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Observation: We have an awesome God! The psalmist encourages us to sing psalms in praise of our awesome God.
Application: I have a running collection of awesome T-shirts. From "Caution: my awesomeness is contagious." To Stand back: this is about to get awesome." and a few others. But my absolute favorite is "this is what awesome looks like."
This is very applicable to the psalms we have been reading recently in worship and in devotion. The psalmist recounts the wondrous and awesome deeds of the Lord and everything the Lord does, from creation to deliverance, from saving acts to feeding our stomachs. We have an awesome God.
God invented the "This is what awesome looks like" T-shirt.
Scripture: Psalm 47 Click here for the reading
Scripture: Psalm 33 Click here for the reading
Observation: Only the Lord can save! We can only place our trust in God.
"We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone."
Application: What struck me today about the reading was how so much of history repeats itself. The best equipped horse cannot save a king. yet we put our trust in kings/presidents/candidates/nations above God all the time. And we often count on warhorses to give us victory. In recent history we seem to be heading toward another civil war in this country because we did not learn anything from the first civil war we fought....or even what it was about. The divides about race, wealth, opportunity etc are justice issues for sure. The way everyone decides to talk about these deep important issues though, frightens me because it appears we have placed (misplaced?) our hope in earthly things. We appear to think that we are able to save ourselves from our own harms.
Prayer: Lord, remind us that we can only place our trust in you alone, inn your saving activity, in your holy name. Forgive us of the injustices we repeat against your creation and the people you love.
Scripture: Psalm 57 Click here for the reading.
Observation: I love the ins and outs of this psalm and the tension between being surrounded by fierce lions & and exalting the Lord, between enemies setting traps but they are the ones that fall in them. But what caught my eye this afternoon is the focus on the heart. My heart is confident in you Lord. My heart is confident. Wake up my heart. And I will wake the dawn with my song.
Application: I began reading "Leading Change." It is a fairly famous book on leading change in the corporate world, but it has many applications. The first error he says that people make in trying to lead change is "allowing too much complacency." Complacency, to me, is falling into comfortable ways that share no sense of urgency. Yet, here, the Psalmist shares that sense of urgency and his own sense of complacency and the need to WAKE UP!
I wonder, if you can remember a time that you had this sense of urgency and feeling of complacency? Can you articulate a time when you were feeling surrounded or entrapped all the while exalting and praising God?
What would it look like to wake the dawn with your song of praise to God? Who or what might is stir up?
Prayer: Wake up, My heart! My heart is confident in you, Lord! I will wake the dawn with my song.
Scripture: Psalm 34 Click here for the reading
Observation: In all the ups and downs in life, God is a steady presence worthy of praise.
Application: I will praise the lord at all times. That Phrase "at all times" struck me this afternoon. Taking a break from Facebook interactions and debates, one sided arguments arguing with other sided arguments. And the psalmist says "I will praise the Lord at all times. Not just when things and arguments line up in my own view. Not just when things are going well for me. Not just when life is hunky dory. But I will praise the Lord when my viewpoints are challenged by other people and other viewpoints. I will praise the Lord when scripture and God bring new challenges to the way life is. I will praise the lord when all I have is nothing. I will boast only upon the Lord.
As Christians, I believe this is worth applying to all those we are called to witness to and love in the midst of deep debate and deep controversy, mainly the SCOTUS ruling on marriage that seems to have divided people all over the place, not just politically but religiously.
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
These words apply to us in how we talk about things we may disagree. The way we debate and disagree might say more about how we live God's word than political maneuvering that seems to be more the norm. In the midst of this controversy how are we searching for peace (God's peace), and working to maintain it?
Prayer: Lord bring us back to the place of praising you at all times. At all times!