Psalm 22–Our Blessed Savior

Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm.  In short, it is a prophetical psalm of the sacrifice our Savior made for our lives. No one can truly understand the depth of sacrifice our Savior must have endured; until we realize that Christ did not dread the torture of his sacrifice.  Christ did not dread the actual physical death–no, he dreaded being separated from the Father! After an eternity of constant fellowship, Christ endured the spiritual separation from God that epitomizes hell.  In that separation–there was no rest, no end to suffering and no hope.  It was the truest emptiness anyone could endure.   

In that reality, our hope lies–we now need not live separated from God.  God demonstrated his love for us–in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. He endured the cross and the spiritual separation, so that we would not have to.  David articulated the emotional side of the sacrifice. But we can express the true joy of knowing he is our Savior. In this season where we celebrate his birth, only those who know him and understand why he was born that Christmas day; can truly embrace this gift as the real and greatest Christmas gift of all.

God Bless You

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.[b]

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.[c]
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”

Psalm 21 Part 2–God Our Protector

When We consider the hours we spend in fear, frustration and worries over how to treat those that would be our enemies, cause us grief and do evil to us…well, we should remember who is on our side.  King David remembered and though he had faced giants, scores of warriors and countless attacks upon his life and character–he looked to God as his protector and shield.  It was if he was actually saying–“You will have to deal with my dad–I do not think you are going to like it!”

God stands as our leader, our guide d our protector.  He grants peace–when nothing about the circumstance lends peace.  He grants safety–in the most perilous times.  He grants safe haven in the midst of the storm.  What’s more, he does it out of love and for no personal gain.  He, like any dad, is our protector, provider and mentor for life.  We simply have to trust him for who he is, and know he loves us for who and whose we are.  David’s son Solomon put it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your hart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

God Bless You

Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
    your right hand will seize your foes.
When you appear for battle,
    you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
    and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
    their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you
    and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
12 You will make them turn their backs
    when you aim at them with drawn bow.

13 Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
    we will sing and praise your might.

The Blessing–Psalm 20 Part 1

What a beautiful blessing from the King of a united Israel. As David wrote this blessing, he compiled the most important elements of life. He prayed God would hear us when we were in trouble. He prayed God would forgive us because of our sacrifices.  He asked that God would provide sanctuary when we needed His cover, and he would provide the support we needed and both fiscal and emotional.  Finally, he simply prayed God would bless our plans and give the desires of our heart.

I echo David’s prayer for each of you and ask our Lord to make the prayer real in each of your lives.

God Bless You

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 19 Part 2–The Irony of Freedom

One of the great ironies of life is–that if we choose to serve God and follow His plan, we will experience freedom. So many men have spent their lives striving to remain independent of God–thinking, that enjoying independence means freedom. Sadly, after it is too late, they realize that you have to serve someone…Self, money, pleasure, power, acceptance–all demand that one bow down to them. The primary difference between serving God and serving the world’s masters is simply that serving God allows him to grant freedom.

In this season of Thanksgiving for life, for salvation and for the ability to have choice–we must take a long hard look at who we are striving to serve.  After review, if it is not God–well, then you are doomed to a life of slavery and misery.  God’s plan is perfect! He gives purpose, direction, discernment and peace. Seek him, follow him and truly enjoy a life of purpose and freedom.  It is the most valuable treasure one can have!

God Bless You 

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19 Part 1–God’s Amazing Reminders

Throughout history, men have looked to various skills and methods–in an attempt to undervalue or undermine God.  From the time of the flood, sin and its self-sufficiency have driven men to build towers, fashion tools, copy beauty and otherwise make the sacred normal. Still, despite men’s efforts, God has continued to remind us that He is still the one in charge.
 
Each morning, as the sun rises, we are reminded that His beauty is supreme. Sunshine, flowers, the song of birds, the smells of trees or the air after rain–act as billboards reminding us that God is here and in control.  Men have made great gains to reproduce the effects of God’s nature; but, none have been able to reproduce the majesty, the resilience nor the absolute order of life and its symmetry.  
 
If we would simply trust God’s plan, enjoy his leadership and embrace the amazing freedom that comes from submitting to his lordship; then, each day would come as a reminder–that he loves us unconditionally.  He created the world for our enjoyment. He wants us to remember that the same God that places billions of sun size stars in the sky–pays equal attention to the detail in our lives. This Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful that God is here, He loves me, and He has given me the best from his creative hand!
 
God Bless You
 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Psalm 18 Part 2–God Treats Us Fairly–But, Also Mercifully

To be honest, I do not always want God to treat me according to my righteousness. David, in his younger days, was so excited about God protecting him according to his righteousness.  Still, in the end–I am so grateful that God is equally merciful and full of grace.  

There is a great sense of peace, when we submit to his leadership and follow his ways. David felt unstoppable.  He knew God would be there whatever the danger; whatever the need.  He also knew that God would deal with his enemies–their deceit and evil would haunt them and cause their demise. 

Still, in the midst of that, God looks at each of us and deals with us justly, but mercifully.  Like any father, he weighs the costs of our choices and allows us to walk through the trials and consequences. Still, he stays with us and so many times he grants us mercy–when none is deserved. David, in later years, would come to love God for his grace and mercy. He would stand as a broken man, but venerated king–all due to God’s grace.

During this week of Thanksgiving, as we count the many gifts we have been given, the greatest of them is God’s grace and mercy. Love that restored a broken relationship of hopelessness and death; to an eternity of love and life. I am so glad God meets me where I am–but with love and an open hand.

God Bless You

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

Psalm 18 Part 1–It is Not Wise To Mess With God’s Chosen

There David was, in the sights of Saul, his dreaded enemy–ready to be snatched up, killed and forever forgotten. Right then, as promised, God intervened.  Never too soon, never as a coincidence; God swooped in and clearly delivered his chosen king. If David was anything like me, until that moment, he was still concerned, if not terrified–that God might not make it, this time. 

Then as only He can, God showed up and saved the day.  David and his men delivered; Saul and his army baffled and confused. David was still a wanted man, Saul was still determined to end David’s life. However, for that day, God swooped in and was the deliverer, warrior and all-around superhero.

Christians must also see that in our own journey.  There is simply not a day that we are not in peril. The world hates God and anyone that wears his name. The enemy–Satan, has, since the beginning, wanted nothing more than to defeat and defame God.  He constantly looks for ways to use us–to poke, prod and undermine God. So, in any given moment, we like David–may need God’s deliverance. When the time is right, God will swoop in and do what needs to be done.  

It is never the permanent fix–because this is a journey.  Circumstances will always change–but, God does not! He calls us to trust him, follow him and be patient–to allow him to transform us into the battle hardened warriors he has called us to be.  We can do so knowing that–He who calls us is faithful; and he will do it!(I Thessalonians 5:24)

God Bless You

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.

Psalm 17 Part 2–The Apple of God’s Eye

One simply does not mess with the “Apple of Daddy’s Eye”!  That is what the enemy and the world seemed to have forgotten in David’s day, and still forgets this day!  David was God’s beloved King.  Saul had been Israel’s first King–but God used the people’s criteria–“We want a King like everyone else!” Saul was a king like every other. Selfish, Godless and corrupt.

 

Conversely, David was a man after God’s own heart–He was truly the apple of God’s eye.  From Goliath forward, David wanted nothing more than to please God, and be his man for Israel. Because of that, God protected, prepared and provided for him–until David was the king of a mighty and united Israel.  He was chased by the finest of every adversary; including Saul and Absalom–his own son. Still, He was a beloved, prosperous king to the end of his days.

 
God calls us to trust and follow him. As we do, like David, we become the apple of God’s eye.  He will do for us exactly what he did for the mighty King of Israel–protect, prepare and provide for us.  So, as we go into the week of Thanksgiving, we need to determine whether we want to be the King like everyone else (Saul) or the Apple of our Heavenly Father’s eye (David).  Just call me “Honey Crisp!!!”
 
God Bless You

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me.

10 They close up their callous hearts,
    and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
    with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
    like a fierce lion crouching in cover.

13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,

Psalm 17 Part 1–The Right Guy Seeking the Great God

David made a decision early on knowing– that to be God’s anointed, he had to trust God, and also, be the man God called him to be.  David, as a young man, sought God with his whole heart! David chased God as if on a romantic quest.  He trusted God to the point that he was willing to face Goliath with nothing more than sling and stones.  David was able to come to God with a clear conscience and an expectant heart.

David knew God looked at the hearts of men.  God looked for a king without malice or deceit. God wanted a leader that was honest, trustworthy and intimately familiar with living a life of faith.  David was that man.  David, by God’s own word, was a man after His heart.  He was not perfect–in fact, he made some huge gaffs! Despite his failures and their consequence; David’s heart remained pure to the end of his days, and his trust changed Israel forever.

Inn our lives, we need to seek God with the same purity and faith.  We need to face each day comfortable with God examining our hearts.  We need to come to him with the same faith a child comes to their parent. We have to know that, like David, God loves us and wants for us a full and meaningful–purposeful life.  If we will trust him and allow him to lead; we can withstand whatever the world throws at us, and still walk with our hearts and hands raised to the one God–who loves us and gave himself for us!!!

God Bless You

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
    listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
    it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you;
    may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
    my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me.

Psalms 16–“How Do I Love Thee…”

In the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo asks the question–“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” David poses the similar thought in Psalm 16, “Why do I serve Our God? let me count the reasons…”

While it should be enough that God, “I AM” is God, He offers so much more. He is our refuge, our master and everything within us and around us that is good and of true value–comes from God.  Unlike the God’s created by men–our God does not want our trinket-like sacrifices, He wants our hearts, trust and devotion.  In exchange, like any loving dad, he provides for our needs. In addition, he protects us from the outside onslaughts that are the spiritual war.  He gives us a home and he gives us rest. He also gives us peace and security; and, finally, He even gives us the joy of our salvation.

We, like David, need to embrace the gift we have been given, and look to others as mentors–who have done the same. Ours is not to question God’s methods or plans; ours is to trust and follow Him.  As we do, we cannot help but treasure all that our God provides. “How do I love thee–Lord, truthfully, the ways are countless!”

God Bless You

Keep me safe, O God,
    for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
    Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in the land
    are my true heroes!
    I take pleasure in them!
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
    I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
    or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
    You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
    What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.[b]
    My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead[c]
    or allow your holy one[d] to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever.[e]