Tag Archives: psalmist

Today “is” but tomorrow is a question

vanishing smoke2aPsalm 146 “Today “is” but tomorrow is a question”

The psalmist extols his view of life and of God. He sees God as his protector, redeemer and steadfast unlike men who are untrustworthy and unreliable. As with many psalms he begins with praising God. “I will praise the Lord as long as I live” because whatever we may plan for today may not come to pass and tomorrow is even more questionable—so redeem the time you have been given. James captured this in a nutshell:

James 4: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like [a puff of smoke/vapour] that appears for a little while, then vanishes [is snatched out of sight]. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Today as you go about your day, stop and give praise to God for every moment you have been given. Praise Him for all He has given and done for you. Use  today to praise God and see His plan for your day. Begin your day with asking what He would have you to do today because:

There is no guarantee of a tomorrow.

So Psa 105:4  Seek the Lord and the strength he gives!Seek his presence continually!

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Do We Really Believe This?

google-cpu-knows2aPsalm 139 “Behold, Lord you know it all.”

Google knows a lot about us but the risen Christ, the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, knows each detail that Google does not.  He knows because you are always on His mind as you wade through the cultural waters and face different trials. He knows your heart, your name and your deeds which are seen by men.

Do we really believe all of this? If we do then the words of the psalmist should be a wake-up call because behind all of this lay our heart.

Jeremiah asked this question: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand/know it?” And the psalmist answered: “no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” [Heb 4] One day we will stand before him and the books will be opened and THE Word will reveal every idle, spoken or whispered word. Our hearts will be revealed and all heaven and earth will know what He knows. He knows for He is the Living Word; sharper than any double-edged sword which can pierce our soul and spirit to judge the thoughts and intents of our heart.

Do we really believe this? 

As we ponder this it behooves us to pray as the psalmist: “Search me, O God, know my heart….see if there is any hurtful way in me; wash me thoroughly; cleanse me from my sin and lead me in the everlasting way.” [Ps 139 & 51]
 

How to Begin Your Day

psalm 94 begin day with God

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It is good to talk in conversation with God and especially so when you know you will encounter those who are the unbelieving. Psalm 94 is what we might call a prayer and conversation as the writer voices his questions and his responses to his own queries. This alone is his answer to the wicked (the unbelieving). “How blessed is the one whom you instruct, O Lord, the one whom you teach from your law,  in order to protect him from times of trouble, until the wicked are destroyed.”

The writer of Hebrews counsels: “And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works… but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.” This brings us to this profound reason as to why we spend time in God’s Word each day as well as attend our worship services. It is alone with God and corporately with others that we receive instruction and encouragement. The benefit is the blessings we receive from the Lord.

Beloved as you consider your day, begin with worship, go with a merry heart, a teachable spirit, and a countenance that reflects that you have spent time with God. This and this alone will assist you in the spiritual battle that the enemy erects.

 

 

 

Waiting is Hard!

wait on God2Waiting is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. In fact, I find exasperating. If truth be known I tend to fret, fume and frame my words to show exactly how I am handling this when answers do not come as quickly as I  think they should. Can you relate? Perhaps the psalmist had this problem and why he begins his prayer with these words and echoes them again later: “Wait in silence—For God alone I patiently wait.”

How does one wait? What do you do while you wait? Is silence hard for you as it is for me?

The psalmist began to meditate upon the God whom he knew and trusted. “He alone is my protector and deliverer.” The Apostle Paul knew how to wait in times of distress; persecution; famine and all other kinds of things that the archenemy planned for his destruction. Both the psalmist and Paul counted on this truth: “in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us.”

We can wait because God is immoveable as a rock, steadfastly implanted in our frame. Yet often, like Elijah, I am so impatient to know God’s plans. I must remind myself to be still and know that until I hear the still small voice of God I will not know His plans for me.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” He was sovereign at the beginning and he has not ceased to be. He is rock,  salvation, defender, refuge and  glory because all power belongs to Him.

 

For What Are You Thirsting?

psalm 42 mt 5 6 thirst2We are not asking about a casual thirst but a deep desperate thirst for which one must have it or will physically die. But there is another kind of thirst and that one is spiritual. It is a deep longing that only God can fill.

In John 4 we meet a woman who came every day with her waterpot to the well in Samaria. She was physical thirsty but Jesus looked beneath and saw within her a deep spiritual thirst. So when Jesus offered water that that he could give by which she would never thirst again she asked: “”Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” But the water he would offer would be living water which would quench not her physical thirst but her spiritual thirst for it will come from the living God, the Living Water.

The psalmist thirsted for God, for the living God. His too was a deep desperate thirst which only God could supply. Drinking from God’s well is the fountain of life and only from it is the soul satisfied. Those who seek the living water will be blessed for they hunger and thirst not for water but for righteousness. [Mt 5]The true Living Water that satisfies the deep heart longing became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus’ promise is that he “will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Have you come to drink from the fountain of the Living Water today?

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“Never Give Up–Hope in God”

ImageHow often through our day we find ourselves asking the “why” question? Why does a child disobey the parent? Why does my friend scoff and sneer? Why does it seem that a word spoken is taken differently than what I intended it to be? Why does it seems like God is silent and far away? It is at those time I need this reminder: God is as near as the whisper of the wind in the willows, as near as the soft clouds as they float across the sky, as near as the breath of life we take each moment.

In psalm 42 and 43, the psalmist asks two questions: Why do I go about mourning? Why are you cast down O my soul?

If we were honest we have those days when we question the same things. David had reason to mourn because of the constant threat of the enemies seeking his life. He missed the fellowship and the tabernacle. He missed the worship time with others.

Fast forward and we can also see and hear our Savior on the cross hearing the religious leaders and bystanders ask the same age old question the psalmist heard: Where is your God now? He saved others but he cannot save himself. It is at that point that vs 10 seems to be the cry of the heart “My enemies’ taunts cut into me to the bone.” This is how life seems to the psalmist as well. Where is God when he needs him?  His heart aches but his intellect says: hope in God! We can recall the promise of Jesus: I will never leave you nor forsake you. No matter the circumstance this is what we need to do as the palmist did: I will pray to God while I am trapped; I will recall God’s lovingkindness and the song He has put in my heart and in my prayers.

King Solomon said there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”[Eccl 3] But in those times we can echo: Hope thou in God for He is steadfast and He hears our heart. Our circumstances may not change but our heart and focus do change. That is why we can find solace, peace and joy in our deepest times. Today, if this is your lot in life and you are down, take heart, you are not alone. Both the psalmist and our Savior experienced this and they turned to God to lift themselves out of the miry clay. May you do the same.

 

“God’s Recipe for Fudge”

ImageHave you ever read a verse of scripture, closed the Book and walked away and said, what did I just read or what does all of this mean to me practically? To illustrate, think of making fudge. You cook it and wait for it to “fudge” but it just remains gooey and seems to be more liquid than fudge. But then all of a sudden it turns into that delicious fudge and you walk away thinking, that is how fudge should be. I see now the patience in waiting for it to ‘fudge.’ That is how reading scripture seems at times. You read it, ponder and meditate upon it; but if you let it sit awhile it turns into “fudge” that you can eat and devour with abandon.

Psalm 39/40 are like that fudge in many ways. Where does one start? What is the lesson we are to glean? More importantly, what is the practical application that one can put into usage right now?

Here’s some ingredients for our ‘fudge’ from Psalm 39/40.

  • a cup of understanding the mortality and brevity of life
  • a cup of seeing life from an eternal perspective
  • a measure of total dependency upon God
  • an overabundance of God’s mercy

Mix together and then you have your fudge: “a reason to sing a new song, praising our God; courage to tell about His justice, His reliability and deliverance before the assembly”

 Is this your recipe for successful Christian living or are you like the psalmist who has to admit that one ingredient causes your ‘fudge’ to not ‘fudge’ “My sins overtake me …my strength fails me.” Just as a wrong ingredient may cause a recipe to fail, so sin causes us to fail to have that new song and the new message of His redemptive work. Peter saw his sin and his strength failed at a critical moment, but when he was restored he had a new song, and courage before the religious leaders.

So how’s your fudge coming along? Have you all the right ingredients? Take time today to ponder these thoughts.

 

 

Waiting on God!

ImageDevotional for Ps 129-131 There is a familiar hymn many have sung whose first lines go as follows: Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on thee; Hushed my heart to listen, in expectancy. Little is known about the author, E. May Grimes, other than in 1893 she traveled to S. Africa as a missionary and married Dr. Crawford of the Christian Missionary  Society in British East Africa. Since she wrote this hymn many have clung to it in times of travail and trouble Her words have resonated with many across the many years for it reminds us of our posture when we want to hear from God.

The psalmist wrote in these three psalms of the struggles the Israelites had with bordering nations who harassed them often. It is in this frame of reference that he wrote that he wanted his people to wait on God. To help them he reminds them of God’s character which is righteousness; he alone has the power to vanquish their enemies and he is just.  A principle was brought forth from this psalm by C. H. Spurgeon: “Never has God used a nation to chastise his Israel without destroying that nation when the chastisement has come to a close: he hates those who hurt his people even though he permits their hate to triumph for a while for his own purpose.” This is a good reminder when we face struggles and onslaughts from the enemy himself. Satan is our foe but he is only allowed a certain time and then God will remove his power and his pointed lance.

In the meantime, the psalmist reminds us in Ps 130 that we are to wait upon Him. Other biblical authors have had the same refrain and we would be wise to heed these words. Why should we wait on the Lord? When we step in and seek to corral the enemy we only stop God from accomplishing His purposes and we find that the battle is far more challenging than we had realized. Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

Today, Beloved Friend, follow the principles given in these psalms: 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. His Word is as it says: Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.

May our prayer be “I Will Wait on Him.” May our posture be: Ps 131:2 “Indeed I am composed and quiet,”

And all of the people said “Praise the Lord!”

 ImageThe writer of these psalms wisely counsel us to praise the Lord for He is God, and His lovingkindness is ever before us in all we see and experience. “While we are studying this holy Psalm, let us all along see ourselves in the Lord’s ancient people, and bemoan our own provocations of the Most High, at the same time admiring his infinite patience, and adoring him because of it. May the Holy Spirit sanctify it to the promotion of humility and gratitude.” [Spurgeon]

The psalmist begins with a hallelujah chorus and we would do well to begin our prayer time in this way. Vs 2 reminds us that God’s mightiness is recounted but our memories and our words are inadequate for God is greater than what we could ever tell. Joh 21:25 There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

So who can tell? Only those who walk in close communion with God and have been anointed with the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit for he Joh 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit …will cause you to remember everything I said to you. It is then that we are able to recount and tell of  the mighty deeds which God has done, maybe not to the fullest, but our memories will be so filled with His love and power that we are like the psalmist will stand in awe of God and be humbled. It is then that we say with the psalmist: 107:1 “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” It is when we begin and end our meditation with these thoughts that we are satisfied because we have hungered and thirsted: Matt 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” It is then that we are emboldened like the Samaritan woman to her village or Andrew to Nathanael will say “Come and see…” Come and see the man who is Messiah, come and see for yourself that this is the one we have waited for. It is then that we say with the psalmist “107:2 Let those delivered by the Lord speak out,” and we end with  “Let all the people say, “We agree! Praise the Lord!”

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What Satisfies? A Bird’s Eye View or the Very Reality?

ImageThe idiom “a bird’s eye view” means to see from above as  opposed to a “dog’s eye view” which is ground level.  As bird lovers will tell you there is a profound difference between the two. On the fifth day that God created the birds to fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky, he created many, two of which are the eagle and the swallow. Whereas the eagle never feeds upon carrion but seeks live prey, is fearless and tenacious, the timid swallow feeds upon the wing, across the expanse of the sky to catch insects. It prefers the habitats of men, where insects are plentiful and often chooses the most extraordinary places for its nests. In Psalm 84, the psalmist reflects that it was in the Temple this wee bird has found a protected refuge high above in the sheltered eves where it literally has the privilege of a  ‘bird’s eye view’  of the comings and goings, the words spoken at the altar, hearing and seeing all of the rote day after day view of the animal sacrifices, the songs of the choirs as they echo across the courtyard, the smells of the meat as it is consumed. What a view! It must be marvelous notes the psalmist! While only the priest has the “dog’s eye view” or ground level view, and I as a worshiper do not even see this, the swallow has it all! He passionately wishes for a moment that he too could reside as the swallow in the courts of the Lord’s temple.

While the psalmist has this wish for just a moment to be as the swallow so that he could see within, we as believers, because of the perfect sacrifice of our savior who tore the curtain asunder from top to bottom, can now not only view the courtyard but also the Holy of Holies. We do not need to just be a swallow with a bird’s eye view but now we have the totality of the very presence of the living God–used only here in Ps 84 and Ps 42:2. It was only the High Priest once a year that could enter this sacred place but now we are given the privilege to  enter boldly. Heb 10:19 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,…  let us draw near” into the very presence of the living God. In this we are most blessed, blessed beyond that of the swallow, blessed beyond this worshiper, blessed beyond the High Priest. Standing at the entrance to the temple of God to the His very presence is beyond comparison. The psalmist had only the hope, but we have the reality all because we have chosen to trust in Him. It is there that He the Mighty God Almighty bestows favor upon us as we choose to walk blamelessly.    

As you worship today consider the view that is yours because of the sacrifice Jesus paid.

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