Trust God (Psalm 125 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD [Are] like Mount Zion, [Which] cannot be moved, [but] abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever. 3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest On the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity. 4 Do good, O LORD, to [those who are] good, And to [those who are] upright in their hearts. 5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The LORD shall lead them away With the workers of iniquity. Peace [be] upon Israel!

PSALM 125:1-5


On a bend of the Marias River near where I grew up there is a steep bluff made of shale rock. In the rock you can find all sorts of fossils of leaves and sometimes critters. When I was a kid we would climb up the steep bank and look for fossils.

The only problem was that often the debris from the crumbling shale would pile up and it didn’t make a good foothold on a steep bank. We had a special way of walking across, but sometimes even if you did everything right, you would still slip down the bank. 

Sometimes you would climb a few feet only to fall a few feet further. We’d call this back sliding. Instead of making forward and upward progress, you’d fall back. Of course the real danger was that you’d fall so far that you’d end up in the swift moving current of the river bend. 

In the Christian life we also have something called back sliding. I have friends, people I know who were once so on fire for the Lord that have slid back in their relationship with God. For some it just seems as though things have cooled, for others it seems as though they never really knew the Lord. 

I’ve got friends and family members who we would say have backslidden. They are wounded and hurt, maybe even because of their own foolishness, but for whatever reason they have fallen back or fallen out.

In theology we have all sorts of debates and denominations over the question, can you backslide so far that you lose your salvation? In today’s text we will see the Hand of the Lord on the Nation of Israel. The Song that is sung here is that of rejoicing that it’s not our hands that saves us or keeps us, but it is the hand of the Lord that has kept His people. Had we been trusting in our own strength surely we’d fail. 

The image we get is of geography and politics. Back in those days they settled politics by the machines of war. If someone rolled in with a massive army, they would fight a battle and lay siege to a city. When they won the battle, they would be the new ruler. 

Jerusalem was a particularly difficult city to capture this way. It was a hill surrounded by hills. The only way to get to Jerusalem was through a pass. It was an easily defensible place because of the mountains surrounding the city. The Psalmist reminds us that just like mountains surround and therefore protect Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds and protects those who belong to him!

Stability doesn’t mean that we don’t grieve or weep when we go through the trials of life. It means that as we face them we do so with an abiding hope and confidence in the Lord. 

Throughout the history of the Nation of Israel, when they pressed into the Lord and trusted Him, He always came through, He never let them down. When they got full of themselves or hired foreign armies they would trust in false gods, or chariots, they became captive to their enemies. 

Two things we should note: Jerusalem will stand forever more. God loves this city and it’s people that all throughout scripture his hand is all over it, protecting it, preserving it. There will be a time when my town, Flomaton, doesn’t exist anymore. There will never be a time when there is no Jerusalem, even when Jesus returns in all his glory in the book of Revelation, he is bringing a new Jerusalem! God will always surround his people. 

The second thing we should note is that there were times that Jerusalem was taken captive by foreign kings. The people went into a 70 year captivity, but then the Lord brought them back. He never forsook them, even though they had forsaken Him. 

I believe that if someone is genuinely saved they cannot lose their salvation. There may be times in their life when they backslide and forsake God even… but God hasn’t forsaken them. He may let them wander off into the far country until they come back to their senses but he hasn’t forsaken them. They will know they should return and repent. They may wander in sin for a season, but they will never truly comfortable with it. When they come to a place of repentance there is always a way back home. 


Father, Thank you for your never stopping, never giving up, always and forever love. I don’t deserve your grace, but you have poured it out on me in abundance. I rejoice to know that I am surrounded by your love and your protection. Keep me from backsliding and trusting in false god’s and empty promises. Let me face whatever adversity comes my way with a real and secure hope in you. I pray today for those who I know who are living in sin and misery and are backslidden. Bring them back again to repentance and in the fold with your people. 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.

If it Had Not Been for the LORD (Psalm 124 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. Of David. “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say– 2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us, 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; 5 Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul.” 6 Blessed [be] the LORD, Who has not given us [as] prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help [is] in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

PSALM 124:1-8


Have you ever tried to convince your kid to do something that they didn’t want to do? Maybe it looks scary or dangerous like a roller coaster, but you knew if they go on it! You knew that they would have the time of their life! So maybe they get on it for the first time and then once they go for a ride they have the time of their life! Just when it looks like your going to crash into a wall the coaster turns and just when you can’t go any higher it spins you into a loop and at the end of it all the kid is jumping up and down saying… “I want to go again!” And they recount everything that happened. We saw this and then this happened. We saw that and then that happened! 

Here the Psalmist are on a pilgrimage. They have been traveling and there are all sorts of dangers along the way. And with excitement they reflect on the journey and what it would have been like if God had not been on their side. 

They play the what if game, but in a good way. They ask what if God hadn’t been there on my side how would it have all happened then? 

The vivid imagery of things they have seen on their journey become a metaphor for what would have happened to them. It’s like when you are frustrated at the car moving too slow ahead of you only to realize that had you been going the speed limit (or a little faster) you would have been involved in a major wreck. In a sense you note that Lord had kept you from that.

Sometimes our problems come at us and threaten to swallow us whole. The troubles that we experience come from a source that is out to get us. They come from an enemy who seeks to devour us. Like a snake or a large fish that opens its mouth to swallow its prey whole while it is still alive. “If it hadn’t been for the Lord we would have been eaten alive by our enemies!” 

Sometimes the problems we face in life come like a flood that is rising all around us. Our lives are threatened to be submerged in chaos. No matter which way we turn there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it. There is no dry ground to crawl to. The water is rising. It’s not over our head yet, but our problems soon will be. Is there anything so helpless as seeing things work against you and not having the ability to do anything about it? Maybe it’s a job loss, or it’s medical bills that pile up, or past mistakes that are catching up to you. 

Sometimes our problems come on us all at once. Like a flash flood. It’s not just that we’ll be over our heads soon, but that the waters threaten to sweep us away. 

In parts of Israel there would be dry places and when the summer rains would come the dry stream beds or wadis would fill up quickly causing a flash flood to happen. Jesus alludes to this in the sermon on the mount when he talks about the wise man building his house on the rock and the foolish man building his house on the sand. The rains would come and there would come with the rains a mighty torrent. 

Sometimes in life it feels like all of our problems are rushing at us all at once. That they threaten to move us or shake us from our foundation. Maybe it’s an unfaithful spouse. Maybe someone is suing you. Maybe you just found out your child is facing addiction. 

Praise God that he delivered us when he did! Rather than those hazards doing us in, they have made us more confident in the LORD.

Imagine how many skeletons and scattered bones of dead animals these pilgrims saw on their way to Jerusalem. Now they are praising God that their carcas wasn’t one of them. They may have been pursued but never caught and it wasn’t because of their speed, but because of the LORD. 

Our testimony is that when the jaws of the jackals came after us that we were delivered. God didn’t abandon us to our enemies. He was there, He was always with us and He never left us. 

This Psalm doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems in life. Indeed it is a testimony that we will face all sorts of problems in life, but it is a song of praise and remembrance of the one who has helped us through every instance of our lives. That even when the waves were crashing all around us. Even when the enemy had us in his clutches. Even when it looked like it was all over, it wasn’t, because the Lord was on our side. 


Father, You watch over us! I can look back over my life and I see your hand with me through all the things I have faced. You have guided me through adversity and guarded me, even from my own foolishness at times! I am grateful that you look out over us. I can only imagine what calamities might have come my way in greater abundance or disasters might have been my undoing, if it weren’t for the fact that you were there for me. Thank you for you abundant grace and mercy poured out on my 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.

Look Up! (Psalm 123 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants [look] to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes [look] to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us. 3 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled With the scorn of those who are at ease, With the contempt of the proud.

PSALM 123:1-4


Where do we go when we are being persecuted? How do we handle the pressure of living a godly life in an ungodly world? What do we do when we have been singled out, made fun of, mocked, or ridiculed by those in power? What does faith look like when I am oppressed?

This psalm is a picture of a prayer, not necessarily a guide on how to pray. We can take some principles away from this psalm, but it wasn’t written as a guide to prayer, it’s a demonstration of prayer when I am being held in contempt by others.

We look up to God. Notice the posture. We don’t look down on him. We don’t look at him. We look UP to Him.

Do we get on our knees to pray? So much is said of our body language in business and social interactions. What does our body language betray about our thoughts about God? 

It is said that Michelangelo had such a habit of looking up at the ceilings of these marvelous buildings that he painted that it affected his posture. People would catch him about Rome as he was out and about and would find him looking up. 

That needs to be our posture. We need to be so used to looking to God in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, that even when it comes to the ordinary moments of life we just naturally look to God. We look to God. 

To walk the Christian life you will be persecuted. 20 years ago I was sharing the gospel in downtown Mobile. I was talking with those who had gone to the bars. I was spit on for trying to plead with someone about their soul. 

I have been told that I should never have kids. I’ve been called a hillbilly hick. I’ve been called a mouth breather. I’ve been called all sorts of names. I’ve been dismissed. Where should I look? LOOK TO UP TO GOD! LOOK UP TO GOD! LOOK UP TO GOD!

My Children need to hear it and see it in me. When adversity happens. When we encounter problems. When we face persecution… LOOK UP TO GOD! Like a servant looks to the master’s hand for directions we need to look to God for his will in our lives!


Father, How quickly I am reminded to humble myself in my posture to you. Too often I confess my eyes are on the headlines or on the news coming from this individual or that one that it is hard to see you unless I humble myself, get on my knees, and ask for your direction in my life. It is easy sometimes to imagine what should happen or how things should unfold. It is easy to be hurt when feeling persecuted, but I am grateful that I can look to you, the author and finisher of the faith. I look to you Lord, I look to 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.

Let us go Into the House of the LORD (Psalm 122 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” 2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem! 3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, 4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.” 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace [be] within you.” 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.

PSALM 122:1-9


It’s fun to hear all the reasons that people don’t attend church. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face. It’s like “really? That’s the reason you don’t come to church?” I could list them all and try and answer each one, but for each argument lobbied, a dozen new ones would come up. It would be like whack-a-mole and no one likes to do that. 

What is a whole lot more interesting is the reason that people give for going to church! I love to hear folks talk about worshiping God and what the Lord has done! I never get tired of hearing testimonies of changed lives! I’ve longed to take a skeptic by the hand and walk them through our church (the people, not the building) and say, “Listen to this man, he met Jesus and came off drugs! How about this woman here! She met Jesus at 83! And this couple over here, they were at home one night when a neighbor knocked on the door and shared, ‘I have a burden for you.’ This one over here was in a revival meeting as a teenager and the Holy Spirit gripped his heart! Wait there is more, this little girl was led to the Lord by her momma. This woman was in church one day and she heard about God’s grace. This boy had a friend die and it awakened him to the reality of God and he began asking questions about Jesus. This man was alone in his shed and the Holy Spirit brought the word of God home! This girl was at camp and her family was praying for her when she was gripped by the Holy Spirit!” When you see church that way (all those people living out an imperfect faith in a perfect God) you have a lot to celebrate when you get together! I look forward to Sunday every week! For me it’s the day that we all get together and celebrate what the Lord has done in our lives, we pray for one another, and we seek His will!

What is your attitude like when going to worship? There will always be a lot to complain about if you are looking for that sort of thing, but there is so much more to celebrate!

How you enter worship matters. It shows your attitude towards God and His people. When you’ve been looking forward to worship all week long, you will enter worship with anticipation and joy. That’s the first thing we learn from this psalm. Look forward to gathered worship each week! Are you looking forward to Sunday? I hope you are!


Father, Thank you for this incredible reminder that attitude matters! I am grateful that you have blessed us with the opportunity to know and worship with so many wonderful people! I know that you live and reign in their hearts and I look forward to the day when your kingdom comes in it’s fullness. 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.

A Traveler’s Song (Psalm 121 Devotion)


A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? 2 My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD [is] your keeper; The LORD [is] your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

PSALM 121:1-8


David Livingstone, the famous missionary to the African Continent, chose to read Psalm 121 along with Psalm 135 with his father and sister before embarking on his missionary journey. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat also wrote to him and said that Psalm 121 was always on her mind when she prayed for him. 

In Psalm 121 the pilgrims were leaving behind pagan lands to come and to worship in the temple of God in Jerusalem. We took note that they were distinct from the people around them because they worshiped the LORD. There was a prayer that they wouldn’t believe all the lies around them. That they wouldn’t buy into the false god’s and pagan deities. We can pray that for us as well to pray with confidence that this place is not our home and to ask God for grace in the midst of everything. 

Where does our help come from? Why were the travelers here looking at the hills? The hills and high places were places of false worship. There were a variety of false god’s that would be worshiped in a variety of wicked ways on the hills. Worshipers of these false god’s would offer children as a sacrifice to Moloch, Baal was a harvest god but was also in charge of the weather, Ashtoroth was fertility her altars were giant phallic symbols and she had a cult of prostitutes that would meet you up at the high places. There were also smaller regional deities. Demons that liked to cause mischief like a stone under your foot to twist your ankle, etc… unless they were appeased by some sort of offering.  When these folks traveled they would see all of these places of worship to these false God’s on the hills.  Even in Israel these places were set up at different times by kings. Solomon had erected a temple on the mount of olives that overlooked the temple mount! People going in to worship the one true God would see their king and his wives going to worship a false god!!!

Listen to some of these verses about worshiping on the hills, also called high places, and under green tree’s. 

[Deu 12:1-5 NKJV] 1 “These [are] the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 “And you shall destroy their altars, break their [sacred] pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 “You shall not worship the LORD your God [with] such [things]. 5 “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.

[1Ki 3:3 NKJV] 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.

[Psa 78:58 NKJV] 58 For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.

[Isa 65:7 NKJV] 7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” Says the LORD, “Who have burned incense on the mountains And blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”

[Jer 3:22-23 NKJV] 22 “Return, you backsliding children, [And] I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. 23 Truly, in vain [is salvation hoped for] from the hills, [And from] the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the LORD our God [Is] the salvation of Israel.

[Jer 7:31 NKJV] 31 “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which [is] in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.

As we travel through this life we will face hazards. The question that the Psalmist raises is where will you look for your help to come from? Will you look to God the maker of heaven and earth? Or will you look somewhere else (the hills high places) for your solution? 

The Psalmist declares he doesn’t trust in high places when his world falls apart or he is anxious about traveling. His hope is in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.


Father, You are the maker of heaven and earth! I will look to you for my help and salvation. I will not seek false gods and idols that do not satisfy. It’s you who guards my steps and it’s you in whom I trust. Watch over my steps today. Lead me in the way everlasting. 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.

Give Thanks To The LORD (Psalm 118:1-14 Devotion)


Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for [He is] good! For His mercy [endures] forever. 2 Let Israel now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 5 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me [and set me] in a broad place. 6 The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see [my desire] on those who hate me. 8 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. 9 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD [is] my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

PSALM 118:1-14


When I was growing up my parents believed in torture. Before we had prayer and ate a family meal together, we would sit down and each one of us would go around the table and share about something we were thankful for. There were six of us in the family. As a hungry youngster with all those delicious smells coming to my nostrils about the only thing I could find to be thankful for sometimes was that we were just a family of six and not seven or eight. I always felt the food got colder than it should… at least that’s the way I felt back then. Now I cherish those memories of a loving family sharing the blessings in our lives and we seek to do something similar at our table for family meals.

But as a youngster I was covered up in blessing and didn’t know it. There were moments were we struggled to come up with something we truly felt grateful for. Perhaps it was because, other than this moment, gratitude hadn’t become a real part of our lives yet. We took a lot of things for granted because all we knew of the world was the blessings of our home life.

Since then I’ve sought to create habits and patterns of gratitude in my own life. I seek to write thankyou notes whenever I can. I have a Sunday practice of sharing my gratitude for the day’s services on facebook and other various ways that seek to cultivate a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving in my life.

This Psalm begins and ends with giving thanks to the LORD, reminding us that no matter what else this Psalm is, it is a prayer and a song of thanksgiving. The Psalmist has no problem sharing what we should be thankful for? The answer is simply that we are thankful for the unique relationship that the nation of Israel, her people, and all people who come to the LORD have with the one true God.

We gather in praise first because the LORD is good. He is not mean. He is patient. He is not unloving, but indeed loves well beyond the limits that we expect love to go. He is full of grace and mercy. He makes Himself easy to find. He doesn’t hide. He isn’t far off. He offers forgiveness and hope to all who come to him. He is a God who saves and delivers! He is trustworthy and reliable. His grace has been taken advantage of, but he isn’t damaged by it. He gives us better than we deserve. HE IS GOOD!

His love/ mercy endures forever. The translators had to add that word, “endure,” to help us grasp the full meaning of this. His love is never exhausted! It never reaches the point where it can’t go on! You are worn out and tired before the love of God has even gotten winded. It runs deeper than you can imagine. It is wider than you can fathom. It is higher than anything your mind can comprehend. 

It never runs out on you. It never gives up. It never quits. You have quit on God’s love before he has ever quit on you.  


Father, Thank you for your unending love and mercy poured out in my life. I don’t deserve it. I cannot earn it. Yet you choose to show your grace to me. Time and time again I think that perhaps this time I have exhausted your patience or that I have gone to far, but your love never fails. It never cedes. It never loses it’s traction and faulters. You’re mercy lasts and lasts far longer than I am able to fathom. For that I am grateful. For how many times have I imagined to pull myself up from my own bootstraps only to fall on my face or note as I look back that it was really your kind hand of providence at work in my life. So today and everyday I give thanks to you O LORD! For you are worthy of all gratitude, honor, and praise! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

SPECIAL NOTE: Psalm 119 is a very long Psalm. I will post a reflection on the second part of Psalm 118 tomorrow and then jump right into Psalm 120. Once we have completed the Psalms I hope to come back and take a little more time going through Psalm 119, maybe section by section.

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.

Praise The Lord, All Nations (Psalm 117 Devotion)


Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 117:1-2


Sometimes the most profound truths are shared not in long flowing verse and meter, but in short pithy statements. This short Psalm begins in such a brief but profound way. The Psalmist calls for all nations to praise the Lord!

Though the Lord has chosen the nation of Israel, He loves all peoples. The Nation of Israel was to be a missionary nation to its neighbors. The Old Testament is filled with laws that made them peculiar to their neighbors. These peculiarities weren’t just there to make them different but to point the surrounding nations to the LORD!

The church was founded with a call to take the gospel to the nations. When the Lord ascended the disciples were told to go to Jerusalem and wait for Holy Spirit. Luke, the writer or Acts, goes a long way to illustrate that the disciples weren’t from Jerusalem, they were from Galilee. He uses the term Galileans or men of Galilee over and over in the first few chapters

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? “And how [is it that] we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Acts 2:5-8

We are given the picture in Revelation that Jesus has redeemed people from all nations who will be gathered around to worship the Lord! What a great day that will be! The Lord is worthy of praise from people of all nations!

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:9


Father, I can’t imagine what that scene will be like gathered around your throne with people of all nations declaring your praise! You are worthy of praise from people of every tongue, tribe, and nation! Give me grace and opportunity to be a witness to everyone I encounter this week. I pray for opportunities to declare your praise and tell others of your goodness. 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.

Return, O My Soul, To Your Rest (Psalm 116 Devotion)


I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; 9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 10 I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”; 11 I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”

PSALM 116:1-11


I’ve had a few close calls in my life. I had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve. I had Covid-Pneumonia and helplessly languished in a hospital room for a week watching my need for oxygen go up and up. Those skin of the teeth moments are scary. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know the next step. You don’t know how it will all turn out. Peace is elusive because of the unknowns of it all.

The psalmist who wrote this Psalm had faced his own mortality. He was near death at a certain point in his life and yet God spared his life (see v. 3 and 8). He said some things in the middle of his frustration, including accusing everyone around him of lying (see v. 11). Yet even in the midst of his anxieties about seeing his life pass away before his eyes, he trusted in the Lord (see v.10). Where else can we really go when we face the anxieties of our own mortality?

This Psalm is a Psalm of rejoicing and celebrating God’s deliverance. The psalmist also soberly notes in verse 15 that, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Not knowing what will happen can by scary, but knowing that God is in control can bring us to a place of rest. There is grace in knowing that even when we are out of control and our emotions run high that God is in control.

I spoke with a friend this last week about reading and reflecting on the Psalms in my devotional life. I’ve felt like I’ve always been well grounded in God’s word, but I sense that one of the best things I have ever done for my mental health is to read through the Psalms in a systematic way. God uses the Psalms to walk us through a range of emotions and circumstances to show us how we can trust in Him and navigate life.


Father, Thank you for your word in the Psalms today. I am grateful for your grace and your sovereignty. There is peace to be found resting in you. In all of life’s moments we can rest in the satisfaction of knowing that you are in control. I am grateful and I rejoice for how I have seen your salvation in my own life from a virus and a bad valve, but even so from my own sin. I am grateful that you stoop low to hear our prayers and we can come to you through Jesus. 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.

He Does Whatever He Pleases (Psalm 115 Devotion)


Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth. 2 Why should the Gentiles say, “So where [is] their God?” 3 But our God [is] in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. 4 Their idols [are] silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; [So is] everyone who trusts in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the LORD; He [is] their help and their shield.

PSALM 115:1-9


I never had an imaginary friend growing up, but I had a friend who had one. When ever we were deciding to play something he would say that his imaginary friend voted with him to play whatever he wanted to play. Even as a kid, I knew something was fishy. I was stuck with a conundrum, either I had to acknowledge his imaginary friend and give him double voting power or refuse to recognize his friend was real. Sometimes his imaginary friend made him go on quests. I feel like the whole thing ended up as either a power play or a sad process to avoid reality.

I imagine having a false god or idol is like having an imaginary friend. They are made in your image and so they think like you do at best, or at worst they are a sad delusion that keeps you from experiencing reality. The psalmist recognizes that false gods have no real power. The nations around Israel celebrated idols and attributed all sorts of power to them, but in the end, they were just stones carved by a mans hand.

The one true God of Israel was different. He couldn’t be reduced to an idol. He doesn’t think like we think. He made us, we didn’t make Him and because of that He has the right to expect us to fulfill our God-given purpose! He doesn’t give us glory, we give him glory! He doesn’t have to love His people, but He has chosen to love His people which really defines covenantal love.

As I reflect on these verses this morning I am grateful that the God of scripture is real. He moves as He chooses throughout history, including my own life. He is not bound by me or propped up by me but He holds us up by his mercy and goodness. This God who can’t be reduced to an idol can hear because he made the ear, he can speak because he made the tongue, he can hold because he made hands.


Father, All glory, honor, and power belong to you! You are truly great in all that you do. There is no one like you. You are not an idol fashioned by the minds of men to manipulate other, but we are indeed created after you and in your image. You are worthy of all of our worship and praise! I rejoice in your sovereignty. 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 Presence Of The Lord (Psalm 114 Devotion)


When Israel went out of Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became His sanctuary, [And] Israel His dominion. 3 The sea saw [it] and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, The little hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, [that] you turned back? 6 O mountains, [that] you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 Who turned the rock [into] a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters.

PSALM 114:1-8


When we were little I used to dread saying goodbye to my grandmother. She always cried when we said goodbye. It might help to know that she lived in Alabama and we lived in Montana. It took four days by car or bus to make the trip. My sister and I made the trip every summer to live with her and my grandpa for several weeks, but when it came to saying goodbye the waterworks would start. She just had a hard time knowing that we would be so far away. She knew all about Montana (she grew up there too) but she couldn’t stand to know that we would be so far away from her. She wanted to be more present in our lives and while we talked regularly on the phone and got and sent cards in the mail, all that geography got in the way of her really being there for us.

This Psalm is a reflection and celebration of how the Lord was present with His people through the Exodus. It capitalizes on the geographical miracles, not just the timing and events, but how they became a metaphor for how even geography couldn’t separate God from His people. The Red Sea and the Jordan River were divided so the people could flee the Egyptians and enter into the promised land. The mountains shook when the ten commandments were delivered. The rock that Moses struck (he was supposed to just speak to it) provided fresh water for God’s people. In all of this it was God’s presence that was most celebrated!

It reminds me of what we will behold when Revelation 21 is fulfilled and we see a New Heaven and a New Earth. The geography will be different because there will be nothing to separate us from the presence of God ever again. God will dwell with his people, no sin and no separation of any kind.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them [and be] their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4

Having just spoken yesterday on the command to love one another as Christ has loved us it reminds me also of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I am resting confidently today that nothing can separate me from the Love of God.


Father, What can separate us from your love? Nothing! Indeed I am so grateful for your presence in my life. you have placed your Holy Spirit inside each and every believer and we have a seal, a guarantee of our eternal inheritance which includes your eternal presence! I confess that I cannot fathom the depth, the height, or the magnitude of your love for me, I only know that you love me and in that I rest as a confident son. Thank you for you grace in my life. The more I hear of that celestial city, the more I long for a country to which I belong, but have never been before. 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.