There’s so much turbulence during this time of COVID, forest fires and uncertainty. It is hard at times to trust in Gods promises and rest in the fact that HE has got this. These are the times I turn to the Psalms to renew my heart and give strength.
Psalm 121 is the reminder to "look up." Like the apostle Peter when he was walking on the water to Jesus, Peter did not sink into the stormy water as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus and not the storm. I too struggle with this and when I look around, I can easily get defeated. Drained. Impatient or cynical. I start to worry. Fear creeps in. I lose my focus because I am distracted by all the things that can never really give me strength or hope.
Today I am choosing to fix my eyes on God. For since He made ALL of heaven and earth, HE has got this. He has an incredible plan for me.
Thank you for your reminders that you are surely with us. Thank you that you watch over our coming and going, and that you neither slumber nor sleep. Thank you for your constant care, that you are our help and strength in the daily battles that we face. Thank you that you are our Protector and Defender against the schemes of the enemy and the evil that tries to overtake us. We are safe with You. We choose today to keep our eyes off our problems and fixed solely on you. We choose to look up, for you alone are our Hope.
Listen to the song by Casting Crowns called, “Voice of Truth”.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalms 120-123
Hear my voice according to your loving kindness
Oh Lord, revive me according to your justice
The truth is the Psalms take on a whole new meaning once trouble or death enter your life – not just the Psalms but all verses of the Bible do, but the Psalms more so. The pain and sorrow, loneliness, and despair that the Psalmist writes about have a much deeper meaning and feeling that they are real. They are true. I will not comment on my personal story, but we all will have a dark lonely time in our lives. When I read this verse, I think about who God is. He is love, full of mercy, grace, and kindness. That is why we seek Him. That is our hope. These are the reasons we will be heard by Him. God has shown himself to us through His Word and only by the reading of His Word do we have the assurance of His goodness and loving kindness.
God’s faithfulness, His law, His justice, precepts, and judgements are true. His never changing nature, the truth and the light reside in Him. God’s promises are true. I can trust Him that all things are under His control. You have no hope but to put your trust in Christ Jesus when you see the eyes and light of somebody you love close for the last time. It is in these verses that the never changing faithfulness and loving kindness, mercy of our God through the blood and death and resurrection of Lord Christ Jesus make all His promises true. Seek Him today for I know we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 119:137-176
Psalm 118: 8, 9: It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
Psychologists say that trust is the basis of any relationship. You must trust in that person before you can build on any relationship. Patrick Lencioni, leadership guru who has written many books, talks about the first element of a team is trusting in the people of that team. To trust is to have a certainty or a belief in a person, to have faith in their character.
When you trust God, you believe in His character. Through life’s experiences, you have formed an idea of who He is. Who do you know Him to be? Sometimes when He seems less than faithful, less than kind, less than attentive, less than… [you insert the adjective], it is because He has not met up to our standard of what we believe it should look like. Was God really not answering your prayer or was it that He answered in His timing, not yours? Was God really not caring about your situation, or was it that He answered in a whole different way than what you expected?
The Psalmist knew that his big, bad scary, Goliath moments were overwhelming. Life’s circumstances were causing the Psalmist to fear, to dread, to figure his way out of the situation.
Until he realized that God’s character superseded life’ circumstances.
How easy it is easy to trust in our bank account, in our own abilities to solve a problem, and in the resources that seem more readily available than where God is at the moment. Those things are not trustworthy. Those resources are not certain, but God is. Those big, bad scary Goliath moments can be given to God who remains faithful. You can trust Him.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 119:105-136
Sunday Morning Worship.
Join us for worship and the sermon.
Please read the Psalm in preparation.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 119:73-104
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. 2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. (NIV)
"This Psalm, which is very little in its letter, is exceedingly large in its spirit'.'
International deliverance. This, the fourth Hallel psalm, is the shortest psalm in the psalter. The writer looks beyond his people's deliverance from Egypt to the potential deliverance for all nations. God's love is extended beyond the Jewish people and to the rest of humanity (v. 2). Some believe these two verses suggest that every individual will spend eternity with God. However, the psalmist uses the name "LORD" to highlight God's faithfulness, which was expressed by establishing a covenant with Abraham (Gen 12:3). Through this patriarch "all nations of the earth [will] be blessed, and [God] will eternally keep every single promise of that covenant to all those who put their trust in him:' God reveals his mercy by providing spiritual deliverance from the guilt of sin to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-7). With people from nations and people groups around the world coming to know Christ, a global wave of praise to God erupts (v. 1). What a motivation to tell others of God's great love so that they can join this global song of hallelujah!
David McKinley- Used by permission
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 119:33-72
Responding to God During a Difficult Time in One’s Life
The Psalms contain Hebrew poetic forms. In Psalm 116 Robert Alden shows how Hebrew parallelism occurs:
It is a chiastic parallelism that occurs here, that is, there is a pivotal point in the centre of the Psalm, “ he is saved, you let me live” and then there are ripples out from the pivotal point like a rock dropped into a pond. Notice the similarities moving out from the centre between top and bottom, i.e. A A1, BB1, etc. See how they compliment one another. It is a powerful restatement of God helping in a time of need and He deserves our upmost praise and thanks.
When God hears our prayers in a time of need we rejoice and are so thankful. It is not a by passing thought of thanks but one of greater commitment to God. He desires our full commitment in a vow or seeking God with our whole heart, mind, and soul. The author of the Psalm commits himself as a servant to the Lord. He offers thanks. It is interesting this is all done in public of fellow believers.
How has God saved you in a time of need lately? Have you shared it with other believers?
May our lives as believers show a vital ongoing relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ that others can not but help see and hear.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 119:1-32
What is your delight in? In other words, what makes you excited, gets the juices flowing, brings a flutter to your heart? No seriously! What is your delight in? We love to be delighted in by others and to delight ourselves in other things. We seek, crave and craft carefully constructed images designed to receive the praise. Yet Psalm 115 offers an alternative worthy of our delight, first by patterning after God and second, by realizing what we delight in is what we become.
Verse 1 calls on God to give his own name glory, not to human beings. A weird thought for us eh? God glorify yourself, do not do that to or for us! It is the result of him glorifying, or revealing his holiness, that we receive benefits. Whenever God does something that he pleases (115:3) we benefit. For our God is a God of steadfast love and when revealed, brings him glory. Lord glorify yourself!
A brief comparison then describes the idols of others. Idols lacking any personal qualities and, in the context of this Psalm, the ability to bring glory to themselves. It is only the people who craft them, to their own liking, that are seeking glory. However, those who make and trust in idols become like them (115:8). In other words, what you delight in is what you become.
So, call on your hearts to trust, fear and bless the Lord our God! While he gives us life, we must remind ourselves to give him praise and glory! Why? First because that is what God does, as the most supreme treasure in the universe and two, what we delight in is what we slowly become.
Pastor Josh Dekker
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalm 118
Psalm 111 starts with a Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! This is a Hebrew acrostic poem of PRAISE. I never get tired of praising the Lord these days. I try to wake each morning with praise on my lips and fall asleep praising God. I love being on the Worship Team for church. I love singing praises together in the Congregation.
We need to understand though, that praising God doesn’t mean that we always have something to praise about in this life, in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Right now, in the midst of a very crazy world, I feel weighed down. So many people I know and are close to are sick, discouraged, filled with anxiety, some encountering loss after loss. I have a long prayer list: someone is wrongfully incarcerated; someone’s kidneys stopped functioning and now are on dialysis every other day; someone is being abused; someone is missing; someone took their life and the family is left grieving; and so many more.
But praising God is not necessarily about praising for what happens in our lives. Praising God is about praising who HE is and what HE has done. The other day, I was talking with my kids about all the amazing things God has done in my life. He has blessed me in so many ways. Psalm 111 points out God’s great works: vs 4 He is gracious and merciful to us--even while we were yet sinners. Vs 5 His commandments are trustworthy – when we live God’s way, we live well. Vs 9 He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. –-- Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
The Psalm ends by saying that the “Fear of the Lord is true wisdom.” This kind of fear isn’t one of being afraid. In this context, the meaning of the Hebrew word, yirah, means awe, respect, or reverence.
There’s the worship song that says “And I stand, I stand in awe of You. ... Holy God to whom all praise is due. I stand in awe of You!”
May today you stand in awe of the Almighty God! May you praise our God whose works are good, who will not forget His promises. May today you praise Him and grow in wisdom.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalms 116-117
This short “royal” psalm of David is rich in quoted New Testament verses. First there is the initial verse, “The LORD says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. “” This verse is quoted by Jesus Himself (Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42-43) where He attributes to David supernatural, prophetic knowledge of a conversation within the Godhead between Father and Son. Peter also quotes this verse in Acts and Paul references it in 1 Corinthians as does the writer of Hebrews twice. All this from one verse in the psalm!
Similarly, verse 4 “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”” is referenced five times alone in the book of Hebrews (5:5-6, 6:20 and 7:17, 21).
In the final three verses the Son, Jesus, is no longer seated at the Father’s right hand, but the Father is at the right hand of Jesus, as the Son carries out judgement at the end of the Church Age.
The power and breath-taking majesty of these verses caught me in the time when I first came to believe. Here, in seven short verses of God’s Word I found reassurance in times of doubt and promise of the victory of God's final justice when the world around me seemed dark and dank with evil triumphing everywhere I looked. When my soul seems overwhelmed, I meditate on these verses and my spirit is refreshed with the faith to carry on.
Outside of time’s narrow constraint it is finished: evil in no more and the Kingdom is established. My small part is to exercise my faith until my presence in time is no longer required.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalms 113-115
Wow. Ok, kind of heavy and direct, right? Did you find yourself relating to the message? Perhaps, like me, you have had accusations of something (true or not), and have had what seems like a weight, or a grey drizzly cloud hanging over you, casting shadows wherever you go. I definitely prefer sunshine to lingering, ominous clouds. It is only by shifting my focus from the shadow - whether real or perceived - to God, that I can return to the light. When in an awful circumstance, have you ever found that the more you try to “fix it”, or get out of it, matters seem to get worse? Charles Stanley wrote in “The Reason for My Hope” that the “more you attempt to control; the less control you feel you have.” Verse 27 is the pull-cord of this Psalm, that makes that cloud go poof and brings rays of sunlight: “Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O Lord, have done it.” When we acknowledge God in all circumstances, good and bad, true and false, He will be there with us. Sure, circumstances may feel super uncomfortable for a time, but He will get us through if we can keep focus on Him, on all that He is capable of doing, and all that He wants to do - which is all for the glory of His name. Jesus was also accused of horrible things and was able to set the most incredible example of strength, extending forgiveness - even as he hung dying - under a darkened sky. Praise the Lord that we can cry out honestly of how we feel, what we might wish to be done, but then acknowledge God’s omnipresence and power and control in all life’s situations and forgive.
3 Month Reading Plan - Psalms 110-112