Psalm 5

Today, we are going to take a more in-depth look at Psalm chapter five, furthermore, this post will build off the introduction to Psalm chapter five.There is an overwhelming amount of awe-inspiring beauty in Psalms. Cries to God of pure relatable emotion.

Bend Your ear to me and listen to my words, O Eternal One;
    hear the deep cry of my heart.
Listen to my call for help,
    my King, my True God;
    to You alone I pray.
In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice;
    in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer.

You’re not a God who smiles at sin;
    You cannot abide with evil.
The proud wither in Your presence;
    You hate all who pervert and destroy what is good.
You destroy those with lying lips;
    the Eternal detests those who murder and deceive.

Yet I, by Your loving grace,
    am welcomed into Your house;
I will turn my face toward Your holy place
    and fall on my knees in reverence before You.
O Eternal One, lead me in the path of Your righteousness
    amidst those who wish me harm;
    make Your way clear to me.

Their words cannot be trusted;
    they are destructive to their cores.
What comes out of their mouths is as foul as a rotting corpse;
    their words stink of flattery.
10 Find them guilty, O True God;
    let their own devices bring them ruin.
Throw them out, and let them drown in the deluge of their sin,
    for in revolt they brazenly spit in Your face.

11 But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did;
    let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
    their love for You resounding in their hearts.
12 You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
    Your blessings surround them like a shield.

The more I read this Psalm the more I fall in love with it. Prayer is not always expressed in words, but it is also “unuttered longings which abide as silent meditations. Words are not the essence but the garments of prayer.” (Biblestudytools.org) Meditation is defined as prayer accompanied with deep thoughts and fervent affections of the soul by Wesley’s Commentary.

Pouring out my heart to the Father felt natural as a young child. However, I became frustrated with pouring out my heart to God because I thought it sounded too negative. I stuck to praising Him, thanking Him, confessing sins, and praying for others. It didn’t take long for me to be convicted, as the door swung open for me to pour out my heart once more. The issue with my thinking was me. I labeled myself as a burden even to God, but that is not how God viewed me.

 

While those other things are essential being honest with God is vital. If we can’t be honest with Him than really who can we be honest with? We don’t need to pretend to be perfect or to try to look pretty for God. It is reassuring that God encourages us to ache freely. He knows the deepest cry of our heart yet He desires beyond words for us to share it with Him.

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This Psalm reminds us of the importance of beginning the day with Christ. Not only offering a prayer but to be expectant for an answer and expectant to see God at work throughout the day.

Verses four – six highlights our sinfulness. At times, it can seem like a contest who has the best redemption story or who is better at resisting sin. When we are honest we are all the same, all drenched in sin and only saved by God’s amazing grace.

Mercy is the foundation of verse seven. It is a privilege that we are able to enter into the Lords presence. Even though things were messy for David here we see him faithfully praising God.

We all encounter times of spiritual warfare.  It is vital during these times to draw close to God taking refuge in Him. Furthermore, trusting that He will direct each step according to His will. We have confidence that He is the righteous judge. He is our great defender. Lastly, God will provide all we need to thrive in spiritual warfare and every trial.

In closing, I would like to share this study guide on Psalm 5 with you. I hope it will encourage you to dig deeper into this chapter. I know the Lord is at work in Your life.

El Roi (The God Who Sees me),

I praise You for Your loving grace. From the depth of my heart, I worship You. The whole earth declares Your glory and rejoices at the sound of Your name.

You are my shepherd guiding my every step. You understand every thought. Thank you for allowing me to ache freely. I praise You that I can be transparent with You. I rejoice in You for always hearing my cry.

I delight to do Your will and to walk with You daily. Increase my desire for You. Thank you that each battle is dependent on you alone. You are my hiding place. I surrender all to You opening my heart to receive Your word.

Amen

Lent

Lent at times is overlooked. The beauty of the season is taken for granted. By no means in general, is this intentional but with the jam-packed schedule and at times a lack of understanding it is easy to sweep under the rug.

Recently, I heard lent described as depressing. It was explained as a valley. Furthermore, as muck. Yes, there is weight to lent, but there is much beauty. “Lent is a time of remembering, of revisiting the familiar scenes in Scripture and discovering what God wants us to learn this year” (Liz Curtis Higgs).

Lent is for forty days, not including Sunday’s for a basic overview of lent check this out. Many people give something up for lent or commit to doing something. One of the main goals is to reduce distractions so that the person can grow closer to Christ. Another goal is to become lost in Christ love. That His love is on someones mind almost always.

The roots of lent stemmed from the idea of inspiring new Christians to develop a walk with Christ before becoming baptized. Though it quick evolved to a church family tradition. “Though Lent is still devoutly observed in some mainline Protestant denominations (most notably for Anglicans and Episcopalians), others hardly mention it at all. However, there seems to be potential for evangelicals to embrace the season again,” Ted Olsen from Christian History.

While lent is not directly taken from Scripture, its roots are deeply rooted in it. The number forty is seen frequently throughout Scripture. Additionally, we witness Jesus withdrawing from people to spend time alone with His Heavenly Father.

There are amazing studies to assist in growing closer to the Lord in lent both free or a book you buy. This lent season I read The Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs. I am also reading Zip it and Reading the Bible Supernaturally by John Pipper. I also do Bible plans through YouVersion which is a free app.

There are priceless studies, but Scripture is sufficient to grow in the Lord. Some stories you might consider reading for this lent season include but are not limited to raising of Lazarus (John 11), Mary and Martha’s story (Luke 10:38-42), the Woman who washed Jesus’s feet (John 12), Palm Sunday, and the Crucifixion story (Starting around John 17).

Worship is an element of lent as well because worship should be a part of everything we do. “Our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-brought bride of Christ” (John Pipper). We should honor God in all we do. Enjoying His glory and goodness.

I hope this give you some direction and inspiration for your lent journey this year.

Hope

New Year’s sweet bells of hope ring loudly as January launches. Fervently we compose resolutions so that this year will be astonishing. However, the sweet song evaporates. Leaving us in silence by mid-January as we waltz back into the reliable beat of everyday life. Focus is no longer aimed at hope or the resolutions. Slither into daily calamities, apprehension leeches on, despair dangles overhead, and sorrow is deep.

Providing joy, strength, and adding depth to our relationship with Christ. Despite heartbreak, pain beyond comprehension, and when our world seems to be crumbling before our eyes there is always a spark of hope. It is not always instinct, but then again living the way Jesus called us to is anything but natural. As Christians, we are required to battle our flesh. In addition, we are to fight to remain firm in the hope Christ provides for us. It is a daily fight. Let me assure you, my precious friend that the reward is immeasurable.

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How would you, dear friend define this simple word hope? Appearing frequently, it is engraved on our hearts. Yet we need a reminder of the biblical definition so that we resist conforming to the world’s definition of hope. Additionally, so that we remain steadfast in Christ and transformed by Him.Bible.org defines hope this way, “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Furthermore, there is a clear element of trust throughout Scripture when hope is examined. Moreover, I find it essential to highlight the usage of hope in the New Testament, which I found on Biblestudytools.org. “The New Testament consistently uses the verb elpizo [ejlpivzw] and the noun elpis [ejlpiv”] for hope.” Both words here are Greek.

 

Elpizo is defined as (30 times in NT)1. to hopein a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence2. hopefully to trust in.png

Additionally, hope molds our character, providing joy, peace, confidence, endurance, strength, courage, and comfort. Expanding beyond our dreams when we are consistently feasting on the Word of God. Furthermore, our hope cultivates as we become consumed with the Holy Spirit.Perspectives are transformed by hope as it gives new light to an existing situation. Likewise, it modifies the way we view ourselves, transforms what we value, and affects how we spend the gifts God has graciously entrusted us with such as time and talents.

Practically, how do we remain anchored in hope when our circumstances are screaming give up? When we continue to receive one piece of bad new after another. As mentioned before, we must continuously feast on God’s word. In addition, it is vital to the health of our hope to spend time simply in  Christ presence. Additionally, prayer provides a path to the renewal of hope. Various books, sermons, and worship songs can be an asset. Lastly, we can remain anchored in hope by leaning on Christian friends.

Lord,

Rekindle our weary souls with fresh hope. Fill us with Your HolySpirit. Enable us to have a deeper understanding of Your hope and of who You are. Regardless of what we face enable us to remain steadfast in hope. We praise You for the hope of salvation found in Christ Jesus. Blessed be Your Holy Name.

Amen

 

 

Verse of The Year

Plenty of people craft a New Year’s resolution. Furthermore, it has become routine to designate a focus word or a Bible verse for the New Year. Recently, in our online Bible study my friend and co-leader posed the question of what verse will be their verse for 2017. Previously, I have never chosen a verse of the year and figured why not prayerfully chose one.

Friends have confined in me the blessings of selecting a verse of the year. For example, it assists an individual in focusing on Christ, provides encouragement, and guidance.

I wasn’t certain where to begin, therefore, I examined my prayer journal. Next, I prayed for direction for my verse of the year. I selected a handful of verses that deeply encourage me. I read through them and prayed once more. One verse had surfaced frequently over the past few months and consistently stood out. This particular verse seemed to fit for my verse of the year.  “Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us.” Ephesians 3:20 The Voice Translation.

I adore this verse, which contains reminders of God’s mighty truth. Likewise, Ephesians 3:20 speaks measures of God’s character. On a different note, I have learned that God’s plan is far better than mine. Furthermore, things usually don’t go as I had planned, however, God receives glory in the end. He uses what is viewed as negative events to shape me into the person He created me to be. Additionally, He is continually doing a greater work in my life than I could ask for, imagine, or fully comprehend. My goal is to focus on the awe-inspiriting things and purpose God has for my year. Through His power to serve Him better as well as others. My wildest dreams are nothing compared to His perfect plan.

Live Loved: Advent

 This is our fourth week of advent, which focuses on God’s love for us. In addition, our love for Christ and for others. God desires nothing more than your love.  He cherishes who you are today with all your imperfections. “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.” Zephaniah 3:17. God invites you in to have a deep personal relationship with Him. To live loved every day from here on out. God’s love for you surpasses human understanding it is that complex and beautiful.

The Christmas story is laced with love. Christmas points us to the cross where Jesus displayed His amazing love for us. Jesus lived loved in His ministry. God’s love is evident through Scriptures, creation, and our personal lives. “ This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.

An element of living loved, is giving love. Christ enables us to love others. You can give love from where you are today. You don’t need to be wealthy or healthy. You only need a willing heart to serve the Lord and to give love to others. He will surely direct your steps. He will deeply bless your words. A hug, words of encouragement, or praying with someone goes a long way.

Additionally, living loved is praise God with a thankful heart for the simple blessings in your life this advent. Worship Him as the shepherds did in the Christmas story with a sincere heart. Mary also praises the Lord for His favor, “My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!” Luke: 1:46, 47, and 49.

As Christmas draws near find someone to give love to; someone to encourage. Practice living loved this week. You are a child of the one true King. Reflect on His amazing love, which is evident in your life. Remember times this year that you felt His love and praise His holy name. Consider how you can live loved this advent season as well as in the new year.

God,

We praise you for the gift of Your Son consumed with Your love. For His example of love. Thank you for loving us. Allow us to live loved no matter what events play out in our daily lives. Enable us to give love to others. Let us be a blessing to them. May our hearts forever sing Your praises. Bless these days leading up to Christmas. We love you, Lord.

Amen

Joy of Advent

All is merry and bright with absolutely no rest in sight. The to-do list has doubled, in oh so much trouble. Going through the motions as frustrated tears construct an ocean.

“I know You’re good, but this don’t feel good right now,” can you relate to that phrase this advent season? Daily adversisty sets questions into motion. Why is this happening? God where are you in this? The heartbreaks you are working through weigh you down. And yet it is time to transpose our focus to joy despite the emotions pulling the opposite direction. Regardless of the gut instinct to curl up and compose a pity party (Though at times a short one is needed). On this side of heaven there will be trouble, but that is not a stop rejoicing card. “Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, If the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food, If the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls; Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me!” Habakkuk 3:17-18

Thankfully delighting in the Lord is not dependent on our emotions or the events unfolding in our lives. The joy of Jesus entering the world is at the heart of Christmas.  Indulging in Jesus’ presence will flood your heart with Him. He will renew your mind, direction, emotions, and spirit. Furthermore, we find true joy simple in His character- in His righteousness.

The breastplate of righteousness protects our spiritual heart, espically during the advent season. There are numerous fun things to engage in such as movies or holiday parities both laced with temptations. “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” (Proverbs 4:23 HCSB). In order to grow closer to Christ and experience His full joy this advent season we must guard our hearts.

By the precious blood of Jesus Christ you are made righteous. Salvation is secured. We can celebrate this. “The third candle on the Advent wreath is called the Shepherds’ candle. It remembers the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth” ( George H. Vander Weit). Furthermore, we hold on to the truth that Christ will return someday soon. Our candle this week in the advent wreath is pink, which is to remind us that our wait is half over for the return of our beloved Savior.

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How can you put on the breastplate of righteous this advent?

Soverign God,

We rejoice in the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In all He has freely given to us. Consume our hearts with your joy this advent season. We praise You for Your Word. Help us to put on the breast plate of righteousness daily. Equpit us. Provide all that is needed. We find joy in who You are. In Your faithfulness. In Your righteousness. In Your love. We rejoice in all the blessing You have poured into our lives and continue to do. May we remain focused on the heart of Christmas. We delight that our wait will soon be over and that we will spend eternity with You. Draw us closer to your heart this advent season.

Amen.

Thankfulness

Tis the season to be thankful and pass the turkey. Thanksgiving is a magnificent holiday. A time of reflection. Recounting all the blessing in life. Cherishing moments with those we love most.

There are infinite Biblical lessons on thankfulness. Thankfulness in trials, daily life, and for the joys in life are a few examples. Eucharistia is the Greek word for thankfulness. Bible Study Tools additionally defines it as, ” gratitude; giving of thanks, thanksgiving”. An attitude of thanksgiving is a foundational element of a Christian’s life.  At the soul of each element we are thankful for is God.

Not long ago I heard a sermon by Frances Chan (The Author of Crazy Love). He had posed an excellent question, which I would like you to ponder. When is the last time you thanked God for your salvation? Additionally, when is the last time you thanked Him not only for material things but for who He is? Those amazing gifts He has graciously bestowed on you, which are not tangible. When is the last time you thanked Him for your personal relationship with Him? “Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 The Voice.

While it is excellent to thank God for all the material things and all the countless ways He has provided for you. It is equally important to thank Him for who He is and Your personal relationship with Him. “Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.” Psalm 100:4 The Voice.  Praising God shifts our perspective. It renews our soul. Worship is as vital as air for the soul. 

Elohim,

We adore you. Praising Your holy name. Thank you for the breathtaking gift of salvation, sanctification, and Your agape love. Your love endures forever. We find deep joy in having a personal and daily relationship with You. You have abundantly blessed us beyond anything we could ask. We sing of Your faithfulness. We rejoice in You for the deep blessing of today. Enable us to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Deeply bless this lovely Thanksgiving day.

Amen