A Sure Hope – Psalm 33:1-22

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Reflection on Psalm 33:1-22.

Hope in God Alone

I love the last line of this Psalm, “Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you (Psalm 33:22).” As the Psalmist scans creation, he sees evidence of God’s love. The world breathes with God’s handiwork. When the Psalmist looks around in awe of all that God is and all that God does, he knows, hope in anything other than God is false hope.

Promises, Promises

I want to echo with the Psalmist, “my hope is in you alone Lord,” but I keep putting my hope in what I can see and touch. I don’t have a warhorse or army, but I do have a checking and savings account, along with credit cards. As I reflect on this Psalm, I ask, “Where have I put my hope?”

I want to put my hope in God alone, but it isn’t easy. Culture continues to offer so many options promising to give me my heart’s desire! Far too many times, I’ve placed my hope in places other than God. I would like to think that I place my hope in God too, but placing my hope in God too isn’t placing my hope in God alone. Maybe I have a God+ kind of hope. Yes, I hope with God, but God isn’t always enough.

Performance

I hate to admit it, but I believe the promises of culture, pushing God out of the center of my life. The Psalmist doesn’t just look at promises, he also looks at performance. He looks at God’s work and sees love. He looks at warhorses and armies, and knows they don’t bring victory. In the end, God brings victory.

Broken Promises

Culture does make a lot of promises. I am told if I am able to afford the “good life” then I will be happy, or if I can just find the right house, or the right spouse, or the right this, or that, or the other thing, then I will find happiness, be content, and everything will be wonderful.

All I need to do is take a look at those who have bought into those promises and where they end up; broken, wounded, and disappointed. All I need is look at the rich and famous and see how many of them have been given false hope and live with broken dreams. They may be rich, famous, or powerful, but it seems like they can’t find what they are really looking for.

Do I really need to discover this disappointment myself?

Hope in God, Alone

The Psalmist puts his hope in God alone, knowing that God’s unfailing love surrounds him. Warhorses and armies might promise victory, but the Psalmist knew the results weren’t so sure. God’s love surrounds you and me too. We can put our hope in many things that promise much, only to be disappointed again and again while having them offer more promises if we only just keep on believing.

When we align our lives with God’s purposes, we discover that we can hope in God alone because he keeps his promises. When we are open and receptive to God’s will and way, we discover his abundant life unfolding in our lives every day. As we journey with him, may we cry out with the Psalmist, “Let your unfailing love surround us, for our hope is in you alone.”

NOTE: Aligning our lives with God’s purpose, at least from my experience, is not easy. It seems simple, but easy and simple are two different things. Aligning our will with God’s will can be a lifetime project. We continue to want to go our own way and culture is right there cheering us on. Only when we surrender to God’s will and live out the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” will we find peace, fulfillment, and purpose, such that the world can never provide.Then is when we discover, not only God’s love surrounding us, but how we can hope in God alone.

Wednesday Morning Reflection – Psalm 68:19

Carried – A Reflection

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“Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” – Psalm 68:19 (NLT)

The Day Dawns

The alarm buzzes with an intensity that shakes me from a dream of better things. I sluggishly jump out of bed heading to the alarm, wisely placed twenty feet from my bed, making sure I am definitely awake before I can turn it off. Another day has dawned. When I get up, I am not thinking “praise the Lord.” I’m only thinking of turning off the alarm. I have no idea what this day will bring; good or bad, both or neither.

Daily Days

Even on the best of days, work remains undone when the evening comes. Much has happened, bringing me closer to my goals and, at times, moving me further away. Frustrations, joys, disappointments, excitement, despair, and unbridled hope coalesce into daily days. I can plan my day, but my day tends to plan me, or remind me that I’m not as in control as I pretend to be.

Endings

I come home at the end of the day and fall into the chair, thankful that the day finally fades into night. Some evenings find me content, knowing tasks were finished, challenges addressed, and plans created. Other evenings find me wondering what went wrong and what I can do to get back on track.

Captured and Carried

This verse captures me. I wonder about the Psalmist. When did David realize that throughout the day he was being carried? When did he recognize that through it all, whatever “it” might be, he was not walking alone, but actually being carried? Psalm 68 is one of deep praise. David saw the wonderful works of God, where I struggle to see.

David also realized that God worked in his life. He knew God was caring him each day. He carries me as well…and you. No matter what your day, no matter how good, no matter how bad, no matter how close you get to your goals, no matter how many things get in the way and keep you from your objectives, you are carried in the arms of God.

May this day be a day of praise as you remember you are carried in the arms of a loving God.

Peace,

David.

Morning Reflection 3/26/12 – Psalm 31

Psalm 31

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
2 Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
3 You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
4 Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God.

6 I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.

9 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
12 I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/26/12 – Psalm 31”

Morning Reflection 3/23/12 – Psalm 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.

1 I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
3 You brought me up from the grave, O LORD.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
4 Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 When I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
7 Your favor, O LORD, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O LORD.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O LORD.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

via Psalm 30 NLT | YouVersion.

It’s good to look back to see where we’ve been. That’s what David does here. He has had many troubles, faced many enemies, and prayed many prayers of distress. In this psalm, the one for the temple dedication, he looks back and sees God’s mighty presence. The times he felt alone, he was not. The times he was powerless, he was not. The times when he thought God had left him, God had not. Life is easier to figure out in the rear view mirror.  Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/23/12 – Psalm 30”

Morning Reflection 3/22/12 – Psalm 29

A psalm of David.

1 Honor the LORD, you heavenly beings;
honor the LORD for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the LORD for the glory of his name.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars;
the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermont leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD makes the barren wilderness quake;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The LORD rules over the floodwaters.
The LORD reigns as king forever.
11 The LORD gives his people strength.
The LORD blesses them with peace.

via Psalm 29 NLT | YouVersion.

One of the sad things about my childhood is my mother worked, so in the summer I had to stay in the house. My parents did not want me wandering around the neighborhood without any type of supervision. The silver lining in this cloud of home detention was that The Andy Griffith show was on just about every day around lunch time. In the summer, I would spend my time watching the adventures of Andy, Barney, and all there the rest. I watched so many episodes that now, as an adult, I can tell what happens in any episode after watching about 30 seconds of it anywhere in the episode. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/22/12 – Psalm 29”