Monday, June 30, 2014

Psalm 33 - Our Hope is in God.

Psalm 33 - What it means to me.

No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.  Verses 17-22

Psalm 33 is about the power of God.  These last verses are my favorite because it shows total trust in God's power. No matter if there is war or famine, these verses tell us not to fear but to hope in God. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Psalm 32 - We Are Forgiven.

Psalm 32 - What it means to me.

Fortunate is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit. Verses 1,2

It is a wonderful feeling to be forgiven. I have sinned against people and when they say they forgive me it gives me happiness and relief. To know God forgives every sin, even if we fall again and again - as Jesus said to Peter, 

"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him." Luke 17:4

Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.  Matthew 18:22

Jesus wants us to forgive as God forgives - a limitless amount of times. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Psalm 31 - My Life is in God's Hands Alone.

Psalm 31 -God directs my life. 

I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

Verses 11-16

I love the thought that no man can harm or kill me without God's permission. It was the same for Jesus. 
"So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come." John 7:30

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Psalm 31:5 Jesus Suffers and Dies.

Psalm 31- What it means to me:

Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Verse 5.

In chapter 31, these words mean the most to me because Jesus said them when he died on the cross. "Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last." Luke 23:46

 ..."commit my spirit—my life, or myself." Our Saviour used the words on the Cross not as prophetical, but, as many pious men have done, as expressive of His unshaken confidence in God.  He gave up the ghost; breathed out his soul dismissed his spirit, laid down his life, freely and voluntarily, and which no man, or devil, otherwise could have taken away from him. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Verse 9, 10.

David suffered greatly while on the run from King Saul. He was away from his family, his people and the city of God. He was viewed as an outlaw though he had never broken the law.

"Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble",.... A sudden change of case and frame this! and so it is with the people of God; as soon as, out of one trouble, they are in another; these are what are appointed for them, and lie in their pathway to heaven, and are necessary; and under them it is quite right to betake themselves to the Lord, who is a merciful God; and it is best to cast themselves upon his mercy, having no merit of their own to plead with him; and they may freely tell him all their distresses, as the psalmist here does, and hope for grace and mercy to help them in time of need.  Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Monday, June 23, 2014

Psalm 30 - From Wailing to Dancing.

Psalm 30 - What it means to me.

Weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. Verse 5

I have found this to be true. I go to bed and think of something important in my life that isn't going well and sometimes I do cry. But then I give my heartache to God and leave it with him to deal with and joy does come in the morning.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.  Verses 11-12

God can turn wailing into dancing. He can lift our hearts up to the clouds and away from our troubles. Not that we don't feel sadness or grief, but he can change it, he can move upon our hearts and give us peace. If the grief is raw, if a tragedy has happened: keep praying. Keep praying until peace comes as he promised it will.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Psalm 30 - You Saved Me.

Psalm 30 - What it means to me.

O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; 
you spared me from going down to the pit. Verse 3.

When I was a teenager, I was in deep despair. I felt alone, empty and lost. Because of these feelings, I was always in trouble for drinking, doing drugs and sleeping around. Many times I wanted to kill myself, but God held me back. I drove up to the top of a cliff one day and sat there trying to decide whether to drive off but I didn't.

I felt dead inside, as the Psalmist says. Nothing seemed to matter - no one loved me, not even my own family.

I didn't know God was there and that when I was 19 I would give my life to him. I didn't know he would give me my own family to love and be loved by. I didn't know he would spare me from going down to the pit. 

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. Verse 4.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Psalm 29 - God's Great Power.

Psalm 29 - What it means to me.

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

Meditating on God's limitless power is helpful to our faith. When I think of what the Lord has created, the stars and galaxies, I know he has power to help me. I know he can do anything. Jesus said, "All power is given to me under heaven." Matthew 28:18 

When Jesus was on trial, Pilate said to him, "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

But Jesus knew who had real power; it was his Father in heaven, Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."  John 19:11

If there are people who would arrest, persecute and kill us, God may allow them to have the power to do that as he did with Pilate. But we must remember Jesus' example. He bore his suffering with patience and hope. "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:23

This chapter ends with these verses:

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.

No matter what we must go through in this life, God is still king of the universe and he gives strength and blessings to his people.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Psalm 27 - A Psalm of Hope and Love.

Psalm 27 - What it means to me:

Verse 8: You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

This is the essence of being a Christian. God asks us to seek him. The decision we make is an eternal decision; it is the most important decision in a person's life. May we all say, "Your face, Lord, do I seek."

Verse 10: For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.

I love this verse because so many people have had unloving parents. God tells us that if our family does not love or value us, he does. What a beautiful thing to realize that God loves you and adopts you as his own.

Verse 13: I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

I would have despaired too. If this was all the life we had then despair is a good reaction to that. But instead of despair we have hope. What a blessing!

Verse 14:  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

You do need courage to wait for the Lord. His timing is not our timing. We want things done now, not later. But God is infinitely greater than us and knows perfect timing. He knows how long it will take for us to learn something new and become a better person. So, be strong and wait for the Lord. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Psalm 27:1 Fear - What to do About It.

Psalm 27:1 - What it means to me.

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?

This is verse one, and one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I wish I could say I am not afraid, but unfortunately, I am terrified of life and what may happen next. When your family has years of troubles and then the terrible sadness of losing a young person, my grandson, you get to thinking, "I'm afraid of the future. What will happen? Can I cope with more sorrow?"

But then I read a verse like this and know I should not be afraid. Jesus constantly told people not to fear. He knows our hearts are fearful so I suppose that is why there are so many verses in different parts of the Bible telling us not to fear.

Jesus said it best when he taught, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

This verse comes into my mind almost every day because worrying is my biggest problem and actually is the opposite of faith. I fear future pain and don't trust God to see me through it. That is what I am tempted to think. But God did a miraculous job of seeing me through my grandson's death. Of course it was painful, and of course I think of Craig a lot, but God has put a halo of light and love around his death. I believe God doesn't take anyone young unless he has a very good reason. I believe I will see my grandson again. I believe God knows what he is doing for me and my whole family. 

Because of all this, it is foolish for me to fear the future. By the grace of God I will continue to live one day at a time and as soon as I fear, I will give this fear to Him. He has broad shoulders and can carry my troubles.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Psalm 26 - Test Me, God?

Psalm 26: How I see it.

David writes: 
Vindicate me, Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered.

I myself have not led a blameless life. I have faltered and sinned. I'm not sure what David means here, but I would think he means he has worshiped the Lord all his life. He has never left God and worshiped other gods. 

Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

I am too scared to actually ask God to test and try me. Anyway, I don't have to ask because God does it all the time. The way this modern world runs, our patience is tested continually. Most of us have schedules to keep; if we get up late in the morning are we upset or angry? Do we yell at the kids or other drivers on the road? Do we snap at people at our jobs? Patience and love are daily tests for everyone.

David also says he doesn't hang around with wicked people. He goes to church and tells others about God's wonderful works. He does not commit evil deeds such as murder or taking bribes. He asks God not to let his soul be with people who do such things. He wants to live in God's house forever.

Yes, I want my soul to be in heaven in God's house too. It is an exciting thought to finally see God in person and all the angels and all the beauty that will be there. May we all meet together there one day.

Psalm 25:3-22 - Guide Us Lord.

Psalm 25:3-22 - What it Means to Me.

Lord, I want you to show me your ways and guide me in your paths of truth. I need you to teach me how to live because I am wrong so many times. Other people could teach me the wrong way too, so that is why I need you to teach me. You alone know all truth. My hope is in you.

Forgive my rebellious ways, O Lord, for the sake of your holy name. I know you love me for you are a loving and faithful God. I believe you will guide me through life. I believe you will teach me.

I want to keep my eyes on you, God. You are the only one who can save me from sin and the evil one.

Sometimes I feel so lonely. I also feel harassed by life. Please relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from despair. Some people are cruel to me. Rescue me, God. Deliver me from all my troubles. Amen.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Psalm 25:1-3 - No Shame.

Psalm 25 - 1-3 What it Means to Me.

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.

As I was reading I noticed how many times the word "shame" came up in the first few verses. It says if we hope in God we will never be put to shame. Yet, Corrie Ten Boom experienced the shame of public nudity in a concentration camp. Jesus hung naked on the cross. Sexually abused children and adults feel shame. So, what do these verses mean?

I believe it means our hope and trust in God will never bring shame. He will save us for eternity. 
Also, if someone abuses a child, it is the abuser who should be full of shame -not the child. If someone oppresses me, the oppressor should be ashamed - not me. There is no shame in any kind of suffering for Christ or for the good of the world.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Psalm 24 - Who Can Stand in God's Presence?

Psalm 24 - What it means to me:

God owns the world: everything and everyone on it. He founded the world on water as it says in Genesis; he created it, therefore he owns it.

Who of us can walk up the mountain into God's presence?

Only those who have a clean heart and clean hands. Only those who put God first in their lives.
He alone can give us a clean heart. He alone can make us do good.
We will be blessed by the Lord forever.

And the angels sang:
"May the gates of Heaven be thrown open to let the King of Glory come in."
"Who is this King of glory?"
"The Lord, the Lord strong and mighty in battle. He has fought Satan and won the war against sin."


Friday, June 6, 2014

Psalm 23: Our Shepard.

Psalm 23 - What it means to me.

I am like a helpless child and the Lord takes care of me.
When I am feeling sad and discouraged, He lifts my heart; he gives me peace.

God's name will be lifted up because I will thank him as he leads me through my life.

Even when I am near death I will not be afraid because I know God is with me. Knowing God's power, I'm not afraid of evil and I am comforted.

Those who have harmed me will know God has blessed me.
God has given me more than I have asked for and more than I have dreamed.
I know God's goodness and love will be with me in this life, and some day I will live with him in his house forever.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Psalm 22:6-18 Jesus Crys for Help.

Psalm 22 is a song about Jesus suffering on the cross. It was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The Jews of Jesus time knew these verses as they did all Scripture. Perhaps this psalm convinced many thousands of people to realize Jesus is the Son of God.

I've written about the first three verses in the previous post. I've decided I cannot do justice to these words. I will just put them here for you to read.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.

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.
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.
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
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,
for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
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.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Psalm 22:2

Psalm 22:2-3 How I see it.

God, when I pray, it feels like you don't listen and don't answer me. I go to bed at night and can't sleep.

In spite of this, I know you are holy (perfect in goodness). Our praises to you reach heaven.

I have read many Christians say that when they were in deep trouble they felt heaven's door was shut and God wasn't listening. C.S. Lewis said something similar when his wife died and he was filled with grief. 

For some reason I have never thought like that. Perhaps because when I was a child I was taught God always sees and hears everything. I know He always hears my prayers; his answer may be yes, no or wait - but I know he hears.

In this Psalm, the author feels God doesn't hear him. Yet, he realizes God is good and therefore must hear him. He says God loves to hear our praises to him, perhaps because praise will lift us out of depression and anger. We can praise God even in our pain as Paul did when he was in prison. We have to look away from our circumstances as much as possible and look up and know that God is good.

Jesus felt God had forsaken him since he was suffering the second (eternal) death for us. Yet, he still knew his Father was good.