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.

 

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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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.