Psalm Saturday: Psalm 142

Suicide has been on my mind a lot lately. No. Not like that. I’m not thinking of killing myself. But like you, my news feed and social media pages have been filled with stories and insights about suicide in light of the recent high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Me and Sweet T even watched “13 Reasons Why?” —both seasons–last week. Based on the Jay Asher novel of the same name, 13RW follows a teenage girl named Hannah and the people, primarily her classmates, left dealing with the aftermath of Hannah taking her own life. The Netflix series has received praise and criticism for its depiction of a tough subject. According to the peeps who track those kind of stats, suicide is on the increase. Did you know that 22 military veterans commit suicide every single day? In recent weeks, only days apart, I had conversations with two different men who were contemplating taking their own life.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

How does someone get to the point where they want to kill themselves? I’m no expert. Just a lifer like you. I imagine that overwhelmed with despair or overcome with an unending fear, someone decides there is no point in going on. They get to the point where they believe that life is not worth living or that the world would be better off without them in it. They feel hopeless. They come to believe that the value of living is no longer greater than the solace of dying. The pain of things remaining the same, or perhaps the fear that things won’t ever change, overwhelms their innermost being–crushing their soul…causing them to end it all.

Psalm Saturday Psalm 142

Like many subjects we deal with in life, Scripture has a lot to offer us regarding facing despair and the loss of hope. There are many psalms that lament the dire situations and difficult circumstances of life, similar to ones we face, and often times, even worse.

The title of Psalm 142 identifies that David wrote it when he was hiding “in the cave,” most likely while Saul and his men were pursuing him (1 Samuel 22 & 24). The psalmist speaks as someone who has lost all hope except for the help that God himself can provide. David, likely the psalmist, shares with us how he prayed during this dire situation. He prayed out loud, most likely hoping that God would be more certain to hear him. David poured out his soul, crying to God about his blight. He emptied himself, totally and completely. David could not the path he needed to take to reach safety, but God did. God wasn’t caught off-guard by David’s current circumstance. To David, the road out of his present situation was booby-trapped, leading to certain capture or possibly even death. He knew Saul desired to kill him. David felt alone, forsaken by all his human friends. The fact that David found himself in trouble did not mean the Lord had forsaken or forgotten him, anymore than God forget Adam and Eve at the time of the Fall (Genesis 3).

We see David pray to God with confidence, believing that the Lord would defend and deliver him. God was all he had. He begs God to help him escape from his enemies. He knew that if God delivered him that people, including David, would thank the Lord and sing praise to him because of the Lord’s abundant goodness. God is a good Father. He is our defender. He is our ally. He is for us, not against us. God is able to deliver His children even if no one else is willing or able to help.

John 1624

Psalm 142

A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.

1 With my voice I cry out to the Lord;

with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.

2 I pour out my complaint before him;

I tell my trouble before him.

3 When my spirit faints within me,

you know my way!

In the path where I walk

they have hidden a trap for me.

4 Look to the right and see:

there is none who takes notice of me;

no refuge remains to me;

no one cares for my soul.

5 I cry to you, O Lord;

I say, You are my refuge,

my portion in the land of the living.

6 Attend to my cry,

for I am brought very low!

Deliver me from my persecutors,

for they are too strong for me!

7 Bring me out of prison,

that I may give thanks to your name!

The righteous will surround me,

for you will deal bountifully with me.

Are you despondent? Do you feel like life is hopeless and you have nothing more to live for? Do you think this world would be better off with out you? Know that you are not alone. There are people who understand what you’re going through and that desperately want to help you.

If you’re considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.

You matter. You have value.

There are people who love you, just as there is a God who loves you.

Suicide is not the answer.

Blessings.

To learn more about suicide among military veterans visit 22Kill.

You can make a difference.

 

Psalm Saturday: Psalm 86

Psalm 86 is a prayer written by David, the shepherd boy who became King over all Israel. Based on his experience of God’s goodness, David asks the Lord to show His strength by standing against the proud who are exalting themselves over him. It is the only psalm ascribed to David in the third book of Psalms and contains familiar quotes from other psalms, often mirroring them verbatim.

David spends the first 10 verses asking God for His protection. The request for protection is followed by David’s request for greater understanding in verses 11-13. In verses 14-17, he closes his psalm with a request for strength to fight off his enemies.

In this psalm, we see a mighty king, bending his knee to almighty God, demonstrating his dependence on the Lord, and showing us that he trusts Him and is ready to obey Him. David asks for grace, acknowledging it is not something God owes him. David rested with the confidence that God would answer his plea because God was the only one who is able to do great things. David trusted God because he knew that God was able.

David had personally experienced God doing tremendous things in his life, like calling him up from the fields into Saul’s palace to serve the King, and helping David slay the giant Goliath. David knew that he did not do these things in his own power, but rather because God was with him. What situation or circumstance in your life needs you to show dependence and trust in the Lord?

When we cry out for greater understanding for those things in our life that happen unexpectedly and that escape our ability to understand, we must mirror David’s call. David did so with humility, knowing God did not owe him an answer. He did not question God’s goodness or God’s plan, but sought to understand so that he could give God the glory. David knew God loved him and was the source of his salvation. He knew that it was the Lord who sustained him. It is okay for us to ask God questions, provided we remember that He alone is God and that He is holy and mighty. God doesn’t owe us an answer. Do you desire greater understanding? Have you asked God to provide it to you?

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People were rebelling against David and God. Man’s rebellion against the Lord is nothing new. It was true before David, during David’s reign as King, and it remains true for us living in the 21st century. David looked for a sign from God, just like we often do. David asked for strength and that the Lord would deliver him from his troubles, just like we often do. David trusted that God would answer his plea. When you ask God to help you overcome the problems you are facing, do you trust Him to answer you?

God is for us, not against us. He is trustworthy. We can trust in Him. He hears our prayers and He is willing to answer them. Are we willing to faithfully obey His call on our lives? We must recognize our utter dependence on the Lord Almighty and acknowledge that God owes us nothing. Everything He has given us to date is sheer grace.

Blessings.

 

Psalm 86

A Prayer of David.

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. 3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. 4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. 12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. 17 Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Minister to Others

Despite pleas for positivity, our culture seems to reward negativity. This can be especially true on social media. While social media affords us the privilege of connecting and make the world seem like a smaller place, it tends to give courage to people who would never say to your face what they dare to type in the comment section.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. There are actually a lot of good stories on the world-wide web. Many people strive to contribute to the conversation rather than taking a big step backward for mankind. Yet, the negative voices resound more loudly.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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So how can you, as a Christian, cultivate a voice of hope, especially on social media? It’s a question I ask myself a lot, particularly when I’ve just read through the comment section of a viral post or trending tweet.

  1. Share stories about how you have witnessed God at work. The anti-God crowd is tenacious when it comes to spreading their “God is Dead” or “There is no God” mantras. Truth is, there are numerous stories about God at work in our midst. We just need to be courageous and intentional about sharing them.
  2. Strive to be a unifying force on social media. It’s easy to be divisive; especially from a distance. Be a peacemaker. Unite believers. Bring people together. Be a source of healing rather than hurtfulness and hate.
  3. Start an online prayer circle. People need prayer now more than ever. The world is hurting. People are writhing in pain. Suffering is everywhere. It can be easy to lose sight of God in the midst of the storm. Prayer offers comfort and serves as a reminder that in spite of what things might look like, there is a God who loves us.
  4. Point people to Christ. Avoid pushing people away. Pray about your response. Pray about whether or not you should even respond. If you respond, be gentle. Be kind. Be encouraging. But also, be truthful.

God calls us to be the salt and the light. Jesus urges us to let our light shine. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, praying on our behalf and working through us. Social Media is still a new and growing tool that the church can use to share the Gospel and invite others to join us in advancing the Kingdom. Social Media, in and of itself, is not good or bad. It depends heavily on the user. It’s up to us, as believers, to use social media effectively to communicate with a world that is watching and listening. Of course, we can choose not to engage in the conversation. Somehow, I don’t believe that’s what Jesus would have us do. Do you?

Please let me know how I can pray for you by emailing me your prayer request.

Blessings.

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