Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Psalm 65 - 67

written Nov. 21, 2008

Psalm 65 & 66 are Psalms of praise... each talk of the greatness of God and tell of things He has done.

65:3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions

65:5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas

Verses 6 -11 of Psalm 65 paint a picture of Creator God and show how He is still seen in His creation.

65:6 formed the mountains by Your power

65:8 when morning darns and evening fades, You call forth songs of joy

65:11 You crown the year with Your bounty 

66:1-2 Shout with joy to God all the earth, sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!

66:4 All the earth bows down to You, they sing praise to you, they sing praise to Your name

66:6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the water on foot

66:7 He rules forever by His power

66:9 He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping

66:12 we went through the fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance

Psalm 66 ends with an important truth:

v. 18-20 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayers or withheld His love from me!

Sin get in the way.. it is like a wall between us and God.. it hinders our prayers and, therefore, our relationship with Him.  We must confess our sins and repent... not cherish our sins and hold on to them... live in them.  God hears our prayers of repentance and He forgive.. He wants to keep sin from straining our relationship with Him.

Psalm 67 begins with a blessing for us and goes into our blessing God and then returns to God blessing us.  It is a short, but powerful Psalm... a great one to pray.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Psalm 60 - 64

When I started reading Psalm 60, I thought here is another whiny Psalm where the author feels God has rejected him… and in a way that is true… but then I saw how timely and pertinent this Psalm is. 

So many feel God rejected our nation with election of Barak Obama.  They fail to acknowledge that God establishes authority (Rom. 13:1) or that he has a plan in all this (Hab. 1) 

This Psalm sounds like the “cries” I’ve heard recently. 

Verses 1- 3 “You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; You have been angry – now restore us!  You have shaken the land and torn it open… you have shown your people desperate times…” 

Certainly we are seeing desperate times and our land has been shaken and I personally feel more is to come. 

Verse 4 proclaims hope and truth “But for those who fear You, You have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.” 

Jesus is our banner – our faith in Him – we must cling to Him … walk in faith no matter our circumstances. 

God is at work. We need to seek Him and trust Him always… for “the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory.” (v. 11 & 12) 

Psalm 61 follows as a prayer crying out to God in time of need. 

“… lead me the rock that is higher than I .  For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”  (v. 2 & 3) 

Jesus is the Rock and He is most definitely higher. 

Psalm 62 is a familiar friend. 

“My sould finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  (v. 1 & 2) 

What verses to pray and promises to stand on! 

And the Psalmist reminds us again of who God is… 

“Find rest, O my soul,. In God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”  (v. 5-8) 

Psalm 63 is another familiar friend... one of the most wonderful Psalms David wrote. 

“I God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (v. 1) 

How I want to always long for and seek God in this way. 

“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.  I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You.”  (v. 3-5) 

This should be my heart… my life… each day… to praise God because He is good.. He is better than life! 

And for David it is 24 / 7… in Verse 1, earnestly can also be translated early… so early will I seek you. 

Then in verse 6 He says “on my bed I remember You; I think of You throughout the watches of the night.” 

For David, seeking God … praising Him… worshipping… was all day and night… every moment. 

Psalm 64 again finds the Psalmist crying out to God, but not in a whiny way… it is more of an “OK, God, here are the problem in my life.. take care of them.”  In a way the Psalmist is doing what Ps. 55:22 says to do. “Cast your cares on the Lord…” and he knows God will take care of Him.  Verse 10 “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him.” 

Psalm 56 - 59

Written November 18, 2008 

In all four of these Psalms, the Psalmist is crying out to God for or about something. 

In Psalm 56 he is under attack and seeks God’s mercy and deliverance.  I love the choice laid out in verse 3 & 4… “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me? 

In Psalm 57 once again the Psalmist seeks mercy n the face of his enemies’ pursuits.  He cries out to “God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” (v. 2) 

I love this reminder in the midst of turmoil that God is God Most High and that he has a plan… a purpose for each of us.  Verse 2 here reminds me of Phil. 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

Psalm 58 is yet again crying out to the Lord… it has, to me, an angry tone at times and while I know all scripture is God-breathed and useful, this passage seems, to me, to have little value.  I think, for me, it is God showing where to take our anger… to Him instead of pouring it out on others. 

Psalm 59 once again finds the Psalmist seeking God’s deliverance.  In verse 12 he says of his enemies “For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride.” 

This actually is a verse worth praying for ourselves and our children.  Pride is so deep rooted and leads to a multitude of sins.  I pray God would let me be caught in it, so that I might recognize it and repent … I pray the same for my family… for my children.  No doubt the process isn’t pleasant, but the result is a heart more like His.

Psalm 55

Written November 17, 2008 

Psalm 55 has a good bit of despair in it, but there is also hope. 

Verse 2 says, “my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy.” 

Isn’t that where satan hits hardest – in our thoughts?  Satan is the father of lies and he whispers them constantly to us.  He knows all the right buttons to push. 

This verse reminds me of the Casting Crowns’ song “Voice of Truth” which talks abouot these lies and the dear they bring.  They can paralyze us if we choose to listen to them.  But 2 Tim. 1:7 tells us that” God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind” and we are to make the choice to listen to the voice of truth – God’s voice – and not these lies the enemy bombards us with.  We must take these lies captive and give them to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:15) and renew our mind (Rom. 12:2) by being in the Word.  If we keep our minds filled with truth, there will be no room for lies and the battle will be tougher for satan. 

Despite the despair found in this Psalm, the Psalmist knows where to find help…. 

v. 16 “But I call to God and the Lord saves me” 

v. 18 “He ransoms me unharmed” 

It is a choice …. To wallow in lies or to believe and trust God. 

v. 22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” 

v. 23b “But as for me, I trust in You (Lord).”

Psalms 50 - 54

Written November 3, 2008 

Psalm 50 explodes with the power of God – His might – His majesty. 

Verse 1 goes great with Psalm 113:3 (a favorite of mine)…

 Ps. 50:1 “The Mighty One, god, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it set.” Ps. 113:3 “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” 

We see in Psalm 50 that God is perfect in beauty and shines forth (v. 2)… He will not be silent (v. 3)….fire devours before Him and around Him tempest rages (v. 3)… He summons the earth (v.4)… the heavens proclaim His righteousness (v. 6)… He is judge (v. 6)… He is our God (v. 7)… every animal of the forest is His (v. 10)… the cattle on 1000 hills belongs to Him (v. 10)… He knows every bird in the mountains and every creature of the field is His (v. 11)…. The world is His and Hall that is in it (v. 12)… He is the Most High (v. 14)… He hears our cries and delivers us (v. 15)… He is nothing like us (v. 21)…. He is our salvation (v. 23) 

We see the might of God in Psalm 50 and then in Psalm 51 we see David bow before this mighty, all powerful God.

Psalm 51 us a well known Psalm – it is David’s plea to God after Nathan confronts him with his sin concerning Bathsheba. 

All of us sin (Rom. 3:23)... even believers continue to sin in their lives.  Ps, 51 is a great place to go when there is unconfessed sin in your life… pray it… earnestly… back to God.  He will honor your prayer and you will be forgiven (1 John (9:10). 

I love that David asks for more than just forgiveness – he asks to be washed clean (v. 7) and to be restored in his relationship with God (v. 12). 

Sin hinders our relationship with God.  It is what blocks us from God before we are saved and even after we become believers, sin can slip in and strains our relationship with God.  As believers, our salvation is secure – we are headed to heaven (2 Cor. 1:21), but we cannot live the abundant life Christ has for us (John 10:10) if there is unconfessed sin in our life. 

Ps. 50:16-17 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite hear, O God, You will not despise.” 

Psalm 52 is a comparison of the evil man to the righteous man.  David describes the evil man as one who boasts all day and is a disgrace in the eyes of God (v. 1)… his tongue plots destruction… he practices deceit (v. 2)… loves evil... loves falsehood (v. 3)… loves harmful words (v. 4)… and David warns that God will “snatch” him up … uproot him from the land of the living (v. 5)… in contrast the righteous man has God as his stronghold (v. 7)… flourishes (v. 8)… trusts in God’s unfailing love (v. 8)… praises God (v. 9)… places hope in God (v. 9) 

Psalm 53 begins with averse I’ve heard many time… “The fools says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” 

I honestly don’t see how anyone can look at nature… at the human body… stars… newborn babies… and think there is no God.  To me, that person is surrounded by a wall of deceit that will lead to destruction if not removed. 

Verse 3 is a very convincing verse:  “Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good.” 

Is that what God sees today? I fear it is. 

But Ps. 53 ends with the promise of restoration for Israel… a promise which still stands today. 

Psalm 54 is a cry for help… there are a number of Psalms which are cries for help.  I believe God is telling us there will be difficult times and we need to cry out to Him for deliverance. 

Verses 1 & 2 “Save me, O God, by Your name; vindicate me by Your might.  Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.” 

Verse 4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” 

Verse 7 “For He has delivered me from all my troubles.” 


Psalm 49

Written October 30, 2008

Psalm 49 seems to be written for today.  Much of it deals with earthly blessings versus heavenly ones.  Verses 16-19 are powerful and sobering…. 

            Do not be over awed when a man grows rich,

            When the splendor of his house increases;

            For he will take nothing with him when he dies,

            His splendor will not descend with him.

            Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—

            And men praise you when you prosper –

            He will join the generation of his fathers who will never see the light of life.

A strong reminder of where our true treasure lies.

It reminds me of Mark 8:6 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Psalm 44 - 48

Written October 28, 2008

Psalm 44 is interesting.  The Psalmist starts out talking of knowing all God has don in the past for his forefathers.  And he talks of trusting in the Lord and even of boasting in God… v. 8 “In God we make our boast all day long.”

This reminds me of 1 Cor. 1:31 “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” And Gal. 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”

But this loving tone changes in verse 9.  The Psalmist is in distress and he feels God has let all this come upon them for no valid reason.  He ends the Psalm with a cry for help… v. 26 “Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love.”

Now I know God had a plan during that part of the Psalmist’s life… just as I know He has a plan for all of my life.  He does not desert us, but there are times we feel that way and times we feel unjustly treated.  This Psalm shows us those times will come and it reminds us where to go when they do.

My Bible notes say that Psalm 45 is a wedding song.  It is most definitely a song which praises a king… I assume the groom.

Psalm 46 is wonderful!

Verse 1 “God is our refuge and strength on ever present help in trouble.”

What a promise!

Verse 2 follows with “therefore we will not fear though….”

That is, for me, a full in the blank verse.  I can remind myself that God is my refuge and strength – He is my ever-present help in times of trouble and I will not fear even though ___________..... even though the diagnosis is grim.. even though the money is tight… even though the task is hard…. Etc.  This verse covers it all!

And we are reminded in verse 7 “the Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Ps. 46:10 is a well known verse, but one we seldom put into practice – “Be still and know that I am God.”

I think it ties in beautifully with verses 1 & 2… God, You are my refuge and strength… You are my ever-present help in times of trouble!  I will not fear even though __________, but instead I choose to be still and know You are God.

I found a song lyric in Psalm 47 in verses 1 & 2 “Clap your hands all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  How awesome is the Lord Most High.”

Psalm 48 is a psalm of praise.  Verse 1 “Great s the Lord and most worthy of praise” and it ends with a wonderful promise… verse 14 “For this God is our God forever and ever, he will be our guide even to the end.”

"I am God..."

Written October 27, 2008

As I prayed for a word, God led me to read Isaiah 46 this morning….

Verse 4 is a wonderful promise to all of us, especially to the elderly who might feel forgotten…

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

What God emphasized for me is from verse 9 “I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me.”

I was drawn back to chapter 45 and saw this point made there several times…

v. 3 “… so that you know that I am the Lord.”

v. 5 “I am the Lord and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.”

v. 6 “… I am the Lord and there is no other.”

v. 8 “… I am the Lord and there is no other.”

v. 21 “… there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.”

v. 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God and there is no other.”

Now this is a Truth – really the Truth… and it is one I know.  So I wondered a bit as to why God led me here – what He is teaching me.  I think part of it is to remind me that He is God and I need to be careful not to make things in my life my god… to keep Him in the right place in my life.

I will be curious to see how this week plays out and how this verse (these verses actually) is a part of it.

One more passage from Chapter 46 that seems relevant to me … verses 9-13 “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say, ‘My purpose will stand and I will do what I please.’ … What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.  Listen to me you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness, I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed.  I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.”

WOW!  What a promise!


Psalm 41, 42, & 43

Written October 24, 2008 

In Psalm 41 David is surrounded by enemies – everyone, it seems, is against him, but he chooses to trust in the Lord…

v. 10 – 12 “But You, O Lord, have mercy on me, rouse me up …. My enemy does not triumph over me.  In my integrity You uphold me and set me in Your presence forever.”

To be in His presence forever – WOW! – what more could we want or need!

Psalm 42 begins with familiar verses often quoted and even found in songs.  I pray that I could say these words and mean them with all my heart…

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (v.1)

I want to long for God… for time with Him… that way.

The remainder of Ps. 2 and even Ps. 43 basically show that the Psalmist is going through a time of difficulty and he reminds himself over and over to put his hope in the Lord and to praise Him.

Ps. 42:5-6 “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore, I will remember You from the lands of Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mt. Mizar.”

Isn’t that what we need to do when our soul is downcast?  We need to remember God…. focus on who He is and what He has done (and is doing)… take our eyes off our circumstances and put them on Him.

Ps. 42:11 and Ps. 43:5 repeat this encouragement…this reminder to hope in the Lord.

“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Psalms 38, 39 & 40

Written Oct. 20, 2008

Psalm 38 is a powerful Psalm and one I fear most of us cannot relate to. David is in anguish over the sin in his life…

v. 3-5 “Because of Your wrath there is no health in my body my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.”

Have you ever felt that way over the sin in your life? I can’t say it causes me anguish and certainly I don’t “go around” all day “mourning: (v. 6)

So should we? I think we should see our sin for what it is and be broken by it. 2 Cor. 7:10 says “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret but worldly sorrow brings death.”

We don’t want worldly sorrow … which is mainly upset for being “caught”… we want Godly sorrow.

I don’t believe we have to mourn all day as David did. We have Jesus and through Him the forgiveness of our sins.

1 John 1:9 promises that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sings and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

What an awesome promise!

Psalm 39 starts with David trying to do the impossible…

v. 1 “I said, ‘I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sinning; I will put a muzzle over my mouth.’”

James 3 makes it clear that no one can tame their tongue. Just try and you will quickly see how difficult and impossible this task is in your own strength. Only through God can this happen/

Verses 4 & 5 have come to my mind a number of times lately and I’ve realized what a powerful prayer they are…

Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man’s life is but a breath.

How differently would I live my life if I truly understood how short my time is here on earth?

Yesterday, my pastor told of a man given a terminal diagnosis and how he lived life differently and then he reminded us that we all are terminal and in light of the Kingdom calendar, we will all die soon. We need to live life with that mindset… I need to live life today with that mindset… and every day I have left where I have two days or 40 years.

V. 6 is a picture of the world today…

Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; he bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth not knowing who will get it.

What a sobering and powerful verse!

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My Hope is in You!” (v. 7)

The result of that hope is seen in Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

David continues in Psalm 40 to talk of the blessings of trusting in the Lord. How different his tone here than in Psalm 38. Ps. 40 is a man who has been forgiven and is back on the right path.

V. 8 is one we should all learn and pray daily “I desire to do Your will, O my God, Your law is within my heart.”

That is key… get in the Word and get the Word in you.. then you will sing a new song like David.

Psalms 36 & 37

Written Oct. 16, 2008

I immediately start singing when I think of Psalm 36. Verses 5 & 6 are part of a Third Day song I love….

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep.”

I love when I find a song in scripture! I love that writers do that… use scripture in songs. What better words to sing then those written by our Lord!

Psalm 37 has a number of verses in it that God has used in my life over the years.

V. 4 is one that a dear sweet elderly lady in my life shares a great deal… “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

That does mean… Love God, enjoy Him and you will get everything you want. To delight in the Lord, we spend time with Him in His Word and through prayer. The desires of our heart will line up with His will and will be of more importance than things.

Right now some of the desires of my heart are to know Him more… to be filled with His love to overflowing… to be acutely aware of sin in my life so that I can confess it quickly.. to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and might.

I also have desires for my husband and children .. the main on being that they love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and might. (That is the best thing to pray for anyone!)

God has shown me (and continues to show me) the really important desires… the ones that last.

Ps. 37:5 is the verse God gave me when I first decided to Homeschool and was unsure of my ability to do so… “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.”

Now the “this” in verse 5 refers to verse 6 which says “He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

But I believe when God led me to verse 5 as I prayed “How can I do this Lord.” He was answering me and I’ve seen Him do just what He promised.

Verse 7 is something God often calls me (all of us) to do and it isn’t easy not fun… “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

When I’ve felt envious of others wealth and stuff, v. 16 he reminded me.. “Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked.”

This is not to say all wealthy folks are wicked. It reminds me I have riches greater than the wealth here on earth.

Psalm 35

I have lived Psalm 35... I think most of us have. Obviously David is under attack and he starts off calmly crying out to God for help. He basically says, "When you do this, then I will rejoice." (v. 9) But apparently God isn't working the way David wants. I get the impression His time line is different than that of David's and David feels his prayers are going unanswered.. that God is not responding. "... when my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning." (v. 13-14)

He continues to cry out, but now with a bit of panic... excitement... in his words. Again, it is as if God's not there. "Don not be far from me, Lord. Aware and arise to my defense." (v. 22-23)

So why include a Psalm like this in the Bible? Because we all have times where we can't see or feel God at work. It may be a time of testing... of growth.. it could be of our own doing - unconfessed sin puts up a wall between us and God... no matter the reason, it isn't a fun place to be.

If you are there, ask God to show you if there is unconfessed sin in our life... truly seek to know this and deal with whatever He shows you.

If it isn't there, accept that God is at work in your life, just not in the way you want. Choose to trust Him. Follow David's example to cry out to Him.... tell Him how you feel...He can take it. And know that He is there at work and He has your best interest at heart.

Psalm 34

written Oct. 12, 2008

This Psalm contains one of my favorite Bible verses... "I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." (v. 4)

God used this verse during one of the most difficult trials of my life. I still remember the exact moment He led me to it and He has continued to use it in my life.

Occasionally there is a verse that God shows me and writes on my heart without my having to work at learning it ... Ps. 34:4 is one of those verses.

This Psalm of David has many wonderful verses...

v. 1 -3 David talks of always praising God and encourages us to do the same.... and it seems to me the next several verses of this Psalm explains why we should praise Him.

v. 4 deliverance

v. 5 no shame

v. 6 saved

v. 7 Angel of the Lord surrounds us

v. 8 blessed

v. 9 lack nothing

v. 10 those who seek the Lord lack no good thing

David then teaches a bit about how we are to live...

1. 13 keep tongue from evil, no lies

v. 14 turn from evil, do good, seek peace

And once again he tells of all the Lord does for us....

v. 17-19 "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close tot he brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all."

Psalm 33

written Oct. 11, 2008

What a wonderful song of hope! The Psalmist starts off in verse 1 & 2 telling us to "sing joyfully to the Lord"... "praise the Lord" ... and the rest of this Psalm tells us why we are to do this. This Psalm is a picture of who God is and what He has done, is doing and will do. Really just a glimpse of all that for who can really grasp all God is and does!?

v. 4 "The Word of the Lord is right and true" Amen! How wonderful to know that we can stand on the promises knowing they are right and true!

v. 4 "He is faithful in ALL He does"

v. 5 "... the earth is full of His unfailing love"

v. 6-9 is a quick look at creation. I love being reminded that "by the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry hosts by the breath of His mouth .... For He spoke and it came to be; He commanded and it stood firm."

Wow! I am always awed by the truth that God spoke the World into existence... I pray He speaks over me! Zeph. 3:17 tells me that He rejoices over me with singing.. how powerful that is in light of this reminder about the power in His Words.

v. 11 "The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of His heart through all generations"

God is not fickle or wishy-washy. He has had a plan from the beginning and He will see it through to the end.

v. 18 "The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love."

May I be one whose hope is in His unfailing love!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Psalm 32

written October 7, 2008

The first five verses of Psalm 32 deal with confessing our sins. David reminds us that we are blessed because our sins are forgiven, they don't count against us (v. 1-2). Then verses 3 & 4 paint a picture of one who "hides" their sin, refuses to confess it... acknowledge it before the Lord... "my bones wasted away"... "groaning all day long"... "my strength was sapped." Surely unconfessed sin creates a wall between us and God -- it effects us spiritually, mentally, emotionally and this Psalm makes it clear that it effects us physically too. No doubt God allows this because He wants us to acknowledge our sin so we can have the blessing of forgiveness.

Verse 5 shows how quickly and easily we can have that blessing... "Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' and You forgave the guilt of my sin." It really is that simple! 1 John 1:9m says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Psalm 32:5 is a picture of that promise in action.

Verse 7 is one of my favorites:

You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I love how God goes beyond for us. We see this over and over in the Word and verse 7 is a going beyond verse. God hides us when there is trouble and He protects us -- that in and of itself is more than we deserve but then we see that He "surrounds us with songs of deliverance." God confronts us by singing over us like a parent comforts a small child. I love the picture this verse creates in my mind of me being tucked up under God's wings -- safe, secure, close to Him and He is quietly singing words of peace and comfort to keep be calm and feeling secure.

Today, if you are feeling boxed in... pressed on all sides... stressed... worried... any and all of these worldly woes, follow Col. 3:2's exhortation and Look up! Set your mind on things above and You will experience Psalm 32:7 first hand. Keep your ears open and listen to the Father's perfect voice as He sings over you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Psalm 31

written Oct. 6, 2008

Ps 31 is a cry for help... but a calm one... not a panicked prayer. I believe it is an example of what we are to do when we are in distress and feeling attacked. Throughout the Psalm David proclaims his trust in the Lord. He very confidently states what God has done and will do in his life. He does list his trouble,m but again there is no sense of panic here, but one of calm resolve and confidence in his Lord. In a way it is like he is reminding himself where his hope and confidence lie. I've done that too ... said the words even when my circumstances cause me to feel differently. Sometimes that is what it takes - a choice -- a determination to trust in WHO God is and WHAT He does no matter how we feel or what we see happening around us.

v. 1 In You, O Lord, I take my refuge

v. 3 You are my Rock and my Fortress

v. 5 Into Your hands I commit my spirit redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

v. 14 I trust in You, O Lord.

v. 15 My times are in Your hands.

v. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30

written September 30, 2008

As I was reading Psalm 30 today, it hit me that this is a Psalm of testimony. David is testifying to what God has done in his life:

He lifted me out of the depths (v. 1)
He healed me (v. 2)
He spared me (v. 3)
He favored me (v. 7)
He turned my wailing into dancing (v. 11)
He clothed me with joy (v. 11)

Do I need to be lifted out of the depths... healed... spared... favored... to dance... to have joy? I need only exalt my Lord (v. 10) and cry out to Him (v. 8) for He is my help (v. 10) and I am assured that no matter my circumstances "weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning!" (v. 5) and so I will not remain silent, but instead my heart will sing to You, O Lord! (v. 12).

Psalms 28 & 29

written September 29, 2008

In Psalm 28, David cries out to His Lord who is his Rock (v. 10), his Strength and Shield (v. 7), the Strength of His people and a Fortress of Salvation (v. 8), and their Shepherd (v. 9). He is all that today and more! Jesus is our Lord ... our Rock... our Strength... our Shield... our Fortress of Salvation... our Shepherd. He hears our cries for mercy (v. 6) ... He saves His people and blesses His inheritance (v. 9).... He carries us forever (v. 9)... so our hearts can trust in Him and be filled with joy as we thank Him (v. 7).

The description of those who do evil on verse 3 is very poignant to me .. "Who speak cordially with their neighbors, but harbor malice in their hearts." Have I done this? Do I do this?

It reminds me of the verse in James about blessing and cursing coming from the same mouth. It is, to me, the picture of a liar... someone who is two-faced. This isn't to say that is you feel malice or have hard feelings toward someone, you should be rude to them.... in fact, your mouth isn't the problem... you heart is. If you feel these things about someone, you need to get before the throne and pour it all out to the Lord. He can take it... He already knows what you are feeling. There is no place for malice in the heart of a Believer and only God can remove it.... and it must be removed!

If we have malice in our heart, then we cannot love the Lord our God with all our heart and we certainly cannot love our neighbor as ourselves. If malice is there, quickly... immediately... go to the Lord and confess it all to Him.

If malice is not there, don't feel superior or safe... any of us can fall prey to our flesh. Guard your heart... stay in fellowship with Jesus... and take any wrong feeling, emotion, attitude etc. to Him. Even those small irritations can grow into something large and damaging.


I love Psalm 29 -- it is a wonderful Psalm of Praise and so powerful!

Verse 1 & 2 tells us to "Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength... the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness." WOW! Do I do that? Do I truly do that?

We need to keep Him before us... to remind ourselves daily of WHO God is and WHAT He has done. Verses 3- 11 of this Psalm paint an amazing picture of our Lord...

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!" The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

I encourage you to take time daily to sit and listen for the voice of the Lord and to look for all the signs of His might and power in the world around us.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I continue to read through the Psalms.. slowly... and I am enjoying them and all that God is showing me but this morning I was just in need of a personal word... I asked God to give me that... to give me a verse to hang onto this week. I have a very hectic week ahead with lots of extra activity (all good, but still...) and there are some things weighing heavy on my heart right now (I keep giving them to Him and taking them back)... He lead me to read Colossians 3, which is a most awesome passage full of great scriptures... the one that kept ringing in my mind... the one I know was His Word for me... is verse 2 which says "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

A short simple straightforward verse... but wow! It is exactly what I need to do.. what we all need to do.. always! And that is my prayer today... that when I feel the weight of the world creeping in.. when I feel the lures of the world calling me... in the midst of having to be IN this world and surrounded by all that comes with it... I will look up! Not that I won't deal with stuff and people, but my focus will be on things above... my heart set on them.. my hope in HIM!

I pray that for each of you today... LOOK UP! The view is great!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Psalm 26 & 27

from September 17, 2008

Psalm 26 is a bit difficult for me. David is telling God why He should vindicate him... how he (David) is blameless.. has unwavering trust in the Lord.. avoids evil... etc.

Now I'm not doubting David or saying he is a liar, but I cannot claim to be blameless.. to have unwavering trust etc. So for me, this Psalms is a list of things I want to be, but because of my humanness I can't. But I can pray these verses and ask God to strengthen my trust that it might not waver... to help me avoid evil... to praise Him that through the blood of Jesus I am blameless.

The scariest verse to me is verse 2 "Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind." It takes courage and fortitude to pray that and mean it, but WOW the growth that comes from a time of testing is priceless.

Psalm 27 is an old friend. I struggled with a stronghold of fear for a number of years and Psalm 27:1 was one of my "fear" verses. I clung to these verses, praying them over and over.

Ps. 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"

Today as I read, I was struck by 2 verses.. the end of verse 4 "to gave upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple" and verse 8 "My heart says of You, 'seek His face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek."

Jer. 29:13 assures us that when we seek the Lord, he will be found.

These verses contain a great goal...the ultimate goal for a believer... to seek God, to seek that deep personal intimate relationship with Him. What more could we want or need?

Psalm 24 & 25

from September 16, 2008

Psalm 24 is a psalm of praise and a wonderful segueway into Psalm 25. In Psalm 24, David declares that everything belongs to the Lord -- the Lord who is the King of glory, mighty in battle, the Lord Almighty. And then in Psalm 25 verse 1 he states:

"To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in You I trust, O my God."

David trusts the Lord of Psalm 24.

There are a number of verses in these 2 Psalms that are great to pray...

Ps. 24:3-6 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Father, I want to ascend Your hill... I want to stand in Your holy place. Give me clean hands... give me a pure heart... help me to not lift up my soul to an idol... help me tear down the idols in my life already. I want Your blessing, Lord. May I be one who seeks Your face, O God of Jacob, may all those living on earth seek Your face.

Ps. 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Ps. 25:8-9, 11 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way... For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Lord, You are good - You are upright - Lord, instruct me, a sinner saved by grace, in Your ways. may I be humble and open to Your guidance as You guide me in what is right and teach me Your way. Thank You, Lord, for forgiveness... my sings are great and yet You forgive them.

Based on Ps. 25:12-14, 20, 21:

Lord, May I be one who fears You. Give me a sense of reverent awe at the thought of You ... who You are... what You do... Lord, for then I will move into a closer relationship with you. Instruct me in the way You have chosen for me... confide in me, Lord.. make Your covenant known to me. May my eyes ever be on You Lord. Guard my life... rescue me.. let me not be put to shame, for in You I take my refuge. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.

Psalm 23... The Shepherd's Psalm

from Sept. 15, 2008

Psalm 23 is a beautiful Psalm, but as one who grew up in church I find I read it without really taking it in. It is so familiar - I memorized it as a child and still say it in the King James Version no matter what version I am reading.

Oh, Lord, make the familiar fresh and new. You promise that all Scripture is important - useful. Help me to see the familiar with fresh eyes - newness so as not to gloss over it and miss all that is there.

Jesus is often referred to as a shepherd and we are His sheep. We even read how He would leave the 99 to go find the 1 lost lamb. Psalm 23 is a picture of our Shepherd and of us under His care.

A shepherd takes care of His sheep. He sees to ALL their needs - He protects and guides - verse 1 tells us that we have all we need in Jesus, our Shepherd.

Verses 2 & 3 tell us about our journey with Jesus -- green pastures not wilderness - green pastures are the abundant life of John 10:10.. that abundant full life Jesus came to give us... and Quiet Waters instead of a raging storm! Jesus gives us peace!

When I feel as if my life is barren and dry to that things are out of control and chaotic, I only need to turn to Jesus to find peace, rest, renewal -- I need only be still and rest in Him for "He restores my soul."

He will never lead me down the wrong path -- no, He leads me "in paths of righteousness" (v. 3). So if I find myself on the wrong path, then I can know I've strayed and if I just stop running, my shepherd will find me. Remember, He leaves the 99 to find the 1 lost lamb. He doesn't loose His sheep... but they do occasionally wander away.

Verse 4 "Even though" means I will -- this isn't a verse about something that might happen. I will walk through the valley of the shadow of death - there will be dark and difficult times in my life, BUT I have no need to fear - Jesus is with me. For there to be a shadow, there has to be light! And Jesus tells us He is the Light. I only experience a shadow in the valley, not complete darkness.

Jesus never hides out relationship - He makes it known that I am His and that He loves me -- He lavished me with His love, grace, mercy, Spirit (v. 5 & 6).

And I know without a doubt that I will live with Him forever!

Psalm 21 & Psalm 22

from Sept. 12, 2008

Psalms 21 is a Psalm of praise. The first part praises God for what He has done. The second part praises Him for what He is going to do.

Verse 7 popped out at me and I kept being drawn back to it:

"For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken."

Psalm 22:1 is quoted by Jesus on the cross... "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me."

This Psalm and others like it intrigue me. The Psalmist is despairing - he feels God is not there - desperate - being destroyed. Why would God include these in the Bible? Because there will be times in our lives when we feel this way Even though we know that God is ALWAYS there, at times He chooses not to reveal Himself to us. I believe it is a testing of our faith - a time of growth for us.

The Psalmist does seem to have a Hab. 3:19 moment - after listing all his woes (God is big enough to take it), he chooses to praise the Lord - to declare His name and He does. That's the goal. It is totally ok to pour out all our fears, frustration, concerns, etc. to God, but we want to do so in a way that encourages us to look at who He is and not stay focused on our circumstances. It's Matthew 11:28 - Giving Him our burdens and letting Him carry them.

Psalm 20

from Sept. 10, 2008

Psalm 20 starts off like a blessing and could surely be used as one...

"May the Lord answer you when you are in distress... may the Name of the God of Jacob protect You... May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed...May the Lord grants all your requests."

And then verse 7- a wonderful proclamation - a choice has been made:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

Psalm 19

from Sept. 9, 2008

Psalm 19 is a wonderful song of praise...

v. 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

One need only stop and look at nature to see the truth of this... from amazing, breathtaking sights like the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, Red Rocks, the Redwoods in California, the Mississippi River, the Oceans... to small seemingly insignificant daily reminders... a day lily bloom... butterfly... rain shower... leaves on a tree... there is no doubt something greater than man created this world -- this cannot be an accident, happenstance -- especially not with the repeated actions of nature like day and night... seasons... yes, nature screams "Elohim! The Lord our Creator!"

Rom. 1:20 says "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse."

And Romans 1:22 - 23 says "Although they claim to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."

Rom. 1:25 adds. "They exchanges the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised, Amen."

Man may not always praise Him -- glorify Him -- but nature does -- it can do nothing less.

We are give a choice - an obvious one!

Ps. 19:7-11 is a wonderful passage which looks at the value -- the awesomeness of God's Word:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

And Psalm 19 ends with a verse I pray often and fail at often... "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How could I not give You my life?

from September 9, 2008

I was listening to Phil Wickham this morning and these words reminded me again of what You did Lord...

Because of Your Cross, my debt is paid... Because of Your blood, my sins are washed away... Now all of my life, I freely give... Because of Your love, Because of Your love, I live

It takes an act of conscious... of choice to give You my life and yet You already own it. It's Yours, bought and paid for in full! How then could I not give it to You -- that would be stealing -- and why wouldn't I want to give it. After all You did to save it - there is no doubt You love my life -- me -- more than I love myself.

Psalm 18

from September 3, 2008

Psalm 18 starts off with a wonderful description of who God is...

Verse 1 -2 "I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

and then WOW! Verse 7-18 describe God and paint a picture of His power... His might,,, His vastness:

"The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils."

I can see how these verses might sound frightening to some, but as a child of God they awe me. Yes, there is a tinge of fear, but it isn't frightened fear, it is that reverent awe we are to have before God.

I love how God goes beyond for us. The Psalmist cried out for deliverance from enemies and he got it, but God didn't just take care of the situation -- v. 19 tells us He brought the Psalmist out of the situation and into a spacious place. We read of God's vastness in the previous verses and then we see that He rescues us from the chaos of life and sets us in a spacious place.

My minds sees this as being in His presence. When life is swirling out of control, I call on Him... I acknowledge who He is and my need for Him... and I am able to leave the chaos behind and sit at His feet.

Verses 20 - 29 can baffled me a bit -- it appears I must be righteous, clean handed, humble, blameless, faithful, pure... but I am none of these and then I remember the key ingredient -- GRACE. Through the blood of Jesus I am made righteous, clean, blameless, pure....

Verse 30 again speaks of who God is... "...His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."

I confess that the last part of this Psalm is odd to me... or maybe foreign is the better word. All the war descriptions and terms seem to be things which don't apply to me. And then I realize -- David had a real literal battle (many in fact) and I have a real battle (many in fact) too -- just not a flesh and blood one.

Eph. 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

So all I read in Psalm 18 about battle and fighting applies to the Spiritual Warfare in my life.

v. 32 God arms me with strength
v. 33 He sets me up and enables me to stand
v. 34 He trains me for battle
v. 35 He gives me His shield of victory
v. 36 He clears the way for me

and so I am able to overtake my enemies (v. 37)... to crush them (v. 38)... for God armed me with strength (v. 39) and made my enemies turn back (v. 40).

David ends Psalm 18 as he began it - praising the Lord.

Father -- We live in a battle zone - You tell us throughout Your Word that our enemy is real and he is out there prowling the earth ready to attack and devour. In his own way, the enemy tells us that in Job 1 when God asks satan where he has been and he replies "roaming through the Earth going back and forth in it." It can be frightening and daunting to think of this, but not if your focus is on You, Lord. Like David, we must keep our eyes on You -- acknowledging who You are -- seeing Your power -- Your might -- Your vastness -- help us to see You, Lord. And I must remember that I am not in this battle alone and that I don't have to go into it unprepared. You are always there to strengthen, guide, protect, deliver... We need only to keep our eyes on You. Amen!

Worship or Whine?

from Sept. 2, 2008

I took a slight detour from my walk in the Psalms today. I was working on some Bible study homework and as part of it I read Job 1. I am not a big fan of the book of Job... it confuses me at times and so much of it seems depressing to me. Although I do love the later chapters when God answers and tells Job WHO He is.. awesome chapters!

Today though, something clicked for me as I read. Something I had never really thought of even though I have read this passage many times before.

Life is going on as normal and then in verse 14 the Sabeans attacked.. verse 16 says while he (the messenger) was still speaking another came to announce that the Chaldeans had raided... and in verse 19 while the 2nd messenger was speaking another one came to announce the destruction from a mighty wind.

How often in my life does it seem that "bad" stuff comes all at once.. not just 1 thing... usually several. Job has that very thing happen... it would have been so easy for him to just throw up his hands and say "That's it... I've had it... what more can go wrong." But instead, we read that he chose to worship God.

What do I choose to do when things pile up on me? Do I worship or do I whine? Or do I just deal with my stuff in my own strength doing what has to be done but not letting God work through me... not being a willing vessel? Often during these times I find myself "too busy" for God... no time to read my Bible... barely time for quick rushed prayers which are usually offered on the move.

I get through, but at what price? What blessings do I miss when I don't worship in the midst of it all?

Psalm 16 & 17

from August 29, 2008

I love Psalm 16. It is an upbeat Psalm with some wonderful proclamations --

verse 2 I said to the Lord, "You are My Lord; apart from You I have no good thing."

verse 8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

verse 11 You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

Psalm 17 is a prayer - I find it interesting that in verses 1 - 3 David tells God that he is clean .. without sin. I will never be able to say that this side of heaven. No one can or will. So these verses confuse me a bit. Is David truly clean at that time or does he just feel he is because there is no "big" sin in his life? Something to ponder....

I love how he asks "Show the wonder of Your great love" ... "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings." (v. 7 & 8)... very descriptive, specific wording in those requests.

I also noticed our enemy the Lion shows up in this Psalm - verse 12 "They are like a lion hungry for prey, life a great lion crouching in cover." Isn't satan like that? Crouching... hiding... waiting to pounce.

David ends his prayer with the assurance of the Lord's provisions and presence.... an assurance each of us has.

Psalm 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15

from Aug. 28, 2008

Psalm 11 is another reminder that God is our refuge... that He is a God of Justice (v. 7).

In Psalm 12, David appears to be living among the wicked that were described back in Psalm 10 and he is seeking the Lord's protection from them. In verse 6 he declares, "And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times." I love that verse! It is a wonder reminder that what God says is true and He will do what He promises. We can take Him at His Word.

Psalm 13 is a great Psalm for when you feel God isn't working in your life or your situation. In verses 1 - 4 the Psalmist cries out ... where are You, God, have You forgotten me? You've left me here to deal with this alone. I am being overcome... and then in verse 5 there is that small yet important word... BUT

I feel forsaken - overwhelmed - under attack BUT....
v. 5-6 "I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me."

Choosing to praise God in spite of our circumstances is worship and it is what we need to do. Instead of wallowing in the mire, we choose to rise above it and focus on the most important thing -- God.

This Psalm reminds me of Job 1:21b "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

A big key for me is to understand that it is a choice we make -- we choose to praise -- we are not force to do it and it isn't a magic spell that makes things all better or forces God to do it our way. It is a choice that affects our heart and attitude and our witness before others. When we choose to praise, we are choosing to TRUST Go - to take Him at His Word, which according to Ps. 12 is flawless!

Psalm 14 seems to be a lament for the wicked. David describes their deeds and attitudes, but there is a tone of sadness there.. I assume because he knows their fate. I've felt that way about someone or ones before -- those who totally blow off God -- it saddens me as much, or maybe more, than it angers me.

Psalm 14 does have a reminder for us in verse 6 that the Lord is our refuge (something we are told over and over in the Psalms).

I have prayed numerous times to be the person described in Psalm 15 -- to be blameless - righteous - speak truth from my heart - no slander - do no wrong to my neighbor - case no slurs on others - honor those who fear the Lord, but despise evil, vile -- keep my promises -- lend money without expecting it back - give to others with no motive - be honest.

I want to dwell in His Sanctuary - to live on His Holy Hill - to never be shaken - the thing is this is not a check list to get to heaven -- IF we are truly saved, we will want to live this way and we will strive to do so.

Jesus said in the New Testaments there were 2 commandments -- to Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and might and to Love our neighbor as ourselves. If I follow those, I will live up to Psalm 15.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Psalms 7, 8, 9 & 10

Today I read Psalms 7 - 10

Ps. 7:1-2 says "O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me."

The lion mentioned in those verses is also found in the New Testament.. 1 Peter 5:8 says "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Our enemy has been causing trouble from the beginning! He pursues us.. actively seeks us.. with the intent to destroy us! If you are saved, he can't really do that... destroy you... because you are sealed with the Holy Spirit and you will go to Heaven when you leave this earth, but he can destroy parts of you... your witness... your marriage... friendships... relationships.. finances... career... etc. He will rip your life to pieces. We must be diligent in our watch for him and keep ourselves safe.

Psalm 8 is a favorite of mine. Bill and I sang a song in choir years ago (pre-kids) based on this Psalm, so whenever I read it "The Majesty and Glory" starts playing in my head. This Psalm is an amazing picture of the awesomeness of God the creator!

Verse 2 hit me today... "From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger." Even though this verse talks of children and infants praising, I believe it includes us -- 1) because Jesus tells us we must come to Him like a child and 2) I think it shows a lifelong habit started in childhood of praising God.

I love that Praising Him SILENCES our foe.. our enemy... reminds me of a line from the Newsboy's song "He Reigns".... it's about all God's children praising Him and singing He Reigns... I love it all, but this is my favorite part... "And all the powers of darkness Tremble at what they've just heard , 'Cause all the powers of darkness Can't drown out a single word." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMT_kAD6cOg)

Psalm 9 is another Psalm that brings a song to mind. Cece Winans has a song based on verses 1 & 2 and I sing it often, especially in times of personal worship. Ps 9:1-2 "I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonder. I will be glad and rejoice in Your name, O Most High."

I have often felt like the Psalmist in Verse 1 of Ps 10... "Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?"

Of course God isn't far off nor does He hide Himself... it just feels that way at times, but we are assured in throughout the Word that He NEVER leaves us -- Ps. 9:10 "Whose who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You." ... Ps. 9:9b the Lord is... "a stronghold in times of trouble" ... Rom. 8:38-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from the Love of God... Joshua 1:5 "...I will never leave you nor forsake you." ... Heb. 13:5 "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Ps 10 then describes the wicked man -- his arrogance, boasting, pride - he sounds a great deal like many folks today. Think of people in the public eye... celebrities.. athletes...politicians... then bring it down a notch to folks you know.. and then look in the mirror. We must be very careful not to think we are safe from falling into the traps of this world. The enemies schemes fit our flesh perfectly and the world fuels the flames. We live in a world that feeds our arrogance... selfishness.. pride... our desire for more... we are not immune to this disease. We must fight it daily by staying in the Word and surrendered to the Lord.

And lastly... I love how Ps 10 ends... there is a confidence there... an assurance after beginning with doubt and concern.... v. 17 & 18 "You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order than man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Psalms 4,5,& 6

From today's walk in the Psalms....

I find it interesting that Ps 4 begins with the plea in verse 1 for the Lord to "be merciful to me and hear my prayer" and Ps 6 ends with (v 9) "The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer." Cool, huh? He always hears us... and He always responds.

Ps. 4 verse 3 "know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him." I pray to be one of His godly. I certainly can't be on my own, but like the righteousness I talked about yesterday, my godliness comes through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. Set me apart for You, Lord, set me apart.

Love theses promises found in Ps 4... verse 7 assures me the God fills my heart with greater joy... not just ordinary joy, greater joy! ... and in verse 8 I learn that I can have peace because I know the Lord makes me dwell in safety.

Ps. 5:3 should be a verse every believer prays... "In the morning, O LORD, You hear my voice in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation." I have no problem laying my requests before the Lord, but my impatient flesh doesn't like to wait and my mind fills with doubts and I find myself not waiting and not expecting. I pray that the Lord will teach me to be still and know that HE is God... to rest in His everlasting arms... to EXPECT Him to be who He says He is and to do the things He promises in His Word.

Ps 6 is a "cry out" Psalm. I love how the Psalmist is crying out to God in verse 1 - 7 and in what feels like an instant, he has confidence in God (v. 8). It is also interesting to see that this comes after he admits his weakness in verses 6 & 7... there is a sense of surrender and then God steps in... God doesn't force Himself on us... we have a choice. In verse 6 & 7 the Psalmist is weak and tired... in verse 8 he is rebuking his enemies and proclaiming the Lord. Their is confidence in surrender.

Oh that I would let go of despair when it is upon me and go straight to surrender!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Walking Through the Psalms

Years ago, a wonderful Titus 2 woman in my life told me about something she did in her quiet time. She had learned about this in a Bible study she took. She read through the Psalms in 30 days and along the way she noted things she learned about God... His attributes, character, names. I loved the idea, so I decided to take my own walk through the Psalms. I kept a notebook and would write out verses and then what I learned about God. It was a wonderful adventure..... one I recommend to anyone who wants to know God better... I still have the notebook and have pulled it out over the years.

Recently our pastor mentioned that he was doing this....going through the Psalms... noting what he learns about God. I have been doing some hit and miss (mostly miss) in my quiet time and so this morning the Psalms came to mind again.. I decided to take a walk again....

So today I read through Psalms 1 - 3... read them out loud... more than once... found some exciting things and God led me to other verses that connect... I love seeing the connections in the Word!

Here are the things I noted in my journal.....

Ps 1 verse 6... God watches over the way of the righteous.... Thank you Lord that I am made righteous through the blood of Jesus! (2 Cor 5:21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God.)... God watches over my way....

Ps 2 v 12 tells us that we are blessed when we take refuge in God... Deut 33:27 says The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying "Destroy him!" .... Thank You, Father, for going before me... driving out my enemy.... You do this as You watch over my way... You are my refuge!

Ps 3 v 3 But you are a shield around me, O Lord, You bestow glory on me and lift up my head... I love this verse... I never have to walk around with my head hung in shame... or scared to look up into the face of God... HE lifts up my head...

Ps 3 also shows an active tense God.... the Lord answers me (v 4) .... sustains me (v. 5).... delivers me (v 8)....

Thank You, Abba Father, for being an active God... a participating Father.. present in my life, not an absentee! I thank You for the righteousness I have in Jesus and for the blessings that it brings... help me to walk in a way which is worthy of Your righteousness.

Thank You for being my refuge... that safe harbor needed in a storm... for hearing my cries.. my ranting and rambling,.. and answering me with Your truth.

Thank You for being my sustainer and delivered.. my shield... the one who lifts up my head. May I walk in the knowledge of these truths today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jesus Messiah

Focus on who HE is today...... no matter your circumstance, He is.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This is Real

There are homeless whereever you live. You can pretend they aren't there.. pretend they aren't real.. but they are. God loves them and we are to love them too. They are the "least of these" He calls us to serve in Matthew 25.

Song written and performed by Luke Campbell
Photos by Katherine Campbell

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Controlling the Tongue

I've been studying a tough subject this week... the tongue. Does anyone really like James 3? How can you not feel convicted when you read... "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be" (v. 9 - 10). It is important to understand that to curse doesn't just mean to slam and talk vulgar or nasty about someone... when I criticize, make sarcastic remarks, offer unsolicited advice, gossip, etc. those are ways I curse men with my tongue.

So my prayer is for God to take the sharpness from my mouth. Sarcasm is a big thing for me. I have a fairly quick wit and it shows up in sharp retorts and sarcastic remarks. I think sarcasm can be funny, but often it is hurtful... and really it never fulfills Eph. 4:29-30's exhortation to speak words that build others up. Sarcasm is not a building block.. it is a wrecking ball.

As I prayed this morning for God to take the sharpness from my mouth, I found myself saying "and from my heart." That really is where it all begins isn't it? Luke 6:45 tells us that "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." So what is inside us... our attitude... our thoughts... this is what comes out in our speech.

That is why when someone makes a rude or hurtful remark and then says "I didn't mean that" we don't believe them. We know that somewhere deep inside they meant it.

Mark 7:20 - 23 tells us that "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "

Now it is easy to read this list and think.. well I'm safe. I don't steal.. don't murder.. am not lewd... etc. but you just might be. Words can steal someone's joy.... murder their confidence...we can be greedy by grabbing attention for ourselves with the use of words...that little white lie is deceit... that slightly rude joke is lewd...bragging, even about your kids, is arrogance... and folly? This is all the idle chitchat in your life. Like it or not, we can have all sorts of evil in us and it will come spewing forth if we don't deal with it.

How do we deal with it? 2 verses come to mind... Romans 12:2 tells us to be renewed by the transforming of our mind. We do this by being in the Word.... and by getting the Word into us. Phil. 4:8 gives up a plumbline as to our thought life... think about things which are Pure, Right, Excellent, Praiseworthy, Lovely, Admirable, Noble or True. How can I think on those things if they aren't in me?

It really does come back to the Word. We have to be in the Word and have the Word in us in order for our words to be God honoring. It is as simple as that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Psalm 121.....

I have heard the word cancer so many times in my 45 years.... my mother has been inflicted with 3 separate cancers in my lifetime... my father died as a result of cancer.... my father-in-law, great-aunt, uncle, grandfather all had cancer... my husband and I have lost friends to this dreaded disease... and we have watched children do battle with it.... so it would seem that I would be numb to the reality of cancer and yet the mention of the word still brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart. Today I heard it again... a dear sister-in-Christ has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer... and my heart breaks for her husband and her children. How will they get through all that is to come? The surgery... chemo... radiation... tests... tiredness.... nausea... fear....anger... hurt... and then I remembered something.

I woke up with a song playing in my head this morning (I do that fairly often). It is "My Help" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir... a wonderful rendition of Psalm 121. And in the words of that wonderful Psalm was my answer. This family will make it because they know where their help lies. No matter the outcome, they are embarking on a long and difficult... tiring... draining... journey. And yes, God in His infinite wisdom may choose to do the impossible (for nothing is impossible for Him!) and bring a complete earthly healing for our friend. But again... no matter what the outcome... He is their strength... their rock.... their foundation... their help. Just as He is ours every day.

So I am going to be praying Psalm 121 for Christi and her family. I would love others to pray also for this precious family.

Ps. 121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

You can hear the BTC sing this wonderful Psalm here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What a Promise!

"He (God) saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:5-7 NIV

I have read through the book of Titus numerous times..... done studies on it.... so I know I have read this passage, but these verses jumped out at me in my quiet time recently... as if God had just spoken them for the first time... I could hear the echo of His voice.

What powerful awesome words! The reality found in this short passage is overwhelming if you really stop and think about it.

God... the creator of ALL... chose to save us not because we are worth saving... not because we do good things... but because He is a merciful God. This is one of the reasons I believe once saved always saved. Falling from grace hinges on my actions but the Word makes it clear that my actions have nothing to do with salvation... other than the act of confessing and believing in Jesus Christ.

And then He went a step further and gave us the Holy Spirit... not just a drop... He poured out the Spirit on us generously.... How awesome is that!

And all of this so we might become joint heirs with Jesus and have eternal life through Him!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. Phil. 3:18-19 NIV

When I first read these verses, I immediately thought of our nation. So many live destructive lives... certainly many have made their stomachs their God (after all we are the most obese nation in the world)... and all I have to do is look to the media to see many flaunting their shame... it's big news! There is no doubt that the eyes of most Americans are on worldly things and not God.

But then I looked back a bit and realized that Paul was talking to believers and about believers. So.....

What is my destiny?
What is my god?
What is my glory?
Where is my mind focused?

I don't believe I am destined for destruction, but I can't say I feel destined for anything more than the status quo... and yet, the Word says that Jesus came that I might have life and have it to the full. So where is that abundant life? Why am I not choosing to live it?

Lord, teach me to live the life You have planned for me... a full life that glories You.

No doubt my stomach is one of my gods... as is fear.. concern with what others think... money... and more... I don't acknowledge them as gods, but I live as if they are.

Lord, I proclaim You with my lips but I live other words... help me to put all these things in their proper place and to exalt You to the throne of my heart.

I honestly don't think about having glory... I'm wired with the pat "give God the glory" mindset... but I know I can swell up with pride... especially when someone compliments one of my kids... or when I am feeling especially intelligent... but I have nothing to do with any of that.

Lord, It is all about You. I know that, but I don't live it. Help me to see Your glory and to live a life that glorifies You and You alone.

For a bit each day I shift my focus to God's Word and prayer.... and yet even them I am easily distracted by things of the world... I really don't give God 100% even for a few moments a day.

Lord, I rob You of my time... and I am the one who really suffers because of it. Grow the love I have for You in my heart... to the point that it overflows and I love as You love. Set my mind on the things above and not the things of this earth. Renew my mind and keep me focused on greater things and not the trappings of this world. For I know that I am an alien and a stranger here, Lord. My citizenship is in Heaven and one day Jesus will return to take me there.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Phil. 3:20-21 NIV

Saturday, June 14, 2008


We live in a time where folks rarely think they have enough. We want more.. more money, more clothes, more power, more house, more electronic gadgets, more jewelry, more car, more fame... more, more, more.... we are rarely satisfied.

The other day I was listening to a CD and Chris Tomlin's Enough came on... I was struck by the lyrics.. lyrics I have heard and sung many times, but which seemed fresh and new in my ears that day. A reminder that with Jesus I have more than enough..

"Enough" by Chris Tomlin
All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward
worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You’re my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You’re the coming King
You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A New Heart....

This morning as I had some time alone before the Lord, I was praying.. worshipping... and I started to sing... Be glorified in me... Be glorified in me... Be glorified.. You set my feet to dancing, You set my heart on fire, In the presence of 1000 kings, You are my one desire...

WHOA! Is that true? Is God my one desire? Honestly -- no. But I want Him to be and it frustrates me that I am so easily swayed.

As I was discussing this with Him, God reminded me of a verse.. one I thought was from Jeremiah (I was wrong). I grabbed my Bible and started flipping those well worn and marked up pages... and as I search He lead me to some amazing verses...

Jer. 15:16 "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty."

Jer. 31:33b "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people."

Jer. 32:17 "Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is to hard for You."

Jer. 24:7 "I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart."

Aren't those amazing promises!?

I did finally find my verse... it is in Ezekiel..... 36:26-27... "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my law."

That is one of the most awesome promises of God! And it is my personal prayer today.... I hope it is yours also...

Father, You tell me that the heart is deceitful above all things and that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Oh Lord, I stand before you ashamed of my heart... my overflow is awful! It's judgmental... sarcastic... critical... uncaring... self-serving... my heart must truly be a disgusting sight. But oh how I praise You for the promise found in Ez. 36!

I pray Lord for that new heart and new Spirit - remove my heart of stone... replace it with the heart You have for me.. a heart filled with Your love. Help me follow Your decrees and laws and help me to love as You love. Make it a heart that desires to know You -- that overflows with love for You and for my neighbors.

It seems a daunting task, Lord. But NOTHING is too difficult for You... it is an Eph. 3:20 opportunity and I am excited to see where You take me in the process -- excited and scared.. but totally trusting You!

It is in the precious name of Jesus I praying... Believing! Amen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Believe and Surrender.. they go hand in hand

I am working through 2 Bible Study / Books right now. One I started on my own a few weeks ago... Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow. It is a book that focuses on personal worship and intimacy with God. Last week I started Giving God First Place with a group of online friends. I love how God weaves the things I am studying together.

In Giving God First Place this week we are focusing on prayer and on believing God.. taking Him at His Word. The chapter in Satisfy this week is entitled I Bow My Life and Romans 12:1 is the focus verse. How perfectly these go together.

I can never fully surrender my life to God unless I truly and completely BELIEVE Him. Matthew 21:22 says"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Once I grasp that.... once I am able to say "I believe!" and mean it... then and only then can I "present (my) body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God." (Rom. 12:1)

So the question comes, how do you get to the place where you Believe. 2 things come to mind.. first you ask.. in Mark 9 a father is seeking healing for his son and Christ tells him he must believe. In verse 24 the father says "I believe, Lord help my unbelief!" Jesus knows we struggle with totally believing Him... with complete surrender... faith... and it is ok. The key is to strive for it and ASK Him to help you. Confess your doubts and unbelief and let the Holy Spirit strengthen you and guide you. And second, the old "practice makes perfect" mindset works here. The more you choose to Believe the easier it becomes.. the more "natural" a response or reaction.

Do not think about tomorrow.. next week... next year etc. Work on today.. just today.. one day at a time.... might seem like baby steps, but it is how we learn to walk the walk.

So for today... choose to BELIEVE God.. to take Him at His Word... to trust in all the things He has promised... surrender everything to Him.. you life, your marriage, your family, your hope, fear, dreams, your children, your financial needs, health, home, work, attitude, mouth... the list is endless.

Lord, today I surrender all to you... every little bit of me and my life. I ask that You help me fully believe... to trust you with my "all" knowing that Your ways are not my ways, they are higher... they are the best!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on The Name

I had to post an update to the entry I made earlier today. It is true that "Shout to the Lord" was performed without the name of Jesus (you can watch it on youtube) but things changed tonight. On the American Idol result show, the top 8 sang "Shout to the Lord" again.. and this time they sang it word for word.. My Jesus, My Savior. Don't know what caused them to make the change, but I was thrilled to hear it! I am always amazed when you hear a Christian song on a secular program. It is just such a rarity these days. I am not sure all those singing meant the words, but here is the thing... that song will be available on iTunes and a lot of folks who would probably never listen to "Christian" music will download it and hear it.... and our God is powerful and creative enough to use that to reach some hearts. That's something to shout about!


The Name

"Therefore, God elevated Him (Jesus) to the place of highest honor
and gave Him the name above all other names" Phil. 2:9 NLT
Last night my husband and I watched Idol Gives Back. This is a special edition of American Idol where they raise money for various charities that help the impoverished throughout our world. During the show, various celebrities talk, perform and show videos of the needs throughout our world from New Orleans to Uganda... homelessness to AIDS orphans... it is a moving show that promotes unselfishness (something we rarely see on television).
The last song of the night was performed by the 8 remaining contestants of American Idol. They sang Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord." I was a bit surprised when they announced the song and a bit skeptical. Would they actually sing a Christian Praise and Worship song? Well they did.. sort of.
I expected "My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You...." I got "My shepherd, my savior, Lord there is none like You..." and there it is... it is all about the Name... Jesus. Our society really has no problem with God.... this creator who sits in heaven and watches us and if we are good we go to live with him one day. They may not call Him God, but they really have no problem with that term. But Jesus.. well now, that is a different matter.
They removed His Name from "Shout to the Lord" last night. I wonder if they had to get permission to do that and if Zschech said ok?
I know there are some who would say "What's the big deal? They still sang the song only changing one word." But see.. it's the word they chose to change. It isn't just a word.. it is THE NAME... the most important word ever spoken... it is what defines everything and everyone... it is the most powerful word there is... and it is the most hated.
"My Jesus, My Savior" acknowledges the deity to Christ... the Truth of who He is... God in flesh. And that is something that so many just cannot deal with. So they tweak the words a bit and make it fit into their nice neat inspirational spiritual mindset that allows for mercy and love, but not conviction and repentance.
The sad thing is for all the money raised last night and all the good that will come from it, many who will be helped will not get what they need the most... Jesus.
And for those who can't bring themselves to say His name....
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11 NASB