Psalm 11

Read Psalm 11

God is still in charge and interacting with his creation.  I believe that and does the psalmist.  That’s a good thing for all Americans following the recent election.  No matter what your party affiliation, we know that God, our heavenly Father, is still in control.  He may be ruling from on high, and at times feel he is hiding, but his is ruling and watching.  That thought alone, that he is watching our every move, can be a bit daunting, or possibly invigorating depending on your point of view and how you are behaving.  We are being watched and observed by the creator of the universe.

And, we know that God loves justice.  Before retiring, I had worked in the legal field for many years, most of which involved trial prep and litigation. We were striving for justice, the world’s justice.  But perhaps what we see in our society as “justice” is not really God’s justice, for how are we to know the mind and heart of God.  This is a point to discern and could probably lead to much controversy.  Suffice it to say, God wants justice for his people.

What emotions do you feel when you imagine God watching you?  Think of your actions over the last 24 hours.  Have you worshiped?  Have you prayed?  Have you been a servant?  Have you gossiped?  Have you acted in ways pleasing to God?  Wow, that puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? In this frantic season of preparing for Christmas, it seems there are just so many things pulling our attention away from God.  Funny, isn’t it, that it is God who did the amazing, crazy love kind of thing at Christmas, sent his one and only Son!  Yet, we sometimes forget and focus on gifts, parties, cookie baking.

So, I challenge you.  Take 10 minutes now and just be quiet in God’s presence.  Set aside all distractions.  Revel in his love, in the newborn King, laying in the manger and what he did for you.

Let’s pray.  Lord thank you for watching over me and those I love, even when we are not aware.  Help me to be an encouragement and reminder to others that you are active among us and are the one and only ruling king. Thank you for sending Jesus!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 10

Read Psalm 10

This psalmist is most assuredly frustrated with injustice and how it seems that the wicked get more, get away with more, and do not have “to pay” for their deeds.  Have you ever felt like that?  How did you handle your frustration?

But God is watching.  As I read this, I was reminded of the movie “God is Not Dead”, and the song by the same name sung by The Newsboys.  If you haven’t already seen that, you should, and if you have, you should see it again.  I heard a second movie has come out, too, but I have not seen that one.  Anyway, verse 4 reads, “the wicked are too proud to seek God, they seem to think that God is dead.” In the movie, the character who seemed to think that God was dead was the one that had been hurt deeply and blamed God for not being there.  But God is always there.  He may have a different agenda or way of intervening than we would like at times.  We need to trust him at all times, good and bad.

I hope that you join me in stating emphatically – GOD IS NOT DEAD! He is surely alive, and he lives inside me.  To know that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives inside me is a little overwhelming, would you agree?

I want to scream out today so that all will know this power and this love.  I want to be bold in my walk.  I don’t want to be frustrated by what others have that I don’t, and how there is so much unfairness.  What wickedness do you see surrounding you?  What injustice is weighing you down?  Take a moment to think and then remember you have a God who loves YOU without measure and nothing can separate you from him.

Let’s pray.  Lord, humble me today.  Help me to see others through your eyes.  Give me the compassion and wisdom to handle it.  Shine through me and help me to be a graceful reflection of you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 9

Read Psalm 9

So many psalms speak of enemies, wickedness and nations falling.  It is sometimes hard for me to identify with any of these, excepts perhaps wickedness.  When reading a passage, I am always on the ready for God to speak to me.  So, when I think of enemies, I try to focus on those individuals who don’t believe as I do, who may pose a threat to me, and cause me to feel in danger.  I am blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, loving people and fear no danger from them.

What struck you most when reading this psalm?  For me, verses 1-2 and 9-10 stuck out.  The first of these focus on thanksgiving, the joy we feel as believes and particularly, “I will sing praises to your name.”   That’s one of my favorite things to do, and I can get lost at my piano for hours just singing praise songs and hymns.  As for the latter section, the promise and assurance that God always has our back and will never abandon us. That is another recurring theme in the psalms, so God must think we needed reminded.

I have had times in my life when I have strayed so far, I cannot believe as I sit here now how awesome it is that God never let go of me.  I’m picturing a long piece of elastic connecting me to God, and no matter how far I stretch it, I will always come back to God.  Who do you know (maybe you) that’s stretching this elastic a little too far, and wish for them to come back to God?  Pray for them right now!

But this promise goes beyond God never abandoning us in that he IS our shelter.  We never have to leave in the first place.  We never have to wander astray.  In our times of need, we need to turn to him for solace, protection, and love.  Revel more in God’s love today.  How might you do this?

Let’s pray.  Lord forgive me when I fall short and help me to focus more on you so I can be a better reflection of you to the world.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 8

Read Psalm 8

I don’t know about you, but my FAVORITE psalms are the praise psalms, and this is a great example of just that!  I love to focus on the wonder of God, our wonderful, wonderful God!  Can’t you just read it over and over? If you haven’t read this at least twice…please stop and read again.  I can just feel the pure joy wash over me as I revel in the truth of this Scripture. Majesty.  Glory.  Those are big words and attributes to unpack!

But how daunting those words “put in charge”.   God gave us great responsibility to care for all he has given us.  Think of it — EVERYTHING belongs to God and he has chosen to let us take care of what we have.  My awe can quickly change to feelings of defeat when I look around and see places where I have let God down, not done my best, or let something in his creation die, waste away, or be ruined (except for cockroaches and spiders..these are HUGE in Mexico, they are the one defeated when I’m around…and I do ask God for forgiveness).

But critters aside, we need to focus on God’s majesty with reverence every moment.  Take time right now, grab some paper and make a list of words to describe God — like majesty, glory.

If we keep our eyes on Him (use your list if you have to), the challenges of this world will shrink, and I’m confident the comfort God places on you will be beyond your comprehension.

Let’s pray.  Lord God, you are so good!  Thank you for  all you have given us.  Help us to be faithful in all we say and do, using all that we are to bring praise, honor and focus to you!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 7

Read Psalm 7

From the standpoint of form and flow, this psalm seems choppy to me, and I had a hard time following it.  That may or may not have happened to you, but I just wanted to put that out there.  Sometimes when we read Scripture it really speaks to us, and other times we struggle with a passage and have to read it over and over.  The latter happened to me today.

Overall, I see the psalmist really crying out for help once again.  This is a good reminder to all of us to not go it alone, but to rely on God.  The psalmist was enduring persecution and being falsely accused for something he was not doing.  Has that ever happened to you?  Maybe even as a child being blamed for something you didn’t do.  What was your immediate thought — retaliation, perhaps?  I would suggest that when we feel a struggle, we need to give it to God, not keep letting it bother us.

There are some good images here referring to God:  my shield, fair judge, just.  I like how the psalmist says, if I am guilty, punish me, he is not proclaiming his own perfection.

Look around your world today.  What evil is lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to strike?  What are your temptations–maybe Christmas goodies, overspending, etc.  Remember that rather than taking on the defense alone, God is your shield.

Let’s pray.  Father God, thank you for protecting us and revealing yourself to us through your Son, Jesus.  Use us to reflect your light and hope in this evil world.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.