Tag Archives: Psalm

Psalm 28, 29, 30; Acts 21:1-14

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

you have loosed my sackcloth

and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:11-12

People talk about ‘choice’ all the time. To put it simply a choice is an “act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities”. There are all sorts of things to choose on a daily basis and as an adult I make hundreds of choices each week.

Years ago, while struggling with depression I heard the story of the two wolves. I began to realize that I could choose which wolf I fed; I could determine how I perceived things. Before I was a believer, I worked very hard at choosing the positive, looking at the glass half full, and beating down the blues. I strived in myself, and though I did learn how to control the despair, it was still always lurking in the shadows.

When my brother died, I was thrust into a position where I had to make a lot of choices very quickly, choices that changed my life forever. I had only been actively walking with the Lord for about a year but I could still feel the tug of depression even despite hearing the loving words of the Father.

It always amazes me when I hear people blaming God for the bad things that have happened, turning their back on Him in the moments they need Him, His strength the most. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not have survived if it wasn’t for God giving me everything I needed every step of the way.

And, it started with a choice…

The night when I learned what had happened, I immediately laid my heart out in a new way to God, I made the choice to fully trust Him in the surreal journey I was headed into. I made the choice to press into His outstretched arms. I made the choice to obey His voice, His leading. I made the choice to praise Him!

I felt so strongly a calling to worship the Lord in the space where my brother died. I felt it was an opportunity to spiritually cleanse the space and invite God’s presence back in. I knew it was the chance to bless His name in the bad times, and not just in the good.

The next evening, I invited a small group of friends to come with me. We stood in a circle and began to sing worship songs. After a few moments I moved to the center, and I began to dance as David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. I poured myself out to the Lord. I gave him every bit of my being, every ounce of praise in my body. I felt the atmosphere of the room change; I felt the shift happen as God entered this tabernacle of worship.

I made the choice to lift up the name of the Lord. I chose to give thanks and sing praise in the midst of my grief. I chose to taste and see His goodness. As I honored Him, He honored me. He turned my mourning into dancing and clothed me with gladness. He gave me hope.

I still experienced the grieving process, but I had God’s arms around me. Through the difficulties of adjusting to life without my brother, He walked next to me and sometimes carried me. Even in the moments now, when sadness creeps in, He reinforces the hope I have that I will see him again in heaven.

And my heart chooses to praise the Lord!

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalm 10-12; Acts 17:16-34

Psalm 10:4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.

Psalm 12:8 The wicked prowl on every side, When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…

Starting over in a new location is exciting and intimidating at the same time.  Learning where to find familiar services and stores and restaurants, remembering which road leads to what destination, and even what part of town is safe to explore can consume a good deal of energy and time.  In the midst of figuring out the basics, there is the challenge of finding and committing to a body of believers in Jesus Christ.

What causes my gut to tighten and my mind to stress, however, is making new acquaintances and learning where they stand in relationship with God. I have usually made a good first impression with people, and yet, I know that eventually I will be found out – I am a Christian.  This fact will sometimes separate me from those with whom I will work, others from whom I will depend on for service, and still others who have authority over me.

To be honest, I have always feared this in the past.  As the Psalms quoted above indicate, the wicked prowl on every side.  I have experienced the sociopathic behaviors of coworkers who denigrate and malign trying to destroy reputations for their own enjoyment and evidence of power.  I have also befriended many who have taken advantage of my willingness to lend a hand and then who spurn me when I have nothing more to give. I have wrestled with my own soul when I have been entangled emotionally and behaviorally in relationships that tested my values and even the commandments of God that I desire to obey.

Being a Christian in this world can be easy.  I could keep my mouth shut.  I could confine my concerns to my prayer closet. I could rally with brothers and sisters within the walls of safety on Sunday mornings, leaving my beliefs and practices intact and hibernating until the next week’s shot of confidence. Am I still groping for God?  I sometimes feel that I am in this fish bowl looking for something while everyone else watches. Do you ever feel that you are swimming in dangerous waters? I am so thankful that I God is patient with me, and even more that He will arise and deliver me from this fear of destruction. For Psalm 12:5 says, “Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” Arise, I pray, to calm my timid soul!

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalm 7, 8, 9; Acts 17:1-15

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,

and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. Psalm 7:17

 

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1

 

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;

I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

As I have been journeying through this year, I have encountered times filled with pleasantry and I have run into trials. I have been striving to better understand the meaning of joy and experience this fruit of the Spirit more regularly and more fully.

One of the things that I have been finding, whether in the midst of good times or bad, is that I feel more joyful when I am grateful for what the Lord has done for me and how He is ever walking beside me in the process of life.

When I praise Him, not only is He glorified, but I am also lifted up. I am reminded of everything Christ has done for me since the beginning of time. When I sing praise, His grace, His love, and His steadfastness are reinforced in my heart and I remember that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Sometimes the difficulties of everyday life overwhelm me and I forget. I forget to be grateful. I forget to praise God, exult Him, and thank Him. I get caught up in myself, in my frustration, and fail to reach out and grasp the joy of my salvation. I start to feel desperate and finally I call out to Him for help. And, then, Holy Spirit whispers into the depths of my heart and tells me again that joy can be found in Him.

I can only imagine how it must have been for David as he wrote these psalms. His enemies surrounded him, chasing him away from his home, away from his land. He must have been full of anguish. But, these verses show me that he kept his eyes on God, focusing on His wonderful deeds, looking to His majesty, trusting in His righteousness.

Yesappa, Help me keep my focus on You at all times, whether good or bad. Keep my eyes on You and my heart connected to Yours. Help me remember, when I am struggling, to be grateful to You for being there for me, for offering Your strength, and for giving me wisdom and insight. I sing Your praise for all things. I praise You for Your goodness. And more than anything, thank You for giving me many reasons to be grateful and for increasing my joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Chronicles 5,6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalms 148-150

Home is taking on a slightly different meaning lately. My husband and I recently moved out of state and we may or may not stay here depending upon his job situation. Boxes are still unpacked, pictures remain wrapped in closets. I have no sense of being settled.

So where is our home? Here’s the reality:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hears sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:19-24.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath and know that I am near to God. My Savior, Jesus Christ has washed my soul clean of the dirt and sin that clung so tenaciously. He has brought me to his Father. This is where home is. This is where my soul rests, near to the heart of God.

Kathy

Psalm 84

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

Joshua 18-19, Psalm 149-150, Jeremiah 9, & Matthew 23

The closer I get to retirement, the more I think about what I will leave to my small family.  When I pose this as a question to God, He answers, “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?”  (Joshua 18:4).  In this question to me is a challenge to claim what God has already given. Material things are not the first possessions that come to mind when I look at what God has given me; His greatest gift is salvation.  I’ve spent hours meditating on the promises that my family will be saved and many years waiting patiently for the Lord to reveal His plans for my family.  I’ve believed the Psalmist who says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4). Yet I have to confess that many more hours I have not made time to meet with Him; I have been too busy with doing life; I’ve allowed the world’s calling to capture my eyes, mind, and heart.  When called home, I’ve walked the opposite way.

Consider the Lord of the universe.  Every other creature knows Him. Yet man is still running away.  I am still running away so that I can do my own thing, be my own boss, avoid living on my inheritance.  Time is running out.  Oh, I may have a few years yet to work and save up for retirement, but what is the most precious possession in my life that I can pass down?  Certainly not land, wealth, or heirlooms.  A tender, humble heart then.  That is what I would like my children to inherit.  Can I do that?  Is there any way that my life’s letter will testify to the peace and joy of surrender to Christ?  Even as I see the challenge of chicks running amok, I long to call to them to stand still long enough to be caught up and nestled in safe places with Christ where sadness, tears, tragedy, and turmoil will cease.  This longing for them reminds me of Christ’s longing to tenderly and lavishly love on the Israelites.  In Matthew 23:37, Jesus says, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” So He knows my deepest desire is to see my family gathered together in His house of worship. This is what I know: Jeremiah 9:24 – “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understand and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight.”  To me, this is the land of promise. To leave my family with praise on their lips for the God I serve, like every other thing that has breath, to praise the Lord (Psalm 50:6). I want that to be my legacy.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized