Friday, March 23, 2018

My Stronghold (Psalm 9:9-10)

Today's scripture: Psalm 9:9-10

Oh, how I love the opening words of these verses: "The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble ..."

I’m not oppressed by a human enemy or tyrant, but living with chronic health issues can definitely be oppressive. Anyone who deals with the same problem knows exactly what I mean. So often, chronic ill health takes over my life. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, my body reminds me of its aches and pains. I can’t ever forget.

But I’m not alone in my pain. God is with me. And it’s that confidence that allows me to make it through each day. And not just make it, but thrive.

I put my trust in my Lord because He’s been overwhelmingly faithful. He’s never left my side. He’s never forsaken me. Even when I turned my back on Him, He never left me. He’s too loving and gracious to even think of leaving His children.

I hope you’re as comforted by these words as I am. Never forget your stronghold.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Lord Abides Forever! (Psalm 9:7-8)

Today's scripture: Psalm 9:7-8

These verses touch my heart. In fact, I want to add them to my list of scriptures I want to memorize. They’re encouraging and affirming and confidence-building.

The Lord abides forever.
Our all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God is eternal. He’s always been and always will be.

He has established His throne for judgment. Every single person who’s lived, is now living, or will live in the future will stand before God’s throne. Each of us will either be judged for what we didn’t do (accept God’s gift of salvation) or awarded for what we did do (those things believers did to serve God and others).

And He will judge the world in righteousness. God is holy, righteous. We can be assured God will judge each of us through His heart of righteousness, through His eyes of love.

He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity. And in His righteousness, He’ll judge fairly. He’ll honor the decision many will make: To follow Him. He’ll equally honor the decision many others will make: to reject Him.  

So when you feel overwhelmed by life, when it seems the enemy is winning, remember: Our eternal God truly is in control. He is righteous and just. And fair. And loving.

What a good God we serve!

Monday, March 19, 2018

God Has My Back (Psalm 9:4-6)

Today's scripture: Psalm 9:4-6

I don’t know if David meant them to be, but these verses are quite prophetic. If you read about the nations that fought against Israel in David’s time, you’ll see that many of them don’t exist any longer.

Then I read these verses again, and they become quite personal. I encourage you to read them the same way.

I’ve had “enemies.” I’ve faced the “wicked.” I’ve been attacked and abused. And even though I may not have seen it at the time, God always “maintained my just cause.” He always had my back, as they say. And although my own enemies may not have been destroyed, God has been gracious and has taken away the “very memory.” Or should I say, He’s taken away the power of those memories.

God continues to sit on His throne “judging righteously,” and I’m confident that one day anyone who hurt me, who hurt you, will be judged.

In the meantime, let God take the “very memory” of your own enemies from your heart and mind. Let Him remove the anger or unforgiveness you feel and replace it with His peace, His joy.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Stumbling Enemies (Psalm 9:3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 9:3

We think we live in turbulent times … and we do indeed. However, if you read the Old Testament, you’ll see what turbulent times really were. David certainly knew turbulence. Constant wars. Enemies chasing him, seeking his death.

But he also knew God’s faithfulness. He knew he was God’s anointed king, and even through his sin and its consequences, David was confident in God’s ultimate protection. Time and time again, David prayed for victory over his enemies, and time and time again, God answered his prayer.

But not always. Sometimes the enemy won.

And sometimes the enemy seems to win against us as well. How often has someone hurt you or maligned you or tried to destroy you? The enemy wins—or at least it appears so. We pray that he’ll stumble, yet he doesn’t.

At those times, the only thing we can do is exactly what David did: Cry out to God and trust He’ll protect us—whether or not our enemy stumbles or turns back.

Most importantly, we can remember God is the ultimate Victor! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Let Me Tell You a Story ... (Psalm 9:1-2)

Today's scripture: Psalm 9:1-2

What a wonderful privilege we have to serve the Sovereign Creator, the one true God, the Savior of mankind. He—the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God—can be known by those who choose to follow Him. He is personal. He desires a relationship with us. He’s not some far-off, disinterested God. Rather, He allows Himself to be intimately known.

How can we help but praise Him?

That’s why I love so many of the psalms and why I so enjoy meditating on them. The words of gratitude and praise are so encouraging—and sometimes convicting.

Take the opening verses of Psalm 9. I too can give thanks to the Lord with all my heart. I am glad and exult in Him. I do sing praises to His name.

The conviction? Those words, “I will tell of all Your wonders.”

He is a wonderful, amazing God. He blesses beyond expectation. He carries me through the darkest valleys. He causes even the most difficult moments to turn out for good. He loves me as His own daughter.

Yet, how often to I tell others of “all [His] wonders”? Not often enough. I remember hearing someone ask, “If you had a cure for cancer, wouldn’t you tell everyone you knew?” I have the “cure” for soul cancer. I have the best story to tell.

And I need to tell it much more often.

Lord God, I do thank You and praise You. I do give You glory. Please continue to convict my heart to tell Your story to anyone who’ll listen, so they might give You glory as well. Amen.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Join the Chorus! (Psalm 8:6-9)

Today's scripture: Psalm 8:6-9

The psalmist continues his praise of God’s amazing love for His children. Everything in this world, everything we see, touch, hear, was created to please Him and delight us.

He gave humankind “dominion over” everything. We are more important to God than any animal, bird, or fish. We are the only of His creation made in His very image. He is our Father. Our Abba. Our Daddy. And like any loving Father, He made a wonderful environment for us to live in.

All for us.

So we can join in a heartfelt chorus: “O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Because, as amazing and wonderful this earth is, nothing is more amazing or wonderful than our Creator God. And we can speak His name with awe and joy and praise.

For His name is excellent, wonderful, worthy of praise. And worship. And honor. And glory.

Join in the chorus!

Friday, March 09, 2018

Because He Loves Us (Psalm 8:3-5)

Today's scripture: Psalm 8:3-5

When was the last time you sat and stared at a starlit sky? Marveled at its beauty? Considered the vastness of God’s creation?

It’s pretty humbling, isn’t it?

It’s time like this when the question of the psalmist becomes my question: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” In other words, “Why do You care about us? What’s so great about sinful, flawed us?”

The main reason? Because He loves us.

God, the Creator of all things, who set each star in its place, who created mountains and seas and deserts … He is mindful of me. He thinks of me. He loves me. Tiny-speck-of-a-person me. And He loves tiny-speck-of-a-person you, too. He has made us just lower than the flawless beings the Bible calls angels. And He honors us as His specially-created children.

Think about how much God loves you the next time you look at a starlit sky. Or an ocean. Or a mountain. Or a flower. Or even the reflection in your own mirror.