This Is My Anguish

I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? And I said, ‘This is my anguish…” Psalms 77:1-10a (NKJV)

The words you have just read were written by the Psalmist Asaph, as he earnestly cried out into the night from his troubled spirit. He was searching his soul for an answer to his distress. His soul was disquieted within him. He was confused. He was perplexed with many a question. There was no reason for him to praise. He seemed to be abandoned by the Lord. At least, it felt that way. All these feelings and all this anguish, left the Psalmist feeling just a little overwhelmed. Frustrated perhaps. With lots of questions on his mind, he wondered if…..?

What is your anguish?

Every human being with a heart and soul understands anguish. We all have been (or are currently) overwhelmed with feelings of anguish. It is something that we all tend to go through during various seasons of life.

Anguish come at times when life is just tough! Situations and circumstances are too much. Family is fractured. Relationships are tested. Kids are beyond rebellious and out of control. Health is diminishing. Jobs are lost. Money is tight. You aren’t sure what to do!

With the anguish comes feelings of fear and frustration. Crying and confusion. Uncertainty and unanswered questions. Perplexity and pain. Anger and abandonment. Helplessness and hopelessness. We want to know for sure that those feelings that we are experiencing in this moment of anguish are not settling into our being forever. We need to know that these feelings of anguish will someday go away.

Yet, we wonder what to do?

The Psalmist gives us a great answer. A lesson for us all to learn.

In his anguish, he cried out to God. While he did not understand all these feelings of anguish, he knew someone who would understand. The Psalmist put a voice to those feelings. In the first ten verses of the seventy-seventh Psalm, Asaph shares his feelings. He asks the tough questions. He seeks a reason for all the distress. He cries out to His God. God is listening to that cry of His beloved one.

And yet, dear reader, please do not miss the next four words that the Psalmist utters in verse ten. Those four words are so precious!

“But, I will remember…”

Remember what??

As Asaph, the Psalmist, cried out to God – he was able to put aside, if even for a moment, his heart of anguish and pain, and he began to remember.

Here is what the Psalmist said in verses 10-15 of Psalms 77. Let these words encourage your own heart and soul.

But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.”

Ah, sometimes in the midst of our own personal anguish, we need to just sit and soak in the comfort that only comes from our God. We need to meditate upon His works and miracles of our past. We need to recall how He has gently delivered us in the past. We need to ask our questions, then silently await His answers. We need to quietly and humbly abide in the presence of our God. For in that presence, we will soon realize that our God is so much bigger than any anguish we hold within our heart. He is strong enough to bear the burden of our anguish. In fact, He wants to completely take it away. He can do that with the power of His almighty right hand. God, the Sovereign One, comes to redeem! He desires to deliver us from our anguish!

Our anguish can turn to crying. Our cries to the Almighty God are heard.

Our crying can turn to remembering. Our remembering enables us to recall to our minds what God has already done for us.

Our remembering turns to praise. Our praise is humbly lifted up to the God who does wonders.

Who is so great a God as our God?” ~ the Psalmist Asaph

You Are My Rock!

“In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me… For You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalms 31:1-5 (NKJV)

Does anyone else need the reminder today that the Lord God, the Creator of this World wants to be:

  • Your Rock
  • Your Refuge
  • Your Fortress
  • Your Deliverer
  • Your Defense
  • Your Guide
  • Your Help
  • Your Strength
  • Your Truth
  • Your Redeemer

He wants to be all that – – – and so much more!

All you have to do is call out to Him! He’s listening for your voice!

This is what God says to you – – “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)

I Love Your Word!

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. . .Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statues, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding,, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. . .My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. . . Oh, how I love Your law!” Psalms 119:18, 33-35, 81 and 97 (NKJV)

There is one great passion within the heart of this Bible teacher. No greater delight to me in all the years that I have been a teacher. I LOVE to put a copy of God’s Word, the Bible, into the hands of a child! I love to watch the expression on their face when I tell them, “That Bible is yours!” I love to teach them how to use their new Bible and watch as they make their first discovery within its pages. I love to tell them about God and His great love for them. And let them know that the more they read from the Bible, the more they will discover truths about a God who loves them very much.

One boy in particular, who I gave a Bible to recently, shared a priceless reaction with this aging teacher. First of all, it was his eyes. They grew so large and bright as I handed him his very own Bible. Those eyes danced within his head. For the longest time, he looked at the Bible and then at me. “For real?” he would say. “Yes! For real, its yours!” and he would repeat all over again. And again. I lost count of how many times that happened.

It was his smile. The biggest, broadest smile I had ever seen from a child. A smile that reflected his hearts delight. His smile filled with joy and had escaped from his heart and showed up on his face. His smile laughed as his feet would dance about the floor. His smile and laughter were contagious as soon others were looking on with wonderment.

It was his hands. He gently held that Bible within his hands, almost too afraid that he might cause it harm. “Its Yours!” I kept telling him. Finally, he drew in a deep breath and he held his Bible tightly to his chest. “All mine?” he said as if he still didn’t believe his teacher. “Do you know, Ms. Kathy how long I have wanted one of these? Are you sure it’s mine?” His little hands shook as he held that Bible closer to himself.

It was his posture as he sat down, right there on the floor. He crossed his legs. He carefully laid that Bible upon his lap. Very gently and very slowly, he opened the cover of his new bible. He read the words that his teacher wrote inside. He looked up at me with a “Are you sure?” question once more. I am certain that I saw a tear in his eyes. I know there were tears streaming down my cheeks as I tenderly watched this young boy.

It was his voice as he turned over a few pages of his brand new Bible and he began to read out loud. He looked up at me again. More smiles. More tears. He turned over a few more pages and read a little more out loud. He look up and…! It went on for what seemed like a really long time, although no one dared to stop him. It was just too precious to stop watching. He was discovering something new. Something that was about to change the whole course of this young boy’s life.

God’s Word has that effect on some people. They long to have a Bible of their own. They cannot wait to hold it within their hands. To sit down, open it up and begin to read. They wonder about the God who wrote the Bible. Wonder who He is, where He is, and what He is all about. Opening up a Bible is the first step to discovering all of that and so much more.

Since that day, my student has shared with me that he has been reading his Bible. He tries to read it every day. But “sometimes I miss it cuz I’m busy.” He shares with me things he is reading. He asks questions of things he doesn’t understand. He wants some help in learning to pronounce some of the names of people and places where Jesus is traveling. He is discovering how much different life was in Bible times compared to the life he is living today. He tells me that he is happy with his new Bible. It happens to be his “bestest present ever.” The most important thing is that he is learning about God!

It doesn’t matter where you are when you read the Bible. You can read it sitting at the table, curled up in a comfy chair, stretched out on your tummy, laying on the floor, or tucked under the covers as you lay in bed. A Bible can be read at home, in church, on the playground or high up in a tree house. You can read it anywhere and at anytime. Where you read the Bible is not as important as the fact that you simply spend some time to read it.

I introduced my student to the longest book in the Bible. Do you know which one that is? I also introduced him to the longest chapter within that book. Do you know which one that is?

Psalm 119. I encourage you, dear reader, to go grab a Bible of your own, find a comfortable place and have a good read. It’s all about God’s Word. My student read it through once. Asked a ton of questions. Got his answers from the teacher. Decided to read it again. This time he made a list. With his permission, I share this precious writing with you.

“Title of my List: Things I Get If I Read The Bible (from Psalm 119)

  • I get blessed if I walk in the law of the of the Lord
  • I will learn God’s righteous judgments (what does that mean?)
  • I can seek God with my whole heart
  • I can hid God’s word in my heart so I don’t sin against him
  • I can rejoice. I can delight in God
  • I will not forgot God’s word if I read God’s word
  • I can live God’s word (doesn’t that mean I need to obey it?)
  • I can keep the commandments
  • I can ask God to help me understand it all
  • I can chose the way of truth
  • I can trust God’s word because it is true
  • I will try to remember God’s word and keep it pure
  • I can think about God often
  • I promise to not forget the commandments
  • I will rise up in the morning to praise and read
  • I want to learn all the laws of God
  • I hope in God’s word
  • I will be faithful to God and his word and his trust
  • I will delight in God and his word because he delights in me
  • I want God’s Word to be my guide in life
  • I will follow the light of God’s Word (not sure what that means though)
  • I want God to look down on me with mercy
  • I want God’s face to shine on me
  • I want God to teach me his ways
  • I want to always find hope in God
  • I always want to love God and the Bible

“And my favorite verse out of all of Psalm 119 just happens to be – “Are you ready for this?”

“…My heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word. As one who finds great treasure.” Psalms 119:161-162

So, how did this teacher react?

With tears streaming down my cheeks, and a heart that was about to burst with joy, I went to find my Bible. I held it firmly within my hands, while I sat down in my comfy chair. I curled my legs up underneath me and settled down in comfort. With awe and renewed wonder, I opened my Bible. Found Psalms 119. I smiled as I thought of my student and the blooming relationship between him and His God. My eyes focused on the words written on the page, and I began to read.

“I love Your word, O God!”

Make Haste O God!

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O Lord! Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life; let them be turned back and confused who desire my hurt. Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say, ‘Aha! Aha!’ Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified!’ But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” Psalms 70:1-5 (NKJV)

Make haste! Hurry! Be Quick! Do Not Delay!

Sadly, we live in a society nowadays that likes to have things done in a hurry. We don’t want to wait. We don’t like to wait!

Here are some of the people, on any given day, that we might say “Hurry!” to – –

  • your kids, trying to get them out the door to school
  • your spouse, taking their time getting ready for a dinner date
  • the person you just interviewed with, waiting for their answer to the job you would like to have
  • the cashier at the grocery store, checking someone out ahead of you at a very slow pace
  • the barista serving up your cup of coffee, while you are on your run to work
  • the doctor as you await a phone call with test results
  • the mailman delivering a check to you, that was suppose to be in today’s mail
  • the boss to give you that long awaited for promotion
  • your fiance as you await the magical, “will you….!”

We are a people who are in a constant hurry. We want everyone around us to “Make haste!”

What about saying “Hurry!” to God? Have you ever in your prayers, as you are presenting a request to Him, implied or stated directly that you would like God to hurry with the answer? “Please God, don’t delay. Be quick. Are you listening to me? I need that answer today!”

Reminds me of the Psalmist David, and what he said in Psalms 70. This was undoubtedly one of many psalms written when David was being harassed by King Saul. King Saul was jealous of David and sought after his very life. David obviously made a quick request of God to help him, perhaps to rescue him from this one who wanted to kill him. And David, in that moment, would have loved a quick answer back from God. “Make haste, O God!” David says. Not once. Not twice. But three times! “Make haste to help me, O Lord!”

What was up with the urgency? David says, “I am poor and needy.” Whatever David was facing in this exact moment, he realized more than anything that he needed God’s help. He couldn’t face whatever it was alone. He knew that King Saul was after him; knew that evil surrounded him. And he knew that God would be his helper and deliverer. And so, he prayed. He cried out for God to “Make haste!”

It is a really good thing to call upon God for help and deliverance. We can all cry out to Him in all kinds of situations. There is no situation, no set of circumstances, no battle, no concern, no worry that is too big for God to help us with and to deliver us from. Yet, being a people that always seems to be in a hurry, waiting for God’s answer is usually not something that we want to do nor something that we like to do.

Have you ever pondered the delays of God? Often times it does seem that God is delaying His answers to us. We wait and He seems silent. We wonder if He even heard our prayer. We question the delay. We might even get mad at God because He doesn’t “make haste” and hurry it up for us. When was the last time you experienced one of those delays from God?

I have to tell you something that you might not want to hear. God is never in a hurry! Never!! He will never work on our “make haste, hurry, don’t delay” schedule. He will always work on His own schedule, in His perfect timing, and according to His holy will. And, truth be told, that is a really hard lesson to learn for those of us who are always rushing – always in a hurry – always want that answer NOW.

God is never in a hurry, but once He starts working, watch out! His work is amazing! He patiently accomplishes His perfect work, often times behind the scenes where we don’t see it. But when we don’t see it, we automatically think He is not there, He is not listening and He is not working. We could, just maybe, could be wrong about God in that regard.

If, right now, it seems to you that God is

  • silent instead of listening,
  • resting instead of moving,
  • tarrying instead of working,
  • delaying instead of acting,
  • helping others instead of helping you…

…then know that there are some things that you can do. You cannot make God move any faster than He wants to. You do not have the ability to “Hurry” him up in the process of answering. But after you cried out for His help, and while you wait for His answer, there are a few things that you can do.

(1) You can SEEK Him. Look at the first part of verse 4 of Psalms 70. It says, “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You…” Seek Him in the reading of His Word. Seek Him as you learn more about who God is. Seek Him as you continue to pray to God. Seek Him as you search for His will in the answer to your prayer request. Seek His help as you wait for the answer. Seek after His joy and gladness. Just Seek Him!

(2) You can WAIT for Him. Present your request, your need, your concerns to God. And then, wait. Wait for His timetable to accomplish an answer. Wait for Him to do whatever work behind the scenes that He needs to do to bring about your answer. Wait and don’t give up. Yield not to the temptation to take matters into your own hands, and create a complete disaster because you could not wait. Wait with patience. Even when waiting is hard, wait with patience. In the end, you will be glad that you waited for His perfect answer.

(3) You can LOVE Him. Look at the last part of verse 4. It says, “… And let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.” Please, don’t get angry at God because you think He is not there for you, not listening to you, not willing to help you. That is the farthest thing from the truth. God IS there! Right now, God is there for you. Right now, God is there with you! He dearly loves you and wants to help you. He wants you to accept His love that He has for you. Perhaps, in the midst of waiting for Him to answer your cry for help, its a good time to reflect on His love for you.

Oh, dear blog reader, might I encourage you to “make haste” and seek God, wait for Him, and love Him. You might just be glad you did. You might just rejoice in His answer. You might just say out loud when the answer to your prayer is delivered, “Let God be magnified!”

I encourage you to try it and see what happens.

Hurry now, and don’t delay. God is listening for your voice! He will hear it!

Be Still and Know!

“Be still and know that I am God…!” Psalms 46:10 (NKJV)

This picture was taken in a canyon park not that far from our house. It is, to me, the most peaceful picture, the most restful place. Being in that very spot, sitting on those rocks and listening to the quiet gentle flow of the water, is my very definition of “Be still.” I was there! In that moment, I knew I was in the presence of God. I was surrounded by God’s beautiful creation. I just sat there, basking in the beauty. I was overwhelmed with peace and tranquility. I sat upon those rocks and enjoyed a conversation with my Creator. It was awesome!

It is only in the stillness, in the peace and quiet, that we come to really recognize the presence of God with us. Busyness and stress and life circumstances distract us from knowing sometimes that HE is even there. And yet, whenever we make the choice to get away from all that craziness that life can bring, we know then that we have an opportunity to get to know something more about our God. When we are still, quiet in His presence, give Him our attention, listen to His voice, open up our heart —-then, we will truly know Him. He will show us who He is. We will learn a little more of His character. He will give to us comfort, a place of refuge. We will want to start a conversation. He will listen to our every word. We will bask in His presence. He will delight in our being present with Him. We will find peace in that moment. He will be our peace!

I LOVE those special moments in His presence. I find myself wanting more and more of them.

Putting On My Spiritual Specs – Psalms 66:1-5

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, how awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name. Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.” Psalms 66:1-5 (NKJV)

Those of you who have to wear glasses will no doubt relate to this story. If anything, it might just provide a little chuckle.

What are glasses? Glasses are that necessary aid to enhance our vision. Glasses enable us to see the world more clearly (literally!) Glasses help bring clarity and correctness to the things we look at every day. Glasses help us read a good book, watch a sunset in vivid color, enable us to see where we are going when driving. Glasses are those things you often look for, only to find them on the top of your head. Glasses are an option for some, while an absolute necessity for others. Glasses are the thing that some of us just cannot live without!

I, personally, have worn glasses from the time I was a young girl. My mother tells the story that she finally realized that I needed glasses when I kept running into the walls at home. I remember those days! And the bumps and bruises that went along with those wall encounters. Not fun! I also remember the very first time I went to the eye doctor, with mom assuring me that it wasn’t going to hurt, not one bit. For some weird reason, the eye chart fascinated me. I asked the doctor after he finished having me read the line that I could see the clearest, “What line did I read? Point me to it.” Bless his heart, he humored me and pointed to the exact line that I had read out loud to him. Not bad. Then I said, rather bravely of me, I thought, “When do I get to go to the top of the chart?” Well, hey, before you start laughing at me, you have to give credit to a kid that wanted to “move up in the world.” Right? That doctor looked at me with the strangest look on his face. I didn’t understand. (Hey, I was a kid!) Then he looked at my mom and for some reason they were both laughing. Hmm, did they know something that I did not? Then he looked back at me and with a smile on his face, he said, “My dear little girl, this is one chart that you don’t want to climb. At least not any time soon!”

NOW! Now, I understand what that doctor meant! Please sir, can I go back down to the bottom of the chart? Please?

Nowadays I am totally lost without my glasses. They are – and have been for years – a permanent fixture to my face. I don’t ever leave home without them. Hey, I don’t even roam around in my home without them. Guaranteed to hit that wall again. They are the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I remove at night. And nobody better touch my glasses while I sleep.

Recently I had an experience with my glasses that, well – – – use your imagination here! You will get it!

It was the wee hours of the morning. I woke up with a start. Not sure if I heard something, had a nightmare, or it was just one of those sleepless nights. But I was awake. Laid there in the darkness for what seemed to be ages. It was DARK in that room! Normally, I like that but not on this night. Kind of had a creepy feel to it, not sure why. It was clear that sleep was done. As I laid there, my brain switched on like a light bulb. Bright, bold and beautiful. I love my mind but not at 3 o’clock in the morning. I decided to get up. Rolled over and reached for……!

What?

Where?

Panic hit my heart. I know because it started pounding in my chest pretty hard! Trying my best not to fall out of the bed. And being ever so careful not to waken the hubby lying next to me. I especially didn’t want to wake up the dog, lying in his own bed on the floor next to my bed. If Max heard me, that was it. I would have to get up for sure. But……wait! I can’t find…….my glasses!!!

Who took my glasses? Where are they? My hand is flying all over that nightstand. They were just here. This is where I left them. But, for some strange reason, they ain’t there now. And then, I heard the whimper. Yep! Max is awake. Goodnight nighttime! Good very early morning Max!

Before I knew it, I am on the floor. Please, don’t let me step on my glasses; that would be all I needed. I’m down on the floor, hands and knees knocking everywhere, trying my best to feel my way around. Of course, Max is thinking its playtime and quite happily offered to help with the search. Where, oh where, are my glasses? Don’t panic! You will find them. Oh, good, hubby is still snoring! Long may that continue as I don’t want to wake him up. I still cannot find my glasses!! No Max, I am NOT playing! Not now! It’s a horrible feeling when you have to get up in the middle of the night and you can not find your glasses!

Max and I finally gave up the search. Both exhausted from the search, we laid down on the rug on the floor and went to sleep. Hubby never knew!

And in the morning, when the alarm went off. I reached up onto the nightstand by my bed. Low and behold, I found my glasses! Right there! Right where I left them!

All day long, I chuckled to myself over that story as it played out in my mind. How crazy! With a little light and a good pair of glasses, it’s amazing what you can see! What was lost, is now found!

I realized that day something spiritual about glasses. Yes, there really is a spiritual lesson here.

God gave to mankind the ability to read written words. And He provided us with His written word, the Bible. Many of us own a copy of the Bible. Some might even have multiple copies, and different versions of the Bible. That Bible will do us no good at all if we just leave it on a bookshelf, or a table somewhere in our house. In order to know what it says, we should open it and read it. Within its pages we will learn more about God, about heaven, about God’s Son, Jesus, and so much more.

Once we open that Bible to read, many of us will reach for our glasses. Why? Well, for the simple reason that we want to be able to see what it is we are reading. We want to see the written word more clearly.

And yet, when it comes to reading the Word, we tend to be blind. Can’t see it well. It’s a little blurry and we lack perception. Everything seems to run together into a big blur. The understanding of what we are looking at is just not there. We are blind without some help in our seeing.

In a sense, we need to put on our “spiritual glasses” to be able to see and understand the good things that God wants us to read and to know from within the pages of His Word. So, the next time you sit down to read the Bible, God’s Word to you, put on your “spiritual glasses” – your SPECS if you will. And as you read, ask yourself these questions.

  • S – Is there a particular Sin mentioned that I should avoid?
  • P – is there a Promise that I can claim as God’s special promise just for me?
  • E – is there someone’s good Example that I can learn from and follow?
  • C – is there a Command from God to obey? Something that God expects me to do or be?
  • S – is there anything Special that I should know about God or His Son, Jesus?

Try it the next time you read the Bible. Put on your spiritual specs. Ask some questions. It’s guaranteed to open the eyes of your understanding. And it will help you see things just a little more clearly.

With the right pair of glasses, you will be able to see, like the Psalmist, “the works of God” so clearly. You will, with the Psalmist, be able to sing and shout out in honor of His name, “How awesome are Your works!”

With the right pair of glasses, you will see “He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.”

Now, where did I put those glasses?

The Rain Shower of Scripture – Psalms 31

It was the very wee hours of the morning! I cannot sleep. So I get up. Fixed myself a hot cup of tea. Curled up in my favorite chair. The dog settled on my lap for another nap. I picked up my bible from off the table. I settle down for a good read.

Psalms 31 was the place my bookmark indicated for my reading of this morning. A Psalm of trust. Trust and Hope seemed to be my key words this past week, as I encountered many a trial and difficult circumstance of life. I trust God whole-heartedly. My hope is in Him alone. And yet, as I have learned in life, my hope and trust can be tested. They can be and often need to be renewed. I know that I need that gentle reminder from time to time to trust in God and place my hope with Him.

This morning as I sat and read and meditated and prayed over God’s Word – ah, it just felt like a rain shower to my soul. Gentle rain, sent by God to wash away my concerns, at least for a time. The wonderful words of Scripture brought me peace. It reminded me of God’s faithfulness to me. I soaked in those words, like moisture from the cool rain, refreshing the parched, dry ground of my heart.

Just listen to these words from Psalms 31. Let them fall like fresh rain upon your soul. Soak in their refreshment. Let them wash away your concerns. Let them renew your trust and bring you hope for the day.

  • In You, O Lord, I put my trust (v.1)
  • Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me (v. 2)
  • For You are my rock and my fortress (v. 3)
  • For Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me (v.3)
  • For You are my strength (v. 4)
  • Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me (v.5)
  • I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy (v. 7)
  • You have known my soul in adversities (v. 7)
  • But, as for me, I trust in You, O Lord. . . You are my God (v. 14)
  • My times are in Your hands (v. 15)
  • Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies sake (v. 16)
  • Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You (v. 17)
  • How great is Your goodness (v. 18)
  • Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness (v. 19)
  • You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You (v.22)
  • Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful (v. 23)
  • Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord (v. 24)

Take a moment, dear blog reader, and just stand in awe of your God! Give thought to who He is. Consider what He has done for you. His great love for you is faithful and true. That love grows stronger with each and every day. His love washes over your soul. His kindness and mercy bring refreshment to your heart, just like the rain brings its refreshment to the dry ground.

Have you placed your trust in this God? Does your hope come from Him?

Do you stand in awe of the Lord your God?

Strength for the Battle – Psalms 18

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. . . In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” Psalms 18:1-3 and 6 (NKJV)

What kind of battle are you facing today?

Each and every day, we all face a battle of some kind or another in our personal lives! The reality is that battles are a fact of life. It is through those battles that we build our character, find our strength, learn who has our back, and step out in courage to fight another day. What kind of battle are you engaged in today?

  • A battle at home? at work? on a foreign field?
  • A battle of health issues? with medical doctors? going through testing and questions?
  • A battle of finances? trying to clear debt? attempting to earn extra money to pay the bills?
  • A battle of home ownership? trying to keep up with your mortgage payments?
  • A battle of homelessness? attempting to find a safe place? trying to find the next meal?
  • A battle with the children? stubborn wills? and defiant behavior?
  • A battle with the family? marriage troubles? relationship with the in-laws? arguments with siblings?
  • A battle for employment? finding the right job? keeping your job?
  • A battle of war? deployed on the battle field? helping to keep the peace?
  • A battle of the mind? striving to maintain mental stability?
  • A battle of spiritual proportion? God’s will vs. my own will? conflict with Satan?
  • A battle of…! What’s your battle about?

There are so many different battles in life. Every day we engage in one type or another. Sometimes we can choose these battles and other times we are thrown into the depths of battle without even realizing it.

The Psalmist David was ever so familiar with battles. Even before he was a King, David faced battles. As a shepherd he battled for his sheep’s safety against lions and bears that sought to devour. As a young man, he stood up against a 9 foot giant, named Goliath, and did battle with just a sling and five smooth stones, and the Lord was on his side to help him fight that giant, only to knock him dead with one powerful blow. David battled the threats and attempts of King Saul who desired to kill him. He ran for his very life as opposed to engaging in face to face conflict with him. As a king, he would lead his men into battle over other kings and nations. David knew all about battles. He suffered the consequences of some. And he rejoiced in the victory of many.

Psalms 18 is a record of David’s response when God provided deliverance from his enemies after a time of battle with them. Written to the Chief Musician; this is the “Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.”

In the midst of his battles, David had learned this: He needed God! He needed God to be with him in battle, to strength him, to protect him, to give wisdom, to bring victory. Hmmm, don’t we need that in our battles as well? I know, I sure do. And thus, God can be that for us as well.

David starts out this Psalm by giving praise to God. David gives tribute to the Lord who was his strength, his rock, his fortress, his deliverer, his shield, his horn, and his stronghold. For all of these things, David said that his God is “worthy to be praised.” David received help from his God, in the midst of battle, from the Lord his God. And, David was grateful.

So, how did David get that help? Simple. He called upon the Lord! Look again at verse 6, “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God.” My reader, whenever we are in the midst of our own battles, no matter what kind of battle it is, no matter where that battle is taking place, we too can call out to the Lord our God. We can cry out for strength in the midst of our battles! We can know that God is on our side.

Was God on David’s side? Absolutely. Just look at what David says of God’s response to him. “He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.” God hears when we cry out to Him. He knows about our battles. He sees them. He allows them to take place in our lives. But, in the midst of our battles, He is there for us. He stands ready to help. He is listening for our cry. He hears and He will answer. His strength will become our strength. He will help fight the battle with us. He will bring about victory, in His time and in His way. That’s the Lord our God!

But…! As I read on in this Psalm of David, I learned something else that really blessed my heart. David shares some of the things that God did for him, in the midst of the battle. And I love the way David said it. The words he used. The help and encouragement that David received from the hand of the Lord his God was breathtakingly beautiful. Just listen to David’s words. You can almost hear his voice as he describes the Lord’s help in the midst of the battle.

  • “The Lord thundered from heaven…” (v. 13)
  • “He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe…” (v. 14)
  • “He took me, drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy.” (v. 16-17)
  • “The Lord was my support.” (v.18)
  • “He delivered me because He delighted in me.” (v.19)
  • “For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.” (v. 29)
  • “He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” (v. 30)
  • “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (v. 32)
  • “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on my high places.” (v. 33)
  • “He teaches my hands to make war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (v. 34)
  • “You have also given me the shield of salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip.” (v. 35-36)
  • “You have armed me with strength for the battle.” (v. 39)

I don’t know about you, but when I read through that list – my heart does flip-flops! There is no doubt whatsoever, that God was present with David in the midst of his battle. And no doubt, whenever David cried out to God, He was there for David. God provided David all that he needed to be successful in battle.

It’s no wonder that David wrote a psalm of praise to the God of the battles. This is David’s praise: “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted… Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.” (verses 46 and 49)

For myself, I realize, once again, that when I am in the midst of battle, of any kind, that I too can call out to God. And He will come to me, and give me aid in that battle. My strength and help will come from Him. The wisdom I need to make good decisions in the battle, will be His wisdom. He will be my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. And for that, I, too, can give praise to my God.

Let’s go back to my first question. What kind of battle are you facing today? Have you cried out yet to the Only One who has your back? He’s listening for that battle cry!

What Are You Looking At? – Psalms 123

“Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens…So our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!” Psalms 123:1-3 (NKJV)

What are you looking at these days? Where is your focus?

The other night I stood in the backyard, watering my garden. After a very hot, dry day in the Arizona sun, things were wilting a little more than usual. The trees, plants and bushes all needed a good dose of cool water. So, while I am doing that, our little dog was “helping.” This dog of ours loves water and mud and digging up mom’s flowers when she is not looking right at him. Max has also learned that he can try and bite the water hose. He will only do that when there is watering running through it. Now, he really cannot bite into that hose, due to his under-bite with his teeth. But he certainly tries and it is ever so funny to watch.

So, I’m watering, laughing at the dog, picking a few weeds along the way. And then….!

I just happened to look up into the sky. And, I saw it! The most gorgeous sunset was happening in the sky. I LOVE sunsets! There was the most beautiful mix of colors popping out of the sky’s canvas and were shedding their glare through the branches of our 40 foot pine tree. The scene was breath taking (yes, I WISH I had my camera, but didn’t!) I just stood there as color after color shot its beauty across the sky. An airplane flew through the color and the clouds. It looked ever so tiny upon that vast canvas before me. A few birds were flying in and out of the tree that provided so much shade for our backyard. Max was nipping at my feet, trying to get my attention to play a little. I glanced down and realized I flooded the flowerbed that I was supposedly watering. Ah, what’s a little extra water in the midst of Arizona heatwave.

My focus – my eyes, just kept going back to that sunset, to the colors in the sky. I was absolutely mesmerized by the constant change, the hues of color, the beauty as it stretched out over the night sky. As I watched, I thought of God. I always think of God when I watch a sunset. He’s the One who created such a beautiful scene on this hot summer’s night. God knew I would be in garden, and that I would enjoy watching His creative masterpiece take shape once more. It was so beautiful. It was definitely breath-taking and awesome to admire. For the longest time, my eyes were fixed on that sunset. My focus clearly appreciating the colors and the perfection of God’s creation within a sunset. I loved what I was looking at.

As the sun set further and further down and eventually going out of sight, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “That was a lovely sunset, a spectacular sight to look at!” My eyes had focused for quite a long time upon that sunset and my heart thrilled within me as I beheld its stunning beauty. And immediately, I had to turn my focus onto something else.

That’s the way it is, isn’t it? Something or someone captures our attention. We set our focus on that one thing. It may be for just a brief moment of time; it could be much longer. But our focus is set. And then, something else comes along that we need to look at. Something else that needs our focused attention.

What are you looking at today? Where is your focus?

I like Psalms 123. For within these few verses, the Psalmist is really asking us the same questions.

I hope that sometime today, in the busyness of your life, that you will take the time to set you focus upon the Lord God, your Creator. He will do something, say something, show you something that He wants you to focus on. Perhaps He will use a sunset to capture your look. Maybe its in the mountain that you hiked? Could it be in doing the job He gave you to do? Or perhaps, He got your attention in His written Word, a special bible verse He wanted you to focus on, when you sat down to read your Bible today.

Or, did you even do those things today? Did you look at God as He showed Himself around you? Did God get your focus at all? Did you set your eyes upon Him at all today?

The Psalmist says, “Unto YOU I lift up my eyes…So our eyes look to the Lord our God UNTIL….”

Until what?

“Until He has mercy on us.”

Do you realize just how often the Lord God shows us His mercy? All the time! Every day! Every moment of the day!

Do we notice? Do we look towards Him? Do we set our focus at all upon His mercy towards us?

Here’s a few things I would like us to know about God’s mercy:

  • In His mercy, God remembers His children (Ps 25:7)
  • He is ever so merciful to His children (Ps 37:26)
  • His mercies can be trusted (Ps 52:8)
  • He sends His mercy in our times of trouble (Ps 57:1-3)
  • God’s mercy is everlasting (Ps 100:5)
  • God’s mercy is something that we can sing about (Ps 101:1)
  • The earth is full of God’s mercy (Ps 119:64)
  • His tender mercies are over all that He does (Ps 145:9)

And…. We can cry out for His mercy at any time. “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us.” Psalm 67:1

The Lord God’s face shines upon His children in mercy. He has set His focus upon us. His eyes look upon His children, all the time. We can see His mercy, every day, every moment of that day, if only we would but look. And whatever might happen one day, we know it will be different tomorrow. For we can know that His mercies are new every day. Our God is a merciful God!

He wants every one of His creation, to set their eyes upon Him. Look at Him! With mercy and love, He is looks down from Heaven at YOU! Look up to the Heavens and fix your eyes upon the Lord God. The things that He will show you are beautiful, breath-taking and awesome. Set your focus upon Him. And in that moment of awe, between you and the Lord God, cry out for His mercy. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, have mercy upon me!”

So, what ARE you looking at today? What or Who has your focus?

One Generation Tells The Next – Psalms 45:17

I will make Your name to be remembered to all generations; therefore, the people shall praise You forever and ever.”

One of the many names of God is FAITHFUL. Our God is faithful. He always has been and always will be!

In this posting, I am calling on all my brothers and sisters, who believe in our faithful God, to help me with a special project for one of my students.

So, here’s the story: I have a 12 year old student that I have been teaching and mentoring in his new walk with God now for a few months. He believes in God and has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He is so eager to learn new things about God. He is like a little sponge, just soaking up new information and teachings about God all the time. Some of that learning is easy for him. But there are some things that he struggles to understand. What I love, is that he is asking LOTS of questions. Lately we’ve been talking about God’s faithfulness. He has said, “I don’t see God’s faithfulness in my life yet cuz I think I’m too little and God doesn’t seem to be answering too many of my prayers yet.”

Just the other day, while I was talking with him, he came up with a really great idea. As he told me the idea, I saw the excitement in his glittering eyes. I heard the anticipation in his voice as the words stumbled out of his mouth in an eagerness to get started. It is an idea that he hopes will help him in the process of learning more about the faithfulness of God. The idea? He would like to interview other Christians – those who also believe in God and have asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior and who want to live a good Christian life. He would like other brothers and sisters in God’s family to help him learn about our God’s faithfulness.

Here is what my student writes, describing his idea:

Ms. Kathy, as you know I am really struggling to understand about God’s faithfulness. So I thought I would like to conduct an interview with other Christians in hopes they might share their thoughts and I might learn from them. Hopefully they will have good things to share with me as I learn. Since I cannot do interviews in person (thank you bad coronavirus) I thought I would do them on Facebook and Blog Sites. Ms. Kathy do you think that your friends on Facebook and all your blog readers might answer 2 simple questions for me? They would be helping a little guy learn more about God. Please ask them to help me learn. Please.”

So, what do you think of that idea? Any blog readers out there want to help me teach a 12 year old about the faithfulness of our great God?

Here are his 2 questions:

  1. How do you KNOW that God is faithful to you?
  2. Is there a verse in the Bible that tells you about God’s faithfulness and you can share with me?

Well, I guess the challenge is on.

Ms. Kathy has already posted this on her Facebook page. And now, here it goes out on her Blog.

Hmmm, I wonder, how many responses will my little student and I get back? He wonders what countries those answers will come from?

Could one of those answers be YOURS?