Friday, June 19, 2020

One Thing! Psalm 27

I'm sure you've all figured out by now that SOMETHING happened to interrupt my blogging schedule... 😏 It did indeed! After weeks of wondering and near-inactivity, we have jumped into full VBS-mode! The problem hasn't been finding time to read and meditate on the Word - the problem HAS been finding a day to write about it. So, I hit the "pause" button... this week, last week, and probably next week... BUT, let's keep reading, studying, and meditating on the Psalms! You might take time to review what you've learned already and ask, "What does it mean that my God is                    

There are many passages in Psalms that speak deeply to me. I shared some thoughts on Psalm 18, and we covered another one a couple of weeks ago - Psalm 27. It's one of those passages that my Dad spent a lot of time in and consequently, so did I. Over the years, portions of it have filled my desperate prayers, schooled my heart in worship, and taught me much about the God who has called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light. So, just briefly, I'll share some of my notes with you...

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
    I praise you, oh Lord, for You are the One who dispels all the darkness. You calm my fears and give me a place of refuge - a place to rest in You and to take part in the victory I know You have already won!

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet [in this] I will be confident.
    Though circumstances look bleak and I see no way through them, I know You are trustworthy. I have no need for fear, but can be confident that You are my refuge, You will save me. You will carry me through. You are the victor! Teach me to trust You fully.

One thing have I asked [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. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
    Lord, my heart wants to want You more than anything, but the truth is that I often fixate on the things of this earth - on people, on problems, on tasks, on myself... Still, I know You are faithful. I know You are worthy of praise. I see Your beauty in Your ways and Your Word. I believe You, Lord. Yet, I still gaze at things far less lovely than You. Teach me to want You most of all. Lead me by the light of Your Word into the shelter of Your love. I WILL give You praise - no matter what the cost! Remind me hourly of that determination! I WILL sing praise and shout for joy - no matter what my circumstances are. Because You hold me close. Because You lift up my head so I will look on You! Oh Lord, how beautiful You are!!

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to You, "Your face, Lord, do I seek." Hide not Your face from me. Turn not Your servant away in anger, O You who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
    You do hear me - and You answer in Your infinite grace. You command my full attention! Help me to attend to that command! Lord, it is YOUR face I seek! You are my help, and Your salvation is enough - I need nothing more. And yet You give still more...

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
    No one is faithful like You are faithful, my God! No one has power like You have power to keep all Your promises and to do all You say will do! Even my own father and mother will fail, but You, oh Lord, will forever welcome me. You teach me. You lead me. You set my feet on a sure path. When all the earth heaves and shakes beneath my feet, Your path is firm and level. You only ask me to stay the course. Oh Lord, do not abandon me in my failings. Don't allow the enemy to triumph over me, but remind me that I am YOURS, and teach me to walk with You steadfastly.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
    Lord, I do believe I will see You in all Your goodness, glory, and beauty... one day. But I also believe You will show Me Your glory, Your beauty, and Your goodness right here, right now - in Your Word and in Your works. Help me to see You clearly. I will not turn my eyes from watching for You, but will wait with courage for You to act. Lord, be my help. I will give honor to You!

How has the Lord ministered to your heart in the past couple of weeks? I know it's hard to be vulnerable when commenting on a public blog - You don't need to. Just tell us about the beauty you have seen in our precious Lord and Savior this week!

I love you and am praying for you always, sweet sisters!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Praiseworthy God - Psalms 21-25

Today, I thought we might walk through a chapter in the Psalms together.

Each week, we’re reading 5 chapters or so with the intent of discovering (and re-discovering) the true nature of God – who He has revealed Himself to be through the Scriptures. Not letting our imaginations or others’ opinions shape our concept of the high and holy God, but letting the Word of God do that for us!

So, we are combing the Psalms looking for HIM! What have YOU found of our God in the first 25 chapters of Psalms?

I’m finding that my card file isn’t big enough! God doesn’t fit in my box! Every time I look at my growing list, I’m overwhelmed by the magnificence I find there. My God is so much bigger than I imagine Him to be and stunningly beautiful!

Let’s look at Psalm 21 (reprinted here in the ESV) and I’ll show you a little of what my method looks like. Yours might be different and I’d love to hear about it!

1 O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices,

    and in your salvation how greatly he exults!

2 You have given him his heart's desire

    and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

3 For you meet him with rich blessings;

    you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him,

    length of days forever and ever.

5 His glory is great through your salvation;

    splendor and majesty you bestow on him.

6 For you make him most blessed forever;[a]

    you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

7 For the king trusts in the Lord,

    and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;

    your right hand will find out those who hate you.

9 You will make them as a blazing oven

    when you appear.

The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,

    and fire will consume them.

10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,

    and their offspring from among the children of man.

11 Though they plan evil against you,

    though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight;

    you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!

    We will sing and praise your power.

My first read-through of the Psalm is simply to gain an understanding of the Psalmists’ overall intent in writing it. Footnotes can be helpful at times for this, as can the Psalm titles. Once I understand the overall flow or message, I read it again looking for how the Lord reveals Himself in it. I have a Bible I don’t mind writing in and make notes as I go, but you could also use a notebook to write down the characteristics and corresponding verse reference. Here’s a picture of a page from my Bible. I write in pencil so I can erase it later if I need to!

At this point, I grab my card file and start writing. Every characteristic has a “title card” and a card or multiple cards with the verses written out. Yes, I write them out – It helps me to meditate on God as He describes Himself, and it is meaningful when I go back to review or find a verse! Here are pics of my file box and a section of cards…


Now for Psalm 21 – Here are the characteristics of God I noted as I read:

Vs. 1: Strength, Joy-giver, Salvation

Vs. 2-3: Generous

Vs. 6: Joy-giver, Present with me

Vs. 7: Steadfast love, Most High

Vs. 8: Searches hearts

Vs. 9-12: Wrathful, Just, Victorious

Vs. 13: Strength, Power, Praiseworthy

As I meditated on these truths about God, I noticed once again that this is a Psalm that begins and ends with the Worthiness of our God. The fact that this is so common in Psalms demonstrates that my God is worthy of my praise AT ALL TIMES – because of who He is, not because of what I think or feel. When I need help figuring out what to praise God for, the Psalms help me and convict me! Just from the first and last verses of this one, I learn to praise Him because of His strength, power, and salvation! If for no other reasons than these, it is enough! And more of what we read this week lends itself to praising our God who is Worthy.

22:3 Our holy God is enthroned in the praises of His people

22:26 The Lord satisfies those who seek to praise Him

25:6-7 & 17-18 Confession of sin is a most necessary component of praise – in fact, you can’t help but turn to God in repentance when you see Him as He is because you will see what you are not!

In Psalm 21, I could clearly see the generosity of the God we serve, and I had to stop to consider with thanksgiving His generosity to me.

In Psalm 22, the picture of the high and holy God making His throne in the praises of His people brought me to my knees in worship and adoration. The picture of Jesus found there is a powerful reminder of His great work on the cross to purchase my salvation.

In Psalm 23, the Lord reveals Himself as my Shepherd. The depth of His love, attendance, and care are inconceivable. Yet He welcomes me in His mercy and goodness.

In Psalm 24, there is great rejoicing in the King of Glory – the LORD strong and mighty! Unapproachable in His holiness, yet who receives those who come to Him covered by the righteousness of Christ!

So, here’s a challenge for this week – As you study Psalms 26-30, write out a prayer of praise to God for who He is. Consider sharing it with us in the comments below! It is always encouraging to hear others give praise to our God – I learn from it, and my heart rejoices and overflows with yet more praise!

I am praying always for you!