Category Archives: Psalms

“Thanks, Lord.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 118:1.

There is no end to God’s goodness.

Everything that happens to believers is good because God is looking out for them.

I do not have to worry about the present and the future.  God is now and will ever be.

I need to be much more mindful of God.  So many things happen that should be directing my thoughts to His goodness to me.

I was out in a blueberry field today with my sister.  The berries were everywhere, and I had a good friend with me.  What blessings!  “Thank You, Lord for the abundance of berries you led us to.  Thank You, Lord for being able to have my dear sister along to enjoy the spot.”

I go through a day often inattentive to God.  He’s with me and I act as if He isn’t.  My Provider is always “handy enough” to thank.

Why don’t I thank Him more often?  I think that I just lose track of His Presence.

Every good thing I have is a gift from the One I’m ignoring!  I have no trouble on my birthday and at Christmas thanking folks for presents, why am I not doing the same thing in the ongoing, God-given blessings?

Conclusion: I must thank God without ceasing.  There certainly are enough reasons to.

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Enjoying His Word like never before

“Praise the Lord.  Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.” Psalm 112:1.

What’s in it for me?

I changed my approach to Bible reading earlier this month.

My previous approach changed when I happened upon, “Listening for God,” by Marilyn Hontz at a church yard sale.

My primary drive before was to read a certain amount of the Bible each day so that I could read the entire Bible in a year.  I would retrieve something from each daily section and write about what it meant to me.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There is nothing wrong with that approach.  Reading the entire Bible is a terrific activity and highly recommended.  I am NOT trying a discourage the Bible-in-a-year style.

For me, I had done that approach for over seven years.  I really enjoyed getting to know the whole Bible because before that I had never read it all the way through.

What got me interested in Marilyn’s book was its first 36 pages.  It was all about the Bible.  Marilyn was invited to speak at Urbana about “daily devotions.”  Marilyn agreed to do it and would have months to prepare for a presentation.  The tricky part for Marilyn was that she wasn’t even having daily devotions!  So, she asked a Godly friend about how she had daily devotions.  Marilyn learned from the friend that she should read Scripture “until God spoke directly to her.”  It changed Marilyn’s approach and it has changed mine.

I have learned a couple of important things about the Bible: (1) It is “living” and (2) It will speak directly to me.

Living?  The words may be different but it’s not out-of-date.  Yesterday in Psalm 93, storms are described but also included is the line, “the Lord on high is mighty.” God is not overwhelmed, as I often am, by what is going on in the world.

Speak to me?  I was so apprehensive about this part.  How could this be?  In my several weeks of trying it, however, it has never failed.  Today’s promise for me is that I am blessed when I find great delight in His Word. How true that has been!

I do not write this blog to promote anything.  The blog is intended to relate one person’s ongoing journey with God’s Word.  I make an exception to all this today: If you do not have a devotions approach in place, try to read Scripture until God speaks directly to you.  Be ready to be pleasantly surprised.

I underline the Scripture that speaks to me and date it.  I also write about it in this blog.  That works for me.

Conclusion: God’s Word is relevant and has plenty to tell me directly as I regularly read it.


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God is bigger than any of this

“The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.  Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty.”  Psalm 93:3-4.

What’s all the excitement about?  God’s got this!

We finites get so easily overwhelmed.

I was fishing this afternoon in a pond.  I heard thunder and brushed it off as the noise of a truck.  Thirty minutes later I heard the noise again.  Out of that pond I came as quickly as possible.  I didn’t know if the thunder would lead to lightning and then to a windy downpour, so I fled.

Leaving in a hurry was the right thing to do.  The things beyond thunder might have happened and I didn’t want to be on a pond in a canoe if they did.

Let me compare that to flying.  When I take a plane somewhere I place myself in the care of the pilot.  I sit back in my seat and let him take me to my destination.  No sweat on my brow!  But what if the pilot told me to come to the cockpit and help him fly the plane.  Same plane.  Same pilot.  But I’m no longer comfortable on this flight.  Why?  My assurance of a safe flight has been lost.  I trusted the pilot until he involved me in the flight.

God is the ultimate pilot.  He’s in charge.  He knows what is going on.  When I am uncertain, it is because my trust in Him is not what it should be.

Verse three references the turmoil we often face in life.  Things are unsteady.  There’s a storm coming.  We look at those things from our strength perspective and worry a lot.  We fear for the worst.

Verse four gives a true estimate of God, “the Lord on high is mighty.”  Storms aren’t going to prevent Him from doing what He wants to do.  The Sea of Galilee is raging.  He tells it to calm down and it does.  That’s a natural storm.  The truth of His mightiness applies to any storm that comes into my life.  God is bigger than any of them.  He will either stop the storm or get me through it.  My part is to trust Him the way I trusted the pilot when I was comfortably sitting in the passenger section.

Conclusion: My God is strong and mighty.  My task is to always act accordingly.


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All In With God

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”  Psalm 62:8.

God is looking for full-time, not part-time.

God has expectations and they are significant.  “All times” is when I must trust Him.  “Pour out” must indicate the quality of my prayers.

Neither of those two things are natural.  I get caught too often trusting myself.  Something is trivial, or something is major, and God becomes an after-thought. I am likely to involve Him in the in-between stuff. I could also add that in major things, I usually turn to Him, but not always initially.  That needs to change.  I see the most work needed for me on the small stuff.  I foolishly think, “Why bother Him with this?”  But this verse in His living Word is quite clear; He wants me trusting Him “at all times.”

I am really bulls-eyed by the lack of passion in my prayers.  Pouring something out is not an occasional trickle.  Everything goes!  When I pray I have plenty left over in my heart.

There was a singer at Gordon College named Clyde.  I loved to hear that guy sing.  Why?  He poured out everything he had.  He sang from the heart and gave it his all.  There could never be an encore from him because he truly had no singing energy left.  Could a person pray like that?  I cringe at how far my style of praying is from that.

What can I do about fixing the “quality” of my prayers?  Here are a few quick thoughts: (1) I could shorten the list of what I pray about, (2) I could refresh my thinking on Who God is and what He is capable of doing, and (3) I could remind myself of a verse such as today’s in which I am told to pour out my heart to Him.

On occasion, I think that I am “making progress” in my Christian life.  “I’m getting better at it,” I surmise.  It just isn’t so.  When my level of trust in Him and the passion in my interactions with Him are suspect, there is much still to do. And only by walking steadily with Him can things in me change for the better.

Conclusion: I must trust Him in all things.  I must pour out my heart to Him in prayer.


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Blessed Assurance

“When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”  Psalm 75:3.

What assurance!

This verse is not only talking about earthquakes.  It also gets into “people” quakes.

When things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to, I am assured that God is still in charge.  He hasn’t gone to sleep or on a vacation.

My life, at the moment, is settled.  I’m retired.  I’m vacationing in Maine.  But as I look at this verse I notice that it isn’t referring only to major things.  Anything that gets me quaking is covered by His assurance that there is an underpinning that remains secure.

I had a dream last night where I was closed into a small space and wanted desperately to get out.  Being at least a little claustrophobic, I was more troubled than someone else might be.  My world was disrupted, and I didn’t know what to do about it.  When the dream ended I was relieved that I was back unenclosed in my bed.

I need to be aware that God holds everything together in my life.  If I lose track of Who He is and where He is, I will join the “quakers,” when things lose their stability.

I also need to live as someone who is secure.  Who isn’t easily prone to quake.  I am embarrassed by the tiny size of things that get me troubled.  Things like not finding something or someone driving slowly and causing me to miss a green light.  I react as if my world is now unhinged from the Pillar…..and it isn’t.

Conclusion: God promises me that His support is there for me in situations of all sizes.  Blessed assurance!


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Words to live by

“But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”  Psalm 73:28.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Hosea 10-12, Psalm 73, and Hebrews 4.

Plenty of good instruction in today’s verse.

Being near to God is crucial.  God is already in the midst of the believer.  “Being near” requires my recognition of His presence.

I was part of a group interviewing Tim Tebow before a baseball game in Portland.  Every word Tim said was recorded and we all listened intently.

I must be tuned into the fact that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent.  He’s everywhere including the room in which I am writing this entry!  What does He think about what I am writing?  What would He want me to say?  I can ask.  I can let Him guide me.  Surely this is the wonder of having God in my midst.

God doesn’t leave me.  I ignore Him.  He’s where He has always been; nearby.

“Father, Your Words are the only ones that matter.  I am listening for them.  Open my heart to take them in.  I want to live right.  I want to please You.  I thank You for always being nearby.  Guide me to where You want me to go.  I surrender now to You.”

He’s right with you.  Live accordingly.

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I am easily distracted

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”  Psalm 86:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Amos 4-6, Psalm 86, and Titus 1.

I am retired but I have a lot going on!

My goal is to be close to God full-time, but I have a “divided” heart.  I am more attracted to distractions than I am to Him.

I find myself praying and suddenly a distraction jumps in and takes over.  My thoughts turn to whatever it is, before I realize what has happened and return to praying.  I know that things need to be dealt with and that God has His Ways of bringing them to my attention.  Maybe not all distractions are a bad thing?

I envision a life uninterrupted by the world I live in.  It won’t happen.  I must, however, be mindful to persistently seek Him even during distractions.

How God has any use for me defies logic.  Yet He is a God of dimensions that are unfathomable.  That He has use for each of us, proves that we are seen individually by Him.

I want to please Him in everything I do.  I need to maintain that intention all day.  I need to remind myself that ultimately He is in charge.  He has promised to guide me if I call on Him.

“Lord, forgive me for losing track of You.  I am weak.  I am very easily distracted.  Take me over now.  Pressure me into following You.  Prick my conscience when I am loose from You.  I need You every second.”

Can you pray without getting sidetracked?

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When should I pray?

“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”  Psalm 55:17.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Samuel 19-20, Psalm 55, and Matthew 28.

Without ceasing!

If I am not seeking God, then I am seeking something godless.  Satan will gladly fill in any non-God moments with his plans.

A common failure among believers is not realizing how dependent on God we need to be to rightly represent Him.

We cannot expect to represent someone we only have a casual acquaintance with.  God is not mocked.

Consider the things we know best.  Why do we know them so well?  Concentrated time and energy.

The more I read the Bible the more I am aware that God expects me to concentrate on Him.  He doesn’t tell me to separate from Him.  To be independent.

God admits to being jealous.  He wants my full attention. When I drift off, He is offended. Why? I claim to love Him more than anything/anyone else.

“Help me, Father, to love You as You deserve.  Forgive me for my wandering eyes.  For being drawn to counterfeits.  They are terminal.  You are eternal.  Prick my conscience when I start to drift away from You.  Deliver me, I beg, from evil. Thank You for Your Word.  I love You, Lord.”

Be mindful of God without ceasing.



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Moses saves us

“They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.  So he said he would destroy them – had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” Psalm 106:21-23.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Chronicles 16, Psalm 106, and Matthew 19.

That was close!

God’s anger at the sinful Israelites reached the place where He intended to destroy them all and start over with Moses.

The Israelites were frequently clueless about God.  He would bless them, and they would drift away from His control.  Into a “ditch” they would go, and after a while they would be begging Him to bail them out.  This didn’t just happen once!

I like these verses for several reasons: (1) I, like the Israelites, often senselessly drift away from God, and (2) I, like Moses, can stand in the gap for others.

How easy it is to condemn the Israelites.  Why don’t they get it?  How can they stray from a God who has done so much for them?  And then I look accurately at my own life.  I do the same, foolish thing.  And like Israel, when things are going smoothly is when I let go of Him and slide into self-management……and trouble.

In a world filled with “mountains” it is refreshing to know that my interactions with God can carry weight.  I believe that this country has survived because interceders have begged God for it to be so.  I believe that my godless family members have been kept alive because interceders within my family have begged God to do so.

“Lord, the more I know about You the more amazed/dazzled I am.  You are truly remarkable.  I beg You to spare the lives of the God-deniers within my family so that they will have more time to get right with You.  I pray for my neighbors as well in that same vein.  Be merciful, I plead.”

Be like Moses in your family.


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There’s no getting away from Him

“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?”  Psalm 139:7.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Samuel 4-5, Psalm 139, and Matthew 16.

I became aware today of someone, who is connected to the church I attend, who is now in jail.

I wanted to dismiss the information by not thinking anymore about it, but then I came across the verse I have chosen.

The man may be behind bars, but he is not out of God’s reach.

If he is not out of God’s reach, would I be out of God’s reach if I visited him?  I don’t think so.

What would I say to such a person?  What would my visit be about?  Those questions might have been enough to drive me into inaction in the past as I pondered the answer.  I’m not so sure now.  Maybe God wants me there.  I’m not sure.

Jesus was rejected by those who believed that they didn’t need Him.  He was accepted, however, by the needy.

Would a person in jail have reached the “needy” level?  There would only be one way to find out.  Make a visit and beg God to give me His Words there.

I have never visited anyone in jail or even have a clue to the procedure.  What does God want me to do?

“Lord, what do You want me to do?  Direct me, I beg.  Guide me, thou great Jehovah.  I am so thankful that You are with me.  Help me to get the direction of my life right in Your Sight.  I need Your Wisdom, Lord.  Help me, I beg.”

Will we live as if God is with us?  Or will we live as if we’re on our own?



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