Psalm 86, 2018

Do you hear me, LORD?  I need you to answer me.

I have faith and trust in you.  Guard my life.

You are my God, please have mercy on me.  I call to you all day long.  I put my trust in you to bring joy back into my life.

LORD, you are always forgiving and good to all who call to you.  Please hear me as I cry for mercy.  You always answer me when I call to you in distress – I know you will answer this time as well.

There is no one or no thing like you.  No one does what you do.

You have made all things and there will be a time when all things come to worship you, bringing you glory, LORD.

You are great and marvelous – you alone are God.

Teach me about your faithfulness, LORD, so that I may understand it.  Give me a heart that is dedicated to you so I show respect for everything you are.

With my whole heart I praise you, LORD my God.  I will praise you forever.

Your love for me is awesome!  You have saved me from the darkness that is all around me.  The lies of my culture try to attack my thinking, O God.  Satan is working hard to snuff out your light in this world.

There are so many fools around me who have no regard for you.

But you, LORD, show your compassion and grace.  You are so patient with us, so loving and always faithful.  Show me your strength and mercy.

You have saved me and I serve you only, just as my mother did.  Make your light shine in my life, LORD, so the lost ones around me can see you and know how you have helped me and comforted me.

You alone are God, Abba Father.

I Earned It

I work hard.

I got the degree.

I put in the extra effort.

I save it and invest it well.

There are a lot of I’s in those statements, aren’t there?  As James would say to us, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brother and sisters.”

The truth is – everything comes from God.  God owns it all.  My paycheck, my house, my car, my IRA – it’s all God’s and he has given it to me.  Just like he has given whatever you have to you.

God provides for us.  He gives us the ability to work for a living.  He helps us grow our skills and knowledge.  He gives us perseverance to get up every morning and the strength to complete our tasks for the day.

It all comes from him.

I love the visual I see in my head as I read 1 Chronicles 29.  King David is standing in the middle of huge mounds of gold, silver and bronze.  There are piles of precious stones all around him.

With his hands held high up to the sky, he praises God and says, “Everything in heaven and earth is your’s”.

It’s all God’s.  Everything we have and are comes from God.  I have the right perspective when I understand that I am totally dependent on God for everything.  Until I get to that place, I am deceiving myself.

“Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

If I Seek Him,

I will find him.

It’s true.  And the opposite is true.  If I don’t seek God, I can’t expect to find him.  I won’t know him.

It’s also true that I will never totally know and and understand God because he is – well,

God!

My 3 1/2 pound brain just can’t comprehend all of him.  My goal is to seek to know and understand more of him every day, every week, every year.  I have decided that I will be on this journey towards the Truth for the rest of my life.

And, when my journey on earth ends, I’m going to know God better than I know him now.  I am going to understand him better than I understand him right now.

Because, when I seek him, I always find him and it’s all good.

King David shared this wisdom in 1 Chronicles with  Solomon as he prepared to hand his throne over to his son. “If you seek him, he will be found by you.”

David knew this to be true from his own personal experience.  He also understood that Solomon would need to seek God for himself in order to be the king God wanted him to be.

David realized that Solomon would not hear God, not understand God, not know God unless he spent significant time and effort in seeking him.

The same is true for you and me.  There is no magic to growing in my knowledge of  and faith in God.  It takes a lot of time and effort.   I have to willing to open my heart so God can change the things I love to the things he loves.  I have to willing to open my mind so God can transform my thoughts –  etching his truth over old lies and self-centered thinking.  I have to read and study his Word and then let his Word come alive in my life – effecting the things I say and the things I do.  It takes perseverence and commitment.

But there is nothing that is more worth the time and energy and effort.

Nothing.

You are all I need, Abba Father.

It’s OK

That was not my intention.

Nobody’s perfect.

It’s not a big deal.

These are all things we tell ourselves when we realize we have done something wrong but we don’t really want to acknowledge it.  We often rationalize it away – never owning up to it.

We don’t admit our mistakes.

We move on like nothing happened.

People get hurt, we don’t trust each other and we struggle with our relationships.

One of the reasons King David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’ was because he was good at admitting it when he did something wrong.  He was a little blind to how badly he had acted with Bathsheba until Nathan pointed it out to him.  We all need great friends who will lovingly point it out when we mess up.  As soon as David’s eyes were opened to his mistakes, he admitted them and repented.

That’s what God wants me to do when I’ve made a mistake  – own it and try not to do it again. (confess and repent).  God knows my heart so throwing “I’m sorry” around without meaning it doesn’t work.  God can see whether I’m sincere in my apology and serious about not doing whatever it is again.

God wants you to admit your mistakes and repent, too.

Let’s not rationalize it away.

Let’s not say it’s ok – nobody is perfect.

Let’s not ignore it.

God wants us to have trusting, lasting relationships and dealing well with our mistakes is a big part of that.

Please help us to be quick to confess and repent, Abba Father.

A Direct Line

Have you noticed?

It appears that some people have a direct line to God.  When they call (pray), God always responds.   Stuff happens.

I believe it’s true – some people have a direct line to God.

Why?

Because they pray in line with God’s will.  When I pray for what God wants to give me, I always get it.  He has promised me.

God tells me in James 1, when I pray for wisdom, I always get it – in generous amounts.  When I pray for more of the Fruit of the Spirit, the Spirit that lives inside of me helps grow and nurture those things.  When it’s God’s will for me, he says yes every time.

The key is praying God’s will.  What does God want?  What is best for his purposes?

To do this, I need to know God well.  I need to have his word etched on my heart and mind so that it’s how I think.  And – a tough one for me – I need to put what he wants ahead of what I want.  There are times when God reveals to me through his Word what he wants done in a certain situation.  Other times, I simply pray Jesus’ prayer, “Thy will be done.”

I can’t give God a list of things I want and expect him to say yes to everything.  But when I pray for what God wants – knowing and trusting that what he wants is always best –  it happens.

This doesn’t mean I don’t ask God for things I want.  He tells us to pray to him all the time on every occasion about everything.  It does mean that the answer will not be ‘yes’ when I’m praying out of line with his will.

In 1 Chronicles, David was trying to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem but he was running into big problems.  One of his men died because he touched the Ark to steady it.  That scared David so he left the Ark with a local family and went on to Jerusalem.  There, he realized the issue with the Ark  was “we did not inquire of him (God) about how to do it in the prescribed way.”

So he consulted God and, when they did it God’s way, they were successful.  David danced with joy in front of the Ark as it entered Jerusalem, the City of David.

When I ask God to do things his way, my direct line to God is wide open.

And the answer is always ‘yes’.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2018

Hold me close, God.

I need to feel the safety of being held by you.  Hold me tightly in your arms while this storm roars through my life.

I cry out to you, Most High God, and you send your angels to save me.  The problems and trials which are overwhelming me are pushed away.  I feel your love and I trust your faithfulness.

People who do not want the best for me surround me.  They desire to take my peace and make me afraid.

But you, Father God, are in control of everything.  With power and love you rule the earth.

People around me try to snare me with their lies and tricks.  They dig pits with their evil mouths and then fall into the pits themselves.

My heart, Oh God, is your’s forever.  I will praise you all day long.  I will sing about your great love which fills the earth.  I will sing about your great faithfulness which reaches endlessly to the skies.

You, Father God, are in control of everything.  With power and love you rule the earth.

Psalm 34, 2018

God is good – all the time!

I will share this great news with everyone I know.  They all need to hear this = there is no one and no thing that compares to the LORD!

Say it with me – God is good, all the time!

When I talk to God, he answers me and takes my fears away.

The light of God’s love shines out of his children and they are never ashamed.  When we are lost in a pile of problems that we created, we can call on God who rescues us.  His angel protects us and sets us free!

Try him and see!  God is good!

He is a safe haven and a provider for everyone who has faith in him.  Those who look strong on the outside grow weak and empty on the inside if they don’t have faith in God.  God’s children have everything they need.

Listen to me –

respect and honor the LORD and you will live a life filled with good days.  Stay away from lying and all evil, be a peacemaker.

God watches over those who do what is right.  He hears our cries.  God is always close to the brokenhearted.

But God turns his face away from those who do evil.

When we have faith in God, we will still have trials but God walks beside us every step of the way – giving us peace and strength.

The wicked get what they deserve.  The LORD condemns anyone who opposes the people who love him.

God rescues his children – he is a safe refuge that is always available to them.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 5, 2017

I know you hear me, LORD.  You listen when I call to you.

You hear my cries for help, God.  Every morning, when I lay my concerns and requests at your feet, I know hear me.

And I watch – expecting your answer.

You hate evil.

You hate lies.

You hate deceit.

You do not welcome evil and proud people into your presence.

Because you love me, I can come near to you and bow before you.  Please guide me on the right path, LORD.

Keep me safe from those who do evil.  I can’t trust one word they say – their hearts are filled with hate.  They are liars.

You are the judge and my revenge, O God.  Declare them guilty.  Let their evil and rebellious ways become their punishment as they choose their own path – separate from you.

But draw all who love you close to you, God.  Give us joy as you spread your protection over us.

We know you show favor to those who walk closely with you, LORD.  You cover us with the umbrella of your blessing.

Thank you, Abba Father.

If – Then

For every action there is a reaction.  What law is that?

Let’s Google it – its Newton’s Third Law of Physics.  I’m impressed!  I wasn’t sure anything I studied about physics actually stuck.

I know I’m taking this law out of context but only physicists (like my son-in-law) will know that.  I’m relating it to things we would like to happen.  And how these things won’t happen until we take action.

Like cleaning my house – this will only happen if someone (wish it wasn’t me) gets going and cleans it.

Like living a healthy life style – it won’t happen without eating right and exercising.

I have to actually do something or several somethings in order to have these things happen.

So, it makes sense that, if I want to know God’s truth, I have to read it.  I have to study it.

If I want to hear God’s voice, I need to learn more about him so I can understand him when he’s trying to talk to me.  I need to spend time with him so I’m more sensitive to his whispers and prodding.

If I want to live my life aligned with God, I need to understand why he created me – what is his plan and purpose for me?

My primary purpose is very clear.  Love God and love others.  If you are a believer, your main purpose is the same as mine.

The rest of details are revealed when I’m living out my primary purpose.   And, I have found, that his detailed plan and purpose changes and evolves as I go through the different phases of my life.  I have to constantly pay attention.

As I seek him, I grow in understanding his truth, I hear his voice more clearly and I can see his different plans and purposes unfold as I watch closely.

King David knew all about finding God.  He told his son, Solomon, in 1 Chronicles 28, “If you seek him, he will be found by you.”

David was preparing Solomon to take over his kingdom.  David knew he didn’t have much time left here on earth so he was literally giving Solomon the key to the kingdom.

And that key was to seek God.

It’s still a key for us today.

It’s the key to success.

It’s the key to happiness.

It’s the key to fulfilling our purpose here on earth before we go home to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father.

Thank you for the key, Abba.

 

The Wrong Thing

A selfish choice.

A bad decision.

I make them…

You make them….

and sometimes we just don’t want to admit it.

It was foolish.  We just weren’t thinking.

Or – we were thinking – but it was all about what we wanted.

Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

If we work hard enough at it, we can rationalize anything.

Make excuses.

Avoid owning up to what we did what we said.

We can also become very good at blaming others for the consequences of choices we made.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie, The Shack, is when he asks God (who is a woman in this part) why she punishes us and she says that she doesn’t have to punish us.  The consequences of our sins are punishment enough.

Amen!

As I’m reading about David’s life in 2 Samuel, I realize that one of the qualities David possessed was the ability to quickly admit it when he did something wrong.  Sure – there were times that people like Nathan had to point it out to him.  But then David immediately owned up to it and took responsibility for the consequences.

Even when the consequence was the death of his young son……….

He didn’t blame anyone else.  He admitted his sin and repented.

David is a good role model for us when it comes to dealing with our sin and its consequences.  God wants us to admit it and own it and repent.  When we ask, he will help us grow in wisdom and grow our faith as we deal with the trials and sorrows that our bad decisions cause in our lives.

God walks with us through the muck and the mess we cause – guiding us, loving us, giving us strength and hope.

When we let him, God will help us – like he helped David –  develop into men and women after God’s own heart.

Thank you, Abba Father.