Teach Me

Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
[Psalms 119:66 ESV]

Good judgment is in short supply, oh God, and i’m not pointing fingers. Good judgment is in short supply with me concerning Your Law.
Teach me.
Help me.
Show me.
Your Law is good, right and pure.
Your Law is perfect, enduring and sure.
I know this but i need good judgment that i may follow Your Laws rightly.
I need good judgment that i may glorify You more fully.
Teach me to know Your Law more deeply, oh God.
I give You thanks that You have given me knowledge of You through Jesus Christ.
I give You thanks that You have given me Your Holy Spirit.
I give You thanks that You have saved me.
Thus,
i want to know Your Law better and have better judgment that my obedience in this world would glorify You.
You deserve that, so help me.
Teach me, oh God, teach me.
Give me good judgment for i believe in Your commandments.

Praying the Psalms ~ The List

Let’s keep the list going. Can you add to it?

“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise?” [Psalms 106:1‭-‬2 ESV]

Who can utter Your mighty deeds, Oh Lord?
Who can declare all your praise?
I will certainly try but my list will be far from complete.
For Your deeds are numerous and Your faithfulness unending.
Your love endures forever and Your might is unmatched.
You created all that I can and can not see.
Your creation is a thing of beauty.
Your wonders never cease.
You formed me from within my mother’s womb – I came forth from You.
You breathed life into me.
You declared all life to be precious.
Though a sinner You gave me Jesus.
Though a sinner You gave me Your Spirit.
Thus, I will live with You.
You raise up the lowly.
You humble the proud.
Hand in hand, we will stand before You in worship.
You have defeated all Your enemies.
You have subdued them all.
You have chased away my fear.
Oh God,
You are worthy of my worship.
You are worthy of all honor.
You are my God.
You are always with me – never have You departed.
You are always true – never have You been deceptive.
You are always holy – never to be corrupted.
You are.
Oh Lord, this is but a minuscule list – so much more can be said.
And so I will continue to praise and give You thanks, for Your steadfast love endures forever and ever.
Amen.

Understanding

The following prayer was inspired by Psalm 119:169-176.


Father God,
Many seek understanding through science.
Some seek understanding through logic.
Others seek understanding through philosophy.
Oh God, please give me understanding according to Your Word.
Many seek understanding through intellect.
Some seek understanding through debate.
Others seek understanding through experience.
Oh God, Please give me understanding according to Your Word.
For Your Word is
right
perfect
and precious.
You Word is my
delight
Life
and salvation.
All other understanding is fleeting, temporary, lost and flawed.
Nothing else can save.
So God, I long for You.
I long for Life,
I long to know.
I long to understand.
But I have gone astray and I am ashamed.
I have sought understanding in all the wrong places.
So in Your great mercy seek for me and hold me tight.
Bring me close.
Oh God, please give me understanding according to Your Word,
that I may not stray from You.

Not Dragged Off

Psalm 28:3 (ESV) ~ “Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

Have you ever felt this way following the realization that you have willingly submitted to temptation? Have you ever just dropped to you knees and pleaded with God to not drag you off with the wicked? There have been many times when I have come to realization that I have done something contrary to God’s Law/commands and wonder why God continues to put up with me. Sometimes I half expect a lightening bolt to strike me down or worse yet, that scary scene from the 1990 movie “Ghost” (Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze). Remember that – when the bad guy dies and then some dark figures come out of the shadows to drag their soul away? Please God, do not drag me off with the wicked.

The psalmist here is crying out to God, knowing that if his cries fall on deaf ears, he will be confined to the pit. But, Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. (Psalm 28:6) Through faith in Jesus Christ, your cries for mercy do not fall on deaf ears. You are a sinner, that is true, and that is why you need a Savior – Jesus Christ. For those who do not willingly serve sin, call upon Jesus; knowing that he is your strength and shield, and trust in him for The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. (Psalm 28:8) For those who belong to Jesus, you can have this hope for he died and rose FOR YOU that you would not be dragged away with the wicked.

Oh God, I praise you that through Jesus Christ, You have redeemed my life from the pit. I know I am a sinner. I know I have and will give in to temptation. I know I have and will disobey You. Oh God, may my heart be inclined to You, that I will not strive to satisfy the desires of my flesh but rather strive to know You more and more. Have mercy on me, oh God and give me strength, for You are my fortress and shield. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Face seeking

Psalm 27:7–8 (ESV) ~ “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

I find myself doing a lot of face-seeking these days, but the seeking I’m doing is very specific. The congregation I serve is exploring the possibility of purchasing a property of our own. Currently we rent space in a county community center in a park. Do we purchase this property that is outside our original search area or do we stay put? So many questions. So much uncertainty.

So the “face” I am seeking is God’s. Not literally, of course, like Moses who was told that no one can see God face to face and live.
I am seeking God to listen and obey.
I am seeking God for peace and courage to go where He leads.
I am seeking God for reassurance and wisdom.
I am seeking God in order that I may lead this congregation rightly.
Many are seeking answers to questions – seeking to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. Many are seeking definitive proof and evidence that we will not fail if we move. Many are seeking financial assurances. And granted, we have to do our due diligence to explore this property, but at some point we just need to stop and trust God – to seek His face; listening and obeying.

Without the face of God, fear creeps in to cloud our vision. Satan prowls in order to devour. We need to seek the face of God that we may be faithful but also to be reminded of the FACT that God our Father, through Jesus Christ, is our hope and refuge – our defender and shield.

And so my prayer is for hearts to be tuned in to God, that face-seeking be the goal and faithfulness abound, no matter how the vote turns out on Sept 8. Whatever it is in YOUR life that you are facing, seek the face of God – always – and be at peace in Him.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 88

It is okay to be honest with God. It is okay to open the flood gates and pour out your heart to God. God can handle it. God can handle your feelings. You are not going to hurt God’s feelings with your laments and crying out to Him. Yes, there will be dark times in your life and yes, it is okay to run to God with your fears and despair. Too many people have been taught to be careful what you say to God, but one of the things the Psalms teach us is to raise our voices to God, but to do so in faith; for God is faithful.

Notice at the beginning of the Psalm, the psalmist refers to God as my salvation. It is in that light that I offer this prayer for you…

____________________________________________________________________________

O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
[Psalms 88:1‭-‬2 ESV]

Oh Lord, my God, I am in utter despair.
I am lost.
I feel embattled on all sides.
My hope is waning, especially when I look to this world; seeing the hatred and violence, oppression and division, walls and weapons, loveless words and hate-filled rhetoric.
Oh God, I cry out to You but it appears a hopeless endeavor at times.
People close to me are hurting.
People that I love are in pain.
People dear to my heart are without hope and I am at a loss for words.
I don’t know what to say to You. I don’t know how to pray.
Turn Your ear to my prayer.
Look upon my sorrow.
Gaze upon me with Your love.
Though I feel You are distant, I know that You are not.
Though it feels like You are not listening, I know that You do.
Though is feels like I am abandoned, I know that I am not.

But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
[Psalms 88:13 ESV]

Enemies attack.
The Evil One is having a party in my midst.
Darkness surrounds me.
Oh Lord, my God, show me Your glory.
Touch me with Your mighty hand.
Speak to me with Your still, quiet voice.
Hold me in Your loving arms.
I cry out to You in hope, for You are ever present.
I cry out to You in hope, for thy will be done.
I cry out to You in hope, for I am Your beloved child.
Oh Lord, my God, You and You alone are my salvation.

Amen.

Winning Side

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV

When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.