Day 108: Be blessed
From verse 7-9 …
“God has spoken. Yesterday was a dark day, a day to cry “Save us!” Today I speak in response to that.
Shechem was the man who raped Dinah, Jacob’s only daughter. Man has come and taken away ruthlessly from you and violated your trust. Yet I come and will turn the experience into a gift.
The valley of Succoth was where Jacob limped to after his struggle with the Angel of the Lord. I will measure off once again an area known as ‘booths’ to become that place of refuge for you. I will protect you, shield and cover you.
Gilead was the mountainous area east of Jordan and what you face is indeed that. But it was also the birth area of the prophet Elijah and you are and will hear my voice again. This mountain that you climb is “in my pocket” (Msg).
Manasseh means to forget but more than what you understand by that word. It is the taking away of something. Yesterday happened, but Manasseh is mine, I have taken it. Say nothing of it (Msg).
Ephraim means “fruitfulness in the land of suffering”. It is my helmet. The defence of your life is that fruitfulness is always found in suffering: this is the heart of mission.
Judah is how I will rule in your life. It means “Let God be praised”. That’s it. Praise is the rule.
Moab was the incestuous son of Lot with his oldest daughter, again an evil history. But Ruth was a Moabite who moved from obscurity to significance. I will mop the floor with your history (msg) and turn things around for you.
Edom was Esau’s nickname, the one who lost his inheritance. Those who trade in what I have given them I spit on (msg).
Philistia was Israel’s arch-enemies, it means ‘a land of wanderers’. This enemy has tried to attack you to deflect you off the path, but I triumph over this.
I have spoken, In triumph I will …. And in triumph I shout!”
Day 107: Be blessed
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say this.
One of the highlights of being a Pastor of a church was to hear the countless public testimonies from people who were grateful to God. Of course, over the years I have heard a lot of self-advertisement instead of testimony. But real testimony is the testifying to Jesus Christ as the only important person in the story of life. Tonight I will be visiting an Elim church in South Wales which has seen hundreds and hundreds of people come to saving faith in Jesus. I am looking forward to being taken back to the centre of our faith: salvation through Jesus Christ.
The blessed are not silent. They make the most of every opportunity to speak up, to shout about it and to live loud so that all may hear.
So go on today: speak to someone of the love of God and what He has done for you.
He has led you into peace and satisfaction, v4-9.
He has broken every chain and set you free, v10-16.
He has healed and rescued you, v17- 22.
He has stilled your raging storm, v23- 32.
He has given you a fruitful life, v33-39.
He has lifted you out of your suffering, v41.
Pray the line that best fits you and then look forward to the opportunity of saying so to others!
The blessed do this and are blessed!
Day 106: Be blessed!
Throughout these Psalms we have tried to stay focused on the word ‘blessed’. It has been quite difficult in some of the laments we have read!
Today the Psalmist explains that living the blessed life is acting justly and doing what is right. He then goes on to reveal more fully what that means. Perhaps as you read this list you will pause and meditate at the place which best fits you right now.
1. Find joy in the success of God’s people, v5.
2. Don’t think of yourself more superior than the previous generation, v6.
3. Continually appreciate what God has done for you, v7.
4. Believe the promises of God, v12.
5. Be patient and wait for things to change, v13.
6. Resist the cravings, v14.
7. Be careful what you ask for, v15.
8. Keep relationships as good and as healthy as you can, v16.
9. Don’t trade in the glory for something that glitters, v19-20.
10. Learn to stand in the gap praying for others, v23, 30.
11. Be content with what you have and where you are, v25.
12. Become like Christ not man, v35.
13. Know it’s never too late to cry out in repentance, to change and begin again, v44.
This is the blessed life.
Day 105: Be blessed
The Psalmist declares “Give thanks to the Lord ..” followed by a lengthy description of the Bible story.
The story of your life so far hasn’t been smooth. There have been times of holding on to God’s covenant to you; times when you wandering from the truth and times of famine and emptiness. You have known restrictions from chains but have known exaltations too. You know what it is to be an outsider and even disliked. You have gone through hard times. You know brokenness and despair. You have had times of courage of stepping out for God. You also know the times of wonderful provision.
The Psalmist knows all this and doesn’t fail to give thanks.
Likewise let us now begin to thank God for what we have been through and what is around us now.
The A-Z of thankfulness.
Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of “Camp complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank” is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there’ll be good times and yes, some will be bad, but …
Zion waits in glory … where none are ever sad!
Praise the Lord, be thankful and be blessed!
Day 104: Be blessed
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth, v30.
Look around at all you see. The clouds, the effects of the wind, water, valleys and mountains, animals and birds, the grass and plant life, wine, oil and bread, the trees and rocky terrain, the moon, the sun and the seasons, the working man, and the sea. Think about all these wonderful creations as the Psalmist does. It is all because of the Spirit.
Father, send your Spirit to create and renew us.
God is not a God of disorder, no matter how helpless you may feel.
The Genesis account says the heavens and the earth were completed. Paul says in Philippians 1 that the good work started in you will be completed.
There is nothing too immense in your life. There is nothing too numerous in your life. There is nothing too intense in your life. … There is nothing too small in your life. There is nothing too detailed in your life that God cannot and will not bring into an order and arrangement that glorifies Him where He can say it is completed, it is finished, it is good.
All this happens when he sends His Spirit.
Maybe you have lost something or it was never there? Send your Spirit of Creation!
Maybe you have seen something broken in your life? Send your Spirit of renewal!
Day 103: Be blessed
Every verse is shouting ‘Jesus!’
Forgiveness, healing, redeeming, love, compassion, satisfaction, renewing, righteousness, justice, His ways, gracious, slow to anger, mercy, removal of sin, covenant, kingdom, rule. All of this speaks of Jesus!
In every nation, language, every culture, the answer is the same: Jesus!
Unusually for my devotion I am going to ask you to log onto Youtube and enter into the search engine: Jesus’ blood never failed me yet: Gavin Bryars.
The 1971 composition was first recorded for use in a documentary which chronicles street life in and around London. Bryars says: “In 1971, I was working on a film about people living rough. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song – sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads – and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”. This was not ultimately used in the film and I was given all the unused sections of tape, including this one. When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I took the tape to the recording room and I left it copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping. I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man’s singing. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism.”
All over the world people are singing of Jesus. The impact continues forever. Even in the homeless community.
Now go play that youtube clip and with this Psalm open in front of you, be blessed!
Day 102: Be blessed
I’m thinking of a lady I know who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. I am praying for her. The one comment that can bring so much comfort, I cannot give: “I know how you feel.” Yet the Psalmist can say this and does.
He is overwhelmed to the point of being faint.
However, this lament is not a complaint about God but addressed to Him.
His days are going so quickly and he feels his life is being wasted, v3-4.
He doesn’t feel like eating, v4.
He feels lonely and isolated, v5-7.
He wonders on this being the hand of God, v10.
Yet he has hope and for my friend I pray she will too find hope.
Let us all prayerfully read the following for our own lives:
Hope in God who is sovereign, v12.
Hope in God who is compassionate, v13.
Hope in God who is a rebuilder, v16.
Hope in God who answers prayer, v17.
Hope in God who is eternal, v25.
Hope in God who remains, v27.
So friend, if you read this and I hope you do, then put your hope in God in spite of the overwhelming circumstance for you as His servant live and will live in His presence, v28.
This is why we are blessed.
Day 101: Be blessed
I will set before my eyes no vile thing…. they shall not cling to me.
The Psalmist says his life will be shaped by what he is focusing on. He will not let worthless things make him to be someone he never wants to become.
This is the person we should choose to walk with.
Choose today to walk with people whose thoughts, words and actions are what you would love to have yourself. Choose integrity, character. Choose wisdom, goodness, truth and discipline. Choose someone like this Psalmist.
You may not be a person who struggles with looking at things that are clearly wrong and which obviously come to mind as you read this verse. However, you maybe someone who struggles with focusing on worthless things:
David referred to himself as a flea on two occasions, a dead dog and a worm.
Moses looked at himself and said he was not up to the task.
Gideon believed he was the weakest.
The list can go on. It seems every Bible hero had to get rid of the worthless things that were clinging to them, that had become the focus of their life and the shaper.
We need to stop thinking negatively, either about ourselves or circumstances. We need to think about our purpose in this world and about Him.
The Psalmist realises such people are the ones he will allow to minister to him. He also recognises this will reflect his own usefulness to others and to God.
Day 100: Be blessed.
Why am I numbering the days? Well 100 days ago in this Bible daily devotion I asked us to focus for the next 150 days on the word blessed. We are a third of the way through and the Psalmist today helps us to stay blessed by exhorting us to live a life of thankfulness.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’, that would be sufficient.
A Jewish prayer:
Even if our mouths were filled with songs like the sea, our tongues with joy like its mighty waves, our lips with praise like the breadth of the sky, if our eyes shone like the sun and the moon, and our hands were spread out like the eagles of heaven, if our feet were as swift as the hind, we should still be incapable of thanking You adequately for one thousandth part of all the love You have shown us.
Learn to be grateful, train yourself to be thankful, begin today to appreciate people God has placed around you, the place He has put you in and above all the relationship you have with Him. Be thankful that you can be thankful!
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. The converse of this proposition is also true … . The great saint may be said to mix all his thoughts with thanks. All goods look better when they look like gifts … . It is the highest and holiest of the paradoxes that the man who really knows he cannot pay his debt will be forever paying it … . He will be always throwing things away into a bottomless pit of unfathomable thanks.”
C. K. Chesterton, St. Francis of Assisi pp. 78-80
Day 99: Be blessed
The world is bonkers don’t you think?!
In today’s Telegraph newspaper a couple are selling their Cornish café, but are also selling some unusual items:
A small lump of bread pudding left over from the Prince of Wales visit, valued at £300.
A piece of crystallised ginger from Jan Leemings (ex newsreader) ice cream, valued at £60. The list goes on and on!
But this has always been the case in modern times. In 2002, the former barber of Elvis Presley sold a clump of Elvis’ hair for $115,000. A jar containing the “exhaled breath” of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was recently bought by a fan for $500. A piece of bubble gum chewed by Brittany Spears sold for $160. Who doesn’t want a lock of Justin Bieber’s hair? In 2011 the pop star’s hair sold on eBay for $40,668. For me, the best is a tissue allegedly used by Scarlett Johansson sold for $5,300 on eBay, used!
We are living in a celebrity icon world. It is clear who are being worshipped today.
The Psalmist calls us to worship at the footstool of God.
Isaiah 66: 1 has the picture of God sitting on His throne in heaven using the earth to rest His feet.
Palm 110:1 the footstool is the enemies of God showing not only His power over them but their servitude to Him.
Here on earth we need to worship Him, right now, no matter what our circumstance, even if we stand in the middle of the enemy’s trouble, we worship Him.
In this place of worship we find what greatness truly is.
It is not in the crumbs and hair of idols but in an awesome and mighty name.
It is in worship we understand His justice and true equity.
This is the lifestyle of the call and the answer.
This is the holy.
Blessed are we.