Monday, April 27, 2020

My God Is - Psalm 4

What did you find to be true about God in your journey through Exodus 32-34 last week? What made you pause to gaze on Him and His beauty? I’d love to hear the “what” as well as the “how” – How did God use it to capture your heart?

One small example from my life and then please share yours in the comments below:

I’ve had trouble sleeping lately. That’s NOT usually a problem for me! But it used to be – Anxiety would consume me, but God delivered me from paralyzing worry many years ago as I studied Psalm 4. I read it and parked there for a long time until the truth of it sank deeply into my heart and mind. Verse 8 often comes to mind, but lately… well, let’s just say that sleep has been a struggle.

BUT – gazing on the Lord this week has been a beautiful treasure worth staying awake for! As I read God’s promise to Moses in Ex. 33:14, I was reminded of Psalm 4. God told Moses, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” My breath caught with wonder as Psalm 4:8 sprang to mind. I turned to Psalm 4 and began to read the familiar words…

1Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

2O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

3But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him.

4Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

6There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O LORD!”
7You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

So, when I can’t sleep, I turn my thoughts to the beauty of the God who made and redeemed me through the blood of Jesus Christ. I remember who God is…


And in seeing these truths about God, I also see how He calls me to respond! But how would I have known these things if I hadn’t previously seen them in Scripture? Perhaps I would have thought, “Isn’t that nice that God met Moses and comforted him. I wish He would do that for me… but I’m not Moses…” Perhaps I would have missed that the promise IS for me as a child of God – He hears. He answers. His presence brings peace! Psalm 4 tells me so! And because I did notice (thank You, LORD!), those awake times are shorter and far more pleasant. I can ponder HIM and be silent. I can lie down and sleep in safety.

A small thing, but it tells me that KNOWING WHO GOD IS MATTERS!!

So, I have a challenge for you!! Get yourself a blank notebook and come along with me on a journey to know God more through the Psalms! Over the coming weeks, we will look for truths that reveal who He is, what He is like, what pleases Him, what displeases Him, and how He works. In fact, the notebook is so you can keep a journal – each time you encounter a verse that tells you something about God, write it down. Head each page “My God                          ” or “My God is                          ” and fill in the blank. Each time you come across a verse that tells you this truth about God, write it on that page. Start a new page for each topic. For example, I would record Psalm 4:8 on two pages! Once under “My God Gives Rest (or Peace)” and again under “My God Is a Refuge”. I might record verse 1 under “My God Is My Righteousness”, and verse 3 under “My God Hears”.

This week, work your way through Psalms 1-5, recording as you go. Throughout the day, call to mind the truths God has shown you. If you get parked in one psalm or even on a few verses – stay there. Keep praying and considering the beauty of the Lord you see there. You’ll get to the rest of the Psalms – but for the moment, fix your eyes on the wonder God shows you as you ask Him, “Show me Your glory, LORD!” He will! By revealing Himself to you in beauty and holiness, in ways you can’t anticipate, in the circumstances of your life, in the silence or the noise.

But you’re not done yet!! Come back here and leave a comment! It might simply be a verse reference and a “My God Is                             ” statement, or it might be a story about how God has used that truth to lead you, grow you, strengthen you…

I can hardly wait to hear, because your walk with God strengthens my walk with Him, too! Let’s encourage one another to know God more and more deeply! Give a blank journal to a friend and invite her to come along with you!

(The idea for this study came from this book: What Do I Know about My God by Mardi Collier. Her journey encouraged me to invite you!)

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Be sure to check out the sermon from this past Sunday: The Just Justifier, Romans 3:21-26,

I am praying always for you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Show me Your Glory - Exodus 32-34

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor preached a sermon from Exodus. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about Moses and his request of the LORD, “Please show me Your glory!” But that wasn’t his first request… take a look!

Read Exodus 32-34 and look for what was happening with Israel that prompted this conversation between God and Moses. Discover what Moses asked God to show to him FIRST…

What did you discover?

Let’s look together at Exodus 33:13 –
Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You in order to find favor in Your sight. Consider too that this nation is Your people.

Moses was grieving over Israel’s sin and the disastrous word that God would no longer go up among His people as He previously did. So, Moses asked God, “Show me Your ways!”

Why did he ask that?

The verse answers the question. Moses wanted to know God’s ways so that he could KNOW GOD more and FIND FAVOR (grace) in God’s sight! Think about that for a minute…

Have you ever asked God to show you His ways? Why did you ask?

I don’t know what Moses was thinking, but his statement reminding God, “Consider too that this nation is Your people” tells me his desire to know God was not just for himself – he prayed for his people, too. He was concerned for them – He was one of them and would share in whatever happened to them (see 32:31-32). And he was concerned for God’s glory and fame as we see in the verses that follow. Read again this exchange between God and Moses:

Exodus 33:14-17
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

And [Moses] said to Him, “If Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

What did Moses say made God’s people distinct?
What would you say makes Christians distinct from non-Christians today?
What do you notice about God’s response to Moses?

I noticed the incredible kindness and tenderness of God! He knows Moses – He knows him by name – He knows exactly who Moses is. Deep worship and passion for God welled up within Moses and he asked, “Please! Show me Your glory!”

Suddenly, nothing but God and His glory mattered! God would carry out His purposes for Israel and it would be right – and good – and He would be faithful to them in the process. God’s glory was more important than the circumstances Moses faced. Without God’s presence, he did not want to move – anywhere… for any reason…

            What does it mean to you that God knows your name?
Does it give you confidence and hope to trust Him?

This was also in David’s heart many generations later when he wrote Psalm 27:4-5 –

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.

For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.

David’s one desire was to dwell with the LORD and gaze on His beauty forever, to ask and to know Him! Why? Here is a clue: verse 5 starts with the word “For” – or “Because…”

What would gazing on the beauty of the LORD and knowing Him more deeply do for David?
Do you hunger deeply for God?
Do you long to dwell with Him and gaze on His beauty? Why?

It seems that gazing on the LORD increases our desire to gaze on and know Him still more. The result is that He shelters us in Him. That shelter is only found in Jesus Christ. He is our salvation, hope, peace, and rock. His shelter goes far beyond keeping us physically safe (which is NOT guaranteed) to salvation in Christ who guards our souls from destruction (which IS guaranteed when we put our trust in Him alone!).

So, you are invited this week to gaze on the LORD and find shelter in Him. Study the account given in Exodus 32-34.

What do you learn about God?
How did He show Moses His glory?

Look closely at 34:6-7

What did the LORD proclaim?
What do you learn of God in His proclamation of who He is?
What was Moses’ response in verse 8?

You might notice that when Moses came down off the mountain after this encounter, he went right to work, instructing and leading the people in the ways of the LORD.

Where else in Scripture is the name of the LORD spoken of?
How does God’s name describe Him?
How will you respond to the glorious name of the LORD that is proclaimed for you in His Word?

I am praying always for you and greatly anticipating the time when we can be together again! Keep your eyes on Jesus, dear sisters!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Then Sings My Soul - Psalm 138

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder.
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

It’s the song the Lord put in my heart during some very dark and difficult hours recently. To sing it through tears was a poignant, deliberate sacrifice of worship offered simply because I am convinced of the goodness and love of the God who holds me.

I thought about the statement, "God is good all the time," and the conversation in my head went something like this:
  Q:  Is He really?
     A:  Yes, I know He is.
  Q:  How do you know?
     A:  His Word tells me… and I have been both a witness and recipient of His goodness and love over and over.
  Q:  Why would you trust Him through this?
     A:  Because He has been faithful in ALL His words and ways – throughout time and in my life.
And so, this became my prayer and my song…

Psalm 138

I will give You thanks with all my heart;I will sing praises to You before the gods.I will bow down toward Your holy templeAnd give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;You made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,When they have heard the words of Your mouth.And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,For great is the glory of the Lord.For though the Lord is exalted,Yet He regards the lowly,But the haughty He knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Yes, I will give thanks and sing praise. Is it really a sacrifice to offer gratitude and worship even in suffering to the true God who loves me and gave Himself for me? Sometimes it feels that way, at least to begin with, but something changes in my heart as I continue to worship.

That’s because God loves to show His goodness and glory to His children. Ok, we can only see it in small parts, but He loves us and wants us to know Him even more deeply. That requires testing. How will we know Him if we never look for or ask Him to act?

So there on the floor, sobbing and singing, I confessed my lack of faith and my doubt that this could be turned for good, acknowledging His power and love, and I asked the Lord to act. He heard me and He answered me with strength. No, it wasn’t just that easy… joy didn’t flood my soul like a river… but the surety of God’s loving presence and confidence in the perfection of His ways did. I trusted that He would accomplish what concerned me, and He gave me rest. I may not totally understand His purpose, but we will know His glory through it - May His name be glorified!

Today, the Lord reminded me of another verse in that song –

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.
But on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

I think of the day Jesus died and how painful it must have been for those who loved Him to watch – witnessing His agony, waiting in the dark barely able to breathe themselves as they heard Him struggle, privy to His prayer, powerless to ease His suffering, unable to understand the goodness of God in those oh-so-long hours, weeping, begging God to act and not knowing that His sovereign work was already being accomplished, or of the miracle of His resurrection that was coming! Did God give a song? One that rose from their hearts in an extreme sacrifice of praise? What words and images of Jesus looped through their minds? From what words of Scripture did they draw comfort?

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

As you reflect on Psalm 138 this week, let your praise rise to Him. Sing of the goodness of God and cry out with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Ask God to show you His ways and His glory so you may know Him and walk in grace by faith. If you are His child, you have already found favor in His sight. He is pleased to show you His goodness and proclaim His strong name to you. Meditate on who He is and bow before Him. Then go in the strength of the LORD and walk in faith and obedience.

And as you go, strengthen your sisters.

Be sure to watch this week’s sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-5, Christ’s Resurrection and Our Inheritance. Jesus is our Living Hope! Find it at:

I am praying always with joy for you, dear sisters!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Contending for the Faith - Jude

JUDE 1-4 & 20-25
 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
“To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
“May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…”
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Beloved sisters, may mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you as you stand firm contending for the faith.

But what does it mean to “contend for the faith”? How will you do that? And why is it necessary? What is there to struggle against?

In this time of uncertainty, I’m too often tempted to think the struggle is to fill our daily needs and to regain what has been comfortable all my life. Yet I know that’s not the real struggle. It’s not the fight to which God has called me as His beloved.

In these opening and closing verses, we hear assurance of the mercy, peace, and love of God – that great love with which He called us into His salvation. We are called, loved, and kept in Christ! And again, at the end of the letter, we are assured that God is able to keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before His throne of glory with great joy! It has absolutely nothing to do with us or our strength – It is ALL of GOD!!

But in between those opening and closing assurances, we are warned of danger and charged to fight! Jude’s words in the in-between offer no comfort of ease, but put the believer on sharp alert and command our vigilance – against unbelief and sin; against reliance on the flesh and rejection of authority (God’s authority and those to whom He gives it); against grumbling, discontent, boasters, divisiveness… These things creep in when we make the struggle about this earthly life rather than the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ. We are not told to fight on our own, but in the strong name of Jesus, submitted to HIS uneclipsed power and authority!

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…”

Sweet sister, what are you contending for? A return to what was comfortably normal just a few short weeks ago? Or the glory of Christ no matter what suffering that may mean for you personally?

What do you imagine would bring you relief at this moment? Would it put the glory, majesty, dominion, and authority of Christ on display most of all or just make your daily life easier?

This week’s challenge is to read the whole book of Jude (all 25 verses 😊) along with Philippians 2:1-18 – Read them at least twice and ask these questions as you go:

  • What does it mean to “contend for the faith” or “work out your own salvation”? What is the goal of this battle?
  • Against what does God strongly exhort His children to fight? What is the danger?
  • What instructions are we given about HOW to wage the battle? What tools have we been given?
  • What might obedience to this call look like in your life this week?

PRAY: Remember Psalm 18? The LORD is teaching you to do battle. He is training your hands for war even as He equips you with strength for this battle. Offer up your heart in a prayer of gratitude and submission to His good plan to strengthen you and bring glory to His name.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

In your struggle, may you be the aroma of Christ – the mercy, peace, and love of God that are yours in abundance – poured out to those around you.

Be sure to check out this helpful message from Exodus, too:

I am praying always for you.