You look to other things to fix you rather than choosing to come sit before Me.
You expect something else to release and heal you rather than seeking my Almighty Power. I am your only Source. It is I who can spring you from the shackles clamped onto your soul.
You do not have, because you do not ask (James 4:2).
Is this because you want not?
Do you enjoy being stuck? Tied? Pulled? Over-run? Manipulated? Exhausted? Destroyed? Weak?
I am your refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Do you not believe my Word?
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
So, why do you give up?
Persist in your prayers. Fight to find times of quiet throughout your day to talk with me. I want to hear from you. I want to help you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version).
I am your Father! I can give you relief but you have to trust me. Do not doubt my Sovereignty.
I hear your prayers and I will answer! Do not doubt but have faith that what you ask for, will be given (Matthew 7:7).
Do you not realize the enemy is at work; you allow him to dig in deeper. What started out as small and innocent has now turned into a sizable mess. From it, all sorts of manifestations have taken root. You can overcome in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:5, New Living Translation).
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16, NIV).
I can see by your prayers what really matters to you!
This trouble that holds you captive, however, is not one that you often come to me with. It is only when you find yourself in the pit that you utter a cry of help.
I urge you to cry out often; this will not go away on its own. I am teaching you to depend on me. I am revealing new things as you agonize over your displeasing offenses.
But, do remember this, “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV).
You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety (Job 11:16-18, NIV).
Persist in your prayers. Trust me. I will set you free! I have already set you free!!
Good morning! It is early but I am wide awake so I thought I would spend some time in quiet before the sun rose and my daily responsibilities took hold of me. The day has a tendency to propel us forward whether we are ready for it or not!
Before I write what the Lord put before me yesterday morning, I want to take a few minutes to thank the community of people who reached out to me this past week! I appreciate you!! I value your comments and conversations and I am praying for you! How wonderful and encouraging it is to exchange words of faith and inspiration.
Yesterday, my reading came from Psalm 10. I woke up and was not sure of my direction but that quickly changed as soon as I got quiet and opened my Bible. God’s inspired Word spoke loud and clear and I began to write.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, that we are yours! You care so well for your children. There is none other like you, Father! Never in my life have I felt such joy. There is always acceptance and love when we sit before you. You hear our prayers and you answer! Never changing, always tender and gracious in your attention of us. How thankful we are for your Holy and Heavenly presence.
I am so sorry it is only now that I have come to know you as I do. Forgive our acts of rebellion, for running the other way and doing those things that offend you. As Daniel and his three friends were only fifteen when taken into captivity by the Babylonians, their faith in you, Father, was that of someone who has lived a thousand years in your Presence. What a divine gift to be filled with such love for our Father at such a young age. Let not one day go by that we don’t praise and thank you, Almighty God.
Father, never let us come to you for no other reason than to praise, worship, thank, and fellowship with you. Never let it be our agenda but yours. Keep our hearts drawn tightly to you, reminding us that there is nothing as vital and lovely as you. It is your Presence we seek, everything else pales in comparison! Thank you, Father, for the opportunities you bless us with every day. How great Thou art!
Psalm 10:2-4 (English Standard Version):
“In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him, all his thoughts are, ‘there is no God.'”
Almighty God, strip us of arrogance, pride, wickedness, greed, gain, gluttony, and evil schemes. Make our hearts pure and lovely, soft and malleable, to the likeness of Jesus Christ, your only begotten Son.
Father, there is no goodness apart from YOU! Set all to the side, take front and center in our life, let us not have our own way, take away all “cursing, deceit, mischief and iniquity” (Psalm 10:7). Equip us to always encourage, help, think of others before thinking of ourselves and let us always be passionately declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).
Shine your glorious light in and through your children, bless each one with the words to share Jesus Christ, the one whom you sent, who “is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people” (Contemporary English Version, 1 John 2:2). Father, lift us into your ever-loving arms.
“O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more” (Psalm 10:17-18).
Father, help us to always be praying for others, never thinking of our own requests and needs first. A praying heart, interceding on behalf of others, is a joyful and grateful heart.
Father, move in your time, your will, for your purposes and your glory in our lives each and every day until we stand before you in awe! What a day that shall be! Do not let not one step in front of you! Disaster occurs every time! Fill each with courage and boldness to walk obediently in your ways. Let us not look to the left nor the right (Proverbs 4:27), deviating from your plan in our life. Instead, let us “live in the shelter of the Most High and stay in the shadow of the Almighty” who is “our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust” (ESV, Psalm 91:1-2).
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the LORD (NKJV, Isaiah 54:17).
Make us fearless, unshakeable and confident in your Promises!
Praise be to God, “The LORD is king forever and ever” (ESV, Psalm 10:16)
First Baptist Atlanta (FBA) is currently in a time of prayer. The church is calling it “Forward in Prayer,” and it is summarized as “Five minutes, Five Days, Five Weeks, Five Concerns.” Each Sunday at 5 PM, prayer points are emailed and for each day of the week, there is a prayer prompt to take before the Lord. Along with this, there is a short prayer and Scripture that FBA gives to help the prayer warrior along and it is really amazing how the Lord works when groups pray together! One can just feel the agreement from all across the world! We are in the second week and I have to tell you, there is power in prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)! We cannot see others in this fellowship of believers but Dr. Anthony George gave some details on our first week and it is certainly a boost in faith to hear of all the people who have joined together and committed to this special time of prayer.
I know that I put a post up yesterday and I try to space them out because I do not want to overwhelm the ones who do follow me. Most importantly, I do not want to write just to write. I want to be sure the Lord is supplying the right words at the right time. I pray the Lord guides each of us as we read His inspired Word and that He would highlight the Scripture that is applicable to our personal relationship with Him.
I just cannot help but write this morning because our FBA prayer point is a good one. They have all been good but this is especially good!!
In summary, FBA writes:
“Do you ever express to God the reasons why you praise Him…Make a list of five reasons why you want to praise God today. Then tell Him!”
I read this in bed, my eyes barely open, and immediately set down my phone, and started my list of praise to our Heavenly Father! When I did manage to roll out of bed, I sat at my desk and wrote it all down.
Before I start with my praise list, the featured Scripture for Monday is Psalm 145:1-9. I encourage you to read it. You will feel lifted and loved as you read, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Dear Heavenly Father:
I praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died, was buried, and resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) for the sins of the world. As your children, we stand righteous before you because of the precious and powerful blood of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I praise you, Father, because as believers in the Lord, Jesus Christ, we are guaranteed to live with you forever (John 11:25-26). There will be no evil, no sorrow, no pain, and no tears (Revelation 21:4), only praise to you, Almighty God, all day, every day.
I praise you, Father, because our offenses have been forgiven, never to be remembered, forgotten, as far as the east is to the west (Psalm 103:12). We are a new creation in Jesus Christ once we have openly declared that Jesus is Lord and that you, Father, raised Him from the dead. We will be saved! (Romans 10:9). We are born again of the Spirit, purposed (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10) to do all things pleasing to you and all for your glory. You will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:24-29), transformed, and tuned into you.
I praise you, Father, for your Salvation, faithfulness, love, patience, kindness, and gentle care of your people. You know every detail in heaven and in earth (Luke 12:7) and you provide every need (Psalm 145:16). I praise you because you are our Daily Bread (John 6:35). All our needs are met more than adequately by you, Father! Thank you!
I praise you, Father, because our lives are full when you stand at the forefront. We don’t have to succumb to oppression from the enemy: depression, anxiety, and fear; YOU are our shield and the lifter of our head (Psalm 3:3). You hear our cries and you answer (1 John 5:15). We can live in perfect peace and joy as our hearts are drawn to you by the power of the Holy Spirit! What matters most is our intimacy with you. We still feel those negative emotions because we are designed in this way, we are human, but it is through those deep-seated emotions that we can climb into your arms and get to know you better. It is a purposed need within us that gravitates to the inseparable and incomparable love of our Father. Praise be to God!! In those lowly feelings, we have the opportunity to lean into you and grow in our faith and, trust and in our love of you. What seems bad is not, it is wisdom and understanding of you, intimacy with you (Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9-14). How truly blessed we are! We have a choice, so Lord, I praise you, that you give us a choice, we aren’t forced to spend time with you, worship, or praise you (Galatians 5:13; Deuteronomy 11:26-28) but it is by your beckoning that we run to you rejoicing! We know the voice of our Father (John 10:27), we know where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-4)! Heavenly Father, you are always safe, secure, accepting, and steady! Our firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27).
Thank you, Father, for your constant presence, especially in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Thank you for knowing our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8). Father, we pray for more of YOU and less of us (John 3:30) in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
All praise and glory be to you!
Scripture: In Order of Appearance English Standard Version
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Psalm 103:12 “…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Romans 10:9 “…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ezekiel 36:24-29 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.
Luke 12:7 “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Psalm 145:16 “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'”
Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
1 John 5:15 “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Ephesians 1:17 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…”
Colossians 1:9-14 “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.”
John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Matthew 6:8 “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Whether we wake depressed, joyful, anxious, in great anticipation of a new day, fearful, energetic and ready to tackle a to-do list, in panic, dreamy or stressed out, the Lord’s love for us is certain and we know this because Romans 8:38-39 (English Standard Version) says:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter what is happening in this world or in our personal life, Jesus is always with His people. All those who have confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead, will be saved. (Romans 10:9). He promises to never leave nor forsake us and we can confidently say that the Lord is our helper, we will not fear; what can man do to us (Hebrews 13:5-6)?
As I stated in my last post, I am working my way, carefully and prayerfully, through the Psalms and Psalm 9 was much needed this morning. On Wednesday of this past week, I had two diagnostic tests done and they were quite brutal. I am slowly recovering but still feeling sluggish and unwell. My nephews celebrated their seventeenth birthday on the beach yesterday and I did not attend due to low energy. The pandemic is starting to wear me out and hearing of the climb in positive cases, to include our President, his wife, and their team of people is just not so good news! So, Psalm 9 could not have come at a better time!
You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. the enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rotted out; the very memory of them has perished.
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
What a relief to know that the Lord is enthroned forever and that He is the one who judges the world with righteousness and the people with uprightness.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1961, p. 586, v.1-10):
I will be glad and rejoice in thee. Holy joy is the life of thankful praise, as thankful praise is the language of Holy joy.
What I am searching for this morning is Kingdom thoughts rather than Racinda’s thoughts. I am focusing on God in the hopes of rising above my current mood which is flat, unmotivated and indifferent. I am prayerfully seeking to ditch this human feeling of nothingness and instead, grab on to God’s glory. He sits enthroned forever! He never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He does not bend to the circumstances of this world. He has a plan and He is moving forward regardless. The challenges in this world will not stop Him from accomplishing His will. This gives me great hope that God keeps pushing forth even when I drag my feet. He is strong, upright and Sovereign, so, be glad and rejoice in thee!
The Moody Bible Commentary (2014, p. 767) says that David (the author of Psalm 9) expresses his determination (I will) give thanks to the Lord…[I will] tell of His wonders…[I will] be glad and exult in Him and sing praises to Him.
What is my deepest heart’s desire? It is to spend my days always praising God, in close fellowship with Him, without any sort of oppression, in total freedom of my thoughts and emotions and to live just as Revelation 21:1-4 describes:
The New Heaven and the New Earth
Then I (John, the Apostle) saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’
David, from Psalm 7, is in the midst of challenge but looks beyond his circumstances and chooses to praise God instead.
“He (David) records, with joy, the triumphs of the God of heaven over all the powers of hell and attends those triumphs with his praises…He comforts himself and others in God and pleases himself with the thoughts of him. With the thoughts of his eternity. On this earth we see nothing durable, even strong cities are buried in rubbish and forgotten; but the Lord shall endure forever…He (God) will be a refuge for the oppressed, a high place, a strong place, for the oppressed, in times of trouble (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1961, p. 586-587).
In conclusion, David’s prayer is that God would “humble the pride, break the power, and blast the projects, of all the wicked enemies of his church: Arise, O Lord! (Psalm 9:19), stir up thyself, exert thy power, take thy seat, and deal with all these proud and daring enemies of thy name, and cause, and people. Let not man prevail; consult thy own honour, and let not weak and mortal men prevail against the kingdom and interest of the almighty and immortal God. Shall mortal man be too hard for God, too strong for his Maker? It is a very desirable thing, much for the glory of God and the peace and welfare of the universe, that men should know and consider themselves to be but men, depending creatures, mutable, mortal, and accountable” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, 1961, p. 587).
I look forward to the day when Jesus comes and brings with Him His Kingdom, the New Jerusalem! All His children together, living with God, and praising His Holy Name, forever!
Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to write and I pray that all those who read this, that they will be filled with your peace, comfort and joy. That as they read, they too, will praise your Holy and Magnificent Name. You make our days glorious! Thank you, Father!!
Dr. Anthony George from First Baptist Atlanta prayed a very powerful prayer for our President and our country this morning. If you are interested and would like to stand in agreement with him, start the service at marker 14:23. The entire service is worth watching if you have the time 🙂
English Standard Version. (2008). The esv study bible. Crossway.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: In one volume. ZONDERVAN ACADEMIC.
The Moody Bible Commentary. (2014). The moody bible commentary; A one-volume commentary on the whole bible by the faculty of moody bible institute. Moody Publisher. Chicago.
Where do you go when faced with life’s constant challenges? It seems when one hurdle has been jumped, there before you, stands another. Whether it is depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, loneliness, divorce, illness, lack of finances, cultural differences, stress, and strife in the family and betrayal, there will be a dilemma that we are forced to face. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, there has always been distress and hardship for human beings.
In Genesis 3:16 (New Living Translation), God says to the woman [Eve]:
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
To the man [Adam], God said:
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19)
I imagine there are many who are reading this post who have or are, right at this minute, going through something difficult. I know I have my fair share of hurdles! Some I’ve jumped and cleared and others I’ve tripped and fell!
Before I get going on this post, I do want to say that I am sorry to those who are having a hard time right now (myself included) and I would love the opportunity to pray for you. Please reach out to my personal email, firstname.lastname@example.org and I will take your prayer request to the Lord and send prayer and inspiration back to you! All prayer requests will remain anonymous. I promise. And, if not a prayer request, I would love to hear some good news. I am working on a Facebook page (this is the only social media that I am somewhat familiar with) and it would be so encouraging to share uplifting words and stories on this page. I will not use names; I know, I need a little bit of help and hope and there is nothing like a feel-good story!! Thank you!
Okay, now let me share what I have been up to the past week or so!
I am currently reading the Psalms but in a very different format as I have done in the past. I am finding much more strength, especially during this pandemic, in the faith, trust, words, and actions of David (who is the main character in what I have read so far) and in the answers of God regarding David’s prayers. God’s faithfulness to a man who has committed some terrible offenses towards God and others is certainly hopeful!
In Psalm 7 (English Standard Version), David is feeling concerned over the words of Cush who is a Benjaminite, an enemy of David, and a kinsman of Saul. God chose Saul to be the King of Israel because he was tall and striking in appearance and was known for courage and generosity. This, however, did not mean that Saul was capable of being king. He was the ideal vision of a king but his tendencies often went against God’s commands for a king. His greatest victories came from his obedience to God’s instructions and his failures came when he rebelled against God and made his own decisions. It is because of his sinful nature that he grew jealous of David and tried to kill him. (New Living Translation, 2015).
This is why we find David in such a state of chaotic emotion. He has enemies and they have caused him to run off and hide, to seek comfort and safety in the arms of God Almighty and God does not disappoint. In Psalm 7:1, David cries out:
“O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me…”
This fierce fellowship with God is good for our hearts to witness. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and if He delivered David in his sinful circumstances, He will do the same for those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. David displays his trust in God effectively and beautifully; he surrenders all to God because he knows he is held firmly in his Father’s mighty and capable hands. He simply gets quiet and lays all his burdens down, fully aware that he is not alone and that God does hear his prayers and He does answer. David is confident in his requests and waits for God’s perfect peace to fill him. He will be saved from all those who pursue him. The same holds true for us because what God did then, He does today, and He will do tomorrow.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary (1960, p. 584) says that David’s spirit was not ruffled by the anger and pursuit of his enemies and it did not jar his song to the Lord and because of David’s unshakable peace and courageous faith, we are confirmed that we may rise to the same height as David because of God’s love for us. The injuries we receive from others should not provoke vengeance, cause sorrow and bitterness, or feelings of rejection. Instead, we should be moved to get quiet with God, and while in this act of reverence for our Lord and Savior, our devoted hearts will increase, ignite and propel us forward, no matter the circumstance. Is this not a powerful and staggering promise!
David goes on to say in vv. 3-5:
“O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust.”
The ESV (2008, p.1061) says that David is claiming his innocence. He did not instigate the warring against him. The jealousy of Saul was something within Saul and not something brought about by David.
There is much more to this plotline but now is not the time.
Let us take a look at the bigger picture here and that is God’s plan for restoring humanity back to its original state before Adam and Eve offended God by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “you shall not eat [the fruit of this tree], for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). God orchestrated the chain of events in David’s life with the intention of paving the way for His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. We know this because 2 Samuel 7 is all about the Lord’s covenant promise to David.
In short, a prophet named Nathan is instructed by God to tell David that when it is his time to die and he is buried with his ancestors:
“I [God] will raise up one of his descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house–a temple–for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.”
God gave guidance and protection to David because it was from his line that Jesus would emerge.
Isaiah 11:1-2; 10 (NLT) confirms this:
A Branch from David’s Line
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot- yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.”
Without David and most importantly without Jesus Christ, we would all be lost, eternally separated from God and John 3:16 (ESV) tells us, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Let’s explore v. 5:
“let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust.”
In all my Bibles and commentaries (not that I have a lot), I could not find a definitive explanation to this verse and for some reason, I am held in the last sentence, “lay my glory in the dust.” So, may I try and interpret it myself and if there are any Biblical experts out there, please feel free to jump in!
I take this as saying that our best posture in tough situations is to prayerfully sit and lean into God. It is when we are in this state of vulnerability that all self-glory is brought into question and swept out. This position is where God’s miraculous work occurs. We are of no use to God when we are puffed up and on a mission.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT), “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
That’s all I have got for now regarding Psalm 7! I am ever so grateful for my college courses, “Western Culture” and “Survey of the Old and New Testament.” In taking these classes, my eyes have been opened to God’s story rather than my own. The relief I feel inside that my story really has nothing to do with God’s and God’s story is so much better for all of us.
In summary, I am incredibly full of “want” right now and as I was trying to explain to my husband yesterday during our walk, in which I failed completely because I could not find the right words but in simple terms, I want to be used fully for the glory of God. There is not a lick of know-how within me and I am totally incapable of doing anything without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He is with me but I keep hearing “wait” which is really hard because there is such a need to serve, in some capacity, within me. I don’t know where and I don’t know how! Like David, we must trust in the LORD, have faith that He hears our heart’s desires, and that He will answer.
The past few years have been all about self-glory, I did not realize it then, but I do realize it now (as much as I am able) and for this, I am so sorry! I am in a state of vulnerability and weakness and it is not sadness only a realization that my want is not going to be the same as God’s want and that is exactly where I want to be positioned. There is nothing in me that will make a difference. It is only by God’s glorious hand that life-saving differences happen.
We must not be rattled by our troubles, we must always be patient, always be praying, enjoying God’s presence, and allow Him to dictate our next steps. Easier said than done, I know and as I was walking this morning, my mind and heart were racing with all kinds of godly possibilities. I was jumping ahead of God’s plan and like Dr. Anthony George mentioned this morning from First Baptist Atlanta, reel in the imagination and allow God to do the rest and Dr. Charles Stanley says that we are to trust God and leave all the circumstances to Him. We cannot hurry God and when we do, discord is sure to follow. We are to wait in obedience. It may seem like nothing is happening but He is surely at work and His timing is perfect.
Thank you for these timely words! Thank you for your faithfulness, patience, love, guidance, and protection. Thank you for Jesus Christ. Thank you we do not have to walk this life without You, that you are always for us and not against us. You never leave us nor fail us. You are Almighty God the creator of Heaven and Earth and we praise your Holy and Heavenly Name! Thank you for your strength, perseverance, and endurance. Thank you for opening our hearts to hear you and thank you for the courage to carry out your commands. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul and mind and help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to always be full of joy in the Lord and help us to always seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously. Thank you we can ask and we shall receive. Thank you we can seek and we shall find. Thank you we can knock and the door will be opened. How good you are to us, Father. Thank you for your inspired Word. Thank you for your rescue, redemption, and restoration. Thank you Jesus, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Thank you for the Holy Spirit.
For all those who are struggling, Father, lift them into your ever-loving arms and whisper sweet words of love into their hearts. Help them in their weakness. Provide in their lack. And help them to have greater wisdom and understanding and a deeper knowledge of you. Father,
As Psalm 7:9-11 declares:
“Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous– you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.”
Father, we hold fast to your Word and we thank you for your story! In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen!
English Standard Version. (2008). The esv study bible. Crossway.
New Living Translation. (2015). Life application study bible. Tyndale House Publishers.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1960). Matthew henry’s commentary: In one volume. ZONDERVAN ACADEMIC.
I found a “Two-Year Bible Reading Plan” on YouVersion and if anyone would like to join me in this plan, I would be grateful for the company. I just completed a couple of three-day studies with my small group; it is a fun and fascinating way to learn and grow intimately with God and friends. This Two-Year plan does not have the option to discuss the daily reading but perhaps we can figure out some way to communicate the things that God has shown us as we’ve read! There is much to gain from the knowledge of others!
This morning the assignment is Genesis 1 and Matthew 1. I am reading from the English Standard Version (ESV). I did, however, start out in the New Living Translation which is what I always gravitate towards but as I began my reading this morning, I felt moved to do this plan with the ESV.
I was paused at Genesis 1:27 which says:
“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”
I then read the Study Notes (ESV) for this Scripture:
“Traditionally, the image has been seen as the capacities that set man apart from the other animals–ways in which humans resemble God, such as in the characteristics of reason, morality, language, a capacity for relationships governed by love and commitment, and creativity in all forms of art.”
If we possess all these godly characteristics, how much more does God possess?
We were created in His image; all these characteristics are from God which is extremely reassuring because if we have them, so does God, but even bigger. It can be difficult to understand just how wonderful God is but if we can look at our own inner workings regarding love, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, and care, we can relate them to God. These are not qualities that just spring to life. They were created, are grown, and put to good use by God, for God.
In knowing this, we can experience God because He becomes relatable. He loves us and because our hearts are filled with His love, we love others. Our relationship with Him becomes more intimate as does our worldly relationships. God doesn’t seem so far away when looked at in this perspective! He is our Source! He is God! This brings Him up close and personal. I like this!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that we are made in your image! Thank you for equipping us with love, kindness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, joy, patience, goodness, and self-control. How truly elevating this news is! Lord grow this fruit within us. Help us to apply all these wonderful gifts to all those around us so that YOU can be seen! You don’t just reside up in heaven but YOU reside in the hearts of your children. You have come down from the heavens and you live in and through those who love and follow you. How amazing you are!
Father, this world is in disarray by our human understanding. We know that it isn’t a surprise to you. We trust and have faith that you have the whole world in your hands and you are turning what’s meant for evil into good (Genesis 50:20). Hallelujah!
Father, give us the courage, strength, power, will, and wisdom to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, in word and action. Let your love reign in our hearts and in this world. As the early Christians fought so bravely for their faith, let us do the same. Let us be filled with that same passion! Help us to release those things that belong to this world and grasp on to You. As we read your Word together, help us to gain wisdom and understanding of who YOU are, and let us come out of each reading with a deeper intimacy with you. Hold our hearts in your Truth, let nothing distract us, and keep your Holy Spirit fire burning bright!
Thank you, Jesus, and it’s in your Name we pray, amen!
YouVersion. (n.d.) The bible app: 2-year bible reading plan [Vol. 1]. Riverside Church.
Thank you, CSTU and Professor A.M., for your teachings on the Early Christians!
Please note, I do not hold a degree in anything at the moment! I do know and love Jesus which is most important! He is my personal Savior and so much more. I am growing in my knowledge of Him and would love to grow with you! So, I encourage you, to speak out if I’ve said something that does not line up with Scripture, correction is good! I always welcome the thoughts of others!
God bless you and may His perfect peace always be with you!
It is God who makes us beautiful
It is God who gives us radiance.
It is God who gives us a lovely depth.
It is God who gives us honest love.
It is by God’s strength we give honest love.
It is God who makes all things glorious.
Thank you, Jesus, for your tender loving care.
Thank you, Jesus, for your persistence and patience.
Thank you, Jesus, for your constant companionship.
Thank you, Jesus, we are never alone.
Thank you, Jesus, for your death, burial and resurrection.
Isaiah 40:6-7 (New Living Translation)
“Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly
as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade
beneath the breath of the LORD.
And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
Hinds’ Feet on High Places
“The Shepherd laughed and answered, Only Love can really understand the music and the beauty and the joy which was planted in the heart of all created things. Have you forgotten that two days ago I planted the seed of Love in your heart? Already it has begun to make you hear and see things which you did not notice before. As Love grows in you, Much-Afraid, you will come to understand many things which you never dreamed of before. You will develop the gift of understanding many ‘unknown tongues’ and you will learn to speak Love’s own language too, but first you must learn to spell out the alphabet of Love and to develop hind’s feet. Both these things you will learn on the journey to the High Places, and now here we are at the river, and over on the other side, the foothills of the mountains begin. There we shall find our two guides waiting for you” (Hurnard, 2018).
Hurnard, H. (2018). Hinds’ feet on high places. Christian Classic Edition [p. 32].
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.—Matthew 5:16
The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search throughout his lifetime. He does not really know where he has been. He does not really know what he is doing here and now. He does not know where he is going.
The sad commentary is that he is doing it all on borrowed time and borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he already knows that in the end, he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many that “we have lost God somewhere along the way.”…
Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave—reflecting only his own sinfulness.
Certainly, it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that man, made with a soul to worship and praise and sing to God’s glory, now sulks silently in his cave. Love has gone from his heart. Light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbles on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end. Whatever Happened to Worship?, 65-66.
“Lord, help me to be a light shining in this dark and gloomy cave. Let my light shine today to aid someone struggling blindly through this dark world. Amen.”
I read this devotion this morning and it is still with me. I feel moved to share but wasn’t sure where so here it is! I pray it blesses you as it has me 🙂
I woke in a panic around 2 AM this morning. My body felt funny and I could not help but imagine all sorts of terminal ailments. I was reminded of unpleasant past events; doom and gloom were fast approaching. My heart-rate was up, my breath was shallow, and I could not find a comfortable position in the bed. Scripture was not coming as quickly as I would have liked, so I repeated the Lord’s Prayer! As I meditated on each word, the peace of God came over me; my racing thoughts slowed down just enough to muster a prayer of help. I cannot remember the words but I knew in that moment of paralyzing fear, I had to be rescued and I certainly could not do it by myself. I am helpless in the grip of panic.
How faithful and good He is! In the calm of His embrace, I heard clearly the wisdom He had to share with me. I was no longer focused on my current condition but on His loving mercy and grace. I was not alone and even if I should breathe my last breath, right then and there, I still would not be alone. In my finite mind, I would be overcome and merged into His very being, removed from my body, and joined with His, covered and infused with His indescribable love and peace.
John 16:33 (ESV) says:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Wounds in life are unavoidable. There are many unfairly taken advantage of, offended, and oppressed by very bad behavior carried out by others. I am so sorry! I pray, in the Name of Jesus, for healing on all those who struggle each day with hurt. I pray Jesus lays His healing hand upon those wounds and fills them up with his Holy Presence. Draw each one close, Father, and whisper in their ear that they are loved and well taken care of. You have a plan and it is good and I pray that you bring great faith and hope to broken hearts and give unquenchable desire to seek your face rather than turn inward and allow the hurt to rule over them! Thank you, Jesus! It’s in your Name we pray, Amen!
These wounds can become quite damaging when left uncared for, they become a part of us. As we go through life, they gain strength and dominate our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions. We are prone to seek help in all the wrong places and gravitate towards anything in the hopes of mending brokenness. A bigger mess is often created!
At 2 AM, God showed me that I look to others to be filled emotionally and as I wrote this on July 29th, my view of personal dysfunction has become completely different.
Those heart-hurts are deep! It is an area that is untouchable by things or people; this is the territory of God. Whether we have been hurt or not, we all have a hidden space in our hearts that cannot be reached by any outside influences. No matter what we pursue and achieve in life, that spot will remain barren. There is a craving within us that yearns for something more. We do not realize this deep-seated need until we are sitting in weakness and despair (my experience). Life is no longer full and satisfying for whatever reason or maybe it never was (again, my experience). We turn from our present circumstances and look to be filled in other ways. Sinking into self-pity, our heart becomes an open door to anything that brings hope and joy; this can only come from Jesus. His love gets to our vacancy and it is unchanging, unconditional, inseparable, and incomparable. This is where He belongs! He made us this way!
I have since been in prayer over a new “escape” plan! When life hits me right in the gut and I’m left flailing in the dust, I am doing my best to remember my identity in Christ, remaining in the moment, and soaking in His presence. I do this by sitting still in prayer, reading the Bible, or one of my favorite Spirit-filled authors, listening to God-centered messages, or turning on worship music and singing with my hands raised high.
Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)
Keep in Step with the Spirit
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, division, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
It is an impossible task to “walk by the Spirit,” in our own power and it is something I am learning but as John Piper told me this morning in his message, “Let Us Walk by the Spirit” (Piper, 10:04), “The Holy Spirit gives us the desires to walk by the Spirit,” and as Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon the Power of the Holy Ghost (2020), “The Holy Spirit has power over the will…He is able to make you willing in the day of his power,” so it is nothing we do, it is everything the Holy Spirit does.
I challenge you to lean into God in those fleshly moments and see what He does! I am putting myself in this challenge as well! I will check back in with you and give you a Holy Spirit update. To God be all the Glory!
To conclude, I want to share with you this excerpt from Charles H. Spurgeon (2020). It comes from his sermon, “The Comforter.” I found God’s peace in this and I pray you do too!
“God the Holy Ghost is a very loving Comforter. I am in distress, and I want consolation. Some passer-by hears of my sorrow, and he steps within, sits down, and essays to cheer me; he speaks soothing words, but he loves me not; he is a stranger; he knows me not at all; he has only come in to try his skill; And what is the consequence? His words run o’er me like oil upon a slab of marble; they are like the pattering rain upon the rock; they do not break my grief; it stands unmoved as adamant because he has no love for me. But let someone who loves me dear as his own life, come and plead with me, then truly his words are music; they taste like honey: he knows the password of the doors to my heart, and my ear is attentive to every word; I catch the intonation of each syllable as it falls, for it is like the harmony of the harps of heaven. Oh! There is a voice in love, it speaks a language which is its own: it has an idiom and a brogue which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it; oratory cannot attain unto it; it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only handkerchief which can wipe the mourner’s tears away. And is it not the Holy Ghost, a loving comforter. Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of his soul towards thee?”
I am currently reading a book called, “The Lies We Believe,” by Dr. Chris Thurman. I came across a sentence yesterday that gave me pause and when I woke this morning, it was still with me. The chapter is called, “You Are a Person of Great Worth,” and it states this:
“The father of lies wants you to believe you are worthless and unworthy of love. He wants you to think you are the reason relationships don’t go well and that it isn’t okay to be a human being who makes mistakes. These four lies are usually in play when human beings are destructive to themselves and to each other.”
(Bold-type is mine because this is how it presented in my mind)
Nothing goes unnoticed! God sees all and knows all. I had a Holy Spirit encounter this morning while outside with my dog. I noticed that another dog had done a number two in the grass and normally I would be really upset by this because I would start to imagine the person who did not pick it up. I’d envision their appearance, personality, and morals. Anger would wash over me and I’d wish they would step in it! Maybe then they’d realize their negligence and lack of care for others!
This morning was different and I knew the Lord was at work and whatever He was doing would be applicable wisdom from here on out!
Please consider: I am not trying to point out my goodness in this early morning challenge. Sin is part of human nature and this is why God came down from the heavens to save us all. I struggle just as much as the next person with temptation. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we are able to get up each morning and face the day with goodness in our hearts. I am learning and growing too.
As I made my way to the pile I heard:
“God will take care of this person. You don’t have to get angry and imagine scenarios as you once did. He knows their heart. He takes great care of them as He does you.”
I picked it up in peace and continued on with my dog! I know this is not the cleanest of stories but God can truly use anything to get His point across. We just have to be open to His opportunities!
In prayer, ask Him for spiritual senses so that His presence is not missed! He hears and He will delightfully answer!
When someone has done something that has lit you up inside, God can immediately put that fire out and create one of His own! Hallelujah! God will take care of those people who offend. He will take care of us when we offend and not because He wants to punish us but because He loves us. We don’t want our children acting out thoughtlessly. God certainly does not want His children acting out thoughtlessly! This brings no glory to Him and after all, this is why we are here!
Instead of getting upset, pray!
I pray that this unknown dog-owner would come to know Jesus more intimately, whether they are lost, shaky in faith, or filled with great faith. May Jesus come into their heart and do mighty things! I pray for wisdom and understanding and that in this new life, created by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that they would be on fire to glorify and honor Him. And I pray this in Jesus’ Name!
With my walk finished and at my desk for prayer, the Lord took what I had just experienced outside and applied it to the wounds I’ve received throughout my life. Unfortunately, life is full of circumstances that create hurt within us but they don’t have to dominate. The Lord is bigger than this!
Thank you for taking care of our wounds! You are using them for your good. Those moments of hurt will only make us more pliable and obedient in your hands. You are shaping and cutting away the darkness that holds us back. For we are your masterpiece, you have created us anew, so we can do the good things you planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness and love.
Father, I pray for all those who are reading this Holy Spirit experience right now. I pray that you release whatever is holding them back and fill every area of their lives, their hearts, soul, and mind with your Holy Spirit. Father, open them to receive you. You are all that matters! Keep their focus on you and bless them each with your love, peace, and joy. Give them a great desire to seek you each and every day and reward them with goodness! You are for us and never against us (Romans 8:31). Your love is greater than anything we’ve ever experienced here in this world. Help us to receive your blessings! Thank you!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Let me conclude with Dr. Chris Thurman’s response to unworthiness:
“God always has an authoritative response to the Enemy’s lies, shame included. From God’s perspective, the truth is you have worth because He made you in His image, you are worthy of love as He demonstrated on the cross, you are not to blame for every relationship problem that occurs, and you are a finite human being who can’t help but make mistakes. God has the truth to counter every lie the Enemy will ever throw at you. The issue is whether you are going to believe what God says or what the liar says.”
Thurman, C. (2019). The lies we believe. W Publishing Group.