Avenues of Grace

Seeking the Lord with Eyes Wide Open

Archive for the category “Wednesday Psalms”

Praying in Expectation: Psalms 3-5

You can download Wednesday’s reading HERE.

My pastor once told us that when we think of our relationship with God, it’s like sleeping with a comforter over us.  That comforter doesn’t change the temperature in the room; it changes the temperature around US.

David knew this, and above all, he knew that God was present and powerful.  He knew that his only hope, his only protection, and his only righteousness rested in God alone.  While the readings for today cover a number of different issues in David’s life (Absalom’s betrayal, David’s reputation, and a range of enemies that pursued him), one thing remains the same: David’s foundation is strong because he cries out to a living and very present God.

A couple of years ago, I began to feel very convicted about saying “Dear Jesus” when I pray. I guess I’d never really considered it before; I had started my prayers with those two words since I was a child. The problem is that I wasn’t writing a letter to a God who would read it eventually.  I was talking to a PRESENT, loving, and powerful God who was right there with me.  I would never look at my husband and say, “Dear Danny…” Why? Because he is standing right in front of me! How often do we forget that God is even more present than the people we see every day?  He is present not only in our world and our situations but also in our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our trials, our everything.  He knows our inmost beings  (Ps. 139:13-14); He is ALWAYS with us (Psalm 139); and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:39).

Why would we ever treat Him otherwise? Even in mortal danger, David prayed with passion to a God who answers, and he waited expectantly for God to move! Oh how our lives, our churches, and the Kingdom of God would change if when we prayed, we would also watch for how God would move rather than continuing to carry our burdens!

Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, [c]You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my [d]prayer to You and eagerly watch.

Psalms 5:2-3

Today, I am reminding myself that I am NOT walking alone.  God is still God! He is still all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present! He knows every depth of my being; He knows every step that I will take; and He knows every thought and inclination of my heart…and He loves me.

Father, show me who You are. Open my eyes to your presence and empower me with boldness to pray to You in a way that recognizes Your glory and power rather than my own insecurity.  Thank you that when the world around me falls apart, you are constant, faithful, mighty, and always with me.

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The Key to Happiness: Psalms 1-2

You can download today’s reading HERE.

When I was younger, I remember reading this verse (1:2) and silently wondering who could actually delight in the law of the Lord.  Delight is God’s love? Of course! His law? Um…no. At least not as a teenager.  For some strange reason, I seemed to think that I could be a Christian and still live pretty much any kind of life that I wanted to.  I loved the things of this world; I craved them. I also loved God, but I had absolutely, positively NO IDEA what Lordship meant.  So if you knew me as a teenager or even in my early twenties, you probably understand the miracle that God has done in my heart and my life since then. But that was a hard and broken road for me.

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I spent many years doing things my way…following one dead end after another.  I somehow thought that the fact that I loved Jesus, went to church on Sunday mornings, and prayed (at least before meals?) constituted a relationship. Then an hour outside the church door, my world would fall apart.  I’d go through the week living in sin and return on Sunday to repeat the process. The Sunday School version of Jesus could not sustain me– I needed to invest in a RELATIONSHIP with Him.

To be clear: I was a Christian at that point. I fully believed with my whole heart that Jesus died for me…but somehow, during my teenage years, I walked away from that relationship. It wasn’t intentional; it was just a gradual fading, a tiny compromise that lead to another compromise and continued in a domino effect until I doubted everything about my faith.

All the while, Jesus was there, but like any relationship, I needed to invest the time…and pouring my heart out as if I was ranting to a friend rather than bowing at the feet of Jesus and surrendering to His Lordship are two different things. I didn’t understand that until I was a brand new mom on the brink of a divorce, and I was at the end of my rope. Then, finally, I listened to that still, small voice– the voice that assured me that He had never stopped loving me and that if I would just SURRENDER, He would give me the peace that I was searching for.

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That was five years ago, and I couldn’t be happier in my life and in my marriage. I now understand what it means to DELIGHT in the law of the Lord. Honestly, just the thought of living outside of the beautiful boundaries that God sets for us sounds about as appealing as going to sleep on the freeway.

My way brought pain, depression, and destruction, but God promises that those who follow His way will be blessed.

So what does “blessed” mean in Hebrew here? HAPPY.

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