Category Archives: Psalms

Singing with the King (91) – Precious

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones. (Psalm 116:10)

jesuschild9I believe this is the Old Testament precursor of a passage from Revelation:

And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

I first ran across this latter verse when I performed the Brahms Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Now don’t get all impressed with me. I was just a Bass in  a choir of about 150 singers. There are seven movements in the great work, and the one based on the above verse is the final movement, which makes sense. And at the end of this post, you’ll hear this movement. Now back to the Psalm.

From a contextual point of view, verse 10 is rather interesting, because it is the only one dealing with someone actually dying. The remainder of the other 18 verses speak of one that has been delivered from the grasp of death.

The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.  Then I called upon the name of the LORD:  “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;  Yes, our God is compassionate.  The LORD preserves the simple;  I was brought low, and He saved me.  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. (v. 3-8)

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So why insert this verse about death, when all the others are about escaping from it (and being   thankful)? I think the key is in verse 8: For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. You see, for those who have lost a loved one, their eyes have shed many tears, and they have stumbled. But the Psalmist gives them a glimmer of hope when he tells them that their loved one is one of the Lord’s godly ones, and their death is precious in His sight.

Some of the meanings of the Hebrew word for precious are: prized, rare, highly valued and influential. And all those describe my friend Mark. For those who knew him, and many much better than I, you can see those words describing Mark. But the most important aspect of Mark 20245779_10154842661725872_4178047506386990472_nis that he was and is one of  the Lord’s godly ones. And since his death is precious to God, I have no doubt that it grieved our Heavenly Father—or rather—our Heavenly Father grieves for Mark’s wife Lorri, and their families; because Mark is now with Him, probably shooting videos—and the resolution is out of this world.

So for those who have grieved, cried and stumbled, know two things (at least):

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.. (Philippians 4:12-14)

Because Mark is one of His godly ones, we DO have hope. And despite our tears and stumbling, we need to continue to press on. For like him, we too will one day rest from our labors.


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Singing with the King (90) – My Shepherd

The LORD is my Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1)

Good Shepherd2Years ago, I heard a preacher—I don’t know if it was live or on the radio— who talked about the choices we make and the paths we take. So there you are, walking along with God, side by side, fellowshipping with Him, following Him, just being WITH Him. And then you decide to take a right turn, and go off in your direction. Now this is not without biblical precedence.

Note what He has done for us:

  • He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Isa 53: 4-5)

And what do we do after all this?

  • We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way. (v.6a)

So yeah, wandering off is in our nature. Now, back to the sermon. This preacher talks about us wandering off, to go down our own path, probably to do something sinful, something selfish, something displeasing to God. And the picture he painted was that God remained on the chosen path, while we trotted off on our own. And when we finally come to our senses, like the prodigal son did, we then turn around and go back to the path, and find God patiently waiting there for us.

THAT IS WRONG! And here’s why.

Does a shepherd just let his sheep wander off? Or does he go get them? He goes and gets them, because He knows we are too stupid, or too lost, to find our way home. Now granted, we may be off on this little tangent, this little side trip, and be totally unaware that He is with us—but He is. Because The LORD is our Shepherd. (Who by the way, laid down His life for us – John 10:11)

Also consider His nature.

Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you. (Psalm 139:7-12) With the exception of Hell, the is no place He is not.

Omnipresence is pretty tough to escape.

So, a role He willingly embraces, and a divine characteristic which is tough to get by (pun intended). God is not waiting at the beginning of your detour with arms crossed and foot tapping. He is with you. Now, you may not know that He is with you, because you’re trying to avoid Him, or ignore Him, or forget Him. But He is with you, and He always will be.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrew 13:5)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)


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Singing with the King (89) – Context 1.2

Cease Striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

soldiers prayingSo, the earth melted, and God brought desolation and destruction upon the earth. To what end? And why so extreme? Well, the answer to that is found in the second half of the above verse. The end of the verse reads: Know that I am God. Whether the earth is melting and being made desolate, or whether your life is melting and you’re feeling desolate, now is the time for you to cease striving and know that He is God.

Now for those of us have experienced such life shattering events in our lives, you know they can either ruin us, or bring us into the presence of God. Now as far as this Psalm is concerned, God is indeed the instigator, the prime mover, the originator and source of this bespoken cataclysm. Well His desire and motivation is to have you come to know Him.

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

But here is the danger. So you’re going through trauma, turmoil, loss or defeat, and rather than turning to God, you reject Him and accuse Him of being mean and uncaring. The problem with that call is, that you are nowhere near Him to really know Him.

Back to the context. Note these verses from this same Psalm:

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.  Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! (vss. 1-3)

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (vss. 7, 11)

He is our refuge and strength, always ready to help, but we need to Be Still. He is here among grief4us, and is our fortress, but we need to Be Still. Note the latter verse is occurs twice in the Psalm (vs, 7,11). In fact it is the last thing written. He is with you. Can you be still?

On last thought. The remainder of verse 10 goes: “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” At some point (i.e. – when you’re standing before Him in Heaven) you will no longer have a choice. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (vss. 9-11)

Be still today, and know that He is your God. And if you’re wondering how to do that, follow this link:

http://www.theintentionallife.com/first-one-thing-booklet/

 

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Singing with the King (88) – Context 1.1

Cease Striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Riot and FireLast time, we discovered that the context of this verse places you squarely  in the middle of a war. Maybe it’s for soldiers who are literally in the midst of a battle; or maybe it IS the end of the world as we know it; or it could be the spiritual battles that you’re in the midst of, which are seeking to overwhelm your soul and your heart. But Cease Striving does not merely call you to stop in the middle of a busy day; it calls you to stop whatever you’re doing, even in the midst of warfare.

So what is God doing around this verse, which should cause us to Cease Striving?

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. (vs. 6-9)

The first thing that our great God does in an apocalyptic, world-ending, cataclysmic kind of way is that he raised his voice and the earth melted. Earth is a very common word in the Hebrew, occurring well over 2000 times. Most of the time it is translated as land, and the next most translation is earth. It could mean countries, it could mean countryside, and even the ground we walk on. But it can also be translated as world. Now melted only occurs 17 times in the OT and it literally means to melt, and dissolve. It also means to faint, and be fainthearted. So rather than literally melting, it could mean that the hearts of those who are in this event melted. Now whether it was (or is) a local, or global, or personal event, God thundered, and everything came to a screeching halt.

valley of bonesThe next thing that God brought was desolations in the earth. Now this word can also be translated as destruction, horror, and waste. Pretty intense. And why does he do this? To end the wars.

Now I gotta admit, that seems a bit over the top; more like overkill. Why not just cause things to stop, to cease? Why bring about desolation and destruction? Well, you know the answer. Just putting the brakes on would be enough to get our attention, but it wouldn’t be enough to get us to change. Just getting us to stop would not bring about repentance in our lives. But losing everything? Yeah, that could.

Next time… So why does God go to such extremes?

Singing with the King (87) – Context 1.0

Cease Striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

AbideThis is my favorite Psalm. In fact it was the Psalm that launched this website (#2). And as is often the case, favorite verses can sometimes cause us to miss the context; and that’s what happened here. You see, whether you translate that Hebrew word raphah as be still, or cease striving, or fall limp, or fail, or drop—the list goes on—it spoke to me as an everyday, what’s going on in my life, kind of verse. But it’s not that only.

Now I will say, that it’s application still makes it very much an everyday, what’s going on in my life kind of verse, but the status for the psalm writer was much more intense.

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the will nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. (vs. 6-11)

So, the psalmist speaks of a battle; in fact it seems to him like a worldwide battle— nations were in an uproar, kingdoms tottered, the earth melted— yeah, sounds pretty worldwide to me. And if God raised his voice and melted in the earth, that’s kinda apocalyptic.

But whether it’s an intense battle going on in a faraway place, or the end of the earth, or even a spiritual battle that’s raging on around you, threatening to overwhelm your heart and your soul, this Cease Striving does not merely call you to stop in the middle of a busy day; it calls you to stop whatever you’re doing, even in the midst of your warfare. It’s that important, and it’s that life-changing. Will you cease your striving to know that He is God?

Next time… More on the context of this verse.

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Singing with the King (86) – I Love You (2/2)

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. (Psalm 18:1)

Shout to the Lord2Last time we looked at the nature of God and how He loved us—like a Father. We also camped on those three little words: I Love You, and how we shouldn’t hesitate saying them, because it may be too late and the privilege of bringing reconciliation or hope or joy or belonging (and a myriad of other accompanying characteristics with love) is lost.

But I think that the silence and hesitation of saying “I love you” may be very natural. Why do I say that? Do you know how many times someone in the Bible says to the LORD “I love you?” ONCE. UNO. In all of Scripture, only one, single, solitary time does someone say to the LORD, “I love You.” And you know who it is right? It’s gotta be David right? A man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14); and if he knew God’s heart, then he knew that God would love to hear “I love you” from His child. And so the verse at the top of the page is from Psalm 18:1. The first thing out of David’s mouth in this song, in this prayer is: “I love you LORD.”

One of the first theological tenets that is learned by every kid in Sunday School is: God is love. The whole verse goes: We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16) Don’t you think that a God who IS love, would want to hear that He is loved? And yet all we can muster up in the Bible is one time?

Now there is a time in the New Testament where words “I love you” appears, but it’s kinda coaxed:

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

Now Peter is not hurt by the fact Christ asked him the question three times. It has to do with his level of commitment, and you discover that, when you look up the Greek word for love. The first two times Christ asks: Do you agape love me? And twice Peter responds, “You know I phileo love you.”

The J.B. Phillips translation reveals the nuance that is missed in most other English translations:  When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?” “Yes, Lord,” he replied, “you know that I am your friend.” “Then feed my lambs,” returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” returned Peter. “You know that I am your friend.” “Then care for my sheep,” replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said, “Simon, son of John, are you my friend?” Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus’ third question to him was “Are you my friend?”, and he said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I am your friend!” “Then feed my sheep,” Jesus said to him.

In the end, Peter appeals to Christ’s omniscience, and Christ knowing that Peter was not there—yet—Jesus still gives him his assignment. And that should speak volumes to all of us. There are times and places and people when we cannot summon enough love, but Christ still calls us to serve.

Back to David. Although Psalm 119 has no author mentioned, people much smarter than I seem to think this is indeed a Psalm of David. That being said, there are 5 verses in this Psalm which fall into the “Close Call’ category.

This little one picked up her dad's Bible on the way out of church.O how I love Your law!  It is my meditation all the day. (v. 97)
I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Your law. (v. 113)
You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Your testimonies. (v. 119)
Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold. (v. 127)
Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. (v. 159)

The psalmist tells us that he loves God’s law, testimonies, commandments, and precepts. You could just say that he loves God law. That aligns itself clearly with what Christ tells us in John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. That’s what love does—it not only speaks love, it lives love in a life of obedience. And that’s what keeps you and me from falling into the “Talk is Cheap” trap. It’s not just saying that we love Him, it shows that we love Him.

One other Psalm:

I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications. (Psalm 116:1)

Here we find the Psalmist not talking to the Lord, but talking about the Lord. Do you? Do you tell others that you love the Lord? The are watching, and they might just listen.

So, if “I love you LORD” is not in your vocabulary, may I suggest to take a page from King David and begin your prayers with “I love you Lord.” Love be doing, by being obedient. And tell someone about it; that you love the LORD. It will radically change your life, and the lives of those you love.

Singing with the King (85) – I Love You (1/2)

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him… the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13,17)

Father and SonThe earliest childhood memory I have with my Dad was laying on his chest, as he sat in his recliner, with both of us eating out of a can of peanuts, watching Rassling (long before it became so dramatic and overproduced). I still remember his arms wrapped around me.

But, it took me 27 years to hear my Dad say “I love you”. Don’t get me wrong, I knew he loved me. (As testified by the above story.) He worked on big yellow things with wheels, tracks, etc., for as long as I could remember (a master mechanic), but he still had time to go to his son’s games and meets; band and choir concerts. And even if it meant skipping a day of weekend overtime to see his son run or sing, he was there.

When I was in college I read a book on prayer by a Jesuit theologian. It changed my life. Up to that point I had thanked God, praised God, worshiped God, rejoiced in God, and made my prayers and petitions known to Him (in Jesus’ name). But I had never told my Heavenly Father that I loved Him. After reading the book, I made sure that in all my prayers, to tell my Heavenly Father I love Him, to this day. And for the people who I loved, I made sure to tell them I loved them.

So it was probably around my early twenties that I noticed my Dad’s typical response to my “I love you.” It was either “Ditto” or “You too.” It became my mission in life was to hear those three words from him, whether over the phone on in person. It happened the summer of my 27th year. I was back on the West Coast, visiting my parents, with the usual hugs were going around. While squeezing my mom I told her that I loved her, and she responded as she always did: “I love you.” Dad and I grappled in our usual bear hug, and I told him I loved him and he grunted or something. But later in that week, I told him I loved him, and he said…”I love you too, son.” And I cried (maybe Dad even got a little teary). From that day on until he died 9 years later, the “I love yous” abounded.

Now why do I share this ancient history with you? Well, if you’re a parent, have you told your _20161125_125039kids you love them today? They need to hear it; and they need to see it and feel it. And for you Dads, loving your kids is going to give them a great glimpse into the love of their Heavenly Father.

What about the rest of the family? Maybe  you’re distant (emotionally or geographically). Or estranged. Maybe there are wounds, scars, whatever. Love them. Tell them. Because, Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Now there are certain traumas and griefs we go through which may loosen your tongue, but don’t wait for that. A funeral and the loss of a loved one can pry those three words out of you, especially for those us who have been left behind. Cancer or heart disease can get your attention. It did for me and my family. But I don’t want to go through that again—so don’t wait.

What about those in the Family of God. Have you told them you loved them? Maybe they’re alone, or their family’s a complete disaster. Did God bring you into their lives to love them? Tell them. Don’t wait for disaster to strike, because maybe you—or they—end up in the presence of Jesus. Tell them… now.

Please understand that this tirade is for those who may be challenged verbally and emotionally—especially us guys. Who knows, if you speak these three words, with God’s help, you may be able to begin living them. But if you’re more at ease speaking, don’t allow those three words to become some glib motto. Rather, Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.  (1 Peter 1:22)

Singing with the King (84) – Fans, Yelling and Gentleness

He trains my hands for battle,  so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great. (Psalm 18:34-35)

Kid Soccer2It’s a beautiful, warm Saturday morning, and the soccer fields are jammed with little kids swarming around a soccer ball trying to make headway—one way or another. Surrounding the field are the onlookers: parents, family, friends; yelling and jumping, waving and screaming, urging the tide to turn toward one goal or the other.

But as I watched less and listened more, I heard some voices—which I thought were enthusiastic—but were actually more angry. And other voices I thought were encouraging, were demanding. Now here are these precious little ones learning cooperation and coordination, following directions and team play. Meanwhile highly invested and motivated parents have moved from building up to tearing down in their verbal and visual salvos.soccer parents

So what does all this have to do with King David? This part of Psalm 18 has to do with David going into battle, and I’ve always found it intriguing that it was the LORD’s gentleness that made him great in battle. You see, gentleness has nothing to do with tactics. It has everything to do with character. And if you want your child to be great in the classroom or the war room, the board room or the court room, it’s their character that will make them great.

Kid SoccerWe all want our kids to be great, but that means loving them, and living out before them the character of Christ. Things like gentleness and humility are not typically sought out, but consider there two passages:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:£ Christ was truly God.  But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Have you ever thought that were it not for Christ’s humility, you’d still be stuck in your sins?

ShhhOf course being humble and gentle like Christ is going to have more that an impact on your kids. It will change your life.

Usually it takes as much time to find a song that speaks to what I have written about, as it does to write it. But God laid this song on my heart by Steven Curtis Chapman, and it goes far beyond the point of yelling at your kids (or your wife, or your husband). What if that anger was the last thing that was said, that was seen, and then you lost them?

Whatever field your on with your child, celebrate their successes, encourage them in the failures. Be gentle. Love them with the love of Christ.

Singing with the King (83) – Identity

O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. (Psalm 116:16)

vanity-plateSo I’m driving along the other day, and a guy in a BMW pulls up alongside me, and I notice his license plate: iPhone1. Interesting license plate. Also, my wife and I have been watching The Voice lately, and there was an artist who shared that he was gay, but also a singer. Then there are Harley owners. Bikes, gear, leathers, everything—it’s all about the brand.

This license plate, and these disparate identities got me to thinking. What’s your identity? Is it in your sexual orientation? Your stock with Apple? The size of your V-Twin? The size of your house? Your socioeconomic status? False gods? For many of us men, our identity is wrapped up in our work. With whom or what do you identify? Where do you get your identity? What do you need to be freed from?

You can probably tell from the verse above, where this is going. We must get our identity from the LORD. In this case, the psalm writer tells us that he is the LORD’s servant. This psalm doesn’t tell us whether or not it was written by King David, but if it was, it’s kind of remarkable statement for a king to say that he’s a servant. And yet, time and time again, in the headings of many of the Psalms that David wrote, he did confess that he was the LORD’s servant.

Hmm. King… Servant. Tough call. David did not get hung up in what he did. Rather, he was committed to Whom he belonged. Now if being a servant seems a little tough, consider these roles, or relationships we have with the LORD.

“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:16-17)

Children, heirs, fellow-heirs. But remember it’s not about title, it’s the relationship. Because when you identify with Him, then you will be made like Him:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:29)

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter1:14-16)

God has called us to be conformed to His Son, and not with things in this world that will pass away. Shouldn’t you desire to have an identity that is eternal and everlasting; not something that will rust away and be gone—forever?

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Matthew 6:19-21)

The most amazing thing however, is that your relationship with The Most High God is not just that we are identified with Him; but rather, He is willing to be identified with us.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t get sidetracked or distracted. Find your freedom and identity in Christ alone—then live it!

 

Singing with the King (82) – Make a Choice

Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11)

which-oneYou may recognize this Psalm from it’s opening verse: As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. Three times the Psalmist asks the above question, and comes to the same decision, twice in this Psalm and once in Psalm 43.

He answers these questions in these two psalms. Here is a list of why he is discouraged and sad:

  • He is unable to go and stand before the LORD.
  • Day and night I have only tears for food
  • His enemies continually taunt him
  • His heart is breaking
  • He remembers how it used to be, but not how it is now.
  • The raging seas, waves and surging tides of God sweep over him
  • “Why have you forgotten me?”
  • “Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?”
  • Their taunts break his bones.
  • They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
  • Why have you tossed me aside?
  • Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?

There are certainly enough reasons to be discouraged and sad. Now there are some verses in the midst of these complaints which offer hope and light, but he still ends each Psalm with the same questions and answers:  Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again— my Savior and my God.

At the end of this self-diagnosis of despair and sadness, he makes a choice: I WILL put my hope in God. I WILL praise Him again. We all know life can be filled with despair and discouragement; with sadness. But there comes a choice: whether you let your emotions, your biochemistry, your mood, your ‘tude, your feelings, your circumstance, your situation, your whatever, impact your relationship with your Heavenly Father. You must not. You MUST choose Jesus.

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Paul writes of a similar theme in Romans 5: And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;   and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (v. 3-5)

Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re feeling, choose to put your hope in God. Choose to praise Him again. He will not disappoint.