June 11

2 Samuel 22:2-4 (NIV) 2He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior– from violent men you save me. 4I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

After David was delivered from the hand of Saul and all the enemies of Israel, he sang this song. He gave all the credit to God for his victories. He recognized that it was all the grace and presence of the LORD in his life. He sang of what the Lord meant to him. Have you ever looked back over all that you have been through and given God praise for His goodness? If you do, you will probably find many of the same things David saw. You might not express it the same, but you will find the same wonderful working in your life. A rock, hasn't God been the one unshakable thing amidst all the changes in your life? A fortress, hasn't He been the one place you could run for safety in the storms of life? My Deliverer, not only has He delivered each of us from some impossible situations, but most of all from the chains of sin. The strength of my salvation, Your salvation is secure, because it was earned by the Mighty One who paid the price owed in full. A stronghold, a refuge, the One to Whom we run whenever we are overwhelmed or lacking in strength. My Savior! He is our superman and much more. He saved us from an evil worse than any super-villain and has wonderful plans for us. Yes! He is worthy of praise. He has saved you. He is saving you. He will save you. What a mighty God we serve.

Meditate on all that God has been toward you. Sing praise to Him in your own words.

June 11

John 5:41-42, 44 (NIV) 41"I do not accept praise from men, 42but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

44How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

The applause of men, the approval of an audience, is a seductive and fickle illusion. Jesus refused to accept it. Surely He heard it thousands of times, but He refused to let it enter His heart. How hungry man can be for man's approval! The old nature craves it. Actors and musicians become so addicted to it that they go into depression and drug abuse when their hour of fame ends.

Jesus often painted things in black and white. He said, "You can't love God and money." It seems here that He is saying, "You can't live for the praise of men and the praise of God. You must choose one or the other." There are rare times when the praise of man coincides with the praise of God, but the reason for that praise is usually different. If the love of God was in the hearts of those who gave the praise, it might be different. In the passage above, Jesus knew that was not the case.

Jesus then told them that if they accepted praise from one another, but made no effort to obtain the praise that comes from God only, they could not believe. It was not possible then or now. The praise that comes from God alone is for the secret acts that no one else sees. Those acts are an unseen demonstration of what is really in the heart. The anonymous gift, the secret fast, the time alone in prayer, the meal with the homeless man, no one but God sees or hears about. Why would someone do such things? They seek the praise that comes from God alone. Their genuine faith has expressed itself in love.

This is a test of the authenticity of your faith. Do you seek the praise that comes from God alone, or do make sure that others find out about your "devotion"? Authentic faith sees the praise of man as worthless and lives for the praise that comes from God alone.

Remember: This is not works to earn merit, but the life of faith expressing love for the Father.