Category Archives: Psalms

Avoiding the Legos

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Walking in a dark room can be a dangerous undertaking, especially in my home; one filled with toys from a 2 year old and an 8 month old. I have learned the hard lesson to never take for granted safe passage through our dark living room. I either use my smart phone or activate the screen on my Fitbit to cast just enough light to guide my path.

[In case you’re wondering why I don’t turn a lamp on – my little girl’s room is right off the living room with only French doors and a curtain to keep the light out]

And to travel through this dark world without the light of God’s Word is also a dangerous undertaking; but for far worse reasons than simply stubbing your toe or stepping on a Lego. God’s Word lights the path of righteousness that we are to walk .

“You lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake”
(Psalm 23:3)

For when darkness descends upon us, Satan is going to be quick to be a false guide to lead you away, or worse yet ~ Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour(1 Peter 5:8) It’s only the light of God’s Words that is going to reveal Satan’s evil schemes to deceive you (or devour you).

I can think of a few times in my life when darkness descended upon me but the Spirit led me to the light of God’s Word:
~ After our failed adoption I was lead to the Psalms (lament and praise)
~ After the Charleston shooting last week I was lead to 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.
~ After a rough morning with my 2 year old I was lead to Matthew 4.

God’s Word was indeed a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
God’s Word shined a light on the prowling lion waiting to devour me.
God’s Word shined a light to keep me on the right path when the path of bitterness seemed like a good way.
God’s Word shined a light on the righteousness won for me through Jesus.
God’s Word shined brightly in the darkness to cast away my fears.

So never think you know how to navigate dark times. Just because you may have been there before, never take for granted that you know the path. It’s in that complacency that you will step on the proverbial Lego and turn away. Activate the light of God’s Word in your life to avoid stepping on those Legos as you follow the path of righteousness no matter how scary the path may look; trusting God’s Word and not your fears.

Holy God, I am in awe that you would give us Your holy Word. May we use the light of Your Word to guide our way and trust the path that is revealed. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Lists of Praise

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14 ESV)

Oh God, You are my…
Creator
Life
Hope
Salvation
Refuge
Shelter
Shield
Defense
Rock
Father
Lord
All in all
Sure foundation
Provider
Sustainer
Abba
Peace
Delight
Comfort

PRAISE BE TO GOD!

Oh God, You are…
Holy
Life
Loving
Faithful
Compassionate
Merciful
Forgiving
Just
Worthy
Powerful
Almighty
Wonderful
Caring
Wise
Trustworthy
Sovereign
Truth
Awesome
Righteous
Pure
Gracious
Precious

PRAISE BE TO GOD!

Oh God, I am…
Loved
Safe
Secure
at Peace
Thankful
Joyful
Worshipful
Content
Blessed
a Disciple
a Evangelist
Your child
Your handiwork
Your servant
Your creation

PRAISE BE TO GOD!

Oh God, I lift my praise to You. Keep me steadfast in Your Word that I may never turn aside after false gods. And may I continue to add to these lists for they do not even come close to describing You, oh God. All praise and worship be to You, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Refuge in God

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. [Psalm 73:28]

Anyone can study the Bible and talk about what is in there. Anyone can memorize facts and spew them out in order to “win” a trivia contest. Anyone can memorize scripture in order to interject something into a debate/argument.  But it is only the one who places their very lives in the hands of God, through Jesus Christ, that  you can truly tell of God’s mighty works with any amount of passion and conviction.

There are many out there that preach about God. They stand in front of the masses, waving a Bible around, and tell of the mighty works of God. And these mighty works can be for you if only you believe right or give enough money to this ministry or think right or dream right. The problem is that this is not the mighty works of God that the psalmist is talking about. The mighty works of God are what God does for His children to show HIS glory; not OUR glory. God’s mighty works advances GOD’S kingdom; not OUR measly, little, weak kingdoms.

It bugs me when I hear about prosperity “gospel” preachers using the mighty works of God to advance a selfish agenda rather than to advance the kingdom of God. This kind of testimony says nothing about the truly amazing work of God; Jesus dying for sinners and rising to give eternal life to said sinners. THAT is a mighty work. And it is only truly a mighty work for you if your refuge is in the Lord God almighty through faith in Jesus. For,

it is there that you can truly see how Satan flees from the sound of Jesus’ name.
It is only in the refuge of God that true peace is known.
It is only in the refuge of God that true love in known.
It is only in the refuge of God that you can see how God is FOR YOU.
It is only in the refuge of God that true life can be known and received.

God’s mighty works can not be seen from afar, but only in the refuge of his loving arms. God is not a long distance relationship but rather an intimate, close, life-saving, cross-bearing, glory-showing relationship.

And let me tell you, for me it is good to be near God.

Mighty God, Your works are amazing, but Your work of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is the most amazing of all. May I never stray from the refuge that in only found in You. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

GOD IS GREAT!

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How does one not shout, “GOD IS GREAT!”, when one contemplates God’s salvation? I suppose the person who looks at salvation as a theological concept or myth to be studied. But if God’s salvation is your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, then, “GOD IS GREAT!”, just flows out of your mouth. If it doesn’t, then maybe you don’t realize what this salvation really means.

You are a sinner condemned to hell.
You can not save yourself no matter how hard you try.
God’s wrath is something you can not escape.
You are worthy of judgement.
You have no logical defense against God.

That right there is damning. Even for this sinner, when I contemplate my rightful place before God I shudder and shake. But enter Jesus…

JESUS was born unto you.
JESUS was unjustly judged, convicted and condemned.
JESUS was sinless.
JESUS was punished, beaten and tortured.
JESUS was mocked, spit upon and sentenced to death.
JESUS crucified.
JESUS suffered greatly.
JESUS died,

for you.

But…

…JESUS rose from the dead,

for you.

Now, think about all of that. That is salvation for you. That is life for you. And if that does not bring out a shout of,”GOD IS GREAT!”, then you have no idea the gravity of your terminal disease (sin). If you are not entering worship with joy then you really don’t know this awesome God of ours. If you are not seeking God on a daily basis then you are lost; seeking for the wrong things/people.

Stop and reflect on your terminal disease.
Stop and reflect on the awesome love of God.
Stop and give thanks to Jesus.
Stop and worship.
Stop and praise God.

Stop and shout, “GOD IS GREAT!”, for the whole world to hear.

Awesome God, when I stop and reflect on my sinfulness I am in awe of the salvation Jesus won for me. I shudder to think what I am worthy of but leap for joy what you have decreed for me through faith in Jesus. Oh God, you are indeed GREAT! All praise and worship and honor and glory be to You, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Panting and Longing (Psalm 42:1-2)

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Oh God, this world makes me weary and tired;
physically
emotionally
mentally
spiritually
And when I feel like I am just scraping by I long for something to quench that which is lacking in me.

I long to be satisfied.
I long to be quenched.
I long for You.

But why only then? Why not when I feel full and satisfied and charged? Why not then, oh God, why not then? I loathe the fact that my sinful self leads me to complacency when I feel full.

But then there are times when I am lacking that,
I seek other waters
I seek other streams
I seek other wells
and they fail to do what they promise.

Oh how foolish I am.

But You, oh God, do not fail in what You promise. You are a faithful God. You are a faithful God to give to Your children as they need. When we are lacking, you provide.

May my heart pant for you as a deer pants for flowing streams.
May my heart thirst for You.
May my soul wait for You.
May I live for You.

Oh God, this world makes me weary and tired; through my faith in Jesus Christ, when shall I come and appear before You? When shall I lie down in those green pastures and walk beside those still waters? When shall my soul be restored? When shall my cup runth over and over and over and over…

When shall I dwell in Your house forever and ever.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul pants for You.

Father God,
sustain this holy longing in me for You;
sustain my thirst for You alone;
sustain my faith and trust in You. Amen.

[pant, pant, pant…]

The Pastor -|—

Bursting Forth to Worship (Psalm 40:16)

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When you burst forth to worship God, this is the verse of which I am thinking.

And my prayer is that people are not bursting forth in order to enter the worship event to fulfill some perceived duty. For to enter the worship event in such a fashion is not true worship. Rather, the true worshiper enters the worship event in an unselfish way; to seek the Lord, but not just to seek what the Lord can do for you, but rather to rejoice and be glad in him.

That is true worship.

But one is only going to burst forth in a authentic and humble way if one loves God and is thankful for the salvation God gives through Jesus Christ. For when the worshiper sees their salvation as rescue from the sinful self, through faith Jesus Christ, then the bursting forth will be followed by,

“Great is the Lord!”

And when the bursting forth is followed by that refrain then the worshiper is not concerned with the self but rather with pleasing the Lord with their praise.

But isn’t worship about “recharging” one’s battery for the week?

Yes and No

Worship is about God, first and foremost, but the “recharging” is a happy byproduct of worship. During the event of worship, the Word is read and proclaimed; fellowship is enjoyed and the soul is nourished through the sacraments. But the “recharging” is not for the selfish self but rather for the glory of God. The “recharging” is meant to send you forth to continue your worship of God and through such worship, proclaim to others the glory of God.

So “Yes” worship can recharge your battery, but “No, it’s not for you but for God. For,

Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised!
Great is the Lord and worthy of all honor!
Great is the Lord and worthy of all worship!

Burst forth, oh worshiper, burst forth and praise our awesome God.

God almighty, You are indeed worthy. May we see the event of worship rightly and may we not see the event of worship as our only worship of You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Mountains

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The mountains before me, oh God, look treacherous and dangerous and daunting and overwhelming. Seeing them I almost want to pull off the road and head in the other direction.

But You, oh God, are bigger than the mountains. 

So,

help me to know You better,
teach me Your ways,
and guide me in YOUR Truth.

Grant me patience as the climb gets tough and the way becomes dangerous. Grant me strength when the mountain screams at me, “You can’t do this”.
Grant me courage when the mountain threatens my security.

You are the God of my salvation and on You I will wait all the day long.

The mountain is there, oh God, but in You may I find peace; for it is Your will that I want to follow and obey.

All honor and glory and praise and worship be to You, forever and ever. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—