Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

September 8th, 2016 by Maureen

The Lord is mindful of us: He will bless us…He will bless those who worship and stand in awe of him. Ps. 115:12-13

We are on God’s mind, each one of us, great and small. We have His attention even when He does not have ours. And in those times when we are fully aware of His awesome power and great love, we will also be fully aware of how blessed we are. Blessing and provision are two different things. Provision is our Father making sure we have what we need. Blessing is our perspective on His love, thoughts, and provision concerning us. Gratitude and trust has everything to do with whether or not we know or believe we are blessed.

Thank You Lord for Your abundant and loving thoughts of me.

The problem’s not in the plot but in the tone

September 5th, 2016 by Maureen

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Ps. 13:1 But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me. Ps. 13:5-6

David in verse 1: Life sucks and I feel like God has abandoned me. David in verse 5-6: I trust God who has been good to me. God has not changed between verse 1 and verse 5. In verses 2-4 David goes on a rant to God about how abandoned and attacked and defeated he feels. Then the whole tone shifts. There is nothing to say the circumstances resolved. If our lives are stories, we often have little control over the complications in the plot, but we do have control over the tone.

Lord, I really want the tone of my life to be trusting and rejoicing and singing. Sometimes it just isn’t. Thanks for not abandoning me even when I feel abandoned.

Enjoy good

September 1st, 2016 by Maureen

Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and enjoy faithfulness. Ps. 37:3

God is good and does good. He invites us to participate in the good He creates and to share it with others. His goodness translates hope and peace and joy and meaning into our day-to-day lives and inspires us to communicate that good to others in meaningful ways.

Lord, I look forward to participating in the good You are doing today.

Safety Second

August 24th, 2016 by Maureen

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. Ps. 91:2

Savings plans, generators, medical plans, security systems, prenups, fire alarms, airbags, diet and exercise, or lucky socks are uncertain safety nets. Mountain cabins, spa baths and special coffee creamers are all unworthy to be called refuges. Whatever benefits these other things may hold, the only truly safe place, the only sure refuge, is God. Yet, we have a tendency to think that what we can control is safer that what is unknown and God, as much as we may love Him, comes with things unknown and uncontrollable. God’s love for us is trustworthy and it is only in that trust that we can fully experience the safety He offers us.

Lord, whether my safety nets fail or hold up, I trust You and take refuge in You.

Listen for the song

August 2nd, 2016 by Maureen

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Psalm 96:1

The work we do, the things we learn and ponder, the voices of those we meet, even the daily chores we perform contain the song of the Creator. His voice encourages and instructs us in the rhythms of each day. Everything we experience is an opportunity to join our voices in the new song God is singing. God is singing something new but vaguely familiar. The harmony is already in us to sing along

Lord let all I am and all I do be in tune with the song You’re singing today.

Are you out of your mind?

July 25th, 2016 by Maureen

We, all with unveiled faces, mirror the Lord”s glory, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18

Our minds sometimes default to old patterns that no longer reflect who we are or what we are about now. Sometime we need to stop overthinking ourselves and contemplate God. Period. No asks. No apologies. No religious obligations or practices. No whining. No focus on self at all. Just God. Because He’s God. Contemplate grace and everything that comes with it. Contemplate His power and creative energy. Meditate on every aspect of His character. Let His glory, love, and peace permeate every particle of body, mind, and spirit. Be made small to be made large. Become empty to be filled. Contemplate His face to recognize our own faces, transformed and unveiled.

Lord, I discover and become my true self when I look at You.

Fearless life before death

July 17th, 2016 by Maureen

He alone is my refuge and place of safety. I trust Him. Do not fear the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies by day; do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that falls at midday. Ps. 91:2,5-6

Fear empowers threat and interferes with living joyful, peaceful lives in the here and now. Shakespeare wrote ‘A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death once.’ Threat is real but doesn’t have to be a constant source of worry and fear. Preparation and caution turn to paranoia and paralysis in the face of fear. Empathy for victims turns to projecting worst-case scenarios upon ourselves and our loved ones when we fear. If we respond with fear to every new threat we discover we are dying over and over. The One who conquered death offers us abundant life now and assurance that even if threats become reality, He redeems and restores that reality. That is the now and future reality we get to fearlessly live.

Lord, help all who are facing terrible things and all who live in fear of those things to experience Your peace and to trust Your power to redeem even these things.

God can restore the hottest mess

July 15th, 2016 by Maureen

Many there are that rise against me. Many there are who say of my nefesh (life, self, emotional being, passions, desires, soul) that there is deliverance for me from God. But You, O God, are a mogen (shield) around me, my kavod (honor) and the lifter of my head. Ps. 3:2-3 (Orthodox Jewish Translation)

Psalm 3 is a prayer of David’s in the middle of another hot mess that is at least partially of his own making. The whole story is in 2 Samuel 13:13-15:12. David’s lack of response to a serious family matter has splintered his already dysfunctional family and escalated to the point that his son Absolom has taken David’s throne and is chasing him down to kill him. Civil war has erupted as everyone takes sides. Even from David’s place of shame, fear, anger, and grief, he believes God loves and values him. God loves, protects, and restores us when we fail miserably, when are at our worse, when we feel worthless, when we can’t figure out our next move, when we feel threatened and ineffectual, when we are under attack, when people say we’ve brought it upon ourselves, and when nobody else thinks we are worth the effort.

Lord, help all of us who feel vulnerable and unprotected right now to sense Your love and protection. Help all of us who feel like failures right now to sense Your love and restoration. Show me how to respond with love, grace and honor.

 

 

 

 

Emotional hoarding

July 13th, 2016 by Maureen

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Ps. 34:5

Emotional hoarders hold onto guilt and shame, cling to old, false, and limiting perceptions, and relive past hurts and offenses. All this stuff is baggage that casts shadows and adds weight. These things may even be the way we define ourselves. Holding onto our emotional hoards for the rest of our lives is not going to undo what Christ has done for us or make God love us less, but identifying ourselves by these things keeps us from experiencing the full benefits of the new, redeemed, restored, reconciled, transformed identity that Christ freely gives us. There is no one-size-fits-all vanishing solution for an emotional hoard, but we do get to choose what we focus on and how we want to see it.

Lord, help me to focus on all You free me for rather than hoarding the things you free me from. 

Taste and see what the Lord is cooking up

July 8th, 2016 by Maureen

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Ps. 34:8a

God serves up his goodness in surprising and creative ways. His goodness may not be plated according to convention or expectation. Sometimes it’s all sweet, but sometimes, in fact most of the time,  the flavor of goodness is complex and may even have a little bitterness up front, but never finishes on a bitter or sour note. Even when it seems to be a hidden ingredient, His goodness is going to define the flavor and make it nourishing and delicious.

Yum, Lord, serve me up more of that sweet, savory goodness.

Made in the shade

July 6th, 2016 by Maureen

The Lord watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. Psalm 121:5

When temperatures rise in our lives, God is still with us. When our passions get the best of us, when our dreams go up in flames, when situations get hot and messy, God is right there to restore cool reason and perspective. When the shiny stuff blinds and distracts, God shades our eyes so we can see what’s really important. We may be sweating but we aren’t going to melt into a puddle on the sidewalk. God is always with us, in us, and for us.

Lord, thank you for watching over me.

A mind blown is a mind changed

June 16th, 2016 by Maureen

So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? Col. 2:20 (Message)

Christian communities may exert pressure on members to conform to whatever formula for Christian growth is trending in that particular group at that particular time. It’s when we throw down gauntlet and demand agreement and compliance that we create static, legalistic environments that discourage change. Authentic experiences that tap us into the mind of Christ are likely to challenge some of our paradigms and cause of to change some of our ideas. And our varying experiences with an infinite God might possibly create some dissonance in how we interpret what to do with what we’ve experienced. God blows our individual minds over different things and sometimes those experiences are specific to us and we shouldn’t expect or demand that other people experience God in exactly the same way. We are each where we are right now. We can trust the transformative power of the cross and the revealing power of the Spirit as sufficient agents of change for all of us.

Lord, thank you for helping me to experience the mind of Christ even if it means changing mine.

Free citizen of the state of grace

June 15th, 2016 by Maureen

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Ps. 32: 5

Christ has created a state of pristine grace where we experience cleansing forgiveness and freedom to be who He has redeemed us to be. We pollute the environment of grace when we inflict guilt on ourselves and on one another. Free citizens of the state of grace are not supposed to be predators or chameleons but these mutations occur in us when fear and guilt corrupt our environment.

Show me how to contribute to an environment of grace.

God’s tent

June 14th, 2016 by Maureen

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. Ps. 104:2

Nature is a beautiful tent. Sunshine, rain, starry skies, forests, mountains, fields, flowers, creatures, seas, lakes, and rivers all offer beauty to appreciate. God is in the pulse of each day, and we experience the rhythm of His pulse in the sights and sounds and breath of His creation. He spread out this tent today. Dance under it.

Father, I love You and appreciate Your beautiful handiwork. Dance with me under the tent.

Delighted, I’m sure

June 13th, 2016 by Maureen

For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. Ps. 149:4-5

Waking up singing is a great feeling. The Creator, God of the Universe experiences delight because He made us and He loves us. He want to He pour His joy right back into us so that we are delighted too. The more we are aware of His love for us and delight in us, the more we are able to become who He made us to be, and the less our frustrations, mistakes, and desires define us.

Lord, help me be more aware of Your delight and of all the ways You make my life delightful.

So hope

May 24th, 2016 by Maureen

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Ps. 25:5

We are not the finishers of our own faith or the earners of our own salvation. Neither are we alone in what we deal with day by day. As opportunities and choices present themselves throughout the day Jesus is our hope. As we deal with unexpected and unwelcome problems and griefs, Jesus is our hope. Hope is more than optimism we conjure up through positive self-talk or claiming victory in prayer or effective management of situations. Hope exists in the person of Jesus Christ. The truth of Who Christ is and who He has made each of us through His work of redemption at the cross is the cause of hope, causing both the reason and the ability to hope.

Lord, I can only hope because You put Your hope in me. Teach me to tap into that.

A safe house

May 14th, 2016 by Maureen

You have not handed me over to my enemies but have set me in a safe place. Ps. 31:8

Safe houses are not always the most luxurious and are meant to be temporary sanctuary not permanent homes. It’s easy to forget that an enemy exists who, though defeated, is still doing real damage that God continues to address in our lives and in the lives of others. His provision and protection may not result in completely comfortable, stress-free lifestyles all the time, but His peace and hope are always available no matter what we are experiencing.

Lord, thank you for my soul’s safe place.

Safe house

May 14th, 2016 by Maureen

You have not handed me over to my enemies but have set me in a safe place. Ps. 31:8

Safe houses are not always the most luxurious and are meant to be temporary sanctuary not permanent homes. It’s easy to forget that an enemy exists who, though defeated, is still doing real damage that God continues to address in our lives and in the lives of others. His provision and protection may not result in completely comfortable, stress-free lifestyles all the time, but His peace and hope are always available no matter what we are experiencing.

Lord, thank you for always being my soul’s safe place.

Family resemblance

May 5th, 2016 by Maureen

I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions. Ps. 119:15

It’s pretty simple: if we think about God and spend time with Him we tend to reflect His ideas and nature. It’s not about doing what we “ought” to do or following rules, it’s about embracing our identities as children of God, transformed by His nature and His nurture. But, if we’re honest, a lot of our thoughts, responses, and desires seem counterproductive to Who God is, to who we are because of Him, and to what God’s Spirit is doing in us and around us. Reflecting on the nature of God and identifying with Him helps us sort out all those contradictory thoughts so that we respond to situations and make decisions in ways that are consistent with who we now are as children who look like their Dad, who is Love.

Lord, be present in my thought life.

Jesus is nothing like Microsoft

April 24th, 2016 by Maureen

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Ps. 34:8

If my hairdresser sneaked into my house and cut my hair while I slept I would feel violated. It would hurt our relationship. Yesterday Microsoft installed Windows 10 on my computer without asking. That’s how I felt. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t work like this. He made us. He certainly could go in and rewire our brains to believe and rewire our emotions to feel something for Him. But would it be faith? Would it be love? By definition loving is relationship and relationships are not involuntary. So God doesn’t force himself on us. He invites us to follow, to taste and see, to enter into a relationship in which we are always tasting and discovering good things; a relationship in which we are safe and beloved, not violated and manipulated.

Lord, thank You for inviting me into this safe and delicious love.