Archive for January, 2010

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is a very exciting chapter.  It contains a detailed description of God as our refuge.  “You’re my refuge, I trust in you and I’m safe”.  That is a promise we all need to really latch on to.  God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.  He is always there.  Look at the list of things the writer gives us to describe God and His protection:

  1. Rescues you
  2. Shields you
  3. Protect you
  4. Perfectly safe
  5. Fend off all harm
  6. Fear nothing
  7. Stand untouched
  8. Very own home
  9. Angels guard you
  10. Catch you
  11. Walk unharmed
  12. Rescue you
  13. Throw you a party
  14. Give you a long life
  15. Give you a long drink of salvation

God is there.  The words that catch me are these: “Evil can’t get close to you”.  If we are walking in the presence of God, evil can’t even approach us.  We are protected just by merely being associated with God and walking in His footsteps.  I often pray that I will walk in His footsteps and cling to His apron as a child does in the kitchen.  If we can just stay where God is, we have protection just by that association.  What a great way to live, in the very shadow of God’s goodness and protection.  But here is the promise He gives us: “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life…..I’ll get you out of any trouble….I’ll give you the best care if you’ll only get to know and trust me”.  There it is – God wants us to know Him, to trust Him and to hold on for dear life.  The promise is pretty simple yet amazing – if we do that He will get us out of trouble – He’ll protect us from evil – He will be our God.  Are you walking with God like that?  Is He your guide each day and you simply follow His footsteps?  Are you working daily to get to know Him.  The promise that is ours when we do is overpowering and wonderful.  Don’t miss it.  Get connected with God and make sure you lay claim to one of the greatest promises He gives.

Psalm 90

Psalm 90 is a story of frustration and despair.  The writer is crying out to God for patience and love – and bemoaning the difficult situation he finds himself in.  Things are tough and not getting a lot better, so God has turned His back on them a bit and they are experiencing a part of God’s character they don’t like – His holiness.  He cannot tolerate sin and when it happens, He responds differently than we would like.  “You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed since we were children is entered in your books”.  That is a sobering thought.  For some, that will be a very long list.  So what is sin?  Sin is when we miss the mark.  It is when we violate God’s law.  It can be when we fail to do what we know is the right thing to do.  There can be sins of commission (where we chose to disobey by an act of our will) and sins of omission (where we fail to do what we know we should).  To be honest, it is pretty easy to sin.  Not only is it our human nature, we have a coach and team rooting for us to fall down in this area of obedience – the enemy and his warriors.  So sin is not foreign to any of us.  In fact, scripture tells us that each of us will sin.

But the writer gives us a couple of tips to working on our problem.  “Teach us to live wisely and well”.  We need to seek God to work on how we live.  It is not His desire that we sin.  In fact, He wrote the book on how we should live.  It then boils down to our choices moment by moment to live obediently to His will.  Unfortunately we won’t make it through life without falling into sin.  And scripture is clear that the price that has to be paid for sin is death.  God cannot avoid that – His character will not allow Him to just turn His back.  So He devised the answer to our sin problem.  He sent His only Son to the Cross to be a sacrifice for sin – to be a way our sin can be covered by His blood – and we can be set free.  That is really our only choice to overcome the problem we face in our lives.  We either deal with sin through a relationship with Jesus, or we face the eternal consequences.  The much better choice is Jesus.  With a personal relationship where we accept His death as a cover for our sin, we can repent and be set free from the penalty of our problem.  But we have to make that decision and make Him our Savior and Lord.  Are you ready for that judgment day?  What have you done with Jesus?

Psalm 89

Psalm 89 is a great story of God’s creation and promises.  The writer points out so much about God’s design and is “forever telling how faithful you are…never quit telling the story”.  Are you telling people about God’s faithfulness?  The psalmist goes on to say “Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways….faithful ways….you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God”.  Do you realize just how awesome our God is?  He is “powerful and faithful from every angle”.  He carefully and thoughtfully created it all.  The writer points out just how wonderful God is.  And catch this: “You own the cosmos – you made everything in it, everything from the atom to the archangel”.  Have you considered that truth before?  That God made each and every detail.  From the smallest item to the largest – He made them all.  And He had a plan – a very detailed and specific plan.

But next the psalmist goes on to talk about the those who understand God and all that He has done.  “Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise…they know who You are, what You do – they can’t keep it quiet”.  Do you know the passwords of praise?  Can you keep quiet about God and all He has done?  We shouldn’t be able to.  We should explode with praise to God for all He has done.  We should be overwhelmed with His goodness.  And this chapter tells us just how deep God’s love was for David – “I’ll keep my hand steady on him…..stick with him through thick and thin….with him for good… him forever”.  Can you imagine God feeling like that about you?  He does.  He loves each of us deeply.  And the chapter goes on to tell us what God says will happen if David’s children refuse to do what God says: “I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music.  But I’ll never throw them out, never abandon or disown them”.  What a promise.  God will hold them accountable.  If there is disobedience, they will be corrected.  But they will always be loved.  That is how God will deal with us as well.  He can’t tolerate rebellion but He also will always love us.  Key to all of this is this sober reality for those who chose to make a decision not to trust Him – “there’s no back door out of hell”.  As much as God loves us – this one thing He will not and cannot change.  We will face the result of our decision regarding obedience and ultimately Jesus grace on the cross.  We either make the decision to walk with God or we will spend eternity without Him.  Don’t miss this decision – time is of the essence.

Psalm 88

Psalm 88 is a dreary and dark chapter.  The psalmist is really tired of the difficulties in life.  He feels “abandoned…..written off…..camped on the edge…..a black hole…..dropped into a bottomless pit……sunk……battered…..pounded…..caught in a maze…..blinded by tears”.  Definitely a bad time in the life of our writer. Have you been here?  Feeling like you are all alone and things just are not going your way?  Life can be difficult.  There will be dry times and tough times along the way.  We likely will experience some of the feelings our writer has.  Overwhelmed and unable to see any daylight at all, we just don’t know what to do and are ready to give up.

But even with all this darkness and hopelessness, he doesn’t forget God.  “You’re my last chance….I spen the night on my knees….my prayers every morning…..on my knees each daybreak…..all day I call….wring my hands…..plead for your help”.  So what is the key when things are overwhelming?  We need to get back to the source of power that is able to carry us through the difficulties life deals us.  That means we get on our knees before God and bare our heart.  We let Him know how much we need Him and are dependent on Him.  We cry out and ask God to intercede and get involved in our life.  That is the only answer.  It is our only solution.  God alone is able to lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.  He alone is our rock and our source of life.  We have to cling to Him, especially when things are tough.  God is there and ready to come to us.  But will you call and cry out?  Will you give up on your own ability and trust Him?  We need to fall to our knees and acknowledge that He alone is King.  He alone is our refuge and strength. Don’t take on the darkness alone.  Let go and let God!

Psalm 87

Psalm 87 is a short seven verses that begin and end very abruptly.  It seems it may be part of another Psalm maybe that got fragmented off.  But it gives us a glimpse into our God.  “He founded Zion” starts things off.  That is a reality we all need to get our arms around.  God and He alone created everything.  No one else – God Himself.  And we learn that “God loves His home”.  He didn’t just create a place He could exist.  He created a place He loves and someday, those who call upon the name of Jesus as Savior and Lord, will get to experience that home with Him.  What a glorious thought.  We will be with Him in His perfect home and it will become our eternal home.  Praise the Lord. What a joyful day that will be for those who know Jesus.  God’s creation of a home is far greater than any other. 

So what is the key to all this?  “This one was born again here”.  Have you been born again?  Have you experienced the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ that allows our sin to be removed so we can be born again?  That is our ticket to God’s eternal home.  That is the only way to get in.  When we develop that relationship with Jesus, scripture tells us that “God registers their names in His book”.  Is your name written in the Book?  I really hope it is.  If not, now is the time to make that decision and make sure your eternal landing place is God’s home.  You don’t want to spend eternity without Him.  He is the only real good option.  We need to be able to join the singers and dancers giving credit to Him: “all my springs are in you”.  God is our source of eternal life.  He provided the only way to eternity in His home – His Son Jesus Christ.  Don’t let another day go by without your name being written in the Book of Life.  There is no guarantee for tomorrow.  Get the most important decision of your life secure today!

Psalm 86

Psalm 86 gives us a glimpse of what a great relationship looks like with God.  The writer shows us how things can work:

–       “Bend me an ear  =  anwer me….I’m one miserable wretch

–       Keep me safe =  haven’t I lived a good live

–       Help your servant =  I’m depending on you

–       You’re my God =  have mercy on me

–       I count on you =  from morning to night

–       Give your servant a happy life  =  I put myself in your hands

–       I call on you  =  confident that you’ll answer

What a list of ways the writer has a relationship with God.  It is personal and real – and right down to the basics of where he lives.  God is there and with him.  What does your walk with God look like?  Are you connected like this?

 The psalmist goes on to give us a couple other things we should ask God for:

–       “Train me = to walk straight

–       Put me together  =  one heart and mind

The result of that relationship is thanksgiving and praise.  Why?  Because of God’s love – “what love”.  “You O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit”.  What a promise and picture of God.  He never gives up.  He is always there to love us.  The only variable is how we interact with Him.  Are you walking with God so He can pour His love on you?  Are you connected to the Father?

Psalm 85

Psalm 85 reminds us of how God related to His people.  It lists the ways He has interacted in the past and reminds us of His abundant love.  The psalmist remembers here.  Take a look at how God loves His people:

  1. You smiled
  2. You brought good times back
  3. You lifted the cloud of guilt
  4. You put their sins far out of sight
  5. You took back your sin-provoked threats
  6. You cooled your hot, righteous anger

God has been intimate with His people.  He wants to do these same things for you and me today.  So why don’t we always experience it?  For the same reason folks in the Bible didn’t – they walked out of relationship with God.  God stands ready to smile on us every moment.  But we forget He even exists too often.  We need to practice the presence of God – like Brother Andrew tells us to do.  We need tomake God front and center in life – to be continually in fellowship with Him.   That doesn’t mean we sit around and just talk with Him.  It means we take Him with us everywhere we go and continually involve Him in our moment by moment life.  It means He is part of what we are and do.

 The writer goes on to tell us to “make a fresh start”.  God is always ready for us to turn around – aka repent – and get right with Him.  And He stands ready to take action when we do.  If we are willing “then your people will laugh and sing”.  We will experience God and His goodness.  The writer lists the results of getting right and into relationship with God.  Check out this list:

  1. “Love
  2. Truth
  3. Right living
  4. Whole living
  5. Goodness
  6. Beauty
  7. Bounty
  8. Blessing

There is quite a list of really good things that happen when we get right with God.  He loves us.  He is waiting to bless our socks off.  The only variable is our willingness to come into that relationship and be obedient to Him.  Are you willing?  He is waiting…….

Psalm 84

Psalm 84 is an awesome psalm that talks about the future for those that love Him and come into relationship with His Son.  The topic is heaven and eternity with God.  The psalmist writes that he has “always dreamed of a room in your house”.  How about you?  Do you dream of what eternity looks like and how things will be when you get there?  We need to come to the realization that eternity is coming for each of us.  The day will come when we cross from life on earth through death to eternal life on the other side of death.  That is a given truth that will happen.  We don’t know the day or time, but we absolutely can know the result of that occurrence in our lives.  We can know what eternity will look like.  The psalmist tells us that the birds will be “singing their songs in the place where we worship”.  God’s side of eternity will be very special.  Heaven is a wonderful place.  The other option not so much.  And there are only two results – we will either spend eternity with God in Heaven or apart from God in hell.  No middle ground, no gray area – it is one or the other period.  “Blessed are those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel”.  There is the secret to which will be our destination.  If God lives in us through His Son Jesus Christ, things bode well in eternity.  If He does not, and is not traveling our road, well it looks pretty grim. 

 Verse 10 is the central theme in a song that is recorded by a lot of Christian musicians and has been sang in churches all over the world for some time.  “One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches”.  Or in other translations: “Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere”.  This is the truth folks.  There really is no good option beyond spending eternity with God.  “I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin”.  The psalmist gets it.  Failure in this one area is not an option.  Missing the result in the game of life can’t end well.  We have to get on the right page with God so we can spend eternity with Him.  We really don’t want to miss here.  If we do, well eternity is a very long time to spend somewhere we would rather not be.  And there is no doubt that separation from God is not the right choice.  Scrubbing floors in Heaven is a whole lot better than spending it in the wrong place.  Have you secured your spot with God?  Have you dealt with the reality of your sin and come to the place where you have let Jesus come in and set you free?  What have you done with Jesus?  That one question will determine eternity.  Don’t miss the opportunity to spend it with the God who created you.  It is up to each of us to deal with that decision.  Do it today.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow.  And once we end life here, it will be too late.  Don’t miss it.  Find eternal life today.

Psalm 83

Psalm 83 is a plea for God’s help.  The psalmist calls for help against a multitude of armies that are seeking to destroy God’s people.  He is feeling like God isn’t listening.  “God, don’t shut me out; don’t give me the silent treatment”.  Things are falling apart all around him, and God isn’t responding as quickly as he would like.  Sound familiar?  We always want God to do things on our timeline.  We want Him to do things our way.  We want to be in charge.  When will we learn that our ways are not His ways, our time is not His time, and HE will be in control?  Lessons that often require us to go through times like this when it seems like our prayers and cries fall on deaf ears.  But that just isn’t the case.  God is always listening – He is 24x7x365 and is not overwhelmed or unable to deal with our requests.  But life is about us aligning with His story, not Him being forced into ours.  And so the timing and the action will be determined by the Author, not our personal interests.

Things do look a bit bleak here.  There are 10 nations named by my count that are out to destroy the people of God.  This sounds a lot like some of the rhetoric happening today from Iran and other places.  Some things never change.  God’s chosen people have been a target for ever, and continue to have those who want to destroy them.  But the common reality is that God is still in control.  The psalmist gives a long list of things he hopes God will do to the enemy.  And God is able and will deal with it in His time.  But the end game is this: “Then they’ll learn your name God, the one and only High God on earth”.  Sometimes we lose sight of God’s mission to make all people know Him.  Scripture tells us that “every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”.  At some point, the world will understand who God and His Son are.  Some day, everyone will see it.  But this will happen on God’s timeline and in His way.  Along that path things won’t happen like we might want them to.  And certainly not at the speed we might like.  So we are left with trusting Him and walking obediently in His path.  We need to be content to let God be God and spend our time in obedience to His direction.  God is in control.  He has not left us.  We need to be sure we trust and obey!

Psalm 82

Psalm 82 is a very short chapter focused on judges and justice.  Seems that there was an issue with judges doing their job correctly.  Sound familiar?  The reality is that God alone gives the power to serve in that capacity, and it is only truly based on His rules and truth.  Any efforts by a human judge to do things their way will not end well.  These guys were “commissioned” as judges to serve in interpreting and enforcing God’s laws, yet they took things into their own hands and “betrayed your commission”.  The result – they were stripped of their rank and busted by God.  The psalmist tells us the real situation. “You’ve got the whole world in your hands”.  That is our comfort and the truth.  God is in control whether it seems like it or not.

Right now it often feels like man is at the helm.  Governments do things that certainly don’t align with God’s laws.  Courts make rulings that are in complete contradiction to God’s truth.  But the good news is that even while those things happen around us, God is in control.  He has not changed the way things work.  He has it all in His hands and it is part of His story.  We need to keep the faith and realize that God is not only able, but He will restore things according to His plan in His time.  Our job is to remain obedient in our lives to His truth and walk faithfully with Him.

%d bloggers like this: