Psalm 148–Let All Creation Praise The Lord

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As the book of Psalms is coming to an end, Psalm 148-150, all remind us that God is the center of the universe, not men. In Psalm 148, the psalmist literally cries out-“If God made you, then praise Him.” Whether the heavenly host, or the grandest creation–praise the God that created you. Whether you are a king or a pauper, praise the God that gave you life. Whether the most domestic of creatures, or the wildest of beasts-give God the praise He deserves.

Acknowledging God for who He is; is the single most important act we can do. It is important to thank God for what He has done for us, but, it is even more important to remember that God is God and we are not. We need to confess with our mouths that He is Lord! Then, we will gladly thank Him for what He has done. We will seek Him, and return if we walk away. We will ask for our needs and expect Him to provide, prepare and protect us in this chaotic journey. Amazingly simple, yet, exceedingly difficult–we must daily surrender the Lordship of our life to the Creator and Master of the universe–Our Father, God!!!

God Bless You

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
    old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,[b]
    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 147–Why do We Praise Him?

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The psalmist answers the burning question on the mind of his readers–“Why are you so devoted to this God of Israel?” In a word, because God does it all. He created the Earth, He built a nation of priests to draw the world back to relationship with him. He gave his people the Law and a land that they could prosper and grow in. He gave them grace and mercy when they forsook him. While God allowed them to experience the independence from Him, and the exile that followed–He brought them back and restored them. He gave them the law–the basis of law all over the free world. Mostly, He sent his Son to restore what sin had so brutally ripped away.

Why do we praise God–see above. Without God and His handiwork, we would be dead and scattered. There would be no purpose, no hope and no reason to expect anything but pain and death. We would be atrocious and selfish; and the life we lived would have no meaning or purpose.  As with the psalmist–God has shown Himself faithful time and again.  He loves us and wants nothing more than for us to have a full and meaningful life here and eternity with Him in Heaven. That is clearly reason enough to praise Him. 

God Bless You

Praise the Lord.[a]

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.[b]

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 146–God is Faithful Forever

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As David became older, he saw both victory and defeat. He saw great and wonderful days as well as dark and desperate times. He had men that were loyal to the death, and others that betrayed him at first chance. What David realized; was that the world was a difficult place, and apart from God, a hopeless existence.

David, however, was not apart from God. David followed him all his life. Throughout those hills and valleys, God remained faithful, kind, loving, supportive and strong. David saw God fight countless battles for him. David knew, in those times when he seemed most alone–God was there big and bold. David also knew that as God had remained faithful throughout his past; He would remain faithful throughout the future for both David and his people.  That was God’s nature.

It is also God’s nature to remain faithful to us. He is there to celebrate our victories and to embrace us in our most  difficult times. He is our strength, shield and friend when the world abandons us.  He is truly with us at every turn, so we will not feel abandoned.  He loves us like none other and is transforming us into people that have purpose and an eternal perspective. As we follow him, it becomes clear  that God is truly faithful forever.

God Bless You 

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,

Psalm 145 Part 2–The ABC’s Of Praise Continued

Our God is AMAZING

His Love is BOUNDLESS

He is the CREATOR of all things

God is DYNAMIC

His Love is EVERLASTING

His ways are FABULOUS

GOD is GREAT and GREATLY to be praised

God Loves us with all His HEART

God is INVINCIBLE

God is the master of JUSTICE

God is KIND

God is LOVE

God is MAJESTIC

God NEVER NEVER fails

God is OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT and OMNIPRESENT

God is PATIENT

God never QUITS

God’s Love is RIGOROUS

God is STEADFAST

God is our TREASURE

Gods Grace is UNLIMITED

God’s mercy is VOLUMONOUS

God always WINS

God loves us  XTRA (OK a stretch)

God YEARNS for his chosen

God loves us ZEALOUSLY

God Bless You

Psalm 145–The ABC’s of Praise

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David authored this psalm as an acrostic.  In the Hebrew each thought covers a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While, one cannot spot the structure, the systematic praise is a wonder.  David thoughtfully expressed his love, admiration and devotion to the passion of his life; and in the process showed a depth and expanse that made him “The man after God’s own heart.” 

As one meditates on this song, it is impossible to do so without refocusing on the greatness and kindness of our God.  Each of us should follow David’s lead, and make a list of things we admire about God. In the process, remember the trick is dwelling on who God is, and the way his person and character has touched your life.  This is a bit of a quiz, so please send responses; using at least 10 letters. If you can complete the alphabet, then all the better.  I will post some responses in the days ahead, so please dive in!

God Bless You

I will exalt you, my God the King;
    I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
    and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.[c]
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
    Let every creature praise his holy name
    for ever and ever.

Psalm 144–On God Does It All

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The character of God, like any father, wants the best for His own.  David recognized as the King, that God had uniquely prepared him and his people to be the nation of Israel. From inception, God led and trained his people. He protected them from their enemies, he provided for their needs, He blessed their lives, their children, their lands and their heritage.  As King, David personally saw God meet the nations needs, desires and hopes. He could not praise God enough–because God bless the King and the nation.

It starts at the beginning, he loves and nurtures us, then as we grow he leads and trains us. As time continues he stands as our rock, our fortress, our provider and our healer–seeking to meet His children’s needs and make them invincible to any enemy.  As we continue to follow Him, God completes our lives, gives us purpose and gives us His spirit to guide us. He has prepared a home for us for eternity–and we, His kids need only trust and follow him.

David knew it, and we can see it–God is all-powerful, all-knowing and in all-places and times at once. He has prepared from the beginning, a full and amazingly meaningful life for those who would trust and follow him.  

God Bless You

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    my fingers for battle.
He is my loving God and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples[a] under me.

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
    mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;
    touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;
    shoot your arrows and rout them.
Reach down your hand from on high;
    deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
    from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
    whose right hands are deceitful.

I will sing a new song to you, my God;
    on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
    who delivers his servant David.

Psalm 143–Thanks For Listening

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David was definitely having a week.  As he was writing this psalm, one can hear the desperation. Saul was hunting him like a vile traitor, he had disparaged him to the kingdom and swore to wipe him off the planet. David was on the run, hiding and hoping to see each day’s new sunrise.  In the midst of that scenario, David knew he needed God and his presence like his body needed water.

Dehydration kills people so much more quickly than does starvation. Our body simply shuts down without fluids. What is worse, being thirsty is not always the symptom–confusion, lethargy, hunger and stomach sickness are often the signs.  Spiritually, David feared the same. He was afraid that without God’s presence he would grow faint and die. God was not a convenience–no he was the most vital life force for the beloved king.

We should seek that level of relationship with our Lord.  Depending upon God for the very essence of our spiritual life–that is what He is willing to be. God was never about doing religious acts. God has repeatedly reminded His chosen–that He only wants us to trust Him and allow Him to transform our lives into something amazing. God leads, God builds and God completes us–we simply have to allow the spiritual hydration.  Without Him we remain dry and confused doomed to spiritually dehydrate. But, do not worry, God is listening and ready to quench our spiritual thirst!

God Bless You

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant

Psalm 142–Really God, In a Cave?!

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One of the famous stories in Samuel, is of David being on the run from Saul. While David was hidden in a cave, Saul enters that cave to go to the bathroom. While Saul is hard at it, David sneaks up cuts a swath of of the king’s clothes–but, then allows Saul to leave unharmed. Later, David confronts Saul, and shows him that he spared the king’s life–shocked, the king leaves and allows David to make his next escape.  

This psalm was written in the cave.  David is literally composing a song describing his frustration of being surrounded, alone and living as a fugitive–for trusting the Lord. I can only imagine the depth of despair David must have felt, as his hunter was within inches of him! YET, as he cried out for the Lord’s help, the Lord had again delivered. I am sure that in later years, David remembered God’s grace–but right then, he was feeling abandoned.

We also face life events that seem totally hopeless and painful. We feel alone and abandoned wondering if God is real, or if we are simply using religion as a crutch. Then, what seems to be a hopeless situation, turns into a miracle of grace; and God–yes, God gets the glory, as it should be.  We never know how God is working His plan in our lives, we simply trust that He is. God has big shoulders and can bear our hurt feelings, but, He will remain faithful–even when doubt Him!

God Bless You

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me.

Psalm 141–God as Sentry and Mentor

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David knew God was so much more than the creator and master of the universe.  He knew God wanted to keep it personal with his chosen. He would not only stand as Sentry for the nation, He would also stand as Mentor for the king.  David needed more than a national protector of his kingdom–he needed a personal protector for his heart and life.

David calls for God to guard his heart, his mouth and his life.  David knew that there would always be those that sought to destroy him; but, he also knew that on any given day, that he could say or do something that would make their job easy. So as a wise man and king, he sought God in his personal life to lead, guide and protect him from his enemies, and his own sinful nature.

We need to allow God to be Lord of all aspects of our lives as well. Sure, it is easy to seek him as provider and as protector; but, we also need him as our mentor, our master and our Lord.  We have to seek God’s word and allow Him to guard our hearts, our mouths and our lives. As we do, God will make us the best we can be, straighten our paths, fill our spirits and meet our needs.  That is why He is God!  Jesus said it best, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God Bless You

I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
    hear me when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
    may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
    and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.
They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth,
    so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”

But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord;
    in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers,
    from the snares they have laid for me.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
    while I pass by in safety.

Psalm 140–Our Ultimate Weapon and Shield

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The plotting minds of those who do evil are constantly spinning and planning their next attack.  They are self-driven and self-absorbed and see everything as a win/loss scenario.  In their mind, as long as they come out on top; then those that may lose or get harmed, should have simply tried harder.  Those were the enemies of King David.  Their entire lives were filled with plotting and planning to destroy him. They were always watching and always waiting for any opportunity to dethrone and destroy him.

Conversely, David had but one weapon in his arsenal…God! God was his shield, his fortress, his strength, his deliverer. Since his boyhood, David knew that God alone was in charge and in power.  He witnessed God’s protection against lions, bears, giants, enemy troops, rogue kings and countless other forces that would seek to defeat him. Still, in the midst of the daily attacks, trials and temptations–it was always God that met the needs of His beloved king.

That same God is our weapon and arsenal. He still loves to serve as His people’s fortress, shield, strength and provision. He gives courage in fearful times. He gives clarity in the midst of confusion. He gives the weapons we need to face any enemy, great or small–always with love, and always on time. The world’s tools and weapons are ever evolving. Technology to meet any circumstance is showing up in stores, on apps and in our lives. We can rest assured, however, that there will never be a tool more complete nor answer more perfect–than the Lord God Almighty who loves us, and only wants what is best for us.

God Bless You

Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers;
    protect me from the violent,
who devise evil plans in their hearts
    and stir up war every day.
They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
    the poison of vipers is on their lips.[b]

Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    protect me from the violent,
    who devise ways to trip my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a snare for me;
    they have spread out the cords of their net
    and have set traps for me along my path.

I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
    Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy.
Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer,
    you shield my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord;
    do not let their plans succeed.

Those who surround me proudly rear their heads;
    may the mischief of their lips engulf them.
10 May burning coals fall on them;
    may they be thrown into the fire,
    into miry pits, never to rise.
11 May slanderers not be established in the land;
    may disaster hunt down the violent.

12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor
    and upholds the cause of the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will praise your name,
    and the upright will live in your presence.