Thursday, July 28, 2011

Psalm 30 – Good Times

This is a Psalm King David wrote at the dedication of his house.

I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.
O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

One of the recurring themes in the Psalmist life is the celebration and rejoicing that often follows hardship and struggles. Goods times should always follow bad times as far the child of God is concerned!
For His anger is but for a moment, His favour is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Anyone who has enjoyed the blessings of God understands the importance of first finding favour with Him. One of the outstanding characteristics of our God is His grace and mercy. Often when we offend Him, he is ever forgiving and never holds anything against us forever.

Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” LORD, by Your favour You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
The challenge for all believers is maintaining a correct focus during the good times, because prosperity has its way of diluting our Christian commitment and distracting us from the real issues in life. I cried out to You, O LORD; and to the LORD I made supplication: “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

May we never forget where we came from and how we got here!
May we always give generously through the good and even the bad times!

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Psalm 29 – His Master’s Voice

Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

His Master's Voice (HMV) is a famous trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was created in 1899 with a logo of a dog sitting by wind-up gramophone.

It’s sad that in life, most people don’t know and don't acknowledge the Master’s Voice. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
Perhaps you may not be acquainted with some interesting facts about sound:

Do you know that sound travels faster over water than land?
Sound travels nearly five times faster underwater than on land.
A glass has a natural resonance, a frequency at which it will vibrate easily. Blow across a beer bottle and you might get a note.
I remember an occasion where my siblings and I filled champagne glasses with water and with our fingers we played the rim of the glasses. It all came to an abrupt end when one of us dropped one glass and shattered into a thousand pieces.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
God’s voice is recognized by all of creation yet we often drop His call.
The ability to hear his voice brings peace and comfort, especially in times of great distress.

The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, and the LORD sits as King forever. The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 27 – God’s House

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

When I was growing up, we lived in a two-bedroom apartment. Imagine six kids sharing one bedroom, with one bathroom for the entire family. I also distinctly remembered my cousin staying in the living room for extended periods of time.
The strange thing about it is that I have the best memories in that tiny flat.

Perhaps what made the difference was not the place but the people who lived there, particularly, my mom. Her meals were simple yet I can never replicate the taste.

May God bless my mom as she just turned 80 this month!

Although we lived in the tropics, it felt just warm enough so that we were not too uncomfortable. I remembered lying down on the concrete floor in the balcony when tropical storms would pay their daily visits and bath my senses with the smell and sound of fresh rainfall. It felt like time stood still on many occasions; yet it was only a tiny moment in time that I lived in that house. I guess that the Psalmist's expereince in God's house was so life-changing and memorable that it was all that he lived for after that. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Double-barrelled locks, spy-hole, steel doors, alarm system and motion-activated security lights; these are just some of the standard features of the modern day home. Have you found a home that seemed more secure and safe than any other home you’ve visited?
The Psalmist must have found his refuge and “panic room” in the Lord.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. 0 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me. Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!

Discover for yourself the "Refuge" that is God!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Psalm 25 – Lost

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.
Before the age of modern gadgets, we depended on maps and street signs for directions. Today, most carry a GPS if they need to go on a trip somewhere. It sure makes things so much easier, and reduces the bickering in the family vehicle.
God always had a GPS for his believers – a.k.a. God’s Principles for Success.
His Word has always guided the pilgrim; directed the topographically-challenged, and led His sheep.

Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your loving-kindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Even with a GPS, one can choose to ignore the directions or simply mute the device so it doesn’t get on your nerve. Our attitude toward wise instructions and precise directions is the difference between prosperity and poverty; fruitfulness or barrenness!

His path may not be the straightest or the easiest; but it promises to be the safest and most rewarding. We've got to trust Him like a pilot depends on the air traffic controller to guide him to a safe landing.

Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me out of my distresses!
Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins.
Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Psalm 24 – Blue Planet

The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. There’s something about the ocean and seas that has a magnetic draw on people. Maybe that’s why water-front properties fetch a premium price in real-estate.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the sea and all the creatures that live in it. I see the creative hand of God in every aspect of sea life; from the symbiotic relationships of many of its creatures to the fragile balance of entire eco systems.
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
Hills and mountains have always presented a challenge to adventurous individuals. Scaling a high peak is a feat that is reserved for those who possess a stout heart and abs of steel.
However, there is another hill that cannot be conquered by mere mortals. It far exceeds physical and earthly abilities and can only be accessed in the spiritual realm.
He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah
Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

It’s very easy to be caught up with the “save-the-earth” movements, even in the church today. More important than our stewardship of the earth and its resources, is our call to discipleship. God has designed this earth so that the physical elements always point upward to the spiritual. The Psalmist was ever conscious of the King and His kingdom even as he wrote poetry and songs about creation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Psalm 23 – Sheep Talk

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
They say; “confession is good for the soul.” Perhaps they might have meant it a different way; but confession of God’s goodness is definitely very good for the soul.
One sure way of countering the pervasive complaining attitude in our world today is to begin to think, and talk about the countless benefits of being a believer.
The more one focuses on the blessings of being His sheep, the more one actually begins to experience it. Faith expels fear; confidence replaces complaining and hope dethrones despair. SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Psalm 20 – Prayer of Blessing

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; may He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
The Psalmist is not wishing some good things upon the recipients of his prayer.
He certainly is not merely mouthing some meaningless verses but pronouncing a prayer blessing.
His prayers are based on his past personal experiences with a faithful God.

Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.

Often our prayers are powerless because we have a shaky confidence in our petition or intercession. We are trained to depend more on our own strength and knowledge rather than the omnipotence of God

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psalm 19 – God Speaks Clearly

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
God’s character is revealed in creation order and harmony; everything works like clockwork and is so dependable that we take it for granted.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
Along with creation, God has put in place laws and principles. Natural laws like gravity, laws of flight are unseen, yet accepted as fact by humanity. What eludes many are spiritual laws that supercede and will outlast natural laws.
The Psalmist discovered that living by these higher laws will result in higher rewards. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. There's more to it than correct actions and righteous deeds; God always searches our true motives, and is more interested in our heart condition than what we offer as peace offerings.