God’s love — always in our history

Need some good reading today? Read your story (and mine) in two psalms—106 and 107.

Both chapters start out with the well-known thanksgiving:

Praise the LORD!
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 106 goes on, after that wonderful opening, to recount the history of the people God rescued from slavery in Egypt. It’s shocking and sad and downright wicked.

After all God had done for them, they still turned away—testing God’s patience with everything from grumbling and complaining, to outright worship of idols and demon worship that included sacrificing of their children.

Yet, as God’s anger disciplined them and they were finally crushed by the results of their sin, when they called out to Him for help, He rescued them, “because of His unfailing love.”

The second psalm, 107, starts with the same refrain of thanksgiving for God’s faithful love that endures forever. Then it recounts our history. Read it closely, and you’ll most likely find your story. My story is there, too. All of us, wandering, willful, in distress and gloom, foolish, suffering from our sin, battered by life. He gathered all of us who had been living in exile from His presence.

And those who call out to God are rescued! God hears, and in His constant love, He comes to help. He’s done miraculous, wonderful things to care for His children. In your life. In my life.

Those two chapters end with this:

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
   they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.

Today, Thanksgiving, let us take heart. Let us each look back at our personal history and see how His love has cared for us. Even when we were (are??) foolish and rebellious and downright sinful.

His faithful love endures forever.

And for that, I will forever give thanks.

*

Peace? Yes, peace.

Just a very quick note today — because this is a thought that has already changed my day. It’s worth dashing off a reminder to you …

Are we foolish and naïve to even suggest one can have peace in this world?

Jesus said He gives us peace. It’s part of the inheritance we have as children of God. Now. Today. Yes, even in this world.

And He says it is a peace like nothing the world can give.

It’s only through and from Him.

Oswald Chambers says in today’s meditation in My Utmost for His Highest: “We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account.”

What happens when you face the thing that is troubling you, wearing you down, frightening you, or creating chaos in your life — when you face it, taking our Lord into account?

Doesn’t everything change when we take Jesus into account?

My day just did.

 

 

Psalm 63 – Looking back… and ahead

Psalm 63.

Refreshment.

Encouragement.

Water for our souls.

During the time these posts were being published, I hit a slump — one of those steep droops of emotional and mental fatigue when discouragement tempts us to just give it up. You may know some of the lies that play in your head at times like that. Was that Satan’s strategy in the wilderness? Did he scheme to hit Jesus when He was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally?

But Jesus hung on to Scripture to rebuff the lies.

At the bottom of the slump, some of these verses — the very stuff I’d been writing — came back: God is my helper. I walk surrounded by His unfailing love. He holds my life securely, even though my grasp sometimes slips. And most of all — my enemies will not beat me. And so those last few verses, that I had always thought kind of an odd ending for that particular psalm, came into sharp focus.

I was reminded again of the vivid illustration I was given about the Spirit using Scripture as His sword against our enemies. He slices and dices those lies. Scripture is a powerful weapon. (Click on the phrase “vivid illustration” to see the post.)

I hope some of these prayers come back to you at just the time you need the sword in your hand.

May God bless your day with refreshment, encouragement, and a sense of His constant presence and help.

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.

Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
    They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63

Psalm 63:9-11 – Protection and Victory

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.

   They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.
Psalm 63:9-11

This seems an odd way to end our prayers. The specific words are those of a king who has been betrayed and is hiding from enemies. Yet he is confident that his enemies will fall. God will put things right.

 

And there’s a thought for me: 

My confidence and trust are in the God of righteousness.
No thing, no one, plotting my destruction will succeed.

That is the destiny God has planned for His children.

 

When I read these last verses, my mind always goes to the victory of Psalm 18. 

The psalmist — beaten, defeated, feeling the coils of death closing around him — cries out to God.
And 
God comes to his rescue, in a most dramatic way. 

 

But that’s not all God does!

 

He trains us to do war with our enemies, strengthens our arms for battle.
In the end, the enemy is chased down, crushed, ground up like dust and swept into the gutter!

(Read Psalm 18:25-42)

 

Oh, to do battle like that!

 

Train us. Give strength and victory to Your children today, Father, Jesus, Spirit.

*

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.

Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
    They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63

Psalm 63:8 – Clinging to My Security

I cling to you;
   your strong right hand holds me securely.
Psalm 63:8

How many times have I breathed this prayer?
How many times have I clung to my Father’s strong hand?

More than I can recount,
because there are so many times when all I know to do is to cling to Him.

And the best part?
It is really He who holds me.

He does not say I must find the strength to hold onto Him.
Even though I will it,
I falter.

No, He holds me.

Securely.

*

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.

Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
Psalm 63:1-8