Morning Reflection 2/15/12–Psalm 3

Psalm 3

1    O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2    many are saying to me,
“There is no help for you in God.”     Selah

3    But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
4    I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy hill.     Selah

5    I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
6    I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

7    Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.

8    Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people!  Selah

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When I first started reading the Psalms I was surprised at all the talk of enemies. I had a hard time identifying with this because I try to live in peace with others. I don’t want to have enemies, so I try to not make any. So I wasn’t real sure how all of the “enemy talk” of the Psalms applied to my life.

Maybe you don’t have many enemies. Maybe you do. No matter how hard I try, I still have enemies. They might not have a face, but they do have a name and they are enemies. My tendency to criticize others is an enemy. My tendency to be judgmental and jump to conclusions is another enemy. I have an enemy I call selfishness and it shows up even when I’m trying to love selflessly. I have an enemy I call pride. He shows up quite often.

These are the enemies of holiness and will try to convince me that there’s no hope. They tell me that the way I am is the way I am and there’s nothing I can do to change.. The Psalmist reminds me that God is my shield and when I cry out to him, he answers. Lord, I’m crying out to you today!

Morning Reflection: 2/14/12 – Psalm 2

http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps2

1 Why do the nations conspire,

and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.

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“Happy are all who take refuge in him” and why not? Even though the nations conspire, God simply laughs. At times we might forget who God is. We allow circumstances in our lives to become so big that we begin to believe that they are even bigger than God. We become fearful, thinking that we will be overtaken.

The Psalmist reminds us that God is bigger. Even when our circumstances and problems conspire against us…God simply laughs. He is the one who is bigger. His power is so much greater than anything we will ever have to face. We can take refuge in God because he is so much bigger than our problems, our fear, our sin.

Take heart, the God you serve is bigger…..

 

Morning Reflection: Psalm 1

 http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps1

Psalm 1:

1 Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I have grown to love this Psalm. The Psalmist reflects on two different approaches to life. One way is to delight in the law of God and it leads to life in season and out of season. The other way is characterized by rejecting God’s law and way and it leads to destruction.

I often think of this Psalm and wonder which approach I’m taking. I would like to believe that I delight in God’s law, but do I really? Is the way of God a delight to me? Does following God’s law bring me to places of delight? I hate to admit many times it does not. Instead, I want to go my own way because deep down I believe that my way is the best way. I believe this even though the evidence shows I am wrong.

The Psalmist reminds me that delighting in (and living out) God’s law leads to life. Neglecting and, perhaps, even rejecting God’s law will eventually lead me to places where I don’t want to be. I continue to forget that and wander onto paths of my own creation. Oh that the law of God would be my delight!

Jesus, remind me often that your way leads to life. When I turn from the right or the left, remind me that only delighting in your way and your law, will lead me to Life.

 

 

Morning Reflection 2/12/12

http://bible.us/Ps87.6.NLT When the Lord registers the nations, he will say,
“They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.”

The Psalmist sounds a note of hope. No matter who, where, or what, at some point all will be able to say they are “citizens of Jerusalem.” This is a statement of hope and of faith. It is a statement that “pulls” us forward into the future and gives us peace.

What is amazing is that while some see God’s people as being exclusive, the Psalmist seems to be saying that God will embrace all nations. Language of who’s “in” and who’s “out” simply doesn’t work when all are citizens of Jerusalem.

May you experience the long arms of God’s love embracing you as he brings you into his fold! May his grace “pull” you forward into the Life he has for you.

Morning Reflection 2/11/12

http://bible.us/Ps86.1.NLT Bend down, O Lord , and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.

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Eugene Peterson says that all prayer starts out from a place of trouble. It’s easy to see this in the Psalms. Many of the Psalms are for cries of help. We cry out because we have no where else to turn.

Peterson also says that all prayer, pursued far enough, ends up in praise. So, the beginning of prayer is trouble and the end of prayer is praise. I think that is good to know. It’s okay to cry out to God in faith, knowing that our prayer of trouble will end up in praise.