Monthly Archives: May 2016

psalm 6

psalm 6.png

Picture this. David – a man on the run, literally hiding in caves to escape from people hunting him down to kill him – is begging God to deliver his life.

He isn’t necessarily asking God to save his physical life.

He’s asking for God to save his soul.

And the reason?

For the sake of God’s great & steadfast love.

Yes, David is weary. Yes, he is overcome with grief and trouble. Yes, he can be physically killed at any moment.

But his plea isn’t for his own comfort or satisfaction.
His plea isn’t for a cushy life on a throne, ruling over a kingdom.
His plea is to be saved for God’s glory.

And the most beautiful part?
He knows the Lord has heard his plea.
He knows the Lord accepts his prayer.

Too often I beg for God to save me from despair for my own good, not looking beyond to what He can, has, and will do for me for HIS glory – not my own.

Too often I plea with my Father, but I don’t always believe He hears or accepts me.

May I be like David today – free from the lies of the enemy that say I’m not worthy of the Most High God accepting my cry for help.
May I be like David today – begging God to deliver my like for the sake of His steadfast love.
May I be like David today – weeping straight into the arms of my Father, knowing that He hears and accepts me right where I am.

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord – how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

psalm 5

I often doubt that God cares enough to hear my groaning. I often think that the heinous sin I’ve committed against a perfect and holy God is too great for Him to hear my voice. And when I say “often” I mean, I literally had this conversation 4 hours ago…

I forget Jesus.

Then, I read this psalm.

I read that, through the abundance of HIS steadfast love, I will enter His house.
I don’t enter through the abundance of my righteous acts.
I’m not left out because of my sin.
I enter through Him.
Through His love.
Through Jesus.

Oh Lord that I may be drawn into Your love even greater in this moment!
May the Truth of who You are – that You care about the tiniest sound of the cry from my heart – saturate my entire being!

Father, give me a new song of joy and spread your protection over me, that I may exult in You!

Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Tagged , ,

psalm 4

4.png

Remember that time I started this whole “write about a psalm a day to become more disciplined” thing? And remember that time when, 3 days in, I missed 2 days in a row, thus ruining my perfect run?

Well, the cool thing is, God’s grace is bigger than me missing 2 days of writing. And, the other cool thing is, His Word draws me back. Just because I messed up doesn’t mean I’m completely out of the game. Coach isn’t putting me on the bench because I’m a big screw up. If anything, He’s inviting me back in, pushing me back onto the field, cheering me on as I continue growing in my game.

So, here we are. Psalm 4.

Answer 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! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? (Selah)
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. (Selah)
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

This will probably be the first time of many that I say something along these lines: I am so thankful that there is a book in the Bible that articulates all kinds of feels. I am so thankful that there is a writer – a man after God’s own heart – that admits to being in distress. That begs God to be gracious with him. That agonizes over shame and vanity and lies.

And I’m so thankful that same man acknowledges that the only One who can grant safety is the Most High God.

I don’t think we admit our distress enough. I don’t think we are real with one another as much as we should be.

I know I’m not. Just today it was like pulling teeth for me to finally articulate to one of my best friends why I was feeling so wonky about life.

But here’s what happens when we admit distress to one another, and to God: He lifts up the light of His face upon us.

When we sit across the table from one another, sharing stories of heartache and hurt, we can look one another in the eye and say, “I am so sorry. I am right there with you.” And I think that is some of the light of God’s face shining upon us.

I think God puts more joy in our hearts when we lock hands and say, “What? You too? I thought no one but myself…” (that’s a C.S. Lewis quote, b-t-dubs, but it’s totally appropriate.)

Tagged , , ,

psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. [Selah]
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. [Selah]
I lay down and slept;  I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! [Selah]

That word, selah. From what research I have done (wikipedia…) we do not know exactly what this word means. However, most smart people agree that it is a term that means, “stop and listen.”

Stop. And listen.

Listen to this God who is a shield about you. Who is your glory. The lifter of your head.

Take a breath and let the Beautiful One reach His hands around your face and drawn you into Him. Know that salvation is yours because of what your great God has done.

Stop. And listen.

Tagged , , , ,

psalm 2

psalm 2

Day 2.
Psalm 2.

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'”

Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities – for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

The One who rules in heaven laughs.

It amazes me that the nations and rulers (read: humans) felt like they needed to free themselves of slavery to God.

And He laughs at them.

When I think about the way God laughs here, I definitely think it’s an “Oh little one. I do not think you know what you think you know.”

I get that way so often. I think I know better than God. I shake my fists at Him and say things like, “Just give me what I want! Let me out from under this slavery! Break my chains, why dontcha?!”

And I think God laughs.

But with me, I think it’s a compassionate laugh. I think it’s a Fatherly laugh that He extends as He puts His arm around me.

Not a pompous, prideful snicker.

I want that to be my reaction. Compassion first. Grace first. Mercy first. And as I extend my arm around someone and bring them in, we can revel in the deep joy that exists for all of us that take refuge in Him.

Tagged , ,

psalm 1

psalm 1

I love the psalms. A pastor once said that the psalms are where theology and emotion meet. I’ve written about that before and the specific psalm he preached on, but now I’m excited to read through them, one by one, and get all theologically emotional with you.

So, here goes.

#1.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields it fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I grew up by a river. Not like, in a van down by the river, but close enough that I was in the water quite a bit. It’s not hard for me to picture what a tree planted by streams of water looks like. And I love that picture.

Trees by the river are huge, you guys. The roots are gargantuan and loop around to secure themselves in the ground. Sometimes you will come across a tree that looks like it’s about to topple over into the river, but it doesn’t. ‘Cause, roots.

I want to be like those trees. Not necessarily the ones that are just a bit off shore, firmly planted, going nowhere for a long, long time. But like the ones that, even when they look like they’re about to tip right over into the water, they don’t – they are clinging so tightly that they will not be moved. I want the inclination of my heart to be so focused on God that my roots are looping and digging in anyway possible to stay secure in my Maker.

The word “delight” here means, “desire; a valuable thing; the root idea is to incline toward something.”

This is my prayer through this series. That I would incline toward Jesus. That He would become a more valuable thing to me than He ever has been.

Day 1 down, team. This is exciting.

Tagged , , ,

why wait until Monday?

why wait

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ll start on Monday.”
Or decided to take on a new lifestyle habit (diet, exercise, etc.) and used that phrase yourself?

Just me?

Okay. Well. I’ll just talk to myself then.

I’ve been undisciplined in writing lately. I feel uninspired and dull and like I have nothing to say. And that’s not true. I have things to say, I’m just nervous about saying them. Nervous about revealing just a little too much and pushing people away. Nervous about saying something offensive and never recovering a relationship from it.

The enemy has been, quite frankly, pissing me off lately. So I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to pull out my sword and start cutting him down.

Starting tomorrow (not Monday) I’m going to read and write my way through the Psalms. The Psalms are my favorite (hhaaaayyy emotions!!) and I haven’t read through them in a while. And I want to do that in this space, with you.

I don’t know if I’m going to get through all 150 without missing a beat, but I do know that it’s going to be a regular, daily practice for me. And doing it here will keep me accountable. So I’m giving you that permission. Give me a big, virtual smack in the face if you have to!

This is me saying, why wait until Monday? Thursday is a good day to start something too.

Tagged , ,