Day 66: Be blessed
Blessing is often crafted from the place of pain. Since we began this journey of a chapter of the Bible each day, over the last 18 months we have seen God’s people become held against their will, burdened heavily (v11), been walked over and journeying through dangers (v12) and yet through it all God uses every experience as a testing and a refining, (v10).
You may be facing a tough time but think about how God is using this to craft you to be the person He has created you to be.
Years ago, there was a master violinist in Europe. He would play in concerts, and he had a magnificent Stradivarius violin, extremely expensive. He would play the Stradivarius violin in concert and everyone would whisper in the crowd, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He would play in churches, and people would say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He even played before kings and queens, and they, too, would turn to one another and say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” All the glory went to the instrument.
Then one day this master violinist was walking by a pawn shop. He noticed an old, beat-up, worn-out violin. He walked into the pawn shop and asked how much it would cost. The owner of the pawn shop told him the American equivalent of five dollars. He bought the violin, and he took it home. He polished it, and he refined it, and he tuned it, and he re-tuned it, and he built some character into that violin. Then, when he was to play the greatest performance of his life in a concert hall, he took out the little, five-dollar, worn-out, beat- up violin that he had polished and refined. He put it up to his chin, and he began to play, and everybody in the concert hall whispered, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.””Rejoicing in Our Suffering,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 74.
It matters not how you start or what you go through but what happens to you in the hands of God that will determine…
Day 65: Be blessed
In 2010 there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world, nearly a third of the global population.
279 million (12.8% of the world’s Christian population) identify themselves as Pentecostals, 304 million (14%) are Charismatics, and 285 million (13.1%) are Evangelicals, or Bible believing Christians.
In the unevangelised world, there are 20,500 full-time Christian workers and 10,200 foreign missionaries.
In the evangelised non-Christian world, there are 1.31 million full-time Christian workers.
In the Christian world, there are 306,000 foreign missionaries to other Christian lands. Also, 4.19 million full-time Christian workers (95%) work within the Christian world.
Approximately 78.5 million Bibles are distributed globally per year.
An average of 159,960 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith per year.
David wrote, “Those living far away fear your wonders.” V8.
You are not alone today. You are part of something global. Even people reading this devotion are doing so from the furthest points of the world. What unites us is that we are in awe of the wonders of God!
What unites us is that we are indeed blessed!
Day 64: Be blessed
They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.
David laments about those who have spread slanderous messages of him and who try to intimidate him by the choice of words.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “If you can’t find anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” In a recent article for Salon.com, Lauren Frey Daisley tried to follow that advice for one month. She titled the article “My month of no snark.” (“Snark” is a slang word that combines “snide” and “remark” and refers to sarcastic comments.)
Daisley writes: “It started when my husband, baby and I drove away from a visit with my aunt, who has Stage 4 breast cancer. I thought back on the 30-some years I’ve known her. I have never once in all that time heard her say anything unkind. Not even in the subtext of her words. That’s one [heck]—or, in this case, heaven—of a legacy…. I began to wonder, how would holding my tongue—or at least changing what came off it—alter my relationships?”
That’s when she began her “month-long campaign” to practice kindness in her speech. Daisley discovered that it’s not easy to live without snark. Instead, she wrote, “It’s so much cooler to be more sarcastic …. It says, I am so above this scene—above other people, even.”
After her month-long experiment she concluded, “Kindness [of speech] doesn’t have to imply repression. It doesn’t rein in humour or impede the fight for justice. But it does require discipline and substantive engagement with others.”
Lauren Frey Daisley, “My month of no snark,” Salon.com (3-28-11)
Maybe everyone reading this has experienced the sharpened tongue from a person at work, in the family, neighbourhood or church. Bring the experience to God as David did. At the same time resolve to hold your own tongue towards others. It is the way to remain blessed!
Day 63: Be blessed
We all know what it’s like to be thirsty.
After some exercise or bathing in the sun thirst strikes and water is needed.
Our bodies according to some estimates are 80% fluid – and we need this, because if we stop drinking suddenly coherent thoughts vanish, skin grows clammy, and vital organs wrinkle. Deprive your body of water and it’ll soon tell you.
Equally, dehydrated hearts send messages around the body too. So many people are experiencing worry, guilt and fear, hopelessness, loneliness and insecurity. The reason being is that thirst is consuming them.
Treat your heart the way you treat your thirst. Take a drink. Where do you find water for the soul? Jesus gave the answer in John 7:37-38
‘if anyone is thirsty let him come and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’
Even when like David all around you is a desert, you can come to God right now and drink from Him. Let God penetrate the very core of your life. Let Him come deep inside, into the inner workings of your life. Don’t long for church, meetings, activities, doings, but Him alone.
Thirst after Him, drink from Him and be blessed.
Day 62: Be blessed
Yesterday we acknowledged we all need somewhere higher to reach for, a mighty rock, a strong tower.
Perhaps with the continuance in mind David now writes that the higher place of God needs to be the only place.
My soul finds rest in God alone.
He alone is my rock.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.
God alone, no one else, all in all, you’re everything.
Yet we live in a world of so called stars and heroes who do not need anyone else. They do not sign up for allegiance to something; they just want to own everything. They run faster, climb higher and reach further not to belong, but to own. We live amongst a people who have become faithful only to themselves. They have lost confidence in their government, their family and friends, but not in themselves. They still believe that with hard work they can achieve, that with determination comes success and with great moral effort they can get what they want. Huge disappointment is just around the corner.
Let the song be sung very loud! It is God alone!
He alone is the way of blessing!
Day 61: Be blessed
All of us need something higher than us.
We need something to climb, to reach for, attain.
We find ourselves distant, far away from where we want to be, drifting from Him who is a refuge and strong tower.
Yet at that place, faint and hopeless it may be, from within us comes a sound.
I cry out
Right now, in this place of feeling so weak, so far away.
The New Testament helps us understand the Old Testament ‘rock’; it is Jesus Christ.
Jesus has always been the answer and always will be.
He is the rock.
Day 60: Be blessed
Whatever the melody actually was, the person singing these lyrics would also have the lily of the covenant in their mind.
The most beautiful fragrant flower in an agreement between 2 people is in the background. Out in the open there’s a war and a feeling of God deserting them. Their world is shaking like that of an earthquake. They are not in control, as if drunk.
If that can describe your life at the moment then this Psalm is for you. If not then it can certainly describe our world.
Behind it all there is a tune; the melody of the covenantal cross of Jesus bringing peace and relationship between God and man and resulting in a beautiful you, the lily.
This covenant restores.
This covenant saves.
This covenant delivers.
It is because of this covenant that all of us can declare:
With God we shall gain the victory …! V12.
No matter the war or the feelings that war brings, we shall gain the victory. Victory is always truly found within community, within the ‘we’.
So face your war-torn world today with the knowledge that God has covenanted with you and he will never break that promise.
Day 59: Be blessed!
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. v4
Some days it is just too hard to understand. Why do the enemies of your life hem you in, threaten and intimidate you when you have done no wrong?
David was under constant scrutiny, the introduction states that this Psalm was written when Saul had sent men to watch David’s house.
But it isn’t who is watching you that is all-important, but who you are watching. David says in v9 “I watch for you.”
Are you watching the one who goes before you today? V10
Day 58: Be blessed
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day
Today 22,000 children will die because of poverty.
Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment.
51 percent of the world’s 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are corporations.
It is estimated that 2 children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
These statistics are endless.
Every one of us is moved by the injustices in the world and angered by those peddling it for their own gain.
To the tune of ‘Do not destroy’, David asks God to destroy, irony perhaps and not very Christian for us, or is it?
So often we want to take our own vengeance on the tyrants and the violent. We know those feelings of anger and I am sure we have all said “If I ever met that person I would …”
But David asks God to carry out vengeance. The Apostle Paul in Romans 12 quoted Deuteronomy 32 in saying vengeance belongs to God. So it is very Christian to pray that God has vengeance.
We need to pray that God moves towards the wicked and smashes their teeth in, v6.
We need to pray that they may disappear forever, v7.
We need to pray that all they seek to do becomes ineffective, v7
David closes the Psalm in victory because God has judged the earth.
Yesterday another evil child killer was put behind bars for the rest of his life. It was also announced in light of that wicked crime and others that the leading Internet companies are joining with the government to get rid of child porn off their search engines.
We need to pray for things like this. That God moves on the wickedness in our land.
God come and sweep away the wicked, v9.
This too is the blessed life.
Day 57: be blessed!
Someone is waking up today and it is as if you are hiding from the circumstances that are oppressing you. You are retreating, being squeezed into a corner, quietened whilst all around the bellow of noise is frightening.
David described Saul’s army as that of lions and ravenous beasts. Maybe it’s not that bad for you, maybe your life is not under threat. However, you do feel bereft of the opportunity and the space to be who you are created to be.
Today I want to tell you that this cave can become a worship centre. It can become the holy of holies, a place for the presence of the living God. It can become this because you can make it this.
The previous 2 days we have seen how David wants to fly away on the wings of a dove (Psalm 55) and also express his thoughts that he was a dove in a distant place (Psalm 56). Here in verse 1 it is God who is described as the bird and David takes refuge in the shadow of His wings.
How long does he do this for?
“Until the disaster has passed” v1
Today the day of your disaster will pass. You will come out of the cave you are in. Until then make it a refuge, make your life a place for God’s presence, sing and worship the Lord.
And of course be blessed!