Songs of Praise: Psalm 148-150

Today we complete our reading of Psalms with Psalm 148-150. (Click on the link to read God’s Word.)

As we near the end of Psalms the writer continues to use one phrase more and more. It’s as if he wants to make sure all who read know exactly how to end a book, or a season, or even a single day. Praise is the best way to finish what we start.

It’s Wednesday evening as I write this. One of my last official work days as a staff member of this church. I’ll still be around helping those who are continuing the ministry, teaching, and singing, worshiping with my church family. As this day and season come to a close, I feel compelled to write my song of praise.

Praise the Lord!

Praise Him for the preacher who gave me a chance so long ago. For the grace of a congregation who allowed me to take risks and try new things and fail.

Praise the Lord!

Praise Him for those who have given their time to teach and invest in the youth and children in our church and congregation. For kids and youth to teach.

Praise Him all You People!

For the facility we worshiped in for many years and the new one we worship in now. For the leadership of those who worked diligently to get us to this new place.

Praise the Lord!

For the seven plus preachers who I have served under and the staff I’ve been blessed to walk along side. For the times when all seemed right, and the times nothing was going my way.

Praise Him Church!

For love and laughter and babies crying in the sanctuary. For the breaking of bread and wine with the ones I call my church family.

Praise the Lord!

For the setting of the sun and the closing of a season.  For the beautiful opportunity to work and grow and love. For new beginnings and new leaders.

Praise Him all you People! Praise the Lord!

Amen!

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 146-147

Read Psalm 146-147. (Click on the link to read the Scripture.)

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Psalm 147:10-11

Merriam-Webster defines delight as a high degree of satisfaction or pleasure, joy, extreme satisfaction.

God does not find delight, pleasure or satisfaction in the strength of man or beast.

His delight and joy is found in those who fear Him who hope in His steadfast love.

Have you given it any thought? Have you considered if God delights in you? The psalmist spells it out loud and clear. When we fear, revere, worship the One true God, He takes pleasure, extreme satisfaction in us.

When is the last time you dared to hope in nothing but His steadfast love? Now is the time to place your hope in Him and Him alone.

Almighty God: Father, Son, Spirit. I have no hope apart from You. No strength in and of myself with which to please You. Work in me a proper attitude toward You. Fill my heart with delight for You alone. Lord, I want You to delight in me.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 144-145

We continue in the Psalms today with Pslam 144-145. (Click on the link to read the Scripture.)

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 145: 21

Yesterday I gave the challenge to refrain from complaining to others and vent vertically. Tell God your situation, your feelings, the trouble of your circumstance.

Today’s reading reveals to us what words should be on our lips, spoken out loud to those who hear even if the only one listening is ourselves.

…blessed be the Lord, my Rock

…I will sing a new song to you, O God;

…I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

…All your works shall give thanks to you, O God.

Throughout the reading of Psalms we see the writers venting vertically and then claiming God’s truth over their lives. Telling God our troubles most often softens our hearts and leads us back to the reality of who God is and what He is doing in our lives.

Continue the challenge today and once you’ve poured out your complaint before Him, praise Him.

Lord, with Your praise on my lips, fill me with confidence in who You are!

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 142-143

This is our last week in Psalms. Read Psalm 142-143 today. (Click on the link if you do not have your Bible handy.)

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.

Psalm 142:1-2

Joyce Myers said, Complain and remain. Praise and be raised.

It is easy to fall into the complain game. We get frustrated and want to tell our trouble to someone. By the end of the matter, we haven’t improved our own attitude and probably effected the one we shared with as well.

The writer understood the value in venting vertically, as Carol once said to me. He was not pouring out his complaint to just anyone. He knew where to go with his trouble. He cried out to the only One who would or could offer mercy and help.

Let me challenge you this week. Be diligently aware of your complaining and trouble sharing. Instead of spreading it to others why not look up and give it straight to God.

You won’t offend God with your trouble. He’s a big God and He can take it.

(He already knows it anyway.)

Father God, remind me to bring all my complaints to You first. Open my heart to Your guidance and direction. You alone are the One who can help me. Keep me from disturbing the peace of others with my own unrest.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 140-141

Read Psalm 140-141 today. (Click on the link to read the verses at BibleGateway.com.)

Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
    preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
    and stir up wars continually.
 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
    and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah

 Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    preserve me from violent men,
    who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
    and with cords they have spread a net;
    beside the way they have set snares for me.

Psalm 140:1-5

I read this on the heels of a conversation I just had with my friend and business partner. She shared her concern about customer satisfaction and how to better ensure those we serve leave happy or at least satisfied. The frustration she endured yesterday had a lot to do with me. My order writing skills are improving, but they still leave much to be desired, and a missing date left one of our customers pretty angry.

She tried to make it right, willing to do whatever would meet expectations. She tried, and she failed. There was no resolution, and in the end, we were left trying to keep this from happening again.

A fleeting thought went through my mind about ratings and social media. How easy it is for a person to blurt to the entire world through social media about their experiences with a product or a restaurant or store. While it hasn’t happened yet, it could, and it left me a little worried.

Worried until I read these words. Throughout these two psalms the writer pleads with God for protection. Requesting many times for deliverance and for God to preserve in the face of anger and discord.

No matter how hard we try, there will always be times when we fail. There’s just no way to meet all the expectations of others, nor ever get it all right. I’m not trying to make excuses for my mess up. We’ve made plans to avoid it in the future, and discussed how to do better. But you can’t turn back time and fix what’s already taken place. At least not this time.

It left me feeling vulnerable like I might just be thrown to the wolves over my mistake. The psalmist’s words reminded me to turn to God when I’ve done all I know to do, and trust Him to protect and work in and through my failure.

Have you failed too? Forgotten a commitment, left someone’s expectation unmet, even made another angry?

May I make a suggestion? You might want to examine your heart to get a clear picture of your mess up, make a commitment to change what you can, and trust God to provide a refuge and defense.

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

Psalm 141:8

Father God, thank You for protecting me and using my failures to reveal what needs to change. Thank You for Your grace and goodness. I trust You to make things right.

Songs of Praise: Psalm 139

Today we read one of my favorites, Psalm 139. (Click on the link to read today’s psalm.)

I’m not sure when you read these posts. Maybe it’s the first thing you do after waking or the final read before you shut off the lights for the night. No matter what time of day, no matter the circumstances you’ve faced, these words bring comfort.

Comfort in the fact that He knows when we sit, when we lie down, and even the words coming we haven’t spoken yet.

Comfort in understanding there is nowhere we can go where God is not. Even when we try to hide He is there.

Comfort in trusting He made us just the way we are. Like a knitter casting on yarn, He was personally involved in the making of each one of us.

Read the psalm again. What phrase or word speaks comfort to you? Spend some time soaking it up. Carry His comfort with you as you go.

Father God, may I know You as the God of all comfort.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 137-138

We continue our journey today by reading Psalm 137-138. (Click on the link to read the verses.)

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Many writers in the Bible remind us God will fulfill His purpose in us. Paul writes to the Philippians:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Sometimes we forget. We come to the conclusion we’ve been left to accomplish on our own what God has called us to do. We strive and work to grow in our love for God, and our love for others. It makes sense I guess. After all God created us, gave us the gifts and talents we need to get the job done.  And so we work, try, make every attempt to complete what God started.

The problem is… on our own we will never complete it. Because it is not ours to complete. Our culture shouts, Just do it… Make your own way… You can do anything you set your mind on to do… We’ve been told a lie.

The writer of this psalm understands only God makes things grow. Only God fulfills and completes His purpose in and through us. He will not forsake the work of His hands.

What would happen if we decide in this moment to live out this truth in our lives. What would change for me? For you?

Think about it. Maybe even write it down. Ask God to reveal to you where you have tried to do what only He can do. Now, trust Him to do the work He promised He will do.

Lord, today I choose to trust You to fulfill Your purpose in my life. I will no longer work on my own to do Your work my way. I will seek Your desire for me. I will obey what I hear You say. You alone bring to fulfillment all You have planned for me.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 136

Read Psalm 136 and remember His steadfast love endures forever.

There are days you wake up to hear news you don’t want to hear. Yesterday was one of those days. News of the massacre in Las Vegas has me feeling sad. My middle son responded, “Why? I need to know why someone would do this?”

I know why. Because this world is a broken hot mess. We’re in need of a Savior… not a perfect president or program… nor another look at safety or security. No, our world needs the God we are reminded of in this psalm. A great wonder-working God capable of creating the universe, striking down our enemies, and rescuing us from our lowly state.

With every verse he writes, the psalmist proclaims, His steadfast love endures forever.

No tragedy will change this truth.

Let me challenge you today. With every discussion you have, good or bad, respond with the writer’s words.

His love endures forever.

Father God, no matter what kind of mess we make in our lives or in the world, Your steadfast love endures forever. Remind me of this truth. Place it in my heart and on my lips so I can remind others. Your steadfast love endures forever!

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 133-135

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s begin this week with reading Psalm 133-135. (Click on the link to read the words God inspired.)

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.

Psalm 135:15-18

This Psalm gives us a clear picture of idolatry. Idols described as mute, deaf, and dumb. They cannot speak or see, hear or breathe. Human gods made with human hands have no power… no life.

The last sentence is a doozie. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them. Ouch! When we worship other things, we too become blind, deaf, and speechless. We become dead just like the thing we worship.

I doubt you have some golden calf or ashera pole in your home. Our idols don’t look like those of the Old Testament. But still, we are prone to worship other things. Money, material things, status and power to name a few.

How do you know? What is the test to see if something has become an idol in your life? Take a moment to answer a few questions.

Where do you spend most of your time?

Take a look at your bank account. Where is your money going?

What consumes your thoughts?

Do you see a common thread? Ask God to reveal any idols in your life. When and if He does, throw them out. Cast them far from your life, and choose to worship the one and only God.

Because when we worship the one true God, we become like Him. We see and hear and breathe. In Him we are alive!

Father God, reveal the idols I’ve made in my life. Free me from their grip on my life. I want what You promise, not the lies of the world.

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Songs of Praise: Psalm 131-132

Read: Psalm 131-132 [Click the link to read online or open up your Bible.]

For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.”

Psalm 132:13-18

Chosen. The place where God’s presence dwells is chosen, selected by Him. Merriam-Webster’s defines chosen as: selected or marked for favor or special privilege.

Jesus tells His disciples: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…

Followers of Jesus are chosen by Him for special privileges including the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

1Corinthians 3:16 ESV

We are chosen for the indwelling of His Spirit and all the blessings which go with it. The same blessings God placed on Zion as His dwelling place.

If you are having trouble remembering you’re chosen by the Creator, privileged, marked for favor, choose the blessing you need most to be reminded of from the list above. Then go to the New Testament verses which affirm the Old Testament promises connected to God’s presence indwelling Zion. Remember they are yours.

Be blessed. Be joy-full. Be free! You are chosen.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1Peter 2:9

Lord, don’t let me forget the wonder of Your Spirit living in me. Remind me You are there.

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