Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Psalm 31 - Abundance

In my blogging through the Psalms I don't usually focus on just one verse, but I think that's what I'm going to do today.

Psalm 31 is another psalm of David when he was dealing with troubles and enemies who were after him. He was crying out for deliverance. And even in his distress he was able to confess his trust in God.

But I want to talk about verse 19
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.

We live in a time where there are a lot of "Prosperity Gospel" preachers. They take a verse like Psalm 31:19 and tell their listeners that God wants them to have a bunch of material things: a new car, a big house, nice clothes and more. They say if you live right and ask God He'll give you all that and more. They often say, or at least imply, that if you don't have all these things then you aren't living right. 

I'm not sure how that translates to Christians who don't live in the USA. What do these prosperity gospel preachers have to say to Christians who live/lived in Syria? Or in poverty in Africa? 

If I was going to list the greatest gifts I have received from the Lord I would say things like - the love of family and friends, joy day by day no matter my circumstances, peace through difficult times.... let's just do it this way. 

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Other things that are gifts from God: purpose, meaning, direction....

What would you put on your list?

Bottom line:
The size of your house or car or the other things you own don't show God's blessing or favor. God is much more concerned about your life being filled with the fruit of the Spirit and spiritual things. Look for, reach for, strive for those things.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Psalm 30 - Guest Bloggers

I'm in Mt. Juliet visiting some of the grands. So I thought I'd let them help me blog about Psalm 30.

What advice can you give someone that is having a hard time?
B. Cry out to God.
M. Pray to God.
H. On the third movie of Star Wars I thought this was scary so I prayed that I would have good dreams.

What did the psalm writer say that God did for him?
H. Wrapped him with joy.
B. Changed his black clothes - that's like when you're sad - into joy, white clothes, something besides black.

What do you do when you're really sad or scared?
H.I don't go to sleep at night.
B. When I'm sad I go to my room and cry. I go to the bathroom and cry. Or I just cry.
M. When I watch a creepy movie (editor's note, last night they watched Mrs. Peregrine's House of peculiar Children) I had to look at books. And when it was time to go to bed I was crying.
How did you stop crying?
M. I got under my blanket.

How do you express joy? When you're really happy what do you do?
H. I get really, really, really, really, excited. I jumped around. I go crazy. I do cartwheels. And I call Papa or Grani.
M. When I got a present I went crazy tearing up the paper.
B. I make a big excited face.Yell with joy.

Well....there you go.

We all express sadness and scaredness (Is that a word?) and joy in different ways. I would say that whatever way we  express these things we need to share our thoughts (good and bad) with God. and then we need to praise Him as He turns our sadness into joy.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Psalm 29 - Not Asking for Anything

Psalm 29 doesn't ask God for anything. No one is complaining about life. No one is wishing his enemies were destroyed.

Instead, the psalm is telling us how great and powerful the LORD is. With just His voice He breaks mighty cedars, shakes the wilderness, flashes out flames of fire and so much more.

The LORD sits as King forever!

And look at this - v.11 The LORD gives His people strength. The Almighty God who was above the waters of the flood, who flashes fire, who strips the forest bare with just his voice... He gives His people strength. That's a lot of strength.

Spend some time this week thinking about the great and powerful things of this world. That should inspire you to give glory to God - to worship Him in the splendor of His holiness.

Bottom line:
See if you can spend time in prayer - like start to finish in a prayer time, maybe a whole day - without asking God for anything. Instead, just keep praising Him for His glory and greatness and power. I think it will change you and how you view God. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Psalm 28 - Praise Him with Song

7 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (NLT)

How do you face the pressures of life? What do you do when things go wrong? 
  1. Know that the Lord is your strength and shield. This isn't some positive thinking thinking type thing. It's not happy thoughts. It's knowing the WHO you are trusting in. Self-help gurus and even some pseudo-preachers tell you to believe in yourself and then God will take care of you. That's not what this verse says at all. "The LORD is my strength and shield."
  2. Let your heart greatly rejoice! Don't be one of those people who mopes around saying "woe is me." You can rejoice, not as some sort of - again - positive thinking thing. You can rejoice because THE LORD is your strength and shield. 
  3. Praise Him with song. This doesn't mean you have to join a choir - although that would be a great idea.... You should have a song in your heart all day long every day. Sing to the LORD as you go about life. Sing in worship at church. Don't stand there and watch. Sing! Burst out in songs of joy!
Bottom line:
Let Psalm 28:7 be your guide on how to live life. 
Oh...and the last verse is great too. (bonus thoughts)
He is your shepherd and will hold you forever. Yes.... that was written as a prayer for Israel, but it applies to those who love and follow the Lord. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Psalm 27 - My Light and Salvation

The LORD is my Light and Salvation!

Whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the defense of my life!

Whom shall I dread?
                                       Psalm 27:1

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men
There was the true Light whichcoming into the worldenlightens every man. John 1:4, 9

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

How would you live your life differently if you took Psalm 27:1 to heart and LIVED like you totally believed it?

I started to list some things here - ideas to get you started. But I've learned through the years that if I give ideas of how to live out a passage then many won't ask God to show them His plans. They read a passage and someone in a devotional book (or blog post) tells them how they should respond. Rather than spending time praying and asking God to speak to them, they just look at what the writer said and decide if it applies to them or not. God wants to show us more than that.

Let me suggest that we do these things that David said he was doing.

  1. Seek God (vv.4, 8)
  2. Long to be in His presence (v.4)
  3. Ask God to teach you His way (v.11)
  4. and to lead you in a straight path (also v.11)
  5. Remain confident in the Lord's goodness (v. 13)
  6. Wait for the Lord (v.14)
  7. Be strong and take heart (v.14)
Bottom line:
It's good to hear what your pastor says about a verse, or a good writer, or a friend. But you need to hear from God directly yourself. Then you need to follow where he leads (It will be a straight path.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Psalm 26 - Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

Psalm 26 doesn't really ask the question, "Do bad things happen to good people?" but it kind of answers the question.

Look what David said:

He has lead a blameless life, trusted in the LORD without faltering, doesn't sit with the deceitful, and he keeps going, telling God how he is living a life that is pleasing to God.

But he's saying all of this because he's obviously in trouble. He's asking God to vindicate him (v.1), to deliver him and be merciful (v.11).

It is typical for people to think that if someone has troubles it is because they are sinners. (And granted, many people's troubles are consequences for bad and sinful decisions.) But in reality, troubles can come for many reasons. We live in a broken world. Disease and accidents, sinful people who cross our paths and natural disasters all can affect our lives in negative ways. Or I suppose you could be the king of some country and have enemies and even your own son after your life.....

So.... what do you do when you find yourself in trouble, attacked without reason, all of your appliances break on the same day, you face a dreadful disease? Here's what I see from this psalm.

  1. It's OK to plead your case to God. Tell Him that you're living (or trying to live) a godly life and follow Him. 
  2. Love God's house. I can't tell you how many people over the years drop out of church because they feel like God has abandoned them or not answered a prayer the way they thought He should.
  3. Remember God's unfailing love and rely on His faithfulness.
  4. Keep leading a blameless life as you wait on God's deliverance and mercy.
  5. Praise the LORD in the great congregation (the one you're a part of.)
Looks like a good way to live your life.

Bottom line:
Ummmm, I started adding the "bottom line" when I had posted some long-winded posts. The bottom line for this post is the five points above. That's the easy part. the difficult part is to actually live that way. Can't always follow them? Practice. You'll get better.

I have a picture to put here, but it's too big my incredibly slow internet I have at my house.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Psalm 25

In Psalm 25 David covers these themes

  • Confession of sin: vv. 6-7, 11, 18
  • Asking for guidance and protection: vv. 1, 4-5, 8-9, 14-17, 19-22
  • Proclaiming great things about God: These are scattered in throughout the psalm.
  • Prayer for others: v. 22 and included in other parts when he mentions "those who" and similar phrases
This is a good pattern for your own prayer life. There's an acrostic prayer guide that has been around for - well, decades - called the ACTS of prayer.

A - Adoration (Tell God how wonderful He is)
C - Confession (Ask forgiveness for your sins - be specific)
T - Thanksgiving (Thanking God for His blessings, answers to prayer, etc.)
S - Supplication (Pray for others)

Davids prayer (psalm) doesn't follow the ACTS outline in a strict kind of way. His prayer is more organic. He flows back and forth from one to the other as he pours his heart out to God. 

Bottom line:
You don't have to follow a strict outline to pray - like the ACTS of Prayer, but it is good to have all of those items in your prayers. As you are praying you may be thanking God for something and that may remind you of a sin in some way. Don't say, "oops, sorry, I"m past the confession time of my prayer." Let God's Spirit guide you as you pray. Be sensitive to His leading. Hear His voice. Then follow where He leads - not just in how you prayer, but how you live your life.

4 Show me your ways, LORD, 
teach me your paths. 
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my Savior, 
and my hope is in you all day long.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Psalm 24- Welcome the King of Glory!

Psalm 24 - Wow! Ten short beautiful verses with a great three-part message!

The psalm begins with a declaration of God's greatness - how all of the earth is His.

The second part asks the question - Who can be in God's presence?
With the answer being "those with clean hands, pure hearts, don't trust in idols and instead seek God's face.

The last part calls for a grand celebration as the King of Glory enters Jerusalem!

This grand celebration is actually a two-part celebration. The first part has already taken place. When Jesus entered into Jerusalem during His triumphal entry He entered through the Eastern Gate.

There is a lot of really cool information about the Eastern Gate - also called the Golden Gate on Wikipedia that you can see here Golden Gate (Jerusalem)

Ezekiel prophesied that Messiah would enter through the Eastern Gate. What's really cool about this prophecy is that the Muslims in the year 810 and then an Ottoman Sultan in 1541, in their efforts to prevent the Messiah from entering Jerusalem actually helped fulfill part of the prophecy.

Ezekiel 44:1 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. 
2 The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it. 

3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”

When Jesus Christ returns He will open that gate - I picture it just crumbling before Him (The whole earth is His after all) - and He will enter Jerusalem as the King of Glory. 

What does this mean for us today? (Bottom line)
God is worthy of our praise because the whole earth is His - including all who live in it!

For us to be in God's presence we need clean hands, a pure heart and need to seek Him. This is possible because of Jesus forgiving us of our sins and us living a holy life.

We can look forward to His second coming when all the world will see Him as the great King of Glory!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Psalm 23 - A Fresh Look

I'm having a difficult time writing a post today.

Psalm 23 only has six verses, but they are so full of meaning that entire books have been written about them. A preaching pastor could easily preach a four or five part sermon series from this beautiful psalm.

So what can I say in a short blog post that would be new or different or could measure up to the great theologians who have written about it?

I did have this thought. The 23rd Psalm is so familiar, and we have heard it so often - usually at funerals - that we've come to the place that we just, kinda, ignore it. Familiarity doesn't necessarily breed contempt, but it can breed apathy. Or we relegate this psalm to funerals.

So what do you do when you find yourself skimming over a familiar passage of scripture? Here are a few ideas.
A fresh look at Psalm 23

  • Pray. Ask God to show you something new or how to apply it to your life or how you can use that passage to encourage someone else.
  • Read it out loud. You'll hear things that your brain might skip if you read silently.
  • Read it from several different translations. I've read Psalm 23 from the NASB for years. Before that KJV and probably NIV. Today I read it from the NLV.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.I'm not going to tell you my thoughts about Psalm 23 on this post. Not because I don't have any, but because I don't want to limit what God may be saying to YOU today through Psalm 23. Bottom line:Ask God to give you a fresh look at Psalm 23.For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12Let the Word be active in your soul and spirit. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Psalm 22 - A View of the Savior

There are many Psalms that are called "Messianic Psalms." These are Psalms that point us to Jesus. Psalm 22 is one of these Messianic Psalms.

Look at these obvious references to the crucifixion of Christ.

  • "My God, my God, why have  your forsaken me?" v.1
  • But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. v.6
  • All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. v.7
  • “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” v.8
  • I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. v.14
  • My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. v.15
  • Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. v.16
  • All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. v.17
  • They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. v.18
Those are the obvious Messianic references/prophecies that were fulfilled through our Lord Jesus Messiah ("Christ" is Greek for "Messiah") What's really cool to see is that Jesus fulfilled prophecies, not only by things He said (which a clever man might be able to do) but He also fulfilled all kinds of prophecies by things that were done to him by others. Amazing.

I'm sure I'm not the first to think this, but I think the last few verses are also Messianic. What do you think?

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 
31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

So what do we take from this? When we celebrate Advent (at Christmas time for all my Baptist friends) We celebrate Christ's first coming as we look forward to His second coming. All through scripture we find prophecies that were partially fulfilled in Christ's first coming and will be ultimately fulfilled in His second coming. Psalm 22 looks that way to me. As we see Psalm 22 point to and describe the crucifixion we can be certain (plus we read it in Philippians and other places) that all will one day kneel before him.

So..... here's a cool thought..... we get to be part of the fulfillment of Psalm 22. We can be the ones who tell the generations that follow us about the Lord. We can proclaim His righteousness and shout "He has done it!"

Bottom line:
Psalm 22 and it's depiction of the crucifixion shows that Christ's death was part of God's plan - not an accident.
When we see obvious fulfillment of prophecies concerning Christ's first advent we can be certain of the fulfillment of prophecies concerning His second coming.
We need to be telling others about Jesus.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Psalm 21 - Rejoice with Singing and Praise

We can't totally relate to what David is saying in Psalm 21. We aren't kings and queens. We don't have an entire nation watching us to see what God is doing in our lives.

But we can relate if we think about the blessings that God pours out on us. As joint heirs with Christ we are His children. Romans 8:17 Morning by morning new mercies we see. Lamentations 3:22-23

If you'll take some time and reflect on all that God has done in your life then you can join in with David in your response.

  • Joy in God's strength v.1
  • Greatly rejoice in God's victory v.1
  • Cheered with joy in God's presence v.6
  • Sing v.13
  • and Praise God's might v.13

Bottom line:
You may not be a king, but you still have a lot of reasons to praise God. When you notice all of the blessings in your life you'll be filled with joy - most importantly, the joy of His presence.
Then you won't be able to help yourself. You'll join the saints through the ages who have echoed David's words and you'll sing and praise His power.

Be exalted, O LORD , in Your strength; 
We will sing and praise Your power.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Psalm 20 - Praying for others

Up to this point in our 150 days through the Psalms most of the psalms have been the psalmist (usually David) asking God to protect him or deliver him from his enemies - basically prayers for himself.

Today's psalm is a prayer for someone else. (Well.....it says it's a psalm of David but the prayer is for the king too, so maybe David was speaking in third person....?)

No matter how it was written or who wrote for whom we can still get some prayer pointers on how to pray for others.

Pray for answers from God and for God's protection. v.1

Pray for God to send help - specifically help from heaven (with the Temple and Zion being references for God's dwelling and His presence.) v.2

Pray that God will be pleased with the offerings of the person you ar praying for - which would lead to praying that the person is living a life pleasing to God. v.3

Pray for the person's desires, that they are pleasing to God, so God will give him the desires of his heart. v.4

Be sure and praise God for answers to prayer - anticipated answers and then prayers after God answers. vs.5-6

Declare your trust in God. v.7

Bottom line:
Pray for others, not just for them to receive help, but so God will be praised.
5 Then we will shout for joy over your victory and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Psalm 19 - Three in One

Psalm 19 is one of my favorites. It is written with beautiful imagery and speaks wonderfully to three different thoughts. It's like getting three mini sermons in one.

It begins by pointing out how the heavens declare God's glory. vs.1-6 Even without words the speak of Him. All the wonder and superlatives that man can use to describe the heavens barely begin to compare with how they, in turn, tell of God's glory.

The second section, vs. 7-11 describes God's Word. His Word (law, precepts, statutes, commands, decrees) is described as being perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, enduring forever, firm, righteous, more precious than gold and sweeter than honey.

His Word has these benefits.

  • refreshes the soul
  • makes wise the simple
  • gives joy to the heart
  • gives light to the eyes
  • warns God's servants
  • and in keeping them there is great reward

The third part, vs. 11-14 (I know. I put 11 in parts 2 and 3) is a prayer about sin and is a good three part model for us to follow. David first states that a person can't always see his own faults, so he asks God to forgive him of his hidden sins. Then he asks God to protect him from willful sins. You know the kind. You face a temptation - something you shouldn't do - but in your sinfulness you decide to jump right in anyway. Last, he confesses his desire for his words and his thoughts to be pleasing to God.

At first look this is three separate psalms put into one, but they actually connect well. This psalm is the story of redemption!
  1. God reveals Himself to man. 
  2. God's word shows man that he is a sinner. 
  3. Man confesses his sin and trusts God to be his redeemer.  
Bottom line:
God invites us to be a part of His redemption story. Where are you in this story line? Part 1 - God is revealing Himself to you? Part 2 - God's Word is teaching you and showing you that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Part 3 - You've confessed your sin and asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?

Another bottom line:
After a person is saved he/she should join in with the heavens in declaring how glorious God is.
The benefits of knowing, trusting in, meditating on God's Word are even more wonderful once you know God in a personal relationship through Jesus.
And third, you should continue to confess your sin and ask God to keep you from willful sins. (and praise Him as your Redeemer)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Psalm 18 - Testimony Time

In several (most) of the psalms that we have looked at so far in our 150 day journey David is crying out to God for help. Today's psalm is written after God's help came - after David was delivered from his enemies.

It makes a nice outline for sharing your story (giving your testimony.)

First - tell how great God is, what he means to you. vs. 1-3

Then tell what your life was like before you were saved - vs. 4-6

Tell how God saved you. - vs. 7-19

Then tell how your life is different now - vs. 20 and following, especially verses 32-35

Praise the Lord again -
49 Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.

Bottom line:
Many people don't share their faith because they don't know what to say. They think they have to memorize a bunch of Bible verses and perhaps even have a degree from a seminary so they know all of the answers to everyone's questions. That's not the case. All you need to share Jesus with someone is to share your story.

My life before I met Christ
How I came to know Him (someone told you about Him, or through scripture reading, - YOUR story)
What my life is like now that I'm a follower of Jesus.

That's it.

What's your story?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Psalm 17 - Even the Good People Have Troubles

Psalm 17 is like many of David's psalms. He has enemies that are trying to destroy him. He wants God to save him. I wanted to see something different as I read this Psalm. This is what I saw.

David lived a godly life. He didn't speak evil of others. He always walked in God's ways and never strayed from them. He was praying because he knew that God would answer him. And yet......Even people who live good, godly lives have enemies and troubles.

David had enemies all around him. They were deadly enemies who were callous and proud. They were waiting for a chance to pull him down - like lions wanting to tear him apart.

As Americans we won't put up with such nonsense. If we have been wronged we fight back. It may not be an actual fist fight, but we can destroy someone on Facebook or Twitter in a heartbeat. We'll show them that we can't be pushed around and bullied. If it's bad enough we will call the police or better yet, a lawyer. We'll have them in a lawsuit so big they'll wish they had never messed with us!

 This, however, is not the way of Christ. Jesus said, "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them." Luke 6:29

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50

The Apostle Paul gave us the same kind of advice when he quoted from Isaiah. 

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 

Bottom line: (Remember, this part is a conclusion that leaves out a lot of the connecting sentences and thoughts. You'll need to draw your own lines to connect the dots.)

In Psalm 17 David knew that he was innocent. He asked God to protect him from his enemies. He didn't have a lawyer or assassin on speed dial to get back at the wicked people surrounding him.
If we follow Christ's teachings we will respond with love and let God take care of any revenge on our behalf. If we strike back we lose our saltiness. If we show love then people will know that we are His disciples.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Psalm 16 - Every Good Thing

In reading Psalm 16 today one verse really jumped out at me - verse 2

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (NIV) Ner INternational Version
2 I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; all the good things I have come from you." (GNT) Good News Translation

This verse then reminded me of James 1:17
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NASB) New American Standard Bible

I think a good thing for me (us) to do today is make a list - on paper would be good - of everything good in my (your) life. My guess is that we will have very long lists. At the top of the list and the bottom of the list .... hmmmmm, and maybe again every ten or twenty things on the list.... write Psalm 16:2.

You are my Lord;
apart from you
I have no good thing.

A list like this, with this verse written over and over again, will make verses 7-9 come alive in my heart. 
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;Bottom line:As we remember how every good thing in life is from God we'll see these things
  •  our hearts will be at a place where we will praise the LORD, 
  • we will hear Him in the night (when a lot of worries take place)
  • we will keep our eyes on Him
  • we will not be shaken
  • our hearts will be glad
  • we will rejoice
  • we will rest secure
  • we will know the path of life
  • we will know joy in His presence
Sounds like a great plan to me!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Psalm 15 - Never Be Shaken - Stand Firm Forever

This Psalm is very straight forward. The New Living Translation makes it very easy to understand.

Question: Who may worship in the LORD's Sanctuary? Who may enter into His presence?

Answer: Ultimately, we know from the New Testament side of scripture that our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection - and then by each individual putting his/her faith in Him as Lord and Savior. As a follower of Christ we then should strive to live as Christ. We will want to follow guidelines as seen in Psalm 15 - not as a means of salvation, but as an evidence of salvation.

So.... the "Answer" as seen in Psalm 15. Very easy to follow.

  • 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
  •  speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
  • 3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or 
  • speak evil of their friends.
  • 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and 
  • honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and 
  • keep their promises even when it hurts.
  • 5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and 
  • who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. 
Well..... the list is easy to see, perhaps not so easy to do. We can't do these things on our own. But the list is doable if you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. 

Before we leave Psalm 15 notice the benefits of living a life following these guidelines. Not only will you worship and be in the LORD's presence, but you will never be shaken (NIV) stand firm forever (NLT).

Bottom line:
Live a righteous life and you'll stand firm forever. Cool!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Psalm 14 - Your Choice

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." v.1

God is present in the company of the righteous. v.5

Hmmmm. What else is there to say?

We've seen this in society. As more and more people say "there is no God" we have seen a huge increase in the things mentioned in Psalm 14.

  • their deeds are vile
  • they turn away from God
  • they become corrupt
  • none of them do good
  • they devour others
  • they never pray to God
  • they frustrate the plans of the poor
For those who know God we see
  • God is with them
  • God is their refuge
  • God will send salvation (NIV) - will rescue them (NLT)
  • God will restore His people
  • His people will rejoice and be glad
Bottom line:
You choose.
Will you be foolish and turn away from God?
Or will you choose to be righteous (obey God)? Then God will be with  you and will be your refuge and salvation. You will rejoice and be glad. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Psalm 13 - I Will Sing! (advice for troubles)

Do you have troubles? Worries? Problems?

Psalm 13 is short - only 6 verses- but it has great advice for anyone with troubles, worries or problems.

The first four verses lay out the troubles and complaints of David. Rather than list them here I would suggest that you make a list of some of the things that are troubling you.

I'll wait............

OK. Now look at the last two verses.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love; 
my heart rejoices in your salvation. 

6 I will sing the LORD’s praise, 
for he has been good to me.

After you read the last two verses the first four are no longer important. David could have written any number of things to begin the psalm, but the last two are how he chose to respond to his troubles.

Take your list of troubles or complaints, cross them off and write across the top of your list verses 5 and 6.

You don't have to feel like it, you just make the choice. I've noticed in my own life and in watching others that it's best to choose your actions and then your emotions can catch up later. 

Here's your plan of action to take care of your problems, worries and troubles.
  • Choose to trust in God's unfailing love.
  • Have your heart rejoice in His salvation.
  • Sing the LORD's praise.
Bottom line:
This post is too short for me to also have a bottom line. Just read the plan of action listed above. That's the bottom line. :-)

This picture is just for fun. It's not what I just said in this post. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Psalm 12 - What's Going in Your Head?

Psalm 12 could be describing the world in 2017. I guess this shows that people have always and will always be - well, sinners. Don't these verses sound like what we see and hear today? (Wording from the NIV)

  • no one is faithful anymore
  • those who are loyal have vanished
  • everyone lies to their neighbor
  • they flatter but harbor deception
  • boastful tongues
  • they say "by our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us - who is lord over us?"
  • the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored by people

Now look how the LORD and His word are described.

  • the words of the LORD are flawless
  • His words are like purified silver 
  • His words are like gold refined 7 times
Now..... which of these lists do you want put into your mind and heart? We have to spend time in the world - we live here! But we can counteract the vileness of the world as we spend time with the flawless, purified golden words of the LORD. 

Uh oh! I just thought of an application you may not like. What do you listen to on the radio? Do you know that your children sing those nasty words in those songs? That puts them in their heart. It puts them in YOUR heart, in YOUR mind too.

"Garbage in - garbage out" isn't just for computer programming. It's true in your heart, mind and soul too. 

Follow Paul's words in Philippians 4:8-9 
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Bottom line:Protect your heart and mind from the deceit of the world. Buy (and listen to) CDs that have Christian lyrics. Buy some your children will enjoy too. Here's a good resource Northpoint Kids CD  Fill your mind with what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and/or praiseworthy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Psalm 11 - What Can We Do?

Psalm 11:3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Ugh! I've had this question run through my mind a lot over the last year with all of the political craziness we've had. It seems that both political parties - as a whole - have abandoned any sense of decent public discourse, integrity, honesty, etc. (I know that there are a lot of great people in public service on both sides of the aisle that are good people who love the Lord and want the best for our country, but they are being overshadowed by the other.) Sometimes I look at the world around us and the USA in particular and I want to join those who were mocking David and say, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

David answers the accusation/question kind of like this.

What are you doing asking such a ridiculous question? God is still on His throne. He observes the righteous and the wicked. You may not see it now, but he will destroy the wicked. And the righteous will see His face. (Lyndel's short paraphrase.)

 When I read verse 7
For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.
Micah 6:8 came to mind.

He has told you, O man, what is good; 
And what does the LORD require of you 
But to do justice, 
to love kindness, 
And to walk humbly with your God?

Bottom line:
When we see the foundations of our society being destroyed we must remember that God is still on His throne and
Our job is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. 
If all of God's people lived this way the foundations would no longer be falling apart.