Valley walking

Psalm 23 is one of those psalms that keeps showing me truths every time I read it. After reading it again, I see this vital lesson opening before me:

I dare not separate walking in green pastures, sitting near still waters, enjoying times of restoration and receiving goodness and mercy every day from walking in valleys.

Mountaintop perspective is not found in this psalm. It is walking with him through the valleys that these blessings are found. He is unceasingly ahead and with me; therefore, no valley causes me to fear. He leads me to my valley walks where I find comforting and healing. From the valley, I look up and see grandeur; things look bigger from the valley. The vision of my Shepherd-Lord is most intimately sharper in valleys. I am small, he is grand!

IMG_4271

Into the valley

Blessing, renewing, living

I am His alone

Lord, you lead me in righteous ways – you lead me into valleys. I am so cared for by you. I love that truth that I need never fear. Keep me from trying to escape the valleys. Help me accept the abundance you offer.

My precious resource

I love Psalm 19; it’s one of most marked psalms in my Bible. The focus on God’s Word is wonderful.

What is the Word like? (19:7–9)

How much do I appreciate the Word? (19:10, 11)

How do I apply the Word? (19:12–14)

Do I need my soul to live again? Do I need wisdom? Do I need a heart that rejoices? These are the rewards of the living Word in my heart and life. And all of the Word’s work is right, pure and sure.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)

 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (Colossians 3:16)

 

6290428049_873a9ea8b6_b
The Word of Christ lives
Patiently transforming me
Into His likeness

 

Lord, help me to let the Word do its work in my life. Remind me where to find my resources for every day and challenge.

 

Rescue

I love you, O Lord, my strength….but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:1, 18-19
David is nose to nose with accusers. He is entrapped by dangers and problems…no escape…but the Lord
He alone takes us to the broad places. He rescues and lifts us up. No one else can do this and I dishonor him when I think I can deliver myself or depend on someone else. The great Interrupter delights in me – I am his child. I am his responsibility. I am in his care.
God has no problems, just plans. – Corrie tenBoom
Why would I turn to anyone else for rescue? Why would I ever think that I so entrapped that there is no way of escape?
Lord, you alone are my strong deliverer. Help me depend upon you alone.

Pure words

God always stands in complete contrast. Our world cannot stop talking about itself, its accomplishments, its ideals and goals. With words, we tear others apart and deceive with hidden motives and agendas. God is not like this at all.

Canyon Wall With Bible Reference

His words reflect his pure heart. His promises are totally true. His guidance does not fail. They are as silver refined and purified. The question is whether or not I will listen and accept them as they are.

Lord, protect me from doubting you or thinking that you are like others. Help me accept all answers as your perfect answers.

One

Psalm 11.7

The mood of Psalm 11 is panic, but David’s is peace. In view of David’s attitude, this psalm can be listed with the psalms of confidence (Pss 4, 16, 23, 27, 62, 125, 131). Counselors can mean well, but can also steer one’s eyes from the truth. For example,

if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3).

It can also be interpreted as for the foundations will be destroyed; what has the righteous done? In other words, “In view of the crumbling of the theocratic society, what can one righteous person, out of a shrinking remnant, do?”

Is not the Bible filled with examples of what God can do with one?

Lord, I realize I am only one, but I am one. And, I have seen what you can do when one is surrendered to you. Guard my mind against thinking hopeless thoughts. And, keep me from believing I am totally unable to make a difference.

Making things right

Cita: Cielo.png

God is unhindered in making things right. I forget that he is not affected by limitations of time or space. He hears the afflicted. He strengthens the weakest. He responds to the fatherless with a parental love and protection. He makes things right. One day, all things will be righted and justice will be forever enjoyed.

Until then, life happens. People flee terrorism. Children are hungry. People groups are desperate. As I write this, I am following the Rohingya Crisis. One-half million Rohingya refugees have fled their homes to Bangladesh.

People are living in squalor, where, in the rainy season, mud is ankle deep. International aid providers are doing the best they can. And the government of Bangladesh is doing the best that it can. – Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International

dsc_7345-51_custom-c51102400449978bdaa3802dd69fc3b20c65a9d2-s1300-c85

 

Girls reach out for food handed out by a volunteer organization in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Tommy Trenchard/Caritas

 

Lord, help! Perhaps this is one of the most honest prayers I can pray. I am unable – but you are not. Bring justice to our world. Give missionaries hope and courage where it is needed today. Make things right.

Walking by sight

I live in two different worlds at the same time; it’s easy to see these contrasts when considering Psalms 9 and 10. Psalm 9 begins with praise and Psalm 10 begins with despair. Even Psalm 10 is sharply divided between hostility and discouragement (10:1–11) and hope and encouragement (10:12–18). Simply said, the discouragement comes from walking by sight.

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Ps 10:1)

I wish I could grow beyond these extremes but, perhaps, the tension will remain until the here and now is eternally replaced by there and then. Until that time, I must try to remember that when the Lord appears to be standing far away or hiding in times of trouble, acting in a way that is just not like him, to allow my faith to overrule my sight.

Lord, one of the most beautiful things about the psalms is its honesty. Help me live by faith today and let the “whys” remain unanswered.

Stronghold

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. (Ps 9:18)

For many years, my heart has been drawn to the nation of India. Today, my wife and I support Tial, a missionary in Myanmar. It seems like one thing after another hit this country; natural disasters, economics, politics. The poverty is staggering. Perhaps that is why I have been drawn to the writings of Amy Carmichael and her ministry to the poorest and mistreated children. Who cannot be touched by the pictures and ministry of the Dohnavur ministry in southern India?

This verse in Psalm 9 is such an encouragement. There is an end to all misery – the Lord himself. Until then, there are these verses to comfort us along the way:

Power Lines Black and White Reference

The Lord himself is our high, strong fortress. He is our retreat. We run to him. Nothing or no one else will suffice.

Lord, you are my stronghold for this day and every day. May those who struggle, who are oppressed, without food or basic necessities, find you today.

Choices

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (Ps 9:1–2)

Some studies say that we make around 35,000 decisions each day. Perhaps the four most important choices I need to make are listed in the first two verses of Psalm 9. The focus of each choice is the Lord:

Give thanks…to the Lord

Remember…his wonderful deeds

I will be glad…exulting in him

I will sing praise…to his name

If I focus on these four, perhaps the other 34,996 choices I make today might be made differently.

Lord, you make decisions as well. I thank you that you decided to adopt me as your child. You have decided to always be near. You are making decisions for me that I cannot fathom at this time. And, I acknowledge that all your decisions are right for me. No fear.

Majesty

Psalm 8:1 [widescreen]

The universe…the best man can do to understand it is to see it like this:

The Universe is all of time and space and its contents. The Universe includes planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy. The observable universe is about 28 billion parsecs (91 billion light-years) in diameter at the present time. The size of the whole Universe is not known and may be either finite or infinite.

This is what we are left with when we toss away the infinite, personal God who created and sustains his creation. Man can only skirt around the question, “Where does personality come from?” He knows that personal does not come from impersonal. He is left with a quandry.

Psalm 8 reminds me that my God is that infinite, personal God who exists. He lives outside the limits of his creation, yet reaches me and knows me! He has made it possible for me to know him! Therefore, he is always bigger than my need and not bounded by anything as he provides for me.

Lord, you alone are inspiring and awesome in all you are and in all you do. Today, our world has turned its back on you and is trying to solve its problems without you. If I am not careful, I can follow the same path and live as if you are not here or somehow believe you are unable. Forgive me for those thoughts. I am your child – you are my God! Come!