Psalm 71-73 B

“O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” (71:17-18)

This verse struck a deep chord with me. It is the greatest blessing of my life that I met the LORD at a young age. I truly desire to spend my whole life with Him, and share His goodness with my generation. Like David, and many more before me, I have the opportunity to represent the LORD to those around me, and maybe even remain a light through the generations which follows me, by way of memory or written record.

“As for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” (73:28)

He will forever remain the best part of my life, a worthy focal point, an easy inspiration. May we all discover Him in the way, and in ever increasing measure.

-Bethany

 

Psalm 65-67 B

“How blessed is the one whom You chose to bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.” (65:4)

I don’t know how the LORD got such a bad rap, but don’t you think He’s mostly associated with things that make you not want to be around Him? He’s a judge… so He’s judgy? He’s holy… so He’s holier than thou? He’s perfect… so He’s a goody two shoes? He’s awesome… so He’s scary? He’s lofty… so He’s boring?

This reminds me of the snake in the garden asking Eve, “can you really not eat from any of these beautiful trees?” We’ve been questioning His goodness from the beginning.

Many years of misrepresentation have put these ideas forth, but really, what is true?

The truth is, the closer you are to Him, the BETTER. His Presences is light and healing and joy and hope and altogether GOOD. Those who He draws closer are BLESSED! They are the lucky ones to be NEAR Him.

It is our sad, broken tendency to run away, and even to paint Him in an unflattering light. That will never make it true. It will never actually diminish His glory.

One of my favorite lyrics, ever, is from an old Christian band in the ’90’s (The Waiting) who sang, “Your glory, LORD, is still a burning light, a light that all our faithless hands could never dim.”

He doesn’t go bad, just because He may be perceived as bad.

“Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (Romans 3:4)

-Bethany

Psalm 59-61 B

“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (61:2)

These chapters are a lot of David calling for help in horrible situations. This verse has become iconic, and I think, rightly so.

We can muster a lot of things on our own: a bit of courage, adrenaline, skill, discipline, etc. But we will always return to a place of insufficiency. If we bet 100% on ourselves, eventually we will lose.

Life requires anchors. The Bible talks a lot about foundations, namely, that good ones are built on rock. The question is often asked, “what is your foundation?” The chaos of life is what truly exposes them.

As Jesus says, “The man who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock.” (Matthew 7:24) Application of scripture is to be the foundation of a steady life. Not merely knowing it, or promoting it, but actually doing it.

What better way to apply Scripture than to surrender? This requires the humility to admit dependency and acknowledge that, as our Creator, He knows best. He is truth. He is goodness. He is love. He is light. He is shelter. We can create shadows of these things, but only He is the true expression of them.

What are you facing today? How can this lead you to the Rock–the unshakable foundation–that is beyond you, but also for you?

-Bethany

Psalm 53-55 B

“God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God. Everyone of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (53:2-3)

It’s pretty gutsy how Paul quotes 53 in Romans. That letter was written to a church which was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. Of course, there was major prejudice between them from centuries of segregation. The Jews were feeling pretty generous, indeed, to be sharing their God with Gentiles now, but certainly felt a bit self-righteous about it. So what does Paul do? He levels the playing field and reminds the Jewish people of a Psalm, written in the midst of their proud history, about how no one is righteous by birthright.

We all need the grace and mercy of the LORD. Putting on a face and editing ourselves only gives us a false sense of piety, and sometimes even heaps shame on others who feel they can’t measure up.

Remembering our common brokenness may be uncomfortable, but it’s very important. Let’s step off our high horses and extend the grace to one another that we, ourselves need. Base this on the incredible grace and mercy of God, who didn’t rescue us because we were so good at trying, or showed so much potential. He saves us because of His lovingkindness towards His beloved creation.

-Bethany

Psalm 47-49 B

“God reigns over the nations. He sits on His holy throne.” (47:8)

Some days, I think this is all we need to remember. Maybe this single fact is why we haven’t disintegrated in a nuclear holocaust… yet (too dark?).

It can be easy to forget just how central worshiping God is supposed to be in our lives. I think it’s healthy to worship Him. It brings to life something at the very core of us to exalt our Creator.

“O clap your hands, all peoples; shout to God with the voice of joy.” (47:1)

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a skillful psalm.” (47:6-7)

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised” (48:1)

Let’s bring joy into our day through praises of our Great LORD! I know, I don’t always naturally get here. Even in worship services, I can easily fade to the back of the room (Repetitive choruses don’t hold my attention very long. yeah I’m one of those). This makes me need to be a little more proactive about how I worship Him. Sometimes it’s recognizing that He’s there, and holy and just, and perfect, and loving, and right. Maybe it’s singing the song that is in my heart. Sometimes it’s reading these Psalms out-loud and agreeing!

Find the way your soul draws back to the Source of Life and worship Him today.

-Bethany

Psalm 41-43 B

“How blessed is he who considers the helpless. The LORD will deliver him in the day of trouble.” (41:1)

If you’re looking for the protection of the LORD, His blessing, His healing… become a consider-er of the helpless. We like to say that God doesn’t have favorites, but evidence shows, He holds some form of favoritism for those who have eyes for other people.

I was listening to an interview between Sam Jones and Dax Shepard, and Dax takes notice of how his wife’s generosity always seems to make its way back to her. Whereas, he was more prone to self-preserve, he was moved toward her way of living because of the fruit he saw in it.

We can get caught up in a panic when our eyes are focused on ourselves and our own woes. Most anyone will tell you, the best way to get out of an anxious cycle, is to do something for someone else. Taking your eyes off yourself is life-giving.

What’s something you can do for another person today?

-Bethany

 

Psalm 35-37 B

“Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.'” (35:3b)

Whenever I read Samuel or Chronicles, I am astounded by David. He is an extreme guy, in my opinion. He takes things very seriously. Often times, he makes a decision to favor the LORD and it is wildly unpopular. This is the major contrast I see between him and Saul. Saul was a real people-pleaser, and David did not care what people thought. Many times Joab, would try to tell David to take it down a notch, or at least pretend to take his men’s feelings into consideration, and David stayed fixed in his ways.

Reading these Psalms reminds me of that part of David, because it sounds like in these moments he’s crying out, “I chose you over ______! Don’t leave me hanging!” All those times he seemed calm, collected, and stubborn, he might have been singing these songs internally.

The awesome thing to note is how often he exults about knowing he’s been heard, and the LORD really is coming through for him.

“Let me shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; and let them say continually, ‘the LORD be magnified, who delights in the prosperity of His servant.’ And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long.” (35:27-28)

We have a lot to learn from David when it comes to a dynamic relationship of dependency on the LORD. Luckily, Psalm 37:1-8 includes a nice list of pointers.

  • Do not fret because of evil doers
  • Do not be envious toward wrongdoers
  • Trust in the LORD and do good
  • Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness
  • Delight yourself in the LORD
  • Commit your way to the LORD
  • Trust in Him, and He will do it
  • Rest in the LORD
  • Wait patiently for Him
  • Do not fret (again)
  • Cease from anger and forsake wrath

As I continued reading 37, I was reminded of a verse, and low and behold, it appeared:

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (37:23-25)

Sure, life is full of nuances and bad things still happen to good people, but I have to agree. There is something I observe in life, which is the way the LORD provides for those who trust in Him. I’ve never seen someone who seeks the LORD utterly forsaken. Admittedly, I am not old yet.

This is not a prosperity gospel. Life is riddled with brokenness and hardship, but the LORD meets us in our brokenness. He is there, ready to resurrect. The man who, like David, esteems the LORD’s opinion above popular opinion endures many trails and comes out stronger. The woman who listens to the advice of her loving Creator over the advice of others is crowned with wisdom.

“The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. The LORD delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” (37:39-40)

David’s life was not without hardship or heartache. Whether it was self inflicted or, or at the hands of others, he was acquainted with grief. Still, he kept his eyes on what mattered most.

Would people observe the same about you? Do you seek to know the LORD’s opinion when you’re inundated with the opinions of others? Do you seek to glorify Him on the regular? Does it annoy people around you, sometimes, like it annoyed Joab? Take heart! Bring all this to the LORD. Review the list from 37:1-8. Which “pointer” can you employ today?

-Bethany