The various psalms reflect nearly every human emotion:
unbridled joy, deep-seated jealousy, seething anger, hope, and depression.
These are only a few of the emotions behind the poetry we hear expressed in individual psalms.
Feelings and emotions are central to what it means to be human.
We cannot escape them nor should we. Psalms invites us to take the emotions we feel and bring them before God.
This book models how to come before God in times of sadness, brokenness, and joy.
Psalm 5 is a cry for help and a plea for guidance by a person who suffered at the hands of an enemy.
It talks about the morning as the time to pray and listen for God to answer.
Like many laments, it begins with a cry but ends in confidence.
Bend Your ear to me and listen to my words, O Eternal One;
hear the deep cry of my heart.
Listen to my call for help,
my King, my True God;
to You alone I pray.
In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice;
in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer.
Opening up in true intimate moments in relationship makes us vulnerable but
also paves the way for real help to enter in. Being honest renders us vulnerable
but it is in the very act of being open and honest in true humility before God that
He gives grace. God opposes the proud, the arrogant and prayerless.
Prayerlessness is actually saying you don’t need help, or God.
Are you waiting on God or is He waiting on you?
He who says, “before they call I will answer” in Isaiah 65:25 and “I too watch over My Word to bring it to pass” in Jeremiah 1:12, waits with longsuffering merciful kindness for His errant children to turn to Him (in repentance and rest).
Why are we so afraid of having our weakness exposed
when the truth is that there is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed?
For the darkness is as light before the Lord our Maker.
He sees you right where you are and longs for you to come into His presence.
Return to your First Love. We love because He First Loved us!
For days, an older Vineyard praise song as been resounding in my spirit–
More faith, more passion
More of You in my life
More faith, more passion
More of You in my life
I will worship You with all of my heart
And I will worship You with all of my mind
And I will worship You with all of my strength
For You are my Lord
You are my Lord.
MANIFEST YOURSELF IN ME
Jesus: “Trust in God. If you do, honestly, you can say to this mountain, “Mountain, uproot yourself and throw yourself into the sea.” If you don’t doubt, but trust that what you say will take place, then it will happen. So listen to what I’m saying: Whatever you pray for or ask from God, believe that you’ll receive it and you will. When you pray, if you remember anyone who has wronged you, forgive him so that God above can also forgive you.” (Mark 11:22-25)
Jesus the True Vine
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:7-9)
Father, increase my expectancy in all earnestness as I wait on You to work. We reach out our hands to You for healing;
give us a “green thumb” that all we touch in Your name blooms and grows up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Here I am Lord I delight to do Your will. Help me to see the good things You have given
as seeds that grow with the watering of the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit and the encouragement of my faithful
prayers, praise and preaching. Be near me Lord Jesus as I ask you to stay close by me forever and help me
to reach out to others as You desire to bring forth Your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven this day.
May all that I think, say and do bring all glory, honor and praise to Your name. I love You Lord Jesus, Amen.
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him!
Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.
Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.
He could show up any minute!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
Content Whatever the Circumstances
Silence is praise to You,
And also obedience.
You hear the prayer in it all.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. (James 5:16-18)
“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4)
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.
The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back.
God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.
But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.
These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.
That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.
We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. (Romans 8:19-25)
requests–a cry for help–a call for courage
Strength arises as we wait upon the Lord
The joy of he Lord is your strength
In His presence is fullness of joy.
Joy, unspeakable and full of glory!
Child-Like Trust in the Lord
O Lord, my heart is not proud. My eyes are not filled with pride. And I do not trouble myself with important things or in things too great for me. For sure I have made my soul quiet like a child who no longer nurses while he is with his mother.
My soul within me is like a child who no longer nurses. O Israel, hope in the Lord, now and forever.
The Seventh Lock—No Sound in Heaven
When the Lamb broke the seventh lock, there was not a sound in heaven for about one-half hour.
Then I saw the seven angels standing before God. They were given seven horns.
Another angel came and stood at the altar. He held a cup made of gold full of special perfume. He was given much perfume so he could mix it in with the prayers of those who belonged to God. Their prayers were put on the altar made of gold before the throne. Smoke from burning the special perfume and the prayers of those who belong to God went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the cup of gold. He filled it with fire from the altar and threw it down on the earth. There was thunder and noise and lightning and the earth shook.
The seven angels that had the seven horns got ready to blow them.
Prayer for Help in Time of Trouble
Hear what is right, O Lord. Listen to my cry. Hear my prayer, for it does not come from lying lips.
May You decide in my favor. May Your eyes see what is right.
You have tested my heart. You have visited me during the night. You have tested me and have found nothing wrong.
I have decided that my mouth will not sin.
As for the actions of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept myself from the paths of those who want to hurt others.
My steps have followed Your paths. My feet have not turned from them.
I have called to You, O God, for You will answer me. Listen to me and hear my words. Show Your great loving-kindness.
You save by Your right hand the people that come to You for help from those who hate them.
Keep me safe as You would Your own eye.
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings, from the sinful who fight against me, those who would kill me and are all around me. They have closed their fat hearts to pity. And their mouths speak with pride.
They have followed our every step and are all around us. They are watching for a way to bring us down to the ground.
He is like a hungry lion, like a young lion hiding and waiting.
Rise up, O Lord. Stand against him. Bring him down. Save me from the sinful with Your sword.
O Lord, save me by Your hand from such men. Their riches are in this life.
Their stomach is filled with what You have stored for them. Their children are filled. Let them leave some for their babies.
As for me, I will see Your face in what is right and good. I will be happy to see You when I awake.
You’re not a God who smiles at sin;
You cannot abide with evil.
The proud wither in Your presence;
You hate all who pervert and destroy what is good.
You destroy those with lying lips;
the Eternal detests those who murder and deceive.
Yet I, by Your loving grace,
am welcomed into Your house;
I will turn my face toward Your holy place
and fall on my knees in reverence before You.
O Eternal One, lead me in the path of Your righteousness
amidst those who wish me harm;
make Your way clear to me.
Their words cannot be trusted;
they are destructive to their cores.
What comes out of their mouths is as foul as a rotting corpse;
their words stink of flattery.
Find them guilty, O True God;
let their own devices bring them ruin.
Throw them out, and let them drown in the deluge of their sin,
for in revolt they brazenly spit in Your face.
But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did;
let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
their love for You resounding in their hearts.
You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
Your blessings surround them like a shield.
This is the God who made the universe and all it contains, the God who is the King of all heaven and all earth.
It would be illogical to assume that a God of this magnitude could possibly be contained in any man-made structure,
no matter how majestic.
Nor would it be logical to think that this God would need human beings to provide Him with food and shelter—
after all, He Himself would have given to humans everything they need—life, breath, food, shelter, and so on.
This is the only universal God, the One who makes all people whatever their nationality or culture or religion.
This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop,
giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways.
His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us.
For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.”
And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.”
Since this is true, since we are indeed offspring of God’s creative act, we shouldn’t think of the Deity as our own artifact, something made by our own hands—as if this great, universal, ultimate Creator were simply a combination of elements like gold, silver, and stone. No, God has patiently tolerated this kind of ignorance in the past, but now God says it is time to rethink our lives and reject these unenlightened assumptions.
He has fixed a day of accountability, when the whole world will be justly evaluated by a new, higher standard:
not by a statue, but by a living man. God selected this man and made Him credible to all by raising Him from the dead.
That’s why, as long as that promise of entering God’s rest remains open to us, we should be careful that none of us seem to fall short ourselves. Those people in the wilderness heard God’s good news, just as we have heard it, but the message they heard didn’t do them any good since it wasn’t combined with faith. We who believe are entering into salvation’s rest, as He said,
That is why I swore in anger
they would never enter salvation’s rest,
even though God’s works were finished from the very creation of the world.
(For didn’t God say that on the seventh day of creation He rested from all His works?
And doesn’t God say in the psalm that they would never enter into salvation’s rest?)
There is much discussion of “rest” in what we are calling the First Testament of Scripture. God rests on the seventh day after creation. In the Ten Commandments God commands His people to remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy, and do no work. By letting go of daily work, they declared their absolute dependence on God to meet their needs.
We do not live by the work of our hands, but by the bread and Word that God supplies.
But a greater rest is yet to come when we will be released from all suffering, and when we will inherit the earth.
Jesus embodies this greater rest that still awaits the people of God, a people fashioned through obedience and faith.
If some of us fail to enter that rest, it is because we fail to answer the call.
So if God prepared a place of rest, and those who were given the good news didn’t enter because they chose disobedience over faith, then it remains open for us to enter. Once again, God has fixed a day; and that day is “today,” as David said so much later when he wrote in the psalm quoted earlier:
Today, if you listen to His voice,
Don’t harden your hearts.
Now if Joshua had been able to lead those who followed him into God’s rest, would God then have spoken this way?
There still remains a place of rest, a true Sabbath, for the people of God
because those who enter into salvation’s rest lay down their labors in the same way that God entered into a Sabbath rest from His.
So let us move forward to enter this rest, so that none of us fall into the kind of faithless disobedience that prevented them from entering. The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart.
No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to.
By God’s word, everything finds a rhythm, a place. It fills, empowers, enlivens, and redeems us.
But it also divides and destroys. It pierces and exposes our disobedience and unfaithfulness.
Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God who has passed through the heavens from death into new life with God, let us hold tightly to our faith. For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws.
He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God.
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.
Through faith, God’s power is standing watch, protecting you for a salvation that you will see completely at the end of things. You should greatly rejoice in what is waiting for you, even if now for a little while you have to suffer various trials.
Suffering tests your faith which is more valuable than gold (remember that gold, although it is perishable, is tested by fire) so that if it is found genuine, you can receive praise, honor, and glory when Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, is revealed at last.
Early Christians stand apart from the culture and suffer social stigmas and physical persecution at times.
Peter challenges them to remain faithful to Jesus who also suffered for not conforming.
Although you haven’t seen Jesus, you still love Him.
Although you don’t yet see Him, you do believe in Him and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words.
(1 Peter 1:5-8)
Above all, be sure to remember that in the last days mockers will come, following their own desires and taunting you, saying, “So what happened to the promised second coming of Jesus? For everything keeps going just the way it has since our ancestors fell asleep in death; since the beginning of creation, nothing’s changed.”
These believers face persecution every day and eagerly await the day when Jesus will return and judge their enemies.
But what is taking so long?
When they make fun of you, it’s as if the scoffers are deliberately forgetting that long ago when God spoke the word, the heavens came into existence and the earth formed from water and by water.
The waters later flooded and destroyed that world.
By that same word, the heavens and earth we see now are being reserved for destruction by fire,
preserved until the time comes for the godless on the day of judgment.
Don’t imagine, dear friends, that God’s timetable is the same as ours; as the psalm says, for with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day.
Scoffers use the delay in His second coming to question if He is going to return at all.
Peter responds by saying that God’s perspective on time is not like ours.
What seems long from a finite, human perspective is incredibly short from an eternal one.
Peter also describes how God is not slow, but patient.
God wants to allow the time needed for as many sinners as possible to turn from their sinful ways.
Unlike some depictions of God as vindictive and enjoying inflicting punishment on people, the God we see here desires that all be saved and not destroyed.
If we had true spiritual insight, we would not be amazed by the severity of eternal judgment but by the intensity of God’s mercy.
Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise—slow is how some people want to characterize it—
no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following his own path and to turn toward God’s.
The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night; and on that day, the sky will vanish with a roar, the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and all the works done on it will be seen as they truly are.
Knowing that one day all this will come to pass, think what sort of people you ought to be—
how you should be living faithful and godly lives, waiting hopefully for and hastening the coming of God’s day when the heavens will vanish in flames and the elements melt away with intense heat.
What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns.
So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish;
and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation.
Our dearly loved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written about this.
He says essentially the same in all of his letters, although uneducated and unstable readers misinterpret the difficult passages, just as they always misread Scripture, to their spiritual ruin.
So hear my final words, my friends.
Now that I have warned you about what’s ahead, keep up your guard and don’t let unprincipled people pull you away from the sure ground of the truth with their lies and misunderstandings. Instead, grow in grace and in the true knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed, to whom be glory, now and until the coming of the new age. Amen
(2 Peter 3)
Once again the scene shifts. The exile is receding in the past and the remnant of Israel—
those who survived God’s judgment and Babylon’s cruelty—are working hard to rebuild their lives and communities.
But life back in Jerusalem under Persian rule is not faring as well as they hoped.
So once again a prophetic voice breaks the silence to address a discouraged population.
Most people are facing terrific difficulties.
Despite what their prophets have spoken, Jerusalem is a mere shadow of the great city their parents and grandparents knew. People doubt whether God is really alive, or really all that powerful, or really even cares.
But the faithful know that God is powerful and does care; they are determined to convince their countrymen that He has their well-being in mind. He can make this people and this place great again, if they just trust and follow Him.
Soon the whole world will be caught up in this brand new thing God is doing.
Arise, shine, for your light has broken through!
The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you.
See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth;
people all over are cloaked in darkness.
But God will rise and shine on you;
the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see.
Nations north and south, peoples east and west, will be drawn to your light,
will find purpose and direction by your light.
In the radiance of your rising, you will enlighten the leaders of nations.
Don’t be shy; don’t be doubtful; lift up your eyes and look around.
They have gathered all around you, eager to come and be close to you.
And your children will come back to this land:
your sons from the farthest places of wandering,
and your daughters gently carried home.
And when you see it, your face will glow;
your heart will race and be filled with joy;
For great ships will arrive with gifts from across the sea,
and the wealth of nations will make their way to you.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak.
Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you.
Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory. (My Utmost For His Highest)
Part of imitating the perfection of God is acting charitably and generously, doing good deeds, working for justice, and praying.
Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:
Our Father in heaven,
let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.
Manifest Your will here on earth,
as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts
as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
But let Your kingdom be,
and let it be powerful
and glorious forever. Amen.
“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4)