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.
Day 98: Be blessed
I love how the Message opens this Psalm with “Sing to God a brand-new song.”
“The new Christian music is not as pleasant as the more established style. Because there are so many new songs, you can’t learn them all. It puts too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than godly lyrics. This new music creates disturbances, making people act indecently and disorderly. It’s a money-making scene and some of these new music upstarts and lewd and loose.”
Some may be thinking “that’s right! Where are all the old hymns gone?”
Except this quote is not about today. It was attacking the hymns of Isaac Watts in 1723!
Yes, although incredible, people have been moaning and complaining about new songs for centuries.
But every experience of God needs a brand-new song.
Some people love the old songs and they are indeed wonderful, I wonder though whether it is more that they are longing for their old experience of God.
We need brand-new experiences of God.
There needs to be continual changes taking place in our lives.
The Psalmist calls us to sing because God has moved towards us, v1-3. We should sing with everything we can think of using, v4-6. There is even a call for nature to join in with the song to God, v7-8 For God will move towards us again, v9.
Of course there’s more to life than a new worship song. I am really speaking about what song of life is being displayed from your life. I met a friend recently I had not seen for some time. Sadly, he was singing the same song of old. I pray for him, that God may give him a new experience and new revelation of His heart.
And for us? Surely our prayer and aim is to see change in our lives, attitudes, how we remember events, what we allow ourselves to think about, things we have stopped in order to live differently. This is the brand-new song.
Let the blessed sing a new song today.
Day 97: Be blessed
Have we become mild, quiet, respectable Christians? Has the Good News become just news? Where is the wonder?
Right now, it is thundering and lightning outside. Nature is shouting and demonstrating. It is a performance of wonder.
I hope I will ever be amazed by what happens in the sky.
Yet I hope more that I will forever be amazed by the presence of God who at times is anything but quiet, mild and soft.
He is frightening as thick clouds of darkness, v2.
He is a consuming fire, v3.
He causes the earth to shake by His lightning strikes, v4.
He forces mountains to shrink like burning wax, v5.
Bear this in mind as you worship Him today.
Or have we lost something?
Missionaries were showing the ‘Jesus’ film to a tribe in East Asia who had never heard of Him and had never seen a film.
Imagine again how it felt to see this good man, Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers. Then came the crucifixion. The people could not hold back. They began to weep and wail with such loud grief that the film had to be stopped. The missionaries tried to calm them, explaining that the story wasn’t over; there was more. Then came the resurrection. Pandemonium broke out this time, but for a different reason. The gathering had spontaneously erupted into a party. The noise now was of jubilation, and it was deafening. The people were dancing and slapping each other on the back.
The missionary had to shut off the projector; this time he didn’t tell them to calm down and wait for what was next. All that was supposed to happen—in the story and in their lives—was happening.
Ben Patterson, “Resurrection and Pandemonium,” LeadershipJournal.net
Will there be weeping, wailing and pandemonium in our churches today at the sound and declaration of Jesus?
My guess is no and perhaps we do need a more orderly service.
But this thunder and lightning outside doesn’t seem to have much order to it. It’s random, loud, and electrifyingly awesome! Perhaps it is trying to say something. God is here.
The blessed understand this.
Day 96: Be blessed
v2 Day after day, every single day, today, tomorrow and the next day proclaim continually without ceasing that God has saved you!
Yesterday I was fascinated by the story of a racing pigeon which got lost at sea but was saved 300 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean by the crew of a Royal Navy frigate.
The exhausted bird was named Paul by crew members when she landed on the deck of HMS Somerset a week ago.
The bird’s ID ring allowed the crew to track down the owner from Redcar, Cleveland, who said she had been released for a cross-Channel race from France.
Why this bird decided to wander from the English Channel to the second largest ocean only God knows! I am sure Paul is eternally grateful for the Royal Navy.
Yesterday I was also privileged to visit Europe’s largest female prison and the only purpose-built private prison solely for women in the UK. One lady I met seemed to be spending her whole life returning to that very same prison. A lifetime of bad decisions and she was so adamant that there was no God. I was equally adamant in my mind that she needed saving.
Today you know people who are blown off course or choosing wrongly and are not where they should be. You were once that person. Remember that day when you were lost and then saved? Never lose the joy and the loud demonstration of your salvation.
The Psalmist calls the whole earth and the heavens to join with him in song for the salvation of God.
You would never have saved yourself. It was impossible. God paid it all. His infinite cost to Himself saved you.
Let me say this again. God owes you nothing. Not an answer to prayer, not a penny. You haven’t done a thing to earn anything from Him. You never will.
He has saved you.
Today shout it aloud, live it loud, you were once lost but He found you and saved you.
This is why you are blessed!