Saturday, January 31, 2015

What Causes You to Fear?

When I used to struggle with chronic anxiety, Psalm 27 was one of my favorites.

Although I no longer struggle with overwhelming fear, I do struggle with anxiety more than I’d like to admit – especially when it comes to my husband or children’s wellbeing. I often worry about their safety or about the choices they make. In addition, my anxiety goes up a bit when facing new challenges, at work and home.

Photo by Grace to You (Flickr)
However, as we spend time in God’s Word, we grow in our awareness of God’s almighty strength, His ability to guide us, and His desire to protect us (and those we love).

For the next several weeks, we will memorize and/or meditate on (while applying) several verses in Psalm 27, one verse per week.

Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid? 

Psalm 27 (NLT) / for meditation purposes
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?

What about you?
  • How can we apply this verse to our lives today?
  • Who or what causes you to fear?

Prayer:
Father, You know everything that scares us, whether it’s our fear of letting someone down at work or home or the crazy out-of-control world events going on. Lord, help us to grow in our awareness of how strong – and near – You are for us and for those we love!

Would you like to discuss this further? If so leave a comment or email me (see About tab for my email address).

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Have the People You Love, Suffered from Your Mistakes?

After all the Lord has done for David (extending mercy after David repented of his sin), David boldly asks God for one more thing: to prosper his home, and the people of his kingdom, in spite of his destructive choices. He didn’t want the people he reigned over to suffer due to his own sinful actions.

This week, we complete our endeavor of memorizing and/or meditating on Psalm 51.

Psalm 51 (NIV)
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
Photo by Tom Sens (Flickr)

        to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices 
        of the righteous,
     in burnt offerings offered whole;
        then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51 (TLB) / for meditation purposes
18 And Lord, don’t punish Israel for my sins—
        help your people and protect Jerusalem. 

19 And when my heart is right, then you will 
        rejoice in the good that I do 
    and in the bullock I bring to sacrifice 
       upon your altar.

Prayer:
Father, thank You for watching over my family, and those I love, while I was caught up in a sinful and destructive lifestyle. Please continue repairing the damage I caused in their hearts and lives. 

And, like David, I want to show my gratitude by offering sacrifices You delight in:
I offer You, Lord, my whole life – all that concerns me. I place on Your altar those I love and everything about my life (including my hopes, dreams, motives and failures) to be used for Your purposes. And I will never stop offering You the sacrifice of praise, with a heart filled with thankfulness, for all You have done (and continue to do) for me. Amen.

What about you?
  • Before this day is over, will you consider going to your heavenly Father with your personal prayer?
  • What was your favorite verse from Psalm 51 and why?
  • What have you learned about God or yourself while memorizing this Psalm?
Feel free to leave a comment (using a pseudonym, if you want) letting me know how you’re doing, or how I can pray for you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wouldn’t You Feel the Same Way?

God would rather us be sorry for what we’ve done (to the point that our hearts are broken before Him with regret for our sin) than just doing the easier act of offering sacrifices.

Photo by Steven Stych
Even if you were to donate your cherished car to charity, or if you were to not see the boy you’ve been immoral with for the next two weekends as an act of penance, but you weren’t genuinely sorry for your sin, those sacrifices would mean nothing to our heavenly Father.

Wouldn’t you feel the same way, if it were your child?

This week, we will be focusing on two verses again, as we continue to make our way through Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:16.17 NIV
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, 
      or I would bring it; 
       you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
       a broken and contrite heart you, 
         God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:16-17 (VOICE) / for meditation purposes
16 I would surrender my dearest possessions or destroy all that I prize to prove my regret,
      but You don’t take pleasure in sacrifices or burnt offerings.

17 What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit
      because a broken spirit, O God,
       a heart that honestly regrets the past,
        You won’t detest.

These are great verses to memorize and/or meditate on. This week, spend a lot of time on them and see what happens in your heart and spirit!

Prayer:
Father, help me to be broken before You with honest regret for my sin. Show me when I am going through the motions of offering sacrifices just to ease my guilt for what I’ve done. I pray for the kind of repentance that reflects genuine respect for You and Your ways.

As always, I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Remember How Guilt Feels?

Photo by anyjazz65 (Flickr)
Do you recall the intense emotion you felt the last time you realized the seriousness of your sin, and that the consequence of that sin would be severe?

In King David’s day, adultery was a capital offense – worthy of death. And his sin was magnified when he ordered the death of a man to hide his adultery with the man’s wife.

Since the next two verses are so closely related, we will memorize and/or meditate on both verses this week as we continue making our way through Psalm 51, one verse (or two!) per week.

Psalm 51: (NIV)
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
   and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

Psalm 51:14-15 (GNT) / for meditation purposes
14 Spare my life, O God, and save me, 
    and I will gladly proclaim your righteousness.

15 Help me to speak, Lord,
    and I will praise you.

In these verses, David pleas to God to spare him from death. But he is also asking God to help him to praise Him. Apparently, the guilt of his sin has made it impossible for him to speak and sing praises to God any longer.

Most likely, your sin was not as scandalous as King’s David (murder to cover up a pregnancy from an affair). However, I am confident your actions caused deep pain to someone.

We all were condemned in our sins (before coming to Christ), weren’t we? So this psalm is easily relatable – (at least to those of us who have sinned!).

What about you?
  • Do these verses trigger a memory of something you’ve done, followed by strong regret and fear of the consequences? 
  • Remember how it felt when you hoped and prayed for mercy?
  • Have you since been able to experience God’s mercy and sing songs of deliverance?

Prayer:
Father, how can I not relate to the words David cries out to You? I, too, have been guilty of much that I regret – actions that have hurt people around me. Thank You for Your mercy so I could sing praises to You once again!

Feel free to leave a comment (using a pseudonym, if you want) letting me know how you’re doing, or how I can pray for you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

You’re Back, Now What?

Photo by Kat N.L.M. (Flickr)
Can you name any god (except for the God of the Bible) who can take someone’s destructive, wasteful, sinful, regrettable past and then (upon their repentance) give him or her the honor of being a part of changing someone else’s life?

As we continue making our way through Psalm 51, one verse per week, let’s see what verse 13 has to say about this subject. It is one of my favorites.

Psalm 51:13 (NIV) 
 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.

Psalm 51:13 (Message) / for meditation purposes:
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.

What about you?

  • Do you crave meaning in your life? 

God is able. He is powerful. He is very good -- and extremely merciful and gracious! Once we’ve sought His forgiveness, He not only restores our lives from the consequences of our past choices, but He also offers a way to give our lives new significance. Few activities bring me more joy than helping others find their way to, or back to God.

  • Are you teaching others about the ways of God? Does your life encourage others to seek Him?

Let’s pray:
Thank You, Father, for reaching out to me and redeeming me from my past, then honoring me by allowing me to reach out to those who are still lost in their rebellion. And although I still act rebelliously at times, and haven’t “arrived”; I thank You that (while You continue Your work in me),You allow me to be one of Your instruments in bringing others back to You.

As always, I’m here if you need me. You can use a pseudonym if you want to share a little about your struggle (via the comment link). I’d be honored to pray with you.

I will send you the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. You must be subscribed to the blog, via email. Leave a comment to let me know what translation you prefer.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...