Psalm 73–Focusing On What Is Real

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We are still human.  It is so difficult to face our daily lives and the struggles that come with them; all the while, watching the godless seem to always have it easy. We do our best to focus on the Lord, but it is easy to get distracted by others for whom the rules do not seem to apply.  The Psalmist transparently confesses that he almost lost his way in a very good place by growing focused and jealous.  He simply could not take the fact that the proud and selfish always seemed to have everything, and have it easy.

The fact is, the godless and selfish chase their God of stuff and notoriety.  Those two gods are flashy and make things seem super on the surface–but, in reality, they are  like cotton candy.  They melt away with no substance or real value. People that chase those Gods, find themselves empty and broken in the end.  The Psalmist recognized that fact–but it was almost too late.

If we can recognize this life as the journey, not the destination; then, we will not get caught up in the transient and misleading lies of the enemy. We will focus on God and his purpose in our lives; rather than on the world and all that sparkles and shines.  If we stay focused on him, we will not envy the proud, in fact, we may lead a few of them to Christ. Jesus said that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness than all other things will be added to us! Matthew 6:33.  I would rather wait for what he adds, than chase the cotton candy of this world!!!

God Bless You

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.

Psalm 72-What a Blessing

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Psalm 72 is the first psalm of Solomon.  As one begins reading it, it is a prayer of blessing for the new king.  It is a great prayer of blessing.  In the prayer, He asks for a just king.  A king that protects the needy, the people that are oppressed.  He prays for justice, for honor and for his enemies to recognize that he is God’s king.  It is a prayer for God’s favor, men’s recognition and the world’s response to a king that God protects and promotes.  Amazingly, it is not until the end of the psalm, that we realize it is not Solomon’s prayer at all–but David’s.  It is the prayer of a father for the son that will carry on where he left off.  It changes from  bold and confident prayer of a boy to a loving blessing from a dad.

We as parents need to pray for our kids.  They will be the ones that carry on after we are gone.  They are the ones that will continue to build, Lord willing, long after we are done. We who have children, know that there is nothing we would not do help our kids be what they  can be. Why not do the most important thing–bring them before God and place them under his hand of mercy.  As we do, we cannot assure that they will not face trials and hardships, but, we can assure that God will be there for them, with them and by them as long as we have breath to pray. 

God Bless You

Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
    and righteousness to the king’s son.
Help him judge your people in the right way;
    let the poor always be treated fairly.
May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
    and may the hills be fruitful.
Help him to defend the poor,
    to rescue the children of the needy,
    and to crush their oppressors.
May they fear you[a] as long as the sun shines,
    as long as the moon remains in the sky.
    Yes, forever!

May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,
    like the showers that water the earth.
May all the godly flourish during his reign.
    May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
May he reign from sea to sea,
    and from the Euphrates River[b] to the ends of the earth.
Desert nomads will bow before him;
    his enemies will fall before him in the dust.
10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands
    will bring him tribute.
The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba
    will bring him gifts.
11 All kings will bow before him,
    and all nations will serve him…

(This ends the prayers of David, Son of Jesse)

Psalm 71–What is the Point!?!!

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What is the point? Have you ever laid in bed and simply thought, what’s the point of continuing. David did, as he was on the run from his son who was attempting to overthrow him. Here in the latter days of his life he stood to lose everything.  But in the midst of the whirling thoughts, God revealed a revelation that drew David back–I am the example for the next generation.

David sought God his entire life. from his youth to his death; he was the example of a man that continued to seek God in good times and bad.  He hailed God in victory, and bowed to him in repentance.  He welcomed the good and he trusted God to carry him through the difficult times. Even when the world seemed to pass him by, God showed him how valuable his daily walk was–as a teaching tool for the younger generation.  The wisest man and king that ever lived grew up in the house of an old King David. He was the son of David’s mistress Bathsheba. In the midst of the obvious scandal and unrest–when Solomon became king; Solomon asked God for the wisdom to lead his people honorably–he seems to have watched his dad closely!

On those days  when the question, “why bother?” swirls through our brains, we need to learn from God’s king–the man after God’s own heart. We bother because God remains faithful even when we are not. We bother because God always provides , protects and prepares His chosen. We bother because those that come after us have no other example to see the truth, than those of us left to walk by faith. Finally, we bother because God is the only hope for our survival, salvation and purpose for our life! I think that, my friends is reason enough!

God Bless You

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
    No wonder I am always praising you!

My life is an example to many,
    because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
    I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
    Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
10 For my enemies are whispering against me.
    They are plotting together to kill me.
11 They say, “God has abandoned him.
    Let’s go and get him,
    for no one will help him now.”

12 O God, don’t stay away.
    My God, please hurry to help me.
13 Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers.
    Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me.
14 But I will keep on hoping for your help;
    I will praise you more and more.
15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
    All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
    though I am not skilled with words.[a]
16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
    I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
18 Now that I am old and gray,
    do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Psalm 70–God as our Go to

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One of the great promises we can count upon with God is that he truly knows our plights. When we call out to him he listens to our cries.  David, the great King, experienced many difficult times in his life. Fighting giants, running from Saul, uniting a divided kingdom, repenting from major sins, crumbling family, internal rebellion…you get the idea. The thing that held David and his kingdom together was that David always knew to call out to God.
 
In David’s life, the reason for the call was not nearly as significant as the placement of the call.  In any and every circumstance David always returned to God. It was his only choice. As a result, God heard his pleas and met his needs. David became the man after God’s own heart–not because he was perfect, far from it, it was because he loved, knew and trusted God.
 
In our lives, we can have the same experience.  We can face anything, knowing that God is our go to. In good times and difficult ones–we seek him first and trust him completely.  While the journey can become difficult at times, we build a legacy of love and trust that will live far past our own life.  God is our God in both good and difficult times–He needs to be the one we call in every case!
 
God Bless You
 
Please, God, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
May those who try to kill me
    be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
    be turned back in disgrace.
Let them be horrified by their shame,
    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “God is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    please hurry to my aid, O God.
You are my helper and my savior;
    Lord, do not delay.

Psalm 18–Happy Valentine’s Day, Lord

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As I contemplated my thoughts for my Lord today, I was stopped cold by the reality that He loves me without condition.  He loves me in spite of myself.  He loves me completely and unequivocally. His Love is wide, deep and complete. I do not deserve his grace and mercy, nor do I return the affection in any proportion that is reasonable.

So, on this Valentine’s Day–I want to shout–I LOVE YOU LORD!!! You are my Alpha and Omega, my life and joy.  You have given all for me, so that we can be in fellowship from now on.  No matter what the world says or does to confuse and disrupt our relationship, You Lord will never leave or forsake me!!! I love you with my heart and soul.  I cannot survive without you, nor would I want too.  Thanks for your patience, love and guidance for me and my precious treasure called family.

God Bless You

I love you, Lord;
    you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

The ropes of death entangled me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears.

Psalms 69 Part 1–Even on the Worst Days…

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As we continue the journey with God, we find that life goes through seasons.  Some seasons are great–good times, happy memories peace and prosperity. Still other times, life seems impossible. In those days, nothing goes right, everyone hates us, and we live as an embarrassment to all that know us–even God.  In Psalm 69, David was having one of THOSE days.  While he was seeking God, it seemed his enemies outnumbered him a million to one. Everything he tried went wrong, and he was making everyone he knew miserable.  That is a tough place to be–especially when you are the king.

In those most miserable of days, David still did the right thing–he took his petitions to God.  He did not walk away from faith. He did not denounce his allegiance to God–instead, he doubled down and surrendered to God even more. The reality was there was nowhere better or even else to go.  David knew that even in the darkest and most miserable times–God is with us and will carry us through–that is who He is. While it felt like he was alone and  exposed, he knew God remained his shield and his protector.

In our lives, we are offered all the world’s solutions to trials–but, we know they simply do not work.  Our faith in God is the only thing we have that is real and permanent.  He will be our shield and our protector–just as he was King David’s.  Even when all seems lost, and the world has us by the throat–we still cling to God. He alone will save us.  He loves us and wants only what is best for us.  Even in the darkest hours he remains the light at the end of the tunnel.

God Bless You

Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
    looking for my God.
Those who hate me without reason
    outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
    those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
    what I did not steal.

You, God, know my folly;
    my guilt is not hidden from you.

Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    may those who hope in you
    not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
    may those who seek you
    not be put to shame because of me.
For I endure scorn for your sake,
    and shame covers my face.
I am a foreigner to my own family,
    a stranger to my own mother’s children;
for zeal for your house consumes me,
    and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
10 When I weep and fast,
    I must endure scorn;
11 when I put on sackcloth,
    people make sport of me.
12 Those who sit at the gate mock me,
    and I am the song of the drunkards.

Psalm 68–God’s Timing and Ways are the Best

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One of the reoccurring themes in the Bible is the theme that we MUST wait upon the Lord.  So many characters in the Bible failed–when they let their impatience in waiting upon God drive them to act on their own.  Gratefully, David was not one of them.  David spent his life checking in with God, seeking his direction and following his lead.  As a result, he rose from being a lowly shepherd–to being Israel’s greatest leaders.  David and his armies recaptured Israel and established it as a leading nation.  David, had many opportunities to work independently of God, he learned, however, that waiting upon God–simply works better.

In our lives, we are constantly moved in the same direction.  We trust God and follow him, but, when things get difficult, we turn and run.  God attempts to guide us through, but, then we simply fail to trust him, and, we do things on our own.  As we accelerate  down that path; things go sideways, and we ultimately pay a much higher price than we ever would if we would simply let God be God.  We must cling to the truth–God does love us and wants us to have a full and meaningful life.  He shows, time after time; that if we will wait upon Him, He will grant us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream. Ephesians 3:20. He does it because He loves us, and we are glad that it glorifies him and not us!

God Bless You

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
    may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke—
    as wax melts before the fire,
    may the wicked perish before God.
But may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
    may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds[b];
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

When you, God, went out before your people,
    when you marched through the wilderness,[d]
the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
    before God, the One of Sinai,
    before God, the God of Israel.
You gave abundant showers, O God;
    you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
    and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.

Psalm 67–A Prayer for the Nation

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Israel has been a study in how faith and devotion can affect the standing of a nation.  As one studies the history of God’s people, they see as the nation served God, they grew and prospered; and as they pulled away, they weakened and were compromised. In Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites completely claimed their promise in 5 years. In the time of the Judges, they grew insolent and lost all the things that made them great. Saul struggled, David thrived, Solomon enjoyed peace. Then as Solomon became more independent, the attitude changed. His Son divided the nation and the remnants slowly walked away from God and lost their freedom.

In current culture, America is seeing similarities that are both real and frightening. We started out as a nation of freedom and national pride that desired to worship God freely and speak openly. As the nation grew, we sent more missionaries across the globe than had ever been sent before. As we prospered, however, we–like those before, became more self-sufficient and less God dependent. As that has occurred, America has lost God’s blessing and protection.

As people of faith, we need to take our nation back to God and restore him as the one our currency so aptly reminds us, in whom we trust! If we fail to return to the God of our fathers, we are doomed to join those nations that have rise and fallen simultaneous to their faith in God! Please, Father, bring revival to our nation, and bring it now!

God Bless You

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—[b]
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Psalm 66–Shout to the Lord

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Today’s devotion is quite simple. Shout to the Lord, today.  His wonder and praise are amazing. He is the ultimate creator, protector and king.  He established Law, raised leaders, formed nations and redeemed a world of lost people through the sacrifice of His only begotten son.  He pours His spirit into us to lead, guide, comfort and direct us.  He gave us the word to serve as a training tool, a comfort and a way for us to know the mind and the heart of a timeless, omniscient, omnipotent God.
 
He simply wants us to know Him and fellowship with Him.  He wants us to trust and follow Him. In exchange He gives us life, hope and purpose.  We will never be able to repay the gift, nor does He request or expect us to.  He, like any father simply wants our time, our devotion and our trust! So, on this glorious Thursday–shout to the Lord–all the world let us sing–power and majesty; praise to our King…He has earned our devotion, our praise and our true heart of worship!
 
God Bless You

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
    Sing the glory of his name;
    make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    So great is your power
    that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
    they sing praise to you,
    they sing the praises of your name.”[a]

Come and see what God has done,
    his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot—
    come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
    his eyes watch the nations—
    let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, all peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.

Psalm 65–The Wonder That is God

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We often forget the amazing wonders that are God. The creator of the universe, the author and perfecter of our faith; our God has lit up the skies and created marvels we will never be able to explain. The most amazing wonder, however, is God’s love for each of us.  It is not a general, faceless adoration that is impersonal–heaven forbid! God’s love is individual and real. It touches us every day in ways that only a loving father can.  David lived in awe of the specific ways God met his needs and the needs of his nation. He looked up in awe as he watched Israel mature into a nation–knowing, all the while, that without God–Israel was doomed.

We too have the luxury of seeing God at his finest.  The more technological men become, the more we realize how amazing God is.  We now see his building blocks of DNA. We can look through the vastness of space and see what a wonder that his creation is. We see his hand in the rise and fall of nations, the preservation of people and the kindness his people show around the world. There is a clear difference in the people of God, and the rest of the world. There is a peace and a plan that can only be explained by his wonder.  That is why we  need to stop, and simply praise and adore the wonder that is our amazing God!

God Bless You

Praise awaits[b] you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave[c] our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.