My Refuge (Psalm 91 Devotion)

PSALM 91

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “[He is] my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler [And] from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth [shall be your] shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, [Nor] of the arrow [that] flies by day, 6 [Nor] of the pestilence [that] walks in darkness, [Nor] of the destruction [that] lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; [But] it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, [who is] my refuge, [Even] the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In [their] hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

PSALM 91:1-16

MY REFUGE

When the Golden Gate Bridge was being built. The workers were working 100’s of feet above the water. As a result several men fell and died and there were all sorts of delays. However after much consideration a very costly safety net was installed under the bridge. If a man fell, the net would catch him and he’d live. Production actually increased because the men didn’t have to be as careful, because if they did slip, the net would catch them and their lives would be spared!

God is a refuge and a deliverer from all sorts of enemies. He even watches over us and protects us in a way from, “pestilence that walks in darkness.” Certainly we have understood this as we walked through the last few years of a global pandemic. God is a refuge from enemies seen and viruses unseen. This psalm doesn’t guarantee immunity from trouble in life or tragedy in death, but it does celebrate the benefits of a confidence in Sovereign God. Trusting in God will not keep you from experiencing bad things in life, but it will keep you as you encounter difficulties in this world.

When I was a youth pastor, one of our youth groups had named itself “Refuge.” Many of the kids who came on Wednesday nights came from difficult home lives. A pastor friend had once intimated that all the kids were “refugees.” In a way, many of them were. They had difficulties that I had never faced. Some were so hungry to meet with God and one another that they walked two miles every week just to come to church. Some of the students had commented that “Refuge” was a place where they had met God and learned how to face the rest of the chaos in their lives.

I think the Apostle Paul knew well how to pull up close to God as His Refuge and Deliverer in some of the most challenging circumstances of his life. When facing the possibility of death he wrote with Psalm 91 confidence, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain. But if [I] live on in the flesh, this [will mean] fruit from [my] labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell” (Philippians 1: 19-22). And when facing less than desirable circumstance chained next to a Roman guard he said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

PRAYER

Father, You are my Refuge! Jesus has kept me from your wrath and purchased my salvation. I know that I belong to you and until my work on earth is done I am immortal. I ask for grace to live as the Apostle Paul with great confidence and contentment no matter my circumstances. May I rest in the peace of having all my hope in you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Only One Life (Psalm 90 Devotion)

PSALM 90

[Psa 90:1-17 NKJV] 1 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You [are] God. 3 You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight [Are] like yesterday when it is past, And [like] a watch in the night. 5 You carry them away [like] a flood; [They are] like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass [which] grows up: 6 In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. 7 For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. 8 You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret [sins] in the light of Your countenance. 9 For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. 10 The days of our lives [are] seventy years; And if by reason of strength [they are] eighty years, Yet their boast [is] only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, [so is] Your wrath. 12 So teach [us] to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. 13 Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. 14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! 15 Make us glad according to the days [in which] You have afflicted us, The years [in which] we have seen evil. 16 Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. 17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.

PSALM 90:1-17

ONLY ONE LIFE

I heard a story of a professor who wanted to teach his class about time management. He took a jar and filled it with rocks and he asked his students if the jar was full. Many replied that it was. He then poured in pebbles that fit in around the rocks and asked again if it was full. Many thought it was. Then he took out sand and shook the sand into the crevices between the rocks and asked the students if it was full. Some were hesitant, but many concluded that it was. Then he took a couple cups of coffee and added them to the mix. Finally it seemed like the jar was full. The professor went on to explain the rocks represented the important things in life, etc. If you try and fill the jar backwards, you will never fit it all in only when you plan around the important things can you live a full and fulfilled life.

This Psalm attributed to Moses, reminds us that our time on earth is finite. We are limited to 70-80 years. Many of those years are filled with sin and wickedness that earns the wrath of God. What we do with our days matter. We are also encouraged to ponder the eternality of God. While time defines our existence, He defines time. Moses calls out to God that we would be taught to number our days. That we would “make them count.” We should seek to see God work though us.

The things of the Lord are important. If we want him to “establish the work of our hands.” We need to be busy doing the things He has for us.. the big rocks. Honoring parents, loving our spouse, raising our children in Christian households, telling others about the Lord, etc. There will be plenty of room for all the other stuff in life, but seeking God is our priority. Jesus said it like this: “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

This Reminds me of the poem, Only One Life, by the great missionary C. T. Studd:

“Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, ”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ’twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

PRAYER

Father, Teach me to number my days that I might live each one for your kingdom and glory. Work in and through me to redeem the time that I might walk wisely in your counsel. Establish the work of my hands before me that I might spend the days you have given me honoring you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

To All Generations (Psalm 89 Devotional Thought)

PSALM 89

A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.” 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’ ” Selah

PSALM 89:1-4

TO ALL GENERATIONS

In our society we like things quick. We order “fast” food or put something frozen in the microwave and get it piping hot in just a few minutes. We don’t like to wait in lines. We don’t like it when people drive slowly in front of us. we are always in a hurry.

In a society like that, there is something to be said for the things that take time. We have the privilege of living on a hill and knowing of the last several folks who lived in our house. We know generally what happened on that hill for the last 140 years or so. I’ve come to learn some of the stories surrounding the plants around our house. Some of the tree’s were planted by previous generations and from them we draw shade today.

The psalmist wants to declare the glory of God to all generations. Those who have gone before have the legacy of faith to pass down to the coming generations. The newer generation has the privilege of hearing the testimony of how God has moved before. The evidence of God’s faithfulness to the Israelite people was seen in the geneology of the man on the throne. When David’s heir was their, God’s faithfulness was there for those who chose to see it, even though the midst of a few bad kings.

We now see Jesus as the ultimate king in the line of David. He is the one who has come and fulfilled all of God’s promises. He reminds us that God has been faithful in all generations and will be until the end of time.

We may have just come though a rough season or we may be trying to discern what will happen with the youth of today. One thing we can count on for certain is that God is faithful to ALL generations. The same God who watched over our fathers, watches over us, and should he be patient in his return, he will watch over the next generation to come as well.

PRAYER

Father, you are faithful to all generations! You have displayed your love, your justice, your mercy, and your grace in every generation. I am grateful for the way you have moved in my life and I pray for those who are coming behind me today. I pray they see your faithfulness in their generation. Let them be a generation sold out to you. May you do a great work in their time! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Heman Prayed In The Dark (Psalm 88 – Devotional Thought)

PSALM 88

[Psa 88:1-2, 6-7 NKJV] 1 A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician. Set to “Mahalath Leannoth.” A Contemplation of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. 2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry. … 6 You have laid me in the lowest pit, In darkness, in the depths. 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, And You have afflicted [me] with all Your waves. Selah

PSALM 88:1-2, 6-7

HEMAN PRAYED IN THE DARK

I used to have “Heman” toys growing up, but I doubt that guy was the same Heman as referenced here. This Heman thoughtfully called out to God in the midst of the darkest time of his life. It was so dark, he couldn’t see any light. This is one of the few Psalms that ends without a kick up looking for the LORD to “save the day.” In doing so, he points us to the reality that some of our darkest moments are our longest.

No one wants to be in the darkest moments of their life for long, but sometimes we get stuck there. Sometimes it is circumstances that are well beyond our control. Sometimes it is tough to find a grateful attitude for all the adversity that comes your way. At some point it can feel personal, like perhaps God Himself has aimed the war bow of heaven at you… but Heman for all his woe, still calls out to God in the darkest time of his life.

That I think is what we are to contemplate. That even when our circumstances are beyond our control and comprehension. When we feel affliction from every side. When we don’t know how to breath or which way is up… God is there! He is big enough to hear your woe’s, He can handle your complaints about the calamities in your life.

We learn something about God and Heman in the dark. Heman won’t let go of God because somewhere in the middle of all this chaos, grumbling, and commiserating, Heman knows that God hasn’t let go of him. He may be grieving the loss of those closest to him, but he hasn’t lost God. While that doesn’t take the darkness away, it makes it more barrable to know that despite his silence, God is still there.

PRAYER

Father, You are God alone in the good times and bad. You reign when I see your hand moving so wonderfully among your people and when I struggle in the dark. There are many questions that I have that probably won’t be answered this side of heaven, but there are also many instances where I’ve learned to ask better questions. Thank you for the grace of your presence, may I never take it for granted that you are a God who hears the prayers of his saints, even when they are in the dark! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

All My Springs Are In You (Psalm 87 Devotional Thought)

PSALM 87

1 A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song. His foundation [is] in the holy mountains. 2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God! Selah 4 “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know Me; Behold, O Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia: ‘This [one] was born there.’ ” 5 And of Zion it will be said, “This [one] and that [one] were born in her; And the Most High Himself shall establish her.” 6 The LORD will record, When He registers the peoples: “This [one] was born there.” Selah 7 Both the singers and the players on instruments [say], “All my springs [are] in you.”

PSALM 87:1-7

ALL MY SPRINGS ARE IN YOU

We went tent camping with my parents when I was a child. I remember one specific trip the most. It seems like we found the most ideal camping spot. It was right by an ice cold stream fed by mountain springs and melting glaciers. The water was crystal clear and the bubbling of the water was calming. The water was so pure and near the source that you could drink it. My siblings and I jumped in and played in it even though it was ice cold (it was a 90 degree Montana summer).

The beauty of a spring is that it brings life to everything near it. It waters the landscape and gives vegetation an opportunity to thrive. It brings cool refreshing water to those who come and drink from it’s pool. And, if a spring is big enough, it does more than water those that are close. It turns into a stream and wanders down the landscape to water those far from it’s initial offering. It sends water cascading down the hill side in a waterfall to those below.

This is the picture we have of the influence of the city of God (Jerusalem) in this Psalm. The blessings that God has poured out on Jerusalem cascade down and bless those beyond the gates of the city. People form every tongue tribe and language are and will be ultimately blessed by the spring of living water that bubbled up out of Jerusalem. People from Rahab (not the woman from the book of Joshua, but a place in Egypt), Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia. Some of these places we remember as enemies of God’s people now coming in and being blessed by the LORD they had opposed.

We remember that we serve a God who turns enemies into friends and welcomes home sinners as saints through the precious blood of Jesus.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” – Matthew 5:44

How great it is that we can be born again into a new life in Christ! Should heaven keep the birth certificates of the born again it won’t list any location other than Jerusalem, because that is where Jesus Christ the lamb of God laid down his life for my sins and three days later rose from the dead! That is where the details of my new birth were accomplished. I’ll be a citizen of that great country by the work of God.

PRAYER

Father, How great is your grace that cascades and flows down to others? How do you take so many in who have been your enemies? How do you love us even when we are unlovable? I don’t know how, I just know that you do! I am so grateful that I have been born again to a new life in Jesus Christ! I am grateful that you have called me to be an ambassador of reconciliation to others in the name of Jesus! I am grateful for the opportunities you have put in my path today to tell others of you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Single Minded Devotion (Psalm 86 – devotional thought)

PSALM 86

Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

PSALM 86:11-12

SINGLE MINDED DEVOTION

When I was in my early twenties I had a friend who had a hard time making up his mind. He liked a girl at college, but he also liked a girl from back home. He led them both on for a while. They both liked him and thought they had a future with him, but when they individually realized he had been seeing the other one they both dropped him. Neither one wanted to share his affections with another.

My friend had issues. He was two timing because he was indecisive. His indecisiveness brought him to a place where he was living a lie trying to carry on two shallow relationships instead of a real committed one. He was divided in his allegiances and because of that he was never really committed to anyone.

In Psalm 86 the psalmist prays, “unite my heart to your name.” He is aware of the two timing nature of his heart. He knows that when he is in a worship service he is all about the LORD, but when the service is over and he walks out into the world he is tempted to wander. So he prays for the Lord to unite his heart.

The Apostle Paul will later write about this spiritual battle that takes place in our hearts: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

So the psalmist prays in weakness and confidence. In his weakness he calls out for help and in confidence He know the Lord can and will answer. This reminds me of a verse in one of my favorite hymns, “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love, here is my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

My takeaway today was to ask and reflect on the question, “Am I singularity focused on the Lord or do I have a divided heart?”

PRAYER

Father, I confess that far too often my heart is divided. Today I ask along with the Psalmist that you would unite my heart to fear your name. Let me be singularly focused on you. I worship you with my whole heart. Lord keep me from temptation and keep me from idols. Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

A Prayer For Revival (Psalm 85 – Devotional Thought)

PSALM 85

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah 3 You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger. 4 Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your anger toward us to cease. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD, And grant us Your salvation. 8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints; But let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely His salvation [is] near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven. 12 Yes, the LORD will give [what is] good; And our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps [our] pathway.

PSALM 85:1-13

A PRAYER FOR REVIVAL

This is what we need. We need the Lord! We need to recognize our need for the Lord. We need to see that where we are, is far from heaven. We need to be uncomfortable in a place so filled with sin and wickedness. We need to recognize our need of salvation that doesn’t come through a politician, laws, or congress. We need salvation that doesn’t come from economic systems. We need salvation that doesn’t come from a superior military. We need salvation from our sins and that only comes from the Lord!

We don’t need to pray petty, selfish, and prideful prayers that are so full or ourselves that we can’t clearly see the LORD. We are tired of pastors who limit the grace of God to call out for revival to happen in “their” church, “their” tribe, “their” corner. They must not know how much we all need the forgiveness and grace of God! Their pride of place is a stench on all of us. We desperately need the full repentance of all the people! We desperately need every bible believing, gospel teaching, Lord glorifying church to be awakened and calling lost sinners to repentance!

Oh that we would get on our faces, tear our clothes, fall down, and ask God to awaken his people as only He can! We must not be prideful, lofty, or arrogant in our prayers! We must recognize ourselves as the beggars we are! We must recognize how awful our situation is. We must see an apathetic people and call them to a righteous response to the LORD! We must seek the Lord to work in HIS church!

No more idolatry! No more selfishness! No more pride of place! No more hypocrisy! No more arrogance! No more secret sins! We don’t have time or room for that nonsense! We must seek Jesus!

PRAYER

Father, awaken your people O Lord! We desperately need you in this hour! We need you to awaken slumbering saints and bring dead hearts to life. Our nation needs you to breath revival more than ever! We have heard of how you have moved in the past and we pray that you would move in our generation! Strip us of our pride and anything that keeps us from worshipping you! We are desperate for you to do what only you con do! We long for you! We wait on you! It must be from you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Springs In The Valley Of Baca (Psalm 84 – Devotional Thought)

PSALM 84

To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. How lovely [is] Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young–[Even] Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. 4 Blessed [are] those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah 5 Blessed [is] the man whose strength [is] in You, Whose heart [is] set on pilgrimage. 6 [As they] pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; [Each one] appears before God in Zion. 8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. 10 For a day in Your courts [is] better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good [thing] will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, Blessed [is] the man who trusts in You!

PSALM 84:1-12

SPRINGS IN THE VALLEY OF BACA

We took our family on a road trip last year to see several of the places I remember from my childhood. We traveled from destination to destination until we reached the town where I grew up. Each stop along the way brought us closer to our destination, yet each stop was its own destination. We saw the farm that Walt Disney grew up on, we saw the zoo in Omaha, we won trivia night at Buffalo Wild Wings in Sioux Falls, we crossed the Badlands National Park, saw Mount Rushmore, visited with friends in Wyoming, drove the Bear Tooth Highway, visited Yellowstone, Glacier, and dozens of other little stops along the way. I was encouraged and surprised at how well my family embraced the road trip life.

Our spiritual lives are like a journey traveling from one destination to the next until we enter into glory. We go through various landscapes in our lives. Some of the settings of our journey appear like a flourishing forest filled with life, other moments we travel in life may appear dry, arid, and dare we say lifeless? We may even wonder why we had to go through them. But the Psalmist notes that even in the valley of Baca (an expression for a dry and arid place) that God can cause springs to form and not just springs, rain falls as well (there is more than one way the Lord can bring water to a dry place).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been through some “dry” places in my life. I’ve found comfort in knowing that they were just stops along the journey and even been surprised at how God has met me in the dry places. Often I don’t even realize just how much he has been working in my life in those moments until I look back with perspective and see that he has refreshed me even in the valley of Baca.

Of course we were never meant to stay in the valley of Baca. We know that one day, for those in Christ, we will reach our final destination and there will be an abundance of everything we need… Jesus Himself in full glory and the world unhindered by sin. See Revelations 22:1-5, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, [was] the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each [tree] yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name [shall be] on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for the journey of the Christian life. I am grateful that I never journey alone, but that you are always with me. Even in the hard times, difficult, and dry places, you are there. You provide refreshment for me in every thing I need. I long and look forward to eternity in your unfiltered presence. I am so thankful for the glimpse we get of heaven when your saints gather to praise you on earth! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

The Conversion Of My Enemies (Psalm 83- Devotional Thought)

PSALM 83

As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire, 15 So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm. 16 Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. 17 Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, 18 That they may know that You, whose name alone [is] the LORD, [Are] the Most High over all the earth.

PSALM 83:14-18

THE CONVERSION OF MY ENEMIES

The Psalmist prays for His enemies. Most of this prayer is dedicated to their destruction and finding out just how wrong they are to defy the hand of God. He is comfortable asking for their total obliteration. It’s what they deserve. There isn’t a whole lot of hope and compassion to spare on enemies… is there?

Most of this Psalm calls for God to act so that the enemies see God is really who He says He is. He wants them to see just how much they have underestimated God. He wants them to bow a knee. He wants them to see God in all of His glory through justice and wrath. Yet in verse sixteen we get a rare glimpse at compassion in the midst of fiery condemnation. He calls for them to, “seek your name.” He calls for the conversion of his enemies.

It might have seemed impossible for the enemies of Israel in the Old Testament to convert to see the LORD as the one true God, yet here we see that prayer request issued. How awesome is God that he not only has the power to decimate his enemies, but that he has the power to convert them into his friends.

And that is what he has done through Jesus Christ. He has reconciled us to him through the cross. Just Read Romans 5:8-10 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

PRAYER

Father, How great you are. While I was a long way off… When I was dead in my trespasses and sin…. When I made myself your enemy… You loved me. Christ died for me. I was redeemed by the blood of the lamb and brought into your family. Thank you that you are the kind of God who transforms enemies into friends even in situations where it seems impossible. Today I lift up those who have made themselves enemies of you by their sin and ask for full and genuine repentance to take place in their lives. I ask for your grace to be poured out and multiplied. Let it go beyond what makes human sense so it is evident that it is a work of You Lord! You are worthy or all praise, honor, and glory. You are worthy of worship! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

God Hears The Cry Of The Oppressed (Psalm 82)

PSALM 82

A Psalm of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. 2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free [them] from the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. 6 I said, “You [are] gods, And all of you [are] children of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.

PSALM 82:1-8

GOD HEARS THE CRY OF THE OPPRESSED

There are places in the world where those in charge of justice (judges, police officers, politicians, etc.) are not just. They may take bribes. They may extort others. They may turn a blind eye to oppressors. When they do so they leave many people in their wake crying out for justice that they never received. The unjust oppressors may even think of themselves as “gods” because the power they have to decide the fate of others. They may become consumed with power, leverage, and control. They may begin to think, “no one can touch me.” But they are wrong.

God sees everything, even those who pretend to be ‘gods’ and misuse and abuse their power. (Jesus applied this Psalm to the Jewish leaders in John 10:34). Those who have played the part of ‘gods’ but have failed to provide real justice will one day stand before the real judge (Psalm 82:8). God hears the prayers of orphans, widows, and strangers in the land and he will provide justice, even against those who were corrupt in their ruling.

As Christians we should seek to honor God and be just to all. We are called to help those who have real needs. In the west we live in a society that offers many helps to the poor, disadvantaged, and needy, but we still need to be careful that our heart doesn’t become calloused to those in need. If we aren’t careful we will rationalize our way out of helping anyone but ourselves. We should live to see Jesus’ kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven and this includes taking care of the needs of those around us.

The blog article listed below is a good starting place for more resources on this issue.

PRAYER

Father, I live in an industrialized nation. We have many opportunities for which I am grateful. I confess that sometimes it makes it hard to really see the needs around us. We often try to cover, hide, or accuse those who are struggling with real issues of poverty that we don’t understand. Please give me your eyes when it comes to seeing those who have real needs my proximity. Give me wisdom to know how to really help people in vulnerable situations. I know that I was dead in my trespasses and sin before you brought me to life through Jesus Christ. I ask for grace on how to demonstrate your radical generosity in my own life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.