Psalm 51–Owning our Choices

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

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?

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

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

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.

Psalm 44-When God’s Power Is Only in Stories

One of the signs that it is time to renew our commitment to the Lord, is when our only recollection of His goodness and grace are the stories from our ancestors.  As the people of Israel walked with God, they saw Him literally clear the nation of so many different tribes and peoples that listing them grew outrageous. Still, as they grew comfortable in their new home; they lost sight of the personal relationship God had with his people.  

The result was devastating, and the Israelite people lost everything they had gained. They were scattered and exiled away.  Soon, the only memories of his power, were the traditions and stories passed down generation after generation.  There were no personal victories; no stories of real power in their lives…

God wants to keep it real and keep it fresh. He reminds us that if we will seek him and trust him he will direct our paths, give us our heart’s desire, and lead us through the world’s mess and into an eternal life with him. It is not an easy journey; it is not without trial and temptation. If we will trust him, however, he will make our lives amazing and our walks with him–personal and full of love and his glory.  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

We have heard it with our ears, O God;
    our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days,
    in days long ago.
With your hand you drove out the nations
    and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
    and made our ancestors flourish.
It was not by their sword that they won the land,
    nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face, for you loved them.

You are my King and my God,
    who decrees[c] victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies;
    through your name we trample our foes.
I put no trust in my bow,
    my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
    you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name forever.[d]

Psalm 42 & 43–The Unquenchable Desire for God

In our relationship with God, there comes a point that we see our desire for God–become a need.  We obviously need God. Without God, we are separated from eternal life, and, we are entrapped in a culture of selfish destruction–where no one seeks anything, but personal desire and agenda.

When one is in tune with God; when your heart beats as one with him, then, when you face a day or a situation where God becomes distant, it is physically difficult to go on.  It is a thirst for life that only God can fill.  Many try to become independent from God.  They seek all types of alternatives other than seeking him–tragically, it does not quench the ravenous thirst that is left by the distance from God.

We are formed in his image, and he wants nothing more than to fill any gaps and meet the desires of our heart.  He, literally, is only one prayer away.  If we will seek Him; then He will meet us and meet our needs.  As we commune with Him; we experience a deep satisfaction. It is the same satisfaction one receives after drinking a cool glass of water on a scorching hot day.  God wants to fill us–he wants to give us the desires of our heart.  We have to seek him and allow him to lead–then, we will experience His amazing power and love.

God Bless You

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

Psalm 41–Be the Minister, Not the Judge

One of the great mistakes we make, as people of faith, is–not treating others with the same regard, that God has treated us.  Before God, we are completely transparent and vulnerable.  He has seen our deepest thoughts and our vilest acts; and still he loves us. Romans 5:8 says it best, “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”  

Still, when we experience so great a salvation; often, we allow his grace to somehow change the perception that we are now better, privileged and even somewhat superior to those sinners! Jesus told several parables illustrating the futility of that line of misconception.  The tax collector and pharisee in the temple,(Luke 18:9-14) the wicked servant (Matthew 18:21-35) that harassed his colleague over $20.00; are just two profiles of how we get proud of his grace in our lives.

David says it best! We are most blessed when we take the energy used to judge and marginalize others; and, simply use it to serve and encourage them. The great God of our universe; who created, planned and leads us–has the role of ultimate judge.  He will choose whom he wants to assist him in that role. Unless given said assignment, he tells us to be the ones to show the grace, mercy and love that he demonstrates for us. Each one of us, like David, may find ourselves on a given day; as loathed and ridiculed by the very folks we looked to for support. Be kind, merciful and Godly–like the King after God’s own heart!

God Bless You

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
    the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
The Lord protects and preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
    and restores them from their bed of illness.

I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die and his name perish?”
When one of them comes to see me,
    he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
    then he goes out and spreads it around…

10 But may you have mercy on me, Lord;
    raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me,
    for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 Because of my integrity you uphold me
    and set me in your presence forever.

13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Psalms 40–He is Worth the Wait

Through the years, God has shown himself to be faithful. While circumstances change, God always remains true, and he listens to the cry of his own. There are times when we feel that we are alone and not going to make it, but, then God reaches in and fishes us out of the depths and replants us on solid ground.

David faced several periods of his life that seemed as though he was abandoned and alone.  Yet, in the midst of his darkest points, God appeared and restored him. He knew that God was faithful; even when David had not been.  David held on to the truth that we simply have to trust God and allow him to do things in his way and in his time.  That is a difficult truth and a worthy discipline.  If we will trust God wholeheartedly–as David did, then we will see God do amazing things. 

We only have to trust him, follow him and, like David, allow God to place us back on the solid ground.  Then we too can sing our praise to the mighty God we serve.

God Bless You

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare