Monday Morning Meditation: God Always Wins

We are finishing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here and reflect on all we’ve considered thus far.

Today’s verses are 23-24:

I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
for you have redeemed me.
I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
has been shamed and humiliated.

It’s interesting to note how much David talks about his enemies throughout this psalm.  He had real, tangible enemies, nations that sought to do him and Israel harm.  He even had people within his friends and family who conspired against him.
Our enemies today are often much less tangible.  Yet we can praise God because we know our #1 enemy stands condemned.  We can sing His praises because He has redeemed us from the power of sin and death.  
We can even praise Him because He is just.  I’m so thankful that justice is not in my hands!  David had a deep sense of justice, knowing that despite how things might appear, God always wins in the end.
God winning doesn’t mean things always turn out how we want them to.  It simply means that because of His goodness and the good things He desires for us, He will be victorious to the end.
Is there a situation in your life today where it feels as if you are losing?  Choose praise.  Shout for joy! Sing God’s praises!  Tell about His righteous deeds all day long.
Because God always wins.

Monday Morning Meditation: Faithful to His Promises

We are (finally!) continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

It has been interesting to reflect on this psalm over the past month, as it has become clear my dear loved one will be going home to Jesus before too long.

I began this psalm series in August, before we knew the current prognosis.  The psalm is all about the end of life and David asking God to remember him in his old age.

Let’s look at the topics we’ve touched on so far:

Lots of truth to be found in this psalm.

Now, here are today’s verses (v. 21-22):

You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O God.
I will sing for you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

It’s helpful to remember verse 20, for some context:
“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”

Not only will he be restored to life again, he will be restored to greater honor and receive comfort once again.

When I read those verses in the context of end of life, they take on an even deeper meaning.

David then moves back to praise.  There is so much praising in this psalm it almost hurts.  Praise is not my default when trials come, when life seems to overwhelm.

I recently made myself a playlist of worship songs that I called, Absorb Truth. I just sit and listen and take it all in even when I struggle to believe.

You are faithful to Your promises.

This is David’s reflection in his old age.  God, just as He said, has been and will be faithful to His promises.

God recently answered a prayer of mine that I prayed 11 years ago.  In doing so, He showed me His faithfulness to His promises. His answer brought me great comfort.

You are faithful to Your promises.

Thank You, Lord.  Help me to trust in You.

Monday Morning Meditation: The God of Restoration (Psalm 71 Series)

We are (finally!) continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Verses 19-20:

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with you, O God?
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

I am starting this post 5 days before I will run my first marathon.

Running does not come naturally to me; it never has. It has always been hard work. I’ve never had that “light” or “fresh” feeling that runners talk about.

I initially just ran for the quick exercise, to maintain a large weight loss.  I didn’t have access to a gym. I kept running because it’s good for clearing my headspace.

I met some crazy runners in mid-2011. By that point, I had run a half marathon, so I distinguished “crazy runners” as people who ran more than 13.1 miles at a time. They asked me, Why don’t you consider a marathon?

I figured I’d pray about it.  
2 months later, God spoke. How about running for a cause?
By the time you read this, I will have (Lord-willing) ran 26.2 miles to trample on child sex trafficking.
It will not be easy or quick or painless.  But I will do it, for the kids.
Kids like Madel.
Who can compare to You, God? the psalmist wonders.
No one.
Not a single one.

Even when He allows us to suffer hardship, He restores us to life.  Even these young kids whose families often sell them into prostitution – God has something amazing for them.
Whatever depths you are in, there is a God who longs to rescue you.  Call on Him today.
If you’d like to give toward the cause for which I am willing to attempt a marathon, you can learn more here.

Monday Morning Meditation: Do Not Abandon Me, God (Psalm 71 Series)

Blogger has changed the format for posting & I’m having trouble figuring out how to post what I want! Please forgive anything that appears random & out of place.

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Verses 17-18:

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I have constantly told others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

God, do not abandon me.

This is the 3rd time in this psalm that David has mentioned abandonment, where he has brought up his fear of God failing him in his old age.  David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22): why was he doubting God’s faithfulness now?

God, do not abandon me.

I can relate.

As a young believer, I was sure that God would be faithful.  I felt positive that we would together take the world by storm and accomplish amazing things.  God’s voice was often apparent and tangible.  I sensed His direction in my life almost as clearly as I saw the wind.

Then life happened.

Honestly, I got jaded. Or I reverted back to the hurt child who, from a young age, had a deep fear of rejection and abandonment. I heard abandonment in every request, every song, saw it in every look and every circumstance.

As an adult believer, there were times I was positive I had heard God’s voice, but things did not turn out how I thought they would.

Had I been wrong?   Had I misheard God?

My faith feels weak these days.  I feel as if I’m in a similar place.

I think too much. I reason too much.  I try to figure out too many things.

It’s exhausting.

God, do not abandon me.

Had David just seen too much?  In his old age, had things not turned out how he had hoped?

Will You fail me now, God, after all this time?

How shall we combat this fear of abandonment?

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

God, today, instead of fixating on my fears and doubts, I will not treat our relationship as I have treated others.  I will choose not to act as if Your feelings are so fickle that You will abandon me now in my time of need.  Instead, I will trust in Your Word.  I will declare all that You are, all that You have done, and all that You will do.  I will pull out my stones of remembrance and declare them to the next generation.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

Lord, let me cling to that truth.

Monday Morning Meditation: Called to Praise (Psalm 71 series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

It’s certainly worth looking back over the themes of this psalm thus far before considering today’s verses.

Prayer Requests Intertwined with Truth
God’s Protection from the EnemyGod is Our Hope
What Am I Living For?
Never Alone

David, the writer of this psalm, combines the hope he has in God and the truth he knows about God with the reality he is facing. He is getting older, and it feels as if his enemies are surrounding him. Will God continue to come through?

Verses 14-16:

But I will keep on hoping for you to help me;
I will praise you more and more.
I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD.
I will tell everyone that you alone are just and good.

“I will praise you more and more.”

I don’t know if that’s my natural inclination when trials come. I’m fairly certain my natural inclination is to complain and run around telling everyone how bad off I am. In a post back in February, I shared that when God calls for silence, we can pray, fast, wait, listen, obey and rejoice.

We are called to praise.

Despite the obstacles he was facing, David found multiple reasons to praise God and to declare to others all that God is.

David declared he is overwhelmed by all God has done for him. Usually, when I face challenges, the only thing I’m overwhelmed by is the obstacles I’m staring at.

“Look beyond the tombstone – see the Living God.”

As I was writing this today, this lyric came through my headphones from the song Glorious by Paul Baloche. Even though I know he’s singing of Jesus’s tomb, my mind immediately went to Lazarus, given the opportunity to believe that God has placed before me and my family in this season. We were just reading the story yesterday.

“Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Jesus calls us, as He did Martha, to look beyond the tombstone. He calls us to praise, more and more. Even before the answer comes, even before we see that victory is on its way, we can be overwhelmed by the reality of all that God is and all that He’s done. We can proclaim His saving power and call others to praise with us.

Monday Morning Meditation: Never Alone (Psalm 71 series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Verses 10-13:

For my enemies are whispering against me.
They are plotting together to kill me.
They say, “God has abandoned him.
Let’s go and get him, for there is no one to help him now.”
O God, don’t stay away. My God, please hurry to help me.
Bring disgrace and destruction on those who accuse me.
May humiliation and shame cover those who want to harm me.

We all have enemies. We all have critics.

We all have people who are waiting for us to fail.

I think about this in my own life and ministry. There are plenty of people who would love to see me fall.

Life, circumstances, Satan – they all provide opportunities for our faith to be tested. Will we deny or abandon God when things get hard?

Will we declare that God has abandoned us, as David’s enemies did?

Though we may at times feel as if God is far off, that He’s forgotten about us, we must continue to declare that God is our hope, just as David does throughout this psalm. We must continue, like the persistent widow, to call on God to rescue and save us.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

God is close to the brokenhearted.

When the critics come to tempt us to doubt, when Satan comes to speak lies to us, we must hold tight to God’s promises – He will be our strength, our sustainer, our rescuer. We are never alone.

Monday Morning Meditation: What Am I Living For? (Psalm 71 Series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.

Imagine yourself a decade from now, or 4 decades.

What will others say about your life?

Oh, Lord, please let my life reflect a deep knowledge of You as strength and protector.

Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in Romanian prisons because he told people about Jesus. In 1964, he received amnesty at the price of $10,000 and became the voice for the persecuted church, founding the ministry that is today called Voice of the Martyrs.

I had the privilege of attending college with his grandson and heard firsthand stories of the man’s life.

Richard Wurmbrand passed away in 2001 at the age of 92. His death inspired me to write a song entitled What am I living for? The song questioned how I will be remembered when I’m gone. What kind of legacy will I leave? Will I have lived a life pleasing to God? Will they remember me because I declared God’s glory all day long?

David’s reliance on God was a cause for praise; it inspired him to declare God’s glory.

Lord, may I declare Your glory because You are sustainer. Help me to run the race marked out for me with the end in mind.

I will end with the lyrics to the song I wrote in Richard Wurmbrand’s memory.

What am I living for?
Will they remember me when I’m gone?
What will I leave behind me?
What will I leave behind me?

How far will I go to speak Your name?
Will I do what You ask of me?
Will I do what You ask of me?

Can these sinful lips testify of You?
Can this wretched life glorify You?
What am I living for?
What am I living for?
What am I living for?

Will I give it all to follow You?
What can I do to please You?
What can I do to please You?

Let these sinful lips testify of You
Use this wretched life to glorify You
What am I living for?
What am I living for?
What am I living for?

© 2001 Unveiled Faces Music

Monday Morning Meditation: God is Our Hope (Psalm 71 series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Two weeks ago, I talked about David intertwining prayer requests with truth about God. Last week, I talked about God protecting us from our enemies.

Today, we’ll tackle verse 5-6:

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!

I’m going to keep this short today.

David could easily see God’s care for and protection over him throughout his life.

When I look back on some of my choices and the situations I put myself in, I too can see God’s hand at work in protecting me, even when I did not acknowledge or trust in Him.

That alone is reason to praise Him.

While our natural tendency may be to look at our circumstances in order to make sense of our lives, and our human inclination may be to wonder where God was during certain trials, let us instead choose to recognize He alone is our hope. Let us instead choose to praise Him for His faithfulness, His care, and His protection, though we may still be waiting to see those things come to fruition.

Monday Morning Meditation: God’s Protection from the Enemy (Psalm 71 series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Last week, I talked about how David, the author of the psalm, intertwines prayer requests with truth about God, as if to remind himself that despite his trials, despite the hopelessness he may feel at times, God’s character has not changed. He is still good, He is still faithful, and He is still able to rescue and set free.

Let’s look at today’s verses (v.3-4)

Be to me a protecting rock of safety, where I am always welcome.
Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors.

This psalm is full of beautiful and challenging pictures of God’s character and steadfastness.

I especially love the imagery of God as a welcoming rock of safety. It’s a picture of God’s solidity, coupled with His always open arms. The NASB translation further illuminates this truth: “Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come.” We can come to God, as we are, with all our fears and doubts and sorrows, and He is always willing to welcome us in.

David repeats a lot of the same prayers and promises of the first 2 verses. Like the persistent widow, he asks again, Save me, protect me, rescue me.

He also recognizes that the wicked do have some level of power. Jesus recognized this truth as well when He said that Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but He came so that we might have an abundant life (John 10:10). When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus told him that He was sending him to “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18)

So while we have a real enemy (in Satan) and other enemies (in people), Jesus makes it clear, as does David in this psalm, that’s not the end of the story.

God is our fortress. He is sufficient protection against any enemy. A rock of safety, where we are always welcome. Not only did Jesus defeat Satan’s power on the cross (Hebrews 2:14-15), we have a God who able to protect us.

In what area of your life do you need God’s protection today?

Monday Morning Meditation: Prayer Requests Intertwined with Truth (Psalm 71 series)

Today, we will be beginning a new series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

Here are today’s verses (1-2):

O LORD, you are my refuge; never let me be disgraced.
Rescue me! Save me from my enemies, for you are just.
Turn your ear to listen and set me free.

David wrote this psalm in his old age. We see in Scripture that the end of David’s life was full of strife and pain.

David had followed God his whole life; would God continue to come through?

We know following God does not promise us an easy life. “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” Matthew 5:45 (NLT) David recognized this truth while acknowledging that God is his only hope.

Notice how he begins this psalm, intertwining truth about God with prayer. David had serious issues to bring before God, but he didn’t just bring his laundry list of prayers and leave it at that.

Our laundry list can often be quite depressing. David recognized the importance of reminding himself of the truth of God’s character and reminding God of His promises.

David states:
God is refuge – don’t allow disgrace.
God is rescuer – save me.
God is just. God is listening.
God sets free.

When things look grim, we can remind ourselves of God’s character, His heart, and His desires for His children.

Lord, help us to remember to bring our requests to You alongside reminders of who You are, what You have done, and what You are able to do. Be refuge, be rescuer, be just, as You have said You will be. Set us free, Lord, as only You are able. Amen.