Day 34, Psalm 34

This psalm gives us direction on how to live a long, enjoyable and happy life. Keep from speaking evil, don’t tell lies, turn away from evil, do good and strive for peace with all your heart. Demonstrating this level of self-control honors God.

Ten years ago, I set a goal to run a 5k before my birthday. I had to stay focussed and make daily choices to move me towards the goal. Go for a run or sleep in? Prepare a salad or cheesy nachos? I ran the race i signed up for and I was so amazed that I was able to run the whole time and finish! After the race, I slowly changed back to my old habits.

Making choices that honor God is also a daily challenge. We build spiritual strength by practicing new responses when we are faced with difficult situations. We can consider what Jesus would do – or, if you’re like me – consider what Jesus would have done after we blow it. I am so grateful for forgiveness on the days I get it wrong.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. Ps 34:15

See you tomorrow for Psalm 35

Day 33, Psalm 33

Psalm 33 proclaims God as the creator over all the earth.  As the Creator, His plans endure forever; his purposes last eternally.  This gives me great comfort.  Knowing that there is no person or force that can override His plans, helps me to trust Him even when there is chaos all around. 

Have you ever worked for someone who changes their mind frequently?  Maybe they are easily influenced and change their direction on a whim.  Pretty soon, after following someone who zigs and zags all over the place, you stop investing your best into your work.  On the other hand, when you work for someone who is sure about their direction and do what they say they will do, you are able to invest more into your work because you trust them.

Trusting in God’s direction helps me to focus on the hard work of responding to his instructions for right-living and studying His word.   I know some of the things I do will have eternal implications.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 34

Day 32, Psalm 32

In this beautiful psalm about forgiveness, David gives us a glimpse of how he felt before he confessed his sins and how he felt after. While carrying around his unconfessed sins he felt limp, his bones were wasting away, he felt God’s hand heavily upon him and his strength was diminished.  Once he confessed his sins, God was faithful to forgive him.  Once forgiveh, David rejoices and praises God. 

It is reassuring to know how quickly God is to forgive us.  Why is it so hard for us to forgive sometimes?  When God forgives he also forgets our sins and moves forward with us, surrounding us with His unfailing love.  I think the unforgiveness that we can carry with us for years and years is just as damaging as our own unconfessed sins are to us.  A woman who prayed with me, years ago, told me that if I need help forgiving someone, I should ask Jesus to help me.  Forgiveness is one of his super-powers.  I did as she suggested and with Jesus’s help,  I was able to work through years of unforgiveness.  What a burden-lifter!  I felt free at last.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 33

Day 31, Psalm 31

David is praying for protection in this psalm.  It was written during the time Saul was chasing and persecuting him.  David is feeling vulnerable, in physical pain, the target of criticism and insults, like an outcast and in one line he says he feels like a broken dish.  He prays for help, and in his heart, he trusts that the Lord will help him.

When we are moving through a difficult season, it’s hard to imagine that God can take this time of suffering and brokenness in us, and turn us into something strong and beautiful.  I don’t think it’s even in our sights until years later when can we look back at who we once were.  Our lives are a journey of ups and downs.  I pray for you today – that you are able to look back and see how God has used a difficult time in your past as the raw material for the beauty and strength inside you today.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 32.

Day 30, Psalm 30

The Lord is the great transformer.  He can turn things around on our behalf.  David praises God for saving him from the grave, for healing him, turning his sadness into celebration, turning his sorrow into joyful dancing. 

In 2006, I had a season of severe migraines.  I had one every three days like clock-work.  Most of the time I would have to be in bed, in a dark room for at least a day.  In the meantime, I still had to manage my job and my family.  I was under the care of a neurologist who, with medication, made the migraine cycle less debilitating but the frequency didn’t change.  One weekend, I was at a retreat with some friends and they laid hands on me to pray for healing.  I had a migraine, at the time, and it was still there when they finished their prayer.  I went home and took a long nap. When I woke up the migraine was gone and I haven’t had one since.  Jesus healed me!  It was like I was set free from a migraine prison.  He turned my sadness into celebration!!

I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop singing your praises, my Lord and my God!

See you tomorrow for Psalm 31

Day 29, Psalm 29

How do you describe the Lord’s voice?  Some would say, he has a small still voice.  David says the Lord’s voice is mighty and marvelous and it can accomplish things that seem impossible.  God’s voice can destroy cedar trees, make mountains skip like a calf or jump like a wild ox, his voice can make lighting flash and the desert tremble. 

I just heard on the news that Minnesota has had one of the windiest years on record this year.  I meet with some friends once a month to pray, in one of our local parks.  It’s been windy each time we’ve met and we always attribute that to the Lord’s presence with us.  Speak healing over our land, Father God.

The voice of the Lord echoes over the oceans.  The glorious Lord God thunders above the roar of the raging sea. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 30

Day 28, Psalm 28

This psalm can be summed up this way, “God be there for me, like you have in the past and please, God, be there for your people.” It makes me curious when David appears to doubt that the Lord will help him.  It also makes me feel better, because, I can be a doubter sometimes too.  It’s especially hard when you can’t see how a situation in a loved one’s life will resolve, and you have to trust that God will care for them.

When David ends the psalm with a request that God will hold His people in His arms as their great shepherd – it makes me think of Jesus’s last words; “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  To be suffering and to think of others is a remarkable trait.  It’s a glimpse at what God means when He commands us to love your neighbor as yourself.

Come save us and bless us.  Be our shepherd and always carry us in your arms. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 29

Day 27, Psalm 27

It’s easy to see why David was known as, “a man after God’s heart.”  This psalm is a written demonstration of how David sought the Lord.  The one thing that David wants is to live in the Lord’s house – all the days of his life.  David, the King, looks to God as his King and he knows through experience that working in synch with God’s Lordship always works out better than when he acts in his own self-interest.

I know from experience, too, that the days when I pursue the Lord are always richer than the days I am distracted and pushing myself in another direction. It’s not always easy for me to turn and get back in rhythm with God.  Thankfully, He knows how to get my attention.   When I do manage to change my focus back to God and pursue His direction, He has always been there waiting for me.   

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”  And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

See you tomorrow for Psalm 28

Day 26, Psalm 26

Day 26, Psalm 26

My husband is a triathlete. When he pursues an Ironman race, he has a training schedule to follow as well as a list of things to avoid. The list of things to avoid holds equal weight to the things he must do to prepare for his race.

In this psalm, David shares a list of things he doesn’t do in order to pursue what he loves, the presence of God’s glory. To enjoy the presence of the Lord, it is important to avoid evil pursuits. To experience the best, you must turn away from the worst.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 27

Day 25, Psalm 25

When I was young, I used to follow my older brother around, wanting to know everything he knew.  When he left for kindergarten, I was desperate to keep up with him.  I would quiz him when he came home, wanting to know anything new he learned that day.  Sometimes we’d recite the alphabet together and count as high as we could.  One day, he told me that he learned three new letters to the alphabet, triple U, double Z and double O.  I memorized the new letters and added them on to the to the end of my alphabet song.  Turns out he wasn’t the most reliable teacher. 

David’s desire in this psalm is to give his life to the Lord, to trust him and learn from him.  He has found the Lord to be a reliable teacher who also leads with unfailing love and faithfulness.  The Lord is also our most reliable teacher and guide – and – He has more to teach us than we could ever learn.  We can’t try to “keep up” with the Lord’s knowledge, and thankfully He patiently meets us where we are.

Day 24, Psalm 24

Open the ancient gates, open the ancient doors, and let the King of Glory enter.

It’s so hard to know who to trust.  Social media has only made this dilemma more difficult.  After falling for a deal that seems “too good to be true” only to find out it wasn’t true at all, you are bound to slam some doors in your heart.  I was so disturbed about Santa, as a kid, I wondered if God was real?   I shut the door on that possibility because I didn’t want to be fooled again.  As years went by, I shut more doors. 

In the 1990’s I was laid off from my job and I suddenly had time on my hands.  During the quiet hours when my kids were at school, I reached out to God and thankfully He reached back.  I began to open my ancient gates to let Him in.  Best move I ever made. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 25

Day 23, Psalm 23

Several years ago, my husband and I were part of the Chaplaincy program at our church.  Our first assignment was to visit a young couple whose son was in the NICU at the Children’s hospital.  We had our badges, a bible and faith that the Holy Spirit would lead us.  As we visited with the young parents, we learned that psalm 23 was the only bible verse the father was familiar with.   His grandmother made him memorize it when he was a kid.  So, we read it together and prayed over their son.  Our next visit was a few days later.  The son’s health was declining, the antibiotics were not working. We sat quietly with them, prayed and cried together.  They asked to read psalm 23 again.  As we read it, we inserted their son’s name into the psalm and declared its’ promises over him.  The next day, the boy began to improve and a week later he was back home.  I believe Jesus healed him that day and He also did a mighty work in the father’s heart through this psalm.  They walked through the valley of the shadow of death and found that Jesus was with them. 

When we saw them at church, weeks later, thier son had fully recovered and was running up and down the hallways. We hugged and cried again together, this time with gratitude.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 24

Day 22, Psalm 22

In psalm 22, David is cryiing out to God, wondering when He will step in and help turn things around. When days, weeks and months go by and your desperate prayer has yet to be answered, you are faced with reconciling your heart with God’s sovereignty.   We can’t control God, like we can control some situations in our lives.  God’s ways are not our ways.

I have been in a few relationships with addicts.  One of my survival techniques was to take control when things got out-of-control in our lives.  Once in a while, forcing a solution would work, but mostly it was like taking one step forward only to slide back down the hill.  When God intervened and began to unwind this behavior, in me, it wasn’t easy. I was so frustrated. Instead of saving someone else from the consequences of their decisions, I let it go. I may have prayed for their sobriety, but God went after my co-dependency.   He knew what I needed most.

May your will be done, Father God, on earth as it is in heaven.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 23

Day 21, Psalm 21

I love listening to my grandkids tell me a story about a fun adventure they had.  They are so animated and they skip so many details in their rush to get to the good parts.  Their hands are moving, their laughter interrupts the flow of their tale.   It might be more fun to hear the story than to have lived it. 

In today’s psalm, David is talking to God and telling tales of what God has done and what God will do.  His confidence in God’s strength was earned first-hand.  He had to move into the battle to see the victory take place.  I tried reading the psalm out loud in an animated and excited way – and it worked!  I wonder if this song would could be performed as a rap?

See you tomorrow for psalm 22

Day 20, Psalm 20

This psalm was written during a time of battle.  David cries out for help and knows that God will help.  The first verse reminds me of the prayers I would say as my kids grew up and began to live their lives outside of my reach.  I would pray that God would protect them and help them when they are in trouble. 

I have several friends and family members who have kids heading off to college, or getting married, or moving to a new location.  Their worries are the same as mine were, but not all have faith to trust God with their kids.  I want to tuck this verse in their hand, with the hope they will find it on the day they need it most. 

We trust you Lord to watch over our kids.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 21

Day 19, Psalm 19

In this beautiful psalm, David is giving tribute to God and the mighty works of His hands.  I love how he describes nature: speaking without a sound or word, their voice is never heard.

Years ago, when my children were young, I was staring at a large white bird in the tree by my house.  I found a very quiet place in my thoughts and everything seemed to slow down.  As I watched the bird, I felt God tell me, deep inside my soul, that everything was going to be okay.  Those were healing words for a worried and busy working-mom.  My stress and worry were gone, I was filled with a quiet and confident peace.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46

See you tomorrow for Psalm 20

Day 18, Psalm 18

David’s Victory Song

When I read through this psalm it is clearly a victory song.  David recalls the victories he had because God helped him.  He proclaims love and confidence in God’s character.   He marvels at God’s faithfulness and mighty hands.  He describes what a life of obedience looks like and how intimate a relationship with God can be

What does your victory song sound like?  How have you worked to align your life under God’s authority?  What has God’s transformational power done within you?   What are the moments in your life that you can only give God credit for?  Our victory stories are a work-in-process only to be made complete the day we arrive home. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 19

Day 17, Psalm 17

This psalm is written during a time David was surrounded, persecuted, witnessing injustice and not positioned to change the circumstances around him.  I can sense his desperation to find a place to rest, to hide where no one can harm him, just to catch a breath.  I have never been in that exact situation but I have been out of my comfort zone, surrounded by people I didn’t know and didn’t trust.  Witnessing behavior that I didn’t agree with, hoping to stay out of the fray.  Looking for a safe place to rest.

I like the analogy of climbing under the protection of God’s wings.  Giving him the control and trusting him to do what is right.  Spiritually we can always retreat to the care of God and ask him to shelter us and to guide us.  He is always available, our ever-present help in times of trouble.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 18

Day 16, Psalm 16

My husband and I recently attended a reunion for a ministry we served in for 15 years.  To be in the presence of our friends after so many years apart was settling.  I felt safe, welcomed, and inspired.  The memories of how we served the Lord together and of all the wonderful works of His hands we witnessed, have bonded us for life.  How badly we wanted to recreate the past and do it all over again.  But of course, that is not possible.  Instead, we are each on a new path, serving the Lord in new ways with new people as He leads us all forward. 

David’s words in this psalm reveal the deep and intimate relationship David has with the Lord.  And his words proclaiming his pleasure to be with God’s people, came alive for us this week. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 17

Day 15, Psalm 15

I am intimidated by the word “righteous”.  I immediately envision a bishop or a cardinal in their robes looking right through me.  To be righteous seems way out of my reach, since I know everything I have recently been up to.  A friendly way that I have learned to accept this word is to think of being righteous as being someone who strives to live in a “right way” according to God’s direction.

This psalm has a list of things to work on to improve your righteousness.  I included four in my meme – the ones I can work on every day.  I am surprised at how often I hear gossip – it seems to always comes with the desire to pass it on.  Sometimes, unfortunately, I do pass it on.  But sometimes I have victory over myself and am able to let it end with me.  I want to stand firm with God and am forever thankful to Jesus for helping me achieve forgiveness.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 16

Day 14, Psalm 14

Have you ever caught someone’s eye?  You look around a crowded room and your eyes stop because you notice someone was looking at you.  Maybe you look at each other for a moment and share a smile, maybe you look away quickly, maybe you feel awkward and aren’t sure what to do?  God is scanning the crowd right now, looking to see if anyone is searching for him.  He longs to catch your eye.

I have friends who say they don’t believe in God or that they aren’t interested in knowing more about Him.  I always hear that as a statement of how they feel in the moment.  They may look for Him when they are alone or maybe when they have a crisis or a moment of curiosity.  I do know that when they earnestly seek Him, they will find Him looking their way. Whenever that wonderful day comes.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 15

Day 13, Psalm 13

I relate so much to the emotional flow of this psalm.  It starts out with cries for help and ends with a declaration of trust in the Lord and appreciation for all that He has done.  It is possible to feel both emotions at the same time, anxious for what you face in this world and confidence that God is with you. 

When I suddenly lost the central vision in both of my eyes, I was faced with so many abrupt changes to my life.  I could not force the solutions that I wanted, instead I had to wait for things to unfold.  I knew that God was with me and that He was helping me and I had to surrender, a thousand times, to His timing.  I was anxious about my situation and confident in His love.  I can honestly say that my trust in God’s love makes me want to celebrate.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 14

Day 12, Psalm 12

Day 12, Psalm 12

This psalm compares the flattery and empty promises we experience in the world with God’s impeccable record at keeping His promises and acting justly.  I have been duped by flattery and led right into believing empty promises, more than one time in my life.   Some of those losses really hurt and soon I became hesitant to believe anyone’s word. 

Thankfully, our God in heaven is not a person.  His promises are pure and trust-worthy.  If you need to accept that statement in faith, that’s okay, over time you will see that it’s true.  This is one of my favorite promises to stand on, give it a try:  (Isaiah 41:13) “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”

We trust you Lord.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 13

Day 11, Psalm 11

This psalm speaks of the confidence we can have to stand firm in our faith and trust that God will do what is right.  From His throne, God watches over all the people and knows what we are doing.  He discerns the good from the evil.  In His wisdom, He lets things play out until the proper time comes to act.  When He acts, He will act justly.  This is His work.

While we wait and watch for Him to act, we are called to focus on our own behavior.  Our instructions are to love the Lord God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength and with all our minds, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  When we do this, we are assured, at the end of the psalm, that we will live in God’s presence.  A very worthy endeavor with an eternal reward. 

See you tomorrow for Psalm 12

Day 10, Psalm 10

This psalm is very similar to yesterday’s psalm.  It is a little more relatable to me, since it talks about “those people” that seem to succeed regardless of their evil actions and intentions to harm others.  We’ve all seen this very dynamic in our life circles.  A bully at school, an immoral co-worker, a neighbor we would like to avoid, etc.  This psalmist asks the same questions I have asked or wondered.  He also proclaims what he knows to be true, God is just and fair and He will vindicate the oppressed. 

God doesn’t always act as fast as we’d like Him to – and we may not ever see the correction He will give to the person we are watching.  But He will, according to His perfect timing.  He will also restore the one(s) who were victims, but maybe in a way we are yet to understand.  This psalm encourages us to trust that God’s got this.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 11.   

Day 9, Psalm 9

Day 9, Psalm 9

In this psalm, David recognizes God as not only his authority, but The Authority above all things.  Although David ruled over a nation, he also recognized that God ruled over him.  David was humble, respectful, and confident that God would help him and that God would rule justly over his enemies. 

David also ensures us that God cares for the oppressed and that God has never forsaken those who seek Him.  There is no human equivalent to this promise.  If you seek God, he will not forsake you.  I’ve seen many examples of this truth.  Seek the Lord, accept his authority over your life and watch what He will do to fight your battles.   He will turn things around.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 10

Day 8, Psalm 8

I’ve seen starry skies in some amazing locations; the North Dakota prairie, on the deck of a cruise ship while out to sea, in southern France, Colorado Springs, my backyard in Minnesota.  Every time it’s a marvel; vast, brilliant, dazzling, changing, comforting, inspiring, mind-blowing.  You may be able to tell, it makes me speechless.  It’s hard to really grasp its’ magnificence. 

In this psalm, David absorbs the beauty of God’s creation and wonders, who are we that you are even thinking of us?  This is a question we have all wondered, in our own words, in our own quiet moments.  David proclaims God’s answer.  God created us in His image and made us only a little bit lower than angels.  He has crowned us with glory and honor.  He has entrusted us with the work of hands.  This is God’s mic drop regarding your value to Him.  You are His.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 9.

Day 7, Psalm 7

This psalm is written with such bravery.  David asks the Lord to react with justice against the sin and evil actions of his enemy.  He also asks the Lord to examine his own heart and if there is fault within him, he asks the Lord to show him.  He stands ready to take correction from the Lord at the same time he implores the Lord for help.  I admire this so much.  David not only show us something about his character, he also fearfully teaches us about God’s sovereignty.   Through his many battles and time spent with God, he knows God is just, not only with those around him but also with him personally.  We will all have to pass through God’s purifying fire.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

See you tomorrow for psalm 8.

Day 6, Psalm 6

The picture I found for today’s psalm, makes me pause.  To me it says, “through my pain, I reach to you, in hopes you will hear me.”  I have felt just this way a few times in my life.  For some reason, it’s hardest for me to reach out when I am experiencing deep pain.  For me, it feels like I have so much on the line, I don’t want to risk being let down.  Often one of my close friends will encourage me and pray with me, like this picture so gently shows. 

Over time, just as this psalmist experienced, we learn that God will hear our prayers, and He will accept our prayers, just as they are. He will be faithful to take great care with your request. If you don’t experience an immediate answer, you will be able to look back one day and see how He helped you through this time in your life’s journey. He is known for his lovingkindness and faithfulness.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 7

Day 5, Psalm 5

Yesterday, in psalm 4, we closed our day by resting in the assurance that our Lord would protect us.  Today, in psalm 5 we begin our day with thoughts of our Lord and send him our requests.  Then, we wait in anticipation for His reply.  I think it’s much easier to talk to the Lord than to wait for, and hear His reply.   

Hearing the Lord takes practice and patience. He isn’t limited to the English language and can talk to us in so many creative and surprising ways.  Tuning in to His frequency and staying aware of His presence in our lives is a life-long adventure. He may talk to us through the circumstances in our lives, through music, through a friend’s counsel, through scripture, through nature, His communication methods are unlimited and deeply personal. 

We want to hear from you Lord, we are listening.

See you tomorrow for Psalm 6