Convinced

Psalm 52: 8 – 9              TPT

But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God. I trust in the unending love of God; his passion toward me is forever and ever. Because it is finished I will be praising you forever and giving you thanks. Before all your godly lovers I will proclaim your beautiful name!

Yesterday I sent you the first seven verses of Psalm 52. I thought you needed to see how David finished this song. Not only is it beautiful but in the face of adversarial persecution, he stands in the love and the grace of his heavenly father.

The first seven verses have more to do with the wicked people and how God will deal with them. This second part is about us, those of us who put our faith, not in the work of our hands, our wealth or our righteousness, but only in the “unending love of God.” When David turns to thinking of himself his thoughts are filled with God’s love and his love for God. Praise and thanksgiving come immediately to his awareness. His trust is in that love, knowing that God’s love is not only unending, but also passionate. David had a real, palpable awareness of God’s love for him and it altered his life. I so look forward to hearing him sing his praises to our beloved Father and I am going to go stand beside him and join in. I imagine I will never experience any greater joy than I will in that moment. My God is so worthy, and it is an honor to get to praise him.

In this earth, we too can trust in God’s love the way David did and it will protect us. It will keep us calm in the midst of the storm. Even when your Saul or Doeg threatens, God will keep your peace. He will guard your heart and soon you too will be singing your praises to the Beloved One.

I wish we understood how much Yahweh loves us. I wish we understood how real the force of his love is. I wish we all understood how to stand in trust, leaning on our faith in that love. David was hounded and persecuted relentlessly yet a song was never far from his lips, praise in his wake. He says with confidence and conviction that though persecuted, “I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God.” Can you picture what image must have been in David’s mind when he wrote those words? Doeg did evil and of course it pained David. That is why he sought the Spirit and poured out this psalm. However, at the end of the day, David saw himself flourishing under God’s blessed anointing. He saw himself planted in the house of God where his roots went down deep and drew nourishment.

I am very grateful David gave us this psalm. I hope you will find comfort in it. Let all our enemies be on notice. God will rip them up by their roots, but we will be firmly planted in the garden of the Lord, enjoying his anointing.

Ebullient Praise

Psalm 45: 1         God’s Word

My heart is overflowing with good news. I will direct my song to the king. My tongue is a pen for a skillful writer.

This psalm is written about Jesus and his bride, which is the church. The psalmist saw into the spiritual realm and was overwhelmed by the gloriousness of Jesus. Jesus’ grandeur and beauty caused his heart to overflow with the good news which bubbled up from within his own spirit.

When Jesus walked the earth in human form, he was not the most handsome of men. When, however, you see who he is, see his spirit and his grace, then he is the most beautiful of all people. His form is elegance and grace is in his every move. His words are nectar and his eyes hold all the world’s seas. He is lovely in all ways.

The root of praise is easily seen in reading this psalm in its entirety. The psalmist overflows with affection and admiration for the king, our king. As his heart overflows with the good news, he gives vent to it in a song for the king. He is so enamored with this vision of Jesus that he describes the flow of words coming from him as lyrics fit for a skilled writer. He may have even been amazed by his own eloquence. That’s the way it happens when your spirit and the Holy Spirit get intertwined. You become more than you were, see more than you could see, and are given expression beyond your normal ability.

The good news bubbles up everywhere in your life. The psalmist saw it evidenced in his songs. You might see it bubbling up at work, in workouts and in relationships. Who Jesus is and who he is in you begins to show up everywhere. Perhaps all of a sudden you are kinder than you were. Maybe at work you’ve begun to get really great ideas. When you tap into this and realize that it is the anointing of the anointed one within you, then praise is a natural outcome. And, who knows, maybe you will overflow with a song that makes children dance and saints weep. Maybe you will see gifts flowing out of you which you have never seen before, and, why not? After all, the greater one is in you!

Finding Joy

Psalm 42: 5        NIV

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

This week we are continuing our journey through the psalms with this passage from Psalm 42. Since you seem to be enjoying the psalms, we will continue to do one every Monday.

This psalm is one sad lament and yet, is there one amongst us who has not felt equally forlorn at some point in life? The psalmist had a revelation, though, one which buoyed him even at his lowest points. He knew that a time of praise was coming, a time to thank God for rescuing him from this desperate place and time. Though the shadows darkened his doorway, he knew that light was coming and that the light would overshadow even the darkest dread. From that point of knowing we can shout, “Hallelujah!” Even when situations seem threatening, even in the midst of turmoil, we shout praises to the Father knowing that He is present and will lift us and set us high on a mountaintop.

God is worthy of the praise but what is thrilling about offering praise even when your soul is downcast is that the praise itself has power. It begins to lift your soul and brighten the horizon. Sometimes it is all we need to break the binding darkness. When we lift our eyes and fix them on Jesus, the flood of light fills the space. Darkness must flee in the presence of the light. It is the easiest and most natural thing in the world to keep looking at the trouble which is oppressing your soul. However, we are not of the world. You are of God little children and it is upon Him that you should cast your gaze. Looking at the glory of the Father who loves you more than life, shines joy and hope into our innermost being. We only need become as accomplished as this dear psalmist at recognizing the loving kindness and radiant power of a Lord who is always willing to be our rescuer.

Let not your heart be troubled. Do not give into the worry and fear. Sing your praise to the Father confident that He has your back and is with you always. Sing your way clear of trouble. Shout away your sorrows. Give thanks knowing your savior is near. Put your hope in God and let your joy be renewed.

Lighthouse Evangelism

Psalm 40: 3      Passion Translation

A new song for a new day rises up in me
every time I think about how he breaks through for me!
Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until
everyone hears how God has set me free.
Many will see his miracles;
they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!

How sweet are the sentiments of David towards his heavenly father. There are many kinds of relationships we can have with Yahweh but the emotional connection David displays is the most enviable of all. When was the last time ecstatic praise poured out of our mouths? Do you know anyone whose praise to God is as deep and meaningful? David was known for his public praise. In fact, he danced himself out of his robes once. It made his wife mad. She wanted him to be cool, show some decorum. He was the king, after all. David was not the foremost king in his own mind though. In his mind he was a minor king who served THE king.

More than anything, though, he loved (and still loves) our God. Yahweh wasn’t a Godly deity reserved for religious duty or rituals. David loved God and served Him out of that love. It is not too much to say he adored Yahweh. He learned to trust God and from that position of trust, they forged a fabulous bond.

Every morning David arose with a new song of praise and gratitude in his heart. Can you even picture what ecstatic praise looks like. David said ecstatic praise poured from his mouth. It wasn’t a trickle. It was a flood. What an image! It must have been a praise gusher, so much praise that David could not contain it. Then again, he didn’t want to. It seems he took great joy in praising our Lord and God.

This is such a beautiful song and verse. One person described it as romantic. It does have that feeling from the romantic period doesn’t it? Such beautiful poetry describing such intense and intimate emotions. I am moved by the end of this stanza. This is evangelism as we have not imagined it.

David said the praise poured out of his mouth so jubilantly that everyone heard about the greatness and the kindness of God. Now that is how we are supposed to evangelize the world. Praise God so freely and excitedly, declaring His great works and tender mercies to us that a hurting world flocks to the Lord of the rescue. David went on to say that miracles will abound and as a result, not only would people be astounded but that they would fall in love with our beloved, Yahweh, God, and His son. Can you picture this? It is beautiful and romantic. The perfect image of the love of our souls saving the entire world. That is, after all, why God sent Jesus to the world, to save our wretched souls.

God is worthy to be praised. Not only has He saved our souls from eternal torment but He is pouring out His blessing upon us right here and right now. He has picked our lives up from the ashes and given us robes of praise. He has bathed us in the glory of His dear son. I don’t know what it takes for us to praise Him as did David, but I would like to find that ecstatic praise not only pouring but gushing out of me. I would like to hear exuberant praise, instead of canned songs. I want God to hear our hearts even more than our voices, hearts that call out to Him with desperate passion. I want to be like David and see people flock to my Lord because I have become great at singing His praises.

Please stop for a moment today and consider this passage. Try to imagine what David must have looked like and what he must have felt. Put yourself in David’s shoes and imagine yourself praising God in that fashion. See miracles flowing out of that praise and thanksgiving so that everywhere we go, everywhere you go, people get healed and saved. You are a lighthouse. None of us will have to say much when people see what God has done. We don’t have to preach. We don’t have to cajole. When they see our joy and God’s love, they will fall in love with Him. What an amazing vision that is.

Trusting Heart

Psalm 28: 6 – 7                  God’s Word

Thank the Lord! He has heard my prayer for mercy! The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted him, so I received help. My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.

These two verses capture David’s relationship with God. Praise is on David’s lips. Our Lord heard his prayer and answered from His mountain. David doesn’t stop with praise though, he declares the greatness of the Lord, extolling His strength and protection. God is a shield about us and He is our strength. If you are tired or feeling weak, no need to worry. The Lord supplies us with strength, giving us His own might to fuel our days.

I really love the part about trust. Day after day as I read these psalms, I see David writing about trust. Trust was an integral part of his bond with Yahweh. It was an important tie between them. David tells us in this psalm that the reason he received the help he needed was because he first trusted God. David vocalized his trust. It isn’t just something he thinks about. It isn’t restricted to a hopeful heart. He boldly declares to all the world that his trust is in the Lord. There is a secret in there for those who have ears to hear. The bold declaration precedes the help. David followed the answered prayer with thanksgiving and song.

You might not have liked David if you knew him. He was over the top in love with God and from what I can see from his writings, he really didn’t care who knew it. He danced before the Lord without a care for what anyone would think. I would have probably thought he was a bit of a freak but now that I have the benefit of history, I can see that his outrageous proclamations of love and trust were the recipe for success. Now, I want to be more like David. I want to lose my inhibitions and boldly declare that my God is the king and the love of my life. I want to stop hedging in my exaltation of his greatness. You might not enjoy being around me either because if my Christmas wish comes true, I am going to be a lot more like David.

Praise Bombs

Psalm 18: 48 – 49                Passion

He rescues me from my enemies;
he lifts me up high and keeps me out of reach,
far from the grasp of my violent foe.

49 This is why I thank God with high praises!
I will sing my song to the highest God,
so all among the nations will hear me.

David certainly accomplished his goal. People from all nations, nations which didn’t even exist when he was living, have heard his songs of praise. His songs have spiritually fed generations of believers. That is really something.

The relationship between Yahweh and David was one of continual blessing. God blessed and delivered David. He routinely saved him from dangerous and aggressive enemies. David, in turn, famously lavished the Lord with high praise. Their relationship was one of giving and I imagine David is in heaven now with his lyre singing love songs to our Lord and God. What a beautiful picture.

The Lord has redeemed David forever and David is forever a king in the court of the Most High King. But then . . . cannot the same be said of us. We have been bought with a price, the price of an unblemished lamb who willingly shed its blood for us. We have been redeemed and our lives returned to glory status. The standing we were ordained to have in the beginning, before the fall of humanity, has been restored to us. Our enemies are but a footstool and all our needs have been met. We, then, are in a proper situation to continuously offer up thanksgiving and praise.

I do not find, however, that our culture is one of giving and praise, even to our God. Therefore, we are not being trained to be thankful and to articulate that thankfulness. We are not given to praise naturally or by cultural indoctrination, so we must admonish ourselves. We must purposefully set aside time to praise our Lord. We must intend, or purpose in our hearts, that praising the Father is a value to us. Then, we have to apply the necessary planning to our intent so that praise actually manifests. What am I saying? That we have to make a deliberate plan to praise our Father and then follow through with the appropriate action. As I have said, we are not being routinely taught and encouraged in this and it is not a natural flow from most of our cultures, so we have to make a decision that we wish to give the Father something in return for all of His great kindness and then do something about it. We cannot wait for the time to be right or even to “feel like it.” We must decide and then do it.

He, our Father, lives in our praises. He breathes them like you do air. He loves us but also longs for us to love Him in return. Wouldn’t it be great if, as a group of believers, we all started loving on Him more than we used to? How would it be if we all gave Him more praise in 2019 than we did in 2018. I know I have much more thanksgiving in my heart than I have spoken aloud. He has been good to me. I presume He has been good to you to. Let us purpose in our hearts that we are going to increase the praise in His throne room. Let’s bombard the throne room of grace with praise. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

But . . ..

Psalm 13: 6               Tree of Life

But I trust in Your lovingkindness, my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to Adonai, because He has been good to me.

How could I choose any verse other than this one after yesterday’s passage? The first part of the psalm details David’s fear, worry and sorrow but as is so often the case, he does not allow himself to languish in anxiety.

The most important word in today’s verse may well be “but.” David tells of all the trouble. He momentarily dwells in the angst, BUT, he says, there is something else which speaks in the darkness. A light which casts out even the darkest shadow. Despite the circumstances, despite the fear and emotional trauma, God is seated on His throne and is well and able to cast His saving radiance on even our deepest gloom.

David knew that God’s lovingkindness trumps all. It even trumps our unworthiness, poor prayers, lack of prayers, heathen attitudes and every other failure. David was able to trust the Lord because he understood love. David had an enviable revelation that love compels God. It will not let Him rest. The Lord’s salvation reaches into the darkness giving us every reason to rejoice. He saves us from every situation, every worry, every fear. David would not allow himself to meditate on the problems. He shifted gears into trust and rejoicing. This was a purposeful act, one which ultimately catapulted him into song. Yes, there are problems out there. Sure, challenges arise but shall we focus our attention on them or remind ourselves that God’s lovingkindness is trustworthy? Shall we fix our eyes on the circumstances or on Jesus? These are not rhetorical questions. We must, like David, make a definitive decision. How shall we color the fabric of our lives, with the music of praise or with despair? Lift up your eyes, my beloved. See the great and glorious there upon your own horizon. Love is beckoning even as it answers your most deep-seeded worries. Let your heart be light for you Father, your real Father, has healing, love and joy in His wings.