Tag Archives: psalms

Psalms 132:1-135:14 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

I became an ambassador for a sports event company earlier this year. Being part of that group of athletes has been so very positive. I serve alongside them as a volunteer at races when I’m not actually running in the races. My first run out was a trail run in February. Wave 1 was on the second loop of a half marathon as Wave 6 (my group) was starting out (I was running a 10k). One of my team members called out to me as we passed, and we smacked hands. That was my first experience on the team and my first race ever.

I’m glad that this was my first experience because it’s played a huge role in shaping me and my focus this year. Even the leadership of the company maintains a focus of unity. These athletes cheer one another on, from first to last. It is the most positive environment I’ve ever been part of.

I think on unity. I think on God’s way. He wants the best for us. Oh, he knows that unity is good and pleasant. Precious.

Thank you, God, for real and authentic glimpses of unity. Help me to take this experience into other aspects of my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalms 98:4-102:7

Many years ago, I read a book about gratitude. I started to keep a list of things I was thankful for, and that list was like a buoy on my roughest days. In my old, cold house, the warmth of wool socks on my feet was a true treasure. When I felt lonely, a friend at the table was a reminder that I was loved. Even noticing light framing a cloud was a glimpse of beauty, made special by the brief encounter, and that I was lucky enough to see it before the moment vanished.

I started one of my daughters with a thankful journal when she was in elementary school. Before I presented it to her, I flipped randomly throughout the notebook and wrote verses on gratitude. I remember this one especially:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4, NIV)

My girl is grown now and still keeps a thankful journal. She even reads old journals and still delights in the snippets of goodness of the past.

Reading this group of psalms today, I felt washed over by God’s goodness. Verses that speak of his enduring love; of how he heard the cries of specific people and led them; of his love for justice; of his holiness.

I kept returning to this one:

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[b];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3, NIV; the [b] notes: and not we ourselves)

True treasure. Loved. Beauty I was lucky enough to glimpse today, before the moment vanished.

The Lord is God. He made me. I am his. I am his (people), and he watches over and cares for me.

Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 18-20; 2 Cor. 6; Psalm 56

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

I’ve read this passage of scripture so many times. When I was younger I struggled in understanding how I could not be afraid … especially of tornadoes. I would sit in the back hallway of the house with the rest of my family and shake and cry in fear of what would happen when the tornado hit…which it never did. I would love to say I outgrew this fear and although I don’t sit and shake and cry when the tornado sirens go off, I’m still very much afraid.

Fear can be all encompassing. It can fill all our thoughts and cause us to singularly focus on the thing that is terrorizing our minds. We can freeze and loose hope for the future. All we know about the life of David demonstrates that he had every right to be afraid. Protecting his sheep from wild animals as a young kid, going up against Goliath as a young man, running from King Saul, running from his own son and as we see in this passage, being captured by the philistines have all been times of potential fear for David.

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

And yet…He says “I trust and am not afraid.” (Psalm 56:4,11) Right before each of these statements of trust, however, is the phrase “In God”. Unlike David, I have not learned to trust so completely that my fear is gone. I’m still afraid of many things. I can’t in my own power compel my fear to subside. But… “In God”. In God, I can learn. In God, I can slow down. In God, I can rest. In God, I can see God working. In God, I feel love. In God, I can love. In God, I receive mercy. In God, I am merciful. In God, I find grace. In God, I can be gracious. In God

In God. Am I in God? Am I pursuing God? Is my fear and anger keeping me from being in God? Is yours? In God is everything because it sets the stage for where God wants to lead us and what He wants to do in and through us. Are we In God?

Dear God, I pray my heart will be In You. I pray that when fear overwhelms, I will find my strength and identity In You. I pray that when I’m consumed with myself and my desires and wants I would turn and place myself In You. When I can’t do any more, I pray you take my life and place it In You. Please Father, do a work that I cannot. Do a work that brings me even more into you. I pray for those reading that they would be drawn into you. May our lives point others to you. And may the fear that clouds our vision, be diminished by being IN YOU. Amen.

Mandy Baldwin (mkaybaldwin)

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Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;

but even though he is just and righteous,

he does not destroy us.

No wonder people everywhere fear him.

All who are wise show him reverence.”

Job 37:23-24

Elihu spoke correctly. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I cannot fully imagine the complete power of God. A friend of mine once said that even if God showed every one of us in the world a new facet of who He is every day, He’d still only show us the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

That, in and of itself, is mind blowing. And then on top of His righteousness, the depth of His character, personality, abilities, etc. is His love, grace, mercy, and goodness. He is a good Father, a merciful God. He is the Beginning and the End. He gives me life and calls me His own.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:5-7

Though I am undeserving, He loves me with an everlasting love. He gives me everything I need and surprises me with more of my desires. He is full of forgiveness. He heals me, protects me, and gives me His strength. He redeems my life daily, liberating me, and allowing me to walk in truth and freedom.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

may I never forget the good things he does for me.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

He redeems me from death

and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

He fills my life with good things.

My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Ps 103: 1-5

In the day to day hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget all of the good things God has done for me. It is easy to get lost in the mundane tasks and the chaos of busyness. It is easy to lose focus on what matters and let God slip into the background.

As David knew, the way to remember, to regain focus is to praise the Lord; to worship His name with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being. And, as I praise Him, I create a memorial to His glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me, showing me mercy, and giving me gifts of grace. Help me to remember the good things you’ve done for me. Help me to make praise more and more a part of my daily life so I focus on Your truth rather than my circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie,

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Job 4-7; Psalm 99; Revelation 11

“In the past you have encouraged many people;

you have strengthened those who were weak.

Your words have supported those who were falling;

you encouraged those with shaky knees.

But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.

You are terrified when it touches you.

Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?

Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope? Job 4:3-6

 

His friend Eliphaz begins questioning Job, reminding him of who he was and wondering why Job is not remembering his own words of encouragement for himself. Eliphaz  goes on to question why so many bad things are happening to Job and blaming it on sins that Job “must” be committing.

Though my trials are not the same as what Job experiences during his testing by the enemy, I have found that my own attitude in the midst of my personal trials mimics Eliphaz’ observations – I have moments when I lose heart, become fearful, forget my confidence in myself and in God, and feel hopeless.

There are days when I think I can’t go on, moments when I want to give up. I cry. I scream out loud. I ask, “why?” I succumb to the feelings of despair that have been building – which usually manifests in lounging on the sofa with a batch of warm brownies and cold milk, bingeing on my latest TV find.

After my pity party, I choose a trusted friend and ask to process, ask for counsel, ask for a hug; my eyes are once again open to the truth…I have been walking in my own weakness and not relying on God’s strength. I pray.

At least I can take comfort in this:

Despite the pain,

I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

But I don’t have the strength to endure.

I have nothing to live for.

Do I have the strength of a stone?

Is my body made of bronze?

No, I am utterly helpless,

without any chance of success. Job 6:10-13

Because I believe that God knit me together in my mother’s womb and knows every hair on my head, I believe that my circumstances aren’t a surprise to God. He knows what I am going to walk through and He knows the solutions to my problems. All I have to do is wait on His timing…patiently…for the answer, trust that God will bring me through, hold onto His Words for strength and encouragement.

I don’t have the strength of a stone nor a body of bronze, and without God I don’t have strength to endure. Without God I am utterly helpless without any chance of success.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your perfect timing. Thank You for helping me walk through the circumstances and keeping me strong. Help me continue to trust You and to fully rely on You. Help me stand firm in the knowledge that You are always with me, You will never leave nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie,

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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