Psalm 128 – Wow, God!

Read Psalm  128

Fear the Lord. Be awed by God. Exclaim, “WOW, God!”

That’s how we need to live. When we hear “fear the Lord,” it’s more than a trembling state of being scared. It’s a sense of extreme awe and wonder at the majesty and perfection of God. From his creation to his love for us. There are many reasons to “fear.”

So long as we live in this holy state of  “fear” or “WOW”, our lives can take on a whole new meaning. When we put things into perspective and give God the honor he deserves.

Some of the illustrations in this psalm are a little intimidating though. I’m not sure what I have in common with a “fruitful grapevine”. So I did some checking of other translations. Even the King James talks of a vine. The Message paraphrase suggests the wife will bear children as the grapevine bears grapes. That’s a lot of children! Or referring back to Psalm 127, many blessings.

Not sure the kids would like to be olive trees, but olive trees are hearty. The olive branch is often thought of as a symbol of abundance, glory, and peace. Again, many blessings.

So do you live in awe of God? How do you get your heart and mind to that place of saying, “Wow, God”? For me, I look to nature. Living here in Mexico I have encountered so many new bugs, flowers, trees, and even our grass is different from what I am used to. The smell of cut grass is still the same though. To look at the intricacies of the beauty around me really helps me to be awestruck.

Others look to the human body, the life cycles of living creatures, a sunset, space and beyond. What works for you? Find that happy place where you are quiet with God. Close your eyes and imagine the creator of the universe is holding you, loving you, guiding you. Wow, God!

Let’s pray. Thank you for all you do and have done for me. I am in awe of you and your majesty. I do fear your power over all things, and that same fear comforts me. Thank you for the security of being in your loving arms. Thank you for bringing to me to this place today where I can shut out the world and just breathe in your Spirit ever deeper. Watch over those whom I love, especially my olive branches, and bring them to a moment like this, wowed by you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 127 – Is God In It?

Read Psalm 127

This may be a short psalm, but it seems to be broken into two parts. Did you notice the abrupt change of thought?

The first half spoke to me and reminded me God needs to be in it. What I mean is that when we make great plans, we need to ask God into them. If we have not asked God or relied on his wisdom in any way, it is very likely our plan will fail. As good as we thought it was, yet feeble without the hand of God.

Have you had an experience where you planned and planned for something (without consulting God in any way), and then your plans went astray? I know I have and this psalm is a great reminder to me of how important it is and how much God wants to be part of our lives. He will bless the plans we make when his will is at the center.

Another thing to remember –  God knows best, and his plans for us are perfect.

And then we have those great verses about our children. I hope this verse doesn’t sadden those dear friends of mine who have not had children. Children are indeed a gift from God. There are many families in our neighborhood here in Mexico who have been really blessed with “gifts.” There are so many beautiful Mexican children playing every day in the school yard behind our house.

Whether we have no children or many, children are indeed a gift from God to those they encounter. Children represent the purity of God, that is before the world gets to them. Their precious innocence and wonder at the world is in it is something we should all try to capture and reignite within us. We are so hardened from he world’s messages. May we look at God’s “rewards” around us and the be blessed.

Let’s pray. Father God, I want you at the center of my life, my decisions, my plans, my everything. Forgive me when I forge on ahead of you. Clear my head today from distractions. I need to rely on you. Totally. In Jesus’ name

Psalm 126 – Joy!

Read Psalm 126

Have you ever been happy like that? As the psalmist talks about the Israelites returning to Jerusalem after years in exile. They were so happy, they thought they were dreaming.

As the story goes, however, these Israelites had probably never seen the true beauty of Jerusalem before. Why? Because the exile had lasted so long. Those that had been the ones to leave had long since died. But the dream of returning, the memory of God’s promise, the desire for Jerusalem lived on.

I have “pinch me” moments quite often when I wake up to another beautiful, sunny day here in Mexico. I’m retired now with no more alarm clocks. I have joy in that, and often have to  remind myself I’m not dreaming.

We should all have the Israelite’s kind of joy in our hearts at the mere thought of our loving God. He showed us he loved us in a big way when he sent his son. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us, for our sins, was the triumph of greatest magnitude. Every follower should be jumping for joy and having a “pinch me” moment at the very thought.

As the history continues, it didn’t take the returning Israelites  long to see that their beloved City was in ruin. The glory days had long since ended. The second half of the psalm is a beautiful call for God’s provision to restore and renew. I appreciate how it is done with such integrity and not selfish plea.  In the strength of those words, there is no doubt that God will act, and when he does., their response…JOY!

Do you have that kind of assurance when you pray? Do you know without a doubt that God will make “lemonade out of lemons” for you? Are you ready to sing and shout for joy at the thought? Think on that for a while. Is it time to rejuvenate your allegiance to God? Your prayer life?

Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for all you have done for me! You have changed my mourning into dancing and left me stronger in the wake of my struggles. Thank you for guiding me through those dark days to such a sunny and bright future. I know that your hand is at work to guide and direct us here in our new surroundings. Thank you for the opportunity to reach people I wouldn’t have otherwise reached through this transition. Use us to make a difference. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 125 – Why Trust?

Read Psalm 125

The promise in verse one is quite something, isn’t it? Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.” 

Is this a good reason to trust God? He is surrounding us now and will forever. There is assurance there. It doesn’t say that we will be trouble free. But no matter what, God is there. That’s why I trust.

We will not be defeated. We have the final victory with Jesus. We may experience trials and feel as if we’re defeated in this life, but this promise goes way beyond the here and now. This is a promise for eternity. I can put up with a little strife in this life, to be ready for the happily ever after with Jesus.

The part of this psalm about evil rulers strikes a chord. There are many people around the world today unhappy with their leadership. We see it here in Mexico, and we certainly see it in the United States. There are people all over the globe fearful for their lives because of rulers who are abusing their power. But, if we also believe in God’s sovereignty, we know that God is the true ruler of our hearts and lives. These men and women in authority are only being used by God.

Romans 13 addresses this, ” Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. “ I’m not intending to get into a political debate. Whether we agree with our rulers are not, we should remember this Bible teaching and get on our knees in prayer for those leaders.

Evil exists in this world, and no one is immune. We are all tempted by our own weaknesses. I think of 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” There it is. We can call on the power of Christ!

So where do you put your trust? In your own abilities? In your Savior and King, Jesus?

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father thank you for your promise of eternity with you. Help me to trust you without question. I pray for the world’s leaders, especially when I see so much injustice and anger and fear. Work in their hearts so that they align with you. I pray for those that are searching for you. May they find you and be blessed. Unleash your power inside me so that I can truly live for you.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 124 – What If?

Read Psalm 124

This psalm may be short but what a message! How do you fill in the blank today?

What if God _______?

The psalmist was certainly full of thanksgiving for how God intervened in their situation. There are many times in our lives, I am sure, where we are unaware of God’s hand at work. Other times, when it is quite obvious that divine intervention has just taken place.

What if God had been looking the other way when I was in an abusive marriage? Could I have died?

What if God had left us alone when we were seeking a new call, and we had chosen the wrong place?

What if God didn’t love and care for me and want a relationship with me?

What if when my loved one died I had not had my faith?

Take some time today to think about some of your great accomplishments and successes. Do you really think you did this on your own?

I think this gives us an opportunity to take pause in our hustle and bustle. We need to have a heart of thanksgiving and praise for our God who has NEVER left us alone. Our God is merciful. Our God is kind. Our God is all-knowing. Our God loves us without measure.

If you heart is overflowing with amazement and gratitude, as mine is, take a moment to give a shout of praise to God. If you’re in a public place, you might need to shout “quietly”. How about a big “WA-HOO – THANK YOU GOD!!”

Here’s another what-if. What if we didn’t believe? Imagine all that we would be missing out on if we were not in a relationship our creator and heavenly Father.  There are many who fall into this very category. We have been called to tell the world. We better get busy.

What if we never shared our faith?

Let’s pray. Father, we lift your name up high and give you all our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. Forgive me for not seeing your hand in all that you have done for me. I feel your presence and know you are near. Give me a boost in the discipleship department and help me to be more open with others about my faith. Use this devotion as a means of reaching out to others to share your truth. I seek to be a better version of me today than I was yesterday. Thank you for gifting me as you have. Use me today, Lord, and may your name be glorified! In Jesus’ name. Amen.