O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people!
Thoughts: David was running from danger at this point. He was I’m sure you could say – in the midst of sufferring. He probably wouldn’t have chosen to be running for his life. But he said “God – you are my shield.” God was the barrier between David and his circumstances. He was protecting him from danger. He didn’t send David into battle unprepared – He was there providing very physical, very real protection and comfort! David was so secure despite the turmoil around him that he was able to say “I lay down and slept… I will not be afraid…” That is God’s grace on display – being able to say that is not a normal human response. David should have been scared out of his mind, yet he was able to say I’m completely at peace.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Thoughts: David’s confidence to pray for God’s answers was based on his 2nd statement – He looked back at God’s faithfulness in his past and confidently was assured of His continuing faithful generosity. The Lord hears when I call unto him. What relief. He isn’t a Budda sitting uncaring with crossed arms and I’m just trying to reach his ears. My cry, my very breath reaches his all-knowing all-compassionate all-powerful ears. And He wants our confidence to be wholly on him. So, the one line that really stuck out to me is “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Can our church family say that about us? Are we charaterized by joy? A confident joy in a faithful God that will never leave us? Again – what an evidence of God’s amazing grace displayed in David – His joy was IN SPITE of his circumstances not because of them.
Here were some of my thoughts as I was reading the 2 passages.
It starts with what we do (where we walk, sit, stand) but ties it together with what we think (v.2) – our actions are a result of what we meditate on. Our actions should be motivated by our thoughts – there is something behind “why we do what we do.” If we walk and sit and stand with “sinners” its because we’re not meditating the way we need to on the Scripture.
V.3 talks about “be what you are” – you’re a fruit tree – you should be bearing fruit. And that fruit is a result of v2 – it happens as a reusult of what we set our minds on (thoughts).I read this in German too for another perspective.
Verse 2 talks about our desire being towards the ways of God. The German word for desire is basically the same as the English word for lust. Am I pursuing God with that much passion? With a lustful desire – I’ve “got to” have Him to be satisfied? Or am I just merely floating by the wind? The way to be planted is literally to lust after God – to want Him more than everything else.
the first part is talking about how futile it is to “plan” life without God – either plan how it should go with no regard to Him or plan it against His will – they’re both the same – I’m taking control.
But what is His response? You’re my son! You’re my child! I’ve adopted you. I have promised to bless and protect those who run to me.
So, you’re confused? You want to be planning? The answer isn’t in receiving an answer, its in receiving comfort, protection and love and care from ME!
So, as I was eating dinner and having a conversation last night, the question came up What defines me? What is my passion? What is my life organized around? What is the basis for my decision making – is it my own desires and plans – ways to organize the steps to get where I want to go? What do I value?
I’m beginning to realize that I’ve spent my whole life valuing things that don’t count – because ultimately this life is not about how much education we have, how successful we are in our careers, who I marry, etc. – its about what impact have I have had on others and what difference have I made for eternity. If God won’t care when I get to thee end if I’ve been “rich or poor, successful or disappointed, admired or despised,” why then do I spend all my energy working for that? My focus should be as the puritian writer that I have “mourned for sin, hungered and thirsted after righteousness, loved the Lord Jesus in sincerity, gloried in His cross.”
What a vastly different view that the trajectory of my life now. Thank God for the grace He has given me to point this out in my life. I see my skills and abilities as greater value than relationships, self-discipline, service, etc. I spend more time cultivating my talents than cultivating the field of friends that God has given me to disciple.
God, transform my desires. It is shocking to see that what I’ve lived for and desired is temporary. What I value is worthless. And the things that I don’t value are of eternal worth. What a change of perspective is needed in my heart. How I’ve been deceived. Thank you that your grace is patient. Thank you that your love is steadfast. Thank you that your cross covers all sin. Help me to acknowledge the sufficiency of your sacrifice as I acknowledge my sin and guilt. Thanks that there is more mercy in You than sin in me. Help that to transform me. Give me a passion to know and see you. Help your name to be lifted high – not just generally in the whole earth, but personally and specifically in every area of my life. That is not something I can do in my own strength. That requires supernatural ability. Provide that for me in your graciousness. Let your Spirit empower this dull lifeless disciple.
This is the 4th month of posting on the 2nd Wednesday club and the one year anniversary of its conception. Its amazing to look back and see what has changed in the past year (though at times it feels as if nothing has changed).
In the past year God has:
- Grown my friendships so much deeper (especially with Christa) and allowed me to experience true biblical fellowship.
- Given me a greater glimpse of the cross and his undeniable love for me (at Na through Bob Kauflin’s song).
- Shown me true patience, love, and forgiveness (through the Thomas’)
- Given me a desire to study His Word and has richly encouraged me through those times.
- Taken secrets from my past and given joy in its place (Blackberry Valley Rd)
- Revealed to me that the book of Mark is not merely a story but is rather true, living and piercing to the heart (thanks Jim and Rick!)
- Given me very specific victories over sin.
- Made me “a fifth grader” – by His Grace alone!
- Proved His sovereignty – by lovingly guiding me (often against my will)
Father help me not to doubt your love. Help me not to doubt your concern and care in my life. Thank you for how you have worked in the past year. I pray that you would continue that work – show yourself even greater by providing our needs and answering our prayers. Be gracious once again in your lovingkindness. Thank you that your steadfast love never ceases. It never ends. We look to you with hopeful anticipation for what you can do.
it struck me today that though “nothing is happening” in the realm of guys/ marriage/ etc, a lot is happening. 2 couples at church were married in the past 2 months. I know another couple getting married in a week and 1/2. And God knows my heart, that is my desire too. The thought crossed my mind this afternoon – do I rejoice with those who rejoice?
I pray that God would help my attitude to be one of rejoicing not one more like that of Naomi in Ruth 1:19-21 — So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, (meaning “Bitter”) for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
And more than that, do I have the faith that He will provide for me? He provides for others – do I sinfully look at myself as an exception? Do I trust that my Sovereign Creator knows my needs, delights in giving good gifts, and has the perfect timing? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness . . . In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness”.” (Romans 4:3, 18-22)
Oh, Father, I pray that you would open my eyes. Give me eyes of faith. Allow me to grow strong in faith rather than allowing my sinful distrust to charge you. Loving Father, you are kind. You are gracious and caring. You have met my greatest need on the cross and have blessed me beyond all description. Kind Father, hear my prayer. My friends and I desire marriage. We desire to see faith grow in others in our church as they see you provide abundantly. We desire for you to be glorified. We want You first. We don’t desire that marriage or husbands or children become idols to us – we merely seek those good gifts in our lives as well. We have been fasting and praying for over a year and anxiously wait for your answer. Please Lord, do not be silent. Hear our prayers. Answer our cry in your graciousness.
Just some thoughts that I had last night as I was reading in my devotions in preparation for the 2WC tomorrow.
God brought to mind 1 Samuel and Hannah. She was pleading with God so deeply for a son that Eli thought she was drunk. That was just very convicting to me because how often do I come to God desperate for an answer? Or do I just pray “your will be done” or not even really have the faith that He will answer? More often than not, that’s how I approach prayer – “well, God, you know my heart, you know what I want and you’ll do it in your time.”
What about Hannah? She didn’t pray like that – she came boldly to God, not demanding a response but rather as a servant (its mentioned about 10 times in the 1st chapter). Then in chapter 2 she prays and this time it tells us the prayer. It was very encouraging to me – to remember God’s power and His strength. I think that’s why she came so boldly to God with her request in chapter 1 – its because she knew what He was capable of and she didn’t forget His love too (and it wasn’t a selfish prayer rather a prayer that desired for God to be exalted through the answer – again convicting for me).
Another thing that God led me to last night was Ruth. At the beginning Naomi says “call me Bitter because God has forgotten me.” But in chapter 4, Boaz redeems Ruth (and Naomi too). It was His work that changed this. It was Boaz being gracious to Ruth and Naomi in providing for them. And in the end, that compassion changed their lives drastically.
I forget that God has done that for me. So my prayer tomorrow is that I’ll remember God’s steadfast compassion and that realization will give me the power to come to Him boldly! And that the realization that I’m his servant will give me the proper understanding that its not about my glory rather that His provision for me would continue to show His power, magnify His strength and make His name great.
Thoughts as I prepare for 2nd Wednesday…
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
I was thinking about the hope that I have – hope of an eternity with God, hope of my complete sanctification one day, hope because the Holy Spirit is at work in me, hope because our God is good and loves to LAVISH his children. This hope gives me an eternal perspective and helps with troubles or things that don’t make sense to me. It gives me patience to bear through the hard times (aka. singleness, in debt, etc) because I know my God is bigger than all my problems, frustrations, sins, etc. That’s why God wants me to be faithful in prayer. Because that act of prayer shows my dependence on Him in the midst of all my circumstances. It takes my eyes off of my own life and puts them on His life, death, resurrection, etc.
Father, please help me to remember this verse and what it means, remember the hope that I have and remember that you are my GOOD God. The one who sent His son to die for me because He loves me. The one who met my greatest need before I was even aware of it. Please give me the faith to trust in You, rely on You as my strength and have the confident hope that YOU are at work in my life. I look forward to tomorrow and what you will do.
Thank you that you are a God that delights in giving good gifts to His children. I pray that you would show your character again, and lovingly provide godly husbands and leaders for my friends and I. Not so that we can take our eyes off you and look to our husbands to satisfy, but rather so that it will yet again be another opportunity to praise you and bring glory to you. Thank you that your power (the same power that raised Christ from the dead) is at work in us. I pray that in the coming months we would see this power displayed in very tangible ways in this area in our little group.
Give me the humility to see that its not my fasting that impresses you – rather the sacrifice of your Son. Help me to humbly rely on that as my only source of boasting. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your love. I pray that you would work in my heart so that I desire you as my one true love above the love of any man. And I pray that as you do this, my hope, patience and faithfulness to you would increase.