Category Archives: Psalm

Psalm 71

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In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;  I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

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Psalm 103

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I will bless the Lord
He’s been so good to me
My heart will praise His holy name
His grace has set me free

 He crowns my life with good,
Directs and guides my ways
He changed my heart of stone to one
That loves to give Him praise.

I won’t forget all He has done
Forgiven, cleansed and changed
He satisfies my longings;
Has given me a new name.

His righteousness stands when I’m oppressed
His justice never fails
He guides through dark confusion
His mercy and grace prevails.

He does not give what I deserve
Or keep His anger hot
Through unendeing compassion and love
His forgiveness for me was bought.

He knows my weakness, that I am dust
And prone to turn astray
But His steadfast love and faithfulness
Guides me through every day.

He rules over all. He reigns supreme
And I will bless His name.
His Holy name controls my ways
I love to bring Him praise.

trusting God

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Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make  straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

This past Sunday, I attended Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg Md.  I was there for the Worship God 09 conference, and my friends and I decided to stay through the weekend and drive back after church.  Its funny how God’s sovereignty works… 

The conference was very challenging physically for me.  Due to the noise and busyness of the week, I had many migraines and other health issues.  I was grateful to be able to attend at all, though there were many sessions I was either resting on a couch in the lobby, or sitting on the floor in the back.  I really enjoyed the songwriting seminars and learned many helpful tips to incorporate into my writing…

Well, on Sunday, Josh Harris got up to preach.  Their church is currently working through a series on Proverbs and the topic this week was about trusting God.  His passage was Proverbs 3:5-6.  He talked about what it means to trust God, what it means to lean on Him and what it means to acknowledge Him. 

i think it is the only time in my life that I cried through an entire sermon.  God revealed so many areas in my life where I fail to trust Him.  I fail to trust that He is good, that He loves me, and that He has my best in mind.  Instead I often trust my own understanding… “this doesn’t make sense… God must not love me… or He must have forgotten about me…” 

He mentioned that leaning on God does not mean simply resting like you would against a podium but when the podium is taken away you’re still able to stand just fine.  Instead its a full dependence of “God, if you are not there to catch me, I will fall flat on my face.  Help.”  I spend much of my life trying to avoid this feeling, but this is where I was created to live… in utter dependence on God’s grace and strength and provision. 

There are so many unknowns in my life right now…  What’s going on with my health?  Will I be “stuck” in Greenville forever?  Where am I supposed to live?  Will I ever get married?  have kids?  be financially sound?  oh, so many unknowns…

How grateful I am for Josh Harris and this past Sunday.  I am grateful for the comfort that comes from being reminded that my God has not forgotten me… He is not angry at me or withholding goodness.  His steadfast love and faithfulness have followed me all the days of my life.  He has led me through valleys.  He has led me through paths of rejoicing.  And He has promised not to leave… even now, in confusion…

Great is Your Steadfast Love

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A Prayer of David (Psalm 86)

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
   save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
   for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
   listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
   for you answer me.

 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and worship before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
   you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
   that I may walk in your truth;
   unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
   and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
   you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
   a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
   and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
   give your strength to your servant,
   and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor,
   that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
   because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

bless the Lord

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Emily, you are commanded to bless the Lord.  Use every ounce of strength within you to give praise to his holy name.  Even when your soul is tempted to despair and give up hope, bless the Lord.  Do not forget what He has done for you. 

He forgave all your countless sins on the cross.  Every single one.  Even the ones that your conscience still condemns you of.  To show he has power to heal your soul, He has also in mercy healed your physical diseases many times in the past.  Remember when he healed your hip that Sunday on the steps of the church?  Remember when your pastors prayed for you and your migraines started to get better?  Remember the bus ride when you were so afraid?  Look back!  Remember what He has done!  Do not give up hope – He has the power to do it again now.  He pulled your life up from the pit that you had dug for yourself.  Instead of leaving you in rags, He gave you His righteousness. 

Though it was your head that deserved to be crushed and wounded for your sin, He gave love that never changes and he showed you great mercy.  Though you deserve punishment and his wrath, He instead looks on you in favor, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Not only did He forgive you but He satisfies your soul with countless good things.  Remember your church?  Have you forgotten what a gift those people are to you?  Remember your home?  Remember the little things you prayed for and He graciously gave you?  Do not grow weary… He provides the strength in your weakness.  He gives you renewal and power, like an eagle flying gracefully above the storms, he will renew your weary soul too. 

When it seems that others get away with evil, rest in knowing that God is just.  He will punish those who oppress you unjustly. 

This is the same God that led Moses and showed his power to the nation of Israel.  He did not give up on them when they sinned and failed to trust him.  Find comfort in looking back and seeing how merciful He was to them.  He is just as merciful and gracious to you.  He is not angry at you when you fail, rather He overflows in unchanging love towards you.  Remember he does not just work by “teaching you a lesson” and He is not angry with you. 

God is merciful… He does not give you what you deserve.  What you deserve is death yet he graciously forgives your sins.  Through Christ, God displayed his steadfast love for his children, by removing your sins far from you… as far as east from the west and heavens from the earth.  

Like a loving father, God shows compassion to you.  He does not expect perfection from you, He knows that you are very weak.  You are weak like grass or like a flower.  Even just a little wind can knock you off your feet and completely throw your world upside down.  But through every change in life, the steadfast love of the Lord will never end.  It will continue to your children, and to their children. 

The Lord rules over the earth. His kingdom is supreme over everything. 

Bless the Lord, you angels, those created to do His will.   Bless the Lord, the hosts of heaven, you who have gone before me and are an example to me of suffering in patience and trust.  Even creation blesses the Lord, the One who rules over them and provides for their every need. 

Oh my soul, my weary soul that is so prone to discouragement, bless the Lord.  He has done so many great things.  He is worthy of my praise.  Bless the Lord.

Psalm 103 (in the words of me)

grace… and your deepest darkest secret…

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so last night at care group i was freshly reminded of grace… God’s grace to me, an undeserving sinner.

During worship, it seemed each song was a reminder of how faithful God is in the midst of our failures.  I had talked with my care group leader, Matt, a while ago about sharing a specific area of my life where God had been at work.  But its an area that has been well hidden.  its an area that is combined with much shame and fear on my part.  Yet, somehow, its an area of my life that God is working to redeem.  And though my own sinful desires would rather not share it, I knew last night that God was calling me to.  He was calling me to open up and share things I didn’t know how it would be received.  And He was calling me to do this and trust in Him to deliver me of fear and shame.

I’m honestly not sure what all I said.  What I remember is that after I shared, one of my friends asked if they could pray for me.  So, everyone gathered around and prayed that God would work as a result.  I was so encouraged, I can’t even begin to put it into words.  I am so grateful for the gift that God has given me through my friends at my church.  I pray that God would be at work in our group, in allowing us to grow together on a deep level, so that we know no matter what, that God is our hope.

After care group, I can’t tell you the number of people that came and thanked me.  So, God is already at work.  Somehow through my sin and lack of trust and failure over and over again, HE is receiving much glory.  And comforting my heart too.

I was reminded of an amazing passage yesterday… Psalm 78.  It talks about the Children of Israel, and just how many times they turned away.  But the focus isn’t just there…According to verses 1-7, the story is meant to be told so that people would set their hope in God, not forget His works and so that they would keep His commandments.  Its not a story of the Israelite’s failure as much as its a story of God’s faithfulness.

“They forgot His works and the wonders that he has shown them… He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.  He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.  Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.  They tested God in their hearts by demanding food they craved.  They spoke against God saying “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?  He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.  Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?”  Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath… because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.  Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven… he sent them food in abundance…and they ate and were well filled… but while the food was still in their mouths…despite the wonders, they did not believe…

their heart was not steadfast toward him, they were not faithful to his covenant.  YET HE, being compassionate atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert.  They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.  They did not remember his power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe…but He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  He led them in safety so that they were not afraid…Yet they tested and rebelled against the most High God and did not keep his testimonies…but He chose the tribe of Judah… which He loves.  He chose David his servant and took Him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people… With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with His skillful hand.”

I’m so glad my God is faithful.  I’m so glad my growth to become more like Him is not dependent on my effort alone. I fail every day. But I’m so glad that my God leads and guides me gently, provides for me in my need and comforts me in my weakness and despair.

lonely but not alone

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 This video is a song that was sung by Jon Payne at the Worship God 08 conference. It was directed towards folks who have lost a child. The reason I’m sharing it here is because of the chorus. God has used the words to encourage me many times since I first heard it in August. 

 Currently I’m in a season of trial that has been extremely challenging for me. I’ve found it nearly impossible to put my hope in God and to see Him as bigger than the circumstances He’s walking me through. I’ve struggled to hear His voice, struggled to see His guiding hand and felt often that He has abandoned me to figure this all out on my own.   I’ve found myself doubting His goodness, failing to cling to His grace, and accusing His charachter. 

And then He brought this song to mind… “you are lonely but never alone, afflicted but not abandoned. You are suffering but not severed from my love.”

So, how I feel is like Martin Luther did once… that God is dead.  Functionally, that’s how I feel.  But praise be to God, how I feel doesn’t dictate what is true.  Rather, truth is unchanging… no matter what storms and doubts arise.  What is true is what is written in Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

My God is intimately acquainted with my ways (Psalm 139:3), He keeps me (Psalm 121), He is the reason I don’t have to fear (Psalm 27), He shepherds and guards even when I lack trust and faith (Psalm 78), He upholds me as I cling to Him (Psalm 62).

I am praying that God would do for me what He did for Jeremiah… that He would allow these words to come to life in such a way that would give me joy in my despair.  That He would feel very present in this time of trouble and that like Peter wrote, He would allow me to rejoice in my suffering because I’m aware that He is loving and always gracious to me.