • The Sound Of The Trumpets
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 18, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    An old Jewish legend claims that each day in heaven begins with the ringing sound that comes from a trumpet. After Lucifer, once the son of the morning, had fallen from heaven, he was asked, “What do you miss most?” After a moment’s thought, he said, “The trumpets that sound in the morning.” The legend continues that the reason the trumpet sounded was to call people together to thank God for His love and mercy, grace and goodness. Sadly, the “trumpet of thanksgiving” is absent from the lives of far too many Christians. The sounds of glory and gratitude have been replaced with groans of gloom and grief, greed and godless living. But we are urged in Psalm 150: to “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet.” Trumpets were used in Jewish ceremonies to remind worshipers of the greatness, glory, and goodness of God and to praise and thank Him. Perhaps it would be a good idea if each church had a trumpet player to begin each worship service. Perhaps the sound of a well-played trumpet might remind us to “bow down” before our Creator and give Him thanks for His many blessings - the ones we are aware of and those who fall on us unannounced and unrecognized. Giving thanks is an important part of life - especially in the life of a Christian. All that we have or will have, all that we are or will become is not accidental. Everything in our lives comes from the grace of God. And not to thank Him is to insult Him. In ourselves, we have no worth. We only have worth in, through, and by God’s grace. Prayer:  God, give us grateful hearts - hearts filled with gratitude for Your love, grace, mercy, salvation, and hope! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:    Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet. Psalm 150:3

  • The Beginning And The End
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 17, 2022 at 8:00 AM

     The Psalms begin with a promise from God and end with a call to praise God. “Blessed is the man!” shouts the author. Any man? Every man? No. Indeed not. Blessed is “the” man who delights in and obeys the Words and the Ways of the Lord. The Psalms end with a call to “Praise the Lord.” Any man? Every man? Yes. Yes, indeed. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” The first Psalm makes a difference between the godly man and the ungodly man. But the concluding Psalm does not mention the ungodly. Why? The godly are “like a tree that is planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” What a beautiful description of the godly: they are happy, have lived a worthwhile life, and will live forever! But the ungodly? They are pictured with words of hopelessness. “They are like chaff,” writes the Psalmist, “that the wind blows away. Therefore, the wicked will stand in judgment, and sinners will not be in the assembly of the righteous.” The ungodly will not be safe on Judgment Day. Nor will they be invited to stand among the godly. What a tragedy. What an ending to lives that surely had opportunities to become godly: lives that were misspent, misdirected and mistaken. No matter what we hear from politicians and social scientists, there are only two classes of people: the saved and the unsaved. And, two ends: heaven and hell. Prayer:  Lord, we pray that the world would hear Your Word and Your voice and accept Your invitation to become godly people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:   Praise the LORD. Psalm 150:1

  • A Reason To Sing
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 16, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    Robert Lowry, a pastor in New York City, was going through a difficult time during an epidemic. Many who were suffering would die in a matter of hours. Day after day he stood beside the graves of those who had died and tried to give hope to their loved ones. On one occasion, however, his faith was deeply challenged, and he cried out to God, “Shall we meet again? Really? Can a gracious God do this to good people? We are parting at the river of death. Will we ever meet again at the river of life?” He took his doubt seriously and began to read his Bible on his knees. Finally, he found God’s answer, went to his organ, sat down and wrote the words and music to the great old hymn, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river that flows by the throne of God.” The Steds were enjoying a beautiful day of sun and sand on the Long Island Sound. Suddenly, they heard a cry for help. With no thought for his safety, Mr. Sted ran into the water to rescue the boy - but failed. Mrs. Sted’s heart was broken when she returned to her empty home. She fell on her knees and began to pray. God heard and helped her and gave her hope. She sat at her piano and wrote the beautiful hymn, “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Bicker, missionaries to Peru, were waiting to board a ship that would take them home for a vacation. Just before boarding the ship, Mr. Bicker was killed in an accident. To comfort his wife and now fatherless children, Dr. Oswald Smith wrote the poem, “God Understands and Cares.” Said the Psalmist, “Sing for joy on beds of pain.” He understands and cares! Prayer:  How grateful we are Lord for the assurance of Your presence and peace, even when life seems senseless. And thank You for the voices of those through whom you send comfort. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:  Sing for joy on beds of pain. Psalm 149:5b

  • Finding Beauty
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 15, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is a very familiar saying. If we think about that saying for just a moment, it seems to suggest that there are two parts to beauty: the ones trying to make themselves beautiful and the ones who judge the outcome. The latest information on the amount of money that is spent on beauty enhancing items is staggering: Total cost of products worldwide: $426 billion. Total cost in America: $33.3 billion. Total cost per person in America: $15,000. Some might say, “What a complete waste.” Someone else would probably say, “They should have spent much more.” And a third might say, “It didn’t make any difference no matter what they spent, so what’s the reason for spending the money to look better?  Why the effort?” But the Psalmist said, “He crowns, and beautifies the humble with salvation.” God can take a heart that is stained and soiled with sin and cleanse it from all impurities and make it beautiful. “Wash me,” cried one Psalmist, “and I will be whiter than snow.” God can take the damage caused by sin, and the marks left from discouragement and depression and erase their marks, remove every tear and bring hope to our eyes, erase lines of guilt and put the joy of salvation on our faces. Jesus made an important promise when He said, “My peace I give unto you - not as the world gives peace” through false promises and praise.  God can take a sin-scarred life and fill it with His glory and radiance. "Set me free from my prison," said the Psalmist. And we respond, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me!” Prayer:  Only You, Father, can save us from sin, ourselves, and the insanity of this world. Come quickly and help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen Today's Bible Verse: For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4b

  • Delighting God!
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 14, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    The word “delight” is often a disarming word. Why? What might delight me would not delight you. It’s a word that is in one sense personal, but in another way, universal. It always implies that something has happened to bring joy or satisfaction to another. Or, when used in the Bible, it brings great pleasure to God. The Psalmist wrote: “The Lord takes great delight in His people.” Not all people or certain people or educated people or even wise people. He only takes delight in His people. Notice, also, that it is more than mere delight, it is a great delight. So the question we must ask ourselves is this: “Who are His people?” Does God have favorites? Are there some people whom God loves more than others? Can anything be done to become one of His people that bring Him great delight? How can we get into that “inner circle” who are recognized as “His people?”  When this verse was written, however, “His people” were those who were in a covenant relationship with Him. The verses that precede this verse describe people who, in particular, are praising the Lord. They are singing and dancing and making music by playing harps and tambourines - all signs of joyful worship to their God. However, today we know that we are “saved by faith” through the New Covenant that He established through His Son. Faith in Christ is the first step if we want to become one of “His” people and enter into his Kingdom. To do so, we must accept His Son as our Savior. Worship signifies humility – bowing down before God our Creator and Lord.  Only humble people are willing to accept Christ and worship the Lord. His people are humble people. Prayer:  Lord, true worship means that we bow down before You - and only You - in humility and surrender. Humbly we bow and seek Your mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:     The Lord takes great delight in His people Psalm 149:4a

  • Singing A New Song
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 13, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    It is not possible to overestimate the significance of the Psalms. In them, we find the ideals of a God-filled life that reflect humility, worship, dependence, and service. In them, we find descriptions of men whose lives were in constant communion with God. We also find lives that reflect deep sorrow for sin and the search for holiness and perfection. We discover what walking in darkness is like - without fear gripping our hearts and controlling our minds because we see “faith at work.” We are confronted with the results of sin and the benefits of repentance, restoration, and righteousness. We see minds once tortured by guilt and shame restored to sanity by the grace and mercy of God as a result of His love. We see the beauty of God’s love in comparison to the tragedy of evil and wickedness. We see deep serenity following the storms of fear and danger. More than any other book in the Bible, we see the tragic effects of sin in first-person stories. We also see what God can do for those who fall before Him and ask for His forgiveness. We see the roller-coaster of life ending in smooth seas of God’s peace for those who submit to and worship Him. In the wisdom of God, His Spirit inspired the writers of the Psalms to take the experiences of men, who were as human as we are and give us a compass for life. The Psalms provide us with spiritual insight, wisdom, knowledge, and courage to deal with every issue of life. We read in Psalm 149 that we are to “sing a new song.” How is this possible when life is falling apart? Can there be any new songs? Yes! “His mercies never cease!” New day! New Mercies! New songs! Prayer:  Father, make us aware of the unending mercies we receive every day. Fill our hearts with new songs of joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:    Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song. Psalm 149:1

  • What's In A Name?
    by noreply@blogger.com (Larry Guido) on June 12, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    Names are, in fact, a commodity. They have “value” attached to them and can either be “traded” for a favor or used as a “warning.” A name distinguishes one person from another and gives a certain distinctiveness or uniqueness to individuals. Some pay particular attention to their name to make certain that it implies integrity and truth, honesty and hard work, power and influence. Most of us, from time to time, have been asked by others if they could “use our name” as a reference or as a way of introducing themselves. They assume that our names imply a degree of “significance” for one reason or another. So, they reason, if they are associated with us in one way or another, it will make a difference in what they want to achieve. But human names are all limited. They only have worth in certain areas and for a certain amount of time. If people do not know us or have never heard of us, we make no difference in the scheme of things. There is an unusual statement made about a name in Psalm 148:13b - “His name alone is exalted.” There is a certain “exclusiveness” in this statement. Of all the names of all the people who have ever lived, only one name is to be exalted. And that is because of who He is and what He has done. All other names are flawed or contaminated for one reason or another. His name is above and beyond reproach, worthy of worship and praise because He is holy and without fault. All of us “fall short of the glory of God” and need a “name” that we can “use” to save us. That name? Jesus! Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for the power in Your name. It assures us of forgiveness and salvation and life eternal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Today's Bible Verse:    His name alone is exalted. Psalm 148:13b