Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Psalms 50 - 57

50:3-4 - I think we often forget who God is...His awesome power...the holy fear that His presence would strike in the heart of any man. God demands obedience...He demands righteousness from our lives.

51:3-5,10,13 - This is the what genuine repentance/forgiveness looks like. 1.) He repents of his sins before God...no excuses...he simply turns to God and admits his utter failure. 2.) He asks God to renew his heart and mind...to wipe them clean and create within him a spirit that seeks out what is right. 3.) In response to the wonderful forgiveness of God, he will share that truth with any other broken people he can find (i.e. everyone).

52:7 - To those who have tasted real life...life reconnected with God...it is abundantly clear that trying to save yourself and trying to find fulfillment in things of this world inevitably leads to destruction. It is clear to the faithful and will one day be clear to all.

53:3 - This is the legacy of the world of man. This is the dire state of mankind. There is no one good! No one. How many times have you heard somebody say, "But he was a good person." No he wasn't - there is no one good. Every human being who lives and has ever lived is in desperate need of salvation that only comes from God. (See: Romans chapter 3)

54:3 - The psalmist really targets the root of evil - people who put themselves before God. When you are created to worship God and you choose instead to worship yourself, only depravity will come. People who worship the self become vile, ruthless and self-serving - there is no future for those who do not worship God.

55:4-5 - I have felt like this before...have you? For me, the times when these feelings come upon me are lying awake - late at night - in the dark. There have been times where I was shaking in fear...where terror seemed about to completely overwhelm me...where I wondered if any of it was real - faith, hope, eternity. When I have been overcome with fear there is only ever one place to turn and it is stated clearly at the end of chapter 55...


56:3-4 - This is the attitude that we need to seek. We need to understand fully in our hearts and live it our daily in our lives - faith is everything! Faith is everything! Why do we allow ourselves to be destroyed by the words and actions of others - faith is everything. People can hurt your body and tear at your emotions, but they can do nothing to your soul! If we had an eternal view on life, we would much better be able to handle the difficult things we face in this world.

57:7-11 - I love how David ends this psalm. He is surrounded by enemies...there are people literally trying to kill him...he feels like the whole world has turned against him, yet he turns to God with praise. He worships his God. Like we talked about with chapter 56 - David has his priorities straight...he knows where true value lies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Psalms 42-49

42:1-2 - Does my soul thirst for the living God? Does yours? Is that what I chase after and pant after on a daily basis - reconnection with my creator God? Everything outside of God eventually leaves me empty and dry...my soul is made for living water and there is nothing in this world that can quench my soul thirst.

42:5 - Why do we often have inner turmoil going on like the psalmist? Because we put our hope int hings other than God and they always let us down. His answer to the problem is simple - PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD!

43:3 - What a powerful prayer request...I want to make this my prayer. God please send your light to guide me, so that I might enter into your presence. That's what I need on a daily basis.

44:15-18 - Here we see some of the raw feelings and truthfulness that are presented int he psalms. The psalmist believes that he and the Jewish people have remained faithful to God, yet it feels like God has forsaken them. They do not feel His presence...things are not like they used to be. The writer is confused that it seems like everything has turned against him even though he has remained faithful. Ask the disciples what they would have to say about that. Many of them remained faithful to the point of being jailed, mocked, tortured and killed for their faith. Faithfulness does not always = an easier life...but faithfulness always ensures a future hope.

44:23-24 - The writer continues to pour out his heart...he is hurting and confused and he is letting God know about it. The thing I like about this passage is that it reminds me that God can take whatever I can dish out...it is better to me to pour out my confusion and anger on God then to bottle it up and turn away from Him. The psalmists ask why it seems like God is doing nothing about the terrible situation going on around him - you ever been there?

45:2-4 - This is a great psalm for sons and young men...I cannot wait to read and pray this over my sons some day! "Prepare for battle my son and know that through faith you are a reflection of the image of God in this world. You are a warrior priest. Son, ride out victoriously in this world to fight for the cause of truth, for the meek and for righteousness. Let your deeds be deeds that shout to the world that you are a son of the Most High God!"

46:10 - SHHHHHHHHH! BE QUIET! Stop allowing yourself to get distracted by the things of this world...stop distracting yourself by allowing your mind to endless speak and question and doubt. Be still and know your God. Be quite and listen for His voice. He is worthy of exaltation, so take some time out of your day to seek Him.

48:12-14 - I like this passage about the city of God...to me it speaks of understanding God's characteristics. Study the traits of God. Spend time walking in His presence...walking in His ways. Get to know God's heart like you know the back of your hand. When you know your God, you will be able to pass that knowledge on tot he next generation.

49:13-15 - Those who blindly place their faith in wealth and humanity are setting themselves up for a bitter end to a bitter life. They are like sheep being led into a chasm of nothingness by the shepherd Death. It is a futile existence. Thank you God for offering a different path. Thank you God for ransoming my soul and giving me hope!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Psalms 36-41

36:1 - Sin twists the heart - it is like a cancer that spreads and consumes...as we give in to sinfulness the corruption sets in and we convince ourselves not to fear God. Without the fear of God that leads to worship we separate ourselves from God and spiral deeper into the pit of self-worship fueled rebellion.

37:1-4 - We must not allow evil people to control our lives and consume our thoughts. There is evil in the world. There are people that give into evil desires and do terrible things, yet the God-fearers of the world cannot allow these things to paralyze them. In reality the evil strong are nothing more that specters that are passing away and will leave no significant legacy behind them. The only fulfilling life is found in trusting God...that is where true strength is found. We do not have to fear the evil int he world because we know the one and only God that is going to set everything right in the end.

37:30-31 - As Christians we have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. If we are the righteous, then this passage gives us an excellent picture of what out lives should look like. The mouth of the righteous utters only wisdom, not foolishness or filth. The tongue of the righteous seeks to bring justice to the world, not to bring honor to bring honor to self. The righteous has the law of God etched on his heart and he allows that to guide his path.

38:4-5 - The psalmist, David, is drowning in the consequences of his sin. He feels like he is being crushed under the weight of guilt over what he has done. The sin and guilt within him fester and rot his life...this is the price of sin...this sit he reward for those who choose to ignore God and go their own way.

39:11 - Sometimes God has to destroy or take away the things that we worship, so that we will once again be free to worship Him.

40:2-3 - This is powerful imagery: our of the pit...out of the bog...lifted out of death and destruction. There is utter hopelessness in a life lived in separation from God. Yet, God has come to the rescue of the psalmist..."He sets my feet on solid rock" - "He put a new song in my mouth." When salvation comes we no longer have to sing the funeral dirge of sin and death...God's forgiveness allows our lives to sing with joy and life!

41:1-2 - Those who are compassionate with regards to the poor and helpless will be blessed by God. What we have to understand is that this blessing does not necessarily mean that we will receive more material wealth...it means that it is a blessing to be the hands and feet of God in this world. That is what we were made for...we were made to connect with God...to worship God...to find our fulfillment fully in God and this happens when our heart is beating in unison with God's. We will be truly blessed when he see as God sees and feel as God feels...that is what we should strive for.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Psalms 29 - 35

29:1-2 - I love the attitude of this verse...in an alternate translation it says, "Ascribe to the Lord, you sons of might!" True power is found in serving the Lord. Those who understand what strength is seek to worship the by living holy lives. We use the will, mind, creativity, characteristics that God has given us to fight for holiness...that is how we bring Him honor.

30:5 - Passing through this life and all the problems that entails is like the blink of an eye in the scope of eternity. It may seems like pain and sorrow are everywhere, but one day we will awake with God and have a true understand of what living is really like - forever!

31:7-8 - No matter what you are going through...God sees it. God feels what we are going through...God understands suffering, and because He knows what we agree going through He is always there to offer us strength and hope.

32:1-4 - David speaks eloquently of the joys of forgiveness, yet as beautiful as his words are they do the reality no justice! We are blessed by the forgiveness of a perfect God who was willing to pay the price for our sins - MY SINS! Such undeserved grace! Yet, David follows up by explaining that people will also be cursed by guilt and separation from God if they refuse to turn to Him in repentance for forgiveness. Sometimes instead of turning to God instantly in our sinfulness, we run away from Him and wallow in our transgressions, living under a crushing weight of failure. Don't live like that when the joy of forgiveness is so close at hand!

33:13-16 - God knows everything that is going on in our lives. No matter how big or small, He is interested. Isn't that amazing? That is how much we are loved - He is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives.

34:5 - When we allow our worth to be determined fully by God - we will never be ashamed...we will never become obsessed with what other people think of us...we will have a confident radiance about us because we understand fully that we are the children of God - we understand who we are. Never forget who you are.

35:13-16 - David is dealing with some tough real-life experiences here. Just because we serve and love other people, does not mean that they will always return the favor. Just because you were there for someone when they were down does not mean that they will be there for you when you are down (Anybody in church leadership has run into that truth face first!). We have to remember that we do not serve...we do not care...we do not help others to receive the same in return. We serve because it brings honor to God. There are always going to be people who are so insecure with themselves that they will rejoice in the failure of others (Talk about an intense line - "like profane mockers at a feast.").

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Psalms 19-28

19:5 - I really like this verse..."like a strong man runs his course with joy." A true sin of godly strength is being able to work and do what you have been called to d with joy in your heart.

19:7-9 - This is a great list of some of God's characteristics and the blessings they offer us: renewal, wisdom, joy, discernment, hope, righteousness, etc. The very nature of God gives us the soul food we need to be sustained.

20:7-8 - People who put their trust in the things of man are always let down...trust in the Lord!

21:6 - This verse can also be translated, "you make him a source of blessing forever." I like the thought that the Lord pours our Himself and fills us up to overflowing, so that we in turn can become a blessing the the lives of others.

22:1,8,16 and 18 - This is a prophetic psalm. David is speaking about his own trials, but as he connects with the Spirit of God, he paints a picture for us of what the sacrificial death of Jesus will look like. Jesus cried out from the cross, "My God, my God - why have you forsaken me?" (v.1) Men at the foot of the cross mocked Jesus, saying, "Let his God rescue him now!" (v.8) His hands and feet were pierced on the cross and the soldiers cast lots for his clothing. (v.16 and 18) David is predicting the crucifixion (probably unbeknownst to him).

22:28 - Jesus is the ultimate king. He is the universal king. He showed that true power comes through sacrificial leadership as he conquered sin and death through humble service. Is that the kind of leadership we value?

23:1-3 - We all have our own wants, but we shouldn't become obsessed with those...the Lord will give us exactly what we need. In fact, there are times when He will make us receive the things we need.

24:5-6 - Those who seek God's face will receive righteousness and blessings from God. That sounds pretty good, maybe we should make that part of our lives...that whole "seeking God's face" thing.

25:14 - Interesting...God's friendship is for those who fear Him? This seems like such a foreign concept to me...I don't think we generally equate friendship with fear. How does this work? Fear in regards to God is a picture of humility and respect...humility and respect are things that are essential to all relationships. To have that intimate connection with God that He desires to have with us and that we so desperately need...there has God to be a humble respect (fear) of Him.

26:2 and 3 - This is a pretty bold request from David. He specifically asks God to test his faith. I find it interesting that David also says right out that it is God's steadfast love that gives him the strength to remain faithful and true. He God to test him over attributes that only exist because God is sustaining him...this is kinda like a sneaky praise of God. He says, "God, you can test me, but you will only find faithfulness because your love is so awesome - I couldn't possibly turn away!"

27:4 - This verse was actually given to me as a life-verse by a missionary friend of mine named Steve Allen who led us on a trip to Thailand (6/28/08). The Lord put this verse on his heart for me and I cherish to this day. It has become a verse that I want to embody...I want to walk with God daily...I want to live in constant connection with Him...I want to reflect His beauty in my life...I want my words to be laced with God's wisdom. Thanks Steve!

28:8 - Our strength can only be found in God and nothing else...never forget that!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Psalms 11-18

11:7 - Okay...if God is the embodiment of righteousness...and He loves righteousness in His people...why would I not seek to live a righteous life? Am I going to be perfect? No. But I can fight and claw and scratch every day to give my life as an offering to God. I will not attain righteousness, but I can seek it - it is the least I can do to honor the sacrifice of Christ that truly does bring me righteousness.

12:3 and 6 - I find the comparison of these verses very interesting. People with lying lips and boastful tongues are living in total opposition to the person of God. God speaks only pure, powerful, truth. It is never good to be on the opposite end of the spectrum away from God!

13:1 and 5 - Here are another set of verses that compliment one another. At the beginning of the psalm Davis questions why it seems that God is absent from his life, but he knows the character of God and chooses at the end of the psalm to trust in His unfailing love. Too often people (myself included) turn away from God when they feel disconnected, which makes little sense because these are the times when we most need Him.

Chapter 15 - I preached on this a couple months back. David asks and answers his own question. He says, "Who are the people that will be able to rest in the presence of God?" The people who seek wholeness (i.e. having a oneness in their lives that centers on honoring God wherever they are)...the truthful...those who speak honorably...those who are generous and kind. People who live out these kind of values in an effort to live their lives as worship, will never be moved from the presence of God.

16:1-2 - David understands the bottom line...he says, "There is nothing good in my life apart from what God has put there." He knows that ALL good things come from God. God is good...goodness comes from God...we have nothing to brag and boast about other than the fact that we have an awesome creator God.

17:4 - This made me sit back and say, "Huh?" David the battle king has the audacity to say that he avoided the ways of the violent? The man that was unable to build the temple because of all the blood on his hands? What is going on here? Well, as I think about it, during the early part of David's life (When this psalm was probably written), David really did try to avoid violence. He was not a violent man, he just fought to protect sheep and people. When David was being pursued by Saul, he did everything he could to bring about a peaceful solution to the problem. So okay, I'll buy it David for that part of your life.

17:14-15 - True satisfaction can only be found in God. David sees men around him who only seek material gain int he world...yet he also sees that this wealth does nothing for the men. It serves only to be handed over to their kids when they die - it is truly meaningless. David just wants to be with God and he knows that one day he will awake in the presence of the Lord and he will finally understand the meaning of satisfaction.

18:24 - This kind of talk seems very foreign to our current day Christian ears. We like to talk about how messed up we are and would never utter words like these from our mouths. David claims he is being rewarded by God for his own righteousness? That's bold. But we have to understand that they had a different understanding of how God worked, and David truly did act honorably in regards to the situation with crazy king Saul. He honored God...he showed respect to a king that was vile and evil...he refused to do violence against the king...and when the situation was resolved, David sees it as God honoring his choice to seek peace. Do you want to argue that logic?

18:46 - I grew up singing a good old hymnal praise song based on this passage. This is a beautiful and truth-filled verse. God is alive! God is an immovable presence int his universe and in my life! God is the bringing of salvation for all! That is a great verse!