Day 6: Psalms to God's Faithfulness

Faithfulness by Sue Kemnitz

Today’s Reading
Psalms 105, 119:137–144, 146

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. – Psalm 146:5

Observation
It’s interesting to read Psalms 105 and 146 together. Both praise God’s faithfulness yet provide different evidence of that faithfulness.

Psalm 105 emphasizes God’s “mindfulness” of the covenant made with Abraham and his descendants. The psalmist’s evidence is a veritable best of list of God’s actions in Genesis and Exodus; recounting the early history of the Hebrew people from the creation of the covenant to settlement in the Promised Land.

Psalm 146 also praises the God of Jacob and provides a list of God’s wonderful works, but this list emphasizes different aspects of God’s faithfulness and power. While these works apply to the Hebrew people, it is clear they also apply to those beyond the bloodline.

  • Verse 6 proclaims God’s creative power as the Maker and Sustainer of heaven and earth
  • In verses 7-9, God is the faithful champion and provider to those in need: the oppressed, the hungry, those who are bowed down, the stranger, the orphan and the widow.
  • Verses 7-8 also praise God’s power to heal and liberate: prisoners are set free and the blind receive sight, literally and spiritually.
  • The psalmist summarizes God’s faithfulness as loving the righteous and bringing justice against the wicked

An isolated reading of Psalm 105, away from the grand sweep of the Bible, might cause a person to think God was only interested in the descendants of Abraham. Psalm 146 reminds us of a key aspect of the covenant promise- it is a vehicle for bringing salvation to the world. “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring.” (Genesis 26:4)

God chose a particular people- the small, flawed and poor descendants of Abraham- to extend blessing and salvation to the world, especially to others who are also poor in resources, power, and influence. This incredible plan is echoed by the prophet Isaiah and later Jesus himself as he proclaims God’s faithful fulfillment of the covenant through him. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:8-19)

Application
God is steadfast, faithful, and consistent in fulfilling the plan to save the world.

Prayer
Steadfast Savior, your faithfulness is our anchor. The world shifts and turns. Situations change and people are fickle. The future is unknown and unpredictable. But you are our Rock. Your grace is consistent. Your provision is sure. We need never doubt your deliverance of those who turn to you, nor your love for all. Great is your faithfulness. Great are you Lord and worthy of all trust and devotion. Hallelujah! Bless the Lord our God, the Covenant Keeper! Glory to You, now and forever! Amen.

For a worship resource entitled Trusting God’s Provision, click here

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Book Shelf: Letters by a Modern Mystic

Letters by a Modern Mystic
Frank C. Laubach (Author)
Published by Purposeful Design Publications; 3rd edition (December 31, 2007)

My review: 4 out of 5 stars
In the 1930’s, Laubach was a desperately lonely missionary serving in the Philippines. His loneliness led him to pursue God as he never had before- continually. In doing so, Laubach’s approach to life and ministry were changed in profound ways. He wrote home about his experience and his letters were later brought together into this treasure of a book. Laubach’s writing is transparent and inspirational, encouraging and instructional. Reading these letters is a privilege which should not be missed.

From the publisher:
Have you ever considered what it might be like to live in a conscious moment-by-moment communion with God? “Letters by a Modern Mystic” recounts Frank C. Laubach’s spiritual journey as he began such an experiment. Read about the remarkable results. What might you experience in the practice of such a spiritual discipline?

Day 5: Psalms of Doubt

Doubt Was Lifted by Fabio Napoleoni

Today’s Reading
Psalms 42, 73, 77

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you.
Psalm 73:21-22

There are moments when hideous possibilities besiege us like a throng of furies and break down the doors of our brain. – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Observation
Psalm 73 is a testimony of deliverance from the destructive powers of doubt. The psalmist is disheartened because the wicked prosper while the psalmist suffers. His pain distracts him from the truth and embitters him. Weren’t the pure in heart supposed to prosper? The psalmist discovers that life isn’t that simple. Yes, much of the time we receive great blessing, favor and peace from living a Godly life. But sometimes bad things happen to the faithful. Evil seems to have the upper hand.

The key word is seems. In seeking God through worship, the psalmist takes on a new perspective. The psalmist’s view of the present situation is widened. He can now see the whole truth, the big picture. God is near the suffering (vs. 23) and “good to the upright.” (vs. 1) No one will escape God’s truth and justice. “Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you.” (vs. 27)

By doubting we come to inquiry, by inquiry we come to truth. – Peter Abelard

Application
Genuine worship of the One, True, Living God corrects our perspective.

Prayer
Good, Good Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, a right perspective. Root out any bitterness you might find. Any doubts. Any distractions. Replace them with your truth and light. You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Help me to see people and situations as you see them. Place your eyes and your heart within me, that I may love you and follow you faithfully. Amen.

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Day 4: Psalms to God's Deeds

Eye of the Storm by Susan Bee

Today’s Reading
Psalms 9, 18, 118

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:3

Observation
The bold imagery of Psalm 18 sweeps you along, like you are right there hearing David tell the story of the battle and the victory. This psalm of thanksgiving also appears in 2 Samuel 22 and can be divided into five sections.

  • Section 1 (vs. 1-3): David sets the stage with a passionate praise list naming God as his deliverer.
  • Section 2 (vs. 4-18): Instead of describing the battle like a reporter, David uses storm imagery to describe the desperation of his situation and the power of God’s deliverance: earthquake, smoke, darkness, thunder, hot coals. “Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters.” (vs 15-16)
  • Section 3 (vs. 19-36): David uses somewhat softer imagery in this section to describe God’s relationship with him. God delights in him. (vs. 19) God causes David to move like an agile deer (vs. 33) and sets his feet on wide, safe ground. (vs. 36) “This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” (vs. 30) David believes his rescue is a reward for his faithfulness to God.
  • Section 4 (vs. 37-42): David describes with graphic detail the violent way he destroyed his enemies once he had the upper hand. As a Christ-follower I feel called to work and pray first for the deliverance of both myself and my enemy.
  • Section 5 (vs. 43-50): David closes by giving God more praise for establishing him as a powerful king, revered by his own people and those of foreign lands.

Application
In the day of trouble, call to God with boldness.

Prayer
Ageless God, my battles are so different from David’s…or are they? I am not a soldier forced to kill or be killed. My wars are far more civil: a skirmish with a friend or family member, a clash with an unjust system, a conflict within my own soul. My enemies do not carry soldiers’ armaments, yet I carry the slugs of every encounter. Like David, I know I will drown and die beneath the pain and chaos if you do not come to my aid. My enemies and I will both be lost. Come our Rock, our Shield, our Savior. Come our Guardian, our Deliverer, our Hope. End the wars without and within. Raise us both to a wide and peaceful place. Amen.

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms.  To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Day 3: Psalms of Confidence

not-ashamed-to-praise

I am NOT Ashamed to Praise Him-R-U? by RealPainter

Today’s Reading
Psalms 27, 36, 71, 125

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Observation
Psalm 36 opens with a list describing “the wicked.” Their actions reveal their motivations, priorities and the condition of their hearts.

  • In the depth of their being (their hearts) they hear the voice of sin more than the voice of God. (vs. 1)
  • They do not respect or revere God, instead embracing evil. (vs. 1, 4)
  • They do not have a teachable spirit, but are egotistical (vs. 2, 4)
  • They believe they are so smart they will never be caught doing wrong. (vs. 2)
  • Their words cannot be trusted. (vs. 3)
  • Their behavior is foolish and destructive (vs. 3, 4)

Next, the psalmist provides an important lesson. Instead of contrasting the condition of the wicked with a description of “the righteous,” the psalmist describes the greatness and glory God. Naming God’s character and deeds are acts of praise. The psalmist’s praise list is both direct and emphatic, that’s what makes it so powerful: your steadfast love, your faithfulness, your righteousness, your judgments, you save, your wings provide refuge, your house is full of abundance, you give delight, you are the fountain of life, your light sheds light on our lives. The list builds and builds to a crescendo of praise. Praise builds trust and confidence in God. Praise destroys fear and puts things into perspective.

Application
Why should I ever fear when I know and am known by such a God?

Prayer
Mighty and Everlasting God, Generous and Patient, Merciful Healer, Strong to Save, defend me from every attack of doubt, despair and destruction. You are greater. You are victorious. You are good, now and forever. Amen.

For original worship resources on the theme Praising God, click the links below
Hymn Text: Glorious One
Liturgy: The Glory of God’s Reign

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You are invited to join me on a summer adventure through one of the most beloved books in the Bible, Psalms. To download the Summer in the Psalms reading plan, click here Psalms Reading Plan

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you seek him this summer. – Lisa <><

PS- For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.