I Will Not Be Afraid

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around (Psalm 3:6).  I remember the first time I heard that song; I really thought it was a cool sounding song with a great message.  The point of the psalm is to show David’s reliance on God when his son Absalom was on the verge of taking the kingdom away from him.  It’s a short, simple psalm that applies as easily today as it did 3,000 years ago. 

Sometimes it seems as though the number of those who have set themselves against me is at least 10,000.  David took great comfort in his faith in God; a faith that God would not let him down.  Do I have that kind of faith?

When you head out the door this morning, are you facing a multitude of enemies?  To some I know it feels like that.  There is nothing keeping you and me from having the faith of David.  We can cry, “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!” (Psalm 3:7) just as did David.  He will come because He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Precious in His Sight

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 116:15).  The death of a loved one may be the greatest cause for the need for encouragement.  And it is certainly not a need that goes unanswered in Scripture.  The psalmist tells us that God is not unaware or unfeeling at this very difficult time in the lives of His people.  In fact 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is designed specifically to comfort those of God’s people who are mourning the loss of a Christian loved one.  Verse 18 says:  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

When Jesus knew that His friend Lazarus had died, did you ever stop to think of the power behind the Bible’s shortest verse (John 11:35)?  So many know the verse:  “Jesus wept”; but how many realize or stop to ask, why?  Jesus knew He was about to raise His friend from the dead.  Jesus wept because God’s heart hurts when His children’s hearts hurt.  If your need for encouragement today is comfort in the loss of a loved one, there is One Who will cry with you and comfort you, because He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Born for Adversity

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).  This verse has appeared in Barnabas Notes before.  I have written before about how important good friends are to me and how much I love them.  I have no intention of saying differently now. 

My purpose for this short note is to focus on the latter part of that verse.  Friends stand with friends no matter what.  True friends are not concerned with discomfort or inconvenience.  True friends will be right there with you when times are hard.  When things get really bad in my life, I want to always have the faith to depend on my God, my Friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), but part of the comfort He gives me is the friends I have in this life. 

I thank God that I have friends to whom I can turn in times of adversity.  I want to be that kind of friend, too.  Of course, God is the greatest Friend (John 15:13, 14).  He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

I Will Look Up

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up (Psalm 5:3).  I cannot think of a better way to start the morning than by “looking up” (figuratively, of course…prayerfully) to God.  Whatever you do today, don’t leave God out of it.  Start your day with Him and keep Him by your side and no matter what happens during the day, it will be a better day!  Have a wonderful day and God bless!  He loves you, you know, and so do I.

Donnie Bates

As We Forgive

Why is it that I feel like I do?  Things are going well, but I still feel down; not depressed, really, but just down.  Why can I not rise above this feeling?  Why do things get me down so much?  These are questions I have asked myself; perhaps you have, too.

There may very well be other answers to these questions, but I want to share with you one answer that fits me.  I hope it will help you, as well.  Forgiveness!  Could it be that simple?  In a conversation with a couple of brethren after church a comment one of them made caused me to realize I was focused on myself and not on God.  I tell other people that it’s not about me and, at the same time, I was making it about me.

Jesus said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).  I want God to forgive me better than I’ve been forgiving others.  If you find yourself suffering as I have, check to see if you’re forgiving others as you should.  There’s great healing in forgiveness.  Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Stirring One Another Up

A very important part of “family life” in the family of God (the church) is our encouragement of one another.  Because our relationship is a spiritual one, it requires more of our attention to maintain it.  In other words, it’s easier to forget that we are family if we don’t expend some effort to remind ourselves.

Some families have family reunions every year to maintain physical family bonds.  God’s family needs them more frequently.  In short, we need our family to encourage us to be what God wants us to be; and we perform that duty to one another in our “family reunions,” or worship assemblies.  The writer of Hebrews says:  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24, 25 – NASB).

Listen to Him.  God tells us how and when to worship in His Word because He knows what we need.  He loves you, you know, and so do I.

Donnie Bates

The Paths of the Lord

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies (Psalm 25:10).  How encouraging to know that for those who keep the covenant, the path we take (faithful obedience) is the path that leads to mercy and truth; the mercy that saves (Titus 3:5) and the truth that sets us free (John 8:31, 32).  Yes, these promises are conditional (i.e. we must keep His covenant, abide in the Word of Christ), but the conditional nature of the promise does not diminish its truth.  In other words, we have it in our power to accept or reject God’s offer of mercy and truth.

I hope you will begin your day with the happy realization that there is a God in heaven and that He has provided for you a way to be free from the guilt of sin, a way to be with Him for all eternity.  That way is found in His Word.  He put it there because He loves you; and I wanted to tell you about it because I love you too.  Have a great and blessed day!

Donnie Bates