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!
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.
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!
The journey from anxiety to assurance means traveling down the road of prayer and trust in God. Psalm 3 is a morning psalm; Psalm 4 is an evening psalm. I find it encouraging to remember that the Jewish day begins with the evening. The former day is settled and the new one is approached with confidence and trust.
I don’t need to carry the day’s events and struggles to bed with me. I need not wake to them in the morning, either. Perhaps that is what is meant by Psalm 1:2.
…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Lord, help me remember to bring all my moments to you and leave them with you. Thank you for coming into my journey and walking beside me. May the peace that you give rest me at night for the coming day.
Following be careful who you listen to and where you are (Psalm 1-2) is a painful Psalm 3. David is on the run, betrayed by many, even his own son. I see the word selah appearing three times. The word encourages me to stop and think, “Could it be true?”
…many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.”Selah Could it be true?Of course, it isn’t. I must be careful to listen to the right voice. Even my heart might betray me.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah Could this be true?Stop and think. Oh, yes, this is marvelously true for me at all times.
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah Could this be true? Stop and think. Yes! I am greatly blessed in every way.
Lord, help me listen to your voice alone and open my heart to embrace what is true, regardless of my situations.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
What did Jesus say…to whom…which promises peace with him and victory over a troubled world?
The setting is Jesus with his disciples. He is going away and all they have heard and seen will be tested. Will they stand or fall? To help them stand, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. Being filled with God’s spirit is the same as personally walking with Jesus. The result of standing strong in the Spirit, allowing his truth to rule my thoughts and actions, is peace with him and victory today.
The source of peace is God, not myself; it never is my peace but always His. The request, Come, Lord Jesus opens the door to his reigning, victorious peace.
Lord, I invite you into this day knowing that your presence alone can bring peace to my heart.
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.
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you—God’s Decree—bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. Jeremiah 29:12-14
God has promised to listen to me and respond. When I…He will. He listens, he makes himself easy to find, he guards against disappointment, he turns things around, he brings me home. These are marvelous promises, Completely undeserved. He simply waits for me to seek him.
Lord, what can I say when your promises are before me? I seek you today and trust you to do what only you can do.
“So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out.
Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25
Every vertical relationship has a horizontal expression. The first part of these verses is about my vertical relationship I have with my Intercessor. No hindrance, no earthly intermediary. No specific festival to wait for. Now, anytime, I can enter the very presence of God, into the Holy Place. It is there that I get to know my Lord’s heart and mind. It is there that the sweetness of true relationship is found. It is there that I am changed.
As a changed person, with the “piece of God” in me I express who our Lord is and what the Lord has done. I keep moving onward. With his promises in my heart I encourage and help others. That is the horizontal part. I become others’ cheerleaders, looking for ways to bless those I meet. Hopefully, my ministry leads them to the Holy Place as well.
My Lord invites me into his presence; I invite him into my life, whatever it is today. Come, Lord Jesus is a precious prayer. Perhaps even more precious is his invitation, “Come to me.”
Lord, my time with you is sweet. Thank you for making such a relationship possible. From this time with you, may I enter the world with truth and grace. Help me encourage others today. And, may they hear the invitation to come to you.
Job answered GOD: I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
The first thing I notice is that this was said in chapter 42. It took Job time to come to this heart-believing conclusion. The difficult journey of this righteous man brought him to this place. In chapter 1 Job knew the Lord for sure. In chapter 42 Job knew the Lord in a unique, deeper way. Job was pushed toward intimacy with his Lord. And, in this place, he knew his Lord more was enough. In fact, perhaps more than any other story in the Bible, the Prayers for the Journey completely fit. Can you hear Job praying each one?
Almighty God, Job’s words echo my heart’s desires. I want to know you, increasingly, each day. That said, I must relinquish my way that leads to you. If it is a Job-like way, I know you will give me the strength and companionship to take each step. Honestly, I want our relationship to grow – but also want it to be easy. I know this really cannot be. Help me.
In what ways do I limit God by thinking of certain people or situations as hopeless? Do you remember some of Jesus’ words on the cross…to one of the thieves hanging next to him?
“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.””
At times, I forget to see others as I see myself. Quick to judge, I do not have Jesus’ view of others. During these times, my life can be a stumbling block that interferes with the Lord’s invitation to them to come.
Lord, how often I have cried, “Come, Lord Jesus” and you have come, not because I was deserving but because you are always faithful to come. When I ask you to come, you come. When I ask you to do something, you always do something. And, that something is never less than I ask. This is true of everyone else as well. Help me remember that and see others as you do. Keep me from limiting you in my life and becoming a roadblock in someone else’s.