Tag Archives: psalms

A Spiritual Examination 


I’ve got a friend who doesn’t like to go to the doctor. He says, “Every time I go, they find something wrong.” Isn’t that the point? If there’s something wrong, wouldn’t you want to know about it? For some people, if the problem isn’t exposed, it doesn’t exist. So if they don’t go to doctor and have the tests run, they aren’t really sick. That’s the wrong way to think about things. If you have a sickness and there’s a cure, wouldn’t you want that sickness exposed so the disease doesn’t run its course?

To some of you, what I just described sounds crazy. Others of you can identify with it. Whichever side you’re on, the truth is that many of us think the way my friend does when it comes to sin in our lives. We don’t want to shed light on it or expose it, much less have a test run to prove it exists in our body. If there’s something wrong spiritually with you, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Wouldn’t you want to get it cured?

David fell into the group that wanted to go to the doctor often and have tests run to make sure nothing was wrong. In Psalm 26:2 he prayed, “Examine me, GOD, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I’m fit inside and out” (MSG). He wasn’t afraid to have God shine His light into every dark corner of his life. He knew that sin likes to lay hidden in our lives unexposed. It tells us to pretend we are perfect and nothing is wrong. The truth is that all of us are infected with sin, and the way we rid ourselves of it is to expose it to the light of God’s Word.

If we truly want to live the lives God has called us to, we can’t be afraid to go to The Doctor and have Him test our lives. God will not condemn us for having Him expose our sins. Instead, He will be faithful to forgive us and to lead us down His paths. We can’t be afraid that He will find something wrong with us or what others will think. There’s a cure for the sin that’s holding us back and it’s free. Jesus already paid the price for our sin and has written out the prescription. Ask God today to examine you so you can be fit inside and out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

God’s Answers


When I was a young kid, my best friend David and I would hatch plans to do things. Many times that required us to stay the night at each other’s houses so we could plan it deep into the night. On my way home, I would always plan to ask my mom. I knew that if I asked her, she would say, “Yes.” I would practice how I would ask her as I crossed the street. When I would walk in the house, I’d yell out, “Mom?” When she answered, I had the confidence to go ask because I knew I had a great chance of staying the night with David. 

I wonder how much those years formed how I approach God. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got to hatch a plan to get Him to answer and give me what I want. Like a kid, I practice over and over how to ask for the thing I want. Should I ask for it this way or that way? Which way will get God to say, “Yes”? Ultimately I go to Him in prayer knowing He hears me, and I ask for what I want hoping He’ll agree it’s what’s best for me. Either way, I know He hears my prayer and will answer one way or the other.

Psalm 17 is a prayer of David. He was one who was constantly praying and asking God for things. I’m sure his mind was constantly hatching ideas too. He had the same faith in asking God for things as I did approaching my mother. In verse 6 he wrote, “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray” (NLT). He had the confidence that not only would God listen, but also that God would answer. 

That’s the same confidence you and I need to have in our prayers. We pray because we believe God hears us. But do we ask for things with the confidence that He will answer? I was once told that God’s “no” is just as good as His “yes”. We may not like hearing the no’s, but when He gives them, they are what’s in His perfect will. Don’t be afraid to ask God for something because you’re afraid His answer will be a “no”. Have confidence that He will answer and that His answer will always be His perfect will for your life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Keep Fighting


Every one of us fall down in life at some point. Some of us need some help getting back up. There are times when we say, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” None of us are promised an easy life. While some people may appear to have an easy life, the truth is that we all get hit hard enough in life that it knocks the wind out if us. None of us are exempt from that. The question is, who is around to help you back up?

Proverbs 24:16 says, “No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long” (MSG). There’s something God put in us that compels us to get back up. However, I can attest that you can be knocked down so many times that you begin to question whether or not you should get back up. If I’m going to be knocked down again, what’s the point of getting back up? It’s easier to stay down.

There are times in life where we feel like Rocky Balboa. We’re bloodied up from taking so many hits. We’ve been knocked down over and over again, but there’s something in us that drives us to get back up. Our friends may think it’s time to throw in the towel, but God doesn’t want that. He knows that if we will endure, we will grow stronger and that strength will develop character in our lives. When we go through struggles, especially the most difficult ones, God us there with us cheering us on to get back up.

Psalm 145:14 says, “God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” We’ve got to remember we’ve got God in our corner. He’s there to make sure we don’t give up or stay down. He’s cheering us on to get back up and try again. We are promised victory if we will just get back up and keep going. I’ve had God have to give me a hand more times than I can count. He’s been faithful to give me a fresh start, and I’ll know He’ll do it for you. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Get back up and keep fighting. 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Reconciled 


One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Goonies. There a scene when the kids are going down the fireplace to search for the treasure, and they send Chunk to get help. Chunk runs to the street to wave down a car, but he ends up waving down the Fratelli’s car. They take him back to their hideout and question him. “Tell us everything,” they demand. Chunk starts to cry and says, “In third grade, I…,” and he goes on for several to tell them every bad thing he ever did. 

As a kid, he had a long list of all the things he did wrong. Can you imagine how long our lists would be as adults? If God said, “Tell me everything,” it would take days for some of us to list out all the bad things we’ve done in our lives. Part of our problem is that many of us think about that list too often and allow it to either keep us from accepting God’s forgiveness or we allow it to hold us back from ever doing anything from God.

I wonder if the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 130 was one who struggled with their past. I think they found their breakthrough though. In verses 3 and 4 they wrote, “If you kept a record of our sins, who could escape being condemned? But you forgive us, so that we can stand in awe of you” (GNT). God looks at those lists we create of all our wrongdoing, and He says, “I forgive you. Forgive yourself.” He doesn’t keep a record of it once and forgives it and neither should we. 

We recently had a guest speaker at church who spoke on forgiving other people. He said, “Forgiveness takes one, but reconciliation takes two.” It’s a powerful statement and was directed towards us and others, but I think it works towards God too. He’s already forgiven us of our past. When we accept His forgiveness and what Jesus did on the cross, we can be reconciled and all those wrongs on that list are gone with one drop of Jesus’ blood. 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Living Intentionally 


When it comes to getting things done, my son can be slow at times. I’ve tried hurrying him up by using words, clapping, and singing. Sometimes they work, but usually it’s only for a short time. Ive learned to use a timer with him. When he sees the clock and how much time he has left, he focuses and gets the job done. All of a sudden, he gets an urgency to make things happen. By the way, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I often need something like that to give me an urgency to get things done.

My middle initial is “P”. When people ask what it stands for, my go to response is, “Procrastinator”. If something isn’t urgent and important to me, it can fall into my “I’ll get it done later” list. That just means I’ll keep putting it off until it becomes urgent and important. That’s not the best way to do things though. If we constantly focus only on what’s urgent and important, we are failing to live our lives with intentionality. We do need an urgency to get things done, but if we are intentional about doing the right things, our lives won’t be a constant fire drill.

The writer of Psalm 90:12 wrote a prayer to God that says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). He was praying, “God, give me a timer to help me get things done. Help me to grow in wisdom so I can be intentional about getting the right things done.” He was probably a lot like many of us who struggles with procrastination and focusing on what’s important. He wanted God to remind him how short life is and to help him grow in wisdom so he could be intentional.

What is it that we pray for? Is it more time to get things done? We could be praying for wisdom to get the right things done on time. God doesn’t need us to be in a constant fire drill. That only burns people out and doesn’t guarantee that the right things get done. He wants us to have wisdom so we can be urgent about the things that matter. If you’ve been praying the first prayer above, let me encourage you to change that prayer. Ask God for wisdom and to help you live intentionally. Watch what a difference that makes in your life. 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Restoration Project


If you’ve ever restored anything, you know the rewarding experience it is. There’s something about taking something that is outdated, worn out and unusable and restoring it to its former glory. I’ve done it with furniture and also with cars. Once that project is restored, not only does it serve a purpose again, often it us worth more than it was before it needed restoration. Yes, it does take some work, but in the end, it’s always worth it. 

I’m so glad that God is in the restoration business. What we do with cars and other objects, God does with lives. He takes people who are broken, worn out and unusable and brings them back to life. When He’s done, those lives are more valuable because if the work He’s done. They have experienced the rebuild process and have come back from places where they thought restoration was impossible. 

The Psalmist understood that there is no life or nation that is beyond God’s restorative power and ability. In Psalm 85:4, they wrote this prayer, “Now restore us again, O God of our salvation” (NLT). Israel had disobeyed God and had experienced the effects of that. They knew that even though they had moved away from their purpose and had become unusable, God could restore them. They cried out to God and He was faithful to do it.

You may think you’ve gone beyond God’s ability to restore your life, but I’m here to tell you that you’re not. God wants to restore you and rebuild you. He wants to bring value back to your life and to make you useful for His purposes. You simply need to pray like the Psalmist and allow God to do the work. If He can restore my life, He can restore yours. 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Tough Questions 


I’ve always heard that each one of us are either going through a difficult time, coming out of a difficult time, or are headed for one. Those seasons are a part of life, but that’s exactly what they are – seasons. They don’t last forever. I know that when I’m going through them, it sure feels like it’s never going to end. I start off questioning God as to why I’m going through it, but after a while, when it doesn’t let up, I start questioning God and His intentions. Has He forgotten me? Does He even care? Does He hear me?

David struggled with the same thoughts. I think that’s why we connect with the Psalms so we’ll. David was real. He didn’t hold back what he was thinking. He laid it all out there for God and us to read. How could he be so vulnerable? How could he be so open about what he was thinking and feeling? I don’t know, but I’m glad he did. It let’s me know that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings in difficult times. His vulnerability has allowed so many of us to be the same way in front of God.

One of the people who learned to be that way was Asaph. He was one of the top musicians in David’s time. He wrote several of the Psalms. In Psalm 77, he questioned, “Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never again be kind to me? Is His unfailing love gone forever? Have His promises permanently failed?” (NLT). Tough questions that I’m sure we all think on difficult times. While he struggled with these questions, he found a solution to them.

In verse 11, he writes, “But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.” he then recalls all that the Lord has done for him and Israel. He remembers that there are seasons and this won’t last forever, but most importantly, He remembers the character of God. He does not forget us. He doesn’t leave us in difficult seasons forever. He is mighty to save, and He will come to your rescue. He’s done it before and He’ll do it again because He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How God Really Is


One of the things I like to watch for in sports is when a member of one team helps a member of the other team up. It not only shows sportsmanship, it also shows character. Helping others up is important in sports and in life because sooner or later, we all fall down and need a little help up. As Christians, when we fall down, we can expect God to help us up when we fall. He’s not the guy in the sky who’s waiting for you to fall so He can keep you down. He’s holding out His hand to you to help you up.

Psalm 37:23-24 paints this picture and even adds more to what God does for us. It says, “The Lord guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please him. If they fall, they will not stay down, because the Lord will help them up” (GNT). Not only does God help us back up, He also protects us and guides us. Contrary to what so many of us believe, He’s not out to get us. Like a father, He’s wanting to direct us in the right paths, to protect us from dangers and to help us back up.

If you’ve grown up with the idea that God is just waiting for you to mess up so He can send you to Hell, I want you to memorize these verses. They tell the story of a God that loves you and cares for you like a father. He’s out to help you not hurt you. If you need guidance, ask Him for it today. If you need protection, call on His name right now. If you’ve fallen, hold out your hand. He’ll reach down, grab it, and lift you up. That’s how God really is. You can trust Him with your life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Rescued

  
A couple of years ago I joined a concierge service at the airport. With my card, I could bypass all the lines, go past the TSA person checking tickets and ID’s, and go straight to the X-Ray machines. It was great. I no longer had issues at the airport. I didn’t have to worry about getting there two hours early or worry about all the TSA drama. It was worry free traveling. It was a lot like many people think life will be like when they become a Christian.

They think that becoming a Christian means you have no more troubles, problems, or issues. You can coast through life bypassing all of its issues. If you have a need, simply pray and ask God for it. If you do have problems or unanswered prayers, you must have hidden sin or be out of God’s will. Their perception of Christianity is all wrong. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt you from any of life’s problems. It gives you someone to cast those troubles on.

Every Christian can attest that their troubles didn’t stop the day they became a Christian. They didn’t become a perfect person, nor did their life become perfect. In many cases, their troubles increased. When troubles over take my life, I like to remember Psalm 34:19. It says, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time” (NLT). No matter how many troubles I face or how hard my life gets, I can count on God to come to my rescue.

That doesn’t mean the troubles go away or the devastation they cause in my life disappears. It means that God doesn’t abandon me in those times. He comes to give me strength to endure them. God knows that troubles produce growth, strength, and endurance, so why would he keep us from things that produce positive traits? Christians will have troubles, but they don’t have to be afraid of them because God comes to their rescue and uses them to work out His good in their lives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Psychological Advantage

I like to think of King David as a warrior. He’s the guy that entire armies were afraid of. When he stepped on to the battlefield, it gave his army the psychological advantage. It boosted his army’s confidence and crushed that of his enemy. But that’s not the complete picture of who David was. When you read the Psalms, you see a guy who was worried and afraid at times. You see the thoughts of that brave warrior written down in black and white saying he was terrified at times.

No one can be brave and strong all the time. No one is impervious to the words that others hurl at us. After a while, they get to us. They penetrate deep into our mind and heart. They start to cause doubt. They can cause paranoia to. That’s where David was in Psalm 31. He said, “I’m in deep, deep trouble again. I’ve cried my eyes out; I feel hollow inside… My troubles have worn me out.” Even the great warrior David had days where he felt insecure and alone.

He didn’t stay like that though. He didn’t let those thoughts dominate his mind and keep him in that state. He knew how to get out of it. Verse 1 gives us his answer to getting free of the mindset that is constantly worries. David said, “I run to you, God; I run for dear life.” He knew that God was his fortress and his cave made of granite that would protect him. In verses 14-18 he says, “Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.”

Every time the thoughts of insecurity came into his mind, he went back to God. When fear crept in, he called out to God. “Hour by hour,” he said. It wasn’t a daily thing. It was an hourly thing. He knew not to let those thoughts linger in his mind. They’re destructive and counterproductive. They are thoughts meant to pull you away from who you are in Christ. Don’t let them rule your mind. When they pop up, run to God like David did. Call out to Him and speak to who He is.

When we speak to how great our God is, our problems don’t seem so big anymore. When we call out to Him for help, we win the psychological battle. Just like when David stepped onto the battlefield, God steps into our situation and gives us the victory before there is ever a fight. He is our strong tower. He is our defender. He gives us the victory in our hearts, minds and lives. When the enemy hears us call to Him and sees Him co ing to our defense, they know the battle is over. You know the battle is over.

I love how he ends Psalm 31 in verse 24. He says this to you, “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” I don’t know of any better words of encouragement than that. When you call out to God, He’ll be on His way to help you. In the mean time, be brave and strong. Don’t give up or let the enemy win the psychological advantage over you before the battle begins. God is on your side today and He’s on His way!

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized