Psalm 16, 2019

You keep me safe, God.  You are my refuge.  You are my master!

Every good thing I have comes from you.

The faithful people around me encourage me and they are my true heroes.  I see so many others who spend their time and treasures chasing after things that aren’t you.  Their problems grow.  I will not join them in their worthless pursuits.

LORD, I only want you.  You guard my life and bless me.  Everything I have you have given to me.  You are a wonderful Father!

Thank you for guiding me through the darkest times of my life.  I know you are always beside me and, because that is true, I will not be shaken.

My heart is glad!  I praise you!  You have shown me the way to eternal life with you where I will have the joy of living with you forever.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Our Prayer of Praise, 2019

If King David was leading us today in the prayer of praise we read in 1 Chronicles, it would probably sound something like this –

Oh, LORD, our God, we will praise you forever and ever.  You are so great, God!  You have all power, glory, victory and majesty!

Everything in the heavens and earth is your’s Father.  This is your kingdom and we adore you.

All wealth and honor come from you – you are the King over everything.  You control all power and might.  You decide which of your people are made great and are given strength.

Thank you, God!  We praise your glorious name.

But who are we, God?  We can’t really give you anything because everything already belongs to you. 

We are here on this earth for merely a moment – this is not our home.  We are but a passing shadow on this earth – quickly gone without a trace.

Everything belongs to you, God.  We know that you see our hearts and rejoice when you find faithfulness and integrity in them.  You know if our motives are good and if we give willingly back to you with joy.

Oh, LORD, please help us obey you.  Help us love you.  Give us a hole-hearted desire to live as you want us to live.

When David was finished, the entire assembly praised God.

We join with King David today to praise you, Father.

I don’t Want to Miss It

There used to be days when I sat down to just ‘read’ the Bible.  Check it off the list.  Feeling good about myself.

Not any longer.

Now I hear God’s voice in my head as I try to discern what he’s telling me in every sentence.  Well, not in every sentence – some of the lists of names and assignments get a quick read – but I’ve learned there is gold in a few of those things as well.

I’m not reading the Bible, God is reading it to me.

And I don’t want to miss a thing.  So I study it.  I ask God to open my eyes and my heart so I can understand.  I ponder it ( that’s a great old word, isn’t it?)

This morning I was reading in 1 Chronicles (one of the books I used to skim through) the historical account of David purchasing the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  Sounded pretty insignificant at first.  David chose this spot to build an altar to God asking him to stop the plague that had started because of David’s sin.

Wait a minute!

A little research shows that this was the same spot where Abraham obeyed God by building an altar to sacrifice Isaac.  David may not have known that but the Spirit of God who was living within David knew that.

This was the place where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son.  This was the spot where David built his altar to stop the plague brought on by sin.

And – later – David picked this spot to build the Temple of the Lord.  The Temple was built on ground that was made holy by David’s sacrifices on the altar.  The Temple was a place where people came to worship and meet with God.

All of this points to the coming Messiah, God’s son, who would be sacrificed to stop the plague of death brought on by the sins of the world so that all people – including you and I – can meet with God on a personal level.

This was no ordinary threshing floor.

I’m glad I didn’t miss that!

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 63, 2019

O God, you are my God.  I am searching for you with all my heart.

My soul needs you.  My whole being longs to be close to you in this empty, weary and very confused world.  I treasure the precious time I get to spend with you.

I have personally witnessed your power and glory.  I praise you for your love which makes this life worth living.

I will lift my hands and heart up to you in praise for as long as I live.  Only you can fill the emptiness inside of me and make me sing for joy.

In the darkest part of the night, I remember how much you have loved me in the past and how much you have promised to love me in the future.  My heart sings for joy as I cling to your promises and feel your arms around me, holding me safe and securely to your side.

The Evil One and his team are all around me, Father, trying to ruin me.  But I know you are fighting my battles, God, and you have already won the war.

I rejoice in you, God.  All who know the Truth know you.  Liars will be silenced.

Thank you, Abba Father.

What Does He Want?

What does God want from me?

After being confronted by the prophet Nathan for having Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could marry her, King David pours out his feelings of sorrow and repentance to God in Psalm 51.

If David was sharing his feelings with God in the language of today, they would probably sound something like this –

God, I know your first desire is not that I go to church, although that pleases you.

God, I know your first desire is not that I read your Word, although that pleases you.

God, I know your first desire is not that I’m busy serving you in all kinds of ministries, although that pleases you.

My God, I know what you really desire is my repentant and submitted heart.  Your first desire is to have a close relationship with me each day.  You want to love me and guide me and strengthen me and bless me each day.  When I focus on giving my life to you and submitting my will to your purposes, then all of these other activities please you because they draw me closer to you.

I give you my life and submit my will to you, Abba Father.

My Song Of Praise, 2019

Let’s join with King David in 1 Chronicles and lift this song of praise to God –

I give thanks to you, LORD, for I want the whole world to know how great you are.  I sing praises to you and tell everyone how awesome you are.

I worship you, Father.  I will never stop seeking you and the strength you give me.  I remember your never ending care and love for me.  I celebrate because you have chosen me to be your child.

You are the LORD my God.  Your justice and faithfulness are constant from generation to generation.

I remember how you have provided for me.

I remember that you have never stopped guiding me on the path you have set before me.

I remember all the ways you have kept me safe.

Let everyone sing to our LORD and spread the good news that he saves us.   Let us share our amazing stories of what he has done in our lives.

Great is the LORD!  He is most worthy of praise!

I honor you, LORD!  You are my strength and joy!

Let all nations recognize the glory and strength of the LORD!  Give him the offerings and praise he deserves! 

Worship the LORD, let all the earth tremble before him.  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

We shout, “The Lord reigns!”  Let all of creation shout his praise!  Let’s sing for joy before the LORD! 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!  His faithfulness endures forever!

Save us, oh God!  Rescue us!

Praise the LORD, our God, who lives from everlasting to everlasting!

And all of the people shouted, “Amen”, and praised the LORD.

 

Psalm 57, 2019

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

They Couldn’t See It

How often am I blind to what’s really going on?

How many situations am I in where I just can’t see the truth?  When do the loud distractions of the world around me keep me focused on the wrong things?  The unimportant things?

These same things seem important…until I stop being concerned about them.  Then they are forgotten – because they aren’t the main things.

The main thing is God.  He’s in charge, he’s in control.  He has a purpose and a plan.  He is working it all out for my good – and for your good.

These thoughts roll through my head as I read about the Israelites begging Samuel to be their king.  Samuel responded with a list of negative things a king usually did like taking their vineyards, making them give him a tenth of the harvest and turning their sons and daughters into his servants.  The Israelites wouldn’t listen – they wanted a king.

Samuel then reminded them that they had a king and his name was God.  Again, they didn’t listen.  They couldn’t see that they already had a heavenly King who didn’t need their vineyards  or their sons and daughters.  Their King just wanted their love and faithfulness.

But they were blind to the truth.

Please open my eyes, Abba Father, to your truth.  You are my King and you love me with a perfect love.  Take away my desire for anything that does not honor you.  Let the distractions of this earth fade away as I fix my eyes on you.  I love you.

Show Me a Sign

Make it black and white.  Can I hear a voice?  I need to know.

There are so many decisions to make and I want to make the right choices.  What should I do?

I’ve had good Christians tell me to ‘throw out a fleece’ like Gideon did.  God sent an angel to tell Gideon that “The LORD is with you” and ” I am sending you”, ” I will be with you”.  But Gideon still wanted a sign to prove that it really was the LORD speaking to him.  So God proceeded to ‘pass’ Gideon’s tests.

I would hope that I would be instantly convinced if an angel came and told me a message from God.  How about you?  When my friend suggested I throw out a fleece, it just didn’t feel right to me.  Gideon lived under the Old Testament covenant – he was not ‘redeemed’ and he didn’t have God’s Spirit living inside of him.  But I do.

The Holy Spirit speaks to me and guides me into truth – if I’m listening.  God’s Word is alive and the Holy Spirit uses it to help me make decisions.  I have God’s Spirit inside of me every moment of every day – why do I need a sign?  I have found that I don’t need fleeces if I’m tuned into God’s voice and spending time with him.

God will also line up circumstances to confirm what the Holy Spirit and God’s Word is saying to me.  I don’t have to ask for something more – I just need to keep my eyes open.

The answer is there.  Every once in a while, I hit a deadline on making a decision and I haven’t discerned God’s answer yet.  I have found that when I totally submit the situation to God – meaning I don’t care what the answer is, I just need to know what he wants me to do – he helps me organize my thoughts and I realize he’s been trying to guide me in the right direction, trying to show me the way.  I’ve just been clueless.

No fleeces involved.

Black and white.

No more questions.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Count On It

I can be very disappointed.

When someone I counted on drops the ball, forgets a promise or doesn’t come through for me when its important, it’s hard to take.

And it’s hard to trust that person again.

It’s difficult not be become cynical the next time that person says they will do something.

But God always keeps his promises – it’s a characteristic of his that I count on every day of my life.

God is trustworthy – he always has been and he always will be.  Joshua tells us, “Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.”

Everything.

The Bible is filled with promises God has made to his children and he will keep them all.

You and I can count on it.

Thank you, Abba Father.