Journey through the Psalms 64-72

Psalm 64
Psalm 64 is one that I almost want to just skip over. There are times that David seems to be stuck on the idea of revenge. One thing I am well aware that we need to do is to love our enemies. I read the First Five App for clarification of psalm 64.
The First Five App states, “Should we count on, pray for or even rehearse the demise of our enemies?  It’s an interesting question, especially in light of other passages we read in the New Testament. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5:44)  Why would the Bible record this psalm and others like it, where David and the psalmists plead for the judgment and even destruction of their enemies?  Though it’s true for all of Scripture, it is exceptionally true here: context is key. Psalm 64 can be broken down into two halves. In the first half, David acknowledges the plight of his life and the plans of his enemies. (Psalm 64:1-6) He entrusts his cares to the Lord. He acknowledges the harrowing and hard circumstances that plague him. What a comfort! We can acknowledge the people that harass us, the situations that terrify us or the fears that keep us awake at night.  We can rest in the knowledge that our prayers are a safe place for reckless lament. But David doesn’t stay there. If we only focus on what others are doing to us rather than what God will do for us, we will scheme solutions to problems God doesn’t need our help to solve. What a waste.  In Psalm 64:7, David begins to rehearse what God can or will do on his behalf. David doesn’t just imagine random revenge. No, he envisions how God might resolve his current situation. David builds his hope not on knowing what God will do, but on who God is.  David knows God is just. David knows God is all-knowing or omniscient. David knows God will not let the wicked prosper forever. (Psalm 73:27)  This is how we build our prayers when we are crying out to God. We do not despair. We honestly and desperately articulate all that troubles us and, like David, find comfort in how God can be trusted. Let’s remind ourselves of all we know to be true about our faithful, ever-present God who never sleeps nor slumbers. (Psalm 121:4-5)”
What appears to be David complaining is David speaking with God about his life and then giving his cares to the Lord. He admits the challenges that he is facing but then he moves beyond them and immediately looks at God and the character of God. David then is able to trust in God because he reminds himself once again who God is.
We are called to love our enemies but we are also called to have a relationship with our God. He wants to hear our troubles and our pain. He then wants us to hand our concerns over to him and trust that he will provide for us. No part of God’s word sends us a wrong message…we just need to be willing to seek out the truth from the lies that the world is using. Love your enemies but seek God in the things that cause you harm and trust in him to heal you.
Heavenly Father,
We call out to you and you hear our complaints. You can and will hide us from our enemies. Thank you for being the God that protects. There are times that “we only focus on what others are doing to us rather than what you will do for us, we will scheme solutions to problems you don’t need our help to solve.” Please forgive us for not speaking to you about what concerns us and worse yet please forgive us for not looking to who you are for our answers. Help us to seek you in our troubles. To share our concerns, and to trust in you alone. May we rejoice in you Lord and take refuge in you at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 65
According to Warren Wiersbe, “This is the first of four psalms (65—68) that focus on praising the Lord for His manifold blessings in nature and for His gracious dealings with His people. He is the God of creation and the God of the covenant. The psalm acknowledges our total dependence on the Lord to provide our spiritual and material needs.”
We first must look at how this psalm provides us with praise. David first calls out to his people to seek forgiveness to God for their sins. When we sin we are not close to God and when we are not close we cannot pray. Once we remove the sin that separates us from God we can then pray. As we have been forgiven and as we seek a relationship with God through prayer, we find how he provides for us…in turn we can then praise him.
As we continue to seek our relationship with God we learn that we become “his people”. According to the First Five App we must learn what being part of “his people” entails. They state, “We live in a culture that tends to be individualistic and self-centered. It ranges from social media addiction to an inwardly-focused mentality. We’ve become consumers, seeking to serve ourselves. This idea and way of life go against what God’s desire and plan has always been for His new covenant family.  God wants all His children to be part of a family — His family — living independently as part of His kingdom. And in Psalm 65 we are taught that God’s Plan A has always been the reconciliation of His children. Psalm 65:5 says “By awesome deeds, you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;”
God is the hope of all the ends of the earth — all! And we all receive righteousness as a part of God’s beautiful harvest because of what Jesus did on the cross. And this harvest, though given in the imagery of a physical harvest in Psalm 65, has greater implications for the bountiful harvest of all our souls.
We begin to see the language of “all” first used in the Abrahamic covenant, (Genesis 12) which would one day lead us to the death and resurrection of Jesus. This covenant was a promise, a pact, between God and Abraham, and all of his descendants to come. We would all reap the harvest of God’s love, revealed in Jesus. (Acts 26:23)  God always had all of us in mind, and David knew this! Psalm 65 is communal praise for all of God’s family, not individuals. It wasn’t just for the Israelites that God offered salvation and harvest, but for all of His children. All who would repent and turn to God would receive the gift of salvation. All people, Jews and Gentiles. (Galatians 3:28)
It’s true God is going after all of His children, tending to the lost souls, bringing salvation to us all for our good and for His glory. It’s never just been about our individual stories and how God fits into them. Rather, it’s about God’s new covenant family and how we now get to live in our new purpose in the beautiful masterpiece of God’s story.  He’s a good God, a Father who invites us into His family, loving and everlasting. Who for the love of His children and His new covenant family, sent His Son Jesus to wash us clean and bring us all near, to be in His dwelling place. (Psalm 65:4) And because He died a death we could not die, we are now able to live reconciled in Christ and to one another. (Ephesians 2:11-22)”
Psalm 65 ends with the reminder that God is the one that waters the earth and provide it of it’s grain. It is in God that we are given all we need and in him we are to be totally dependent. The meaning of “we” is you, me, and everybody else!
Heavenly Father,
We are to praise you as you are the one that provides us atonement for our sins. You have chosen your people to dwell in your courts and the holiness of your temple. Thank you for choosing us all. You provide hope to all and you provide us with joy. Thank you for all that you provide us. Please forgive us if our sins so that we can be in perfect communion with you. May there not be distance between us due to our actions. Please help us to see what creates our inability to fully pray to you. Help us to remember all that you have provided us with. May we all come together as your plan has set out to be. May we shout and sing together for joy for who you are and who we are invited to become in you. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 66
I absolutely love sticky notes. It is a visual representation of a to-do list that when something is done…the pretty piece of paper gets to be taken down and thrown away. Recently my sticky notes have been used for my joy list. Situated in various places around my house are small stacks of post it notes waiting to be filled. Not with things to do, but those joyful things I have been able to participate in. As I am currently not working and I am physically unable to do as much as I used to do…I am losing the title of nurse and caregiver and replacing it with a person that now is asking for help versus giving it. My titles are changing and my duties are not the same. Refusing to sink into a dark slumber of feeling sorry for myself…I am counting joys. Replacing my “to-do’s” with what I “got to-do” instead. Replacing the moment in my mind that want to look at my fears with the moments of joy and blessings. You see…that is how being a Child of God works. You get to replace a part of the “Earthly” world with the grace and joy of God’s way. It is all in how we choose to look at the world. I read a little from Psalm 66:16. It states, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” Turning post-it’s into small declaration of joy is one way God has transformed my soul.
We can be transformed when we turn our problems into praise. Warren Wiersbe explains how Psalm 66 is an invitation for all to praise God. He states, “At the close of the previous psalm, you hear nature praising the Lord, and this psalm exhorts all mankind to join creation in celebrating God’s greatness. It appears that Israel had gone through severe trials (vv. 8–12) and yet won a great victory with the Lord’s help. Some students believe that this event was the Lord’s miraculous defeat of Assyria (Isa. 36—37) and that the individual speaking in verses 13–20 was King Hezekiah, whose prayer the Lord answered (37: 14–20). The exhortation to praise the Lord begins with the Gentile nations (vv. 1–7), moves to Israel (vv. 8–12), and concludes with the individual believer (vv. 13–20).”
Praising God is our declaration of what God has done for our soul. God’s word invites us all to shout and sing his praises. How has God transformed your soul? Declare what he has done and share your story through praising the Lord!
Heavenly Father,
We are to shout to joy to you and sing glory to your name. Your deeds are awesome and your power is great. All the earth is to worship you and all the earth should sing praises to your name for what you have done. Thank you for turning the sea into dry land and for ruling by your might forever. Thank you for keeping watch over the nations. Forgive us when we find it difficult to praise you. Bless us…your people, Lord. May we continue to praise you and may our souls be among the living and may our feet not slip. Continue to test us Lord and try us like silver so that we will be brought to your place of abundance. Help us to see your trials as the growing process needed to find your way above our own. May we share with others what you have done for our souls. Help us to see the iniquity in our heart so we can remove all that keeps us from your blessings. May you hear the voice of our prayer and may we remain in your steadfast love at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 67
It always amazes me how God meets me where I am. If I truly am attempting to connect with God’s word, I find him waiting patiently for me. This morning is no different. God’s word reminds me that God is gracious and he blesses his people. Sitting in the classroom of silence today, I am reminded that God blesses us but it is not just for our own personal gain. The bigger plan of God is for God’s way to be known on earth and that his saving power will be known among all the nations (Psalm 67:2). The First Five explains what it looks like when all the nations praise God as they state, “The nations will be glad for equal judgment and guidance. Can you imagine what this will look like? Unity rather than disunity among God’s people. Judgments that are fair. Guidance from the Lord Himself. And if that isn’t enough, the psalmist points to another blessing — ” the earth will yield its increase” (Psalm 67:6). After humanity sinned, the earth was cursed. (Genesis 3:17) Once God’s way is fully made known, the curse will be lifted, and the earth will produce as God intended. How I long for this day. Don’t you? This day will come, but the reality is we’re not there yet.” As stated by Warren Wiersbe, “A blessing is a gift from God that glorifies His name, helps His people, and through them reaches out to help others who will glorify His name. God blesses us that we might be a blessing to others.” God finds us where we are and when we reach for him…he will bless us, but that is only the beginning of his will. As Warren Wiersbe explains more about this psalm he states, “This prayer asks God to bless Israel so that His ways (laws) and His salvation might be known
(“experienced personally”) throughout the world. It’s adapted from the High Priestly Prayer in Numbers 6: 24–26, with the psalmist using Elohim instead of Jehovah. (Other references to this prayer are 4: 6; 29: 11; 31: 16; 80: 3, 7, 19.) The glory of God was an important part of Israel’s heritage (Rom. 9: 1–5), for God’s glory led Israel through the wilderness and rested over the tabernacle wherever the nation camped. To have the light of God’s countenance smile upon them was the height of Israel’s blessing, and to lose that glory meant judgment (1 Sam. 4, especially vv. 21–22).” Originally God’s plan was for the nation of Israel but they did not follow God. Psalm 67:4-6 then speaks of all the people. This is the point where we have yet to reach. Warren Wiersbe states, “The New International Version translates these verses as a prayer, “May the peoples praise you….” When will this occur? When Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom, judges the peoples with justice, and guides (“shepherds,” Mic. 5: 2; Matt. 2: 6) the nations in the ways of the Lord. The prayer in these verses is the Old Testament equivalent of “thy kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6: 9–13). Because there is no king in Israel today, the nations of the world are doing as they please (Judg. 17: 6; 18: 11; 19: 1; 21: 25), but that will all change when the kingdoms of the world belong to Jesus Christ (Rev. 11: 15).” We are then reminded in the final verses of this Psalm that when all the ends of the earth fear him the earth will yield its increase (Psalm 67:6-7).
God will find you where you are. He then blesses us but have you ever considered the reason why? Warren Wiersbe explains, “Why has The Lord blessed us? That we might share the gospel with others. We have no problem praying verse 1: “Oh, be merciful to us and bless us and make your face shine upon us.“ But what about first 2? Do we want to be blessed so that we might be a blessing? That’s the reason God blesses us in the first place. Likewise he answers our prayers so that we might become an answer to someone else’s prayer.”
As you wait on God to bless you, remember that he is also waiting on you to bless others. As we bless others they learn about the God of many blessings and we are one step closer to all the nations praising God. Let’s help the earth to yield its increase, let us sit in the classroom of silence and receive our blessing so we can in turn bless others!
Heavenly Father,
You are indeed gracious and you bless your people. Your face shines upon us. You are a judge that judges with equity. You guide the nations upon the earth. Your desire is that your way will be known on earth and that all the nations will know your saving power. We are to praise you. We are to be glad and sing for joy. Thank you for your many blessings, for your grace, and for your guidance. Forgive us Lord for not spreading the word of who you are and for not blessing others when we have received blessings from you. Help us to praise you and to spread the word about who you are. Help us to have hearts that bless others abundantly. May we continue to be part of your bigger plan of assisting the world in yielding its increase. May all the ends of the earth fear you and may we continue to experience your many blessings. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 68
I wandered for awhile wondering where to place my mind. I woke up rested and yet weary. Pain was getting the best of me and my current situation was trying to overcome me. I wanted to reach out to others in my same situation so we could talk it over and share the complications and woes. I knew that would only make me feel worse. I wanted to cry out to my husband or my mom as they are the place I find comfort despite who I am. Yet, I knew that was also not where I needed to be. So, I began to busy myself with duties and responsibilities and yet I knew I was starting to run away and what I really needed was to settle down with God’s word. I started where I left off yesterday.
Psalm 68:3, “The righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!” I continue through the Psalm and stop again on Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears up; God is our salvation.” I end the Psalm with verse 35, “Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel-he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!”
Psalm 68 describes a procession that was described by the First Five App as, “likely following the Ark of the Covenant and symbolizing God’s presence among the Israelites (2 Samuel 6).”
I look over the procession that this psalm took me on as I stop again at Psalm 68:3.
In God I find my joy. I imagine the years gone by and the history behind the gospel and I am brought back to the joy of his truth. I step out of my own troubles and step into God’s truth. Not allowing myself to be overcome by the world but allowing myself to be immersed in his word. I am to be jubilant with joy…no matter what was going on around me. My next stop is Psalm 68:19. Joy is my first step, but allowing God to daily bear me up is also required. I first place myself outside of my own feelings to reach for God’s joy, but I must know that I reach for God’s joy daily. Each day we start out empty and in need of God to fill us. I started the day weary and I must get my fill of God’s truth…daily. My last stop was Psalm 68:35. The much needed reminder that God is the one that gives me my power and strength. Reaching to others and to daily duties would not give me the strength I needed. Only God can provide us with the power and strength we need for the journey.
The enemy wanted to get me down today, but God’s word provides me the truth I needed. Seek God’s joy…daily…and he will provide you with the power and strength that you need to continue your journey.
Heavenly Father,
God when you arise, our enemies are scattered. The enemy will perish before you. Your people are called to exult you and be jubilant with joy. Thank you for the reminder to be joyful. You are the father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. You settle the solitary in a home. You have gone before your people and restored them. You bear us up daily. Thank you for giving us what we need daily. You are a God of salvation. You have summoned your power and you have worked for us. You give power and strength to your people. Thank you for giving power and strength to your people. There are days Lord that we forget about the procession that you took in days past. The walk that entailed your Ark and the walk that was taken by your son. Sometimes on our journey we forget to remember to steps we are to take. We choose our own feelings over your jubilant joy, we choose other people and things to bring us up instead of you. We rely on our own power instead of your strength to get us through our journey. Forgive us for not being joyful, for seeking things other than you, and for not relying on your strength alone. Help us to seek your joy. Help us to allow you to bear us up daily. Help us to seek your power and strength so we can walk this journey with you and you alone. Help us to walk our journey in remembrance of the procession that you and your son walked for us. May we always remember what we so often forget. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 69
I sat next to my husband during one of the many hockey practices we have attended. My body was sore and my mind was just about as tired. Along with dealing with my own medical issues, our 15 year old was struggling with his. For once I had not focused on my husband’s even more serious medical issues. He seemed to be going along each day as if the pain didn’t exist and his questions had all been answered. I mentioned that I was tired and he quickly responded, “You just got to fight back and keep going. It is 99% about your attitude!” At first I was frustrated because I felt like he was asking me to run in quicksand, but this morning as I got up…his words stuck with me. I knew he was right.
Reading thorough Psalm 69 I smile as I know God has found me where I am, Psalm 69:2-3 states, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the floods sweep over me. I am weary with crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” David felt like he too was sinking…in something that sounds much like quicksand and yet his answer shows his attitude. He cries out to God and then he waits on him. David does not demand answers but he surrenders his worries to God. In Psalm 69:13 David states, “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from the sinking mire.” David calls upon the Lord and waits for God’s timing to bring him out of the quicksand and onto stable ground. After David cries to the Lord… he is content with waiting…and then he moves on with his thoughts to something greater than himself. No longer looking to his own troubles David reaches forward in time and concentrates on our Savior. David is suffering and he looks beyond his suffering to focus on the suffering of our Savior. According to the First Five App, “Christ Himself experienced unrelenting opposition and sympathizes with our distress. Psalm 69 is quoted nine times in the New Testament as David’s pain mirrors the suffering of our Savior:
Jesus was persecuted by an angry mob and paid the price for another’s crimes. (Psalm 69:4; John 15:25)
Jesus faced dishonor for zealously dedicating Himself to the will of God. (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17; Romans 15:3)
Jesus was given poison for food and bitter wine to drink by His unmerciful accusers. (Psalm 69:21; John 19:28-29, Matthew 27:34, 48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36)
Jesus is seated at God’s banquet table, but those who reject Him end up desperately ensnared by their own rebellion. (Psalm 69:22; Romans 11:9-10)
Jesus defeated the grave while His enemy, Judas, ended up in desolation. (Psalm 69:25; Acts 1:16-20)
Because Jesus chose to bear our condemnation, those who place their trust in Him will never be swallowed up by the depths of sin and shame. Let that truth sink into your soul today, friend. When we are overwhelmed by the wrongdoing in this world, we can look to the cross and find comfort. God’s steadfast love has delivered us from the powers of sin and death, and we can trust that He will continue to deliver us. (1 Corinthians 1:10) We can continue to experience His steadfast love in every circumstance because the Holy Spirit is our Helper and Comforter.”
David was able to have a change of attitude in this Psalm. David has a way of looking at things in a different way. We too must have a change of attitude…especially when life is getting us down. Warren Wiersbe shares what he calls a “three-fold recipe for rejoicing when your sinking.” To me it is a guaranteed way of having a successful attitude adjustment! Warren states, “When your sinking, when you think everything has gone wrong, when others are persecuting you and smiting you, Praise the name of God with a song.” Warren then speaks of what David did as he looked away from his problems and adjusted his eyes toward Christ. “Magnify the Lord. When I hurt, I have a tendency to magnify myself. I think, Nobody ever felt the way I feel. Nobody’s ever been through what I’ve been through. But David said, “I’m not going to do that. I’m going to magnify the Lord.” Lastly Warren states to, “Thank the Lord. Anyone can thank Him when things are going well. Anyone can thank Him in the sunshine. But when you are sinking in the deep mire, it’s difficult to give thanks to God, But we need to do so.”
There are times we feel that we are sinking into quicksand. We can’t grab our footing and we begin to fall. We have a choice in these times to change the way we see things and to adjust our attitude. We can allow the quicksand to overcome us or we can be like David. We can cry out to God, wait on Him, and adjust our thought process as we wait. We can choose to praise God, magnify the Lord, and thank him or we can sink. We truly have to fight back and keep going and remember that life is 99% about our attitude. Let’s have an an attitude like David’s. Even though we cry out…may we wait on the Lord and practice our three-fold recipe for rejoicing!
Heavenly Father,
There are times when we truly feel that the water is up to our neck and we have sunk into the deep mire. We become weary and we cry out to you and we wait. You are our savior and our stronghold. You plant our feet on solid ground when we are willing to cry out and wait for you. There are times that we cry out to others instead of you. There are times that we look only to ourselves and not to your bigger plan. Forgive us Lord for not having the right attitude in your presence. Forgive us for only seeing the quicksand and not seeing your saving grace. Help us Lord to Praise you. Help us to praise your name with songs. Help us to magnify you and not to look at our circumstances but to who you are and what you have done. Help us to remain thankful even when we have both feet in the mire and our hands reaching out for your saving grace. Help us to remember our choices and to continue to seek your way above all the others. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 70-71
“Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! (Psalm 70:1)”
I sat next to my oldest son as I watched his emotions unravel. He knew what he had to do but he didn’t want to do it. Not wanting to talk about God let alone surrender…he tossed and he turned as he tried to make sense out of something too complicated for him to understand. I sat trying to help him and even I did not have immediate answers. Why do children get sick? Why does he at the age of 15 have to deal with concerns that as an adult I have failed to get through? Psalm 70, according to the First Five App, “is a very short psalm that serves as a sort of Old Testament 9-1-1 plea for help. King David bookends the psalm with two similar supplications: “Make haste, O God!” (Psalm 70:1) and “O LORD, do not delay!” (Psalm 70:5) David seems to be begging the Lord not only to act but to please do it pronto!” I needed this Psalm that day. I needed a short cry for help when I needed an answer, but was left with nothing to explain to my son when his questions haunt me. “Why, me?” “What did I do?” “I’ve been a good person!” David gives us the answer when we wait in the middle of our S-O-S call to God. “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad. (Psalm 70:4). In the middle of our thoughts of the tragedy behind the call for help…David reminds us that we are to rejoice by looking to God and be glad in who he is. I held my son and prayed over him. The answers didn’t come immediately, but the hope was found as I accepted the fact that God was indeed my help and my deliverer (Psalm 70:5). I knew that I had to share with my son the only answers that I know.
I ponder over Psalm 70 and then continue to Psalm 71. The First Five places these two psalms together and state, “There is no clear indication of who wrote Psalm 71, or when, but some biblical scholars believe Psalm 70 may have been placed just before it as an introduction since it is so brief.” Psalm 70 prepares us for what is to come in Psalm 71. Psalm 71:12 even repeats Psalm 70:1 in the cry for God to, “make haste to help me.”
Psalm 71 speaks of a believer’s relationship with God from birth as it states, “Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. (Psalm 71:6)” This verse is a reminder of my own relationship with God. I was a believer in my childhood and my relationship with God has only grown into my adult life and yet even now I cry for help as I did as a child. Yet as an adult, I cling to the same idea as noted in Psalm 71:14-15, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.” I return to my son as he struggles and I speak to him of my own concerns as an adult. I speak of God’s word asking us to think beyond what we don’t understand and surrender to God all that is too much for us to bear. My son is reluctant to receive but it will not stop me from speaking as I know his heart hears what his mind wants to run away from. We are called to speak to others of the saving grace of God’s way. God is the ultimate receiver of our S-O-S cries for help. Even as grown children of God…we will never be to grown to cry for help.
It is never easy to go through the pain that life brings. It is even harder as we watch our children struggle. Our glimpse into the pain that we have watching our children suffer is a reminder of the love our Heavenly Father has for us. No matter how often my children cry out, I will be there to hold them and comfort them. No matter if life does not make sense, I will speak of the God who holds us all in the palm of his hands. We are reminded of the same love that God has for us as Psalm 71:20-21 states, “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”
I was not able to explain to my son why he has to suffer. I was not able to explain why bad things happen to good people. In the moment I just sent up a cry for help to God for the hope that was needed. I knew God was the only answer to a broken heart in need of healing. God’s truth was the only answer and in that moment it was enough to soothe the breaking heart of my son. In a moment of sorrow, I found many reasons to praise.
“I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt. (Psalm 71:22-24)”
Heavenly Father,
You are our deliverer and our helper. Those who seek you can rejoice and be glad in you. Those who love your salvation can say God is great! Your righteousness reaches the high heavens. You have made us see many troubles, but you continually revive us. From the depths of the earth you bring us up and you increase our greatness and comfort us over and over again. Thank you for being the God we can take refuge in. Thank you for delivering us in your righteousness and rescuing us. Thank you for being our rock. There are times Lord that we do not know the answers. Surrendering can be hard and we grasp for other things than your truth and your ways. Forgive us for not seeking you first. Help us to praise you. Help us to come to you when our strength is spent. Help us to see your help when we call out to you. Help us to hope in you continually and may we share your righteous acts with those around us. May we always praise you and sing to others of your great faithfulness at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 72
We started the book of Psalms many months ago and today we reach the end of book 2. I will take a break from the book of Psalms after today. As the First Five App begins the study of Jeremiah, I will do so as well. I will continue to share my insights as I feel led to do so. I smile once again as God finds us with Psalm 72 on this day of Elections. May we remember that we have elected leaders of this world…but an even more powerful divine leader in Heaven!
The writer of Psalm 72 is not really known. It is said that it could be David or it could have been Solomon. Either way, we leave our study with the reminder of the need to pray. The first 7 verses of Psalm 72 is a prayer for our Earthly King. To me it is the reminder that we live in this world and are to be active participates in it. The next 7 verses is a prayer for the Heavenly ruler to come…Jesus Christ. This is the reminder for me that we live in this world, but we are not of this world. We look to the things that are above and beyond what we can see. Psalm 72 ends with 6 verses that remind us of blessings. The First Five explain these last verses well as they state, “We notice a word that dots the landscape of the last few verses, popping up five separate times. This is the word blessing or blessed. (Psalm 72:15-20)  It is interesting to note that, although the words are all translated blessing or blessed in our English language, in the original Hebrew there were actually five different words used! All but one of these words are from the root word rendered in English as barak. This Hebrew word is best understood as to kneel down before or to adore on bended knee. The other term — the second blessed in Psalm 72:17 — is from the root word ashar. It means to be pronounced and declared happy. All of these combine to point to the ultimate King Jesus — the ultimate source of joy and happiness, before whom we bow down — who alone does wondrous things. (Psalm 72:18) Christ, who is above all earthly kings and princes, is both most blessed in the earth and also whom we should bless the most. (Psalm 68:19; 104:1; John 12:13).”
What a wonderful last reminder that we find our joy and happiness in Jesus.
As we end our journey of the book of Psalms for now…I love the last reminder that we live in this world but we are not of this world. We have elected officials that will lead our land, but we more importantly have a great leader in Heaven that is indeed in control of all things. We seek what is above and that is the joy of our Lord and Savior…Jesus Christ. We can seek temporary happiness in the things in this world or we can seek the true joy of our Savior. What many blessings we have…more than our own language has to interpret…in Jesus!
Heavenly Father,
We pray to you for a just and righteous ruler. We pray that we will be led fairly and that justice for the poor will be seen. We pray that our people will be prosperous. We pray that the causes of the poor and the needy will be met. We pray that fear in you will remain. We are indeed people that live in this world, but your word also reminds us that we have a heavenly ruler that is not of this world. As we pray for our leaders in this world, may we also extend prayers to our Heavenly King. We pray for the day our Heavenly King will have dominion from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. We pray that the desert tribes will bow down to him and that all kings will render him tribute. Thank you for giving us a Heavenly King that delivers the needy and the poor. Thank you for giving us a King that has pity on the weak and saves the lives of the needy. Thank you for giving us a King that redeems us from oppression and violence. We often forget that we are in this world but not of it. We forget that our ultimate joy is to be in Jesus Christ alone. Forgive us for the times we seek to belong in a world that was not meant for us to bestow. Help us to remember the many blessings of a relationship with your son. May we remember that our blessings come from the God of Israel…who alone does wonderful things. Help us to remember his glorious name forever and may the whole earth be filled with his glory. In your great name, Amen and Amen!

Journey through the Psalms 57-63

Psalm 57-63
As I studied Psalm 57, my heart was just not in it. I have been in distress, filled with the sting of failure, and very discontented. I read Psalm 57 and think that maybe later I can find the heart that David has, but right now…I will have to wait. I have been waiting for almost a week for test results that would tell me the battle I would be facing. The doctor confirmed that something was wrong but the answer has yet to be found. It the mean time I wait rather impatiently at the back of what feels like a cave. Yet in Psalm 57, I can’t help but notice that David once again praises God despite the fact that he is also in the depths of a cave. As I read David Guzak’s commentary on 1 Samuel 22 he discusses Psalm 57. He states, “The LORD brought David into this place while He was still in the Adullam cave. We often think we have to get out of the cave until we can have the heart David had in Psalm 57. But we can have it now, no matter what our circumstances.”
David Guzak explains something about the heart of David. He states, “Psalm 57 shows David with a humble heart: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! (Psalm 57:1). Psalm 57 shows David with a prayerful heart: I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. (Psalm 57:2). Psalm 57 shows David with a realistic heart: My soul is among lions… they have prepared a net for my steps. (Psalm 57:4, 6). Psalm 57 shows a heart of trusting praise to the LORD: I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations… Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:9, 5, 11).”
We can see all these things in Psalm 57 but we have to investigate the back story to truly understand what it was like and what happened in that cave. David is able to praise God in the midst of his circumstances and his heart is changed in that cave. We must learn more about what happened in that cave so we too can seek a heart like David’s. Psalm 57 tells of a time that is also told in 1 Samuel 22. As stated by David Guzak, “God called an unlikely and unique group to David in the Adullam cave. These were not the men David would choose for himself, but they were the ones God called to him. These men were in distress. Their own lives weren’t easy or together. They had problems of their own, yet God called them to David at the Adullam cave. These men were in debt. They hadn’t seen a lot of success in the past, and were stung from their past failures. They had problems of their own, yet God called them to David at the Adullam cave. These men were discontented. The Hebrew word for discontentedmeans bitter of soul. They knew the bitterness of life, and they were not satisfied with their lives or with King Saul. They wanted something different, and something better, and God called them to David at the Adullam cave. These men all came to David when he was down and out, hunted and despised. Once David came to the throne, there were a lot of people who wanted to be around him. The glory of these 400 is that they came to David in the cave.”
David was not alone in the cave. Adullem is Hebrew for refuge. God brought David to a place of refuge but it was not the cave that protected and built up David. David relationship with God and what God did for David gave him refuge. Those around him came to the cave for this refuge as well. David Guzak continues to talk about these men as he states, “These are the kind of men who came to David: distressed, bankrupt, dissatisfied. These are the kind of people who come to Christ, and they are the only people who come to Him, for they have recognized their distress, their debt, and bankruptcy, and are conscious that they are utterly discontented. The sheer pressures of these frustrations drives them to the refuge of the blood of Christ that was shed for them.” (Redpath)”
Christ calls those that are in distress, those that have failed, and the discontented. He calls them to take refuge together and to be changed.
David Guzak explains, “These men came to David in distress, in debt, and discontented, but they didn’t stay that way. David made them into the kind of men described in 1 Chronicles 12:8: Mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle the shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.”
We all seek refuge. Sometimes it feels as if we are also walking into the dark cave of Adullem. What Psalm 57 shows is that God will change our hearts even in the depths of the cave. We don’t have to wait to get out of our cave to be changed. We also must realize that we go into our caves with an army provided by God. We don’t battle alone. God is into providing us refuge and an army to help change our hearts in the middle of the war…not when victory is won.
I admit that in this moment, I feel like I am stuck in the back of a cave. I feel the effects of distress, the pangs of failure, and I am very much discontented. Yet, knowing that it is these things that Christ calls out in people to join his own army…I have hope for the battle. I have a hope that my heart can still be changed as I sit in the depths of waiting and as I stand up and prepare to be changed. My heart is not where it should be…but God is calling me to continue to fight and not wait for victory to be felt. Say you will fight with me…even in the depths of the cave…even when your heart has not changed…and especially in the middle of the war! Let’s not give up…let’s join Christ and turn our distress, debt, and discontentment into hearts that become warriors for God and what he is calling us to do!
Heavenly Father,
Your word speaks of how you changed the heart of David in the depths of a cave of refuge. You call your people and sometimes we forget the type of people that you call. It is okay if we are in distress, if we have failed, or if we are discontent because you are in the business of calling us and changing us despite our circumstances. You are merciful and you are indeed our refuge. When we seek you for your protection you will fulfill your purpose for us. Thank you for your steadfast love and your faithfulness. There are times Lord when my soul feels as if it is amongst lions and I forget that it is your glory that is to be exalted. I focus on myself and my circumstances and I hide in the cave that could be my refuge if I only looked to you instead of my surroundings for comfort. Please forgive me for not looking to you first. Please help my heart to be steadfast. Help me to continue to come to you in prayer and to praise you even in the midst of trials and battles. Help me to see that I don’t have to come out the cave for you to change my heart. Please change my heart Lord to be like David’s. Help me to know that you protect me, that you perform all things for me, and that your glory is all that I am to be concerned about. Help me to have a joyful tongue and a fixed heart. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 58
I sat down to read Psalm 58 and find meaning from it multiple times. I picked it up and tried to find a message worth repeating. I wanted to see joy and I wanted to have something to celebrate. Once again I found myself amongst the topic of sin and judgement. Warren Wiersbe explains this Psalm’s origin and it led me down a “rabbit trail” of understanding and eventually the discovery of the joy I was seeking. Warren explains the history of Psalm 58 as he states, “During David’s exile years, Saul led the nation down a path of political and spiritual ruin as he disobeyed God’s law and opposed God’s anointed king. Saul was surrounded by a group of fawning flatterers who fed his ego and catered to his foolish whims (1 Sam. 22: 6ff.), and he put into places of authority people who used their offices for personal gain and not for the national good. They wanted to get as much as they could before the kingdom collapsed. David himself had been treated illegally, and it’s likely that many of his men lost all they had because they followed David (1 Sam. 22: 1–2). This psalm was probably written late in David’s exile, or very early in his reign in Hebron, and may have grown out of his pondering the mess he had inherited from his father-in-law. (See 82 for a parallel psalm by Asaph.) The prophets often preached against the lawlessness of the leaders in Israel (Isa. 1: 23–28; 5: 22–25; 10: 1–4; Amos 5: 7–13; Mic. 3: 1–4, 9–12; 7: 1–6).”
Wanting to see what the prophets were saying, I started reading some of the other scriptures Warren mentioned about this same topic. I ended up in Micah chapter 3. This is an excerpt from David Guzak’s commentary on Micah 3:9. “To declare to Jacob his transgression: Like most prophets in the Old Testament, Micah’s job was to expose the sin of God’s people.
i. We might say that under the New Covenant, prophets have a somewhat different calling. Under the Old Covenant, the law was not written on the heart of the believer and the Holy Spirit did not indwell each believer in the same way as under the New Covenant.
ii. Therefore, there was a greater need for the convicting work of the Spirit of God coming from the “outside,” from prophets such as Micah. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul described the ministry of the prophet like this: But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men (1 Corinthians 14:3). This certainly doesn’t mean that under the New Covenant prophecy will never be used to expose sin, but it certainly isn’t its central purpose.”
Warren Wiersbe led me to Micah chapter 3 and this led me to David Guzak. David Guzik reminded me of the different times we live in now compared to King David. Wanting to find something joyful again amongst the gloom of Psalm 58, I found myself in 1 Corinthians 14:3. 1 Corinthians 14:3-“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
David Guzak explains this verse well as he states, “Not only is the gift of prophecy directed towards men, it is also largely positivein its character. Often, when a “negative” word is spoken, it is not truly a word from God at all, or it is a word meant only for the individual, not for someone else.
i. Edification is “building up.” It is a construction term, and speaks of our being “built up” in the Lord. A word of prophecy will build someone up, not tear him or her down.
ii. Exhortation is encouragement. It is like the speech from the coach in the locker room before the big game, rallying the team to go out and perform as they were trained to perform. A word of prophecy will encourage someone, not discourage him or her.
iii. Comfort has the idea of not only consoling, but also strengthening. It doesn’t just cry with someone hurting, it puts its arms around them and strengthens them to carry the load. A word of prophecy will strengthen, not weaken someone.”
I needed some joy and after looking deeper into God’s word I found it. King David had the word and heart of God. Today we have the Spirit of God that dwells amongst us. We no longer dwell on our sins but the relationship we have with God. We know that our debt to sin has been paid. We can rejoice in what has been done for our sins to be forgiven and we can now focus on the joy that comes from knowing the truth of what God did for us through his son. We don’t live in the covenant of the Old Testament and we are so blessed with the Gospel that is found in the New Testament. If we look for joy…we will find it in God’s word!
Heavenly Father,
Your word shows us how you are the judge of the Earth. As we read of your words in the Old Testament we are told how to denounce evil, but we must remember the New Covenant and your son’s command to “love our enemies.” Thank you for being the God of the Old Testament but also the God of the New Covenant! Thank you for teaching us how to speak to our offenders, how to assess the danger of our enemies, how to pray against evil, and how you indeed defeat the evil one. Thank you for sending your son to intercede for our sins. Forgive us for the things we do that are not of your way. Help us to follow your word and even though our sins are forgiven…help us to always consider what we do and not do that will assist in being in union with you. Help us to love our enemies and to leave judgement up to you as you are the judge of the whole Earth. May we continue to follow you and your ways at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 59
I love Saturday mornings, but this Saturday I felt the stress of waiting. For over 1 month now I have been dealing with pain and fatigue. With it being Saturday, I know that nothing can be done until Monday comes, but when Monday comes it means a week of work…which means a harder battle with fatigue and pain. I hate waiting! I knew the day would come where I would be the one behind the diagnosis. For 10 years I have followed God’s word in how to deal with someone else’s pain. I knew someday that I would have to use God’s word to strengthen me through my own suffering. My mind begins to race and thoughts bounce here and there. That is what waiting tends to do to me. Just as I would not let my husband’s diagnosis get me down, I had to refuse to let my own challenges change my view of God. The waiting however when it is concerning your own diagnosis is not the same as waiting for someone else. The pain of waiting is the same, but on top of the pain of waiting is the pain involved with your own health concerns. I prayed for answers and relief, but one more weekend comes and I am again waiting for the hope of what Monday may bring. Once again God’s word assists me through the waiting.
Psalm 59 shows David singing to the Lord as he waits for protection yet again from his enemy Saul. According to Warren Wiersbe in the first Five verses, “David knows God sees him so he prays.” Warren then points out that in the next four verses, “David is sure God hears so he waits.” This is the place that I will take refuge. Being in the presence of God we can pray and because we know that he hears us, we can find comfort in the waiting. God’s plan is bigger than our own. The First Five App explains how we can turn to God even when his plan does not match up with our own.
“Remembering God’s proven faithfulness, David confidently declares, “God will let me look in triumph on my enemies” (Psalm 59:10). But 1 Samuel 19:12 shows David’s wife letting him down from their window so he could escape his pursuers. I applaud David’s optimism, but fleeing isn’t the triumphant conclusion I had in mind.  However, this was still God’s rescue.  Sometimes God chooses to exercise His providence and deliverance in unlikely ways — ways that fail to meet our own expectations. Despite this, David still praised God, and we too can choose to do the same.  David’s strong confidence in God’s sovereignty — God’s complete control over all things — enabled him to see beyond his present circumstance to grasp God’s bigger plan for his life. When our eyes are glued to our enemies or we obsess over ourselves, it’s easy to sink into despair when things don’t go our way. Like David, we must choose to be watchmen. In crisis, let’s seek refuge in God, anticipating His deliverance and guarding our integrity by obeying His Word.”
David was able to keep his view on God. He knew he saw him, heard him, and because of this David could trust in the Lord. Psalm 59 ends with David proclaiming, “But I shall sing of your strength, extol your mercy at dawn,
For you are my fortress, my refuge in time of trouble. My strength, your praise I will sing; you, God, are my fortress, my loving God.” No matter what is happening around us, God does not change. No matter how weak we may feel, God will give us our strength.
For awhile now in my journey with God I have realized that things are not always going to be easy. We will struggle, we will have pain, and we will have intense periods of waiting. Though things around us will change, God will remain. He will remain in a position of seeing us and hearing us so we can trust and sing praises to God. Today I will sing praises to God…even in the waiting!
Heavenly Father,
You are a God of mercy and deliverance. You rescue us from our enemies. Thank you for being our strength and our fortress. There are times that we lose sight of you as we wait or as our circumstances become too much. Forgive us for not finding the trust in you that we can sing despite the things we go through. Help us to sing of your strength instead of focusing on our weaknesses. Provide us with your mercy. May we always find your unchanging character reason to praise. May we continue to believe that your plan is always better than our own. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 60
I would like to say that after time with God this weekend that I was able to wait well and praise him. I knew what the right thing to do was, but I again stepped aside from God’s word to find rest in easier things. I have been struggling to remain in God’s word for awhile now. Not sure if it is the fatigue, the pain, or laziness that keeps me from truly settling in his word.
The First Five App shares a little about Psalm 60 and how we find ourselves wanting to run away instead of remaining with God. “Scholars place the setting for this psalm around the events found in 2 Samuel 8. David had taken his place as the king of Israel. (2 Samuel 5:3-5) His power had grown greater and greater. (2 Samuel 5:10) The ark of the Lord had returned to Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 6:13-16) And in 2 Samuel 8 we read a list of victories David claimed over the Philistines, Moabites and the king of Zobah.  By all accounts, David was doing something right! How then does he find himself leading a nation rejected and broken and a land torn open? (Psalm 60:1-2)  While so many things seemed to be going right, David and God’s people were simultaneously confronted with hard things. (Psalm 60:3) Which may be why as David laments God’s apparent rejection of his homeland, (Psalm 60:1) he also reminds the people of God’s faithful love for them. (Psalm 60:5)  In the midst of brokenness, God called His people to Himself.  “You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow” (Psalm 60:4). As the people recited these words, they would be reminded of the best practice in times of distress: Flee to God and follow Him.
It sounds so simple. But I don’t think it always is. Sometimes, I think it’s easier to frantically try to put our broken pieces back together with our own hands. Or look to the right and to the left, seeking help and answers from anyone who seems to have a solution. Or worse, we can even be tempted to create distance from God and turn away from Him, instead of turning to Him.  When our circumstances are hard and we don’t understand why, let’s remember not to run away from God, but instead flee to Him. He is our safe place. He is our relief.”
This is a reminder that I still need. Daily! When I don’t remain in God’s word…I allow the lies to move in and the truth to leak out of my heart. Being a Christian is hard work and we have to be prepared at all times for the battle we face.
The First Five goes on to explain how God dressed for battle in Psalm 60 and how we too must be prepared at all times as well, “Psalm 60:6-12 presents God dressed for war. In Psalm 60:7, God calls Ephraim His helmet and Judah His scepter. Ephraim and Judah were two of the 12 tribes of Israel. But here they are coupled with Shechem and the valley of Succoth (Psalm 60:6) and Gilead and Manasseh (Psalm 60:7) to convey the truth that the entire nation of Israel belongs to God. And while Psalm 60 gives details of physical enemies of the day like Moab, Edom and Philistia, (Psalm 60:8) the Bible also tells us about the foes we encounter today.  Ephesians 6 tells us we, too, will face physical opposition, and when we battle human adversaries, we also wrestle with rulers and authorities in heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Just as God dressed Himself for war, He extends armor to us so that we can withstand our enemies.  Ephesians 6:14-17 details six pieces of armor to put on daily:
The belt of truth to secure us and keep us from being tripped up by lies (Ephesians 5:13)
The breastplate of righteousness to guard our heart, which is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23)
The gospel of peace as shoes to keep our steps steady no matter what kind of path we travel (Philippians 4:6-7)
The shield of faith to go before us and link us together as a unified body in Christ (Ephesians 4:13)
The helmet of salvation to guard our minds and transform our thoughts (Romans 12:2)
The sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, so that we may advance (Hebrews 4:12).”
In Psalm 60, David has found victory over battle but is placed right back into another fight. David shows us how we are to remain vigilant and he shares how even God dressed for battle. We too are to be ready and prepared at all times.
I woke up this morning rested and ready for the day…for me that is a huge victory from mornings past. I know that I have not been prepared every day and God’s word is teaching me of my daily need for him. We can count our victories and praise God for them and we are also to be prepared to continue to fight the daily battles amongst the celebration of each win we have been given. Whether our circumstances weaken our bodies, or the enemy weakens our soul…the one answer remains…we must continue to seek God in all things and be prepared for the battles that lay before us.
Heavenly Father,
There are times that we feel abandoned. There are times that we feel rejected, broken, and out of touch from you. In these times we are to reach out and seek your face and cry like David for you to restore us. You set up a banner for those who fear you so that we have a safe place to go. Thank you for delivering us and being our strong tower. Thank you for the victories that you give us. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek your banner but run from you instead. Help us to always remain in you. Help us to remember to put on our daily armor and be prepared to fight the battles that will be ever-present before us. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 61-62
Possible side effects: Insomnia. Abdominal discomfort, Liver failure. Potential symptoms: Fatigue, Pain, Respiratory distress. Normal range: Negative.
We live in a world of answers. The above are the answers I have received to what has been ailing me. As I wake up way too early…these answers flood my mind. Yet, I fight them back.
Where do I place my trust: In God. Who will I wait for answers: On God. Where will I find rest: Through God.
The answer to my first questions came courtesy of Google, MSN, and Alexa. The answers to what I really need to know came from God’s word, Warren Wiersbe, and the help of the First Five App once again.
The First Five states, “In God we trust, on Him we wait, and through him we rest.” Psalm 61-62 shows how this happens.
Psalm 61 explains how David was led to God his rock. As states by Warren Wiersbe, “whenever David found himself in a tight spot, he instinctively turned to God in prayer. Prayer is the natural breath of the believer. It enables you to accomplish what you cannot accomplish by yourself.” Through prayer we can express to God our trust in him. By going to God we stop relying on what we can do and place our trust in what God does. Psalm 61 shows us 6 things that prayer can accomplish. According to Warren Wiersbe, “prayer enables you to reach farther and higher (v.2), to come closer (v.4), to grow richer (v.5), to live fuller (v. 6-7), and to be happier (v. 8).”
As I lay awake unable to find rest, I pray…
Heavenly Father,
When I cry out to you Lord, you hear me. I can cry to you from the ends of the earth and you hear me. My prayers help me to reach farther and higher for you are our refuge no matter where we find ourselves. You are our strong tower. Thank you for the gift of prayer that allows me to dwell in your tent forever and gives me shelter under your wings. Thank you for the riches you provide through my prayers. Sometimes it is easy to reach to the World Wide Web instead of you our Faithful Father and Friend. Sometimes it is hard to seek you alone as your word says we are to do. Forgive us when we reach away and not reach towards you. Forgive us for seeking other things than you alone. Help us to seek prayer so that we will live happier and fuller lives. Help us to sing your praises and do your will at all times. May we seek you alone as our rock and our salvation. May you be our only expectation and through you may we not be shaken. May you alone be the one that we find encouragement. Help us to pray to you, wait on you, and through your word and truth may we find true rest. In your great name, Amen!
In Psalm 62:1 (ESV) it states, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” In Psalm 62 we learn once again that if we look to God alone we find where our trust truly belongs. We are then able to wait on the Lord as we build this trust.
As I finish my prayer, I place my trust in God’s word. I read the the key verse for today’s study through the First Five once again: “Psalm 62:1 (ESV) “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” I then read on listening to what the First Five explains about this verse. “This is the first of two critical points tucked into our key verse — that only God can provide true refuge from our tribulations. This truth tells us where to look for help. We can’t trust other people or things the way we can trust God. (Psalm 62:9-10) We will ultimately be disappointed if we look to other “rescuers,” but when we take refuge in the Almighty, we cannot be shaken. (Psalm 62:2, 6-8)  However, God’s peace, guidance and other answers to prayer don’t always arrive on our timeline.”
This reminds me that I must put my trust in God. I put away the internet and my worries and I go to God’s word. I turn off my phone and turn on my will to pray instead. The next step is the one that we have talked about so much already…then we wait. We wait not in aimless moments, we wait in silence!
The First Five continues as we learn what to do next, “Later in our key verse lies a second point: once we know where to look, David tells us how to look.  He waits … in silence. The Hebrew word is dumiyyah, which entails “silence, a quiet waiting, repose.” Some Bible translations use the word “rest” (NIV, HCSB). David repeats this point in Psalm 62:5 with almost identical phrasing. He uses a slightly different word for “rest” — damam, which means “cease” — but again, we’re told to be still and wait.  According to David’s example, we intentionally and strategically position ourselves to wait on God. We sit in silence. We listen for our Father’s voice. We embrace His calm. We anticipate His deliverance with a resolute trust. In fact, between verse 1 and verse 5, David transitions from “salvation” to “hope,” with some translations using the word “expectation.” (Psalm 62:5). In his “MacLaren’s Expositions,” Andrew MacLaren, a Bible scholar and pastor, describes this as a silence of the will, mind and heart. This is not indifference or passivity in the waiting, but rather a quiet strength and courageous faith. We listen through the noise of the world — tempting though it may be — and seek God’s voice instead. We bring His calm to our anxious mind and chaotic emotions. We create space in our lives for Him to speak, and we resolve to trust.”
As we wait we see changes of our own David shows us his own transformation in his word. Warren Wiersbe points out that in Psalm 62:1 David states, “I shall not be greatly shaken.” By the middle of the Psalm in verse 62:6 he states, “I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62, according to Warren Wiersbe gives us 3 assurances that help us to wait, “God alone saves us, he is our salvation (vv.1-4), God is our expectation (v.5) and God is our vindication. It (the truth that God is our vindication) relieves us of a great deal of pressure and burden to know that we are not judges but witnesses. We are not here to judge ourselves. Our vindication comes from God. (v.12).”
As we find the room to trust God we seek his truth and not that of the world. We learn to pray and seek him. We learn to tone out the noise of the world and seek the small, still voice of God. When we can hear the voice of God we hear his truth on how we can learn to wait on Him. As we choose to…pray and to…trust and to…wait on Him, we find rest.
My insomnia may be from a pill that is to take away the inflammation caused by a positive result instead of a negative one, but I don’t find comfort in the answers from the world. I found comfort in God’s word, in the classroom of silence of prayer. I don’t find rest with explanations and reasons…I find rest in the eternal and the real. “IN God we Trust, On Him we Wait, and Through Him we Rest!” May you hold onto this same truth today!
Psalm 63
After over 1 month of testing, it has been ruled out that I do not have diverticulitis. I most likely have rheumatoid arthritis. But, vasculitis must be ruled out. My thyroid is overactive…most likely from stress. There is ketones in my urine, but I am not diabetic. I have been exposed to mono, but I can eat peanut butter, chocolate, and shell fish without getting an allergic reaction. My lungs, stomach, and joints appear to be affected and so an Echo, EKG, X-ray, and possibly a chest CT will be needed to further confirm a diagnosis. We live in a world that sometimes gives us the answers based on symptoms and other times they give us answers based on tests and images. There are times when the signs and symptoms and even the labs can be misinterpreted. Sometimes our symptoms can get overlooked. Our spiritual life is much the same.
As I sit for the first time in months…unhurried before the Word of God…I feel my soul begin to fill. I smile as I connect with the words of The First Five App, “Medical science categorizes physical dehydration into three degrees of severity. Increased thirst is actually a symptom of the second degree. Shockingly, when we discover we are thirsty, we are already moderately dehydrated; we missed the earlier, more subtle symptoms indicating our need for rehydration.  Our bodies need water, and our spiritual bodies need spiritual water. In Scripture, our relationship with the Lord is likened to water for our souls. Jesus promises to give us Living Water — the Holy Spirit — in John 7, and again in John 4. David says in today’s passage that his soul is parched and desperate for the Lord — the water for his soul.”
Through all of my testing, I was never told that I was spiritually dehydrated. Though I received IV fluids and was told to drink an increase of fluids…the diagnosis of spiritual dehydration was not made. I could sense most signs that something in my body was wrong, but spiritually it took me so much longer. I remind myself what the First Five says that by the time we are thirsty we are already dehydrated. We can easily miss the signs! We need to remember the signs of spiritual dehydration so we will seek the water before we get thirsty.
According to Warren Wiersbe, “The superscription informs us that David was in “the wilderness of Judah” when he wrote this psalm, suggesting that it was probably during Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam. 15: 23). However, he didn’t look back in regret at the mistakes he had made as a father, nor did he look around in fear or complaint at the discomforts and dangers of the wilderness. Instead, he looked up to the Lord and reaffirmed his faith and love. In an hour when David might have been discouraged, he was excited about God, and in a place where there was no sanctuary or priestly ministry, David reached out by faith and received new strength from the Lord.”
David was in the wilderness of Judah. The land was dry and he was parched. As the First Five state, “Having lived his early years as a shepherd, David knows the weariness of working too long without water. He has searched in earnest for his body’s most urgent and desperate need. David likely knew the anguish of that physical need because he had been refreshed by water.  Clearly from Psalm 63, David also knows the need and joy of being refreshed by the presence of the Lord. In his current season of loneliness and misery, David knows what will refresh his soul. Notice that this is the opening of David’s lament and hope. This psalm makes it clear that David has many dreadful needs that weary him.  But David knows the sweetness and peace that being with God will bring. The soul care David prays for is the presence and comfort of the Lord, not the easing of his troubling circumstances. Worship has become his water.”
David did not reach for water when he was thirsty as he knew that even if his physical symptoms said he was thirsty…he knew his soul needed something even more.
How do we learn to turn our need for water into the worship of God? According to Warren Wiersbe it starts with the desire for God. Warren states, “To be able to say “my God” by faith transformed David’s wilderness experience into a worship experience. There in the desert, he was hungry and thirsty; but his deepest desires were spiritual, not physical. With his whole being, body and soul, he yearned for God’s satisfying presence (v. 5; 42: 1–2). Just as we have physical senses that are satisfied by God’s creation, so we have spiritual senses (Heb. 5: 14) that can be satisfied only by Christ. He is the Bread of Life (John 6), and He gives us the water of life by His Spirit (John 4: 1–14; 7: 37–39; Rev. 22: 17). Those who hunger and thirst for spiritual food and drink shall be filled (Matt. 5: 6). David could say with Jesus, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (John 4: 32 NKJV). Because he didn’t belong to the tribe of Levi, David couldn’t enter the sanctuary proper, but from his study of the Books of Moses, he knew the design and the assigned rituals, and he understood their deeper meaning. It is our regular worship that prepares us for the crisis experiences of life. What life does to us depends on what life finds in us, and David had in him a deep love for the Lord and a desire to please Him. Because David had seen God’s power and glory in His house, he was able to see it in the wilderness as well! (Psalm 63:1-2).” David does not stop with desiring God, but his desire helped him to find praise as well.
Warren goes on to explain that due to David’s desire for God this led to the ability for Him to praise God. Warren states, “David didn’t depend on the tabernacle or its furnishings—in fact, he sent the ark back to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15: 24–29)—but on the living God whose character and works were declared in those furnishings. Unlike the superstitious people of Judah in Jeremiah’s day (Jer. 3: 16; 7: 1–16), David looked beyond material objects and saw spiritual realities. He had no priest or altar there, but he could lift his hands like the priests and bless the Lord and His people (Num. 6: 22–27). His uplifted hands, though holding no sacrifice, signified his prayers and the love of his uplifted heart (see 28: 2; 141: 2; 1 Tim. 2: 8). By faith he was under the wings of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, protected from his foes (v. 7; 36: 7). There in the wilderness, he had no sacrificial meal to enjoy, but his soul feasted on spiritual delicacies that even the priests were not permitted to eat (v. 5; Lev. 3: 16–17). “Marrow and fatness” typify the very finest of food (81: 16; 147: 14; Deut. 32: 14; Isa. 25: 6). Instead of complaining, as we are prone to do when things go wrong, David sang praises to the Lord. (Psalm 63:3-5).”
Warren points out that David was able to desire God, praise him, but he also continued to remember him. Warren explains that in Psalm 63:6-8, David remembers God. Warren states, “David’s heart was at peace, and he was able to go to bed and calmly worship the Lord and meditate on Him (3: 5–6; 42: 8). The phrase “earnestly seek” in verse 1 can mean “early will I seek,” so we see David at both morning and evening. The phrase “remember God” means to recall what He has said and done in the past and apply it to our present situation (42: 6; 77: 1–11; 105: 1–5; 119: 55). It was because Israel forgot what God did that they rebelled and disobeyed Him (78: 40–43; 106: 6ff.). Our God is I AM, not “I was,” and He must always be recognized in our present situation. The Jews had three night watches, from sunset to ten o’clock, from ten to two o’clock, and from two to sunrise, so whenever David awakened during the night, he immediately remembered the Lord. (Or it could mean he was awake all night, but not tossing and turning.) His bed was under the wings of the cherubim, and he felt secure as he meditated on the Lord (16: 7; 119: 148; Deut. 6: 4–9).”
We can find ourselves under the weather and we can find ourselves dealing with chronic conditions of life. The signs come and go and doctors do their best to fix what ails us. One diagnosis that we will most likely not hear a doctor tell us we have is spiritual dehydration, however it is just as real! The First Five App suggests that we be like David and seek the Lord when our body cries out for water. God’s word can be the water for our souls in a dry and parched land. The First Five App states, “I wonder if we might use this psalm as water for our souls the next time we find ourselves spiritually dehydrated? How might the heaviness of our souls change if we begged God to be near and refresh us? Further, what if we learned from David’s prolific example and made praise a regular part of spiritual health?  Are you and I walking around spiritually dehydrated because we’re missing the symptoms? Do our worries hijack our prayer life? Has our Bible reading become stale? Are our souls parched? Perhaps we need to drink of His Living Water.”
Heavenly Father,
You are our God. We should seek you at all times. Our souls should thirst for you and our flesh shall faint for you. We should always behold your power and your glory. Your love is steadfast and our lips are to praise you. Sometimes we find satisfaction in other things than you, but our souls should seek to be satisfied in you alone. Forgive us for not seeking you alone. Help us to remember you and meditate on you at all times. Thank you for being our help and our protection under the shadow of your wings. May our souls cling to you and your right hand uphold us. May we rejoice in your name forever. In your great name, Amen!

Journey through the Psalms 50-56

Psalm 50-56
Psalm 50
Psalm 50 is one of the first psalms written by Asaph. Asaph was one of King David’s 3 worship leaders. He speaks about proper worship. We are reminded by the First Five App that in this psalm, “sacrifices don’t appease God as he already has everything. Sacrifice is then about demonstrating total dependence on God for all we have and giving him thanks.” As Warren Wiersbe states, “God wants us to give him what he has not given us.” We honor God with our thanksgiving and obedience to his ways.
Honoring God and being thankful to him is usually something that with little thought can be done but, the majority of psalm 50 is about God being our judge. No matter how much I try…the idea of judgement makes me want to switch subjects. I love to speak about reasons that we are to be thankful, but judgement is scary. If I had to choose anyone to be my judge though…I am blessed to know it is our God who is our judge. His judgement is an offer for deliverance and salvation. We again see how God’s way is so much better than the way of the world. He judges not to condemn but to set us free. In this we have a reason to be thankful and again a reason to praise!
Heavenly Father,
You are the mighty one. You are the Lord. You shine forth from Zion. Thank you for not staying silent. Thank you for being our judge. The heavens declare that you are righteous and in this we can find thanksgiving and reasons for praise. We sometimes try to give you things that you already have, but you are calling for us to give something that you have not given us. You seek that we honor you and are thankful with our whole hearts. Sometimes it is hard to give our sacrifices with true hearts. Sometimes the idea of judgement makes us want to run from you and your ways. Sometimes we do not want to receive your discipline as we want things our way. Please forgive us for the times we are not thankful and the times we wander from being obedient to you. Help us to always offer thanksgiving and praises to you. Help us to remain obedient to your ways. Help us to order our way rightly so we will see your salvation. May we be thankful for your judgement and may we see your ultimate love in all that you do. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 51
My husband was searching for a good “Halloween” movie. Wanting to spend time with him, I joined him. Somehow we landed on the multi-episode series of the “Purge”. For those that may not have heard about it, the Purge is a made up day set aside where for 12 hours there is no law. Murder and any other crime for that matter is now legal. This is not my type of show, but I knew he wanted to watch it so…4 episodes later I helped him catch up on the series. I knew the content was wrong and I knew I had much better choices, but I remained. Sin has a way of doing this to us. What starts out as innocent can turn our hearts around so quickly! God’s way is so much better! As I sit down to read Psalm 51, I see Gods gentle nudging as I read: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7).
As stated by the First Five App, “Hyssop is a plant covered with the most beautiful purple flowers. It acts like a purple thread woven throughout Scripture at some very strategic moments.
Here are three of those moments that I don’t want us to miss:
1. Hyssop was the paintbrush at Passover in Exodus 12:22.
In Exodus, we read about the problems placed on the children of Israel. Due to a chain of events set off by the jealousy of a few brothers (Genesis 27), the Israelites eventually end up being held captive in Egypt. God sends Moses to ask Pharaoh to set His people free, but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Many plagues were then sent, but it wasn’t until God sent the plague of striking down the firstborn of both human and animal families (Exodus 12:12) that Pharaoh changed his mind.
But in order for God to pass over the firstborn of the children of Israel, He told them they must paint the doorframes of their homes with the blood of a lamb. And the tool He asked them to use was very specific — a bunch of hyssops. (Exodus 12:22)
Whenever there’s a specific detail given in a story like this, my mind immediately wonders, “Where else is hyssop used and why? Is there a little thread to be pulled here?” 
Which brings us to today’s passage.
2. Hyssop was the purification tool in Psalm 51:7 .
We’ve already read about how David cries out to God and asks Him to use hyssop to deal with the problems within him.
But why hyssop?
If we turn back to Leviticus 14, we’ll discover hyssop was used for lepers — people with a skin disease that caused them to be ostracized and placed outside of the city. (Leviticus 14:4, 6, 52)
David was essentially like a leper needing to be cleansed. Remember, sin separates us from God. Just like lepers were separated, so are we when we sin. We are outside of the will of God when we live with an unrepentant heart.
David needed God to cleanse him from his sin within, and so do we. Which ties in with the last encounter with hyssop we’re going to talk about today.
3. Hyssop was present when Jesus became the promise fulfilled in John 19:29.
If we turn over to John 19, we will see hyssop is the last thing Jesus interacted with on this earth.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He said He was thirsty. Then, in John 19:29 we’re told, “A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. .” After Jesus interacted with that stalk of hyssop, He declared, “It is finished” and breathes His last breath (John 19:30).
This moment fulfilled the prophecy found in Psalm 69:21, “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.”
Isn’t it beautiful how the Lord allows the hyssop plant to appear and reappear in Scripture?
Hyssop weaves all of these moments together and points us straight to the hope we have in Jesus. Hyssop was there as the paintbrush at Passover. Hyssop was there as the purification tool of David. And it was there when Jesus became the ultimate Passover lamb, providing the way for us to be cleansed and purified from all sin.
Oh, how I pray we will let this purple thread weave hope into our stories today. I pray we will let it point us toward truth. Jesus is the answer to the problems placed on us and the problems found within us. And we are never a people without hope.”
I have spent most of the day thinking and reading about the hope that we can find as sinners. There are times when God’s word can take us to the deep places we need to be. Not meaning to get lost in God’s word…much truth was found!
Psalm 51 starts out stating, “Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom.” (Psalm 51:3-6).
According to Warren Wiersbe, “Sin is a process. 1. transgressions are the rebellion against God. 2. Iniquity is the crookedness of the sinner. 3. Sin is to miss the mark. David uses three verbs to ask for forgiveness. 1. Blot means to pay a debt. 2. Wash indicates sin defiles the entire person. 3. Cleanse shows that the sinner is like a leper, in need of total healing.” As Warren begins to define sin and what it means, I begin to understand more.
Sin does not happen all at once. We are tempted and we begin to rebel. Our ways then become crooked and we eventual leave God’s way and miss our mark. Sin has many affects on our body and our soul. Knowing these effects we can be prepared to know the cost that sin brings.
We can try to live as the world portrays as it teaches us how to “purge” ourselves of our wants and desires through hatred and destruction of others. But God’s way of purging includes the act of cleansing and peace.
“Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you. Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God, and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 51:7-15)
Sin has many affects on us. We must learn the affects so can walk away from sin more readily. According to Warren Wiersbe sin affects what we see. He explains that, “before he sinned, David saw God wherever he looked. His heart was pure. (Matthew 5:8). Your heart affects your eyes; what you love in your heart, your eyes will seek. God wants truth in our inner being. David confesses because he wanted to see God again. Do you keep a clean conscience? It is a part of your inner being that responds to God’s truth. When you sin, the window of your conscience becomes dirty and filters out the truth. Avoid sin in your life and live with a clean conscience.”
Not only does sin affect your eyes, it also affects our ears. Warren Wiersbe explains that, “ David’s ears were open to the music of heaven-but not in this psalm. David heard sorrow and sadness. The choir was off-key. Everything he heard was wrong. We, too have days like that. When we are not right on the inside, nothing is going right on the outside. The good news will be bad news, and the bad news will be worse news.”
Lastly Warren Wiersbe explains how sin affects what we say and profess to others. “Sin silenced David’s tongue. He had no song and he had no witness. David was accustomed to praising the Lord, but now he was silent. When we lose our song and our praise and our testimony, we affect others. David was not able to talk to people about the Lord.”
David however has options and he went to the Lord and confessed his sins. This is the part that I find to be most difficult. As I think of watching the movie the Purge instead of getting ready for and attending church, I feel guilty and ashamed. As I think of past confessions, I get nervous that I will never be enough. Warren Wiersbe again explains the truth and lays down many of the old lies that I carried about sin and confession. He explains what David did and how we are to confess.
“For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn. Treat Zion kindly according to your good will; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar.” (Psalm 51:16-19).
David knew that God did not need sacrifices from him. As we learned in Psalm 50, God wants something he doesn’t already have. God wants our dependence and our obedience. He wants a true confession. Warren Wiersbe asks, “what does it mean to confess sin?” He then explains, “It does not mean to admit our sins, for we can hide nothing from God. The word confess means ‘to say the same thing.’ We are to see sin as God sees it. This is repentance, not penance. Jesus’s blood is the only thing that can pay the cost of sin. True repentance involves the mind, the emotions, and the will. Regret involves only the mind-we are upset that we got into a mess or got caught. Remorse involves only the mind and emotions-we feel terrible. Confessing sin means that we have David’s attitude and recognize that we are sinners by nature: each of us is capable of committing sin.”
This brings me back to my fear of judgement but then brings me to a new kind of peace as we are once again reminded of who our judge is.
Warren Wiersbe explains, “God is not keeping a record of your sins, but he is keeping a record of your works, and sin hinders your ability to serve him.” As David explains in 2 Samuel 24:14, “Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man!” We can find great comfort and mercy in our judge!
Sin is not an easy subject to discuss. There is much to be learned and said, but like the hyssop that brings hope to our journey…we can find hope in our merciful judge and the beauty of his word!
Heaven Father,
You are our judge. You are merciful in your love and abundant in your compassion. Thank you for being our God who provides mercy, love, abundance, and compassion. Thank you for your word that provides us with truth and hope in all times. Forgive us for the gradual nature that sin sneaks into our lives. Forgive us for our transgressions, our iniquities, and our sins. Help us to see how sin is a process and how with your help we can stop the process of sin when temptation begins. Only you can blot out what is created by our sins. Only you can wash us and cleanse us from our wrongdoings. Help us to remember the debt that you have paid for us. Cleanse us and wash us today so we can continue to see the hope that only you can give us. Restore in us your joy and create in us a clean heart. Open our lips so we will declare your praise. Help us to do good works for your glory! In your great name, Amen!
(I couldn’t choose which one I liked the most…so I included them all!)
Psalm 52
In Psalm 52, David gives us two images of the type of people we can become. David explains the story of Doeg, a man described by Warren Wiersbe as, “a descendant if Esau, who represents the worldly person (Hebrews 12:16). Esau has sold his birthright for a single meal. The name Doeg means fear or anxiety. Psalm 52 encompasses the story noted in 1 Samuel 22. In 1 Samuel 22, 85 Priests were killed by Doeg at the order of Saul. David had the right for revenge as far as the world would be concerned, however David trusted God to deal with his enemies. We have been speaking about being a worldly person or a person of God. This psalm describes both.
First let’s look at the wordly person.
According to Psalm 52, those that are worldly are those that work on being proud and boastful of evil, they tend to be manipulative and they are workers of deceit. They use their tongue for destruction. Those that are evil choose to do what is wrong versus what is good. They are known to be liars and have a deceitful tongues. The evil have a way of trusting in themselves and their riches, they do not take refuge in God. If we look at the very definition of Doeg we see that his name means fear and anxiety. The way of the world tends to revolve around fear and anxiety.
Now let’s contrast the worldly person with David. According to Warren Wiersbe, “in verse 1 David magnifies the goodness of God, ‘the goodness of God endures continually. When we boast of the goodness of God, our tongues are medicine that heals, not sharp razors that cut.” This contrasts the tongue of the evil one which is noted to be sharp and deceitful. David states that he trusts in the steadfast love of God versus the evil man who trusts in the abundance of his riches. David compares himself to a green olive tree as compared to the evil one who will break, be snatched up, torn down, and uprooted from the land of the living. Yesterday we looked at the Hyssop plant and today we will concentrate on the Olive tree.
According to the First 5 app, “The olive tree is one of the longest-living trees, a source of strength and provision in the nation of Israel. And David didn’t envision just any olive tree; he describes this tree as one planted in the house of God — a treasured and safe place to flourish and bear fruit.  Years later, in the midst of a fractured, wicked Israel, Jeremiah would speak words confirming David’s hope, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5). Jesus is our never-ending source of strength and provision. When we come to Jesus and remain in Him, we too will bear much fruit. (John 15:5)”
According to Warren Wiersbe, “The olive tree lives for many years and keeps bearing fruit (1: 3; 92: 12–15; see Jer. 17: 7–8; and note Ps. 37: 35–36). The most important part of a tree is its root system, for an absorbs nourishment. In addition it provides stability and strength in the storm. A green tree symbolizes freshness and power. Olives contain oil, which is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.” The Olive tree has much symbolism throughout the Bible just as the hyssop plant.
Today we must ask ourselves what we are going to do when others treat us wrong. We also must decide if we are going to be a man/woman of the world or be a man/woman of God like David. Warren Wiersbe sums this idea up as he states, “when people are treacherous to us, we must focus on God‘s goodness, not on man’s badness. Leave all judgment to the Lord. Continue to bear fruit for God, and praise him in the midst Of trouble.”
Heavenly Father,
Your steadfast love endures forever. Today we learned that we must choose to be like worldly men and women or to have a heart that chases after your ways. Thank you for your steadfast love that endures and helps us to remain in your presence and to praise you at all times. There are times that we choose the way of the worldly. We use our tongues for evil instead of good. There are times that our words do not build up and bear fruit, but tear down and destroy. Forgive us Lord for the times that we are of the world. Help us to be like the green olive tree who stands permanently in your house. Help us to see the blessings that we have and the privilege that is present when we are rooted in you. Help us to continue to be productive and bear fruit. Help us to always trust in your steadfast love. May we continue to praise you for all that you are and for all that you do. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 53
So many times we say we believe in God but believing in God includes a belief that includes our will, our mind, and our heart. As stated by the First Five App, “According to psalm 53, the fool rejects God in his heart. In David’s culture, the heart represented not just one’s emotions (as in Western culture), but also one’s mind, will and inner being. Therefore, a denial of God in the heart speaks of a complete rejection of Him; the epitome of foolishness. “
Psalm 53 is a psalm of David that explains the Atheist. An Atheist is one that says there is no God. Warren Wiersbe warns against not just being an atheist but also a “practical atheist.” “A practical Atheist does not say there is no God with their lips but he says it in his heart.” Whether you don’t believe in God or you don’t show it in your heart, you are a fool.
Warren Wiersbe explains that verse 1 of Psalm 53 shows that, “What you believe about God affects your will.” Verse 2 shows, “What you believe affects your mind.” And finally he explains how verse 5 shows, “What you believe about God affects your heart.”
Warren Wiersbe also explains how what you do not do makes you a fool. He explains the 8 reasons that atheists (including the practical atheists) are fools.
  1. They do not acknowledge God (v.1)
  2. They do not obey God (v.1)
  3. They do not understand God (v.2)
  4. They do not seek God (v.2)
  5. They do not follow God’s way (v. 3)
  6. They do not call on God (v.4)
  7. They do not fear God (v.5)
  8. They do not hope in God (v.6)
Saying we believe does not mean just speaking it. Truly believing includes our heart, our mind, and our will. We must learn to acknowledge God with our mouth, obey God with our will, and understand God in our heart and mind. We must seek, follow, and call on God with our heart, mind, and will. We must fear and hope in God at all times. Don’t be caught being a fool…seek to believe in God in your heart, mind, and with your entire will!
Heavenly Father,
You are our restorer. You provide us with salvation. Thank you for being a God we can believe in and rejoice in. To say that you don’t exist is foolish. Our belief in you affects everything about us. Our belief in you affects what we do, what we think, and who we are. There are times Lord that we say we believe in you and yet we don’t show it in our heart, our mind, and our will. Forgive us of our foolishness. Help us to always acknowledge you, to obey you, and to understand you. Help us to seek you, to follow you, to call on you. May we fear you and find hope in you not in just the things we say, but in our minds, in our hearts, and in all that we do. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 54
Psalm 54 is about how David reacts when he is called to come out of hiding and battle the enemy. His own family has become his enemy and are seeking to kill him. Psalm 54 describes the battle that David fights with the Zephites in 1 Samuel 23:19-24. As Warren Wiersbe states, “The Ziphites lived about fifteen miles southeast of Hebron (see 1 Sam. 23: 13–24 for the background). Twice they betrayed David to Saul (see 1 Sam. 26: 1), and both times the Lord delivered him. This psalm reveals three stages in David’s experience as he turned to God for help.
  1. The Starting Point—Danger from the Enemy (vv. 1–3). David’s life was in danger (v. 3; see 1 Sam. 23: 15), and he called on God to save him and vindicate his cause (1 Sam. 24: 15). David was the rightful king of Israel, and the future of the nation and the dynasty lay with him. This included the promise of the Messiah, who would come from David’s line (2 Sam. 7). “By your name” means “on the basis of your character,” especially His strength (v. 1) and faithfulness (v. 5). David promised to praise God’s name after the great victory (v. 6). He used three different names of God in this brief psalm: Elohim (vv. 1, 2, 3, 4), Adonai (Lord, v. 4), and Jehovah (LORD, v. 6). “Hear my prayer” (v. 2) is a favorite approach with David (4: 1; 39: 12; 143: 1). “Strangers” (v. 3) doesn’t suggest that his enemies were Gentiles, for the Ziphites belonged to the tribe of Judah, David’s own tribe. The word is used in Job 19: 13 to describe Job’s family and friends, and David used it in a similar way in 69:8. It can describe anybody who has turned his or her back on someone, which the Ziphites certainly did to David, their king. Why did they do it? Because they disregarded the Lord and His will for the nation of Israel. Unlike David (16: 8), they did not set God before them (see 10: 4–5; 36: 1; 86: 14).
  2. The Turning Point—Confidence in the Lord (v. 4). This is the central verse of the psalm, and it records the turning point in David’s experience. The word translated “help” or “helper” is related to “Ebenezer” in 1 Samuel 7: 12: “Thus far the LORD has helped us” (NASB) and is a word David often used in his prayers (10: 14; 30: 10; 33: 20; 79: 9; 86: 17; 115: 9–11). It’s worth noting that Jonathan visited David about this time, and the Lord used him to encourage His servant (1 Sam. 23: 16–18). The Lord doesn’t always send angels to encourage us; sometimes He uses other believers to minister to us (see Acts 9: 26–28; 11: 19–26). Every Christian ought to be a Barnabas, a “son of encouragement.”
  3. The Finishing Point—Praise to the Lord (vv. 5–7). Twice David had opportunity to slay Saul but refrained from doing so, for he knew that God would one day deal with the rebellious king (see 1 Sam. 26: 8–11). “He will pay back evil to my enemies” (v. 5 AB). (See 7: 15–16; 35: 7–8; Prov. 26: 27; 28: 10; 29: 6.) David was away from the sanctuary, but he lifted his voice in praise to God, and his words were like a freewill offering to the Lord (Heb. 13: 15). In verses 1–6, David spoke directly to the Lord, but in verse 7, he spoke to those around him and gave witness to the blessing of the Lord. His words revealed his faith, for he spoke of his deliverance as already completed as he looked calmly at his enemies (22: 17; 59: 10; 92: 11; 118: 7). David had more suffering and peril to experience before he would ascend the throne, but he was confident that the Lord would see him through—and He did!”
David knew that he was being in danger and he knew he was being betrayed. David was being betrayed not by distant enemies but his own family. Through it all he chose to praise the Lord. For me, when I am asked to journey out into the unknown and to fight my own battles…it is hard to find my first instinct of praise. I sometimes feel that I am constantly fighting battles and I don’t see how my journey is going forward. Psalm 54 shows us the forward motion that God takes us…even in the battles that seem to take us backwards.
The First Five App states, “More often than not, God will ask us to face difficult things, even painful and scary things, to walk out the assignment He has for us. This may look like addressing old wounds — instead of ignoring them — in order for healing to occur. Facing hard things is necessary for moving forward.  In Psalm 54, David faced another challenge. This time, God had sent David out to save a city and face a battle that again could’ve ended his life. David knew that the reward was more significant than the outcome — God’s kingdom would be glorified and advanced, so David faced the challenge.  Just as God led Moses through the Red Sea (Exodus 14), Joshua into the Promised Land (Joshua 21:43) and Jesus to the cross (Matthew 27) — God asks us to face difficult things for our good and the glory of His kingdom. Not because He needs us, but because He loves us and has a perfect plan. It’s because of God’s love for us that we can have the courage to overcome and endure things that may seem like they will break us. Yet through it all, we can stand victorious and say, “He did it before and will do it again!”
We must believe in God with our will as we move forward in difficult circumstances. We must believe in God with our mind as we approach his way of thinking over the world’s. We must believe God with our heart as we find the desire to praise…even amongst the storm…believing he has a better plan even when it feels like we are breaking!
(I wrote the above journal on Friday of this week. I woke up looking forward to Friday as well as getting to see the doctor for answers to what has become chronic fatigue and pain. Unable to figure out why my body seemed to be attacking me…I was given answers that my body was indeed attacking myself. Initially thinking I may have a virus, I was tested for multiple things but one answer stood out and that was the positive marker for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. I spent Saturday in bed…pain spread through my body and I now knew the reason for my fatigue. My mind was racing with questions as well as fear for what was to come. Yet, something else kept me from going down the dark path of retreating.
Just before going into my doctors appointment I met someone with a new Ostomy as well as a new diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. Beside learning how to take care of herself in a new way, she had the daunting task of learning how to live with her diagnosis. Upon asking her how she was, she replied, “I was just told I had 1-2 years to live, that’s how I feel.” She then said, “I heard you tell me how to take care of this but most of me just asks myself…what’s the point?” I then explained to her our two options when life gets tough. I shared my own journey with my husband’s cancer and the topic soon turned to God. At the end of our time together this brave lady held a Gideon Bible in her hand and a plan for survival. She had been searching for God and admitted that a God she had not even believed in before must have sent me to her that Friday morning. One of the things that stands out for me now is the way I told her that she had two choices, she could let her diagnosis get her down or she could find a reason to fight. God’s love poured truth through my lips into a soul in search of answers. As I reread this journal, I see how it was also meant for me. As I relive the conversation I had with a stranger that day…I know that God brought us together as well. I knew what I was telling her was the truth and now I must listen to it myself. As I attempt to embrace one more battle…one that is physically my own…I must decide if I will let this disease rule my mind, my will, and my heart or if I am going to come back fighting. I refuse yet again to let this get me down. I will rejoice in knowing what a blessing we have in the option to follow God’s way…even when we feel like we are breaking!)
Heavenly Father,
Your word gives us answers to how we can react to this world. We can choose to be a fool and say that you don’t exist. We can say we believe in you but not let it move past our mouth to our heart and mind. But, we also have other options that we find when we study your word…we can be like David and we can call on you. You are our savior and we can call on your name through prayer. When the world seems to be attacking us or we are called to battle once again we have the option of trusting in you and believing that you hear us or giving up. When we turn our belief into a change of heart and mind…you will provide us the will that praises you despite our problems. You are the answer when life gets us down. You are an answer that will always bring us up. Thank you for being our answer Lord! There are times that life will gets us down. As we feel physically and emotionally beat down, your word sends us power to fight back. Sometimes we hear your call but we are slow to answer. Forgive us when we don’t heed your call. Help us to believe in you with our whole mind and heart so our will follows you at all times. Help us to call out to you through prayer. Helps us to have faith that you hear us. Help us to have the will to praise you despite our problems. May we allow you to be the one that hold up our life at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 55
I have a plaque that sits in my living room. It quotes Isaiah 40:31, “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.” I bought it over 4 months ago. It was the day that my husband started his infusions. I was driven to Psalm 55 that day and as I wandered the gift shop before my husband’s infusion, I found this plaque. Today we find ourselves back at Psalm 55 again. Eagles have always reminded me of my earthly father. When times get tough, something always shows up to remind me that he is looking out for me still. After my dad died, I felt like an orphan. As time has gone by, I have seen too many times where I am reminded that a part of my dad remains. As I try to learn how to adapt to a disease that is attacking my own body, I find comfort in knowing what remains above the clouds…my earthly father as well as our Heavenly Father. In order to reach the glory of our Heavenly Father, we must aim for what is above what we can see. We again see that we have choices that we must make.
In Psalm 55 we see how it is natural for us to look at our emotions and express our fears. In psalm 55:4-5 we see David do just that. David even sought the option of running away from his problems. We can dwell on our circumstances like David did in Psalm 54:9-15 as well. It is what David did in verse 16 that we too must decide to do. We can focus on ourselves and what is going on around us like the beginning of this psalm or we can choose to move beyond them and call out to God. As Warren Wiersbe states, “Trials force you to respond. You can flee, fight, or fly above them. God has a purpose in your trials and wants you to fly above it. Cast your burden upon Him and trust Him for strength to fly above your difficulty.”
Psalm 55 always reminds me of my father. Eagles always remind me of the gifts that lie above the clouds…the protection we have that is higher than what we can see…but protecting us just the same. We have choices to make each day. Sometimes we want to run and if we don’t run we then must decide to remain and fight. We also have another choice and that is to look above what is seen and allow the strength of God to carry us above our circumstances as we trust in our Heavenly Father to carry our burdens for us. We do not have to run and we do not have to fight alone. We have the blessing of rising above and allowing God to give us his strength to soar above the storm!
Heavenly Father,
During times of trials and pain so many times we cry out to you as we allow our emotions and fears to take over. You hear our cry but your word also tells us to look to you instead of our feelings. Sometimes we want to flee from our circumstances but your word tells us to continue to remain and continue to look to you. Even when we cry out to you and remain we can also choose to cast our burdens on you and you will help us to rise above them. Thank you for being a father that will hold us up in the midst of our troubles. Heavenly Father it is difficult to not get wrapped up in our emotions and fears. So many times we choose to run instead of remaining. Forgive us for not coming to you and casting our burdens upon you. Help us to cry out to you, to not run, and to cast our burdens on you so you will sustain us. May we always seek you first. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 56
When I started my walk as a Christian, I believed that having intense strength was a prerequisite to faith. As I learned more about God and how we are to rely on him for strength my knowledge of who I was as a Christian changed. As I learn who I am in relation to God, it changes the way I respond. One of my other battles is fear. The First Five grabbed my attention today as it explains that even David had fears.
“Fear has a way of making us feel desperate. It can convince us to do odd things. Clear reasoning gets swallowed up by unhealthy thinking and leads us into a dark well of frightened emotions and mismatched decisions. It can intimidate us, weaken our faith and leave us vulnerable to more attacks from our enemy, the devil.  It’s believed that David wrote Psalm 56 out of a place of fear, intimidation and desperation after being captured by the Philistines in Gath. (1 Samuel 21:10-15) David, the lion-slayer, bear-taker and confident executioner of Goliath (a Philistine) pretended to be insane when his life was threatened. (1 Samuel 21:12-13) This young warrior and captain of Israel’s army faced opposition on a regular basis, yet when faced with intense fear in this particular situation, he temporarily crumbled under the pressure. But that isn’t the end of his story. Although David wrestled with fear, he didn’t allow it to completely defeat him. David’s enemies were many, and their plan was villainous. (Psalm 56:5-6) David was outnumbered, alone and on the run. In the presence of fear, David didn’t deny he was afraid or make light of his situation. Instead, David chose to address fear with a bulletproof plan:
“When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.” 
(Psalm 56:3)”
Just as I had to admit my weakness to receive God’s strength, we also get the blessing of admitting to God that we are afraid. We can also recall that fear is from the enemy. Warren Wiersbe explains that, “First, David admitted his fears. He admitted the enemy was against him (v. 2). We won’t win the victory if we pretend the enemy is not there or if we suppress our fears.”
The First Five continues on this thought as they discuss how admitting our fear may not take it away but that trusting in God as we admit our fear allows God to be in charge of those things we fear instead of allowing fear to control us. They state: “David didn’t wait for his fears to subside or his situation to change. He placed his trust in God while he was still afraid. David was honest with God and entrusted Him to reign over his fears instead of letting his fears drain his courage and reign over his circumstances. It required a dramatic shift in thinking that would redirect David’s faith toward the Lord who had all things under His control.
“In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?”
(Psalm 56:4) David’s resolve to trust God was strengthened by the truth of His Word. Three times David declared God’s Word as praiseworthy. (Psalm 56:4, 10) He knew the Scriptures clearly revealed God’s character and promises. He was reminded of God’s nearness and awareness of the situation.”
Warren Wiersbe shows how the progression of admitting our fears lead to…trusting in God and that trusting in God leads to…the end of fear. Warren Wiersbe points out that Psalm 5:3 states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” He then points out Isaiah 12:2 that states, “trust and be not afraid!”
Psalm 56 does not stop with addressing fear, but it also addresses our tears. Images work perfect for me and one of the other lessons I learned is the power behind our tears. I once learned that in ancient Biblical times, bottles of tears were used in place of flowers at grave sights. It showed the love that one has for each other. In Psalm 56, we hear how God catches our tears in his bottle. What a great image this is. Not only can we express we are afraid but we can let our emotions free as we cry…keeping in mind who is catching them of course. God can hold our tears and he can also handle our fears if we release them to him.
As the First Five App states, “David was convinced God noticed his misery.
“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?”
(Psalm 56:8) When David’s trust in God lined up with the truth of God, his fear turned into praise. Uncertainty transformed into assurance, convincing David that no matter what happened, God would be with him and for him.
“This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:9b-11)”
Our minds and emotions are powerful things. They create in us a response that feels almost second nature. Our minds get full and our emotions spill over. We must choose what we will do with the information in our mind and the overflow of emotions in our heart. We have talked a lot in the past days about our mind, our will, and our heart. The First Five has much truth as it speaks about how David releases what is in his mind, will, and emotions so that he can fill his heart with better things.
“In this beautiful psalm, we see God’s transformational work take place in David’s soul (mind, will, emotions) through his writings, releasing the light of life that expels the darkness. Making room in David’s heart for greater faith, thanksgiving and delight as God delivered him from the grip of fear. Oh, that we too would allow our trust in God to line up with the truth of God. Taking our fears straight to Him with the assurance that He is always for us. Watching over us. And always in control.  His light expels the darkness and transforms how we see our circumstances. Through the lens of His truth, our fears transition into hope.
May we, like David, experience greater faith by responding to God in joy, thanksgiving and praise — not because this world will stop giving us reasons to fear, but because we know that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)”
The answer is once again seen as we learn that we must see things differently than the world. We are reminded that we now have somewhere to place our fears and our tears. We don’t have to pretend to be strong, fake that we are not afraid, and hide our tears. We can learn to release them to the one that is above the world…the one that resides in each of us…and learn to be of this world but not in it!
Heavenly Father,
You are gracious Lord. When our enemies are against us and when we are afraid we can put our trust in you. Through your word we can find reasons to praise you and to trust you and with your help we can overcome our fears. You keep count of all our troubles and you put our tears in your bottle. You put our sufferings in your book. You know all that goes on in our life. Thank you that we do not need to hide our fears or tears from you Lord. Forgive us when we allow our fears to overcome us. Help us to be able to admit our fears to you and to trust you with our emotions and our will. Help us to make room in our minds and in our heart for your joy instead of our sorrow. Help us to see that when we are afraid we can put our trust in you and when we put our trust in you we will not be afraid. Help us once again to be in this world and do your will, but may we not be of this world and instead be people of yours. In your great name, Amen!

Journey through the Psalms 43-49

Psalm 43-49
Psalm 43
Last time we looked at the first of 3 stages that the writer of Psalm 42 was going through during his time of sadness and depression. Psalm 43 concludes with the last stage. The writer had longed for God and spent time remembering him, but then he also spent time trusting God as well. As Warren Wiersbe explains this last stage he states,
“The landscape changes a third time as the dawn announces the morning and reminds the psalmist of God’s light and truth (v. 3). The Lord had led Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and so His light and truth (faithfulness) would bring him back to Jerusalem. The innocent exile would be vindicated before his accusers and be rescued from an ungodly nation. His strength was in the Lord alone, the Rock of his salvation (42: 9), and soon his despair would be replaced by joy. As they trust in the Lord, God’s people must remember that His goodness and mercy follow them (23: 6), and His light and truth lead them (43: 3; see 27: 1; 26: 3; 30: 9; 40: 10). God’s “holy hill” is Mount Zion, where God’s sanctuary was located, the dwelling place of God. But the writer wasn’t exulting simply in freedom from his enemies and a return to his native home, but in the privilege of visiting God’s altar, offering his sacrifices, and praising the Lord. He has made great progress since he watched the hind seeking for water. The “living God” (42: 2) became “the God of my life” (42: 8), and now He is “God my exceeding joy … God, my God” (43: 4 NASB). His focus is no longer on himself, his disappointments, or his circumstances, but on the Lord his God; and that makes all the difference.”
We are again reminded that it is God that we find our hope. Let us find our hope in God today.
Heavenly Father,
You are our vindicator and our judge. You defend your people. You deliver them from the unjust. There are times that we mourn and feel oppressed by those things and people around us, but you send us your light and your word is our truth. Thank you for leading us and bringing us to your holy hill. Thank you for being our dwelling place. There are times we feel that you have abandoned us because we forget to look to you for our hope. Forgive us not for our emotions but forgive us for not seeking you first as we go through them. Forgive us for the things we do that create any separation between you God. Help us to come to the altar and confess our sins. Help us to come to your altar and find joy in you. Help us to praise you at all times. When our soul is cast down Lord help us to praise you and find your endless hope. May our hope be in you at all times God. In your Great name, Amen!
Psalm 44
I have to admit…getting through the Psalms has been a little tough. As I prepared my mind for God’s word, I looked forward to the possibility that we could look at the subject of joy. I want to look beyond my trials and see joy. Yet, we return to the subject of trials once again.
In my book of Psalms there is a caption under each psalm. Today it reads, “God come to our help.” It is another psalm of the son’s of Korah. In the first 8 verses they recap how God has helped them in the past. The subject soon changes in verse 9 though as the writer states, “But you have rejected us and disgraced us…”. The writer is forlorn as he does not know what he has done to deserve this trouble as he has done as the Lord has asked. The writer states, “All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. (Psalm 44:17). The psalm ends with the idea of God sleeping or hiding his face from his people. The writer asks for redemption based on God’s steadfast love.
Despite what the writer is going through he is aware of what God has done in the past and he is aware of God’s steadfast love for our future. The writer is also aware that he must search himself before God and be willing to humble himself if he needs to change his ways.
These facts that are shared in Psalm 44 are the reason that we can find joy. Despite our circumstances we can remember a time when God was present in our lives. The birth of a new baby, the end of the storm, a friend in the midst of loneliness, or the feeling of peace that he often gives. We are also given the joy of having a relationship with God. Despite our circumstances, despite the how and the why’s…we have the ability to cry out to God to search our ways and ask him to help us to walk the path he has set before us. Best of all…this Psalm reminds us that even if God seems far away and our circumstances are tough…we can have joy in God’s steadfast love and his promise to redeem his children.
I wanted to be “spoon-fed” some joy this morning. Psalm 44 is far from joyful, but like most days…if we search for the reasons to be joyful…we will find them no matter what our circumstances are. We can look beyond our trials and find joy when we are able to look to what God has done and his promises of what he will continue to do!
Heavenly Father,
Your word is not always joyful. Many of your people have struggled and they too felt the pain of what separation from you felt. The feelings of rejection, disgrace, and being separated are real…but your truth tells us that you are always with us. You have done many deeds in the past that are recorded in your word. With your own hands you drove out nations, you planted your people and set them free, and you delighted in your people. There are times that we feel that you are not with us, but we have your word to show how you care for your people. We can find great joy in the ways that you have been faithful to us. There are times that our sins separate us from you and for these times we seek forgiveness, but your word reminds us that there are times when the ways of this world are just what they are. Suffering and trials come but your steadfast love is always with us and your promise of redemption never ends. Thank you Lord for your truth. Thank you for your steadfast love and most of all thank you for your everlasting promise of redemption. Help us to find joy despite the reality of suffering and trials as we remember what you have done and what your word promises you will continue to do. Help us to seek your face and your truth so we can find your everlasting joy at all times! In your Great name, Amen!
Psalm 45
Sometimes there is just not much that can be added to explain a Psalm. Psalm 45 is a messianic Psalm written by the son’s of Korah. It is an Old Testament writing that proclaims our New Testament Savior Jesus. It is the story of Jesus and his Bride the church. It is always amazing to see how the life of Jesus was prophesied to the people. What more can be said! Our Lord and Savior is Victorious!
Heavenly Father,
You are the Son of Man. You are the Victorious Warrior. You are a Righteous King. You are the Glorious Bridegroom. We are your bride. Thank you Lord for reminding us that you were prophesied and spoke up for years before you came in human form and you remain victorious today. Help us to always remember who you are and the beautiful marriage we get to be a part of. In your Great name, Amen!
Psalm 46
Last week my husband and I were driving up the Mississippi River. As we drove through endless cornfields on the way to the edge of the river, we talked about little things and then the subject turned to the meaning of life. My usual response these days seems to be, “I just don’t know the answer.” I began to say my usual response, but this time…I stopped. I did know the answer. I explained to my husband that life is about learning that this life is not all there is and that God has more for his people and through this we learn to glorify him and not the world. It is our instinct to believe that each day has enormous significance and yet as we grow in our faith we have to realize that there is something so much bigger as well. We then have to convince ourselves that each day is truly small compared to what is to come. Living for today but working to achieve something bigger than ourselves. Instinctively this is hard, because detaching from what the world tells us life is all about is not easy. As I began to study Psalms 46, I thought of this conversation once again. We all have instincts that we rely on, but when we walk our Christian journey we must decide to live on something other than instincts.
While reading the First Five App this morning they discussed the idea of a world where locking doors and passcodes were not necessary. It reminded me of all the things that I instinctively do each day in the idea of “protection.” I lock my house at night before I go to bed as well as when I leave each morning. I make sure that the oven was turned off and that smoke alarms have good batteries. I track my children through their phones. I vaccinate my children and encourage them to take vitamins. If the stove gets to hot, I move my hand away. I don’t get into the shower until the water has warmed up. If I don’t like what I see, I turn away. Instincts take over and sometimes I am not even aware of it. Yet, God is calling us to find a different kind of instinct. God tells us that even if we don’t like what we see…he will bring us through it. God calls us to reach out…even when it is hot…and especially when our instincts want to pull back.
This is an uncomfortable place to be when our instincts say one thing, but the Holy Spirit is saying something else. In the first part of Psalm 46, the writer explains that because God is our refuge and strength, we do not have to fear. Our instinct of “Fight or Flight” tells us that fear motivates us to make the best choice in a moment of trouble. Psalm 46 continues as it states that, “because God is in our midst, we will not be moved. (Psalm 46:5)” This is the opposite of our desire to flee when things seem like they will become dangerous. Psalm 46 ends with the reminder to, “be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)” Our instincts of the flesh do not match the instincts of the Holy Spirit. We are once again reminded that we are in this world but we do not have to be of it.
Realizing that there is more to life than what meets the eye is exciting and for this we can give God praise. Sometimes though, the idea that we must think beyond the visible and the instinctual is tough. It requires us to not move on autopilot but to sit in the shelter of God’s wings and his peace. It requires us to fight the instincts of our flesh so we can hear the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit telling us that there is indeed more. Psalm 46 reminds us that we have answers in the word of God…we just have to be willing to reach out when our mind says its too hot and to stay still when our mind wants us to run. We have the choice to remain and allow God’s strength to show us what we cannot see in our own weakness.
Heavenly Father,
You are our refuge and our strength. You are present and provide us help in times of trouble. You are in our midst and you are our fortress. You make the wars cease to the end of the earth and you break the bow and shatter the spear. Thank you Lord for giving us your protection so that we do not have to fear, that we do not have to be moved, and that we can be still in your peace. Many times we forget that fear does not have to run our lives. Many times we want to flee or hide and yet your word tells us that we can be still. Our instincts take over where we should pause and listen to your still small voice. Forgive us for the times that we fear and the times that we flee. Help us Lord to not be afraid. Help us to remember that you are indeed our refuge and our strength. Help us to not be moved, Lord. Help us to remember that you will fight our battles and we just need to remain in you. Help us Lord to be still. Help us to remember who you are and to know that you are God. Help us to exalt you at all times. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 47
Psalm 46 showed us that we need to think differently. God’s way is different then the way of the world. One thing that God’s word does is it invites us to think beyond ourselves and our situations. According to Carole McDonnel in her book, “Blogging the Psalms”, “One way to step outside of ourselves is to praise God.” She then goes on to state, “The Lord has done great things but many of these glorious deeds we take for granted, some of his great deeds we don’t quite believe, some of his deeds on our behalf or the behalf of others we don’t understand, but we are called to praise him for what we do understand.”
Psalm 47 tells us somethings that we are to praise God for and his truth helps us to understand why we can praise him for these things:
  1. He is the Most High
  2. He is to be feared (the Hebrew word for fear is being in “awe”)
  3. He is a great King over all the Earth
  4. He subdued people under us and placed nations at our feet
  5. He chose our heritage for us
  6. The shields of the earth belong to him
  7. He is highly exalted
No matter what we question about our current situations…we have God’s truth telling us why we are to praise him. In praising God we learn to step outside of ourselves and begin to live life his way!
Heavenly Father,
Your word invites us to praise you. Your word calls us to clap our hands and shout with loud songs of joy. You are the most high and we are to be in awe of you. You can be rightly praised as your word tells us that you are a great King over all the Earth, you subdued people under us and placed nations at our feet, you chose our heritage for us, the shields of the earth belong to you, and you are highly exalted. Sometimes we take for granted what you have done, sometimes it is hard to believe what you have done or will do, and most of all we don’t always understand your ways. Your word however helps us to understand who you are so we can live a life your way and not of the world. Forgive us for our weaknesses and allow these weaknesses to work towards us finding you. Help us to praise you for the things that we understand and help us to understand more of you as we walk our journey. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 48
Sharing my journey with God was never easy. For the longest time it was just me and God and a few pages of paper. As I attempted to turn my mess into a message, I knew I needed to reach out to others. I still cannot express how hard it is to be real and to share my vulnerabilities. I struggle with letting others in and yet daily God pushes me beyond my comfort zone. Our weaknesses are hard to share with others and yet another way to step outside of ourselves is to be humble. Humility is not easy and sharing our truth can be hard but God calls us to think beyond this world and invite others into his.
Psalm 48 according to the First Five App is an invitation to, “enjoy the splendor and glory of Zion, the city of God.” They go on to explain in their app that, “Throughout the Bible, “Zion” is used to refer to the City of David. (2 Samuel 5:6-9; Isaiah 18:7; Joel 3:17) It’s situated on the elevated southeastern hill of Jerusalem. Later, the term was extended to include the entire city. However, the name “Zion” not only referred to a physical place. In Psalm 48:2, the term is also applied figuratively to God’s people, the nation of Israel. Considering God’s salvific works accomplished on Israel’s behalf, it’s no wonder how the name “Zion” became synonymous with the concept of redemption. Unexpectedly, every spiritual child of God is considered a native of Zion. (Psalm 87:4-6) And as citizens of God’s great city, the psalmists encourage us to do two things:
1) Tour the city. (Psalm 48:12)
2) Tell the next generations of our great King, God. (Psalm 48:13).”
We are citizens of Zion and God’s word proclaims this to us as Hebrews 12:18-24 states:
18
You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm
19
and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them,
20
for they could not bear to hear the command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
21
Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22
No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering,
23
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect,
24
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.
The New American Bible explains that this passage explains that, “As a final appeal for adherence to Christian teaching, the two covenants, of Moses and of Christ, are compared. The Mosaic covenant, the author argues, is shown to have originated in fear of God and threats of divine punishment (Heb 12:18–21). The covenant in Christ gives us direct access to God (Heb 12:22), makes us members of the Christian community, God’s children, a sanctified people (Heb 12:23), who have Jesus as mediator to speak for us (Heb 12:24). Not to heed the voice of the risen Christ is a graver sin than the rejection of the word of Moses (Heb 12:25–26). Though Christians fall away, God’s kingdom in Christ will remain and his justice will punish those guilty of deserting it (Heb 12:28–29).”
Warren Wiersbe explains this as well as he states, “Christians today are citizens of the heavenly Zion and are also making a pilgrimage. As pilgrims:
  1. We talk about Zion: Spiritually Zion is the joy of the whole earth. (Gen 12:1-3) (48:1-3)
  2. We see Zion: We look to Jerusalem and are encouraged in our faith. (Read about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18-19-this is the story behind this psalm) (48:4-8)
  3. We enter Zion: The Jews went to the temple 1st. We have a greater victory to share with the Earth. Our Lord Jesus died for us and had risen again. (48:9-11)
  4. We walk about Zion: This is a triumphant procession of praise. Praise him for what He has done for you!” (48:12-14)
We are called to share and Psalm 48 tells us why. Even when it is hard…we are called to share. We are citizens of Zion…we are on a pilgrimage…and we must not give up on our God. He is calling us to share our journey…let us continue to do just that!
Heavenly Father,
You are great and greatly to be praised! Your holy mountain is beautiful and is the joy of all the earth. Thank you for being our fortress. Thank you for protecting us from your enemies. Thank you for establishing your city forever. Sometimes we forget that we are citizens of your heavenly city. Sometimes we struggle to share our journey with others. Forgive us for these weaknesses. Your word encourages us to remember your steadfast love and to praise you to the ends of the earth. Help us to journey through your city and number her towers, consider her walls, and to tell others of you and your ways. May we enjoy the splendor and glory of Zion at all times and share our faith with those around us. In your great name, Amen!
Psalm 49
Psalm 46 and a ride down the Mississippi River led me to a lengthy explanation for what the First Five App coins as, “an eternal perspective.” According to the First Five App, “Psalm 49 teaches us how to live with an eternal perspective.”
With the help of the First Five App, Warren Wiersbe, and God’s word, we can further learn about this eternal perspective.
“The word world is the translation of an unusual Hebrew word that means “the total human scene, the whole sphere of passing life,” not unlike “world” in 1 John 2: 15–17.” (Warren Wiersbe).
1 John 2:15-17 states, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.”
The New American Bible explains that,
“The world: all that is hostile toward God and alienated from him. Love of the world and love of God are thus mutually exclusive.” Or as explained in James 4:4, “Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
We want to live as if everything we do in our current state matters and yet as the First Five App states, “Death is not the ultimate end; it’s really just the beginning of eternity.” They go on to explain how our desire for wealth does not see death in an eternal perspective. “While wealth can purchase earthly pleasures, it cannot buy genuine peace, and there isn’t enough money in the world to buy eternal life. Death will come for all of us. There’s no avoiding it. We cannot go around it; we can only pass through it. But because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can face death with the assurance that eternal life in God’s presence awaits those who believe. In our fallen, human condition, we are enslaved to sin, but Christ came to set the captives — to set us — free. He came to purchase our ransom with His blood. All we can do in response is give Him thanks.”
We place a value on money far beyond what it truly can buy. As the First Five App states, “We know money can’t buy eternal life. And yet, we live in a culture that praises and admires earthly success. Even the psalmist recognizes this tendency when he says:
“For though, while he [the rich man] lives, he counts himself blessed
— and though you get praise when you do well for yourself —his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light.” (Psalm 49:18-19)
Despite knowing the ultimate outcome of those who place their trust in their wealth, we still admire — and sometimes envy — those who possess great wealth. But the psalmist encourages us to be rich in faith and to keep our eyes fixed on Christ. We’re called to live with an eternal perspective. Psalm 49 reminds us to live for what is unseen because what is unseen is more real than anything we can see.”
Warren Wiersbe explains this eternal perspective as he states that in this psalm, “The writer gives us three reminders to help us keep our perspective in a world obsessed with wealth and the power it brings.
1. Wealth Cannot Prevent Death (vv. 5–12). It isn’t a sin to be wealthy if we acknowledge God as the Giver and use what He gives to help others and glorify His name (1 Tim. 6: 7–19; Matt. 6: 33). But an increase in wealth often leads to an increase in evil. It’s good to have things that money can buy, if we don’t lose the things money can’t buy. It’s sad when people start to confuse prices with values.
2. Wealth Will Not Determine Your Destiny (vv. 13–15). When Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, they were astonished; for most Jews believed that the possession of wealth was a mark of God’s blessing (Matt. 19: 23–30). If wealthy people have a hard time getting into the kingdom, what hope is there for the rest of us? But people with wealth tend to trust themselves and their money and to believe the nice things people say about them (v. 13). The writer pictured wealthy lost people as dumb sheep being led to the slaughterhouse by Death, the shepherd, who would devour them. (See Luke 16: 14, 19–31.)
3. Wealth Must Not Increase Your Desires (vv. 16–20). Don’t be impressed and “overawed” (NIV) when you see others getting wealthy and buying bigger houses and cars. All their wealth will be left behind when they die and ultimately lose its value. They won’t be able to praise themselves, nor will they be able to hear others praise them. We take nothing with us when we die (Job 1: 21; Eccl. 5: 14–15; 1 Tim. 6: 7). If we have been faithful stewards of what God has given us, we possess eternal riches that will never fade (Matt. 6: 19–34). We can’t take wealth with us, but we can send it ahead.
I knew I was on to something last week. I could feel God giving me a wisdom that I was searching for. Psalm 49 sums it up well. Life is about finding eternal perspective in what money can not buy in a world that tries to sell you that money can buy it all!
Heavenly Father,
Your word calls out to us all. Your “world” that speaks about the people and not the “world” that screams about the things of it. Your word provides wisdom and speaks of the fear we are to have of you. We are to be in awe of you. Your word speaks of how we are not to trust wealth but we are to place our trust in you. You bought us with a ransom that money could not buy. The blood of your son provided us the gift of an eternal perspective. Thank you for giving us the gift of eternal life. Thank you for giving us the security of something that is real. There are times that we place our security in the things that have been created instead of the one who created them. We value the things that are bought with money and we forget about what was bought with your son’s blood. Sometimes we waste what we have been given instead of using it to your glory. Please forgive us of our shortcomings. Help us to remember that wealth cannot prevent death, wealth will not determine our destiny, and wealth must not increase our desires. Help us to have an eternal perspective and not the perspective of the world that honors the creations and forgets about the creator. In your great name, Amen!

Journey through the Psalms 36-42

(I have fallen behind in my Blog but I have not fallen behind on God’s word.  I will be posting what I have been doing.)

Psalm 36

(Notes based upon the commentary and devotions of Psalm 36 by Warren Wiersbe)

In Psalm 36 David comes to the conclusion that sin occurs because of an absence of fear of God. David again looks upon those that are sinners but as Warren Wiersbe states, “David did a wise thing when he stopped contemplating the sinners and started focusing on the glories of the Lord.” As David looked at God’s character in psalm 36 he shares with us that God is full of mercy, protection, abundance, guidance, and pleasures. David also explains where these characters are found and available to us:
1. We are protected in the shadow of his wings (psalm 36:7).
2. He provides us satisfaction and abundance at his table (psalm 36:8).
3. He provides us guidance with his light (psalm 36:9)
4. He provides abundance and power as he is the fountain of life (psalm 36:9)

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and you provide us with refuge, abundance, and delights. You are a God we can glorify for the many things you do but most importantly by the God that you are. Thank you for providing us protection under the shadow of your wings, refuge in the Holy of Holies, satisfaction at your table, guidance by your light, and power and abundance by your fountain of life. It is hard sometimes for us to live amongst those that do not fear you. We can seek to find our own justice or we can focus on you. Please forgive us for not always focusing on you Lord. Please continue your steadfast love upon those who know you. Please continue your righteousness to the upright of heart. Help us to continue to seek you and to seek an upright heart. Let not the foot of arrogance come upon us or the hand of the wicked drive us from you. May we continue to praise your steadfast love in all circumstances and situations. In your Great name, Amen!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0OBRvxrzhqs

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eex2e0COM9M

Psalm 37

(I believe that Cheryl Ann was the one that told me we are never late or behind but right where God wants us to be. The past couple of weeks have been long for me and these past couple days even more challenging. Recently I have been dealing with diverticulitis, dehydration, and recently learning I am at high risk of developing colon cancer. All of this after an elected colonoscopy. I was weak and tired. Today though I wake up feeling the effects of much needed rest and I sit in the presence of his word. I was absent for a few days but I truly believe I was where God needed me to be. Now for some time with the Lord🙏.)

Psalm 37

Many times throughout my day I have to remind myself and others that the world thinks differently than we were created to think. As an Ostomy nurse I help many through the process of accepting the unacceptable. Our world does not embrace “different” and sometimes one can even feel shunned. When one is struggling I explain to them how different we can be from the way the “world” portrays. As Christians, it is much the same. Psalm 37 explains how Christians can live in a world that they reside in but don’t have to belong to.

Warren Wiersbe explains Psalms 37 well when he states, “The theological foundation for the psalm is the covenant God made with Israel, recorded in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27—30. God owned the land, and if the nation obeyed Him, they could live in the land and enjoy its blessings. But if Israel disobeyed the Lord, He would first chasten them in the land (invasion, drought, famine), but if they continued to rebel, He would then take them out of the land (captivity). But it seemed that the wicked were prospering and that God wasn’t doing anything about it (see Jer. 12). The righteous could fret over the problem (vv. 1, 7–8), leave the land (v. 3), or go on being faithful, trusting the Lord to keep His Word (vv. 3, 5, 7, 34, 39). Like any mature believer who had been through his own share of suffering, David took the long view of the situation and evaluated the immediate and the transient in terms of the ultimate and the eternal. He encouraged Solomon and the people to believe God’s promises and wait on Him. In the psalm, he gave four encouraging assurances to believers who question how God is running His world. (See also Ps. 49 and 73.)
1. The Lord can be trusted (vv. 1-11): We build trust by not fretting, delighting in the Lord, committing ourselves to the Lord, and resting in the Lord. Fretting leads to anger, lack of trust, lack of peace, and lack of joy.
2. The Lord understands your situation (vv. 12-20). As Warren Wiersbe states, “Since God can be trusted, we should not fret, and because God understands our situation, we should not fear.”
3. The Lord blesses his people (vv. 21-31). The Lord blesses us with the provision of our daily needs, his protection, his presence, he enables us to live obedient lives, and he gives us his word.
4. The Lord judges the wicked (vv. 32-40). The Lord protects us from the wicked by placing them on trial, by allowing the righteous to prosper and the wicked to wither, and he rescues the righteous from the wicked.

The First Five App discusses another important fact about inheritance of the land from God as they help us remember that all of these things we do not do on our own but with the help of Jesus Christ. “Five times David contrasts the wicked’s gain in this world to those who will “inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:9, 11, 22, 29, 34) This land David speaks of can be seen in John’s account in Revelation 21. John saw a new heaven and earth come down after the old heaven and earth had passed away, and he said, “The one who conquers will have this heritage” (Revelation 21:7). There is a new and better land on its way.
And who receives such an inheritance? David says it will be those who wait for the Lord, the meek, and those blessed by God. These are traits we cannot manufacture on our own. They are the result of the Holy Spirit working in a heart surrendered to Jesus. Only those with lives yielded to Christ will inherit the new land. Yes, sometimes it looks like evil is running this old world. But as Christ-followers, we must remember who inherits the new world … the world that will last forever. Envy, anger and worry are natural, but they don’t help us. This world and its treasures will “vanish — like smoke they [will] vanish away” (Psalm 37:20b). You and I do not need to be malicious or fight and elbow our way to the top of the ladder. We have something better. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the “guarantee of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14). And it will be an inheritance unending and unimaginably good. As Christians, we do not have to strive like the men of the world. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Our Savior described Himself as “gentle and lowly in heart.” This can also translate to “meek.” Jesus was meek … and He conquered this world. Let’s follow His lead knowing we share the inheritance of the new world with Him. In knowing this, we can have rest for our souls.”

Heavenly Father,
You can be trusted above all things. We can find our delight in you. You call us to commit to you and in you we will find rest. You remind us that the wicked are only temporary. Thank you for knowing the days of the blameless and allowing their heritage to remain forever. Thank you for providing us with abundance. Thank you for understanding our situations and helping us through them. Sometimes we find ourselves fretting over the circumstances of our lives instead of looking towards you. This fretting leads to anger. This fretting leads us to not trust in you. Fretting steals us of your joy and your peace. Please forgive us for our worrying and fretful heart. Help us to find your joy and your peace. Help us to trust in you. Continue to bless us with your daily provisions, your protection, your presence. Please continue to enable us to live obedient lives. Help us to continue to seek your word. In your great name, Amen!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I3kjmMLUU3w

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YbGruMKwi7M

Psalm 38

Warren Wiersbe breaks down Psalm 38 once again. He states, “The Bible speaks about the pleasure of sin for a season. What Season? The season of sowing. The pleasure of sin comes when we sow, but the pain comes when we reap.” In Psalm 38, David speaks about his current situation and how his illness and distress was related to his sin. Warren Wiersbe explains that, “we are free to disobey the Lord, but we are not free to change the circumstances.” Warren then explains that when we sow sin we then reap God’s rebuking, God’s wrath, God’s displeasure, and even physical symptoms. These are noted in the beginning of Psalm 38. Warren Wiersbe goes on to explain that we have choices what we sow.
1. Sow your focus on yourself and reap the experience of sin’s painfulness. (vv. 1-8)
2. Sow your focus on others and reap sin’s loneliness. (vv. 9-14)
3. Sow your focus on the Lord and experience sin’s forgiveness. (vv. 15-22)
Warren Wiersbe continues to explain how David gives us tips for when we want to give up:
1. Don’t give up: “When he is tempting you, he (satan) whispers in your ear-‘You can get away with this.’ Then after you’ve sinned, he sneers, ‘You’ll never get away with this. You’re done for.’ Satan wants us to give up, but if we do, we’re playing right into his hands.
2. Confess your sins: “David didn’t say, ‘ I will be sorry that I’m suffering for my sin’ or ‘I will be sorry for the consequences.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry I have sinned.”
3. Trust in the Lord: “Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38: 21-22).
Heavenly Father, you rightly rebuke us in your anger and we can find discipline in your wrath. Sin separates us from you and we can feel this into our bones. You are however a merciful God and you see our hearts even in our sin. You hear our cries. You forgive us and you restore us as your word says. Heavenly Father, Thank you for not forsaking us Lord. Thank you for helping us to see our sins. Thank you for your forgiveness. Sometimes it is hard to admit our sins. We sometimes need to feel your rebuke and your wrath so we return to you Lord. Sometimes it is difficult for us to be humble. Please forgive us for our shortcomings. Show us our sins and help us to return to you at all times. Keep us from our enemies Lord. Keep us close to you. In your great name, Amen.

Psalm 39

According to Warren Wiersbe, “Both Psalm 38 and 39 record David attempting to remain silent in a time of trial, lest he say something that would offend believers or give ammunition to unbelievers.”

I sit in the waiting room of a busy doctor’s office. My to do list is long and my energy short. Unable to once again get into God’s word, I feel behind and unable to catch up. Illness had struck me and my mind continues to catch up with the time that has passed. As the days go by this page remains silent and I know that I must get back into God’s word.

Warren Wiersbe continues to state that, “Recorded in this psalm are four progressive stages in David’s overcoming his difficult experience.

“1. He Was Silent—a Burning Heart (vv. 1–3). Seeing the prosperity of the wicked and hearing their blasphemous words so angered David that he wanted to retaliate and say something to defend God, but he deemed it best to keep quiet. But this restraint only made his heart burn with intense pain until finally he had to speak out.”

I too want to remain silent. Unable to get the fuzziness out of my mind and feel clear with God’s word. I read on as Warren explains what David does next.

“2. He Was Despondent—a Burdened Heart (vv. 4–6). When we find ourselves burying our true feelings and creating physical and emotional pain for ourselves, then it’s time to talk to the Lord and seek His help. David knew that life was short and that the days would pass swiftly; he also knew that he was frail and that one day he would die.”

I sat in the quiet and I began to pray to God using his word:

Heavenly Father,
There are times when we want to be silent. We attempt to guard our ways and we remain silent. We attempt to remain quiet but peace does not find us and our distress worsens. But you do not seek that we are quiet. You seek that we search for you. You ask for us to call out to you so that our hope is in you. You will deliver us from our transgressions, you hear our prayer, and you give your ear when we cry. This requires us to remember to cry out to you Lord. In times of trouble Lord we sometimes seek silence over crying out to you. Help us Lord to remember to cry out instead of remaining silent. Forgive us our failures and our transgressions. Help us to be confident in who you are and not reliant on our own ways. Help us to seek you as our foundation and may we stand on nothing more. We pray this in your great name, Amen.

As I sit in the lobby, I feel the fuzziness of my mind begin to clear. I once again sense the presence of the Lord. I remember the feeling of closeness that I have missed in the days that I have been silent.

As Warren Wiersbe explains how David felt after he broke his silence and cried out to the Lord,

“3. He Was Confident—a Believing Heart (v. 7). This is the central verse in the psalm and the turning point in David’s experience. “If life is short and goes past so swiftly,” asks David, “what am I waiting for? If the world is nothing but a shadow image, let me give myself to the Lord, who is the foundation of all that is real and lasting.” Today we would say, “The reality is … found in Christ”

4. He Was Repentant—a Broken Heart (vv. 8–13). We begin with David the sinner and listen to his prayer for forgiveness (vv. 8–9). Like every truly convicted sinner, his mouth had been stopped (Rom. 3: 19), and he admitted his guilt before God (see 1 Sam. 3: 18; Lam. 1: 21).

David was silent in his troubles and so many times we can be too. The answer is to cry out to the Lord and find our confidence in him once more. We can ask for God’s forgiveness and find his great mercy once again.

I used to walk in the fuzziness of my mind and didn’t know how the clearing began. God’s word is essential to find the peace and clarity we need to get through each day. Physical sickness got me down and the lack of God’s word seeped in as well. Spiritual dehydration left me fighting for God’s truth. The answer is simple and yet once again I could not see it due to my troubles. As David shows, silence is never the answer and we must remember to cry out to God and seek him at all times! May the silence be broken and may he hear our cry!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf5dDYnACQo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6mgHpOddm30

Psalm 40
My relationship with God is such a gift. I can rejoice for the changes that it has made in my life. For the first time since my journey with God began, I knew what I was missing when I had not been in his word. I craved the quiet moments of God’s word and the ability to clear my mind. I had slept through too many days without checking in. I had thought that physical sleep and rest would strengthen me and yet my soul was also in need. Never have I felt so sick and worn down, yet never have I also felt so completed by God’s word. I had provided my body with rest but I was starving the parts that needed God. The moment I opened his word I felt his truth sink into the parts of my spiritually dehydrated soul. Like I needed to drink physical water when I was ill, I also had to remember to feed my soul. Like pain medication lifting away pain, his word began to lift away the pain of the emptiness from lack of his truth.
I begin with Psalm 40, the place where I had left off. David speaks of how he waited on the Lord and God drew him up from the pit of destruction. He placed a new song in his mouth. I think of my journey with God and I realize that so many days God has done just this. If I take the time to sit in his word, no matter the pit that I wake up in…God places me into a secure place where I can find praise. My circumstance don’t change…the pit remains, but he changes me. As David speaks of trusting in the Lord and who he is, I know that this is what I have been lacking. No longer thinking my own thoughts and going my own way, but trusting in God. David speaks of his heart and how his heart is changed by God’s words. He reminds us how God thinks of us and that we are never alone.
Less, than an hour ago…I felt lost. Trying to put away the to do list and pick up God’s word seemed to be daunting. I felt alone in a crowd of people and sucked up into the noise of the day. Panic started to set in and the loneliness was too much to bear. I needed the quite of God’s word. I needed his truth to change me. I needed the reminder that he truly is all that I need. The world has a way of trapping us into what seems like the facts of the day and yet it is only in God’s word that we will see the truth. As the unknown outcome of my husband’s diagnosis creeps in, I must be prepared to fight back with God’s truth.
As the First Five App points out that, “in Psalm 40:1-10, David praises God for delivering him, but then in verses 11-17 he cries out for God to deliver him again. David is hurting but still hoping. And he knows where his hope is found.” The First Five talks about this type of hope as they state, “Hoping doesn’t mean we ignore reality. No, hoping means we acknowledge reality in the very same breath that we acknowledge God’s sovereignty. Our hope can’t be tied to whether or not a circumstance or another person changes. Our hope must be tied to the unchanging promise of God. We hope for the good we know God will ultimately bring from our situation, whether the good turns out to match our desires or not.” I’ve found this hope. This hope is fed to me in God’s word. Every day I may wake up on bottom of the pit again, but God’s word is ready to create a strong foundation in which I can stand upon. I may praise God as I take a breath in for saving me and ask God to save me again as I exhale. King David did this very same thing and we cannot expect anything more of ourselves as well. Despite the hurting…God’s word will always give us hope. I can’t help but continue to settle into God’s word of hope.
Heavenly Father,
We can wait patiently on you. You hear our cries. You draw us up out of destruction and provide us with solid ground. Thank you for placing your new song in our mouth.  Thank you for trading our sorrows into praise. Thank you for being a God that we can trust and in you we find a solid hope beyond our circumstances. Thank you for the reminder of who you are in your word. Lord there is times that I forget to seek you and in these times there is despair. Please forgive me for not always seeking you. Forgive me for not always delighting in your will because my heart has gone astray. Help us to share the news of your deliverance. Help us to speak of your faithfulness and your salvation. Continue to deliver us Lord. Continue to help us when we call. Help us to seek you so we can rejoice and be glad in your presence. May you always be our help and our deliverer. In your great name, Amen!

Psalm 41

Warren Wiersbe commentary shares with his readers how we can use Psalm 41 to look at our spiritual condition. After being sick and out of God’s word for sometime this helps me to really look at how things are going. It is a reminder of the path God is asking us to take each day. Warren states, “When we find ourselves in difficulty, we may use this psalm to take an inventory of our spiritual condition by asking and answering four questions.
1. Integrity: How Do We Treat Others (vv. 1–4)? Before we can claim God’s promises, we must examine our own hearts to see if we have sincerely met the conditions the Lord has laid down. David no doubt based his prayer on the stipulations given in the covenant (Lev. 26:1–13; Deut. 7:13–16; 28:1–14). He knew that he had no right to claim mercy from the Lord if he himself had not shown mercy to others.

2. Treachery: How Do Others Treat Us (vv. 5–9)? It wasn’t enough that David was sick in bed, but he also had to deal with treachery among his own family and friends, including men like Ahithophel, his official counselor, who sided with Absalom. Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather (2 Sam. 11:3; 23:34) and hated David for what he did to her and to her husband Uriah. These false friends visited the king and lied to him (“We hope you’ll get well soon”), but they really wanted David to die and even plotted against him. But if Absalom became king, that would be the end of the Davidic dynasty, for Absalom had no son (2 Sam. 18:18). God promised David that his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel forever (2 Sam. 7:11–16), a promise ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31–33). David was gifted at reading people (2 Sam. 14:17–20) and knew the truth.

3. Mercy: How Does God Treat Us (vv. 10–12)? God in His mercy doesn’t give us what we do deserve, and God in His grace gives us what we don’t deserve, and He does this because of Jesus Christ His Son, who died for us on the cross. David prayed for mercy, because he knew he had sinned (v. 4). He also
affirmed his integrity (v. 12), for he had walked before the Lord in humility and submission (7:8; 18:19–25; 25:21; 78:72). When confronted with his sins, he confessed them and sought the face of the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13ff.).

4. Glory: How Do We Treat God (v. 13)? This verse was probably added later by an editor to mark the end of book I of the Psalms. Each of the first four books ends with a similar doxology (41:13; 72:18–20; 89:52; 106:48), and book V ends with a praise psalm (150). But the verse reminds us that the main thing in our lives must be the eternal praise and glory of the Lord. “Hallowed be thy name” is the first request in the Disciples’ Prayer (Matt. 6:9), and it governs all the other requests. God answers prayer, not to make His people more comfortable, but to bring glory to
His name.”
Wiersbe, Warren W.. Be Worshipful (Psalms 1-89): Glorifying God for Who He Is (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 150). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
Heavenly Father,
Your word speaks of the blessings that you will give to those that consider the poor. You will protect and keep those that look over the poor. You will sustain your people if they also look out for each other. You are gracious and you will raise your people up when we are willing to come to you and admit our iniquities. You will hold us up in our integrity. Thank you Lord for your blessings, your protection, for your grace and mercy. Sometimes we forget that doing your will means that we look out for others. Sometimes we forget that we must be prepared to follow your will and your word. I admit that I have sinned against your ways but I ask for your help to be humble. May your word continue to guide me to make the right choices and walk your path. Please be gracious to us as we come to you and admit our sins. Protect us from our enemies. Protect us from the enemy that is ready to steal and destroy. Help us to walk in the integrity of your ways and not our own. Help us to consider the poor and needy and be there for others as your word asks us to do. Help us to remain in your presence forever. In your great name, Amen.

Psalm 42

I sat down at supper with my husband. His appointments were all over with and we would be heading home soon. Even after spending time in God’s word, I couldn’t shake the sadness. I sat and wondered why I was so sad. I eventually just decided that I had to feel my sadness. As I read Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on Psalm 42 it reminds me of my moments of sadness. “There may be times when we are not at our best physically. I think of Elijah, who had that difficult experience on Mount Carmel when he battled the prophets of Baal and God sent fire from heaven. When it was over, he was tired. His nerves had been stretched to the breaking point, and he got discouraged and ran away. He needed food and sleep, so God sent an angel to feed him and give him rest.” This was how I felt. So many times our emotions can get the best of us and even if they don’t…there are times when sadness and depression become real issues we must deal with. Warren Wiersbe goes on to state other reasons for depression. “Sometimes our depression is satanic. The enemy is throwing darts at us. And instead of holding up the shield of faith, we fail to trust God. Those darts then start fires of depression and discouragement in our lives. Sometimes our depression comes from guilt because of unconfessed sin. Sometimes it’s just sorrow because of circumstances.”

Psalm 42 is the first of 11 Psalms that are authored by the Son’s of Korah. The son’s of Korah were singers and the descendants of Levi. Levi was the 3rd son of Jacob and his 1st wife Leah. Psalm 42 and 43 flow together and are thought to be one psalm initially but have now been separated. In this psalm the issue of sadness and depression is noted. Warren Wiersbe explains the stages the writer goes through before he comes to victory and peace. Psalm 42 covers the first 2 stages and we will discuss Psalm 43 tomorrow. Much like I had realized that I needed God as much as physical water when I was sick, the writer in Psalm 42 sees this as well. Warren explains the first stage that the writer was going through:

“1. Longing for God (42: 1–5). During a drought, the writer saw a female deer (hind) panting and struggling to reach water to quench her thirst (Joel 1: 20), and this reminded him that he thirsted for the Lord and wanted to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The living God was the God of his life (v. 8; see 84: 2), and he could not live without Him. Note that the essentials for physical life are mentioned here: air (panting, v. 1), water (v. 2), and food (v. 3), but without worship (v. 4), life to him was meaningless.”

I remember how it felt to be physically stronger but I was missing the Lord so very much. I knew I had to return to God. Warren explains the second stage that the writer goes through in this psalm.

“2. Remembering God (42: 6–11). The emotional and spiritual landscape changes from drought to a storm, with the writer feeling like he was drowning in sorrow and pain (vv. 6–7). In verse 8, the writer used Jehovah instead of Elohim, and this was a turning point in his difficult experience. Jehovah is the God of the covenant, the faithful God who cares for His people. He is the God who showers His people with loving-kindness, gives them promises they can claim when they pray, and hears them when they praise and worship. The writer didn’t have to go to Jerusalem to worship; he could worship God right where he was! The hand of God was with him in the daytime and the song of the Lord in the long hours of the night.”

Sadness seems to be something we all feel at some point. As Warren points out the many reasons that we feel sadness, God’s word give us the same answer despite the reasons why we feel the way we do. We are to turn to God and look towards him and who he is regardless of our circumstances and how we feel!

Heavenly Father,
There are so many times that we feel such a desire for you. During times of sadness and depression our soul aches and we sometimes feel as if you cannot be found. The answer for these times are given in your word. We are to look up and praise you as you are our constant and the one we can praise over and over. Despite our changing emotions and circumstances, you remain the same. When we are down all we have to do is remember you. Thank you for being the place we can return to when we are sad and down. Thank you for your steadfast love for us during the day and your songs and prayers at night. Sometimes we do get sad and depressed. Sin may separate us from you or our circumstances may leave us weak and empty. Please forgive us if it is our own actions that separate us. Help us to seek you and your ways. Help us to be humble when we need to seek your forgiveness. Help us to remember to find hope in you God no matter how we feel or the circumstances that come our way. Help us to turn our sorrow into praise as we remember that our salvation is in you. In your Great name, Amen!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TEVqGlRcjF4

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A7O7LQpQaoc

Journey through the Psalms 29-35

Psalm 29

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Praise

Emotions: Abandonment by God

A psalm of David.

Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and might;

2

Give to the LORD the glory due his name.

Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!

3

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over the mighty waters.

4

The voice of the LORD is power;

the voice of the LORD is splendor.

5

The voice of the LORD cracks the cedars;

the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon,

6

Makes Lebanon leap like a calf, and Sirion like a young bull.

7

The voice of the LORD strikes with fiery flame;

8

the voice of the LORD shakes the desert;

the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh.

9

The voice of the LORD makes the deer dance and strips the forests bare. All in his Temple say, “Glory!”

10

The LORD sits enthroned above the flood!The LORD reigns as king forever!

11

May the LORD give might to his people;

may the LORD bless his people with peace!

Notes:

-This psalm is used as part of Jewish ceremonies in the celebration of Pentecost

-Magnifies the sovereignty of God and the power of God in his creation

-Looks at God’s power through a storm over the Mediterranean

-Remembers God’s power in the flood

God’s Characteristics:

  • Glory
  • Strength
  • Splendor of Holiness
  • His voice is over the waters
  • His glory thunders
  • His voice is powerful
  • His voice is full of majesty
  • His voice breaks the cedars
  • His voice flashes forth the flames of fire
  • His voice shakes the wilderness
  • He sits enthroned over the flood
  • He sits enthroned as the King forever
  • He gives strength to his people
  • He blesses his people with peace

Journal:

Yesterday I started to come to the realization that I was finding ways to seek God in the middle of the storm. I was seeing the need to praise God even when the days were tough. I was beginning to seek him and wanting to do even more. Today in Psalm 29 we see that in the midst of the storm the heavenly angels proclaim glory!

As the First Five App states, “As Psalm 29 glorifies the God who rules over creation, we are reminded that when things look bad in the moment, we can trust the view from above is entirely different. Even the angels have a front-row seat in the heavenlies, and they cry, “Glory!”

We find the power of God in his word. David shows God’s power as he describes God’s voice through a storm that comes over the Mediterranean. David saw God’s power and so can we. As the First Five explains, “The Word of God is just as powerful today as it was when David described His voice in Psalm 29. When we submit to God’s Word — to His commands throughout Scripture — we invite God’s power to transform us from the inside out. Because His voice changes everything.”

Warren Wiersbe reminds us, “When we see clouds gathering and know that a storm is about to come into our life, do you think about the glory of God? David did. So often we don’t. We think of escape rather than the glory of God. God often speaks to you in the storm. The next time you find yourself in a storm, listen to his voice. Look for His glory and power and be reminded that He is in control.”

God’s voice is powerful and it is greater than the storms that come through our days. May we remember to follow his voice instead of focusing on the noise of the storm!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

As we affirm and acknowledge what you can do may we bring glory to your name. Your voice is over the waters and it is more powerful than the storms. Thank you for the reminder today that things here on earth look different from your view in Heaven. As our storms rage, the Angels praise your glory. Help us to do the same. I don’t always seek your voice in the middle of the storm. Many times I want to run from trouble. Help me to be like David and seek your glory in the middle of the storms of life. Help us to listen to your voice and to always remember that you are in control. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J4jWCrk8chc

 

Psalm 30

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thanksgiving

Emotions: Mourning turned into Joy

A psalm. A song for the dedication of the Temple. Of David.

2

I praise you, LORD, for you raised me up

and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.

3

O LORD, my God, I cried out to you for help and you healed me.

4

LORD, you brought my soul up from Sheol; you let me live, from going down to the pit.

5

Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to his holy memory.

6

For his anger lasts but a moment; his favor a lifetime. At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.

7

Complacent, I once said, “I shall never be shaken.”

8

LORD, you showed me favor, established for me mountains of virtue. But when you hid your face I was struck with terror.

9

To you, LORD, I cried out; with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:

10

“What gain is there from my lifeblood,

from my going down to the grave? Does dust give you thanks or declare your faithfulness?

11

Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper.”

12

You changed my mourning into dancing;

you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

13

So that my glory may praise you and not be silent. O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Notes:

-David exalted the Lord because God brought him up and did not let his enemies rejoice over him.

-David tells others to give thanks to the Lord because his anger is only for a moment but his favor is for a lifetime

-David learned that his own self-assurance is not enough when things go well.  He had to submit all things to the Lord.  He had to stop saying “I shall” or “I shall not” and say “You have…”

-God heals David from sickness

-Comes from 1 Chronicles 21:1-22 and 2 Samuel 24

God’s Character:

  • He draws his people up
  • He does not let our foes rejoice over us
  • He heals
  • He restores
  • His name is Holy
  • His anger is but for a moment
  • His favor is for a lifetime
  • He is our helper
  • He turns our mourning into dancing
  • He loosens our sackcloth and clothes us with gladness

Journal:

Over the past couple of years, I have been moved in ways that I did not understand. I did not want to live in the constant chaos of emotions that guided my actions. I wanted to find out a way to not be moved by my circumstances. I thought I was doing well until the day that it became clear that I was not. Fearing the start of the school year moved me more than I expected. Thinking that if I did certain things I would not be moved eventually left me lost when I was indeed shaken. In my fear, I started to look to distractions and things I could control. I then began to accept that maybe it is okay to just not be okay. This worked for awhile but then I was back into the chaos again, not knowing how to get out. Looking back I can see how I was moving away from the will of God, but it was not until I read Psalms 30 that I really looked at what had happened. We must remember to stay focused on God’s will, his word, and his way or we will indeed be moved, left unstable, and left wondering what has happened. God’s favor can leave us but it is most often in those times that we leave him first. David’s Psalms continues to show us how to remain and what to look for if we are being moved and better yet how to find the face of God when we loose our way.

Psalm 30 describes a time when David has disobeyed God and has seen how God does indeed hide his face from his people. It is assumed that this psalm is from the time of 1 Chronicles 21:1-22 and 2 Samual 24. As Warren Wiersbe explains, “This recounts the national plague David caused when he numbered the people and 70,000 people died. David also purchased a plot of ground from Ornan and dedicated it to be the site for the temple and he began to use the plot as his own personal place of worship.The message of the psalm is clear: “the Lord forgave David and gave him the blessing of a new beginning.”

In order for these blessings to be noted by David he went through a process of realizing that he was wrong in his thinking. David had to realize that it was not his works that was keeping him grounded but the works of the Lord. The First Five App describes how David realizes his pride that was getting in the way of God’s blessings as they explain, “Psalm 30 begins and ends with words of thanksgiving, but right in the middle of this psalm, David confesses a certain heart-attitude. He says: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.” (Psalm 30:6-7) This is a telling admission. Beneath an earlier facade of confidence, David says a heart of pride lurked beneath his prosperity. In other words, when things went well and David prospered, he knew it was because of God’s favor, and he assumed it would last forever. It never occurred to him the Lord might remove His favor.  But sometimes God allows our world to crumble so we won’t misplace our confidence either in ourselves or in any earthly system — like wealth or status or relationships — because none of these things can ultimately sustain us. God wants our total dependence on Him and nothing else. He wants us to know that without Him, nothing is possible.  This leaves us with the question: In whom do we place our confidence?  If we place our confidence in any thing or any person other than the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be like David and experience deep dismay. Psalm 30, then, is a gentle reminder for us to put our hope in God alone, because with Him all things are possible.”

It is pointed out by Warren Wiersbe that the words “You have” is repeated 5 times in Psalms 30. This is important as we see how David goes from focusing on his prosperity to what God has done. Once David sees that he can not stand on his own ways he then must focus on the Lord.

Warren Wiersbe speaks of prosperity as he explains that, “Prosperity means careless ease, a carefree self-assurance because things are going well. When we have prosperity without humility we have adversity. Why? Because we start to be more concerned with things than we are with God. David said in his prosperity, “I shall not be moved.” But then he found out that he could be moved. He found out his prosperity did not guarantee security. So instead of saying, “I shall” or “I shall not,” he began saying “You have.” He submitted his will to God’s will.”

David realized that his pride led him to a deep pit that only God could save him from. David went from focusing on his own ways to looking to what God does. David disobeyed God but as he humbled himself before God he was forgiven and many blessings were given to him by God. Many times our feet can become unplanted. Just when we feel that we have it figured out, God shows us that he can and will shake things up so we remember once again who is in control. When we feel that we are loosing our footing may it be our reminder to turn our face towards this truth and may it be our guide back to his will instead of our own.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes your words are hard to swallow, but the truth is so important. Just as you hid your face from David, we must know that you can do the same with us. But we must also remember that just like you forgave David, you also forgive us. Your son is our mediation and we must remember that it is never about the strength we have or the things we do, but the things that you have already done for us and what you continue to do. You draw us up when we are lowly. You save us from our enemies, and you are the ultimate healer. Your ways are higher than our ways. Though we may not always understand your ways, you heal in perfect and heavenly ways. We are to give thanks to your holy name. Even if weeping is noted for the night, you provide new joy every morning. Thank you for your word that shows us that there may be weeping but because of you…it does not last forever. There have been times that in my own pride and lack of humility that I have gone astray. In my own ways and under my own terms I tried to deal with my own weeping. Please forgive me Lord. Help me to seek your face with humility and to know that you are the one in control of all things. Help me to remember that your way will always be better than my own. Help me to stand strong in your ways and may I know to seek you when I start to be moved. Turn our mourning into dancing and our weeping into joy. Clothe us with gladness. May we continue to seek your ways and have prosperity that relies on you Lord and not on our own assurances. We pray all these things in your name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ijUPw54kAZM

 

Psalm 31

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Exile, Lament, Thanksgiving

Emotions: Fear turned into Security

1

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me;

3

incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me.

4

For you are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me.

5

Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.

6

Into your hands I commend my spirit;

you will redeem me, LORD, God of truth.

7

You hate those who serve worthless idols,

but I trust in the LORD.

8

I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy,

once you have seen my misery, [and] gotten to know the distress of my soul.

9

You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space.

10

Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; affliction is wearing down my eyes, my throat and my insides.

11

My life is worn out by sorrow, and my years by sighing. My strength fails in my affliction; my bones are wearing down.

12

To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, and especially to my neighbors a horror to my friends. When they see me in public, they quickly shy away.

13

I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead;

I am like a worn-out tool.

14

I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire together against me; they plot to take my life.

15

But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

16

My destiny is in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.

17

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your mercy.

18

Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.

19

Strike dumb their lying lips, which speak arrogantly against the righteous in contempt and scorn.

20

How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of the children of Adam.

21

You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You conceal them in your tent, away from the strife of tongues.

22

Blessed be the LORD, marvelously he showed to me his mercy in a fortified city.

23

Though I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your eyes.” Yet you heard my voice, my cry for mercy, when I pleaded with you for help.

24

Love the LORD, all you who are faithful to him. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.

25

Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the LORD.

Notes:

-Because God had been faithful, David knows he can trust God.

-Quoted by Jesus when he was on the cross (31:6 is seen in Luke 23:46)

-Speaks of the besieged city, most likely Keilah in 1 Sam 23:5-14 and Saul’s attempt to capture David.

-According to Warren Wiersbe in his commentary of this psalm:

  • David shows that when others do evil, we are to trust God for his strength (vv.1-8)
  • David shows that when others cause you pain, you ask God for mercy (vv.9-18)
  • David shows that when others see victory, you give God Glory (vv. 19-18*
  • David makes sure his life was right before God.
  • David puts his trust in the Lord.
  • Remember that others are going through trial too.

-First Five App states, “Pride is the enemy of rest for our souls.  And while humility is so opposite from almost everything we see in the world around us, Jesus is not asking us to do something He did not model for us.  Our flesh will not produce this humility.  We must daily take up our cross and follow Jesus and boldly approach God’s throne to receive mercy and find grace to help us.”

God’s Character:

  • Refuge
  • Righteous
  • Deliverer
  • Rock
  • Strong fortress
  • Leader
  • Guider
  • Redeemer
  • Faithful
  • Steadfast Love
  • Sees our afflictions
  • Knows the distress of our souls
  • Does not deliver us into the hand of the enemy
  • Sets our feet in a broad place
  • Gracious
  • Trustful
  • Our times are in his hands
  • His goodness is abundant
  • Wonderous
  • Preserves the faithful
  • Abundantly repays the one who acts in pride

Journal:

I don’t do illness well. Unlike my husband who can live with cancer for 8 years and many not even know it, I cringe at sickness. I sit this morning with what seems like a daunting task of 7 more glasses of the worst tasting liquid I have had. My body is cold and empty. I want to be strong but this is the time I must call on the Lord. Last night as glass number 4 of 17 caught me in the throat…I looked up to God and cried for help. A simple procedure has brought me to my knees. As I am tired and worn down, I know I must make it to the bottom of glass 17. I have many diversions to choose from…reading material, my laptop, and endless distractions that good old Apple has brought to my eye! Yet, I know it is God that will get me through this morning. I go to the First Five App and smile as I read,” Don’t struggle to get out; instead, lean into it.” I can’t help but read on as they explain, “Remember those instructions if you ever find yourself in quicksand. Though most of us have never experienced getting stuck in quicksand, I’ve always been fascinated by the method of getting out of it.  Experts say if you’re waist-deep in quicksand, you should actually lean back into it, putting more of your upper body into the quicksand. And while it may seem scary, you’ll actually float instead of sink. But if you try to stand, that’s a sure scenario for sinking in the sand.  When we meet David in Psalm 31, he seems to be in the quicksand of life. He was no stranger to struggle. From his time as a shepherd boy to the time of his death, David faced circumstances that threatened to swallow him. Psalm 31 details David’s response to one of these sandpits of life. When we can’t see how God’s will is being worked out in our lives, we can still trust that His plan is good. When our circumstances take us places we wouldn’t have chosen, we, too, can choose to hope in God’s goodness and love.  Yes, in the midst of our own desperate circumstances, releasing our lives completely to God can feel scary. But, just like quicksand, when we lean back into our faithful God, He will keep us afloat. It’s when we try to stand on our own that we risk sinking.”

With the thought of David in a cave fighting for his life or even worse…Jesus on the cross, a couple of glasses of liquid seem so trivial. God’s word has a way of putting so much into perspective. Yet, daily I forget and must submerge myself in this truth. Not sinking into quicksand, but still not wanting to embrace the next few hours…I go to the Lord in prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We can take refuge in you. You are our rock of refuge and our strong fortress. You lead us and guide us. As David stated in the cave of Keilah and Jesus stated on the cross, “Into your hand I commit my spirit”, we too are to submit our lives to you. Thank you for being the one thing we can trust. So many times I can let pride get in the way of where my humility should be. I forget that I must come to you as frequently as needed to combat my fleshy desires. I want to do things my way and yet your perfect way waits for me every time. Forgive me for not choosing you first. Be gracious to us when we are in distress. When our eyes are wasted from grief and our soul and body is spent with sorrow, be gracious to us. Help us to find your strength when ours has failed because of our iniquity. May your face shine upon us and may we be saved in your steadfast love. May we be strong and may our hearts take courage as we wait for you Lord. In your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hTIPRjK7Wpo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ILehPZNjJfM

 

Psalm 32

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Penitential/Thanksgiving

Emotions: When we need forgiveness

Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.

2

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.

3

Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long.

4

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat.

Selah

5

Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.

Selah

6

Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach him.

7

You are my shelter; you guard me from distress; with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.

Selah

8

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel with my eye upon you.

9

Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

10

Many are the sorrows of the wicked one,

but mercy surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

11

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; exult, all you upright of heart.

Notes:

-Discusses the 4 basic facts about sin and forgiveness according to Warren Wiersbe:

  • The Blessing of Forgiveness (vv. 1-2)
  • The folly of Impenitence (The result of sin) (vv. 3-4)
  • The way of Deliverance (vv. 5-7)
  • The Joy of obedience (vv. 8-11)

-Paul quotes Psalm 32 in Romans 4:6-8

-Psalm 32 comes from 2 Samuel 11-12 (After David sinned with Bathsheba)

-It is a song of Wisdom

-The Lord had sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him and his sins and bring God’s word of forgiveness (2 Samuel 12)

God’s Character:

  • Forgives the iniquity of our sins
  • He is a hiding place
  • He preserves us
  • He surrounds us with shouts of deliverance
  • Steadfast love

Journal:

(The biggest part of me wants to be silent, but I know I must share. These words were not easy to write but I know that humility is the step I must take to reach the joy of forgiveness. I believe we all fight silent battles and today I will share one of mine.)

Humility is a tough subject to speak about. Harder than admitting my weakness when I am sick, admitting my faults to others is harder. As I read through Psalm 32, I feel the pangs of guilt that have held part of me in bondage for sometime. I’ve always wanted to do things the right way. I raised my kids in church. We prayed together daily. I tried to do the best that I knew how. Some how something changed in these past few years. As my oldest became physically anxious in church and unable to go, our family activity of church attendance broke. As I got more into the Bible, my home church teachings did not seem to match what I was learning. As weeks went by…the habit of church attendance was no longer a habit. My family and I no longer attend church. I know I need the fellowship of other believers and yet I choose to no longer make it a priority. I want to sugar-coat it with reasons that are truly just excuses, but I know I must humble myself and admit the truth. I no longer place value in church attendance as God asks me to do. Just as my body was physically weak yesterday, my soul is weaker yet. I want to ask God for forgiveness but next Sunday will most likely be the same. I have to make a choice. Warren Wiersbe discusses how there are three levels on which God can deal with you. “You must decide whether you want Him to treat you as a thing, an animal, or one of His own children.” Warren explains how David went through these levels in Psalm 32. “David was rebelling. So God had to treat David like a thing. God also had to treat David like an animal. David had acted like a horse-impulsively, he rushed ahead and sinned. And then He became stubborn like a mule and would not confess his sin. But God wants to deal with us as children.” We must decide if we are going to walk in rebellion, be stubborn, or allow God to guide us as his children.

Psalm 32 has helped me to see the power behind forgiveness. I want to be forgiven but that also means changing my ways. The first place to start was God’s word and the next place to go is to prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You bless those that come to you humbly confessing their sins. You will instruct and teach your people on the way to go. You are righteous Lord. You are rightly to be praised. Thank you for being a forgiving God. Thank you for being our hiding place in times of trouble. Thank you for surrounding your people with shouts of deliverance. Your word today finds me in much shame and with much need to be humble. I come before this group of women wanting to share how you have helped me to endure and yet, I do not make going to church a priority. I know I need a church family and I know that you are calling me to greater fellowship, but my flesh is weak and my heart is unsure. My plans of family unity and church attendance is no longer a reality and yet I know that your plans ask for my presence no matter what. Forgive me Lord and may the joy of forgiveness help me to find my way back to you. Help me to no longer be silent. Help me to acknowledge my sin to you. Help me to confess my transgressions and I ask for forgiveness of my iniquities. Help us to offer prayer to you in time when you are found. Help us not to be like stubborn animals but may we come to you as children. Help us to seek your forgiveness Lord. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x51LSNzOrlk

 

Psalm 33

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Praise and Thankfulness

Emotions: Joy

Rejoice, you righteous, in the LORD;

praise from the upright is fitting.

2

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;

on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.

3

Sing to him a new song; skillfully play with joyful chant.

4

For the LORD’s word is upright; all his works are trustworthy.

5

He loves justice and right. The earth is full of the mercy of the LORD.

6

By the LORD’s word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.

7

He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound; he sets the deep into storage vaults.

8

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.

9

For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded, and it stood in place.

10

The LORD foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.

11

But the plan of the LORD stands forever,

the designs of his heart through all generations.

12

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his inheritance.

13

From heaven the LORD looks down and observes the children of Adam,

14

From his dwelling place he surveys

all who dwell on earth.

15

The One who fashioned together their hearts is the One who knows all their works.

16

A king is not saved by a great army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength.

17

Useless is the horse for safety; despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.

18

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him, upon those who count on his mercy,

19

To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through famine.

20

Our soul waits for the LORD, he is our help and shield.

21

For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust.

22

May your mercy, LORD, be upon us; as we put our hope in you.

Notes:

-From the Bible Study: “Psalms-Managing Our Emotions by Christian Bible Studies”

  • “We think joy is dependent upon our circumstance, but the Psalms help us to realize that we can find joy in every circumstance.Joy stems from the knowledge of God’s work in our past, his plan for our present, and his power over our future.”
  • Psalm 33 is a song of joy and a call to worship to assemble in celebration
  • In the Hebrew, all pronouns in this psalm are plural, meaning that this joy is something that happens with others
  • We express joy even if we are not joyful by finding our joy in God.
  • God’s voice in this psalm is his actions and events.
  • The secret of joy is to take our focus off of our circumstances and ourselves and put it firmly upon God and his goodness
  • God is able to thwart the plans of the nations
  • God’s plans stand firm forever! He is good and he never has evil plans
  • God sees our hearts and our actions. He is concerned with our concerns.

God’s Character:

  • The word of the Lord is upright
  • All his work is done in faithfulness
  • He loves righteousness and justice
  • The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord
  • By the word of the Lord the heavens were made
  • By the breath of his mouth all their host were made
  • He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap
  • He puts the deeps in the storehouses
  • He spoke and it came to be
  • He commanded and it stood firm
  • The lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing
  • He frustrates the plans of the peoples
  • The counsel of the Lord stands forever
  • The Lord looks down from heaven and sees all the children of man
  • From where he is enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth
  • He fashions our hearts
  • He observes our deeds
  • His love is steadfast
  • He is our help
  • He is our shield
  • Our heart is glad in him
  • We can trust his Holy name

Journal:

I lay in bed yet one more day. Yet, because of God’s word…I find joy. His truth continues to help me to seek what is higher and what is greater. My circumstances may change but His joy is everlasting!

The book of Psalms covers a variety of emotions. One of the common emotions is Joy. As I did the Bible Study: “Psalms-Managing Our Emotions” by Christian Bible Studies, I want to resonate with their words, “We think joy is dependent upon our circumstances, but the Psalms helps us to realize that we can find joy in every circumstance. Joy stems from the knowledge of God’s work in our past, his plans for our present, and his power over our future.”

Psalm 33 shows how this is done. In verses 1-9, David looks at the past.

  • The word of the Lord is upright.
  • His works are done in faithfulness.
  • He loves justice and righteousness.
  • The earth is full of his steadfast love.
  • The heavens were made by his word.
  • He gathered the waters.
  • He spoke and it came to be.
  • He commanded and it stood firm.

David then explains God’s plans for the present in verses 10-15.

  • The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing.
  • He frustrates the plans of the people’s.
  • His counsel stands forever.
  • He blesses the nation he has chosen as his heritage.
  • He looks down and sees the children of man.
  • He looks on all the inhabitants of the Earth.

David ends the Psalm by looking at God’s power over our future in verse 16-22.

  • The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him.
  • He delivers our soul from death.
  • He will keep us alive in famine.
  • He will be our help and our shield.
  • We can trust in his holy name.
  • His steadfast love will be always upon us.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We can find joy in all things as we can always find joy in you. Through our past, our present, and our future you are there and you are faithful. Your word is upright and we can stand on its truth to bring us everlasting joy. Thank you for all that you have done in the past, all you are doing in the present, and all you will do in the days to come. Forgive us when we seek to find temporary joy in our circumstances instead of everlasting joy in who you are. Help us to remember what you have done and continue to do. Help us to seek joy in who you are. May your truth always be in our heart and may we profess your joy from our mouths. May we find joy in the knowledge of your work in our past, your plans for our present, and your power over our future in all that we do. In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hbuqv1z3SZA

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0JQWhRiYtfg

 

 

Psalm 34

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Acrostic/Thanksgiving

Emotions: Praise

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him out and he went away.

2

I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall be always in my mouth.

3

My soul will glory in the LORD; let the poor hear and be glad.

4

Magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt his name together.

5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me,

delivered me from all my fears.

6

Look to him and be radiant, and your faces may not blush for shame.

7

This poor one cried out and the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.

8

The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and he saves them.

9

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.

10

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him.

11

The rich grow poor and go hungry,

but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

12

Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you fear of the LORD.

13

Who is the man who delights in life, who loves to see the good days?

14

Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies.

15

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

16

The eyes of the LORD are directed toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

17

The LORD’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth.

18

The righteous cry out, the LORD hears

and he rescues them from all their afflictions.

19

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,

saves those whose spirit is crushed.

20

Many are the troubles of the righteous,

but the LORD delivers him from them all.

21

He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.

22

Evil will slay the wicked; those who hate the righteous are condemned.

23

The LORD is the redeemer of the souls of his servants; and none are condemned who take refuge in him.

Notes:

-The title connects the psalm with David’s dangerous experience with the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1)

-According to Warren Wiersbe it explains how to live a life pleasing to God:

  • Control your tongue
  • Depart from evil and do good
  • Seek peace and pursue it
  • Trust the Lord because he is watching you

-According to Warran Wiersbe it explains why bad things happen:

  • It is part of human life
  • Satan is against us
  • It is one of God’s tools to help us grow

-According to Warren Wiersbe this psalm shows that we are to entrust 5 burdens to the Lord:

  • Trust the Lord with your frustrations (v.17)
  • Trust the Lord with your feelings (v.18)
  • Trust the Lord with your future (v.20)
  • Trust the Lord with your foes (v.21)
  • Trust the Lord with your failures (v. 22)

-According to Warren Wiersbe we can use this psalm to remember what to do if things are not going well:

  • Remember that god is near-The more we like God the nearer we will be to him.
  • Remember God knows the meaning of a broken heart
  • God give grace to the humble (James 4:6)

-According to Warren Wiersbe this psalm shows that:

  • “Praise sanctifies us, Magnifies the Lord, and unity is created”.
  • “The Lord does the following when we praise him: He answers us, Delivers us, Hears us, Saves us, and Makes us lack nothing.”

God’s Character:

  • He answers us
  • He delivers us from all our fears
  • He hears us
  • He saves us from trouble
  • The Lord is good
  • Those who fear him have no lack
  • Those who seek him lack no good things
  • The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
  • His ears are toward our cry
  • The face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
  • He saves the crushed in spirit
  • The lord redeems the life of his servant

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe helps us to break down Psalm 34. He speaks about how David is teaching us how to live each day in a way that will be pleasing to God. (The following are notes based on Warren Wiersbe’s devotions and commentaries on Psalm 34.)

  • We are to Bless the Lord. We bless the Lord because as David states in Psalm 34:1-3, praise will sanctify us at all times, it magnifies the Lord, and unity is created.
  • We are to seek the Lord. In seeking the Lord we learn what he does when we praise him. As David states in Psalm 34:4-8, the Lord answers us, delivers us, hears us, saves us, and makes us lack nothing.
  • We are to fear the Lord. David helps us to know how to have a good day in Psalm 34:11-16. He points out that we are to control our tongue, depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it, and trust the Lord because he is watching you.
  • We are to trust the Lord even if things do not go our way. Warren Wiersbe points out that even if things are not good we are to remember that God is always near, we are to remember that God knows the meaning of a broken heart, and that God gives grace to the humble. Warren also points out that bad things will happen because it is a part of human life, Satan is against us, and affliction is a tool God uses to help us grow.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are rightly to be praised. You sanctify, you answer our call, you deliver us, you hear us, you save us, and because of you we lack nothing. Thank you for all that you provide when we are willing to praise you. It is hard at times to fear you as we should. Our flesh gets in the way when we should be controlling our tongue, departing from evil, seeking peace, and trusting you. Forgive us for the times we do not seek you and fear you as we should. Help us to trust you Lord even when things do not go as we would like. Help us to understand that you don’t prevent afflictions but that you deliver us from them. Help us to trust you with our frustrations, our feelings, our future, our foes, and our failures as your word guides us to do. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yOzf0VrDNGU

 

 

Psalm 35

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Implecatory

Emotions: Revenge

Of David.

Oppose, O LORD, those who oppose me;

war upon those who make war upon me.

2

Take up the shield and buckler; rise up in my defense.

3

Brandish lance and battle-ax against my pursuers. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

4

Let those who seek my life be put to shame and disgrace. Let those who plot evil against me be turned back and confounded.

5

Make them like chaff before the wind,

with the angel of the LORD driving them on.

6

Make their way slippery and dark, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.

7

Without cause they set their snare for me;

without cause they dug a pit for me.

8

Let ruin overtake them unawares; let the snare they have set catch them; let them fall into the pit they have dug.

9

Then I will rejoice in the LORD, exult in God’s salvation.

10

My very bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, Who rescue the afflicted from the powerful, the afflicted and needy from the despoiler?”

11

Malicious witnesses rise up, accuse me of things I do not know.

12

They repay me evil for good; my soul is desolate.

13

Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth,

afflicted myself with fasting, sobbed my prayers upon my bosom.

14

I went about in grief as for my brother,

bent in mourning as for my mother.

15

Yet when I stumbled they gathered with glee, gathered against me and I did not know it. They slandered me without ceasing;

16

without respect they mocked me, gnashed their teeth against me.

17

O Lord, how long will you look on? Restore my soul from their destruction, my very life from lions!

18

Then I will thank you in the great assembly; I will praise you before the mighty throng.

19

Do not let lying foes rejoice over me, my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.

20

They speak no words of peace, but against the quiet in the land they fashion deceitful speech.

21

They open wide their mouths against me.

They say, “Aha! Good! Our eyes have seen it!”

22

You see this, LORD; do not be silent; Lord, do not withdraw from me.

23

Awake, be vigilant in my defense, in my cause, my God and my Lord.

24

Defend me because you are just, LORD;

my God, do not let them rejoice over me.

25

Do not let them say in their hearts, “Aha! Our soul!” Do not let them say, “We have devoured that one!”

26

Put to shame and confound all who relish my misfortune. Clothe with shame and disgrace those who lord it over me.

27

But let those who favor my just cause

shout for joy and be glad. May they ever say, “Exalted be the LORD who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”

28

Then my tongue shall recount your justice, declare your praise, all the day long.

Notes:

-This psalm is from 1 Samuel 19-26

-According to Warren Wiersbe:

  • David prays 1stthat when he encounters trouble
  • David then admits his helplessness

-According to Warren Wiersbe David makes 3 requests to God:

  • Protect me (1-10)
  • Reward me (11-18)
  • Vindicate me (19-28)

God’s Character:

  • He delivers the poor
  • Vindicator
  • Great
  • Delights in the welfare of his servant
  • Righteous

Journal:

Psalm 35 is another imprecatory psalm. This is a psalm where the writer is seeking revenge.Warren Wiersbe points out the actions of David. He explains how David first went to God in prayer when he was encountering trouble. Psalm 35:1-6 is David’s call out to God. He makes the request to God to protect him. David then admits his helplessness in verse 35:10, “All my bones shall say, ‘O Lord, who is like you,delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”. The psalms never fail to show us the way. What if we went to God in prayer at all times? What if we were able to admit our helplessness before we tried to fix things ourselves? David shows us a great example that we can learn from. David is upset but instead of seeking revenge on his own, he gives it up to God.

Warren Wiersbe explains how there are different levels of reactions to others when we are hurt. The human level will repay good for good and evil for evil. This is better than the demonic level which returns evil for good. Warren points out that what David does is not the human level or the demonic level as he chooses the divine level. The divine level returns good for evil.

When we are in trouble our human instinct is to take things into our own hands. Our instinct when someone hurts us is to hurt them back. We have other choices though and God’s word shows us what these choices are. Let’s seek God first in prayer, admit our helplessness to him, and seek to return good for evil!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are the one we should seek first when trouble comes. You are the one that can help us when we are helpless. You deliver the poor and the weak. Thank you for being a righteous God. Thank you for hearing our troubles and helping us when we are weak. So many times it is hard to come to you first. So many times it is easy to want to seek revenge over your perfect justice. So many times it is hard to admit we are weak. You are the perfect vindicator and yet it takes humility to ask for your vindication. Teach us Lord how to come to you and ask for you to search our heart and soul. Help us to reach out to you first and to admit humbly when we need your help. Help us to not seek revenge on others but to return good for evil. Help us to have a heart like David even when we have been wronged. In your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=khrTQZiXce4

 

Journey Through The Psalms 22-28

Psalm 22

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Thanks

Emotions: Abandonment

For the leader; according to “The deer of the dawn.” A psalm of David.

2

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

3

My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

4

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;

you are the glory of Israel.

5

In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

6

To you they cried out and they escaped;

in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

7

But I am a worm, not a man, scorned by men, despised by the people.

8

All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

9

“He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him; if he loves him, let him rescue him.”

10

For you drew me forth from the womb,

made me safe at my mother’s breasts.

11

Upon you I was thrust from the womb;

since my mother bore me you are my God.

12

Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.

13

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

14

They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

15

Like water my life drains away; all my bones are disjointed. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

16

As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

17

Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and my feet

18

I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;

19

they divide my garments among them;

for my clothing they cast lots.

20

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

21

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the grip of the dog.

22

Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

23

Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the assembly I will praise you:

24

“You who fear the LORD, give praise!

All descendants of Jacob, give honor;

show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

25

For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

26

I will offer praise in the great assembly;

my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

27

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!”

28

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before him.

29

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

30

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

31

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

32

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.

Notes:

From Commentary by Warren Wiersbe

-The Good Shepard dies for his sheep (John 10:1-8).

-There were 3 burdens that moved David to pray for God’s help and they apply to Jesus as well.

  1. He was abandoned by the Lord (22:1-5).
  2. He was despised by the people (22:6-11).
  3. He was condemned by the Law (22:12-21).

-David realizes that God has never abandoned him.

-God knows what it feels like to be abandoned, because he himself was abandoned.

Abandonment: From the Bible Study “When you Feel Alone-Managing your Emotions”

  • The New Testament alludes to this Psalm 24 times.
  • The 1stverse of Psalm 22 is quoted by Jesus on the cross.
  • Have you ever felt abandoned by a person or God? Why?
  • Did Jesus ever feel abandoned by God? If so When and why? When he took on sin.
  • David remembers how God was faithful.
  • We need to be honest about our feelings so God can meet us where we are. If we don’t admit it and we try to tough it out, we won’t see our need to let him help us.
  • We should not isolate ourselves when we feel abandoned.
  • We should seek strength from others.
  • We can find hope in God’s kingdom to come.

God’s Character:

  • Holy
  • Enthroned on the praises of Israel.
  • Can be trusted
  • Rescues
  • Does not put his people to shame.
  • Delivers
  • Does not hide his face.
  • Hears his people.

Journal:

As we looked at Psalm 21 yesterday in parallelism to Jesus, in Psalm 22…we hear David prophesy about Jesus.  Crucifixion was not something of David’s time.  It was a Roman way of punishment developed many years if not centuries after David’s time.  What is fascinating is that even David knew Jesus!  Psalm 22 foretells of the crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of David.  We also begin to see the image of the Shepherd.  In Psalm 22, the Shepherd dies for his sheep.  

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Your word today is rich with the story of your son.  As we read the psalms we learn much about you as our Father, but today we are reminded again about your son.  As we think about our spiritual battles, about being overwhelmed or distracted…we are guided back to the reality of what was done for us.  Your son was forsaken so that we would never have to feel truly forsaken.  Your son took on being despised  and condemned so we could be set free.  The plans for your son were planted into the eyes of those that never saw him so we could grow his truth in our hearts.  Your word shouts of praises as we stand in awe of your son.  Thank you for always remembering the afflicted, for not hiding your face or the face of your son from your people, and for reminding us all of your son.  So many times the enemy tries to help us forget about what has been done for us.  The enemy attempts to overwhelm and distract us, but your word is the ultimate reminder.  Forgive us for failing to remember and for allowing ourselves to become distracted and overwhelmed. As David praised the one to come even though he never saw him…we can praise the one we also have not seen!  Help us to always remember your son and what he did for us.  Help us to not forget what all happened the day that your son died for our sins.  Help us to look to your word always.  May we not forget, may we not get distracted, and may your word help us to not be overwhelmed.  In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UaJ-moIjATU

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B-LYkin_wVI

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AmaWHWTR-mI

 

Psalm 23

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Trust

Emotions: Comfort

A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

2

In green pastures he makes me lie down;

to still waters he leads me;

3

He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.

4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.

5

You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.

Notes:

-The Great Shepherd lives for the sheep and cares for them (Hebrews 13:20-21).

God’s Character:

  • He is our Shepherd
  • He leads
  • He restores
  • He is with us
  • He comforts us
  • He prepares a table before us
  • He makes our cup overflow

Journal:

In Psalm 22 we saw how the Shepherd died for his sheep.  In Psalm 23 we continue to learn about the Great Shepherd.  We learn today how the Great Shepherd lives and cares for his sheep.  We learn that we are the sheep and much like how a shepherd physically cares for sheep…God cares for us as well.

Charles Swindoll in his book Living for the Psalms does a great job to explain how we are like sheep and how our Shepherd cares for us. He explains that sheep:

  • Have no direction.  He explains how many times sheep will wonder off and the Shepherd would have to break one of their legs so they were completely dependent on the Shepherd.  We are like sheep in the fact that without God we have no direction as well.  We need him to lead us in our paths.
  • They are Defenseless: A sheep must have a Shepherd or they will die.  We too are defenseless on our own against the world and it’s enemies.
  • They are Easily Frightened:  Sheep will get frightened and so worked up that the Shepherd has to physically make them lie down so they will calm down.  We too need the help of our God to “make us lie down in green pastures.”
  • They are Unclean: A sheep will not clean themselves like other animals.  A sheep will stay unclean until physically washed. We are not clean without our Shepherds work as well.
  • They are Afraid of Rapidly Running Water: Sheep would rather die then drink from water that runs too fast.  They must rely on the Shepherd to “lead them beside still waters.”  We too are dependent on our Shepherd to calm our rapid waters of life.  When fear gets in the way, our Shepherd will lead us.
  • They are dependent on the Shepherd for protection:  Sheep in the ancient times would frequently get bitten by Adder Vipers.  They would get bitten in the face.  Their face would swell up and they would often die. The Shepherd would have to physically place oil around the snake holes to prevent them from being able to come out of the holes.  The Shepherd would also place oil on their heads to further distract the snake from biting them.  This so reminds me of the anointing we receive to keep away the snake that is always lurking about ready to strike us!

Psalm 23 has such symbolism to sheep and their Shepherd.  It amazes me to see the similarities that are seen between sheep and Christians in their faith walk.  It is so true that as explained by Charles Swindoll:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; in him I shall not want…

I do not lack rest as…”he makes me lie down in green pastures.”

I do not lack peace as…”he leads me besides still waters.”

I do not lack encouragement as…”he restores my soul.”

I do not lack guidance and fellowship as…”he leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.”

I do not lack courage and companionship because…”even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”

I do not lack comfort as…”his rod and your staff, comfort me.”

I do not lack protection and honor as…”he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

I do not lack power as…”he anoints my head with oil.”

I do not lack abundance as…”my cup overflows.”

I do not lack God’s presence as…”surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

I do not lack security as…”I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Prayer:

Psalm 23 is a wonderful prayer all in its own.  Here is one example as found on

https://mercyisnew.com/2014/10/10/praying-psalm-23-family/

“Father, You are my shepherd, I shall not want. You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside quiet waters. You restore my soul; You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name sake! Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in Your house forever.”

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OoojA0cLPWY

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s-QxbywIP0g

 

Psalm 24

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Antiphonal/Hymn

Emotions: Seeking God

A psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds,

the world and those who dwell in it.

2

For he founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

3

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

4

“The clean of hand and pure of heart,

who has not given his soul to useless things, what is vain.

5

He will receive blessings from the LORD,

and justice from his saving God.

6

Such is the generation that seeks him,

that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.”

7

Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

8

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in war.

9

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

10

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the king of glory.

Notes:

-The Chief Shepherd returns in glory to reward His sheep for their service.  (1 Peter 5:4)

-The one that can ascend the hill of the Lord:

  • Has clean hands
  • Pure heart
  • Does not lift up his soul to what is false
  • Does not swear deceitfully

God’s Character:

  • Founded the earth upon the seas
  • Established the earth upon the rivers
  • He is strong and mighty
  • He is mighty in battle

Journal:

What kind of conversations do we have anymore?  Today’s psalm makes me ponder our conversations.  Psalm 24 is called an antiphonal psalm.  One person or group of people ask a question or sing a phrase, while another answers or responds.  A question that is repeated is, “Who is the King of Glory?”  Though the people are able to proclaim an answer, my question is…Do we even ponder who our King is anymore in conversation?  What is safe to talk about anymore?  Could we have this type of conversation as depicted in Psalm 24 with those that we spend our days with?  As I learn more and more about God, I am excited to share about him…but I get very little in response.  Worse then no response is the response of others that believe the opposite of what God is asking of us.  So how does one not get discouraged with our conversations today?  We do just as Psalm 24 says, “Lift up your heads and be lifted up!”  Let’s not be weary of today’s conversations…let’s be a generation that continues to seek the Lord and may we be expectant on his many blessings!

The First Five App reminds me of the reality of the world we live in but also the answer to what we can do about it:

“We live in a broken and fallen world, so we will always fall short in at least one of those things and become disqualified from standing in God’s presence. But because of God’s love and sovereignty, through Jesus Christ, we are offered grace to be able to stand in the presence of God as holy and acceptable. (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:24)  This prophetic psalm gives us a picture of a king … King Jesus … entering Jerusalem. And because He entered the Holy City knowing He would be sacrificed for our sins, die and be resurrected, we can enter the presence of God and live with Him forever.  We end Psalm 24 reminded of God’s goodness and power: “Who is this King of glory?

The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8) Jesus took His rightful place at the right hand of His Father, winning the battle of sin.  Because of God’s glory, we are not only to serve and love Him but also live lives as beacons of light for those who do not know the gospel — a visible manifestation of the presence of God and His glory, in and through us because of Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, the world and all that it is belongs to you.  You have founded it upon the seas and you established it upon the rivers.  We are not righteous enough in our own selves to ascend your Holy Hill.  We are not righteous enough on our own to stand in your Holy place.  You however sent your son to intercede for us and make us Holy and righteous in your eyes.  In this we all shall praise.  You tell us in your word to lift up our heads.  We are to look up to you and spread your word to all so that your plan is heard to the ends of the earth.  I admit I get discouraged.  I put my head down instead of speaking up.  I cower in conversations where I could speak and where a gate could be opened…I remain afraid.  Help me to speak up.  Help me to lift my head.  Help me to remember what your son did so that we are righteous in your sight.  None of us can be enough on our own.  Remind me of my own failings and your mercy so that I can remember to extend grace on others.  Thank you for who you are and what you have done in bringing your son to earth for us all.  May I be able to speak of who the king of glory is.  May I proclaim the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.  In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FsOZ3UsUbNA

 

Psalm 25

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Acrostic/Lament

Emotions: Trust in God

Of David.

I

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,

2

My God, in you I trust; do not let me be disgraced; do not let my enemies gloat over me.

3

No one is disgraced who waits for you, but only those who are treacherous without cause.

4

Make known to me your ways, LORD; teach me your paths.

5

Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,

for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long.

6

Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD, for they are ages old.

7

Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me according to your mercy,

because of your goodness, LORD.

8

Good and upright is the LORD, therefore he shows sinners the way,

9

He guides the humble in righteousness,

and teaches the humble his way.

10

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth toward those who honor his covenant and decrees.

11

For the sake of your name, LORD, pardon my guilt, though it is great.

12

Who is the one who fears the LORD? God shows him the way he should choose.

13

He will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.

14

The counsel of the LORD belongs to those who fear him; and his covenant instructs them.

15

My eyes are ever upon the LORD, who frees my feet from the snare.

16

Look upon me, have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted.

17

Relieve the troubles of my heart; bring me out of my distress.

18

Look upon my affliction and suffering; take away all my sins.

19

See how many are my enemies, see how fiercely they hate me.

20

Preserve my soul and rescue me; do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.

21

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; I wait for you, O LORD.

22

Redeem Israel, O God, from all its distress!

Notes:

-David put his trust in God and he wanted God to show him his ways.

-The word covenant is used for the 1sttime in this Psalm

-David’s soul:

  • Trusts in God
  • Desires that his enemies will not prosper
  • Waits on God
  • Desires to walk with God
  • Desires the truth
  • Needs God’s mercy
  • Looks to the troubles on his mind and shares them.

-The Lord protected David from:

  • Danger
  • Being Lonely
  • A broken heart
  • Regrets
  • Fear
  • Despair

God’s Character:

  • No one who waits for him is put to shame
  • He is our salvation
  • Merciful
  • Steadfast love
  • Good and upright
  • He instructs sinners in the way
  • He leads the humble in what is right
  • He teaches the humble the way
  • His paths are steadfast love and faithfulness
  • Those who fear him find friendship
  • He makes known his covenant
  • He plucks our feet our of the net

Journal:

Psalm 25 came with great timing.  The past two years of school have been tough on my oldest child.  Fear, anxiety, and sickness hit him hard.  As a mom I struggled in how to handle my child whose emotions had become quite fragile.  It seemed like each day was a battle.  As school approached this year, I became anxious and I feared what each day was going to bring.  For at least a month, I dreaded the beginning of the school year. The first day of school came and it was not as I expected.  My son got ready and was more than willing to go to school.  Things were not like I had once feared for so long. I decided I wanted to look intently at the good days and count them versus expecting the bad ones…I began to see how I could trust the Lord to provide for me more truly good things than what my fears were leading me to.  

The First Five explains how this can be our starting point all the time:

“In Psalm 25, we see that trust and waiting are interchangeable to David. The chapter begins with trust: “Oh my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me” (Psalm 25:2). David then follows up this initial plea with a reminder to himself of the truth: “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous” (Psalm 25:3).  That is because David has chosen to accept the goodness and timing of God and therefore God’s sovereignty.  Have you ever had to wait for the Lord to break through in your life? Maybe you’re waiting for something to change, or for someone to change. No matter what you’re waiting for, waiting with trust is a hard and holy thing to do. What’s easier (and often comes more naturally) is to wait with anxiety or fear. That’s because waiting forces us to remember we’re not in control. God is ultimately the only One who can change things.  Trust in God and waiting on God are partnered here in Psalm 25. So take heart! If you are waiting on the Lord, you are also learning to trust in Him — and that is a gift, even if it is a hard one to receive. Like David, you can learn to say what he says at the end of this Psalm: “Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you” (Psalm 25:20b-21).

Unlike many other psalms, which end with victorious shouts or cries of deliverance, this psalm ends with a quiet resolution to continue to wait on the Lord. May we do the same as we trust in Him.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

To you we can lift our soul.  In you we can place our trust.  God you are good and upright.  You teach the humble what is right and what is the way.  Your paths are steadfast love and faithfulness for those that keep your ways.  You are rightly to be praised.  Please pardon our guilt and instruct us in our ways.  May our souls abide in well-being and may our children inherit the many blessings that you promise.  Thank you for the times that you have conquered us from danger, saved us from loneliness, fixed our broken hearts, eased our regrets, lessened our fears, and removed our despair.  I have struggled in the past to remember your goodness.  I have focused only on the challenges of the day.  Today I hope to look at all that you have done and build upon my trust in you instead of my fear.  Help me to always look to you first as I start each morning and continually through my day. You do not promise easy paths but ones filled with your steadfast love and faithfulness.  May I walk with you in trust and may I learn to have integrity and uprightness preserve me…especially during the times I must wait on you.  In these times of waiting may I receive the blessing of greater trust in you. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVoPBuBRj8

 

Psalm 26

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Thanksgiving

Emotions: Righteousness

Of David.

Judge me, LORD! For I have walked in my integrity. In the LORD I trust; I do not falter.

2

Examine me, Lord, and test me; search my heart and mind.

3

Your mercy is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness.

4

I do not sit with worthless men, nor with hypocrites do I mingle.

5

I hate an evil assembly; with the wicked I do not sit.

6

I will wash my hands in innocence so that I may process around your altar, Lord,

7

To hear the sound of thanksgiving, and recount all your wondrous deeds.

8

Lord, I love the refuge of your house, the site of the dwelling-place of your glory.

9

Do not take me away with sinners, nor my life with the men of blood,

10

In whose hands there is a plot, their right hands full of bribery.

11

But I walk in my integrity; redeem me, be gracious to me!

12

My foot stands on level ground; in assemblies I will bless the LORD.

Notes:

-David speaks of living a life of integrity.

-David asks others not to sin because of what other people do to them.

God’s Character:

  • Steadfast Love
  • Faithful
  • Does wonderous deeds
  • Gracious

Journal:

Psalm 26 teaches us more about integrity.  It reminds us the importance of looking back on all God has done so we can continue to be faithful in the present.  We then build strength to continue on into the future.  The First Five describes how David modeled integrity as they state,

“Three times David mentioned how modeling integrity (completeness, fullness, innocence) was available to him because of God’s faithfulness. First, in reflecting on his past: “I have walked in my integrity” (Psalm 26:1).  Second, in reflecting on his present situation: “I walk in your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).  Third, in looking ahead to his future: “I shall walk in my integrity” (Psalm 26:11).  David did not have the foreknowledge to know he would fulfill these statements he made to the Lord. It would not be by David’s might nor power, but by God’s Spirit that would activate integrity on a moment by moment, day by day, decision by decision, assignment by assignment basis in David’s life. And the same is true for us.  God calls us to be people of integrity (Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; 28:6) and loves us enough to allow His one and only Son to walk this earth as the perfect example of a man of integrity. (Hebrews 4:15) So that we might turn to Jesus when moments arrive where our integrity is being challenged or questioned.  Trusting God’s goodness and taking Spirit-empowered steps of obedience toward Him in every situation will help us — like David — walk out a life of integrity.  Keeping those lines of communication open with God — whether it’s offering up a confession, a question, or a song of thanksgiving or adoration — will anchor our hearts and minds so that we, too, can ask God to judge us, test us or prove us, being confident of the outcome.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Your word tells us how we can walk with integrity before you.  Please help us to model our lives as David did as we come before you and ask for you to examine us, try us, and test us.  Help us to continue to obey you and remember your love.  May we not doubt and drift from you.  Protect us from temptation that leads us to want to judge others.  Help us to remain innocent when we are wronged by others.  Help us to remain with others in public worship.  May we always be patient as we wait on you.  Lord, I do not always seek to be a person of integrity.  I don’t want to be tried and tested and I run from trials.  I try to remember what you have done for me, but I don’t always remember to provide grace to others.  You are the ultimate judge.  Please forgive me as I have turned away from public worship due to hurt feelings and complicated situations.  Please help me to seek this path once again.  I am far from patient at times.  Help us to seek lives of integrity.  May The words you gave to David be our guide and may we continue to seek your path.  In your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0FFkVzNJOLY

 

 

Psalm 27

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: Fear turned to Confidence

Of David.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

2

When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These my enemies and foes

themselves stumble and fall.

3

Though an army encamp against me,

my heart does not fear; Though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.

4

One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek:

To dwell in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, To gaze on the LORD’s beauty,

to visit his temple.

5

For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, He will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock.

6

Even now my head is held high above my enemies on every side! I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.

7

Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.

8

“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”; your face, LORD, do I seek!

9

Do not hide your face from me; do not repel your servant in anger. You are my salvation; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior!

10

Even if my father and mother forsake me,

the LORD will take me in.

11

LORD, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12

Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me.

13

I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness

in the land of the living.

14

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!

 

Notes:

-David declares that the Lord is his light and his salvation.

-David wants to dwell in God’s house forever.

-David became confident in the Lord despite his afflictions

-God dwelt among the people in a tent, the temple was not constructed yet

God’s Character:

  • Light
  • Salvation
  • Stronghold
  • Hides us in his shelter
  • Conceals us in the cover of his tent
  • He lifts us high on a rock
  • He is gracious
  • He answers us
  • He is goodness

Journal:

I needed the words of Warren Wiersbe this morning. “He is our light, so we need not fear the darkness.”  Twice my oldest son entered the darkness of my room as he could not sleep.  An additional two times my phone went off as he texted that he could not sleep.  Fearing what would happen this morning…I needed the reminder that God is my light. Warren continues, “He is our strength, so we need not fear because of our weakness.”  The stress of emotions and uncertainty of what to do was great.  I felt weak and unable to continue…though I knew that it was what I needed to do.  Warren’s last statement was, “He is our salvation, so the victory is sure.”  The reminder of the greater battle that has been won, helped me to face the day.  Even if I knew that one of my greatest fears was before me…I knew that I do not battle alone.  I had to believe.  I knew that it was in these times that faith is built.  AsWarren Wiersbe states, “We have to walk by faith just as David did. “I would have lost heart, unless I believed.”  The world says that seeing is believing. Jesus says, “believing is seeing.” The evidence of faith are rather obvious.  First, we seek the Lord. Second, we call on the Lord.  That is prayer.  Third, we do the hardest thing of all-wait on the Lord.”

I wanted to rush ahead and see how the morning would turn out. I wanted to put on my armor and fight and yet…I knew that I had to remember the hardest part…the waiting. 

As the First Five App states, “How easy it is for us to run straight into battle, not fully prepared. David’s command to wait and be strong go hand in hand. Isaiah 40:31a says, “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.”  Waiting on God makes us strong for battle. Waiting is the acknowledgment that we cannot enter a fight and win on our own. We NEED the Lord. He alone gives us the strength and courage we require. Before we jump into the fight, let’s wait for the Lord. His plans are good and worth waiting for.”

Not forging ahead on my own, I waited for God’s direction on where to go and on what to say.  Fear would creep in and I would remember that God was my light.  I would get weak with uncertainty and I would cry out to God for his strength.  When I didn’t hear a reply, I would slow down and wait.  I allowed God’s truth to settle my soul instead of following the lies that wanted me to believe that nothing was going to change.  When I doubted, I asked God to settle my unbelief.  I desperately wanted to believe so that I would truly see.  I started to seek the Lord and wait on him…and while I waited…I prayed!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

So many times we allow fear to guide us.  Yet, your word provides us with our true direction.  You are our light and our salvation.  With your truth we truly know that we have nothing to fear.  We can be confident in you.  We can dwell in your house all the days of our life and for this we can give you praise!  Thank you for the days you hide us in your shelter.  Thank you for hiding us in days of trouble.  Thank you for the days you conceal us under the cover of your tent as well as those days that you lift us high upon your rock.  I admit that sometimes I want to see before I believe.  I tremble in the fears of my past.  I don’t always walk by faith, but I am trying to.  As I focus on your truth Lord, I am beginning to see your light.  Please continue to hear us when we cry out to you.  Please be gracious to us and answer us.  Help us to continue to seek your face.  Do not hide your face from us.  Help us to know your way and lead us on a level path.  Help us to wait patiently on you.  Help us to remain strong and let our heart take courage as we wait on you.  In your Great name, Amen! 

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ndZsEDuCVAQ

 

Psalm 28

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thankfulness/Lament

Emotions: Justice/When God seems Silent

Of David.

To you, LORD, I call; my Rock, do not be deaf to me, Do not be silent toward me,

so that I join those who go down to the pit.

2

Hear the sound of my pleading when I cry to you for help when I lift up my hands toward your holy place.

3

Do not drag me off with the wicked,

with those who do wrong, Who speak peace to their neighbors though evil is in their hearts.

4

Repay them for their deeds, for the evil that they do. For the work of their hands repay them; give them what they deserve.

5

Because they do not understand the LORD’s works, the work of his hands, He will tear them down, never to rebuild them.

6

Blessed be the LORD, who has heard the sound of my pleading.

7

The LORD is my strength and my shield,

in whom my heart trusts. I am helped, so my heart rejoices; with my song I praise him.

8

LORD, you are a strength for your people,

the saving refuge of your anointed.

9

Save your people, bless your inheritance;

pasture and carry them forever!

Notes:

-David depends on God

-David has sinned and does not hear God

-David ends the psalm with songs of praise because he trusts the Lord

-David encourages others about what he has learned from the Lord

-David realizes he is totally dependent on God

-Sometimes we do not hear God because.

  • We have sinned
  • We are seeking a loud voice
  • He has already spoken and we did not hear him

-David leaves judgment up to God

God’s Characteristics:

  • He is our rock
  • He hears the voice of our pleas for mercy
  • He is our strength
  • He is our shield
  • He the is the strength of his people
  • He is the saving refuge of the anointed
  • He is a Shepherd
  • He carries his people

Journal:

In Psalm 28 we see how prayer led David to praise.  David starts the psalm by crying out to God but he remains silent to David.  David does not get frustrated but ends up singing songs of praise to the Lord.

As the First Five App states, “The contrast between the desperate petitions in Psalm 28:1-5 and David’s declarations of praise in Psalm 28:6-9 had me wondering, Is this a prayer or a praise party? How could David, on the heels of his complaint about his enemies, suddenly burst into praise? We find the answer in Psalm 28:7: trust. Because David trusted in God’s character, he confidently declared, “The LORD is my strength and my shield.” He praised God in advance for the outcome of his situation.  So how can we transform our personal time of prayer into a praise party? Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, when trouble comes, don’t let it worry you. Instead, call to God in prayer. Then, praise God for what He’s already done and will do on your behalf.  From a biblical perspective, there’s no need for us to separate prayer and praise. When our prayer gives way to praise, we can lift our downcast hearts with renewed strength and faith.”

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I feared my son’s anxiety about school would lead us down days of struggle once again.  I tried and tried to rely on God for strength.  My husband told me good-bye and he wished me a good day.  My response startled me and made me realize that doubt had crept in even after my many prayers.  My response was, “I hope I have a good day, but I don’t see it happening.”  I wanted to believe before I saw the ending.  I stopped and prayed desperately to God to help me believe even in my unbelief.  I cried out to him and as I look back, I can see now how to praise in the middle of the storm.  We certainly fear the uncertainty of how things might turn out.  May faith over the past couple of months has grown though and I had changed.  I was now relying on God’s strength…even if at times he seemed silent.  

The First Five App continues to give us great advice for what to do when God seems silent: “Because David trusted God, he was able to praise Him in advance for answered prayer. David knew God would be his advance guard and defensive shield. (Psalm 28:7-9) But how do we trust God or the effectiveness of prayer when our prayers seem to go unanswered? This is the question I asked a prayer-warrior friend. At the time, I was frustrated because after spending years praying for the salvation of a family member, I saw no spiritual progress. Have you ever doubted that God was listening to your prayers?  Below are a few truths my friend encouraged me to consider. This isn’t a complete list of prayer guidelines, but I gently encourage you to consider these truths when you experience doubt.

  • Jesus wants us to believe we will receive what we ask for in prayer. (Mark 11:20-25)

When our requests are within God’s will — that is, according to God’s revealed truth and desires outlined in His Word — we can rest assured He will fulfill them in His timing. (1 John 5:14) This is why Christ encouraged His disciples and believers today to “have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22) When we pray confidently expecting to see God move, He does! (James 1:6-8)

  • Spiritual warfare can delay the answer to our prayer. (Daniel 10:10-14)

In Daniel 10:10-14, we see that the same day Daniel prayed, God sent an angel to deliver the answer. However, a demon engaged in warfare with the angel, delaying the message for 21 days. Sometimes spiritual warfare can delay the answers to our prayer. Of course, worldliness (James 4:2-3) and sin (Psalm 66:18) can also hinder the effectiveness of our prayer. Ultimately, God will punish both the rebellious earthly kingdoms and the evil cosmic powers (Isaiah 24:21-22), but as we wait, it’s wise to pray that spiritual warfare doesn’t delay God’s answers as well.

  • Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)

From Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow, we’re reminded to continue in prayer without losing heart. When you’re tempted to give up, remember God’s character and loving attitude toward His children.

My conversation with my friend helped me recognize an attitude of disbelief that I brought to my prayer. I repented, and the following week I prayed believing and thanking God for saving my family member in advance. Miraculously, by the end of that week, the Lord touched the heart of that loved one and he became a Christian.  I hope my testimony and these truths encourage you. Prayer works. God hears and is working on your behalf — even when you can’t see what He’s doing.”

May we seek God’s face and know that he is listening.  May he clear up our unbelief with moments that help us to trust and strengthen our faith.  Yesterday was not the best of days but God saw me through it.  Today will be a better day because of the trust I learned about yesterday and tomorrow doesn’t seem so dark as I know how to seek God even when he seems to be silent.  

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are our rock.  You hear our cries for help and you see us as we lift our hands toward your sanctuary.  You are the ultimate judge and you protect us from the wicked.  We are to be totally dependent on you.  Thank you for hearing our voice as we plead for you. Thank you for being our strength and our shield.  Thank you for allowing us to trust you with our hearts.  Forgive us for the times we get impatient while we wait to hear your voice.  Forgive us for the sins that mask your voice.  Forgive us for the noise that covers your still, small voice.  Help us to continue to cry out to you.  Help us in our unbelief.  Help us to believe that you truly hear us and you will answer us as your word tells us you will.  Help us to know the enemy and to come to you to help us fight.  Help us to remember the power and authority you give us over our enemies.  Help us to be persistent in prayer.  Thank you again for all that we are given in your word. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b5fRS3VVoto

 

Journey through the Psalms 15-21

Psalm 15

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Hymn

Emotions: Being Righteous

1

A psalm of David.

LORD, who may abide in your tent?

Who may dwell on your holy mountain?

2

Whoever walks without blame,doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart;

3

Who does not slander with his tongue,

does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor;

4

Who disdains the wicked, but honors those who fear the LORD; Who keeps an oath despite the cost,

5

lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent. Whoever acts like this shall never be shaken.

Notes:

-The one that is able to be in the presence of God:

  1. Walks blamelessly and does what is right.
  2. Speaks truth in his heart.
  3. Does not slander with his tongue.
  4. Does no evil to his neighbor.
  5. Does not reproach his friends.
  6. Despises evil.
  7. Honors those that fear the Lord.
  8. Does what he says he will do.
  9. Does not charge others interest.
  10. Does not bribe the innocent.

-These people will never be shaken because they do what is right.

-“Remember your worth is founded in Jesus Christ. It is through faith in him that you are acceptable in the sight of God.”

-David may have written this Psalm after his 2ndand successful attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Mt. Zion (2 Sam 6).

Journal:

Psalm 15 starts by David asking who is the one God will invite and ask to stay in his tent and dwell on his holy hill. A list of qualities are given by David that include walking blameless, does what is right, speaks the truth, does not slander, does no evil to others, and many, many, more. It is an extended list and I know that I may attempt but I do not come close to accomplishing these things. Before I can get too depressed, the First Five App reminds me on the truth we must stand on:

“As I look over the above list of qualities and blameless, right-living examples, I can easily see how much I fall short. Even on my best days, I’m certain to miss a few of these character traits. And, yet, this list reminds me of Someone who perfectly fulfills every single requirement and standard given by God. Someone who is blameless, holy, righteous and overflowing with infinite. integrity. (Hebrews 4:15) Someone who looks at our shortcomings and still invites us in as His guest. Not because of what we’ve done, but because of what He’s done for us. That Someone is Jesus. Friend, this integrity list may seem like a tall order to you, too. But instead of quickly checking off the list to do what’s right and looks good on the outside, let’s first be willing to search our hearts and see what’s happening on the inside. For it is the condition of our hearts that drive our thoughts, emotions, core beliefs, words, actions and reactions.  Others see and measure us by our outward appearance, but only God can look deep into our hearts and examine the core of who we are. (1 Samuel 16:7) Let’s allow Him to heal our heart-wounds and soften those hardened places that have formed because of past hurts and present disappointments. With His help, we will be the kind of people we need to be (in Christ) as we live in the Holy Temple of the Lord as the psalmist suggests.”

As Warren Wiersbe states, “Remember your worth is founded in Jesus Christ. It is through faith in him that you are acceptable in the sight of God.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word includes many things that tell us how we should be. The list is long and we are not able to accomplish it on our own. You sent your son to be our mediator and for that we all have reason to praise you today! Because of your son we are acceptable and as your word states, “He who does these things shall never be moved.” We are firmly planted when we have faith in your son. Thank you for giving us your son so we can be seen as acceptable to you. Thank you for giving us a physical and spiritual way of being able to be seen by you as well as to see your face. Thank you for your son who invites us into your tent and allows us to stay on your holy hill…even if we do not add up to all that you require. Thank you for your son that knows who we are and what we have done…but he invites us anyway. I know that I don’t always do as your word asks. My speech is not always as it should be and I fail at times at making the most of all my relationships. Please forgive me for these times that I don’t measure up. Please help us to be righteous. Help us to speak truth from our heart and not slander others with our tongue, and help us to love others as your word teaches us to do. Help us to seek you always and to follow your path. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8_sMN3sEw

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VL4RBjBdHug

 

Psalm 16

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Hymn/Trust

Emotions: Joy

1

A miktam of David.

Keep me safe, O God; in you I take refuge.

2

I say to the LORD, you are my Lord, you are my only good.

3

As for the holy ones who are in the land,

they are noble, in whom is all my delight.

4

They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5

LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,

you have made my destiny secure.

6

Pleasant places were measured out for me; fair to me indeed is my inheritance.

7

I bless the LORD who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me.

8

I keep the LORD always before me; with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.

9

Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure,

10

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

nor let your devout one see the pit.

11

You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

Notes:

-David celebrates who God is to him.

  • His Refuge
  • His Inheritance
  • His Counselor
  • His Joy

-David asks God to preserve him.

-David rejoices in the fact that God is all he needs.

-David delights in the Lord, in the Lord’s people, in God’s providence, and in God’s pleasure (Warran Wiersbe).

God’s Character:

  • -Refuge
  • -We have no good apart from him.
  • -He is our chosen portion and our cup.
  • -He holds our lot.
  • -He gives counsel.
  • -He is at our right hand.
  • -He will not abandon.
  • -He sees corruption.
  • -He makes known to us the paths of life.
  • -In his presence there is fullness of joy.
  • -At his right hand are pleasures forever.
  • -He is our joy.
  • -He is our counselor.

Journal:

Yesterday we looked at the person that God invites into his tent and how we can dwell on his holy hill. We were reminded of what Jesus did to mediate for us and how we are invited in no matter who we are. Psalm 15 was an invitation to look into our hearts and ask God for his help in changing our hearts, today Psalm 16 shows us how God can counsel us and indeed change our hearts. The First Five App reminds us how God’s word shows us the promise that God is with us and is ready to counsel us in changing our hearts to match his:

“We can be assured God is always there to counsel us and give our hearts the instruction it needs. (Psalm 16:7) Not only so we make decisions that are right, but so we can experience joy and gladness in doing what’s right. (Psalm 16:9)

You may feel like you’ll never be good enough to be in God’s presence and do life with Him. But through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, (2 Corinthians 13:14) we can walk by faith on the rocky path toward righteous living. We can also trust that God will keep us stable as He not only lives with us but lives inus. (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16) God doesn’t invite us into His presence for a short visit. Because of Jesus, God the Father receives us with open arms as His beloved children — chosen, accepted, blameless and holy before Him … to remain permanently with Him. (Ephesians 1:3-10; Hebrews 10:19-23)  In every step of our life’s journey with Jesus, let’s be willing to humble ourselves, confess to the Father when we’ve done wrong and be assured of His unfailing love. As we can continue the process of being transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus, (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) we see the fulfillment of this psalm as a permanent imprint on our lives. We emerge unshakable in our faith as we live with God — not as temporary guests, but as beloved family. Forever.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Warren Wiersbe states that in this Psalm David speaks of how he, “delights in the Lord, in the Lord’s people, in God’s providence, and in God’s pleasures.”

David looks to God in this Psalm and rejoices for God is his Refuge, his Inheritance, his Counselor, and his Joy. David then ends the Psalm by looking at God’s promises for him which include a life of fullness, joy, and eternal pleasures.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father in you we have so much to delight in. You are our refuge, our inheritance, our counselor, and our joy. Your word shows us the many things that we can bring forth in praise. You provide your people with the promise of a life of fullness, joy, and eternal pleasures. So many times I run after things other than you to provide me with joy, but you indeed are the only true joy I should seek. Your word helps me to remember where I shall seek joy and where I will indeed find it. We can praise you for who you are, for your people, for your providence, and for your many pleasures you provide. Thank you for being the Lord of Life. Thank you for conquering death. Thank you for giving us the joy of eternity. Thank you for not making us temporary guests but eternal beings. I struggle to always delight in you alone. Forgive me for seeking other joys beside you. Help me to be like David and delight in all that you are and all that you provide to your people. Help me to seek your counsel and to search my heart for areas that need your presence and teachings. In your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R8mLTdQQXg4

 

Psalm 17

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament/Prayer

Emotions: How to stand against your enemies

A prayer of David.

Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer from lips without guile.

2

From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right.

3

You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me. My mouth has not transgressed

4

as others often do. As your lips have instructed me, I have kept from the way of the lawless.

5

My steps have kept to your paths; my feet have not faltered.

6

I call upon you; answer me, O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my speech.

7

Show your wonderful mercy, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes.

8

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

9

from the wicked who despoil me. My ravenous enemies press upon me;

10

they close their hearts, they fill their mouths with proud roaring.

11

Their steps even now encircle me; they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,

12

Like lions eager for prey, like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13

Rise, O LORD, confront and cast them down; rescue my soul from the wicked.

14

Slay them with your sword; with your hand, LORD, slay them; snatch them from the world in their prime. Their bellies are being filled with your friends; their children are satisfied too, for they share what is left with their young.

15

I am just—let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.

Notes:

-David describes his foes as:

  • People who close their hearts to pity.
  • Speak arrogantly with their mouths.
  • They are like lions eager to tear.
  • Their portions are in this life.

-David wanted to Lord to examine him and vindicate him before his enemies.

-David and Jesus never acted out of revenge.

God’s Characteristics:

  • -Our vindication.
  • -He tries our heart.
  • -He visits us at night.
  • -He tests us.
  • -He answers us.
  • -He inclines his ear and hears our words.
  • -He shows us his steadfast love.
  • -He is a savior to all who seek refuge.
  • -He keeps us as the apple of his eye.
  • -He hides us in the shadow of his wings from our enemies.
  • -We can be satisfied in God’s likeness.

Journal:

King David as well as Jesus never acted out towards others in revenge, instead they look to God for direction and justice. In Psalm 17, David shows us how to stand against those who are trying to harm you. The First Five helps us to put this in perspective as it states, “Is there ever a right way to fight hate? We learned today that neither David nor Jesus acted out in revenge. They left justice in the hands of God. But what they did is quite telling.  In 1 Samuel 24, after David decides not to kill King Saul, he goes out to tell the king his life had been spared. David then “bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage” (1 Samuel 24:8b). What a statement! Saul had been relentlessly pursuing David and attempted to kill David over and over again. And when given the chance, David not only gives up his chance for revenge, but he actually BOWS and pays respect to the man who is trying to kill him. Saul himself was in no way deserving of such honor, but David performs this act because he knew Saul was “the LORD’S anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10). It is out of respect and love for God that David is able to be merciful.  In Luke 23, Jesus is tried before Pilate. He is mocked and nailed to a cross. Not only did He leave His defense to His Father, but He also took it a step further. In Luke 23:34a, it is recorded that Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus forgave the people who killed Him.  I find it interesting that earlier in His life, Jesus said some really difficult things to His followers. He told them, “… Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27b-28).  There is no hate or meanness we face that can be worse than what Jesus faced. It’s powerful to know these weren’t just words for Jesus; He went on to live out every single one of these commands.  How do we fight hate? With love. By doing good. With blessing and not cursing. By praying for our offender. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word shows us how we are to come to you when we are in trouble. We don’t need to seek the opinions of others as only your opinion counts. You are the one that can examine us fairly and vindicate us if needed. God you will lead us with love and you will protect your people. You provide salvation and rescue for us in times of need. Thank you Lord for being all we need, especially when trials surround us and we feel like there are enemies in every corner. I don’t always leave justice up to you. I want revenge and I want justice in my own terms. Please forgive me for not leaving justice in your hands. Please help me to be more like David and Jesus when I am dealing with my enemies or those that have done me wrong. Help me to see your eternal perspective and not my own view of justice. Hear me Lord when I call. Uphold me when I am in need, and hide me always under the shadow of your wings. In your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oNFZg6Nsiqs

 

Psalm 18

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Deliverance

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

2

He said:

I love you, LORD, my strength,

3

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,

My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

4

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

5

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.

6

The cords of Sheol encircled me; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

7

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

8

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled;

they shook as his wrath flared up.

9

Smoke rose from his nostrils, a devouring fire from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

10

He parted the heavens and came down,

a dark cloud under his feet.

11

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

12

He made darkness his cloak around him;

his canopy, water-darkened stormclouds.

13

From the gleam before him, his clouds passed, hail and coals of fire.

14

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resounds.

15

He let fly his arrows and scattered them;

shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.

16

Then the bed of the sea appeared; the world’s foundations lay bare, At your rebuke, O LORD, at the storming breath of your nostrils.

17

He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters.

18

He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me.

19

They attacked me on my day of distress,

but the LORD was my support.

20

He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me.

21

The LORD acknowledged my righteousness, rewarded my clean hands.

22

For I kept the ways of the LORD; I was not disloyal to my God.

23

For his laws were all before me, his decrees I did not cast aside.

24

I was honest toward him; I was on guard against sin.

25

So the LORD rewarded my righteousness,

the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

26

Toward the faithful you are faithful; to the honest man you are honest;

27

Toward the pure, you are pure; but to the perverse you are devious.

28

For humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low.

29

For you, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens my darkness.

30

With you I can rush an armed band, with my God to help I can leap a wall.

31

God’s way is unerring; the LORD’s promise is refined; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

32

Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?

33

This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

34

Who made my feet like a deer’s, and set me on the heights,

35

Who trained my hands for war, my arms to string a bow of bronze.

36

You have given me your saving shield; your right hand has upheld me; your favor made me great.

37

You made room for my steps beneath me;

my ankles never twisted.

38

I pursued my enemies and overtook them;

I did not turn back till I destroyed them.

39

I decimated them; they could not rise; they fell at my feet.

40

You girded me with valor for war,

subjugated my opponents beneath me.

41

You made my foes expose their necks to me; those who hated me I silenced.

42

They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but received no answer.

43

I ground them to dust before the wind; I left them like mud in the streets.

44

You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations.

A people I had not known served me;

45

as soon as they heard of me they obeyed.

Foreigners submitted before me;

46

foreigners cringed; they came cowering from their dungeons.

47

The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!

48

O God who granted me vengeance,

made peoples subject to me,

49

and saved me from my enemies,

Truly you have elevated me above my opponents, from a man of lawlessness you have rescued me.

50

Thus I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.

51

You have given great victories to your king, and shown mercy to his anointed,

to David and his posterity forever.

Notes:

-“David models the importance of giving God the glory of our victories and using our triumphs to point others to Christ. (First Five App)”

-This Psalm comes from 2 Sam. 22 and 2 Sam. 5:8; 10

-According to Warren Wiersbe, David shows that:

  • God delivers when we call on him (vv. 1-18).
  • God rewards when we obey (vv.19-27).
  • When the storm was over, David is made bigger in his trials.
  • David credits God for his strength, security, and combat ability (vv. 31-42).
  • God equips when we submit (vv. 28-45).
  • David glorifies God with his worship (vv. 46-50).

God’s Characteristics:

  • Our strength
  • Our rock
  • Our fortress
  • Our deliverer
  • Our refuge
  • Our shield
  • The horn of our salvation
  • Our stronghold
  • He is worthy to be praised
  • He is the one who hears our voice
  • Our cry reaches his ears
  • He rescues
  • He is our support
  • He delights in us
  • He equips us with strength
  • He deals with us according to our righteousness
  • He rewards us for clean hands
  • He is merciful
  • He is blameless
  • He is pure
  • He is tortuous to the crooked ones
  • He saves humble people
  • The haughty eyes he brings down
  • He lights our lamp
  • He lightens the darkness
  • His way is perfect
  • His word is true
  • He makes those that rise against us sink
  • He makes our enemies turn their backs on us
  • He delivers us from strife with the people
  • He makes his people head of nations
  • He lives
  • He gives his people vengeance
  • He is the rock we stand upon-our secure foundation

Journal:

Though Psalm 18 is long it can be broken down to understandable pieces as well as another roadmap for our own lives.

Warren Wiersbe states, “The focus of the psalm is on the Lord and what he graciously did for His servant, but also tells us what He can do for us today if we will trust and obey.”

David speaks to God about his love, faith, and hope he has for the Lord. He then speaks about his distress. When David calls out to God we see God respond when he brings a storm to aid David. This is a reminder that God delivers us when we call upon him. We are reminded of how David approached God. David had a heart like God’s and he was merciful, obedient, and pure.As Warren Wiersbe states, “God responds to us as we respond to him. We decide how close God will be, how much affection He will be able to show us.”

When the storm was over David states, “You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36.” As Warren Wiersbe states, “God enlarges David’s trials and used them to enlarge David. Circumstances reveal character. People say-‘A man is made by a crisis.’ No, a crisis does not make a person. It reveals what that person is made of. When a crisis came, Saul and his crowd grew smaller and smaller as their true nature was revealed. But David grew bigger and bigger. Are your circumstances making you smaller or bigger? Are you to overcome, or are they overcoming you?”

This is where I have to stop. The gentle conviction of the Lord is heard. Just as David felt God’s right hand supporting him and his gentleness making David greater, I too see an area where David’s words are calling to me for a change. My usual word of the day is “overwhelmed.” It has been the state of my being for sometime now. Whether it was the words…”We are not sure what we will do if this treatment doesn’t work.” Or watching my oldest son go through test after test and not being able to help him make the outcome any different to his ears. At some point it just became too much and at some point the strength in me was gone and I was allowing myself to be overcome by my surroundings.

I felt broken.But as Warren Wiersbe states, “Sometimes God has to break us before He makes us. Sometimes He has to reveal to us what we’re really like before He can make us into what He wants us to be.” I was saying the words that it was all okay, but in the depths of my soul I was crying out…but the words remained only in my soul. I had to make the steps of crying out to the Lord and believing that he would indeed delight in me, and guide me with his gentle hand and make me great again. In the mean time, I had to remember to not ask why in the waiting, but what?

As Warren Wiersbe points out, “God takes time to prepare his servants.” Joseph waited 13 years, Moses and Joshua waited 40 years. God was taking time with David as well as he had much planned for him. We must remember that all is done in God’s perfect timing.

David ends the psalm by speaking to God and glorifying him. The day that David was waiting for had arrived and he glorifies God. We are to do the same.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father your word speaks out to me today that I have allowed my circumstances to overcome me. I have been overwhelmed instead of overcoming. Somewhere between handling things well and allowing all I had to handle to well up…I got lost. Your word however Lord, is always there when we need it. As you gently make us greater and you support us with your right hand, we have much to praise about! You are indeed our strength, our rock, our fortress, you are our refuge, our shield, and our salvation. For these reasons we praise your name. Thank you for hearing us when we call, for delighting in us, for providing us with perfect timing, and changing us through our trials. Forgive me for allowing my circumstances to overwhelm me. Help me to get bigger in my trials. Help me to grow as you continue to provide your steadfast and gentle love in the process. Help me to be more like David and to have a heart that is like yours. Help me to glorify you at all times. In your Great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I5zY3odoE5E

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9wCTmn2TGjE

 

 

Psalm 19

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Wisdom

Emotions: How to face the day

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.

3

Day unto day pours forth speech; night unto night whispers knowledge.

4

There is no speech, no words; their voice is not heard;

5

A report goes forth through all the earth,

their messages, to the ends of the world.

He has pitched in them a tent for the sun;

6

it comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy, and like a hero joyfully runs its course.

7

From one end of the heavens it comes forth; its course runs through to the other;

nothing escapes its heat.

8

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

9

The precepts of the LORD are right,

rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

10

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;

11

More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey

or drippings from the comb.

12

By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward.

I13

Who can detect trespasses? Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.

14

Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant; let them never control me. Then shall I be blameless, innocent of grave sin.

15

Let the words of my mouth be acceptable, the thoughts of my heart before you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Notes:

-God’s creation tells a story

God’s Character:

  • The heavens declare the glory of God
  • The sky above proclaims his handiwork
  • The law of the Lord is perfect-reviving the soul
  • The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
  • The precepts of the Lord are right-rejoicing the heart
  • The commandment of the Lord is pure-enlightening the eyes
  • The fear of the Lord is clean-enduring forever
  • The rules of the Lord are true and righteous
  • The rules of the lord are more to be desired than gold
  • He is our rock
  • He is our redeemer

Journal:

Some days are just not as good as others. After I realized that I had allowed my circumstances to overwhelm me…I knew I needed to figure out what to do to go forward. I began to first grasp the idea that I was indeed allowing my circumstances to overcome me instead of me overcoming my circumstances. I then allowed the truth to sink in…I wasn’t okay. I then told myself, “Sometimes you just have to be okay…with not being okay.” I began embracing the reality that God was allowing me to break…so all the parts of me could be put back where they were he intended them to be. I began to realize once again and admit to myself, “Life was not meant to be easy.” I had to also swallow the idea that I didn’t have the strength on my own to stand. I had to rely on the truth that it is God that firmly plants our steps and that even Aaron held up the hand of Moses. More than the truth had to be seen, I had to destroy the lies. The enemy wanted me to believe I could do life on my own. I knew I was not the only one that withdraws when life gets painful, I knew that I was not the only one with pain that I hide with a smile as I force tears to stay hidden, and I had to be willing to humble myself to admit my weakness in the hope of receiving God’s strength. I didn’t want to wonder and doubt and most of all I refused to give up. I could no longer isolate my true feelings and I needed to walk towards others and not away. I needed the reassurance that it’s okay to not be okay, that I was not alone, that I was loved for who I was and not what I did or the positions I held. I had to start looking up and I began asking myself, “What do you need today so you can look forward to tomorrow?” I needed to find a different way for facing each day. I knew God’s word would answer me in time of need.

As I read over Psalm 19, I almost missed it…if it would not have been for Warren Wiersbe, I would have. His words jumped out of the page as he states, “David gives us two pictures of facing each day. The first is like a bridegroom coming out to meet his bride with wonderful hope and love and joy. The second is like a strong man running a race. David tells us to live a day at a time and start each day with glory and grace and a goal to be reached.” “In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Psalm 19:5.” I started to take this as my truth and began the race of running with God’s word and desiring to live it as an overcomer and not one that was overcome!

Prayer:

This is not my words today as they cannot be said any better than as stated by Shane Barnard (his song is below):

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, My God. You’re my Rock and my Redeemer. You’re the reason that I sing. I desire to be a blessing in your eyes. Every hour and every moment, Lord I want to be your servant. I desire to be a blessing in your eyes!”

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0FHMME2dU

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VKwA9ejGCws

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0FHMME2dU

 

Psalm 20

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Prayer for victory and dealing with enemies

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

The LORD answer you in time of distress;

the name of the God of Jacob defend you!

3

May he send you help from the sanctuary,

from Zion be your support.

4

May he remember your every offering,

graciously accept your burnt offering,

5

Grant what is in your heart, fulfill your every plan.

6

May we shout for joy at your victory, raise the banners in the name of our God. The LORD grant your every petition!

7

Now I know the LORD gives victory

to his anointed. He will answer him from the holy heavens with a strong arm that brings victory.

8

Some rely on chariots, others on horses,

but we on the name of the LORD our God.

9

They collapse and fall, but we stand strong and firm.

10

LORD, grant victory to the king; answer when we call upon you.

Notes:

-David prays for 7 things for God to do for him and his people:

  • That God would answer them in the day of trouble.
  • That God would protect them.
  • That God would send help from the sanctuary.
  • That God would remember all of their offerings.
  • That God would grant them their hearts desire.
  • That God would fulfill their plans.
  • That God would fulfill all their petitions.

God’s Character:

  • He answers us in the day of trouble
  • He protects us
  • He sends help from the sanctuary
  • He gives you support from Zion
  • He remembers all of your offerings
  • He grants your heart’s desires
  • He fulfills your plans
  • He fulfills your petitions
  • The Lord saves his anointed
  • He answers from his Holy Heaven
  • He saves from his right hand
  • We can trust in his name
  • He answers when we call

Journal:

Over the past few days I have realized that the enemy had taken hold of my circumstances and allowed me to become overwhelmed. We have many enemies and as described byWarren Wiersbe they include:

  • The World (1 John 2:15)
  • The Flesh and the Devil (Eph. 6)

In Psalm 20, David and his men are getting ready for battle. Though they were going into an actual battle, David’s psalm helps to remind us to get ready for battle as well. Every day we are dealing with spiritual warfare and though we cannot prevent it from happening we can be prepared.

Warren Wiersbe outlines this psalm and how we can prepare each day for battle as he states, “Several factors lead us to triumph in battle.

  • Prayer: This is an essential element in fighting the battle of the Lord because it releases his power.
  • Surrender: Before David and his army fought, they worshipped God.
  • Unity: David and his army had one goal-God’s victory. They had one joy-To serve him and do his will.
  • Faith: They trusted not in the chariots and horses but in God.
  • Obedience: David and his army obeyed God’s will.

The day of trouble can become a day of triumph, which is expressed by prayer, surrender, unity, faith and obedience”

One way to not allow yourself to be overcome is to be prepared. May God’s word prepare us for battle today and may we remember that the enemy is seeking us at all times.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word reminds us today of the need to prepare for battle. Though we may not be going out in physical battle each day, our spiritual battle is real. You are the one that will answer us in our days of trouble. You are the one that will protect us. You send us help from your sanctuary. Thank you for saving your anointed, for rising us, and for helping us to stand upright in battle. So many times I have not done well in battle. I have allowed the enemy to take hold of me and I turn away from you. Please forgive me for the times that I am not prepared for battle, for the times that I do not serve you, and the times I don’t do your will. Help me to turn my days of trouble into days of triumph by always trusting you above all things. Help me to continue each day beginning with prayer, surrender, unity with others, faith, and obedience. In your Great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W5ekcTrLWLw

 

Psalm 21

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Royal

Emotions: Praise in holding victory and celebration for past victories

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

LORD, the king finds joy in your power;

in your victory how greatly he rejoices!

3

You have granted him his heart’s desire;

you did not refuse the request of his lips.

4

For you welcomed him with goodly blessings; you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.

5

He asked life of you; you gave it to him,

length of days forever.

6

Great is his glory in your victory;

majesty and splendor you confer upon him.

7

You make him the pattern of blessings forever, you gladden him with the joy of your face.

8

For the king trusts in the LORD, stands firm through the mercy of the Most High.

9

Your hand will find all your enemies; your right hand will find your foes!

10

At the time of your coming you will make them a fiery furnace. Then the LORD in his anger will consume them, devour them with fire.

11

Even their descendants you will wipe out from the earth, their offspring from the human race.

12

Though they intend evil against you, devising plots, they will not succeed,

13

For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bow.

14

Arise, LORD, in your power! We will sing and chant the praise of your might.

Notes:

-We can learn how to fight our enemies with this Psalm

  • We can celebrate our past victories.
  • We can let God’s hand do the work.
  • We can leg God shoot his arrows and not try to take it in our own hands.
  • We can look up to the Lord.

-God’s Character:

  • In his strength others can rejoice
  • People are exalted in the Lord’s salvation
  • He grants our heart’s desires
  • He is rich with blessings
  • He gives life
  • He has splendor
  • He has majesty
  • He gives blessings
  • He makes his people glad
  • There is joy in his presence
  • God gives stability in his steadfast love

Journal:

As psalm 20 was a prayer of winning over victory, Psalm 21 is the praise that was provided for holding victory. David praises God for giving him strength, salvation, satisfaction, and stability. David then used these praises to remind himself that God would give him victories in the future as well. David realized that his victory was won by God’s strength and not on his own. This is a reminder for us to know that during our spiritual battles, we do not fight in our own strength.

Psalm 21 points us to our redeemer Jesus and the First Five App shows the parallels that is seen between Psalm 21 and the foretelling of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 21:3: speaks of A king’s crown-

John 1:49 states, “Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Hebrews 2:9 states, “but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Revelation 17:14 states, “They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

 

Psalm 21:5 speaks of Glory, splendor and majesty-

Hebrews 2:9 states, “but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

James 2:1 states, “My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Psalm 21:6 states, “He is blessed forever.”-

Exodus 15:18 states, “May the LORD reign forever and ever!”

1 Peter 4:11 states, “Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,f to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:18 states, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. [Amen.]”

 

Psalm 21:8-9: speaks about “Ultimate victory”-

Matthew 12:20 states, “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 states, “And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

 

Psalm 21:11: speaks of how the “Plans of evil against Him will not succeed.”-

Job 5:12 states, “He frustrates the plans of the cunning,

so that their hands achieve no success.”

We will battle enemies every day, but we do not have to battle in our own strength. Jesus Christ is at our side if we are willing to praise him for our victories and not rely on our own strength.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we are reminded today of your son. Our redeemer is present and willing to see us through our victories. All we have to do is call upon him. Just as you provided to David strength, salvation, his heart’s desires, and he was not moved…your son will do the same for us. Jesus has become our King, he has glory, splendor, and majesty, he is blessed forever, he will achieve ultimate victory, and the plans of evil will not succeed next to him. Thank you for the reminder of who you are today as well as the Savior we have in your son. I don’t always remember the spiritual battle I must prepare for each morning when I rise. Please help me to always come to your word, to remember that my strength is found in you, and that we can praise you for our victories and know that many more victories are to come. Help me to look to you and your son and not on my own strength. I pray this in your great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RjNMJBY3APU

 

Journey through the Psalms 8-14

The story of Israel was one of constant oppression. “The book of Exodus opens with this very theme. God’s people had grown numerous—so numerous that they threatened the established powers and economic balance. So the empire enslaved them, and they cried out to God for help. Exodus 2 says their cries drifted up to God like the smoke of a fragrant offering reaching every one of his senses. God saw their plight, heard their cries, and remembered his covenant with them. And then he acted. We are invited to join David in not only offering our praise to the God of the oppressed but also offering our prayers to him. Just like Israel did. (Passionate Life Bible Study The Psalms 1–41: POETRY ON FIRE BOOK 1 12-WEEK STUDY GUIDE).”

Psalm 8

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm:Praise, Nature, Messianic, Celebration/Triumph

Emotions: Our Value

For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of David.

2

O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens

3

with the mouths of babes and infants.

You have established a bulwark against your foes, to silence enemy and avenger.

4

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place—

5

What is man that you are mindful of him,

and a son of man that you care for him?

6

Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor.

7

You have given him rule over the works of your hands, put all things at his feet:

8

All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,

9

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,

and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

10

O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Notes:

-God used creation to show his image.  He shows that despite our ability we have power through his son.

-God has “crowned us with glory and honor.”

-Everyone on the planet is immensely important and valuable to God.

God’s Character:

  • We are valuable and important to him
  • We are known by God
  • We are crowned by God in glory and honor
  • His name is majestic
  • He set his glory above the Heavens
  • He has established strength because of our enemies
  • He stills the enemy and the avenger
  • He set the moon and stars in place
  • He is mindful of man
  • He cares for the Son of man
  • He made man a little lower than heavenly beings
  • He gave man dominion
  • He put all things under their feet

Journal:

So many things seem to get in the way of what I really want to do. My mind gets full and the time gets short. As I looked to my devotions this morning, the words of the First Five App catches my attention as I feel myself in their words:

“Sometimes it feels like each day brings a new onslaught of chaos inside my thoughts. My responsibilities, my people, my decisions, my fears — they fall one on top of another, weaving a web of frustration and leaving me overwhelmed and confused.  As a Christian, I’ve heard sayings like, let go and let God, and I know the Scriptures that say don’t be anxious (Philippians 4:6) and be still (Psalm 46:10), but quietly I’ve questioned: If I don’t think about and take care of these things, who will?  Psalm 8 answers my question: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  While the psalmist David poses this thought in wonderment of who God is and why He chooses to consider the human race at all, he also notes two truths: God thinks about us, and God cares for us. I can take myself off my mind, because God has me on His mind.  Not only can I take all of my things off my mind, but Psalm 8 also gives me something to replace those thoughts with … my Lord.  God’s glory is the very thing that leads David to shake his head at the way God regards mankind. After spending three verses pondering the vastness of God’s power and majesty, the psalmist leads us to orient ourselves around who God is and His rightful position in the universe. (Psalm 8:1-3) And when we put God in His proper place, the things in our lives also fall into place.  But note the necessary process of placing and keeping God as ruler over our lives, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place” (Psalm 8:3).  David does not just glance at God. He doesn’t even pause to simply acknowledge God. The Hebrew word for “look” is often translated “consider.” Other definitions for this word are “inspect” or “look intently at.”  Because God has me on His mind, I am free to give my attention to who He is.  Our nature steers us to believe we couldn’t possibly trade our worldly demands for moments to sit and think about God. But as we read further into Psalm 8, we’re reminded God made us and crowned us with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5) And God put us in charge of the works of His hands. (Psalm 8:6)  These verses point us back to the beginning, when God created man in His own image. (Genesis 1:26-27) But they also point us forward to the coming Son of Man, Jesus. (Hebrews 2:9).”

God had a plan in mind and this was to make man in his own image. Because of the sin of man, God had to also send his son to do what man was not able to do. Jesus had to come and become what was lost by the the sin of man. Because of what happened in the Garden of Eden we lost the dominion over the Earth that was given to Adam. But, because of what happened on the cross, we have gained a spiritual dominion that can not be taken away. We are reminded today of this dominion.

The words of Warren Wiersbe tell us that, “When God saved you, he made you King. You may not look like one or act like one, but you are. We discover in this psalm that God gave Adam and Eve the first crowns. They handed their crowns and scepters to Satan, because they wanted to be like God, to be sovereign.”

God did not give up on man, he sent his son to give us back what was lost. Adam and Eve focused on themselves and we as humans continue to do the same. This psalm helps us to remember that God thinks about us and cares for us. We just need to keep our focus on him!

So many days I get overwhelmed because I forget what submitting to God really means.  I forget how much he cares for me. Let us attempt to give God all that keeps us from remembering who he is and how much he thinks about us and cares for us.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father there are many days that the ways of the world and the busyness of life get in the way of what I really should be thinking about. I wrestle between what is mine to handle and what I should be giving up to you. There are also days that I forget about how much you care about me. My worth gets tied up in what I must accomplish or the titles that I hold. Your word continues to help me to put this all in perspective. You think and care about us always and I must remember this no matter what is going on or how I feel. Your name is indeed majestic and you are the Lord Jehovah who keeps his promises to all as well as the Lord who is sovereign. You hold all ability as well as authority over the world and your people. You are rightly to be praised as your name is majestic in all the earth. You have established strength in even the weakest of people and have set the moon and stars in place. When man sinned and handed over his dominion to Satan, you brought your son to die for us so we would once again hold a spiritual dominion over evil. Thank you for thinking of us and caring for us. Thank you for always being mindful of us even if we have rebelled against your ways. Please forgive me for the times I submit to you but then take it back. Forgive me for not always remembering who you are and who I am in you. Help me to remember what is your job to do and what is mine. Help me to remember to submit to you always. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zumk_5uemkI

 

Psalm 9

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thanksgiving, Victory, Praise, Lament

Emotions: Thankfulness to God.

For the leader; according to Muth Labben. A psalm of David.

2

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;

I will declare all your wondrous deeds.

3

I will delight and rejoice in you; I will sing hymns to your name, Most High.

4

When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before you.

5

For you upheld my right and my cause,

seated on your throne, judging justly.

6

You rebuked the nations, you destroyed the wicked; their name you blotted out for all time.

7

The enemies have been ruined forever;

you destroyed their cities; their memory has perished.

8

The LORD rules forever, has set up his throne for judgment.

9

It is he who judges the world with justice, who judges the peoples with fairness.

10

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

11

Those who know your name trust in you;

you never forsake those who seek you, LORD.

12

Sing hymns to the LORD enthroned on Zion; proclaim his deeds among the nations!

13

For the avenger of bloodshed remembers,

does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

14

Be gracious to me, LORD; see how my foes afflict me! You alone can raise me from the gates of death.

15

Then I will declare all your praises, sing joyously of your salvation in the gates of daughter Zion.

16

The nations fall into the pit they dig; in the snare they hide, their own foot is caught.

17

The LORD is revealed in making judgments: by the deeds they do the wicked are trapped.

18

To Sheol the wicked will depart, all the nations that forget God.

19

For the needy will never be forgotten,

nor will the hope of the afflicted ever fade.

20

Arise, LORD, let no mortal prevail; let the nations be judged in your presence.

21

Strike them with terror, LORD; show the nations they are only human.

Notes:

-All who are oppressed will find refuge in God. Psalm 9:8-9 states, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed.”

-We are called to give thanks to God with our whole hearts and sing praises to his name.

God’s Character:

  • He is our judge
  • The needy shall not be forgotten by God
  • The hope of the poor will not perish forever
  • He maintains our just cause
  • He rebukes the nations
  • He makes the wicked perish
  • He gives righteous judgment
  • He sits enthroned forever
  • He established his throne for justice
  • He judges with uprightness
  • He is a stronghold for the oppressed
  • He does not forget the cry of the afflicted

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe sums up Psalm 9 very well as he states, “Maybe you can’t rejoice in your circumstances or in the way you feel. Maybe you can’t even rejoice in the plans that are made for you today, but you can always rejoice in the Lord.”

At first glance of Psalm 9, which is a Thanksgiving Psalm of David, the focus is all on the Lord. When one really looks deeper though…when we praise the Lord it also comes back on all that we have been given by the Lord. When we look to rejoicing in the Lord we will always find reasons for why we too can rejoice. The Lord presence and character involves many blessings that are indeed a part of who God is. Rejoicing in God’s character helps us to remember the strength we are given, the victories that he provides, the refuge he brings to us, and how he has conquered all that we are unable to do on our own. So even if nothing seems to be going right…rejoicing in the Lord will lead us to the one thing that is unchanging and in this we will be able to count our blessings!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father after looking at your psalm, I can see that so many times when I praise you…I forget that who you are gives me reasons to count my own blessings. Focusing on you Lord helps remind me of all that is right in the world. To bring you praise and Thanksgiving first in prayer is indeed what we are called to do. In psalm 9 in particular we learn that David gave thanks to you with his whole heart. We are to do the same. David speaks of how you maintained a just cause for him and that you provide righteous judgment, and you make sure that the wicked perish. In being who you are, you gave David victory over his enemies. As he praises you…he is reminded of what you have done for him. You are a stronghold, you do not forsake those that seek you, and you hear the cry of the afflicted. Because of who you are…David is reminded that you are his refuge and the avenger of his enemies. We are to praise you with our whole heart and there is much that we can find to praise. Thank you for being the one whose character can be trusted, who is faithful and good, the one that provides us victory, refuge, and takes care of our enemies. Many times I bring my complaints before I start to rejoice. Many times my focus in on my needs and not on my blessings. Your word teaches us how to see our many blessings through your unchanging character. Thank you that as we bring forth your praise, you remind us of our blessings!  Help us to seek to praise you with our whole hearts. May we learn who you are so we can sing the unchanging Praises of your character. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppl0VwdMtYc

 

Psalm 10

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: When you feel like God has left you.  Abandonment.

1

Why, LORD, do you stand afar and pay no heed in times of trouble?

2

Arrogant scoundrels pursue the poor;

they trap them by their cunning schemes.

3

The wicked even boast of their greed; these robbers curse and scorn the LORD.

4

In their insolence the wicked boast:

“God does not care; there is no God.”

5

Yet their affairs always succeed; they ignore your judgment on high; they sneer at all who oppose them.

6

They say in their hearts, “We will never fall; never will we see misfortune.”

7

Their mouths are full of oaths, violence, and lies; discord and evil are under their tongues.

8

They wait in ambush near towns; their eyes watch for the helpless to murder the innocent in secret.

9

They lurk in ambush like lions in a thicket,

hide there to trap the poor, snare them and close the net.

10

The helpless are crushed, laid low; they fall into the power of the wicked,

11

Who say in their hearts, “God has forgotten, shows no concern, never bothers to look.”

12

Rise up, LORD! God, lift up your hand!

Do not forget the poor!

13

Why should the wicked scorn God, say in their hearts, “God does not care”?

14

But you do see; you take note of misery and sorrow; you take the matter in hand.

To you the helpless can entrust their cause; you are the defender of orphans.

15

Break the arm of the wicked and depraved; make them account for their crimes; let none of them survive.

16

The LORD is king forever; the nations have vanished from his land.

17

You listen, LORD, to the needs of the poor; you strengthen their heart and incline your ear.

18

You win justice for the orphaned and oppressed; no one on earth will cause terror again.

Notes:

-David feels like God is far away but truth says he is with us always.

-David turns his attention from the wicked to God and is once again confident that God hears.

-The wicked pursue the poor and boast of the desires of their soul.

David asks God to rise up and not to forget the afflicted.

God’s Character:

  • God does not forget the afflicted
  • God sees mischief and vexation and takes it in his hands
  • God is the helper of the fatherless
  • God is King forever
  • God hears the desires of the afflicted
  • God strengthens the heart of the afflicted
  • God inclines his ear to do justice

Journal:

The day had been long and my emotions were high and my defenses where low. I knew my feelings were playing high priority in my head and we had just talked in this group about how feelings lie the week before. It did not stop me from getting a little upset a little too early and before I know it I was retreating in anger from how I felt I was treated. I wanted to believe that my feelings were lying but additional feelings kept telling me I was justified. Psalm 10 shows how David went through this same process and how we can turn our doubt into meditation of God’s truth.

In the beginning of the psalm David asks God why he is so far away. As Warren Wiersbe points out, “David only feels that God is far away.” Warren goes on to state, “Don’t base your judgements only on your feelings. Build your life on faith. Faith says, I am going to trust God no matter what I see, no matter what I think and no matter how I feel. Faith does not mean we are ignorant. It means we are walking in the will of God because we know the Word of God. When it seems as if God is far away, remind yourself that he is near. Nearness is not a matter of geography. God is everywhere. Nearness is likeness. The more we become like the Lord, the nearer he is to us.” Warren explains how David first goes through the emotion of being concerned. He then turns his attention from the wicked to God. Warren speaks of how David begins to loose control. This is a familiar feeling of us all. Instead of trying to regain control of his circumstances, David sees the need for him to look to God. Warren explains, “we have little control over the circumstances of life. We can’t control the weather or the economy, and we can’t control what other people say about or do to us. There is only one area where we have control-we can rule the kingdom inside. The heart of every problem is the problem of the heart. Once we get to the throne room inside us and let God take over, we don’t have to worry about others.” Warren then explains how David is able to be confident that God hears him and is able to declare his faithfulness.

We must be willing to look beyond our feelings and seek the truth. God seems far away in this psalm but the truth is stated as well. Psalm 10:14 states, “You do see and you may take it in your hands.” Psalm 10:15 states, “you call his wickedness to account”. Psalm 10:16 states, “The Lord is King forever!”. Psalm 10:17 states, “you hear the desire of the afflicted”. We are to get closer to God and know him in his word. When we know his word we can respond to him in prayer and be consoled.

The First Five App teaches us how Psalm 10 can be an outline of how to pray when we ask ourselves, “God, where are you?” They show us how David first asks in Psalm 10:1, “Why, O, Lord, do you stand far away?” But by Psalm 10:12 David asks God to take action, “Arise, O Lord; O God; lift up your head.” They then speak about how we can pray for God to act. They state something that I too try to remind myself so many times as well when I am unsure on how to act, “God show me what only You can do, and show me what only I can do. Perhaps we are God’s answer to someone facing evil. Speaking up. Defending. Giving. Supporting.” They continue with the next thing we should pray for as they state, “When our souls feel troubled, and our prayers seem unheard, it’s a good time to look around and see we’re not the only ones.  In Psalm 10:14-15, David begins a plea for those who feel overlooked by others and by God.” We are to pray for those who also feel forgotten by God. Lastly they describe how David declares the faithfulness of God in Psalm 10:17-18. We are to pray for God’s promises to be fulfilled.They end their devotion with the reminder,“No matter what evil we see unfolding, God is not silent or still. He is sovereign — despite anything our current perception shouts at us. Even when our words fail us, there is always something to pray.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, there are times when we ask out loud, “where are you?“ In these times our feelings can make you feel so far away. However your truth tells us that you are with us always. Your word today teaches us how to come to you with our emotions, but to remain in your truth. We again have a choice to rely on you and your word, or be like the wicked ones and state, “there is no God.“ “I shall not be moved.“ “God has forgotten.“ “You will not call to account.” Instead we can rely on the truth of who you are knowing that you see what we are going through and you take it into your hands. You are God and you are our king forever. You hear the desire of the afflicted and you strengthen our heart. You will incline your ear to do justice for your people. When we are concerned Lord, we have the right to ask, “where are you?” But then, when we ask this question, we should be inclined to turn to you and pray. Like David we are to turn our attention from the wicked, the unknown, our many questions, and come to you God. We are to turn our concern into the act of being committed and once we do this we are then able to declare your faithfulness. God even when we do not feel that you are near you are rightly to be praised as we know that you see us, you take us in your hands, you call the wicked into account for us, you remain our God forever, you hear our desires and you strengthen our heart. You indeed incline your ear to do justice for your people. Thank you for the way that you are able to turn our concern into commitment and our commitment into the declaration of your faithfulness. Thank you for seeing us, helping us, calling out the wicked for us, hearing us, strengthening our heart, and always inclining your ear to do justice for us. Forgive me Lord for the times I have asked where you were, and instead of coming towards you, I walked away. Please forgive me for the times that I allowed my emotions to guide me instead of your truth. Please help us to continue to come to your word, to learn about you, to choose prayer as our guide and your word as our path. Help us to be guided by you and not by our emotions. When we begin to lose control may we know that we need you and use this as a way to ask you to take action so that we may know what is yours and, in turn know what is ours. We pray all of this in your great name, amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aetuJESCpII

 

 

 

Psalm 11

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Trust

Emotions: In need of Refuge, Tired, Beaten down

For the leader. Of David.

I

In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains!

2

See how the wicked string their bows, fit their arrows to the string to shoot from the shadows at the upright of heart.

3

If foundations are destroyed, what can the just one do?”

4

The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven. God’s eyes keep careful watch; they test the children of Adam.

5

The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, hates those who love violence,

6

And rains upon the wicked fiery coals and brimstone, a scorching wind their allotted cup.

7

The LORD is just and loves just deeds; the upright will see his face.

Notes:

-Though many tell David to flee, he puts his faith in the Lord.  Psalm 11:1, “In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.”

God’s Character:

  • God’s eye see
  • God tests the children of man and the righteous
  • God is our refuge
  • God’s throne is in Heaven
  • God is righteous

Journal:

(Thanking God much for the dictation abilities of technology, despite being unable to use my right hand, I continue to praise the Lord.)

Psalm 11 comes with great timing. As I sit unable to use my right hand, unable to work, and unable to do most of the things that were once second nature, I wonder what the next couple days will hold. I try not to think beyond that. The future is uncertain, though the pain is most likely temporary…I began to fear. Looking back, I could see where I ignored the signs that my body was getting weak, that the pressure was a little too much, and that I was not taking care of myself. After a diagnosis of tendinitis of my hands, with the strong recommendation to rest, I found myself with time to do the soul-searching that I had been neglecting. Refusing to enter into panic mode, I continued to come to God. In the meantime, I got a deeper understanding of the character of those that I love, who daily deal with pain and suffering. For the moment, when I too was suffering from intense pain and fatigue, I didn’t quite understand the testing that was occurring. I wanted to flee from the overwhelming sadness that was in my heart, as well as the pain that was too much for me to handle. Yet, the words of Psalm 11 reminded me that I had the choice to choose between fear and walk by only what I was seeing, or trust and walk by faith. I did not allow the pain to get me down but knew that I needed to rest. I did not let the sadness overwhelm me, but I allowed myself to feel and to understand what another person‘s shoes feel like and how graciously they were taking their walk. I again refused to ask God “Why?” and began to use this test as a way to again ask “What?” I had no choice that I needed to rest, but what I was going to choose to do while I was resting was up to me. I did not want to look around and continue to focus on my problems, I chose that I was going to look up to God and see the answer to my problems.

In Psalm 11 David is encouraged to flee from his concerns and problems but instead he puts his faith in the Lord. As Warren Wiersbe states, “We must choose between fear (walking by sight) or trust (walking by faith), listening to human council or obeying the wisdom that comes from the Lord – James 1:5. Remember you can’t run away from your troubles and you can’t run away from yourself. The solution is not running away; it’s running too. It’s running to the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need. When you look around, you see problems, but when you look up to the Lord by faith, you see the answer to problems.”

In Psalm 11, David shows that the answer is not to flee from our problems but to run to the Lord. David explained the differences between the wicked and the righteous and what the Lord does to both the wicked and to the righteous in times of trial. David mentioned that the Lord test the children of men and the righteous but as Warren Wiersbe states this is also for our benefit, “The Lord will test the righteous to bring out the best in them, but Satan test them to bring out the worst. When we trust the Lord in the difficulties of our life, our trials work for us and not against us.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word today shows how we again have choices. We have the choice to fear or we have the choice to trust. As David was recommended by others to flee, he refused and continued to look toward you. We have the choice to look around at our problems or to look up to you for the answers. As I look at this psalm I know that many times I did not take refuge in you. I know that there continues to be times where I don’t take refuge in you. I know the times that I have acted out of fear and how the testing of my faith did not work for my benefit. I am beginning to learn Lord, that we do have tests that you give to us in our times of trial and we can use them to our advantage if we look up to you instead of allowing our trials to add up and lead us to running away. As your word came at a moment when I too wanted to flee from my problems, it was a great reminder that I had a different choice. You are indeed the Lord that sits in his holy temple. Your eyes see our hearts and our minds. You test the righteous and in this you bring out the best in us. You allow our trials to work for us and not against us when we are willing to look up to you. Thank you for providing your word and for your wonderful timing that helps us to learn how you are once again our refuge. I must admit that without your word there would be many more times that I would give up and run, instead of putting my faith in you Lord. My pattern has always been one of giving up when I am overwhelmed, however your word and it’s perfect timing has helped me to see the better of two choices. Please continue to help us to come to you, especially when we’re tired, afraid, beat down, and facing crisis. Help us to come to you in our trials and to look to you for answers instead of looking around at our problems. Help us to continue to know that we have a choice between walking by sight and allowing fear to guide us or to walk by faith and be guided by the trust we have in you. I ask for prayers for those that deal with chronic pain and suffering, as this test has shown me how difficult it is to think beyond pain and suffering. Provide rest and times of comfort for those that also need to be able to look up to you Lord instead of around at all that is occurring. In times of pain it is difficult to see or feel anything more than the raging sensations that tear through ones body, but for those that look to you…you’re testing is guaranteed to bring out the best in us and our trials are made to work for us and not against us when we come to you. Help those that deal with pain and suffering look to you in their times of trials and help these times work for them…just as your word promises. Help us to continue to run to your throne of grace and may we find the grace that helps us in our time of need. Help us to always run to you Lord, instead of running away from our problems. May you always be the answer and the grace that we need. We pray this in your great name, Amen.

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wF0GdhAxX2k

 

Psalm 12

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament, Imprecatory

Emotions: Discouraged, Wanting what is right

For the leader; “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

2

Help, LORD, for no one loyal remains;

the faithful have vanished from the children of men.

3

They tell lies to one another, speak with deceiving lips and a double heart.

4

May the LORD cut off all deceiving lips,

and every boastful tongue,

5

Those who say, “By our tongues we prevail; when our lips speak, who can lord it over us?”

6

“Because they rob the weak, and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will grant safety to whoever longs for it.”

7

The promises of the LORD are sure,

silver refined in a crucible, silver purified seven times.

8

You, O LORD, protect us always; preserve us from this generation.

9

On every side the wicked roam; the shameless are extolled by the children of men.

Notes:

-The culture of wickedness was becoming more prevalent and David states, “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.”

God’s Character:

  • The words of the Lord are pure
  • He cuts off the flattering lips of others
  • He places his people in safety
  • He keeps his people
  • He guards his people from “this generation”

Journal:

Warren Wiersbe sums up Psalm 12 well in saying, “On some university campuses, what once was called “Home Economics” is now “The College of Applied Life Studies.” In Tucson, Arizona, potholes are no more, because they’re now known as “pavement deficiencies.” In politics, new taxes are “revenue enhancements,” and in military jargon, “retreat” is “backloading of augmentation personnel.” If, while you’re “backloading,” you get shot, the bullet hole is “a ballistically induced aperture in the subcutaneous environment.” This kind of artificial evasive language is known as “doublespeak,” and its popularity in almost every area of human life is evidence that language and communication are in serious trouble. Our ability to speak and write words is a precious gift of God, and this psalm deals with the right and wrong use of that gift.”

What we say and what we listen to matters. We must chose our words wisely and decide if we will speak as of those of the world or speak the truth that God has given us. We must choose if we are going to listen to the words of the world, or follow the word of God. We must be like David in this psalm and be able to pick out the liars of our society and see the culture of wickedness that prevails in our nation. We then must go to God and ask for help and seek our direction in God‘s word as it is his word that can be trusted.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word teaches us today of the importance of what we say and what we listen to. David was able to see that the evil of man was not just a problem with a few people but it had become an issue with most. David felt as if there were no good people left. Though this was not the actual case, David was able to see the culture of wickedness that was surrounding him. David could pick out the liars and the deceitful around him. David then once again goes to you for help. God you can once again be praised as you rise up for those that call to you, you provide safety for those that are in need, you guard your people from evil, and your words are pure. Thank you for providing us a different path than the culture of wickedness that surrounds us. Thank you for having words that can be trusted. Thank you for your Word which is truth above all. Forgive me Lord, as I don’t always choose what I say wisely and worse yet, I struggle to not listen to the flattery and double speak of the world. Help us to always base our truth on your Word. Help us to seek your Word as the path we base our own speech on. Help us to come to you and not others so we are hearing what is true and pure. Help us to see the liars and deceitful people around us that choose flattery and double speak over your truth. Help our speech to be pure and the words we hear to be your truth. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6rHAWdC39eg

 

 

Psalm 13

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Thankfulness, Lament

Emotions: Waiting, Depression turned to Delight

For the leader. A psalm of David.

2

How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me?

3

How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,

grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

4

Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death,

5

Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed,”

lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.

6

But I trust in your mercy. Grant my heart joy in your salvation, I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt bountifully with me!

Notes:

-David asks God to see him and answer him.

-David trusts in God and rejoices in him by the end of the Psalm.

-David even asked God, “How long?”

God’s Character:

  • Steadfast love
  • Provides salvation
  • Deals bountifully with his people

Journal:

A terror spread through my body awakening me from my sleep. The ideas of my mind had become a reality of feelings that became physical. No longer a dream but an actual sensation of fear…I awake in darkness, unable to close my eyes once again. I am panicking slightly but wake up enough to know it was indeed just a dream. Do I reach for my cell phone and keep myself distracted? Do I reach for the remote and hope the TV will put me back to sleep? How could I pass the next few hours until the darkness no longer surrounded me. Hoping for the light of morning…I remember that I had a movie about the Apostle Paul I had been wanting to watch. I settle for the movie thinking I was reaching towards God, but am disappointed that much of what I was running from was right in front of me. The opening scene is much like a nightmare as Luke is hiding in the streets of Rome in an attempt to find Paul, who is in prison. The streets are lit with the torches of what were once Christians. I ask myself, “God, how could this have happened to your people?” Knowing persecution took all but one of the 12 disciples and that many more Christians followed suite, this image was not helpful in this moment of terror. However, the hour that was spent searching for God’s word about persecution was. As I read about Luke and his words in the book of Acts, I no longer felt the fear of a dream that felt so far behind me. As I read about Jesus dying for my sins, it no longer seemed wrong that Christians died for him. No longer asking God “Why?”, I rested in knowing God had me covered in his perfect plan for me. My feelings of fear were covered in the truth of his promise of peace…even amongst the darkness.

As I wake up to the light of the morning…I remember my recent moment of terror. I remember my moments of wondering why God would do what he does. I remember my overwhelming feelings of fear and how God’s word changed me despite the darkness that surrounded me. I remember the peace that allowed me to close my eyes when moments before I could not do so. The reality of the nightmares that have truly been lived and sent the righteous to death remained and yet God still was able to change me. Remaining in the dark of the night…not yet reaching the light of morning…the darkness no longer mattered as I had found a greater light!

I returned to the opened pages of a Psalm I read the day before and I smile as I knew it was the teachings I found here that provided much truth that were proven to me once again. I was beginning to let my feelings of fear take over, I then wondered where God was, and wanting to be distracted I took things in my own hands. The First Five App describes this notion we tend to have:

“When we are suspicious of God’s absence, we begin to reach for things that will bring us temporary fulfillment and peace. We become overwhelmed with the things of the world and don’t call out to God, but rely on ourselves. When we decide to say yes to God out of trust and obedience, we experience the joy of knowing God and being near to Him. Our human nature is bent on being in control, and when things don’t go our way, we assume the lordship of our lives. But God is the one who deserves and has rights to our hearts and lives. The ultimate question to ask is: Who is sitting on the throne of our hearts?  If control is sitting on the throne, by default, we will be led by our need for it. However, only God is our ever-present source of help, and when we give Him His rightful place in our hearts, we can live from a place of love and not control or fear. God loves us — we can trust and rest in Him.”

It was only God’s true words that gave me the ability to rest in him. My untrue feelings of fear had to be replaced with the truth of my faith in God.Warren Wiersbe again talks about the difference between our feelings and faith, “Faith is living without scheming; it means not leaning on our own experiences and skills and trying to plot our own schedule (Prov. 3: 5–6). There were storm clouds in the sky, hiding the sun, but the sun was still shining. It’s a dangerous thing to give in to our feelings, because feelings are deceptive and undependable (Jer. 17: 9). We must not deny our feelings and pretend that everything is going well, and there is no sin in asking, “How long?” But at the same time, we must realize how deceptive our feelings are and that God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3: 20) and can lift us above the emotional storms of life. David eventually learned to replace the question “How long, O Lord?” with the affirmation “My times are in thy hand” (31: 15).”

I smile once more at the irony of me wanting to see the light of morning. As the light of the sun should be seen, the sky pours with rain. The clouds hid the light I was desperately seeking and yet I knew the Son was with me!

Psalm 13 speaks of David’s experience of being first on his face in fear, then turning to God, and finally turning to praise as he once again is changed by the presence of God. His feelings were seen at the beginning of the Psalm but by the end, it was his faith that he stood on.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, you are a God that is always present. Even when our circumstances or feelings tell us otherwise, you do not leave your children. You have perfect timing and you use even our trials to our benefit. As your word shows how David cries out to you as he feels abandoned and overwhelmed, we learn that as he spent time in your presence he is changed. I continue to attempt to come to you in my moments of despair and when I truly seek your truth, I find peace! Your ability to change is despite our circumstances is something that deserves much praise. Thank you for always being present, even when we don’t “feel” like you are there. Thank you for the moments that you enter us into the classroom of patience and teach us about how to be changed in our trials. I don’t always come to you in my trials. I try to control my situation and forget to submit to you. I prefer distractions and the way of the world as it is easier when times get tough and darkness surrounds me. I know what I should do, but in times of trial it gets difficult and my feelings win over your truth.  Please show us how to get from falling on our face to getting on our knees without the distractions of the world so we can be changed by your ways instead of wanting our surroundings to change first. Help us to walk by faith first and not be guided by our feelings. Help us to slow down, be patient in our waiting for your perfect time, and allow us to make the most of our time. Help our grief and despair to be turned into acceptance and your everlasting joy! We pray all this in your great name, Amen!

Songs:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aMy9CoDkxDA

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EAhsVoJjF9E

 

Psalm 14

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Writer: David

Type of Psalm: Lament

Emotions: The Immoral

For the leader. Of David.

I

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt; not one does what is good.

2

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God.

3

All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is good,

not even one.

4

Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread;

they do not call upon the LORD.

5

They have good reason, then, to fear; God is with the company of the just.

6

They would crush the hopes of the poor,

but the poor have the LORD as their refuge.

7

Oh, that from Zion might come the salvation of Israel! Jacob would rejoice, and Israel be glad when the LORD restores his people!

Notes:

-The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

-God looks down on us and sees that no one understands.

God’s Character:

  • He looks down from heaven on the children of man
  • He is with the generation of the righteous
  • He is the refuge for the poor
  • He restores the fortunes of his people

Journal:

In Psalm 10 David explores the thinking of the ungodly, then in Psalm 12 he looks at the speech of the ungodly, and in Psalm 14, he now looks at the actions of the ungodly. As Warren Wiersbe states,“All that the ungodly are, say, and do is because they believe-There is no God.” Warren continues to state that, “Most of the world today lives by the philosophy that says-There may be a God, but I’m not going to think about him. God is not in their thoughts, and consequently, He is not in their lives.”

In Psalm 14 we see how the ungodly ignore God. Then when they meet God in verses 4-6, it brings nothing but terror. Finally we see that the future they will hold is joyless as they indeed have no God.

As the First Five App states, “In Psalm 14 we are reminded that when we deny Him and His presence in our lives, we are believing the enemy’s lies instead of living from the truth that God is always present and never leaves his children.”

“God is with the generation of the righteous. Psalm 14:5.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word shows us once more the choices we have as well as the erosion of thought that is seen in the evil ones. When we begin to think things we eventually say them. When we say things we eventually believe them and it becomes what we do. This is the path of the wicked and we have a much better path to choose. Those who follow you can rightly praise you as you are there for the righteous. You provide us a joyous future. We can rejoice and be glad. Those that do not follow you will live in terror and they have a joyless future. Thank you for placing in my heart the desire for your ways. Thank you for being there for me and showing me that I want to follow you. Though, I have stumbled…your grace has always been sufficient for me and your strength has always been there to get me back up. Please forgive me for the times I stumble. Please help us to always follow your ways. Help us to seek you and your word so we will continue to be strengthened by your truths. In your Great name, Amen!

Song:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fZU8ptV4uL8