Psalm 55–When I Want to Turn Tail and Run

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There are days, many of them, in a man’s life when he wants, simply to walk away and fall off the grid.  The forces that we face spiritually, culturally and personally can both overwhelm and defeat us.  David dealt with that. Chased by Saul, taking over a divided kingdom, Bathsheba and Nathan, Absalom and counting his troops were just a few of the highlighted events of this amazing king that drove him to his knees.  

Still, at the end of the day, David always ended up in the arms of the Heavenly Father.  He wanted many times to chuck it and leave; but, always found his way back to God.  There, covered by God’s grace and provision, David became the greatest king Israel ever knew. In a word, that was his distinction–standing in God’s shadow.

In our lives, we were never expected to be perfect. As Paul taught us in Romans,”God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. If we always make our way back to him, he stands ready to forgive, provide, prepare and protect us–His chosen. As we scan the events in our own lives, like David, it is not the times we fall that define us–it is our willingness to rise and to run back to the one who truly loves and cares for us.

God Bless You

 

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;[c]
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”…

 

16 AS FOR ME, I CALL TO GOD,
AND THE LORD SAVES ME.
17 EVENING, MORNING AND NOON
I CRY OUT IN DISTRESS,
AND HE HEARS MY VOICE.
18 HE RESCUES ME UNHARMED
FROM THE BATTLE WAGED AGAINST ME,
EVEN THOUGH MANY OPPOSE ME.
19 GOD, WHO IS ENTHRONED FROM OF OLD,
WHO DOES NOT CHANGE—
HE WILL HEAR THEM AND HUMBLE THEM,
BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD…

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.

 

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;[c]
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”…

16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
    who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God…

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Psalm 54–God’s Best Work

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When life is at its most hopeless, that is when God does his best work.  David was on the run, hiding in caves and countryside always just a step ahead of Saul the king. On the day he wrote this Psalm, He had been exposed by an enemy to the King. Surrounded and in grave trouble, David turned to the only place he knew–Our God!

God stepped in and did what it took to save David. Just as Saul had closed in and was about to catch David, the Philistines attacked the land and Saul had to call of the chase. (I Samuel 23:19–29). David and his men were safe and able to carry on.  God did his best work when all seemed hopeless.  David and his men were only a short distance away from destruction–and God interceded.

In our lives, God comes through time and again–simply to save us and lead us in this journey.  We may feel alone, surrounded and completely defeated; and, just at the right moment, God intercedes and wins the day. We must never be afraid to call out and seek God to intercede and do the same for us.  We simply have to trust him and seek him–then, like with David, we get to watch him do his best work.

God Bless You

Save me, O God, by your name;
    vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
    listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    people without regard for God.[c]

Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
    in your faithfulness destroy them.

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
    I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
You have delivered me from all my troubles,
    and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

Psalm 53–Fools and God

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It continues to amaze me, how the world has always tried to both usurp God’s power and deny his existence.  It seems pretty foolish to deny God’s presence and impact on the world. One simply needs to look up at night to realize all this did not happen by chance.  Still, the world knows that to acknowledge God’s presence also requires an affirmative decision to follow or reject his leadership. Should they follow, they would have to submit to his leadership. To reject his leadership means they must usurp his role as God.

When men play God, it always ends poorly.  The most basic tenet of God is his love for us. He gave His Son as a sacrifice, to redeem us from our sin. If we truly want to usurp God’s role; we would have to become completely selfless and give up the thing we love most–to help others who could not care any less about our love and sacrifice.

No, men want to call their own shots and do things their way. Inevitably that leads to chaos.  Then God intervenes, and in love seeks to save that which is lost. For those that follow–peace and a meaningful life, for those that do not, pain and destruction.  Without a doubt, God is real and present. He loves us, and wants to give us a full and meaningful life and restore our place in eternity.  Don’t be a fool! acknowledge his presence and follow his leadership!

God Bless You

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When God restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Psalm 52–Betting on the Wrong Horse

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David was the prince. Son-in-law to King Saul. He was leading Israel to victories against the once mighty Philistine army. Yet, Saul, the King, was jealous of David, fearful for his son, Jonathan, and done with God. He used Doeg, the ancestor of Esau, to lie and accuse David of treachery and deceit. Based upon Doeg’s lie, Saul began the hunt for David.  

This psalm is a prophecy of Doeg’s eventual ruin. It came true. Doeg bet on Saul, Israel’s Godless King and lost it all. In life, it sometimes feels like the better bet is the “survival of the fittest” mentality. If we make our own needs our priority, we will always come out on top.  Sadly, that trick never works.  When we become selfless, humble and passionate about God and about others–then God has the ability to meet our needs, direct our path and protect us from a very evil world.

David was on the run for a long time. Still God prepared, protected and provided for him until one day he would become Israel’s greatest King. Doeg, conversely lost everything and died in obscurity as a sad footnote. Given those options, Jesus words in Matthew 6:33 still ring true, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you!” We must make sure we put our faith in what is real, lasting and eternal.

God Bless You

Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
    He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
    he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see and fear;
    they will laugh at you, saying,
“Here now is the man
    who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
    and grew strong by destroying others!”

But I am like an olive tree
    flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
    for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
    in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
    for your name is good.

Psalm 51–Owning our Choices

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David was a man after God’s own heart.  Still, he made some of the worst choices of anyone in the world. In the midst of a united kingdom; when he was finally past his years of trials and tribulation–David slept with Bathsheba and killed her husband to cover it up. Nathan, the prophet, confronted David, and without hesitation, David admitted his sin and accepted full responsibility.

With David, there was no finger pointing, no excuses–only truth, remorse for what he had done and repentance–accepting any punishment God would dictate.  That saved David’s life and his kingdom.  Make no mistake–David would suffer for that sin for the rest of his life–discord within his family and the loss of his child. But God looked at David’s heart; and, saw a genuine desire to accept responsibility for his acts and face the consequence.  What’s more, David’s true loss was the separation he had built between him and God.

In our lives, we still sin.  We do some things we know have no place in the lives of the body of Christ.  But, God tells us in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” As with David, God looks at our hearts.  If we will own our choices, seek his forgiveness and accept his leadership in our lives–then God will forgive, cleanse and set us on the path of the most amazing journey!!!

God Bless You

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 50–Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

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One of the most frustrating principles that God has addressed through the years, is the truth that simply obeying and following him is the greatest gift we can give. So often, we fail and we seek his forgiveness with  promises of great sacrifices that we will make in order to make it up to him.  We get all proud that we have shown God we are sorry, never considering that our sin is crushing to God.  

How little comfort do we actually feel when someone does wrong to us, and then says they are sorry.  Truthfully, genuine remorse and repentance are appreciated, but, we would still rather be treated the proper way–than to have a huge apology. God is the same.  He provided the sacrificial system for Israel to give them opportunity to change their hearts.  Sacrifices were meant to show them the cost of their sin and the fact that their sin impacted other aspects and lives in their world.  

Sadly, then and now, we would rather live independent of God and say sorry periodically–than to simply trust and follow him. He says to us, “Your cavalier apologies ring hollow without a change in heart or behavior.  I love you, my people, please simply obey–it is a far greater gift than any bull, lamb or bird you throw in a fire.”  

If we could grasp that principle in our lives, then we would begin to see his grace and power unleashed.  We would finally experience the abundant life he has provided.  Help me, Lord, to seek, follow and trust you–rather than say I’m sorry ten times a day.

God Bless You

“Listen, my people, and I will speak;
    I will testify against you, Israel:
    I am God, your God.
I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
    or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
    or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
    for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?

14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
    fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

Psalm 49–Why Should I Fear When Evil Days Come?

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We all grow up with a picture of how life is going to be.  In the midst of the journey; it is easy to be overcome with fear and depression.  The circumstances of life seem to favor those that are Godless and selfish–over those that are following the path and message of faith.  Still, the Psalmist understood as should we, that life is difficult, but God is awesome.  

The journey here is one that is both demanding and unpredictable.  Because we live in a fallen world, so much of life favors those that have no aspiration of loving God or walking with him.  Selfishness and survival mentality are very tempting models–and encouraged by the culture. Still,  the chosen stand out as we live a life worthy of the Gospel.  Those that follow the Lord leave lasting legacies and have full and purposeful lives.  They know that they have received the only true and lasting gift–eternal life in Heaven with God.  They also have His spirit to guide and encourage them here in this difficult but amazing journey.

While we are in this life, we are all destined to die–unless Christ returns. But, this life is a short part of an eternity yet to come.  We, who know him, brace for today, but, live for eternity.  As we do, we have to accept the challenges and trials this part brings; and, trust God to bring us through them and lead us home.

God Bless You

 
 

Why should I fear when evil days come,
    when wicked deceivers surround me—
those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of their great riches?
No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
    their dwellings for endless generations,
    though they had[c] named lands after themselves.

Psalms 48–To The Glory and Praise Of God The Father

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This weeks Psalms were a grouping of Psalms that honored God through Honoring His King, His Glory and Jerusalem his holy city. For us as his kids, we need to understand that It is God’s presence in each aspect of our lives that makes life full and meaningful–not the circumstances, things or events.

The Palmist was extolling God’s presence and impact on Israel during a mighty victory for the nation.  But, he might just as well have been extolling his greatness for his impact on the lives and legacies of his people. Israel was to be the nation of priests–teaching the world about God and his love for us.  Instead, they tried to be a nation of power and riches, forgetting they were to be the ones that unite, not the dividers.  Still, in the midst, they continued to glorify Him whenever they stood firm in faith and trusted him and honored him in their lives.

That principle still holds true.  When we honor God, He will be glorified in who we are, what we do and where we live.  Our life, talent and legacies will point back to Him and not to us.  Make no mistake, when God is honored–we to are blessed and honored.  He does that–but, when we make it about us and not about Him, everyone loses.  Paul said it best in Philippians 2, “Therefore God lifted him up to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every name. So, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow; in heaven, on earth and below the earth and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord–to the GLORY AND PRAISE OF GOD THE FATHER!”

God Bless You

Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
    in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Beautiful in its loftiness,
    the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon[b] is Mount Zion,
    the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels;
    he has shown himself to be her fortress.

When the kings joined forces,
    when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded;
    they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
    shattered by an east wind.

As we have heard,
    so we have seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
    in the city of our God:
God makes her secure
    forever.[c]

Psalm 47–PRAISE GOD

There are times when one simply has to simply praise God for who he is.  The Psalmist remain thankful and extol the joys of the great things God has done inn their lives.  But when one studies prayer as our conversations with God, we find 4 parts.  The first part, adoration, is simply praising God for Who he is. The second part, confession, is confession is admitting we fail and taking responsibility for those failures. The third part, thanksgiving, is giving God the credit for the things he has done in our lives and showing our appreciation. Finally, supplication is us bringing the needs of our heart to a God who stands ready to meet them.

We tend to forget the opportunities to adore and praise God for who he is. We say thanks, we confess our sin and we call out our needs–but when we take the time to remember how great God is, then it boosts our faith to trust him with our life and future.  God’s credibility is sound and in tact. He does not need our affirmation to be God. But if we focus on who he is and how what he has accomplished, it then take our focus off of ourselves and frees us up to trust him all the more.

Like the psalmist, we simply need to celebrate how great our God is and how He continues to meet our needs. We can never be too grateful or show our love and adoration to Him too much! We praise you Lord, simply because You are the great and mighty God!

God Bless You

Clap your hands, all you nations;
    shout to God with cries of joy.

For the Lord Most High is awesome,
    the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us,
    peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
    the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.[b]

God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
    the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing to him a psalm of praise.

God reigns over the nations;
    God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble
    as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings[c] of the earth belong to God;
    he is greatly exalted.

Psalm 46–A Mighty Fortress

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Sometimes things look awful.  Skies are black, storms raging, all security gone.  We look to the Lord with tears streaming and ask “What can I do my Lord?” It is in those times, that God is the most faithful.  He will calm the seas, he will shore up our defenses and he will be our fortress and our refuge.  That was how David, the man and king after God’s own heart; survived a life of trails and tribulation.

David faced giants, overwhelming odds, being hunted by the king. He unified a divided kingdom and led a nation into prominence.  Throughout his reign, he had troubles one after another–and, in his darkest times, David sought God faithfully. David knew that the trials draw us closer to God.  It is the times of plenty, where we become complacent and lose our focus with God. So, we treasure the storms because they allow us to see God as a fortress, shield and supplier of whatever our need.  Thanks, Lord–for being a great and mighty fortress.

God Bless You

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.