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 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 31–A Mighty Fortress is our God

David, the king, spent his early life as a warrior, a fugitive and a battling leader. He faced  giants, onslaughts, betrayals and extreme loneliness.  There were times, while on the run, that Saul passed within feet of him. While things often seemed dire; David continued to trust God.  He walked with him daily.  He made his fears and requests known to God–even on the days he “felt” like nobody was listening. Still, in the midst of it all–God was listening.  When David needed–God provided.

Like none other–David saw God’s hand in all aspects of his life.  In his amazing victories, in his stunning losses–God was there! During the great celebrations and when he was running for his life–God was there. No one would have ever been able to sway David from the truth–God personally cares and is there for His chosen.

Same story for us.  we are his as well.  He cares for us with the same intensity as he did for David. When we finally grasp that we are a part of the nation of priests, then we can dance with joy knowing he is our fortress, strength and our Father! Like David–we must call out knowing he will hear our pleas and meet our needs. He IS almighty, He IS all-knowing and He is committed to us and our needs.

God Bless You

How great is the goodness
    you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
    blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
    safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
    far from accusing tongues.

21 Praise the Lord,
    for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
    He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
22 In panic I cried out,
    “I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
    and answered my call for help.

23 Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
    For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
    but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
24 So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord!

How Great Thou Art–Psalm 29

God is neither timid, nor is he reserved. The world is on a mission to undermine and minimize God’s presence in the world and in our culture–but, the reality is, that our God will not be silenced.  The universe cries out in its beauty and vastness, “God is great and greatly to be praised.” The irony being–that science continues to discover and expose how amazing the universe is–even though it has contempt for God. Still, as they do, they only confirm God’s power and His amazing creativity.

The lightning and thunder that streaks across the sky–reaffirms that there is one so much greater than us.  We need to quit trying to figure God out–and simply trust him.  We, need to give credit where it is due and praise God, follow God, and do what he says. Clearly, he has the power to back up what he says.  While God is powerful–he loves us and treats us as his children; leading and guiding us to truth and eternal life.  Like the old Hymn proclaims, “When Christ shall come–with shouts of acclamation, oh what joy shall fill my heart! Then I will bow in humble adoration; and there proclaim,’MY GOD HOW GREAT THOU ART!'” 

God Bless You

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings[a];
    honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
    The God of glory thunders.
    The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
    the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
    he makes Mount Hermon[b] leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks[c]
    and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”

10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
    The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace.

Psalm 9 Part 1–God, Our Shield and Fortress

When one stops and considers how active God is in our lives, it is awe inspiring.  We as a people need to recognize the great things God has done for us, and how he has preserved us in the midst of this chaotic world.  It is no secret that through his love and sacrifice–God has restored our ability to walk with him and have fellowship with him. He has freed us from sin and death.  We are his chosen, and are secure behind his shield and fortress.

Our enemies–in the world, and in the spiritual realm, cannot defeat God.  They are useless against him.  So, as we follow his lead–we watch as he devastates them, and clears a path for us.  He protects us in our journey.  He provides for us as we move forward. We see his hand in our lives each day and in various aspects–simply, to remind us, that he will always be there. He loves us and hates those that hate us–He is on our side! Those who choose to stand against us–truly stand against him! That is a place no one longs to be!

God Bless You

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
    they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 7 Part 2-Trust Me, God Distinguishes Good from Evil

Just because God is merciful and shows grace, it does not mean He will not judge the behavior of men.  In truth, It is going to be a very difficult day when men stand before God in judgement.  What is more, God will care and prepare for his chosen, but he will allow life to do a number on those that choose to walk independent of him.

In addition to his lack of protection, God has shown throughout time he does visit judgement on those that choose to take him on.  He also levels retribution on those that go after His own.  We must walk forward with Him and trust Him to stand tall for us.  We are pleased and humbled by His grace and mercy–but we can never mistake them for weakness or a lack of control.

We always need to follow God in reverence.  Understand that by our choice, He can either be our shield or the creator of wrath. We seek Him with our hearts and humbly follow his lead and then we can experience Him as our shield, provider, comfort, healer and Lord.  A mighty fortress is our God!

God Bless You 

10 My shield[d] is God Most High,
    who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
    a God who displays his wrath every day.
12 If he does not relent,
    he[e] will sharpen his sword;
    he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
    he makes ready his flaming arrows.

14 Whoever is pregnant with evil
    conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
    falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
    their violence comes down on their own heads.

17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 5–God Always Chooses His Own

One of the great parts about being one of God’s chosen, is that he truly loves and protects us in the midst of a cruddy world.  Make no mistake–God knows the difference.  When we interact in this world, God sees the incredible evil that exists.  He sees the lies, the violence, the selfishness and incredible mess the world has made of itself.  He hates it and wants nothing to do with it!

Conversely, God loves his own.  He welcomes us into his presence, he cherishes our time together and he separates us from those that would destroy us. He loves us and wants nothing more than to fellowship with us. While the world makes him sad and disgusted, we bring him joy and laughter. He will always choose us over the world; and he will care for us as his own–while the world destroys itself.

Make no mistake, God sees the difference and will never allow the world to replace us in his heart!

God Bless You

Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help, my King and my God,
    for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

    in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;  you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest.

But I, by your great love, can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies. 10 Declare them guilty, O God!

    Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you. 

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.