Monthly Archives: July 2013

Loving Kindness

 

 

I will give thanks unto you Lord
For you are good your loving kindness never ends
I raise my hands, you heal my soul
Here in the presence of the Lord my hearts restored
And you guide me in the paths of righteousness
And you hide me in the shadow of your hand
I rest in You

Blessed be the name of the Lord
I’m my Father’s child forevermore
You heard every cry
You broke every chain
You alone delivered me
The Son of God He reigns on the throne
King of Kings let all the nations know
That the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever

My Prince of Peace, You lifted me
Where everything that’s named is placed under your feet
And may my praises be as incense to you Lord
And may my worship be a sweet fragrance
To You alone my King

For the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever and ever

 

 

Advertisements

Dwell

 


Your Judgments Are Right

 

by Francis Bourdillon

 

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”

Psalm 119:75

 

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right.” God orders all things! His “judgments” here mean His general orderings, decisions, dealings–not afflictions only, though including them.

And when the Psalmist says, “Your judgments,” he means especially God’s judgments towards him, God’s dealings with him, and thus all that had happened to him or would happen to him. For in the Psalmist’s creed, there was no such thing as chance.   God ordered all that befell him, and he delighted to think so. He expresses a sure and happy confidence in all that God did and would do, with regard to him. He trusted fully in God’s wisdom, God’s power, and God’s love.

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right”–quite right, right in every way, perfectly wise and good–without one single point that might have been better. David shows the firmest persuasion of this. “I know,” he says; not merely “I think.” But these very words, “I know,” clearly show that this was a matter of faith, not of sight. For he does not say, “I can see that your judgments are right”–but “I know.” The meaning plainly is, “Though I cannot see all–though there are some things in Your dealings which I cannot fully understand–yet, I believe, I am persuaded, and thus I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right.”

“Your judgments.” Not some of them–but ALL. He takes into view all God’s dealings with him and says of them without exception, “I know, O Lord, that Your  judgments are right.”

When the things that happen to us are plainly for our comfort and good, as many of them are–then we thankfully receive what God thus sends to us, and own Him as the Giver of all, and bless Him for His gracious dealing; and this is right. But all the faith required for this, is to own God as dealing with us, instead of thanklessly receiving the gifts with no thought of the Giver. It is a far higher degree of faith, that says of ALL God’s dealings, even when seemingly not for our happiness, “I know that Your judgments are right!”

Yet this is the meaning here, or certainly the chief meaning. For though the word “judgments” does mean God’s dealings of every kind–yet here the words which follow, make it apply especially to God’s afflictive dealings–that is, to those dealings of His that do not seem to be for our happiness, “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that You in faithfulness have afflicted me.”

The judgments which the Psalmist chiefly had in view, and which he felt so sure were right, were not joys–but sorrows; not things bestowed–but things taken away; those blessings in disguise; those veiled mercies; those gifts clad in the garb of mourning–which God so often sends to His children. The Psalmist knew, and knew against all appearance to the contrary, that these judgments were “right.” Whatever they might be–losses, bereavements, disappointments, pain, sickness–they were right, perfectly right; so right that they could not have been better; just what were best–and all because they were God’s judgments.

That one thing satisfied the Psalmist’s mind, and set every doubt at rest. The dealings in themselves, he might have doubted–but not Him whose dealings they were. “Your judgments.” That settled all.

“And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” This means that, in appointing trouble as his lot, God had dealt with him in faithfulness to His word, in faithfulness to His purposes of mercy, and in faithful love. God had sent him just what was most for his good, though not always what was most pleasing; and in this He had shown Himself faithful. Gently and lovingly does the Lord deal with His children. He gives no unnecessary pain; but that which is needful, He will not withhold.

 

Taken from http://www.gracegems.org/Grace_Gems.htm


God’s Prayer Book

 

Prayer is difficult. Not because of anything in God – as the Puritan Matthew Henry observed, God is more eager to hear our prayers than we are to pray them. No, prayer is difficult because of us. Sinful flesh and human weakness battle against our ability to persevere in prayer. Publishers know this. Search for “prayer” on Amazon and you’ll find enough books to construct a small mansion entirely from piles of “7 Steps” paperbacks. Many of these are helpful books (though some of them aren’t!). But wouldn’t it be nice to have the definitive book on prayer, one that included both forms of prayers and words to pray, one that could be used in any season of life?

Actually, that sounds like the Psalms.

The Psalms are the prayer and praise book of the Bible. When we read a psalm, we are listening in on an inspired conversation between God and his people. The conversation takes place sometimes in moments of pure delight and other times in extended seasons of crushing despair. Sometimes it is a private conversation: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing!” (Psalm 6:2). At other times we hear the raised voices of a glad throng of worshipers: “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (Psalm 95:1). In a sense, the Psalms are God’s most comprehensive answer to the request, “Teach us to pray.”

Until recently I still never used psalms regularly in my prayer life. In the last few months I’ve been incorporating the psalms into my day, and it’s been a great blessing to me. I’m going to describe my current practice and some things I’ve learned, but with this caveat first: I’m not you! I’ve fallen victim too many times to slavishly following the most recent devotional suggestion I read on a blog as though any one person had the corner on the prayer market. Don’t do that. Odds are in a few months the practice I describe now will have changed in some way. So pick through what might be helpful, translate it to your own situation, and discard the rest. All right, with that out of the way, here’s what I’m doing.

There are two points in my day where I’m praying through a psalm. The first is after my regular Bible reading. I use a Bible reading plan and wanted to stick to it, so I just added reading through the Psalms 10-12 verses at a time. Sometimes I read more, occasionally I read less. But some portion of a psalm is always part of my morning. The other time is after I finish work each day. I’ve memorized a few of the shorter psalms and as I drive home I pray those back to the Lord. As I’ve done this, here are a few things I’ve learned that might be helpful.

•          Pick psalms that reflect your situation. The variety of life experiences reflected in Psalms is amazing. Take advantage of that. If your heart is glad, pray a psalm that reflects your joy. If you’re struggling, give voice to your battle with the words of one of David’s laments like Psalm 6 or Psalm 42. The Psalms don’t speak with in a monotone, one-size-fits-all voice. Neither should our prayers.

•          Personalize them as you pray them back to God. Did you know it’s okay to rewrite Scripture? No, I’m not talking about trying to sync Revelation with the Mayan calendar. What I’m talking about is personalized application. This is what the Bible invites us to do. When David prays “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps. 119:1), we’re to pray, “Lord, help me to walk blamelessly today when I’m tempted. Give me the blessedness of those who keep your commandments.” Psalm 46’s opening line, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” is meant to become “God you are my refuge, in this trouble. You are my strength in this moment.” That’s how the Psalms are to fuel our life of faith. They are meant to live where you live. Personalize them.

•          Consider memorizing a few particular psalms. You can memorize a whole chapter of the Bible. Start with Psalm 117; it’s only three verses! There are a lot of psalms that are under ten verses. Pick one that is meaningful to you and memorize it. Write it out repeatedly. Put it on an index card and carry it in your pocket throughout the day. The work of memorization requires you to meditate on Scripture, and it’s only one step from there to a conversation with God about it.

Prayer is difficult, but the Psalms are one of God’s provisions to strengthen our prayer lives. Let’s learn to use God’s prayer book!

 

Taken from http://www.theblazingcenter.com/2013/07/god-has-a-prayer-book-are-you-using-it.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBlazingCenter+%28The+Blazing+Center%29


Kickstart Your Devotions

 

There are times when, for whatever reason, our devotional life goes stale. Bible reading seems like a colossal chore, our prayers feel tepid and weak, and our love for God ebbs. We feel like we are stuck in a spiritual rut, like we don’t have any soul traction, like we’re just spinning our spiritual wheels. These times of staleness can be incredible frustrating and discouraging.

Are you in a spiritual rut? Here are a few practical tips to breath new life and vigor back into your devotional life.

PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

All the practical tips in the world won’t make a lick of difference unless God moves mightily on your heart. God cannot be controlled. He is not a personal genie who can be summoned on command. He cannot be summarized or contained in a neat formula. But, he promises to respond to our humble requests. He is a good father who loves to give good gifts to his children. In Luke 11:13 Jesus said:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

God loves to give the Holy Spirit to us, but we have to ask! If your devotional life is in a rut, humbly confess your cold heart to God and ask him to breathe white hot affection back into you.

READ A BOOK

Seeing the splendors of God through the undimmed eyes of another person can be tremendously helpful. One of the ways to see God through the eyes of someone else is to read a book. Often times our view of God is cluttered and clogged by the circumstances of life. Reading a book allows us to stand on the shoulders of someone else and see over all the clutter. If your devotional life is dim and blurry, take a short break from your regular Bible reading and spend some time savoring a good book. I recommend any of the books on my list of thirty books every Christian should read. 

READ THE PSALMS

The Psalms are an intensely devotional section of scripture. The authors of the Psalms experienced the highs and lows of life, and they met God in the midst of those highs and lows. They experienced the faithfulness of God in the dry times and in the seasons of fruitfulness. If your devotional life is lacking oomph try spending some time in the Psalms.

START A BIBLE READING PLAN

Many times our devotions lack substance because we don’t appropriately plan them out. We meander from verse to verse, reading a bit here, a snatch there, yet never making any real progress through God’s word. If this describes your devotions, maybe you need a Bible reading plan to get you on track. The ESV Bible website has a bunch of different Bible reading plans to get you started. If your devotional life is lacking direction trying starting a Bible reading plan.

ABANDON YOUR PLAN

Some of us like plans a little bit too much. We like to make lists and then cross things off those lists. We like the feeling of progress, of moving forward, of gettin’ her done. We apply our love for plans to our Bible reading and thus read through the Bible every year like clockwork. This is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But there are times when we need to abandon our plan and simply slow down our Bible reading. To delight in and savor a chapter, or a section, or just one verse. If your devotional life is feeling too rigid and stiff try abandoning your plan for a while.

CHANGE UP YOUR METHODS

Most of us read the Bible. After all, the Bible is a book and books are meant to be read. No argument from me. But remember, significant portions of the scriptures were originally intended to be heard. The apostolic letters were read aloud in the churches. The Psalms were read aloud in the synagogues. Scripture was meant to be both and read and heard. The ESV Bible site allows you to listen to the Bible instead of reading it. If your devotional life is feeling repetitive try listening to God’s word. Take notes as you listen.

Out of all these tips, the first is the most important. You can do all the right things and yet if God doesn’t work powerfully in your life nothing will happen. However, I know that God wants your devotions to be meaningful. He wants you to have a vibrant, joyful devotional life. In light of that truth I would encourage you to prayerfully try these different suggestions.

Don’t be content with a mediocre spiritual life. Press into God. He wants to meet you.

 

Taken from http://www.theblazingcenter.com/2013/07/six-ways-to-kickstart-your-devotional-life.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBlazingCenter+%28The+Blazing+Center%29


Psalm 139

 

There is perverseness to human thoughts about God that would be risible if it were not so tragic. We find ways to make him small.

A marvelous antidote is Psalm 139. It paints an exalted picture of God, yet does so in stunningly personal ways, as befits a psalm. In particular:

(1) God sees and knows everything (Ps. 139:1-6). The psalmist might have made that point as I just did — in the abstract. Instead, true to his form, he addresses God, acknowledging that this God’s knowledge is not passive and is not merely comprehensive: it is active and personal. This God knows the psalmist so thoroughly that he knows every movement his body makes, and every habit of his life, but also every thought he entertains and every word he speaks — even before they are formulated. Hebrews 4:13 says as much.

(2) God is omnipresent, and therefore inescapable (Ps. 139:7-12). Yet again, the thought in the text is not abstract. When David asks, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Ps. 139:7), it is pretty obvious that there is a part of him that wants to get away from God. It cannot be done. If David were to fly to the heavens or descend to Sheol, if he were to travel as far east or as far west as might be imagined, if he were to hide in the darkness — nothing could hide him from God’s searching gaze. By the end of the psalm, it is clear that David does not want to escape from this God (cf. Rom. 8:38-39).

(3) God is the Creator and providential Ruler (Ps. 139:13-18). Here David does not hark back to the initial creation, but to his own formation in his mother’s womb — which formation is, finally, nothing other than a work of God, for all its terrifying complexity. Nor does this God relinquish control once the creature is made: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16). In Scripture, this truth does not compromise human responsibility, but increases our faith. Perhaps it is the sheer breadth of such knowledge that prompts David to pen the last two verses of this section: God’s thoughts cannot be numbered, for they are more numerous than the grains of sand by the sea — which is no exaggeration at all.

(4) God is utterly holy (Ps. 139:19-24). David’s response to evil people is merely a function of his loyalty to God (Ps. 139:19-22).  What saves it from mere vindictive self-righteousness is the fact that in the light of this God’s holiness, David is no less resolved to deal with any evil in his own life (Ps. 139:23-24).

 

Taken from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/