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!
Day 95: Be blessed
No one will ever forget what September 11th stands for. There were so many heroes that day. One such hero was Isaac Hoopii who was outside the Pentagon building. Wearing only his short-sleeved blue police uniform he ran into the blackness of the building. He called out, “Is anybody in here?” Wayne Sinclair and five colleagues were crawling through rubble directionless when they heard his voice. They cried out, and Hoopii responded. “Head toward my voice.” Following his voice, they soon made their way out of the crumbling building.
Today if you hear His voice…. V7
There are people today, without direction, confused and in danger and they need to head toward the voice of Jesus.
You are in a 24hr. period that you will never have again, you didn’t have it yesterday and you won’t have it tomorrow.
Satan is out to attack your today. He’s not interested in tomorrow but today. He’s planning to mess it up, cause problems, to do everything he can to make it into a bad day. He uses yesterday to do that and he knows if he can destroy today he has broken your tomorrow.
God wants to keep today good. At the beginning of time at the end of each day God saw that it was good. He loves today. He loves the opportunity of now.
He’s interested in the right now, this day. The most important time for God is now. Despite the attacks of Satan. Despite the circumstances and situations that are not good. To get to the end of this day and be able to look upon our Lord and say ‘Today has been a good day, I’ve kept it good, I have been listening for your voice’
The blessed life is the life that listens, hears and obeys.
Day 94: Be blessed
George Alexander Louis – His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.
I wonder what kind of leader this cute and innocent baby will become.
These are the kind of thoughts that the Psalmist has. Most probably he was looking back on the 55 year reign of the worst king ever to come out of Judah, Manasseh. He didn’t intend to become corrupt, he wanted to do good but found that good could come from evil actions. Yet God never did honour him like he had hoped. A corrupt throne will never fellowship with God, v20.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:20 quoted from this Psalm, it spoke into his generation as it does ours. Maybe you can remember personal examples or know of the corrupt throne who led for a season.
You know of that leader who truly believed that they were above the law, or the policy and procedures or just plain goodness because they were the leader. They managed to delude themselves into thinking they’re wrong behaviour was for the greater good. Power can intoxicate.
So what are the differences between the corrupt and the good leader?
1. Appear happy and build an atmosphere of joy and celebrating success, v3.
2. Are arrogant and boast of how good they are and brag at the good they have done, v4.
3. Leave behind them a trail of broken people, v5.
4. Get rid of people that cannot be used for their own gain, v6.
5. Begin to believe that what they do is acceptable, even to God, v7.
6. Are foolish, v8-10.
7. Will be judged and repaid, v23.
1. Are blessed through submitting to correction, training, self-control and accountability, v12.
2. Are blessed through growing in the knowledge of God from studying the Bible, v12.
3. Are blessed with an inner calm in the days of outer storms, v13.
4. Are blessed with an ever-present God, v14.
5. Are blessed with a no-compromising heart, v15.
6. Are blessed not by being perfect but by being supported by the Perfect, v17-20.
7. Are blessed because all their security is in God alone, v22.
Day 93: Be blessed
“Thousands take to the streets to celebrate birth”
“It’s a boy”
“There are now three heirs in waiting while the sovereign is fit and well, and that’s a first.”
Outside the palace: “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
At this moment as I write this devotion we are in a special moment of history as the above quotes and many more reveal.
His name will be revealed shortly.
He is third in line to the throne.
He will one day be head of state of 16 countries.
But today join with me to shout aloud Psalm 93!
His name has been revealed, “I am The Lord!”
He is already on the throne!
He reigns over all the earth and is from all eternity!
Make Him your King now and let Him rule your life, v1.
Let Him come to you with strength, v1.
Acknowledge His might which is above your biggest challenge, v3-4.
Comfort in the understanding that to the very end God will be here, v5.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this:
The stars shine over the mountains,
the stars shine over the sea,
The stars look up to the mighty God,
the stars look down on me;
The stars shall last for a million years,
a million years and a day,
But God and I will live and love,
when the stars have passed away.
Forever, endless, eternal.
Ruler, stronger, mightier.
And this is why you are blessed!
Day 92: Be blessed
V14 Are you, will you still bear fruit in old age? Fresh? Green? Flourishing? Still proclaiming?
How will you grow old? Will you be renewed and sustained so that you cross the finishing line as a faithful servant of Christ? Every day is another day spent of your life. The finishing line is drawing near. The time of your life is right now, the opportunity to become all that you can become is now. This is not a rehearsal for something else. No one can run the race for you. You are not racing against any other runners. Your greatest opponent is yourself. The race is against yourself to be all that your Creator designed for you to be.
In August of 2006, Newsweek magazine interviewed Billy Graham. Amazed by Billy’s attitude in spite of deteriorating health, the author of the article wrote, “He seems congenitally incapable of surrendering completely to the weakness of the body.”
One of Dr. Graham’s daughters, Anne Graham-Lotz, recounted a conversation with her father on the subject of aging. “All my life, I’ve been taught how to die,” Billy told her, “but no one ever taught me how to grow old.” She replied, “Well, Daddy, you are now teaching all of us.”
Lotz also noted that she had learned an important lesson about aging after observing her father: “When you get older, secondary things, like politics, begin to fall away, and the primary things become primary again. And for Daddy, the primary thing is, as Jesus said, to try to love God totally and to love our neighbor as ourselves.”
It doesn’t matter how you start. It only matters how you finish.
You’re never too old to make choices, even limited that they may have become.
You can choose to praise God v1; to speak of God’s love every morning and God’s faithfulness every night v2; to be happy v4; to focus on the defeat of your enemy, v11; to flourish and grow, v12; to make Him your Rock, v15.
All of the above are choices you make. Make one today and though you grow old you will stay young! Staying young, you will be blessed!
Day 91: Be blessed
It was a crime.
These are the headlines of a 2008 documentary, Man on Wire.
It examines the most amazing exploit of tight-rope walker Philippe Petit. In 1974, Petit had a secret plan to extend a steel wire between the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. At the time, the towers were still under construction.
6 years of planning.
110 storeys high.
“See every day as a true challenge and then you live your life on the tightrope,” said Petit.
Petit was on the wire for 45 minutes. Thousands gathered below to watch him. On each end of the wire, police waited for him to finish. Petit made eight passes before finally coming in. To this day he insists the stunt wasn’t for publicity or even to see if he could do it. “The path is as important as the result,” he told a reporter for Newsweek magazine.
Petit told the same Newsweek reporter that it “never occurred to him to use a safety net” when walking the wire.
He added: “I never fall. But yes, I have landed on the earth many, many times.”
Maybe that’s what the Psalmist was trying to say for the believer who faces trouble:
Read v9-12 again.
“I never fall. But, yes, I have landed on the earth many, many times.”
How blessed we are when we live our life knowing we may land awkwardly but we will never truly fall, because the Almighty Most High is watching over us.
Day 90: Be blessed
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important”.
Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple and Pixar, at the Stanford University Commencement Address (June 2005)
Long before Steve Jobs, Moses prayed asking God to be taught how to number his days in order to have a heart of wisdom, v12.This is a sad Psalm as Moses looks back on 40 years and seeing 6,000 graves of people who did not make the proper use of their time, they did not live for God. What did Moses mean? Surely it was to live aright. To make each day count.
So today, live life!
Today is the day to be a voice calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ This is the day to remove the obstacles to our faith, to our walk, to become all that we can become. To straighten out the deviant paths and the bends within our life that have taken us away from our focused direction.
Today is the day of brokenness and worship, living lives of pure love and devotion, like breaking open and pouring expensive perfume onto Jesus’ feet and wiping them with our hair.
Today is the day of holding on to God even if it means it feels so painful that it’s like you’re wrestling with Him through the night, but you will not let Him go for when there’s nothing left to hold on to, He’s your only hope. The Bible says Jacob wrestled with God till “daybreak” (Genesis 32:24). Your “daybreak” will consist of a new name meaning a new purpose, a new walk and you might limp a bit because God has touched you. You cannot hang on a cross, look death in the face, feel the pain of sin and walk the same ever again.