Praises: Psalm 93

I’ve been working a lot recently, so much so I haven’t felt I’ve had much time for writing.  I was barely getting by reading my bible every day.  After a while that starts to take a toll on you, especially if you don’t particularly enjoy your job.  I kept finding myself getting discouraged and angry almost every day.  Then one day, my dad had me listen to a podcast.  I don’t remember who it was or what the podcast was (if I find out I’ll put a link in the comments), but it really brought my focus back to where it should be.  The speaker was a woman pastor, and she was talking about worshipping God and how important that is throughout all aspects of life.  It was so very encouraging and reminded me that I needed to be focusing on God, because He is my King and my strength.  He’s the one that will get me through every day, not me.

 

Almost a week later I read Psalm 93 in my daily reading.  You can almost hear it as a song, someone singing praises to God and putting fully their trust in their King.  It describes Him as being established on His throne, robed in splendor, and around His belt is the strength that holds all things together.  And All things join together to praise Him.  And then it concludes that because of His kingship, strength, and worthiness of praise, we can trust that what He decrees is good, and He will be a good King forever and ever.  Reading it just makes my heart swell with praise!

I hope this Psalm encourages you today!

 

1             “The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty;

The LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

2              Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3              The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice;

The floods lift up their roaring.

4              Mightier than the thunders of many waters,

Mightier than the waves of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty!

5              Your decrees are very trustworthy;

Holiness befits your house,

O LORD, forevermore.”

Lean on the LORD, He will help you through today.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!  Thanks for encouraging me to focus on God!

Food for Thought: God Provides

‘18The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’

The beginning of this passage has always been interesting to me. This is the first time that God says that something is not good, and it is before the fall. It is not good for man to be alone. Why does God wait for this moment to bring this up? Obviously God knew that it wasn’t good and who would be a suitable helper for Adam, but He chose not to just directly do it like He had for the rest of creation. Up until this point He had provided all that Adam could possibly need and then some, as said previously:

“8Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

He provided a garden full of good trees, rivers of water, one of which had gold and resin and onyx—really, what need had Adam of such things at that time? But it was signs of God’s immeasurable desire to bless Adam abundantly. He isn’t just about providing needs but giving gifts. He gives everything to Adam, there is nothing that man does not lack. Except a suitable helper.

Yet even when God ‘comes to this conclusion’, He still doesn’t act to fix it right away. First He brings the animals to Adam for Adam to name. Something that is learned from the Old Testament is that whoever names another has dominance over that person, like when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. It is interesting that God doesn’t name His own creation but leaves that honor to Adam. And it is in this way that it is ‘discovered’ that out of all the animals there still is no suitable helper for Adam.

Now at last God acts, but again He doesn’t act in the way He has with the other creation. With most of creation He spoke them into being or He manipulated what He already had formed to move aside (like the water for the dry land). In Adam’s case, He formed him out of the dirt of the earth and breathed into him life. But He doesn’t do that here. He first puts Adam into a deep sleep, and then cuts into him, removing a rib from his body. It is out of Adam’s rib that the woman is formed. And Adam is fully aware that he lost a rib in this process, because he says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” This is the whole reason why he names her woman. This makes me wonder if he was in pain from the surgery or if his loss was just very noticeable. Imagine you had lost one of your ribs, I’m pretty sure you’d notice.

I wonder why God chose to create woman this way. Some have said it is because of symbolism; all the time I hear about how a woman protects a man’s heart or that the man needs to keep her close to his heart as his equal. Perhaps so, but God gives another reason for it in the next verse: “24That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The man leaves his family to become united with his wife, they become one flesh. They complete one another, but also it is referring to the idea of loss. The man is losing something to gain the woman.

I am not pretending to understand this, but it does make me think of in Ephesians, the fifth chapter. Paul is talking about the roles of the wife and husband. The wife has a very small list, but the man is given a much bigger one. And the theme in his commands? To be like Christ and how He serves the church. And Christ gave up A LOT to gain her. He sacrificed his home, He lived among us as a human, and ultimately gave the ultimate sacrifice to make us pure. Whenever I read the passage in Ephesians, I suddenly don’t envy men their role given in the sight of God. In fact I feel the burden for them and wonder how in the world they manage it. Of course, the answer is God.

So be encouraged today, all you readers. I know I covered a lot of ground in this passage J I talked about how much God wants to bless us abundantly as His children and I talked a lot about the role of man and woman. I just wanted to stress that I do not believe that marriage is for everyone, this is not a devotional intended to make you feel sorry for yourself if you are single. Instead be encourage; God provides all you need for life, and whatever you are lacking He knows about it. He will provide for you, and sometimes you don’t even know what it is exactly or how He will accomplish it. He might drop it into your lap like He did for Adam in the garden, or He might take you through a process that ultimately makes you have to lose something to gain it. But whatever He does, it will be worth it. Just trust in Him.

Have a wonderful week!

~

“14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” ~Ephesians 3

“21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” ~Ephesians 5

 

Encouragement: The Rock in the Storm

 

“1You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. . . 6My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. 7Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 8By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 9I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ 10My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

11Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” ~Psalm 63, 42

There are times when I feel like I start way down to the ground. As the week progresses I seem to fall deeper and deeper into a pit of mud, hardly able to breathe or to think, blinded by the thick ooze that threatens to end me forever. And I just want to give in, to stop struggling.

It’s a good thing that life isn’t all about feelings. Emotions can tell me a lot about a situation, but they can’t control my life path. They can become a snare. They can become so tied up around me that I can’t discern what is right and wrong, what is safe or dangerous, what I love or hate, what should stay the same or change. It’s times like these that I feel desperate for something solid, something that I know is true and that I know will never ever change.

And of course I know who that is: my LORD. I turn to His Word and, even if the emotions still blind me too much to be comforted, I still know that He is with me in the current storm. Inside the Word I hear Him, speaking words of life, comfort, instruction, wisdom, love. I am encouraged to pray to Him, to open up all my confusion because I know He listens to my words, doesn’t judge me, and will see me through to the end.

The storm Will End. It has for me. It’s like a veil of clouds has parted to let in the sunlight. I can breath the free air again with the burden of mud gone from me. I know that the storm will come again, it always does, but this moment of fresh air is so heartening. I can see once again the faces of those I love around me, I can see more clearly how solid is the foundation is of trusting in the LORD, I have hope for a brighter future. I am pleased, thankful, and renewed in Spirit.

So let this be an encouragement to all of you out there who are struggling, be it with emotions or something much more real. The true reality, the solid foundation, is the Father, the Savior, and the Holy Spirit. Cling to them. Cling to the Word, the Bible. Pray, pray, pray. Even if you are still being tossed back and forth, even if you are still sinking in the mud I promise you that the storm will end. Let God be the one you meet on the other side, the one you recognize as being a light in your darkness. Let your faith in Him be strengthened. Remember, He loves you and He will Never Ever Abandon you. Cling to Him as He is holding on to you.

~

“31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8

“2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do… 12Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” ~James 1

“10Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” ~James 5

“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” ~1 Peter 1

 

 

Sermon on the Mount: Salt of the Earth

13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” ~Matthew 5

Faith

Encourages faith

Hope

Gives way to more hope

Joy

Fills the heart with songs

Peace

Helps endure the wrongs

Love

Makes all things new

Love

Surrounds the chosen few

.

Iron sharpens iron

One against one

Not to harm or hinder

But to help and save

One can warm another

It’s better not to be alone

A cord with three

Is stronger than two

.

Encourage one another

Faith to faith

Remind one another

Of the hope you share

Never give up singing

Joy fills the air

And lean on one another

Peace endures well

And above all else

Love one another

The greatest thing

Is love

Love saved us

So we can love now

Spur one another to it

Spur one another to love

.

Let’s spread it out

Over the face of the earth

~

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

17As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27

9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  12Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~Ecclesiastes 4

11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”  ~Romans 1

“13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15

“Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5

“11But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” ~Psalm 5

“6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4

“13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13

“23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~Hebrews 10

Encouragement

I went to see a concert last night, The Choir and Mike Roe.  They were amazing, as usual, but I can never bring up the courage to speak to them, and when opportunity knocks my mind goes numb and I have no idea what I want to say.  I wish I could tell them that they encourage me and I wish I could encourage them.  So this is my attempt to do that, God willing.

I saw you there

With your unkempt hair

Lights reflected on your blank stare

I could not see

.

I saw you there

With a beard and a glare

Off of your crown

Your eyes closed

.

I saw you there

With your eyes wide open

A smile and a kind word

You’ve always spoken

.

I saw you there

With long flowing hair

Bending your head

Your eyes I cannot see

.

All of you have

Been an inspiration

To family and me

Musically

You’ve encouraged our hearts

To keep on moving

Onward, Christian, onward

.

You’ve been

An inspiration to my heart

Musically, lyrically, and honestly

Spiritually

I see Him shining

In your words

In your souls as

You weave together

Songs of honesty

Songs of grace and mercy

Of how you felt when

Love spurned

But your holding on

.

I wish I could

Encourage you now

Hope you could see the light

On the other side

Remember God

He’s never far from your side

He’s sanctifying you

Making you

Into the glorious image

Of His Son

.

Be encouraged

Sons of the LORD

He’s abandoned

None of His own

Mercy will prevail even now

Suffering teaches more

Than just know how

Love is more than a feeling

And joy is not fleeting

Though the world drains

Our lives away

Our souls cry out for

The Living God

.

Be encouraged

The LORD has not

Forgotten you

Hold on tight

Live today

With silver pearls

And tomorrow will be new

One day tomorrow

Will be the Day

When sorrow ceases

And glory is revealed

You’ll see the One

You’ve hoped in so long

Face to face

Eternal love and grace

What joy will fill

Our hearts that day!

What joy will fill yours?

.

Be encouraged

Know the LORD more

Every day

Eternal life is in the knowing

And this I pray

Your safety in traveling

And your joy complete

In the knowing

Of our God

~

Passages thought of during the making of this were:

Galatians 6:6

James 1:2-4

Revelation 21

Romans 8:18-19, 28-30

John 17:3, 13-26

John 15:13-17

~

Mike Roe

~

The Choir