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.
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.
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.
A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it—arrive and drink in God’s presence?” I’m on a diet of tears—tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, pestering, “Where is this God of yours?” (Ps 42:1–3)
I have learned that obeying the Lord does not always lead me alongside bubbling brooks and quiet pastures. It most often leads me to depletion. Drought leads me to need him – only him. In this life, a diet of tears. In the life to come, unending joy. But, between here and now, there and then, is life. There are times that I am filled with the sustaining depths of God – heaven on earth – a taste of what is to come. Quickly, I return to the reality of drought all around me. I am not yet ready for there and then.
Dear Sustainer, you alone give me life and promise. My rebellious world cannot do it. I cannot even help myself. As much as I dislike the journey in the desert, thank you for these drought times. You uniquely reveal yourself every time I call to you.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Worry is never helpful. In fact, if I read these verses carefully, it is prohibited. Don’t is the first word of the first sentence. Instead is the first word of the second. Let is the first word of the third. Don’t – instead – let. When I accept this instruction, and I relinquish my worries to the Lord, he settles me down. A sense of his wholeness (worry always fractures) and a reminder of his promise to bring everything together for good (worry always challenges this) settles everything. If that is not enough, I am reminded of what is in the center of my life. If my Lord is, no controlling worry.
Lord, you are the only One who can settle my heart, putting it in order again. Please do that. And, when things come to me that could cause me to worry, help me take them to you. You are the only One who can properly handle them.
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God wants me to live this way…that grabs my attention. Simple, straightforward instruction.
Be cheerful no matter what – how? By praying all the time. Regardless of the situation in front of me, I can pray, “Come Lord Jesus into this.”
Pray all the time – how? By thanking God. I can be filled with gratitude because he remains the Constant One. I can trust him. I can relinquish what is in my heart and hands into his care. He is more than enough for this day. Keeping these truths in mind, I can be continually thankful.
So, my life is not driven by circumstances but by my responses to them. That’s the bottom line regarding how my Lord wants me to live. Life happens to me like everyone else. How I process life is the issue.
Lord, it’s all yours. Every part of this day I give to you to direct and guide and provide. Thank you for being consistent and steady and faithful.
Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant? For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD. Lean on your God! Isaiah 50:10-11
God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand”. The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision Never try to help God fulfill His word. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. – Oswald Chambers
Two voices – one truth. God has often revealed his will to me in stages. Little glimpses. Most of his will-revealing for me requires waiting in the shadows. And, though never easy, it is easiest when I remember I am waiting for him not for a certain thing to happen. My Lord’s timing is perfect – remember! Therefore, there is no fear of losing out as I wait in the shadows. His delay is his process of preserving me for his best and protecting me from that which is less than his best.
Lord, help me wait patiently and remember that you are perfect in all you do. What you do is rightly done.
“Even then God had designs on me…” Galatians 1:13-16
I wish I could say that I have always loved God’s designs for my life. In fact, there have been times I thought I had a much better plan. Even now, I look back and wonder if my plan had been better. What pride!
Many times, my Lord has spoken to my heart with, “Is it all right if I take care of this for you?” You are more than enough also impacts my submitting to his desires and plans. In fact, when I question him, I question whether or not he is more than enough for me. This has to stop.
God’s desires for me express His nature and what is suited to my nature. Only he knows how to blend the two.
Lord, reorder my life through simplicity. I surrender to you and acknowledge you are more than enough for today and every day to come.
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7
God’s work in my life has brought me to where I am today. Even through my mistakes and rebellions, his grace has brought me here. And, with unlimited time he gives me unending grace and kindness. Today, here, then and there…forever. What glory that is!
The past and the present are surrounded by his grace and kindness. The next bend in the road leads me to more of his grace and kindness. So, no uncertainty or need to fear. He is meeting me at the next stop.
Lord, mostly, what you do is love me – through it all. This captures my heart in a way I cannot express. My story is your story of grace and kindness. So, I entrust into your grace and kindness all that this day brings to me. I give you my future and submit to you my past. Thank you Lord.
“At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:1-5
What an amazing question! What type of person thinks that heaven has a ranking system? And, who is this who would assume preferential treatment? Jesus answered the question by focusing on becoming a child of God as a requirement for entrance. I will be in my Father’s home because of his grace…nothing more.
Lord, you are my Father and I love you today. Thank you for making me your own, adopting me into your family. Only your love for me compelled you to do that. So, as your child, with all I have, I trust you. Help me remain childlike before you and our world. At the same time, free me from childishness, which is so unattractive and opposite your desire that I mature.