Putting God's Word into Practice…

Psalm 29 ~ The Voice

I use this psalm to pray for our church on a regular basis, and I’m really excited to share it on the blog today!  If you are longing for peace and strength, then I encourage you to let the voice of the Lord influence your life!

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness!

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. The cedars of Lebanon are a symbol of pride.  This wood was used to build palaces and military ships.  The cedars of Lebanon represent comfort, and power, a false sense of security and protection.  The Lord is bigger!  He breaks the things in which we put so much pride–he things in which we think we can make our own comfort and security.

He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.  Following the voice of God gives us a joyful, free spirit.  Even big things–like mountains–feel light!

The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.  His voice has the power to purify us, to clean out the underbrush that prohibits healthy growth, or to burn away the imperfections so that we can better reflect His holiness.

The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.  The wilderness of Kadesh is where the Israelites wandered because of their grumbling and complaining.  It is also where they sent the spies into Canaan to see what the Promised Land was like.  It represents places of wandering and doubt in our lives.  The voice of the LORD has the power to shake us up–to blast apart the wilderness!

The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth God’s voice is the source of new life!  Behold He is making all things new!  In Him we are a new creation!

And strips the forests bare,  He clears away all obstacles and distractions that keep us from seeing His glory!

And in His temple all cry, “Glory!” This is a suitable response to experiencing the presence of the LORD, to seeing His holiness and strength.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.  May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless His people with peace!  As King, He has authority over judgment and disaster.  He also has the ability to give peace.  He is always ruling and reigning.  We can trust His voice.  We can find great freedom in listening to His voice.

Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness!

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Psalm 28 ~ A Shocking Definition

What do you think about when you hear someone referred to as “wicked?”  Do you think murderer, pedophile, racist, thief, abuser???  These three verses in Psalm 28 give a definition that hits a little closer to home!

Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward. Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more. (Psalm 28:3-5)

  • Wickedness isn’t merely displayed by evil actions, but also by evil thoughts.
  • Hypocrisy is wicked.
  • Ignoring the Lord is wicked.
  • Ignoring the Lord’s work is wicked.

The same hands that God uses to work His wonders, He will use to ruin the wicked.  And He can, because He is God and ignoring Him is serious business.  I have a teenage son and there are times when I am talking to him/training him that he walks away and ignores me.  Disrespectful, right?  If my 15-year-old would just humble himself and listen to authority there is a good chance that he wouldn’t have to face severe consequences.  There are also times when I spend the whole day cleaning the house, and the boys will come in from playing.  Not recognizing that I have cleaned, they run through the house with dirty shoes on their feet.  Disrespectful, right? If they would just take a minute to look around, they would see the beauty around them and respectfully remove their shoes.

Take time to look around today!  Look for the fingerprint of an Almighty God.  Acknowledge Him!

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Psalm 28 ~ Prayer and Praise

David starts this psalm with a prayer:  To You, O LORD, I CALL; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.  Hear the voice of my PLEAS for mercy, when I CRY to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.  One can sense his heaviness of heart, desperation, and unswerving dependence as he approaches the Lord and pleads with Him to intervene in his circumstances.  Most of us have been there!

However, when our circumstances have been rectified or our hearts have been calmed, how often do we come back to the Lord just as desperate to thank Him?  In the end, David could not contain his appreciation to the Lord for hearing and answering:  Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.

Today, if these verses find you helpless and desperate, call out to the Lord with all that is in you.  If they find you walking in answered prayers, spend time thanking the Lord for His nearness, concern and provision.

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Psalm 27 ~ One Thing

ONE THING have I asked of the LORD, that I will SEEK after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire/meditate in His temple. (v. 4)

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (v. 8)

God has offered an open invitation to all people to seek Him.  We each must respond personally to His call.  Will we seek Him or not?

David had a single-minded passion and purpose–to seek the Lord’s presence and to see His beauty.  What  am I seeking after more than God’s presence?  How many things am I seeking that are distracting me from seeking the ONE THING that matters most?

God is worthy of being sought by us wholeheartedly, tirelessly, single-mindedly, and unwaveringly.  He is our Light and Salvation; our Stronghold, Refuge, Shelter, and Help. He lifts us up.  He removes fear and gives great confidence in the midst of trouble. With Him there is joy even when facing difficulties.

I BELIEVE that  I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD: be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (v. 13-14)

We seek believing we will find Him!  We seek patiently–not giving up or turning to other people or things.

I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you are seeking in life.  What is the ONE THING you are seeking more than anything else?  If it’s not God, spend some time cleaning “house” and putting His presence first again!  If you seek Him, He will be found!  Be strong, let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

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1 Peter 1:22-2:3 ~ The Kindness of the Lord

…if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (2:3b)

Tasting the kindness of the Lord changes us!  In Romans 2:4 it says, “Or do you think lightly of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not know that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.” And 2 Corinthians 7:10 says that “godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret.”  Salvation comes by way of repentance and repentance by way of sorrow over sin and sorrow over sin starts with recognizing the kindness of the Lord.  Everything good that we feel, have or experience comes from the kindness of the Lord.

So if we have tasted the kindness of the Lord, what should that produce in our lives?

  • Obedience to the truth (1:22)
  • Love one another earnestly from a pure heart (1:22)
  • Put away ALL malice and ALL deceit and hypocrisy and envy and ALL slander. (2:1)
  • Crave God’s pure Word for spiritual growth (2:2)

God is rich in kindness and He showers it on us! (Ephesians 1:7-8 NASB)  Psalm 145:17 says, “The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.”  I encourage you to spend some time meditating on the kindness of the Lord today–let it change your outlook on life, change your actions, and maybe even lead to your salvation.

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Psalm 26 ~ Sunday Morning and All Week Long

I come to Your altar, O LORD, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all Your wonders.  I love Your sanctuary, LORD, the place where Your glorious presence dwells…Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD! (Psalm 26:6-8,12)

We are to praise the LORD:

  • singing
  • with thanksgiving
  • aloud
  • to others
  • with others

We are to praise Him in church, but also anywhere His presence is–that’s everywhere I am.  Our bodies are His temple–He dwells in His followers!  Therefore, praise should happen 24/7!

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Psalm 26 ~ Without Wavering

Vindicate O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity and I HAVE TRUSTED IN THE LORD WITHOUT WAVERING!  (vs. 1)What a declaration!  What steadfastness of peace, freedom, joy and rest must come along with a heart that trusts God unwaveringly.

David doesn’t just flippantly proclaim his unwavering trust, but opens his life up for scrutinization.  Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. (v. 2)  Would I be brave enough to invite God to test my heart and mind–my emotions, my thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings towards others, my desires, my passions???  What would He really find in me?

For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness. (vs. 3) When the steadfast love of the Lord is ever before our eyes, why would we ever doubt Him?  Psalm 25:10 says that, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.”  We can only walk in His faithfulness my keeping His Word.  Therefore, trusting in the Lord without wavering means that we fix our eyes on His love and follow His Word with our actions.

Lord, I hope that I will be able to say that I have trusted in You without wavering!  Oh LORD, search me and test me and clean out any area of disbelief, selfishness, pride, distrust, bitterness, envy/jealousy, self-righteousness, deception…Help me to keep my eyes fixed on Your steadfast love and to walk in Your faithfulness.  Thank you for giving us Your Word, and for offering us a way to live that brings freedom and joy.

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Psalm 25 ~ The Upside of Humility

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the HUMBLE in what is right, and teaches the HUMBLE his way.  ALL the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. (vs. 8-10)

Humility means trusting the Lord to teach and lead me.  It is believing that He is higher than me in authority and wisdom.  It is demonstrated in following where God leads out of reverence, devotion and adoration.

If ALL the paths of the Lord include steadfast love and faithfulness, why do we rebel and try to make our own path!?  PRIDE!  DISTRUST! NO FEAR OF THE LORD!  But, when we know the character of God and His ways we should stand amazed that He would even want to lead and teach us.

  • trustworthy (v. 2-3)
  • source of salvation (v. 5)
  • friend of those who fear (respect) Him (v. 14)
  • merciful (v. 6)
  • full of steadfast love (v. 6)
  • filled with goodness (v. 7)
  • good and upright (v. 8)
  • instructs/teaches/leads (v. 8-9)
  • faithful (v. 10)
  • gracious (v. 16)
  • guards/delivers (v. 20)
  • a refuge (v. 20)

The psalm-writer saw all of these things in the Lord. That is why he was able to humbly call out to, trust in, wait on, and lift his soul up to the One who is his Redeemer!

Who is the man who fears the Lord?  

  • Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose. God promises that when we fear Him–consider Him above all other people and things–that He will give us direction for our choices–both big and small!  Ask Him anything!  He has a plan and a purpose and He wants us to walk in them.  Only by humbling ourselves and asking can we be taught and led.
  • His soul shall abide in well-being, This is probably my favorite promise.  I clung to that phrase and mulled it over the whole day.  What a promise! And I know it to be true.  Whenever I have been surrendered to the Lord’s direction, my soul has dwelt in well-being.
  • and his offspring shall inherit the land.  God keeps His promises from generation-to-generation!  My kids will be blessed because of my humble view of the Lord.
  • The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.  What are the benefits of friendship with God–closeness, someone we can confide in honestly, unconditional love, approachable no matter time of day or circumstance, always available for help or advice.

Lord, make me humble!  Lead me, teach me!  You are the God of my salvation.  For You I wait all the day long!

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Psalm 25:7 ~ The Sins of My Youth

When I was studying this chapter, I was “vacationing” in my hometown.  It’s funny the memories and regrets that come back spontaneously as one drives through their hometown!  There were many flashbacks that left me ashamed of myself–my immaturity, my selfishness, my foolishness, my sinfulness.

The prayer in verse 7 was so encouraging:  “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!”  

Thanks to Jesus, those memories didn’t end in a sea of self-deprecation and shame, but in gratitude and awe at the steadfast love and goodness of God!  I have been redeemed and made new.  That old girl is dead and gone!

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Psalm 24 ~ Open Up!

These are probably some of my favorite verses in the whole Bible.  They are a battle cry and a cry for help from the One who has the power to fight for us!  And they are an invitation to God for His presence and might to dwell with us!  I encourage you to read them out loud as a prayer.

Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.  Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD invincible in battle.  Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.  Who is the King of glory? The LORD of Heaven’s Armies–He is the King of glory.

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