Wednesday, April 30, 2014

my soul in the dust

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! 

Psalm 119:25

Honest faith is real enough with God to admit when the soul is down. Christianity is for just those times. It isn't a fake optimism. It is real hope and strength. And for hope to be real, times need to be hard and the soul needs to be hurting... reaching for perspective.

Life is full of disappointments and pains. There are periods of time when sadness and difficulty attend our every move. And at those times we must fall upon The Lord and trust in His Word.

When my life feels like it has been drained from me, God's Word brings me life. When my hope is distant, God's Word is near. When sorrow is my strongest emotion, God's Word brings comfort. There may be moments of pain, but God's truth and the presence of His wisdom can ease the heartache. He can lift me up from the dust, reviving my soul by His Word! Amen!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

God of Rescue

Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 

Psalm 118:5

I called on You;

You heard me.

I needed You, Lord

and You helped me.

I was bound in sin;

You cut me free.

I had done You wrong;

You forgave me.

I had no hope at all

and You comforted me.

I had no answers;

You answered me.

I was lost in the dark

and You saved me with light.

I could not move on

so You carried me.

I was dead in sin;

You resurrected me in Christ!

Monday, April 28, 2014

God's steadfast love for the world

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 117:1-2

The shortest psalm, the shortest chapter in the Bible, reminds us that God loves all the people of the world. It is a call to worship issued to a world loved by God. It calls us to the global mission of worship. It is a mission-setting mindset in miniature.

The global focus could not be more clear: "Praise the LORD, all nations" and again... "Extol him, all peoples". "All" means everybody, without exception, worldwide. If you are a "people", you are in this call and experiencing to one degree or another the great steadfast love of The Lord.

God loves the world. God wants me to love the world. He wants me to make His name great through worship and the proclamation of the Word. He wants the gospel to move forward through the words and actions of His saints so His steadfast saving love is known worldwide!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I cannot repay.

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 

Psalm 116:12-14


I cannot repay the great cost of Your love for me. My salvation came at the price of Jesus' life and death. It is secured in the reality of Jesus' own resurrection from the dead. My life is filled with the benefits of my great salvation. Even when some things in this life hurt and are very hard, nothing takes away the joy of such great salvation!

I come to You in Your Word and find direction, comfort, and sustaining strength. When life circumstances get strange or out of control, You bring stability. I will praise You for this. I will give my energies, efforts, and abilities that You have created in me for Your praise and glory. It is worth the cost because it cannot equal the gifts of Your grace that cost so much to You.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Help & Shield

O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. 

Psalm 115:9

Sometimes I am

at the end of my rope

needing hope

barely holding on to a thread

and in my dread

I call out...

You are my help

Other times I am

being besieged

cut off at the knees

attacked by enemies

starting to bleed

I reach out...

You are my shield

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

how God gives

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Psalm 114:7-8

This psalm celebrates how God led Israel out of Egypt and into the Land of Promise. As such, it is very abbreviated, focusing on the power of God to save, not the history of rebellious Israel at that time. This song sings the mighty power of God in leading His people and giving them a land to possess for their own.

GOD DELIVERS FROM SLAVERY. He took Israel out of Egypt and set them free. No longer were they bound in slavery. They were freed to follow Him.

GOD GIVES A POSSESSION. He led Israel to possess the Promised Land. He kept a covenant with Abraham and made a new land covenant with the children of Israel.

GOD PROVIDES FOR NEEDS. In the wilderness God's people were fed. Water sprang from rocks at God's miraculous supply. His provision displays His caring love for His people.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who is like The Lord our God?

Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? 

Psalm 113:5-6

Dear God Whose perspective sits above the universe, I know that You see me and care for me. And in the mass of billions of human lives on planet earth, You see into the depths of my heart. You have that same perceptive gaze into every person who ever has lived, or ever will live. And You love us so much that You gave Yourself to us in Your Son, so much that He died for our sins so that we may know You.

Lord, no one is like You. No human can be. We did not make the universe. You, however, sit over it and could pinch it all between Your fingernails! So my worship must go to only You and not the things You have made. As I think about the rhetorical question of who is like You, I realize that there really is only You in my life.

I am amazed at the love of God in Christ. The God Who sees and knows every intimate detail of everything, (including my sins) that God is my Lord and my Savior. And my life is safe with Him! I will live my life in Him. Amen

Friday, April 18, 2014

taking the bad news

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 

Psalm 112:7

This song celebrates the benefits that come to a righteous soul that walks in God's ways. And a godly person can handle bad news. I think it is important to realize that the text does NOT say that a good person never has bad news come into his or her life. On the contrary, it seems to imply that bad news comes at times to good people. They just handle it better.

Instead of fear, a righteous person responds with firm faith, trusting God in difficult times. That is the big difference. Bad news may come, but God does not change! Faith in God will carry the good man through bad times.

Now, on "Good Friday" I remember the bad things that happened to Jesus. He suffered and died for my sins. He endured the cross, despising its shame for my sin because it was a "joy set before Him" to bring many sons to glory! What started out as "bad news" in the death of Christ is now very much "good news" in the gospel. He is the only hope for mankind. No other way to the Father exists except by Him. Easter is coming, and life will be secured in a resurrection. My heart is firm, trusting in The Lord.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

God's Word... forever

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 

Psalm 111:7-8

The outstanding duration of the work of God is that it will always last. God builds things that last... forever. Even this current universe, marred by sin, groaning as all creation, waiting for redemption, will be remade as the new heavens and the new earth. Once created, God's will is for the universe to remain. He does lasting work.

The same is true of His Word. It is established. His precepts and principles are trustworthy. They are eternal truths that last forever with God. We, His people , are bound to His Word forever to live faithfully by His leading.

One reason why I must remain faithful to God's Word despite the chaos and change all around me is that it maintains my eternal priorities. I know that I feel the "forever" in its pages. I can handle any of life's unexpected bumps with the power of God's sustaining truth forever settled for me. In His Word is my strength.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

mighty Ruler

The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! 

Psalm 110:2

I write this so Far East on the globe that Passion week began yesterday. The time to reflect on my suffering Savior and His sacrifice is here. It will culminate with the celebration of His resurrection when I am once again with my home and family at the start of next week. So landing on this Messianic psalm at this moment is interesting timing.

I worshiped in a tight, hot room packed with believers yesterday. We shared the unique fellowship of a common meal around the table after we were first fed by the strong exposition of the Word. And Jesus rules over us! His scepter circles the globe. Even in places where men oppose Him, Jesus reigns! He does indeed rule in the midst of His enemies.

Rule Lord Jesus! Lead Your bride to love You and to declare Your rule among Your enemies. Save Your foes to make them Your friends. The gospel of Your love turns your enemies into Your servants! Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

when accused

In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. 

Psalm 109:4-5

David was under the scrutiny and attacks of evil men when recording the words of this psalm. It could have been a snapshot taken at many points in his life, whether early in his service to Israel when running for his life from Saul, or later when running from the rebellious uprising led by his own son, Absalom. David knew the heartbreak of misunderstanding and the fear of persecution.

But David trusted God when accused and attacked. He said, "I give myself to prayer." The Hebrew is literally, "I am prayer". I like that. When under pressure, we should make our lives a constant prayer to The Lord. There is a peace and consistency that will pervade even the most perilous times of persecution when God's people pray.

I long to have David's heart. To make my life a prayer is to seek constant communion with God. And so I wish to be today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Among the Peoples

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 

Psalm 108:3

Yes, Lord I will sing

my own praises I will bring

with the joy of all peoples of the earth

I will sing of Your great matchless worth

Among the peoples I will sing

Yes I will sing

Yes, Lord, I will always tell

of the glory of the gospel

offered hope to every nation

You give us more than conceived in imagination

With love our hearts around the world proclaim

of saving love, heavenly home, spreading Jesus' fame

Among the peoples  I will sing

Yes I will sing

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

prayer for perspective

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. 

Psalm 107:43


My need for wisdom is great. I am a foolish person. I focus on me. My periphery barely extends beyond the reach of my fingers. I can't see beyond the tip of my nose. I am pathetically nearsighted in my "wisdom". It is why I need to attend to the reading, understanding, knowing, and doing of Your Word.

In the pages of Your book, Lord, I read the story of Your steadfast love, played out over generations, through centuries, among nations, to the entire world. It takes me out of my narrow tunnel and gives me the forced perspective that I must have. It opens my eyes to a vast world. I see humanity as You do, at least in part, and my focus shifts beyond me. Help me to always consider these things!


two types of leaders

Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! 

Psalm 106:2-3

This is the call of all the Lord's people. It is particularly vital for leaders to heed because the people best prepared to make a difference in uttering God's mighty deeds are leaders. Those who rise up to share in that duty are blessed to serve The Lord in gladness. It is a joy, a responsibility and ultimately a delight to do so.

This psalm mentions leaders at key points in Israel's growth. Moses and Aaron were Israel's great Exodus leaders, but they suffered at the mumbling indifference of the nation. Leadership is always tested. Don't lead if you don't think that you can handle that.

Phinehas was a leader of opportunity. When he saw how far Israel's idolatry had come into the camp, he stopped it single-handedly, dramatically and for the glory of God. And instanteous leaders like him are needed now as well.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 

Psalm 105:3

Calls to worship don't get much louder than this one. It is a call to rejoice in The Lord. We know God is great. We believe it. But do we let it be known by what we say about Him? Do we really act like God is a big deal? We should rejoice!

That rejoicing must come from the heart. It should well up from our soul and emotions spilling out into all that we say and do. We should be a peple that invite others to know God's deeds that have been made known among us. Rejoice!

God is better to me than I deserve. I know that every day that I live. And I praise Him for a daily sustaining grace that gets me through. I will rejoice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Biblical Meditation

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. 

Psalm 104:34

One of the deepest of spiritual experiences is the richly rewarding practice of biblical meditation. But to understand what the scriptures mean by meditation we must dismiss from our thinking any concepts of Eastern mysticism. Our modern view of meditation is that of "emptying the mind" (which is an impossibility). But God's Word teaches us that biblical meditation is the opposite: It is filling the mind with what scripture teaches.

Biblical meditation is closely linked with memorization. It is the deliberate process of centering our attention on scripture, its meaning and its application to our lives. It is not easy to do. It is work. It requires deliberate use of time. It involves backstudy of the text prior to thinking on it, continued study as we think, and further thought as we evaluate its application. But it is hugely rewarding.

Bible-saturated thinking renews our minds. It builds us up. It is worship. It grows us and builds others. It shapes a Christian worldview. Meditation then is careful, deliberate thinking about God through His Word.