Psalm 54 – In the Storm

Read Psalm 54

In the seven short verses of this psalm, there is a lot going on.  Bottom line = turn to God. There is an insistence in the psalmist’s tone, a plea to God to listen, yet it’s almost like a shout, isn’t it?  The author is truly in fear for his life and needs God now!  We should have that urgency for God, whether in peril or not.

While the author appears or sounds to be in mortal danger, he quickly shifts to trust and praise.  He knows with assurance that God is there, that God has promised to rescue, and for that he will be praised.  Again, we can take away from this that we shouldn’t wait until God has moved, praise him because we know he will.

A song from Casting Crowns come to mind here, “Praise You in This Storm”.  Take a listen here.

Do we have the same degree of trust that the psalmist does – to begin praising while still in our storm?  The lyrics of the song also demonstrate this trusting and praise before the deliverance, not just after.  I don’t know about you, but I need to work on trusting in deliverance amidst the storm.  I often focus more on the storm and how I should stop it.  I need to be fully assured that God has my back and is working it out.  Do you find yourself struggling with this weakness as well?

Let’s pray.  Lord, I do praise you in my storm. Help me to look to you first, and be on my knees.  I lay these burdens and concerns at your feet, Lord.  They are weighing me down and I know you have them in  your control.  Thank you for all that you do for me.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 53 – Are We Evil?

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More on evil, particularly those who don’t believe.  So tragic for them.  Who are these people? They are fools.  They are corrupt.  Evil. They
have no future.  They don’t know God.  Is it us?

Terror.  Shame.  Rejection.

That doesn’t sound so pleasant to me.  It doesn’t sound like the way I want to live my life with no hope for the future.  Sadly, those caught up in this evil are blind and don’t even realize they are heading for destruction.  Like not knowing there is a detour ahead on your travel route.  They also don’t realize how much better, truly better, it is on the other side.  The side of living in the light.  The grass is truly greener here.

So, how does this psalm speak to you today? Do you feel our society is a lost cause?  Do you want to close your windows and doors and just pretend the evil doesn’t exist or affect the ones you love?  How can we make a difference?

I really struggled with this psalm today, verse 3 in particular.  “All have turned away, all have become corrupt.”  All is all.  When I look at the world around me, this statement seems to be coming true.  I see more and more of a departure from holiness.  There are people attending church, yes, but are they just going through the motions for appearance sake? When I feel like this, I go to my knees because I am powerless but my God is mighty.  Jesus came to show us how to shepherd the lost back to him.

Let’s pray.  Lord, you must be so sad that much of the world is apart from you.  I can feel your spirit burning inside of me and long to help make a difference for you.  May your spirit stir in the hearts of those who are lost.  I pray for those souls feeling empty and without hope. Use me and others to bring your people back to you.  May we be a beacon to show them the way. Thank you for your provision and guidance keeping my feet on the path of your will. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

 

Psalm 52 – Trust God

Read Psalm 52

So many of our psalms could be titled “Trust God”, and that’s okay because it’s a good message to remind us often who is in charge. The object of today’s psalm, as the note suggests, is Doeg, and he was an evil person who had betrayed David and killed priests.  The fact that David wrote about him specifically signifies to me that he truly struggled with this event.

Picture, if you will and remember this is my own imagination, Doeg singing his own praises, feeling great with his accomplishments.  David, being a man of God, knew of Doeg’s doom and while Doeg was bragging, David was writing a warning, if not to Doeg directly, to us as a reminder or perhaps assurance or consolation to himself.  David ends the psalm focusing on his own strength and reason for that strength, trust in God.

How often we lament the successes of evil doers around us, wondering how they could have gotten to where they are with such an evil heart. Do we react like David?  Do we sit back and turn our eyes?  What is the proper response?  Should we let evil be and stay away?

There is no denying it.  We are surrounded by evil.  Really bad stuff.  But listen to the words of the psalm, “God’s unfailing love”.  God never fails.  So long as we trust him in that love, that protection, evil may come knocking, but we are safe.  While we may perish from this world one day, we have eternity to cling to.  A future with God cannot be taken away from us by anyone. Now that’s enough for me to trust God, how about you?

Let’s pray.  Lord, help me not to fear evil.  May I trust you with my whole heart and mind and not waver.  You are my God, and I am your child.  Draw me closer to you as evil surrounds.  Strengthen me to help others find refuge in you  as well.  Give me the words to say and the opportunities to say them.  Thank you for loving me even continuously, wildly, and without fail.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 50 – Give Thanks

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Judgment.  God’s judgment.  Do you fear it? Ask, how have I lived, and who do I follow?  Here we hear of how God is tired of sacrifices.  He doesn’t “need” them.  What he wants is US, our “true thanks” and trust.  That doesn’t seem like it should be that hard, does it? I found it interesting in verse 16, it’s like God is totally disowning the “wicked”.  He calls them out, “don’t pretend…”  God sees it all. Everything.  Even those things we do in secret. He knows who is wicked, whether on the outside or in the heart.  We can try to fool ourselves, but then who is the fool?

Trust God, not yourself.  He will provide rescue for us.  I don’t feel especially afraid today in fact, I feel totally blessed by all the beauty that surrounds me. God has given us so much, how can I not trust him? I am awed by his love for me.

We’re coming up on  Lent in less than a week, and there has been an ongoing celebration here in our Mexican town.  It will culminate the night before Ash Wednesday.  The “Chapala Carnaval” has brought in live musicians, rides and entertainment, food vendors, a circus and other attractions.  I see the children’s faces full  of expectation.  I want my face to hold that same joy in the presence of God.

God wants our thanks as our sacrifice.  What things are you thankful for today?  I love giving thanks to God for all that he has done and is doing for me.  Grab a piece of paper and begin a list in your quiet prayer time today, thanking God for each item you place on this list.  Tuck this list into your Bible and refer to it often. Perhaps adding to it when new reasons for thanksgiving manifest themselves.  God wants our thanks!  It honors him greatly.

Let’s pray.  Father God, I thank you and my heart is overflowing.  Your grace and mercy abounds for me, and I am so full of thanksgiving.  I give you my heart and my life.  Do with it what you will.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 49 – Be Redeemed

Read Psalm 49

This was an interesting psalm, not one of praise or lament like others we have encountered.  This one was more full of teaching and information.  Much of this psalm focuses on the rich and how they “can’t take it with them.”  We have often heard that said, did you know it was Biblical?  We should take heed to these words and not trouble ourselves with wanting more stuff.

There is a theme of redemption woven in as well that really gave me pause.  To me, these words seem prophetic about the saving grace and loving sacrifice we have in  Jesus.  This psalm was written long before Jesus appears on earth, yet the hope was brewing then that God would redeem.  There had to be a different way of thinking about death, I would think. People thought they could be immortal if they had enough.  Today, people strive for riches out of selfish gain and a desperate search for happiness. It’s fleeting however (the happiness) because true joy is only found in the assurance of eternal life.

How about you – do you look to your possessions or your busy-ness to bring you happiness and fulfillment?  What really jazzes you, is it buying a new car, getting a promotion at work, leaving for a long vacation?  Those are all marvelous things, but we cannot take them with us.  I would suggest that we should get just as jazzed by having our quiet time with God and waiting expectantly for his answer to our prayers.  He is the one in whom we should place our trust and focus.

Let’s pray.  Lord, thank you for this lesson today reminding me to live within my means and to be satisfied with that. Help me to be a good steward with what you have given me.  I am yours.  Use me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.