Category Archives: Devotional Reading

Psalm 124

   Psalm 124 (NLT)

    1If the LORD had not been on our side–
       let Israel now say–

    2 if the LORD had not been on our side
       when people rose up against us,

    3 they would have swallowed us alive
       because of their burning anger against us.

    4 The waters would have engulfed us;
       a torrent would have overwhelmed us.

    5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury
       would have overwhelmed our very lives.

    6 Blessed be the LORD,
       who did not let their teeth tear us apart!

    7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
       The trap is broken, and we are free!

    8 Our help is from the LORD,
       who made the heavens and the earth.

This happened to be my reading for today.  Sometimes when I am a bit lost I read the prescribed reading for the day, especially the psalm.  It seems to fit better than just reading them all in order, although I have done that too. 

I was thinking how well this one fit for today.  “If the Lord had not been on our side…”

If the Lord was not at my side right now, how would I cope?  If the Lord was not at my side right now how would I deal with a belligerent daughter whose hormones are somewhere off the scale? 

“If the LORD had not been on our side when people rose up against us,
they would have swallowed us alive because of their burning anger against us.”

That seems to sum up my life all too frequently these days.  But… there is that last verse that reminds me that God is my help – I am not alone.  I can lean on him and he will not get tired of holding me up.

All day I have been remembering this psalm.

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Matthew 21:23-27

This morning I was reading this passage from Matthew 21: 23 – 27(NLT)

When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and other leaders came up to him. They demanded, “By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple? Who gave you such authority?”
“I’ll tell you who gave me the authority to do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s baptism come from heaven or was it merely human?”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe him. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed, because the people think he was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”   
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t answer your question either.

It struck me that Jesus was saying to the Pharisees, “If you want to talk truth, OK.  But if all you are out for is to devise the best and safest answer to that question, forget it.  I know what you are really thinking and you are not fooling me.  I know you are not saying “I don’t know” because you are honestly admitting you don’t know.  You really don’t know and could not therefore comprehend the truth of who I am.”

There seems to be some thread in this whole encounter concerning speaking the truth. Jesus couldn’t tell them the truth because they would not even comprehend it. They didn’t’ really know what they were asking.  How could they deal with his answer if they were not even looking for truth – just political correctness.

Sometimes we may also be hindered from speaking the truth to others because they will not understand our answer.  They may just be looking to see if we have the politically correct answer.  If we come out with an honest answer to a loaded question will it be understood?  Maybe those questions can only be answered honestly if we know the questioner well enough to know what is on their heart.

Just musing a bit on what all this might mean.

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To think about

Ephesians 4: 9 and 10

” …Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we live.  The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that his rule might fill the entire universe. “

We have a lot to celebrate.

So I am off to a St. Lucia Day breakfast to celebrate our preparations for Christ’s coming, friendships and my Swedish heritage.

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Good advice for my day

This came up in my reading through of II Corinthians.  For me it came as timely good counsel.
II Cor. 4: 7,8 and 9

But this precious treasure – this light and power that now shine within us – is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies.  So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit.  We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.  We get knocked down, but we get up and keep going. (NLT)

I guess it was never in God’s intentions for me to be supermom/superwoman.  And that is good ’cause I sure am not!  I always think the weakness part of my life is so blaringly obvious. I wonder if even my kids will see that if I don’t give up and quit it is largely because of God walking with me through the difficult times.  

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Psalm 68

This psalm struck me in the way it interjected praise to God in the middle of what essentially seems to be a Psalm glorifying victory in battle.

It dawned on me that this was similar to how we live our everyday lives. The Israelites lived in a time full of battles. It was, in a sense, their way of life.

If I were writing this Psalm, it would be full of references to my life – my battlegrounds would be different. 

Maybe it would go something like this:

God, you help me overcome the difficulties that I struggle with daily.
When I am faced with a hard day, you help me from the moment I awake.
From sunrise to sunset, the wonders of your world remind me of how powerful you are. 
You shatter the obstacles that I am apt to trip over trying to serve the people around me.
You were at my right hand as I struggled with that difficult crown preparation. 
You were with me when I had to prepare the evening meal after a long day at work. 
When there was conflict with my daughter, you helped me keep my tongue under control.

“Praise the Lord; praise God our saviour!
For each day he carries us in his arms.” vs. 19

God is the Lord of our lives.  For the Israelites, this meant that God led them through battles with the pagan tribes around them, to victory.

We may quickly read parts of the Psalms thinking “that doesn’t say much to me” but we all have our own battles, every day, in our ordinary days, where we need to stop and interject our thanks and praise to God.   It is never out of place.  Because God is the God of the world we find ourselves in.

“God is awesome in his sanctuary. 
The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God!” vs.33

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Psalm 63

Part of my morning readings – and my memorization in progress.  I love this Psalm.

 Psalm 63: 1 to 5

    O God, you are my God;
        I earnestly search for you.
    My soul thirsts for you;
        my whole body longs for you
    in this parched and weary land
        where there is no water.

    I have seen you in your sanctuary
        and gazed upon your power and glory.
    Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself;
        how I praise you!
    I will honor you as long as I live,
        lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
    You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.
        I will praise you with songs of joy.

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Psalm 39

I think God has to have a sense of humor or maybe it is just good timing..  This psalm was my reading for this morning.  ” I will curb my tongue…”  Good words for me!

Psalm 39

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.

1
    I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
        and not sin in what I say.
    I will curb my tongue
        when the ungodly are around me.”
2
    But as I stood there in silence–
        not even speaking of good things–
        the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point.
3
    My thoughts grew hot within me
        and began to burn,
        igniting a fire of words:
4
    “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
        Remind me that my days are numbered,
        and that my life is fleeing away.
5
    My life is no longer than the width of my hand.
        An entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
       

Interlude
human existence is but a breath.”

6
    We are merely moving shadows,
        and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
        We heap up wealth for someone else to spend.
7
    And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
        My only hope is in you.
8
    Rescue me from my rebellion,
        for even fools mock me when I rebel.
9
    I am silent before you; I won’t say a word.
        For my punishment is from you.
10
    Please, don’t punish me anymore!
        I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.
11
    When you discipline people for their sins,
        their lives can be crushed like the life of a moth.
       

Interlude
Human existence is as frail as breath.

12
    Hear my prayer, O LORD!
        Listen to my cries for help!
        Don’t ignore my tears.
    For I am your guest–
        a traveler passing through,
        as my ancestors were before me.
13
    Spare me so I can smile again
        before I am gone and exist no more.

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