Tag Archives: Psalms

Pressure Cooker of Life

Life is a pressure cooker.

Good cooks, which does not describe me, know a pressure cooker can be a useful tool. It can turn the toughest cut of meat into a tender dish. The heat and pressure help cook the dish perfectly. You need just the right amount of pressure though, or you end up with ketchup on your kitchen ceiling. Pressure cookers are useful as they reduce cooking time, and a well-versed chef can use the tool to create delicious food.

Life can be described as a pressure cooker. Each day is filled with stresses which cause our anxiety levels to rise. The decisions we are forced to make can be overwhelming. We have more bills than income, deciding how to keep our families safe amid a pandemic, and juggling our home being the center for work, school, and everything else. The pressures of life can certainly come from all directions.

The pressures of life may cause us anxiety, but we are not alone. Others have had the same experience including the writer of Psalm 119. In verse 139, the writer states he is overwhelmed with indignation. He feels insignificant. Perhaps nothing is working out in the way he planned. Pressure is increasing, yet the Lord is still there.

Psalm 119:143-144 says, as pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right. Help me to understand them so I may live.”

Though he was in the pressure cooker of life, the Psalmist kept his focus on the Lord. The challenge for us is to follow the Psalmist’s pattern.

Amid stress and anxiety, remember…

  • The Lord is with us.
  • The Lord is trustworthy.
  • Jesus asks us to trust him. He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).
  • The Lord sees the big picture and is a master chef at using life’s pressure cooker. He knows when to release the pressure so the ketchup doesn’t end up on the ceiling.
  • Christ has promised he will come and take us where he is.

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Confidence in a Storm

Psalm 18 reminds us of God’s faithfulness.

It is no secret our journey through life will encounter storms. Things may be going well to suddenly be derailed by events and actions that are out of our control. David was no stranger to life being derailed.

The Bible’s biography of David reveals a turbulent life filled with mistakes, yet the Lord remained faithful to David. People turned against David, but the Lord did not. David made stupid mistakes, but the Lord stayed true. In Psalm 18, David reflects on the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness.

Psalm 18:30 says, “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”

Here are 3 take-aways from Psalm 18:30.

God’s way is the best way.

It may not always seem like the best approach, but if God is leading, he will always take the best way. He will always make arrangements for things to work out.

Remember, he arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah and help him travel to where God wanted him.

God’s promises prove true.

The Lord keeps his promises. He has never made a promise he does not intend to keep. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds found everything the way they were told it would be. The Bible records many instances of the Lord sending someone on a journey with a promise, and the individual found the promise to be true.

You and I have been made promises by the Lord, and we will find each of them to be true.

God is a shield of protection.

God offers us protection.

Psalm 18 says, “For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.”

Life may lead us into storms, but the Lord will always be with us. Amid the storm, remember the words of Psalm 18.

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God is here, there, & everywhere.

“Whether I’m looking for him or not, that’s where I find God.”

He may show up in the strangest of places. For someone hitting rock bottom, he can be the person who lends a listening ear and gives advice. For the parent who is struggling, he can be the friend who offers a great idea. For the husband or wife who is ready to throw in the towel on marriage, he can be the older friend who offers encouragement. We never really know where he will reveal himself.

God can be found many places in our daily lives. He is not restricted by buildings or worship services, and he promises he is always with us. He will show up at the right place and time. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will work out his plans for my life. For your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me for you made me.”

We just need to be attentive to his presence and recognize his work. You never know when the Lord will show up.

Giving Thanks

Many reasons to give thanks.

A husband had a habit of grumbling about the food his wife prepared for meals. He would grumble, then offer a prayer of thanksgiving. His pattern of grumbling then thanking was the same every day.

One day his young daughter asked, “Dad, does God hear our prayers?”

“Why yes,” the father replied.

The daughter continued, “Does God hear everything else we say?”

“Of course,” the dad said. He was bubbling with pride because he had inspired his child to ask spiritual questions.

His pride quickly turned to embarrassment and humility when the daughter asked, “Well, which one does he believe: your grumbling or thanksgiving?”

Blessings can come in all shapes and sizes, and Psalm 136 encourages us to give thanks to the Lord for all that he has done for us.

Verses 1-3 say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.”

The Psalmist gives us some reasons to give thanks.

  • Give thanks for the mighty miracles God performs.
  • Give thanks for the beautiful creation surrounding us.
  • Give thanks to him for the freedom he brings.
  • Give thanks to him for the provisions he provides.
  • Give thanks to him for his past actions.
  • Give thanks to him for his present grace.
  • Give thanks to him for his grace and love. We are reminded 26 times the Lord’s faithful love endures forever.

With current events, it is easy to forget how many times we have been blessed, yet there is much for which we can be thankful.

Helen Keller said, “So much has been given to me that I have no time to ponder that which I don’t have.” There are many reasons we have to be grateful. Take time today to thank God for 10 of your blessings.

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Coming Together

Harmony brings joy, refreshment, and well-being.

The worshipers of the Lord in David’s day had some differences. They came from different parts of the country, they descended from different tribes or were immigrants to Israel, and they did not all look exactly the same. With all these differences, they did have common ground.

They traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate feasts. No matter their heritage, socioeconomic status, or looks, every follower of the Lord traveled to Jerusalem. As they traveled up the mountain road to the city, they would recite Psalms. One such Psalm is Psalm 133.

“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony. For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard, and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon, that falls on the mountains of Zion, and there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting,” writes David in Psalm 133.

This Psalm reminds you and me harmony is beautiful. It brings joy and refreshment. Living harmoniously is what is best for all. David reminds us the Lord blesses harmony.

Today, we still find differences. Geography, race, ethnicity, economics, and more create differences between us and our neighbors, yet we have common ground. The Lord’s grace is available to us. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the angel told the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

God does not restrict salvation to one people group. It is available to all, and the Bible challenges us to live in harmony with one another.

Scripture implores us to make every effort to keep the unity of the bond of peace. This is certainly hard work, and involves listening rather than shouting, respecting rather than destroying, and promoting peace over agitation. Psalm 133 reminds us the Lord blesses harmony.

Can I suggest we step back and ask ourselves how well we are doing at living in harmony with our neighbor?

God’s Word has benefits

Psalm 119:89-176 offers many benefits of following God’s Word.

Following God’s word offers many benefits, and Psalm 119 lists many of them for us.

God’s Word is eternal.

Verse 89 reminds us God’s Word stands firm in Heaven. When everything else is gone and nothing else can be considered secure, we can count on the words and promises of the Lord.

God’s Word provides wisdom.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist states the word of the Lord gives him wisdom. We find guidance for every part of life in the Scriptures.

God’s Word offers guidance.

Verse 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” As we walk through life, God’s Word can guide us. We should think of it like a flashlight at night. A flashlight guides our path and lights up what is right in front of us. If we turn it off, there is a chance we will run into something. If we do not allow God’s Word to guide us, there is a chance we will run into a pitfall in life.

God’s Word is a treasure for us.

Psalm 119:111 says, “Your laws are my treasure, they are my heart’s delight.” God’s Word is the most valuable thing we can possess. It is more valuable than gold or silver.

Verse 162 says, “I rejoice in your word like one who has found a great treasure.”

God’s Word can bring justice.

The Psalmist reminds us following God’s Word brings justice to all.

The writer of Psalm 119 expressed a genuine desire to continually follow God’s Word. May we echo his desire and work daily to apply the truth of Scripture to our lives. Doing so will be beneficial to us and our neighbors.

Benefits of God’s Word

Psalm 119:1-88 gives benefits of God’s Word.

There are many benefits to God’s Word. Here are a few listed in Psalm 119:1-88.

God’s Word gives us wise advice.

Psalm 119:24 says, “Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.” There’s advice on every topic.

God’s Word encourages us.

When we are in need of encouragement, it seems the Bible has just the right words for the moment.

Psalm 119:50 says, “Your promise revives me. It comforts me in all my troubles.”

God’s Word gives us hope.

Psalm 119:43 says, “Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.”

Psalm 119:49 says, “Remember your promise to me. It is my only hope.”

God’s Word is trustworthy.

Psalm 119:86 says, “All your commands are trustworthy.”

The promises we find in God’s Word can be trusted. The shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth can serve as an example for us. According to Luke 2, the shepherds trusted the angel’s word and went to find Jesus. They found the baby, his mother, and everything just as the angel had said it would be. God’s Word is trustworthy.

Hiding God’s Word in our hearts has many benefits. May we echo the desire of the Psalmist in always keeping God’s Word close to us using it as the compass to guide our lives.

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Finding Our Way

Psalm 119 suggests storing up God’s Word.

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a team of explorers set out from England to do something no one before had accomplished, cross Antarctica from one side to the other across the South Pole. Disaster struck when the team’s ship                           became entrapped in ice and the hull was eventually crushed. The ship sank, and the team was marooned on nearby Elephant Island. There seemed little hope for their survival.

In a desperate attempt to get help, Ernest and 5 others set out in a 20-foot lifeboat across some of the most dangerous and storm filled waters in the world. It was an 800-mile journey to South Georgia Island where help could be found. For 15 days, the men battled the treacherous seas and massive storms with waves up to 100-feet using only a compass and a sextant. Frank Worsley, who had captained the Endurance, navigated their course until they safely reached land and found help.

The group found another ship and returned to rescue all of the team. Shackleton became a national hero in England for his courage and persistence.

All of us will go through stormy times in life. The uncertainties of tomorrow are many. The level of misinformation we see on a daily basis is extremely high. In these moments, Psalm 119:11 suggests we store up God’s Word to guide us.

The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” In other words, the Psalmist says, “I have stored up God’s Word so I know the difference between right and wrong and true and false.”

The only way to ensure that we do not go astray is to have an objective source of truth that will guide us just as a compass can guide sailors through dark and uncharted waters. God’s Word can guide us through uncertain and difficult circumstances. We need to trust God’s Word over everything else. Our feelings and emotions can lead us astray, but Scripture can guide us.

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Always Confident

Confidence even when bad news and opposition surrounds us. Headlines may be bringing bad news to mind. It does not seem there is a shortage of bad news in our current culture. Opposition may stand at every corner. It is easy to lose trust, but we can have confidence. Our bad news may not make the headlines and our opposition may not be as well-known, but it is as devastating to us. The relationship that ends and the job that is lost probably will not make the news, but it still shakes us. Even though our trust is shaken, we can have confidence. Psalm 112:7-8, in speaking of those who follow the Lord, says, “They do not fear bad news. They confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless, and can face their foes triumphantly.” Psalm 112 states this confidence in the Lord comes in true wisdom. It comes in following his guidance for our lives. Following the Lord will give us light in darkness. It will provide us with a path when it seems there is no path to be found. As you read today’s headlines and survey your current situation in life, ask this question. “Where is my confidence?” Confidence in the Lord will give us the boldness to tackle today and approach tomorrow.

True Wisdom is Life’s Foundation

Justice, goodness, and trustworthiness are found in true wisdom. David was nearing the end of his life, and he placed Solomon on the throne to be Israel’s next king. His final charge to Solomon was to observe all of the Lord’s commands. It is in this observance, according to David, success is found. This observance gives us the opportunity to find true wisdom. Psalm 111:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” In saying this, Psalm 111 reflects on all the Lord has done. • Verse 4 says the Lord is gracious and merciful. • Verse 5 reminds us the Lord provides for our needs. • Verse 6 recalls the Lord’s power in meeting our needs. • Verse 9 reminds us of the ransom the Lord has paid for us. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many,” Jesus says in Mark 10. • Verse 9 also tells us the Lord has guaranteed his covenant with us. Verses 7-8 say, “All he has done is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.” True wisdom is the foundation on which our lives should be built. As we build on this foundation, we can be secure of its justice, goodness, and trustworthiness. Take a moment today to reflect on how the Lord has proven himself. Not only historically, but also in your life. How has the Lord’s justice, goodness, and trustworthiness showed up in your life?