Psalm 63: God is Trustworthy

Hard to believe that it is Saturday again already. Has your week flown by like mine? The temperatures sure are creeping up here in Texas. I’m not sure we’re quite ready for triple-digit days here in the DFW metroplex, but ready or not, they have arrived. There’s something about sunny weather that makes me smile. I love the sunshine. My guess is most of you do too. But sometimes, even when the weather outside is beautiful and sunny, our circumstance or disposition inside is shrouded in darkness. Such was the case with David when he wrote the words to Psalm 63. He was in a world of hurt. He found himself in a dark, difficult place. David had gone into hiding in the wilderness of Judah, and far removed from the Ark and his regular place of formal worship. I’m sure that this made him feel disconnected from God and separted from worship. Have you ever been in a place like that during your faith journey? I have. And it’s no fun.

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David laments his situation in Psalm 63, pouring out his heart and soul, praying that the Lord would hear him. He hungered for God. His soul was thirsty for a word from the Lord. He felt spiritually dry and his body ached from weariness. But he refused to let his current plight prevent him from praising God. He rested in the faithfulness and steadfast love of the Lord. He knew that God had his back and that David’s enemies would not prevail against him, even though in that moment, thinks looked bleak. Read an meditate on the words of David’s lamenting psalm:

Psalm 63 (ESV)

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Even though he was many miles away from the Ark and a long distance away from his regular house of worship, David trusted the Lord. Throughout his lifetime, he had found God to be trustworthy.

The other night, when we were with our group ministering down at Union Gospel Mission, I talked and prayed with a man who had been struggling to find God trustworthy. He wanted to trust in the Lord, but he remained unconvinced. I shared my experience with him. I have witnessed God at work. Like David, I have found the Lord to be trustworthy, far beyond any definition of trustworthiness I could ever fathom. Even when our days are difficult, God is good. He remains trustworthy. His faithfulness is steadfast and everlasting. The Lord will not drop you. He will not forget you. God cares for you. He loves you. He’s got you.

As Christians, we can take comfort that our prayers don’t go unheard. God listens to us. He delights in our prayers. The answer we get to prayer doesn’t always look the way we anticipated. There are times that we think we didn’t get an answer because we don’t see God’s response in a tangible way from our current position. Yet, later, as our perspective shifts, we discover God did answer. And yes, there are times when the answer is no. In all instances, we can trust God with our prayers.

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Meditating on the person and works of God refreshes our soul and invigorates our spirit. It is important for us to spend time focusing on God, reminding us of His goodness, His greatness, and His grace. Meditating on the Scripture, God’s revelation of Himself to us, helps us serve as a blessing to others, as well as feeding and nurturing ourselves. It’s what we call a “win-win.” Prayer helps us tap into all that God has to offer. Through prayerful meditation we can discern God’s will for us, as well as deepen our relationship with Him.

As believers, like David, we can rest in the assurance that the Lord is trustworthy. We can celebrate His faithfulness and shout in praise of His steadfast love for us. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Blessings.

What Does the Lord Require of You?

Have you ever noticed how Scripture repeatedly shows us two paths–two distinct patterns—that we can choose to follow? One road leads us to God while the other leads us astray, eventually ending in the Lake of Fire.

Jesus loved teaching in parables to help his disciples and other followers come to a greater understanding of godly principles and righteous thinking. I am reminded of one of my favorite parables found in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 21, verses 28-32.

In the parable, a father directs his two sons to go work in the vineyard. The first son initially refuses but then changes his mind and does as his father instructed. The second son immediately tells his father that he will go work in the vineyard as his father asked him to but does not go. Jesus asks his disciples which one of the sons they thought did the will  of his father. The disciples correctly reply “The first.”

Matthew 21:28-32 (NIV)

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

While we are quick to note that Jesus, out of his love for others, spent time with sinners like tax collectors and prostitutes, yet we misunderstand his reason for investing time in the lost, the last, the least and the lonely. He did not do so because he approved of their behavior. He did not simply overlook their shortcomings and show them love despite their disobedience without addressing their need for repentance. He loved them, just like He loves us. But in that love, He spoke Truth to them. Jesus spent time with them so that they might see the light of men who shone in the darkness and that darkness could not overcome. Jesus invested time in lost and hurting souls to lead them to repentance and return them to the paths of righteousness God had paved for them.

While God sees us in our rebellion, He loves us, demonstrating that love through giving His only begotten Son as an atonement for our disobedience and sinfulness. God does this not so that we would continue in our walk of wickedness or down our paths of sin, but so that we would repent, turning away from our rebellious disobedience, and return to walking in faithful obedience to Him, as God intended for us to do all along.

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From the first acts of disobedience to the last, God’s heart breaks for us, because our rebellion separates us from Him, just like the second son, through his deception and disobedience,  put an obstacle in the relationship separating him and from his earthly father.

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Even though we rebel and disobey God initially, we can return to right standing with Him, through repentance and by believing in the atoning work of His son, Jesus Christ, on a Cross at Calvary over 2,000 years ago.

God is for you, not against you. He has made the way for you to return to Him through repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Do not let the chains of your disobedience continue to shackle your soul. Step away from your chains, that God has loosened, and begin living a life of faithful obedience to the Lord God Almighty. What are you waiting for? There is no time like right now.

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I’ll be praying for you.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Life is downright hard some days. You juggle multiple irons burning in the fire at near lightspeed and manage to accomplish the laundry list of to-dos without overstepping your boundaries or hurting anyone. All day, you’ve managed to keep all four wheels between the lines as you truck down life’s highway. And then life deals you an unexpected blow or smacks you in the face with all its force for no other apparent reason other than because it can. You know—those moments where life takes your breath away but not in a good way. As people of faith, we are not immune from these valleys we stumble into along our journey. Life hurts. Yes, Virginia: the Struggle is real. 

What do we do?

As believers, we are called to continue on, faithfully, walking humbly, acting gently, being grateful, and nurturing a spirit of forgiveness. In our words and deeds, we show love, blessing even those who curse us. Even when it hurts. Yes, we mourn, and we grieve. Yes, we fervently pray, begging God for relief from our struggles. But it doesn’t end there. We get up and go on, moving forward, towards the prize, running the race with all our might until the very end.

As redeemed children of God Most High, we are all in recovery, rescued from our shortcomings, no longer bound by the chains of sin, while all the while, day by day, learning how to live life because He lives. It’s not easy. We aren’t perfect. But we are changed, no longer the same. Like new creations learning to find our way, we stumble, and we struggle, getting up after each fall.

God is SO good. Even on our worst days, He shepherds us, providing all we need to maneuver through the trials and tribulations this earthly life brings, from time to time during different seasons. In our plight, we turn to the Lord, showing our dependence on Him to traverse the storms life brings our way.

Jesus Calms a Storm Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

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