Salvo Of Praise
                                  “Direct my by Your Word, and let no inquiry have dominion over me.”
                                                                                          Psalms 119:133


Dan Ariely, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, conducted some tests on human behavior. In one experiment, the participants took an examination in which they would receive money for each correct answer. The participants didn’t know, however, that Ariely was not testing their knowledge but whether they would cheat. He set up the test so that the groups thought it would be easy to get away with cheating.

Prior to taking the exam, one group was asked to write down as many of the Ten Commandments as they could remember. To Ariely’s astonishment, none from this group cheated! But all the other groups did have those who cheated. Recalling a moral benchmark made the difference.

Centuries ago, the psalmist understood the need for a moral benchmark and asked for divine aid in following it. He prayed to the Lord. “Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me . . . Teach me Your statutes” (Psalms 119:133-135).

Ariely’s “cheat test” experiment illustrates our need for moral guidance. The Lord has given us His Word as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (v. 105) to direct us in our moral choices/ -- Dennis Fisher


                                                                                      How precious is the Book divine
                                                                                                By inspiration given!
                                                                                 Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine.
                                                                             To guide our souls to heaven. -- Fawcett

                                                       “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
                                                                                                   Matthew 28:20


One of my earliest memories of hearing good music was when a male quartet rehearsed at our home. I was about 10 years old, and I was especially attentive to my dad, who sang first tenor. One of the quartet’s favorites was titled. “I Am With You.” Even at that tender age, I not only appreciated the music but I “got the message.”

Those words of Jesus to His disciples just before He ascended—“I am with you always”—became precious to me as the quartet sang, “In the sunlight, in the shadow, I am with you where you go.”

One of the first references to God’s  unfailing presence was spoken by Moses Deutronomy 31:6-8, when he instructed his successor about leading God’s people into the “land of promise.” And Joshua himself heard the same word Lord, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Josh 1:5).

That promise is repeated in the New Testament, where the writer of Hebrews gave this assurance: “He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you’”(13:5).

Wherever you may be today, you are not alone. If you’ve placed your trust in Jesus for your eternal salvation, you can be certain that He will never leave you. –Clair Hess



                                                                                  Jesus whispers “I am with you”
                                                                                     In the hour of deepest need;
                                                                             When the way is dark and lonesome,
                                                                             “I am with you, I will lead.” –Morris

                      “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall not accept adversity?”
                                                                                                         (Job 2:10)


Imagine relaxing on a rubber raft along the beach, eyes closed, soaking up the sun and listening to the gentle crash of waves along the shore. You don’t have a care in the world—until you open your eyes! Suddenly the shore is alarmingly distant.

We tend to drift like that spiritually. It’s subtle yet shocking when we suddenly realize how far we’ve drifted from God. The point of departure begins when Satan steals our affection for our loving Creator by putting a deceitful twist on our experiences and causing us to suspect God instead of trust Him.

Consider Job and his wife. Both had plenty of reasons to be mad at God. Their children were dead, their fortune lost, and Job’s health destroyed. His wife told him, “Curse God and die!” But Job replied, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and . . . not accept adversity?” (Job 2:9-10).

There are many attitudes that can set us adrift: believing that we need more than God to be happy; placing meaningful relationships above loyalty to God; thinking God should live up to our expectations; resisting His reproofs; turning a deaf ear when His Word is uncomfortable.

If you’re beginning to drift, remember to stay close to the One who is the sole source of satisfaction. – Joe Stowell


                                                                               Lord, help me to stay close to You
                                                                                  And trust You more each day,
                                                                               So when the storms of life appear
                                                                                    I will not drift away. -- Sper

  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, whom he may devour.”


On the southern shores of England is Slapton Sands. This beautiful beach area carries a tragic memory from its past.

On April 28, 1994, during World War II, Allied soldiers were engaged in Operation Tiger, a training exercise in amphibious beach landings in preparation for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Suddenly, enemy gunboats appeared and killed over 700 American servicemen in a surprise attack. Today, a monument stands on Slapton Sands to commemorate the sacrifice of those young men who died while training for battle but were never able to enter the conflict.

This tragedy is a metaphor that warns the believer in Christ. We too are involved in combat with an enemy who is powerful and deceptive. That is why the apostle Peter warned: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whim he ma devour”(1 Peter 5:8).

Like the soldiers on Slapton Sands, we face an enemy who desires our undoing. In the service of our King, we must be on the alert. The call to be effective in battle (2 Tim. 2:2-4) challenges us to be ready for the surprise attacks of our spiritual enemy – so that we can endure to serve another day. – Bill Crowder



                                                                                           The devil’s tactic is surprise

                                                                                            To stop you in your tracks,

                                                                              So keep on guard and trust God’s Word;

                                                                                     Resist his strong attacks.-- Branon
                                                 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”


A seminar leader wanted to make an important point, so he took a wide-mouth jar filled it with rocks. “Is the jar full?” he asked. “Yes,” came a reply. “oh really?” he said. Then he poured smaller pebbles into the jar to fill the spaces between the rocks. “Is it full now?” “Yes,” said someone else. “Oh really?” He then filled the remaining spaces between the rocks and stones with sand. “Is it full now?” he asked. “Probably not,” said another, to the amusement of the audience. Then he took a pitcher of water and poured it into the jar.

“What’s the lesson we learn from this?” he asked. An eager participant spoke up, “No matter how full the jar is, there’s always room for more.”

“Not quite,” said the leader. “The lesson is: to get everything in the jar, you must always put the big things in first.” Jesus proclaimed a similar principle in the Sermon on the Mount. He knew that we waste out time worrying about the little things that seem so urgent but crowd out the big things of eternal value. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things,” Jesus reminded His hearers, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:32-33).

What are you putting in your life?—Dennis De Haan


                                                                                               MAKE IT PRACTICAL
                                                           ·        Always pray before planning.
                                                           ·        Always love people more than things.
                                                           ·        Do all things to please God.

                                            “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”


Smile,” said Jay as we drove to church. “You look so unhappy.” I wasn’t; I was just thinking, and I can’t do two things at once. But to make him happy, I smiled. “Not like that,” he said, “I mean a real smile.”

His comment got me thinking even more intently. Is it reasonable to expect a real smile from someone who’s being issued a command? A real smile comes from inside; it’s an expression of the heart, not of the face.

We settle for phony smiles in photographs. We’re happy when everyone cooperates at the photographer’s studio and we get at least one picture with everyone smiling. After all, we’re creating an icon of happiness, so it doesn’t have to be genuine.

But phoniness before God is unacceptable. Whether we’re happy or sad or mad, honesty is essential. God doesn’t want false expressions of worship any more than He wants false statements about people or circumstances (Mark 7:6).

Changing our facial expression is easier than changing our attitude, but true worship requires that all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength agree that God is worthy of praise. Even when our circumstances are sad, we can be grateful for God’s mercy and compassion, which are worth more than the “lip service” of a phony smile.—Julie Ackerman Link


                                                                          What a God we have to worship!
                                                                            What a Son we have to praise!
                                                                              What a future lies before us –
                                                                 Everlasting, love-filled days! -- Maynard

                                                          “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”


On April 25, 1915, soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli peninsula expecting a quick victory. But fierce resistance by the Turkish defenders resulted in an 8-month stalemate during which thousands on both sides were wounded or killed.

Many of the ANZAC troops who were evacuated to Egypt visited the YMCA camp outside Cairo where chaplain Oswald Chambers offered hospitality and hope to these men so broken and disillusioned by war. With great insight and compassion, Chambers told them, “No man is the same after an agony; he is either better or worse, and the agony if a man’s experience is nearly always the first thing that opens his minds to understand the need of redemption worked out by Jesus Christ. At the back of the wall of the world stands God with His arms outstretched, and every man driven into the arms of God. The cross of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God.”

Paul asked: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”(Rom. 8:35). His confident answer was nothing can remove us from God’s love in Christ (vv.38-39).

When we’re up against the wall, God is there with open arms.—David McCasland



                                                                        God knows each winding way I take
                                                                         And every sorrow, pain, and ache;

His children He will not forsake--

He knows and loves His own.--Bosch

  “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. . . Great is Your  faithfulness.”



Hudson Taylor, the humble servant of God to China, demonstrated extraordinary trust in God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote: Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning. . . . He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would ample means to sustain them all . . . . Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

We may be faint and weary, but our heavenly Father is all-powerful. Our feelings may fluctuate, but He is unchangeable. Even creation itself is a record of His steadfastness. That’s why we can sing these words from a hymn by Thomas Chisholm: “Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in heir courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”

What an encouragement to live for Him! Our strength for the present and hope for the future are not based on the stability of our own perseverance but on the fidelity of God. No matter what our need, we can count on the Father’s faithfulness.—Paul Van Gorder


                                                                  Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
                                                                            Morning by morning new mercies I see;
                                                                        All I have needed thy hand hath provided--
                                                                 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!--Chrisholm

  “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”


The caller to the radio program mentioned religion, so the radio talk show host began to rant about hypocrites. “I can’t stand religious hypocrites,” he said. “They talk about religion, but they’re no better than I am. That’s why I don’t like all this religious stuff.”

This man didn’t realize it, but he was agreeing with God. God has made it clear that He can’t stand hypocrisy either. It’s ironic, though, that something God opposes is used by some people as an excuse not to seek Him.

Jesus said this about hypocrisy: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).

Notice what Jesus said to perhaps the biggest hypocrites of His day, the Pharisees. In Matthew 23, He called them hypocrites not once, not twice, but seven times! They were religious people who were putting on a big show, but God knew their hearts. He knew they were far from Him.

Non-Christians who point out hypocrisy in us when they see it are right in doing so. They are agreeing with God, who also despises it. Our task is to make sure our lives honor the One who deserves our total dedication.—Dave Branon


                                                                                   Hypocrisy is a common sin
                                                                                 That grieves the Lord above;
                                                                        He longs for those who’ll worship Him
                                                                           In faith and truth and love.--Bosch

                                           “My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.”


When God promised Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son, Abraham laughed in unbelief and replied, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”(Genesis 17:17).

Later, Sarah laughed for the same reason: “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being  old also?”(18:12).

We too grow old and wonder if the Lord can fulfill His promises to us. We no longer have prominence or status. Our minds are not as nimble as they one were. We’re hampered by physical problems that limit our mobility and keep us close to home. Every day we seem to lose more of the things we have spent a lifetime acquiring. Robert Frost underscores something that we sometimes ask ourselves: “The question . . . is what to make of a diminished thing.”

Not much—if we are left to ourselves. But God is able to do more with us than we can imagine. He asks us, as He asked Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”(18:14). Of course not!

We’re never too old to be useful if we make ourselves available to God for His purposes.—David Roper


                                                                             Growing old but not retiring,
                                                                                 For the battle still is on;
                                                                             Going on without relenting
                                                                      Till the final victory’s won.—Anon.