Make His Praise Glorious! (Psalm 66)

PSALM 66

To the Chief Musician. A Song. A Psalm. Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2 Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises [to] Your name.” Selah

PSALM 66:1-4

MAKE HIS PRAISE GLORIOUS

What is your standard of worship? Are you phoning it in? I’m not just talking about Sundays either. I mean what kind of worship do you offer God throughout the week? Is it all out? Is it full of life, joy, and celebration or is it barely there, if there at all?

Sometimes in life we are tempted to put off things. We’ll say something like, “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” or we’ll satisfy ourselves with less than our best effort. We may say something like, “That will have to do.” We do just enough to skate by. We do just enough to check the box that says present, but we didn’t really learn anything from class that day because while our body was there, our mind was somewhere else.

Sometimes we do have to put something off or put in less than our best. Hopefully in each of those scenarios whatever fell short on was worth the sacrifice. Maybe we put off a chore for the sake of sleep because we came in tired from a long day.

But the one place we don’t need to cut any corners on is the praise of God. Because He is so worth it. Indeed one of the things we miss the most when we fail to praise God is we lose sense of His weightiness (and our relationship to Him). When we worship casually, distracted, or as an afterthought we tend to miss the big picture on who God is (and who we are). Our day, our week, our month, our year becomes all about us instead of His Kingdom come, and will be done.

The Psalmist reminds us today at the beginning of this psalm that we are to make His praise glorious! He is worthy of our best effort. He is worthy of a little more time. He is worthy of digging in past our skeptical attitude and finding the joy that He brings to our lives. If we really want to be honest with ourselves, we need it too! We were created to worship God and when our private and corporate worship flounder it’s a good indication that we are broken.

So I challenge you to make His praise Glorious. There are practical ways to do this. We can plan for corporate worship to help us be fully present. We can make sure our schedules allow us enough time to sleep so we will be refreshed on Sundays. We can lay out clothes the night before so we aren’t rushed to get there. We can meditate on the songs we sing and scripture that is read. We can discuss the sermon. We can come prepared to give and give sacrificially. We can offer our humble voices in the singing of the congregation or choir. We can amen the points of sound doctrine that the pastor offers from the pulpit. We can share with others what the Lord has done in our life that week. We can be prepared to fellowship with others and have them to our house (hospitality) or meet them somewhere.

Privately we can read his word. We can pray. We can work as unto the Lord. We can sing songs. We can seek to share about God’s goodness with others. We can use the gifts he has given us. We can simply recount the things we saw God do each day in our lives.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your word today. You are truly worthy of great praise and worship from me for all you have done. Though my body is often tired and my mind is prone to wonder, I pray that I save the best of me for worshipping you! You have done mighty things in my life. Your hand has been on mye from even an early age. You have been my sure foundation. You have guided my steps. Everytime the enemy thought to destroy me, you preserved me. I have been sick, but you have made me well. I have been sad, but you have restored my joy, I have been tired, but you have given me strength! You indeed are worthy or 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.

How The Wicked Miss The Joy of The LORD (Psalm 36)

PSALM 36

1 To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David the servant of the LORD. An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: [There is] no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity [and] when he hates. 3 The words of his mouth [are] wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise [and] to do good. 4 He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way [that is] not good; He does not abhor evil. 5 Your mercy, O LORD, [is] in the heavens; Your faithfulness [reaches] to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness [is] like the great mountains; Your judgments [are] a great deep; O LORD, You preserve man and beast. 7 How precious [is] Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You [is] the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. 10 Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright in heart. 11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 There the workers of iniquity have fallen; They have been cast down and are not able to rise.

PSALM 36:1-12

HOW THE WICKED MISS THE JOY OF THE LORD

Sometimes it seems like the bad guys are getting ahead. It seems like they have more money, possessions, power, privilege, charisma, stuff…. you know, the things that this world uses to figure out who is ahead. Some days it seems like they have it all. Some days it even seems like they have it all together. But they are missing one very important thing. If they don’t know the LORD, they are missing out on grace, love, kindness, goodness, blessing, and a whole lot more that comes with the LORD.

David is reflecting on the wicked who have set their heart against God. They may seem like they have a lot going for them, but they are missing the biggest blessing they could ever have. They may seem like they have it all together, but if they don’t have the LORD, it’s all going to fall apart. The wicked may have fun for a moment, but only the LORD can provide real and lasting Joy.

David then rightly goes into meditating on the character of God and everything the wicked are missing out on. The will never know what it’s like to have their sins forgiven. They will never know that free grace and mercy of God because they have hardened their hearts against him. They will never know what it is like to be loved by someone who never gives up on you,,,, They will never know.

And that should give us pause, especially on days when we are prone to want to be like them in some way. We don’t really want to be like them, if being like them means we don’t know God’s love and mercy. We don’t really want to dabble with the dark stuff if it means abandoning truth and grace. We don’t really want to pursue what they are pursing if it means we don’t get the LORD in the mix.

Knowing God is way better than anything the wicked could ever offer. Indeed what makes them wicked, is their failure to see the value of knowing God. The wicked are missing out on the joy of abundant life now and eternal life forever.

PRAYER

Father, I confess sometimes my heart is tempted to want the things of this world so much so that I would admire those who have all the things this world offers, but they don’t have you. Help me to see their severe poverty. Help me to know that what they hold on to is temporary and fleeting. Help me not to miss the riches of your grace and mercy. Help me to be grateful for the extreme kindness that has been shown to me in you. Help me note that they don’t have the one thing that matters. You O’ Lord are worthy of all my praise and affection. Thank you for the deep well of your mercy and grace. 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.

From Problems To Praise (Psalm 31)

PSALM 31

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
(Psalm 31:3-5)

FROM PROBLEMS TO PRAISE

We find pieces of this Psalm in the mouths of other bible characters as they go through suffering. Jonah quotes from from it, Jeremiah, another Psalmist in Psalm 73, and of course Jesus utters, “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” This Psalm has well worn traction for those who are facing affliction. It’s a place to go to in the time of need. It carries a beautiful balance of honest reflections on the problems of life and our peculiar circumstances, a reminder of God’s incredible character, and response of trust in the LORD.

I conducted a funeral for a friend a few weeks ago who reminded me of this psalm. She would call me up and everything would seem like an emergency. She had a small flair for the dramatic. But indeed the issues were real and so we would discuss the challenges she was facing. Somewhere in the midst of our conversation she would remember how God had provided for her in the past. The conversation would flow into a time of testimony. Finally she would land on the fact that we all knew from the beginning, God was in control and she trusted him.

It’s good to bring our problems to God! Where else can we take them? In the midst of our problems though, we should remember the character of God. Sometimes we are tempted to look at God’s character through out circumstance. We think, “Oh, He doesn’t love me? Why did he let this happen? How will I ever get through this?” When we should be looking at our circumstances through God’s character, “I don’t know why this happened, but I know that the Lord has never let me down before. I may not see it, but he has a plan. I certainly don’t understand what is going on, but the Lord does.”

David begins with his problems, takes them to the Lord and ends the Psalm with praise of who God is. In doing so, he demonstrates how we might pray and praise the Lord in the midst of our own afflictions.

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your grace and everything that is new in my life each morning. Thank you for your amazing faithfulness. Thank you that you delight to hear the prayers of your servants. Thank you that we can call on you in our distress. Thank you that you hear us. As we pray though our difficulties I ask that we would be reminded of your goodness and character. I ask that as we lift our burdens to you we would trust you. Thank you for this tried and true psalm that helps us pray in our afflictions. 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.

Like A Shepherd Lead Us (Psalm 23)

PSALM 23

A Psalm of David. The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

PSALM 23:1-6, NKJV

LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US

My family and I have a trail that we like to go hike from time to time. It’s a familiar trail to us now and we’ve named some of the landmarks along the way. There is the mosquito forest, hidden ox bow lake, the hunter’s glen, and “poo-poo beach” (which got it’s name when my then 4 year old son really had to use the restroom and did only to discover that there was a port-a-potty 50 yards through the woods). These familiar landmarks make the hike memorable. Each land mark, like “poo-poo beach” has a meaningful memory tied to it.

Psalm 23 is very familiar to me. It’s probably the most familiar Psalm I know. My youngest child and I quote it to each other almost every night. Because this Psalm is a well worn path in my reading/ reciting it has several key features that jump out to me as I meditate on it today. There are several places in this passage that I have grown intimately familiar with due to life circumstances. As we follow the shepherd through the eyes of a sheep going through familiar territory, I can’t help but see how the Lord has been there for me in the landmarks of my life as well.

The Lord has lead me through green pastures. He has lead me to quiet waters of refreshment. He has been there for me in the valley of the shadow of death, both as I mourned others and faced my own mortality with threatening health issues. I’ve sensed his goodness and mercy running after me.

My favorite part of this Psalm these days is where he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I am comforted knowing that the enemies that scare me, don’t scare God. He has given me peace in what would otherwise be volatile situations. I am grateful for reading and meditating on this Psalm today.

PRAYER

Father, Like a Shepherd lead us. You know our needs, wants, and desires. You know what is good for us. You know what situations we are in. You know the path we should go. You are gentle in the way you lead, you protect and comfort us. You bless us even in adversity. You chase us down with blessing. You give us more than we could ever want or need. You are good to us. Like a Shepherd lead us. Let us like sheep follow you. Let me trust you in the good times and in the scary. Let me look to you to provide what I need, to know what I need, to protect me when I am in danger, to comfort me when I am scared and to 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.

James 3:13-18 (Devotoinal Thought)

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18 ESV)

I have a confession to make… I hate pineapples. I have another confession… I hate coconuts. Imagine my surprise when I’m out at the shaved ice (snow cone) trailer one afternoon and I decide to be bold and try a new flavor that I know nothing about… Pina Colada. If you don’t already know, Pina Colada is code for “coconut and pineapple”… It seems as though some sick person had the audacity to actually combine the two worst things in the world, give it a tricky name, and sell it to unsuspecting consumers.

James reminds his readers that God is not fooled, what we are will eventually become obvious to everyone. I was fooled by the fancy name Pina Colada, but I wasn’t fooled by the taste. Just because someone says that something is wise, doesn’t make it wise. True wisdom comes from God. False wisdom can be spotted by what it produces. False wisdom says hold a grudge and become bitter… but that’s not God telling you to do that… that is demonic thinking. Godly wisdom produces peace, reason and mercy. Want to figure out what kind of wisdom you’ve been buying, see what fruit shows up in your life… hopefully it’s not something rotten like a coconut or pineapple.

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