Don’t Just Survive—Thrive in God

shutterstock_292086854.jpg Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
4Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

12Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


I hate sitting in traffic. During rush hour, I purposely avoid certain roads knowing it’s going to be bumper to bumper. If I can be honest, I’m not a fan of anything that slows down my normal pace of life. The truth is, I think we all have a little bit of that mentality in us. It’s so easy to just try and survive the day. If we aren’t careful, we can go through the day going from one thing to the next.

In these passages, David takes time to slow down and reflect on what God has done, and is doing. David quickly shifts from praising the God who reveals himself in creation, to praising the same God for revealing himself in his word. There are so many ways that God wants to reveal himself to us.

Thought for Today: Slow down to see God at work. We can become so busy in our day to day that we miss what God is trying to reveal to us. When was the last time you took a moment to reflect on God’s creation? What do you need to praise God for today?

Today’s Prayer: Ask God to help you see what he sees. Pray for help not to get so caught up in our schedules, that we lose sight of the creator.

Why Confronting Troubles with Silence Leads to Peace

shutterstock_243804070.jpgPsalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
2He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

3How long will all of you attack a man
    to batter him,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse. Selah

5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
6He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

9Those of low estate are but a breath;
    those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion;
    set no vain hopes on robbery;
    if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
    according to his work.


When people are distressed, what do they do? Most people will panic, yell, run, or fight. These are all normal responses.

But look at how David responds to trouble. Silence.

That’s not normal. But David has a quiet confidence in God—his rock, fortress, refuge, and salvation. It is the kind of confidence you can only have when you already know who wins.

David doesn’t panic. He doesn’t run. He’s not shaken.

David waits on God with a quiet confidence knowing that God has everything under control. He knows that God is going to win.

After talking about his confidence in the Lord, he then turns to us and urges us to trust God as well (verses 8-12).

When we need security, we often turn to powerful people or the power of money. But David reminds us that compared to weight of God’s almighty power, they are both “lighter than a breath.” Rulers and riches don’t even tip the scales compared to God.

So no matter what you are facing today, be silent. Take refuge in God as your fortress and your rock. He will bring you salvation from your enemies. He will rescue you from your troubles.

You never know what your future holds, but you can know that God holds your future. It’s in his mighty hand. You can trust in him.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I need you to be my rock and my fortress. Help me to wait for you with the quiet confidence of David.

How God’s Love For You Can Create Boundless Joy

shutterstock_421027360.jpgPsalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

3Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.


What is beautiful about Psalm 100 is the way it was written. There is a whole way of living life through the structure of this Psalm. It’s amazing to discover the brilliance of the Bible as you dig a little deeper into scripture.

Verses 1-2 are calling us to feel something, specifically joy and gladness. If you skip down to verse 4, you will notice that it is urging us on to joyful actions. We are encouraged to sing and give thanks to God. Those exclamation points are giving these instructions an extra boost!

But from where is all this joy and gladness coming from? Take another look at verses 3 and 5, the key word is “know.” Know God. Know that he made us and we are his. Know that he is our good shepherd who leads us to where we should go. Know that he is so good and his love for us is forever.

Knowing these truths about God is the foundation of our actions towards him. John Piper states it this way, “Truth leads to affections and affections lead to acts.” Knowing God for who he really is leads to joyful feelings and gratitude, and those feelings will leap from our hearts as we sing and give thanks to our great God!

Serving the Lord with gladness is an easy response when we have taken the time to meditate on his goodness. I can joyfully clean the sink full of dirty dishes; I can respond with love to that one person who pushes my buttons; I can gladly change the baby’s 10th dirty diaper without grumbling. I can do these things because the Lord is good to me.

So today, when things don’t quite go as you had hoped or planned, you can pull from the storehouse of your heart that God’s love for you endures forever. I know that doesn’t always lead into instant singing mode, but knowing that no matter what, God is good can calm your heart and give you reasons to thank the Lord.

Today’s Prayer: Father, thank you for revealing to us who you are through your word. As we continue to know you more may we experience true joy that leads to gratitude. Because of your love and guidance we are secure. Keep our hearts and our minds in tune with what really matters today, loving you and loving others. May we act in a way that brings glory to you. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Is Disappointment in Life Clouding Your View of God?

shutterstock_567918316.jpgPsalm 20

1May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!
3May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

4May he grant you your heart’s desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
5May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

6Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
    he will answer him from his holy heaven
    with the saving might of his right hand.
7Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.

9O Lord, save the king!
    May he answer us when we call.


Do you find that you are disappointed more than you would like in life? Do you wish that you felt a greater sense of peace as you go throughout your day or your week? Do you find that things of life bring you less satisfaction than they once did?

It may be because you are living an “if only” life.An “if only” life trusts in external things to find internal peace. An “if only” kind of life says, “If only I had a better paying job, I would be more fulfilled. If only I could lose 20 more pounds, I would feel better about myself. If only I could find a wife or a husband, I would feel more secure about my future.” The list goes on and on.

The alternative is to live an “if God” life. Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” An “if God” life recognizes that when God is placed first in our life, we can find peace and strength no matter what the circumstances.

Our experience of life completely changes when we shift from an “if only” life to an “if God” life.
Thought for Today: As you read Psalm 20 today, where do you see David talking about the “if only” perspective? Where do you see the “if God” perspective? How are you looking at life today? What would it look like to make a shift to an “if God” life?
Today’s Prayer: Lord, help me to see the ways in life that I wish for external things to bring me internal peace. Show me how I can experience a bountiful life when I put you at the focus.

God, What Do You Think of Me?

shutterstock_366059384.jpgPsalm 63

1O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
3Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
4So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

5My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

9But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
11But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.


I remember a time back in college when I was in my car heading home from a get-together with friends. It was late, the evening has been awkward, and I felt very alone. In response to those feelings, I looked up at the sky and asked: “God, what do you think of me?”

Psalm 63 begins with a similar statement: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you.” I may not have said it as eloquently as David did, but that is exactly what I meant. I was thirsty for something real, something that would satisfy my soul.

David wrote this passage in a time of deep sorrow and pain. He was running for his life, rejected and alone. As I read his words, I imagine David looking up to the heavens asking God to restore his heart.

In my darkest moments, I find myself folding into the arms of my Savior. I hang on the words of life found in the scriptures. The Bible points us to a God who loves us, a God who upholds us, and a God who brings us joy amidst this awkward thing we call life. Listen to David’s prayers:

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

“…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

Thought for Today: How’s your soul? Reach out to Jesus and don’t let go. You’ll find He is with you, satisfying your soul.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, please draw my heart to find fulfillment only in you. May you be glorified in my life as I rest in you. Bless you, Lord Jesus!

God Loves You As You Are, Not As You Should Be

shutterstock_283973297.jpg

Psalm 103

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
8The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!


 God’s love for you is massive. When was the last time you looked at the stars on a clear night away from the city? The heavens stretch an unfathomable distance of trillions of light years above the earth. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.”  

The word “fear” is often misunderstood in our english translations as “to be afraid of” or “in imminent danger of harm.” The word here actually means to revere, to respect, or to be in awe of. It is a word that describes humility and submission in comparison to something, or in this case someone, who is far superior.

We can become so familiar with phrases such as “God loves you” that they become unfamiliar. The same God who spoke the stars into the sky loves you, just as you are, not as you should be. The same God we offend with every wrong thought and action is merciful and gracious toward us.

Thought for Today: Take a moment to revere God.

Today’s Prayer: Father, thank You for the reminder of how great you are. Help me to bless you with my reverence from the very depth of my soul. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Why God Can Be Trusted With ALL Your Emotions

shutterstock_478663258.jpgPsalm 40:1-8; 16-17

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

4Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
5You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

6In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

16But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!


At the beginning of this passage, you might have noticed that it says “for the director of music.” What does this mean? It means that this psalm was meant to be sung and have music put to it. And as most popular songs go, this one is full of drama, and sadness. King David was basically an old-school Adele.

Here’s the truth and beauty of God that is revealed in the Psalms:

  • He can be trusted. He can be trusted with ALL of our thoughts and emotions: the happy ones, the sad ones, the really really bad ones.  
  • He cares for YOU.
  • He will help you. Verse 11 says: Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; [which He would not do!] may your love and faithfulness always protect me.”
  • He is worthy to be praised and worshipped.

Today, I encourage you to sing a song to our God in spirit and in truth.

You can turn on the radio to a Christian radio station, or find one on Pandora or Spotify, or simply google “Christian songs about…” (Here is a list from an article on “Music to get you through your day”.)

Today’s Prayer: Thank you God for speaking to me through your Word and through music! Help me to be aware of your presence and to worship you throughout the day, because you are worthy of all praise!