Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd

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Jesus as shepherd surrounded by sheep, holding a baby sheep

This is probably the most familiar of all psalms, wouldn’t you agree? Do you remember the first time you heard it?  I remember hearing it at my grandfather’s funeral when I was ten years old.  That was quite a while ago!  It was soothing then, and it is soothing now.  The lines, though familiar, can create such a picture from the rich descriptions.  Green is certainly a color that seems to wash  over  me as I read this psalm.

This psalm is used frequently at funerals or in times of need. It brings such comfort because we are reminded that God is with us. Just the thought of God guiding me brings with it a peaceful serenity. We don’t need to have worry because God will provide for us. I love this image of Jesus being close, holding his sweet little lamb.

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Psalm 100 – Grateful Praise

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What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanks God for yesterday.

The worship theme is clear in this psalm. As a worship leader, I am especially thrilled by the tone and intention in this short psalm. We should all strive to live our lives in total surrender to our Creator, Guide, and Friend.

One of the little things I’ve found helpful over the past year is what I call the “Three Gratitudes.” It doesn’t take any special program or app. You do this each morning before your feet hit the floor to start crushing the day. Think about the first three things that come to mind for you that you want to thank God for? Name them. Thank God for them. This could be as simple as (1) I woke up, (2) the sun is shining, and (3) I have a warm bed. Try it tomorrow morning. It takes a little while to become a habit. But it’s a good one!

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Psalm 27 – Wait Patiently

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I love the psalms and how they magnify the Lord. I wish that all people had the focus, devotion, and trust in God of our psalmist today.  It would seem that the psalmist (ascribed to David) is fearful and expecting attack, yet his reliance on God’s protection is giving him strength.  This is a great example of how David’s heart was right with God and his attitude was one of dependence and praise.

What phrase speaks to you today?  “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?” Fear is powerful. You may be feeling fear with all that is going on in the world these days! We need only cling to the promise of salvation in those times we are fearful. Our psalmist certainly did.

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Psalm 84 – Dwelling Place

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“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,” and to spend one day there is better than one thousand elsewhere.  There is a song that is playing in my head and it resonates the truth of this psalm. Listen to it HERE.

When I imagine time with God in his courts, such peace and joy fill my heart.  Take a moment to imagine that for yourself. Imagine being showered in contentment, peace, joy, and abundance.

We can rest daily in the promise of this place as our home, our destination. It will ground us. I think of it as taking a cleansing breath during exercise. It’s easy to just take shallow, quick breaths. When we fully fill our body with the life giving air, we can then experience the joy of God’s presence. Take a moment now to just breathe in slowly, imagine God’s love for you, hold it for a moment, and then slowly release. Do that as often as you need to during the day to feel grounded, alert, and blessed.

We don’t need to wait for that day when we enter the courts of heaven. We can experience communion with God every day. God walks alongside us, we just need to open our eyes, fall to our knees, and just BE WITH GOD. Here. Now. “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord.”

The evil one will do his best to get in our way, to burst our joy bubble. He’ll crowd our heads, fill up our schedules, whisper doubts. We need to be ready for this and be intentional in finding our time to rest in God’s presence. We need to yearn for that peace so that there is nothing more important, no voice or distraction that overrides our desire for God.

Are your priorities out of whack? Do you yearn for time with God? It’s okay, you are not alone. Read the psalm again, and this time, take slow deep breaths in and out. Slow down. Rest in Him.

Let’s pray. Lord forgive me when I rush around and neglect time with you. Thank you for the reminder today in your word, blessed is the one who trusts in you! Give me strength to stand up to the evil one who is trying to control my schedule and lure me into activities that draw me apart from your courts. Help me sort through all of the things pulling me this way and that, consuming my thoughts. Wash over me with your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 51 – Conscience

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puppy dog eyes

Don’t you think this is a great psalm?  I understand from the commentary that it is ascribed to David after his visit from Nathan confronting him with his sin with Bathsheba. He was busted!  (You can find more about what happened between David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11.  But, David was also repentant.  Did it take the confrontation with Nathan to awaken David to his sin? Had David’s conscience been troubling him for what he had done?  Or was it only when Nathan brought his sin to light, very creatively, by the way, that David felt remorse?

How much is this like us?  We go on sinning everyday, and many of those sins are not known to us.  We are mindless perhaps, or at least in a bit of denial about our sinfulness, are we not? We should repent continually and not wait for the Nathans of our life to reveal what has tarnished us.  We should cry, “Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” Give me back my joy.

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