Posted in Devotions

Psalm 37 Part 2–God’s Chosen are Separate

God will not forsake His own.  This Psalm is a tribute to David’s lifelong pursuit of God.  He experienced many difficult days.  There were many times that He did not know if he and his men would make it. Later in his reign, Her faced some hard consequences and almost lost the kingdom to his rebellious son.  Still as David looked back, he remembered that God did not forsake His own.

We must trust God not to forsake us either.  We will face difficult times and during them, we will be tempted to lose our faith in God and try to fix things on our own.  That usually ends badly and our suffering increases.  David reminds us to continue to trust God to remain consistent in His character. Further, we must wait on Him to protect and provide.  David encourages us to seek God and watch Him carry us through to the end.

It is not an easy journey.  Life has so many twists and pitfalls.  God promises us that He will deliver us and guide us all the way to eternity if we will only trust Him.  Like King David, we can trust the Lord to complete His work in our lives.  We must not give up when we are so close to eternity. 

Paul said it best in Philippians 3, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

God Bless You

Better the little that the righteous have
    than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
    and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
    in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,

    but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
    their children will be a blessing.[b]

27 Turn from evil and do good;
    then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,

    and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
    their feet do not slip…

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
    a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
    there will be no future[e] for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 37 Part 1 Delight in the Lord

Though the world seems to win more than we do, God’s people have to remember that God is still in charge.  The world is living for the day, while we, as God’s chosen, are living for eternity.  David reminds us in this psalm that we have to rest in the Lord and make him our source of peace and delight.  Like us, David was recognizing that it is hard not to feel jealous of the world.  They seem to have it so much easier.  Their selfishness suits them.  They spend their resources and time on pleasing themselves, and as such, always seem to have whatever they want.

We, on the other hand are living for the lord.  It seems like nothing comes easy and success is always just out of reach.  What David  reminds us is that our heart and focus needs to be on Heaven and on the Lord.  If the Lord is indeed our focus and our delight, we will not be disappointed.  It is so difficult, however, to live in this world and not long to have the things this world offers.  But, God wants us to live for eternity.  He wants us to have our hearts and focus on what is eternal.  If we will, He will meet our needs and also give us the things to prepare us for eternity, where our real home is found.

God Bless You.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
    though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous
    and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
    and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
    and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
    than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 36–The Distinction Between God and Men

David draws a distinction between the evilness of men and the greatness of a God that loves His chosen.  Men are evil.  They are self-centered and self absorbed. They have no respect for God or other people.  from the moment that they wake up to the last thoughts before sleep, men plot and do whatever they can to benefit themselves.  

God is the opposite.  He loves His own.  He seeks to bless and protect them. He stands as their refuge, their fortress in the midst of trials.  He loves beyond measure and shows grace and patience for us.  He gave His only Son so that we might have life.  Truly, there is no comparison to the greatness of our God and the awfulness of men.

In our lives, several thousand years later, The distinction still remains.  Men, through the years, have continued to be sinful and awful.  They are still self-centered and self absorbed.  Most of our phones are full of “Selfies.”  We take great care to build our “profiles”  so that we appear all together and great beyond measure. 

God, on the other hand, still loves us and offers salvation and a full, purposeful, and meaningful life. He does not require our perfection to save us. Instead, He simply requires our trust and submission to His plan.  Like David, we only need to look to the Lord for leadership and guidance.  As we do, He will save us and transform us into people ready for eternity with Him.  Thankfully, God is patient and will take a lifetime to love and guide us to truth.  The Lord only asks that we trust Him and follow.  He will do the rest.

God Bless You

I have a message from God in my heart
    concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:[b]
There is no fear of God
    before their eyes.

In their own eyes they flatter themselves

    too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
    they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
    they commit themselves to a sinful course
    and do not reject what is wrong.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
    your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 May the foot of the proud not come against me,
    nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 See how the evildoers lie fallen—
    thrown down, not able to rise!

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 35 Part 1–God, You Take Charge!

In this Psalm, David seems to be at his wits end.  He had striven to walk with God and still all the world seemed to be after him.  Theologians think this was written either while David was on the run from Saul or when there was constant strife at the end of David’s reign.  In either case, David finally lays down on God’s alter all the outcomes.  In effect, David says, “I am tired of trying to be crafty, strong, and in control.  You God be the sword, the shield, the armor, the strategist, and whatever else You need to be.  

As life would have it, it is in those times when we are out of answers that God takes over.  When God is in charge, He speaks clearly and leads wonderfully.  David knew that better than anyone.  God had protected, prepared, and provided for young David from the beginning, and he carried David through every sort of trial imaginable.  Some of David’s trials were self-inflicted, while others were ways God set the king apart making him the greatest king in Israel’s history.  

Despite David’s sin and failures, he never wavered from that faith and dependence upon God.  It was his continued dependence that allowed God to bless David throughout his reign.  God even used the failures in His life to bless Israel.  It was, after all, Bathsheba’s son Solomon that God used to build the temple and solidify Israel as a nation.  

It was that line that directly funneled down to Jesus’ lineage.  In Jesus lineage, we also see Tamar that slept with her father-in-law to be able to carry on the line.  We see Rahab the harlot from Jerico, Ruth the poor Midianite daughter-in-law of Naomi and Mary the virgin mom.  If one was making up the lineage of the savior of the world, one can be sure it would not contain so many people with difficult stories.

The common link, then and now, is that God was in charge and executed His plan flawlessly. We, like David, must come to the end of ourselves and look to God to carry us through.  Our many weaknesses and failures cannot define us. Our relationship with God is what will define us; and as such, our heart and passion must be focused upon Him.  David was frustrated.  His life never went as smoothly as he would have liked.  But, in the end, that life was marked by a faith and love for God that branded King David as a man after God’s own heart.  In my thinking, it does not get any better than that.

God Bless You

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord.
    I will be glad because he rescues me.
10 With every bone in my body I will praise him:
    “Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
    Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 34 Part 2–Reverence and Blessing

The second half of Psalm 34 is David’s guide to living in God’s favor.  The bottom line, show God your heart and give the Lord the reverence He is due.  God is watching.  He never promised a problem free life. In fact, Jesus told His disciples just prior to the cross, that in this world there would be trouble.  He followed, however with “Take Heart, I have overcome the world!” John 16:33.

We live lives that have all kinds of issues.  It is easy to lose heart and focus.  When we do we turn to our own devices to solve problems and find in fact that it is impossible to do life on our own.  Then as we submit to God and His leadership, He carries us through.  In the psalm, David makes that distinction.

If we will trust and follow God, He will meet our needs, prepare our hearts, and protect us from our enemies.

If, on the other hand, one trusts in their own power and wisdom to survive the circumstances never end well, and the attitude of independence separates us from His patience and protection.  

It all goes back to Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things, (Food, clothing, shelter protection and peace) will be added to You. Help me Lord, I want to trust you, follow you, and glorify you in all that I do!

God Bless You

Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 34 Part 1–God is In Charge EVEN on “Those Days!”

Have You Ever Had One of Those Days.  David Had Many.  In the days following Samuel’s ​anointing of David, the young king lived on the edge of death from his father-in-law, Saul.  At first it was subtle, but soon David was on the run and marked as a fugitive.  Jonathan understood, but the rest thought David a traitor and enemy.  God had been kind to preserve David, but there were days when it seemed all hope was lost.

This psalm was written after one of those days.  David was captured and brought before an enemy king.  The king knew David as a warrior and a killer of the enemy’s men.  Still, as David feigned insanity, God allowed the enemy king to spare David and let the fugitive king and his men run free.  Afterword, David memorialized God’s greatness.  David did not memorialize his own craftiness or acting skills; for David knew God and recognized God’s hand in all situations.

In our lives, we face weeks that seem absolutely hopeless. Sickness, tragedy, financial or professional disappointments all lead us to fear and worry.  Still, if we can continue to trust God in the difficult times, we will see God’s hand in our provision and protection.  It is rarely easy, and sometimes people will think us crazy. When we walk by faith and seek the Lord’s plan, God will not leave us wanting.  Then as we see our Father deliver, we must point back to the Lord for that deliverance and not get proud of our own craftiness or skill.

God is great and He loves us as His chosen.  We can never lose hope, nor can we give in to the fear that would tell us differently.

God Bless You

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 33 Part 2–A King’s Dependence on God

During his reign, David built and commanded a mighty fighting force.  He defeated all the enemies that would try to rule Israel.  David, himself was a mighty warrior.  God had raised him up to defeat Goliath as the first of so many that fell before the warrior king.

Still, David knew that every victory he was able to claim came directly from the hand of God. David was not fooled into believing it was his own might or craftiness that led to Israel’s place of prominence.  David spent way too many days hidden behind mountains and in caves to think he was the great deliverer.

David gave all the credit for Israel’s might and prominence to God’s mighty hand.  Additionally, this king scoffed at leaders that placed their hopes in military might or strategy.  David called on God as his leader and followed God into battle in the best and worst moments.  

That is why, during David’s reign, that Israel knew peace for the 1st time since the judges ruled Israel.

God calls us to trust Him as David trusted Him.  Victory will never come by our might, wealth, or influence. Victory will always follow our humble dependence on God.  We must continue in prayer, even when all hope is seemingly lost to experience God’s power and deliverance.  David would remind us that God does His best work when we recognize our inability to continue in our own power.

We must treasure and cling to our faith in times of prosperity and in times of extreme need.  God has faithfully shown us His ability to deliver from all circumstances; if we will allow Him to lead.  Like David, God only asks that we not fall prey to the lie that we have somehow brought victory by our power or our wisdom.  That lie leads to false pride and false hope.  Both of those will ultimately end in very real defeat and destruction.

God Bless You

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 33–How Great God Truly Is

David reminds us how great that our God truly is.  We need to celebrate God’s power, His authority, His creativity and His love for us.  David tells us that as we celebrate God we are only doing what makes sense.  After all, God created the universe.  He created the earth, the oceans, the amazing landscape, and all creatures great and small.

Not only did God create it all, He also runs all things.  Nothing that happens escapes God’s vision or plan.  As such, we owe God our reverence as we walk and serve Him each day.  It is no small task to administer this world and culture.  It takes God’s great restraint to allow the enemy to do what he does on our earth.  Still God knows the plan and will intervene when the time is complete.  

We need to praise and celebrate God, but we also need to honor and worship Him.  He has given us life, redemption and a promise of eternity in His presence. In exchange, we simply are called to accept HIs gift of salvation and submit to God’s authority and leadership.

It is only fitting that we realize How great our God truly is.  Once we make that recognition, we cannot help but praise and honor Him.

God Bless You

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 32–The Redemption Story

This psalm is a celebration.  David was thrilled because He had squared his accounts with God.  David had committed some pretty serious sin.  It took the prophet Nathan to confront the king for David to finally admit his sin and repent. 

After that, he took back his kingdom and served God and Israel for many years.  The difference between David and Saul, David’s predecessor, was that Saul had too much pride and independence to repent when he sinned against God.

Romans 3:23 states, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” God knew that inevitability. What many have failed to realize is that God’s desire to have a relationship with us has reached back to the beginning. Christ’s sacrifice, “the gift of God” was our final redemption, but God always had a desire to forgive and restore.  When men’s hearts were turned to the Lord, He accepted their hearts and provided a chance to continue to walk with Him. Romans 6:23

Today we need only ask Christ into our lives to receive that salvation. Still, even as redeemed children of God, we need to confess our sin and keep our accounts up to date.  Failure to do so builds a wall between us and the Lord. 

It is silly really. God knows everything we do.  He does not miss our sin. We confess for our benefit. admitting we are not perfect or in control.  “When we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”  I John 1:9

That was the joy that David was proclaiming, and it is the joy we can also experience by simply burying our pride and admitting our sin.  Then and only then we will be blessed.

God Bless You

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit, there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Posted in Devotions

Psalm 31–Allowing God to Be our Refuge

David, the king after God’s own heart, was like many of us.  He saw God do amazing things.  He trusted God and allowed the Lord to use him to unite the kingdom. Davidd also led Israel to a place of honor among the nations. 

Still, we often forget that a great deal of David’s life was spent dealing with adversity.  From the time he entered king Saul’s service, David encountered various trials and tribulations.  Some of them were out of David’s control, while others were due to David’s own sin and arrogance.  In either case, David had the presence of mind to repent, turn and accept God’s lead no matter the cost.  

As one studies David’s life, it becomes clear that he was a good man that made bad choices.  Still, even when David screwed up, he always faced God and repented.  God honored David’s faithfulness and used David to establish Israel as a real kingdom.

In our lives, we want to be like David.  We want to be people after God’s own heart.  Our enemy and the world culture want us to fail, and both encourage us to operate independent of God’s leadership. The irony, however, comes when, if we do fail, the world and the enemy are the first to point fingers and accuse is of being hypocrites.  

Like David, our best hope is to face God openly and honestly.  I John 1:9 teaches us that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us of our unrighteousness.  God did that with David, and He will do that for us.  We only need to trust God and seek the Lord with all our hearts.  Upon submitting to the Lord, God will be our refuge, strength, provision, and fortress.  We will be able to rest in God who will faithfully sanctify us and use us to further His plan.

God Bless You

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
    rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
    a strong fortress to save me!

For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

I hate[a] those who pay regard to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
    because you have seen my affliction;
    you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
    you have set my feet in a broad place.