Consider how often you pray. Do you pray only when you are in church? Do you pray before meals? Do you pray only when you need something? Maybe you pray every morning or every evening. Consider your prayer life.
The Psalmist speaks of prayer life as just that – his life. For some, this may sound like a strange concept. Though the Bible tells us to pray continually (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17), we typically see prayer as another resort or a good habit rather than a lifestyle or life itself. This is a problem for us as long as we see prayer as words to recite or a legalistic act to fulfill.
This verse speaks of God’s love for us, a love that God has promised us. His love for us is unfailing and overwhelming and unchanging. His love for us is not impacted by anything that we do or say. When we look at prayer, we need always to remember this love—His love for us—and what a relationship with God means. As a child approaches a father, so it is with us and God. Stop focusing on the words you say in your prayers. Talk to your Father. Engage. Try to keep talking with Him all day as something comes to mind—about the small things and the big things. Be ever mindful of His presence, His love, and His desire to bless you with His goodness. As you continue to recognize your dependence on God and your desire for Him, you draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (see James 4:8). Perhaps one day, you will be able to say that your prayer to God has become your life.
“Yet all day long God’s promises of love pour over me. Through the night I sing his songs, for my prayer to God has become my life.” – Psalm 42:8 [TPT]
Today’s verses discuss the importance of hearing. Note that in Mark 5:27, we read that the reason the woman sought out and touched the clothing of Jesus is because she first heard. Romans 10:14 reminds us that if we do not hear, how can we believe? The woman heard of Jesus first, and this knowing of Him and this hope she had prompted her to seek Him for healing.
Consider today who has heard this week from you about Jesus. Consider who has observed you this week as you were living life and saw Jesus. Consider who heard about the happenings in your life this week in “real life” or on social media and heard of Jesus—meaning when something happened, you glorified God. Who heard?
I am not writing to shame you on the lack of testimony happening in your life, nor to point out that we all fall short in life. Instead, I hope this encourages you to consider the “having heard” moments in life—the opportunities for you to share the goodness of God. One of the best ways to share His goodness is to embrace His goodness and let it overflow in love and grace in your life. It’s not about a program or a rigid list of things to say. Love. Have they heard?
“Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing.” – Mark 5:27 [CSB]
“How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher?” – Romans 10:14 [CSB]
I do not like large crowds; when I am around a large crowd I am overwhelmed by the noise, the energy, all of the different things happening at once in the different people groupings. It is horrific and takes me hours to desensitize from being drenched in a crowd for a set amount of time. Birthday parties are limited. Concerts are even more difficult because of its an even larger group setting and because most shows include strobe lighting. The name for this condition is sensory overload.
Though I do all that I can to avoid large groups, the Psalmist speaks of the largest crowd within his vantage point. In reading today’s passage, he isn’t necessarily speaking of a specific large group gathering, but rather a response to God and His faithfulness. As a result of God’s deliverance, there will be an overflow of gladness and every part of the Psalmist’s being will shout praise to the Lord. The Psalmist describes praising God wherever he goes. The Psalmist speaks of finding the largest crowd possible to shout for the Lord. The Psalmist also speaks of the inability to hold in his praise.
Think about this passage. Consider what the Psalmist is saying. Everywhere he goes, he will praise God. He will find the largest crowd so that he can praise God before them so the people will all hear of the goodness of God. The Psalmist also speaks of the inability to hold his praise inside. Let this passage marinate longer. Do you praise God everywhere you go? Do you have a desire to give God praise and glory all the time? Are you in a place in life where you cannot hold in your praise?
“Then my fears will dissolve into limitless joy; my whole being will overflow with gladness because of your mighty deliverance. Everything inside of me will shout it out: ‘There’s no one like you, Lord!’ For look at how you protect the weak and helpless from the strong and heartless who oppress them. Then I will praise you wherever I go. And when everyone gathers for worship, I will lift up your praise with a shout in front of the largest crowd I can find! Then I won’t be able to hold it in— everyone will hear my joyous praises all day long! Your righteousness will be the theme of my glory-song of praise! – Psalm 35:9-10, 18, 28 [TPT]
The book of Jonah reminds us that God is in control. Even though it was obvious that the Ninevites were off course, and it was clear that Jonah had some issues against following God’s command to share His message with the Ninevites, God knew just what was needed. He knew that the Ninevites were open to hearing His truth, and He also was prepared to pour out some grace upon His not-so-compliant prophet too.
The word “wayman” means appointed or prepared. In the book of Jonah, we read that God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah after he was tossed overboard. At first glance, it seems as if this big fish was a punishment, but in fact, it was a picture of the awesome grace of God. Without the fish, Jonah would have most likely succumbed to the stormy waters. Instead, he was safe inside the great fish, and able to enjoy some quiet time with God alone.
Later we read in Jonah 4 of more appointments. God appointed a plant to grow to provide shade. God appointed a worm to eat the plant. God appointed wind to provide more heat. Again and again, we read of God’s preparation—of His appointments. Now don’t misread the situation—not everything that happens is not some pivotal part in God’s grand plan. Some situations and circumstances are not meant to be signs or tests. However, God does ordain each one of your days. God does promise that everything will be used for His good purpose. God is in control today, tomorrow, and forever. He reigns! No matter what you are dealing with today, remember Who is above all. Remember your Father and trust in His Word. His Word never fails. Today, thank Him for His goodness, His faithfulness, and His great plan.
“And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” – Jonah 1:17 [ESV]
“Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’” – Jonah 4:6-8 [ESV]
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]
The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.
Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.
Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?
Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]
God wants the very best for us. This is something that some people cannot fathom because they do not truly know God. Often it is because we think we know what is best, that we grumble at things that are placed before us or we complain as we journey on a path that simply doesn’t make sense. But God wants the best and wherever we are and whatever we have is all a part of His plan. Trust in Him.
If you are scrambling right now, attempting to gain something you consider good, think twice about this goal. If it’s difficult to reach, is it because you are supposed to grow as you walk in faith? Or is it difficult to reach, because God has something different (and better) for you? Rest in Him.
The Psalmist understood that God will “withhold no good thing.” God is good and He will pour out His goodness upon us in abundance. If you wonder where the good is at, first look at where God is at in your life, and then look at where He is leading. Consider the way you view things in your life; sometimes we see something as not-so-good because our perspective is skewed.
Life is a journey, not a race. His timing. His plan. His way. He will withhold no good thing.
“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” – Psalm 84:11 [NLT]
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 23, that God’s goodness and unfailing love will pursue him all the days of his life. The word pursue in Hebrew is “radaph.” This word translates to mean “chase,” “pursue,” or “follow.”
When I think of this verse, I consider the way God constantly pursues us. He loves us so much that He continues to chase after us, reaching for us, desiring to have a relationship with us. Pursing is not simply following, but following with the objective to catch. This kind of love is like nothing we can describe. It is amazing. It is intense. It is unfailing. Because of His unfailing love, He keeps seeking us.
God’s goodness also is said to pursue all of the days too. Why? Because God is good. Along with His unfailing love, He pours out His goodness. This is the favor of God. As we read in the previous verse, his cup overflows.
Today, consider the pursuit of God. Consider how God’s love has been chasing you down, wanting nothing more than to grip you up. Consider the favor of God, the goodness that He pours out. You are being pursued.
“Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.” – Psalm 23:6 [NLT]
It is difficult to trust people. I see young children with so much trust of their parents. Like this past weekend, I saw photos of children holding sparklers with their father or mother guiding their hands. The kids trust their parents. They have confidence that their parents want their best and that they are looking out for them. They do not fear the sparklers because of this trust.
Something happens with age. We are let down. We experience loss. We experience failure. We come to realize that no one is perfect. The trust we once had is not like it was when we were young and innocent. We find ourselves doubting even our closest friends and family, sometimes even doubting God.
In Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes about faith in Jesus. This type of faith in Christ Jesus that he describes is absolute trust and confidence. This trust and confidence is in His power, His wisdom, and His goodness. It is the strong faith that will move mountains in life. This is the faith we have when we claim God’s Word, when we recognize His Word as truth. When we do this, it is then that we have absolute trust in our Lord.
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones). – Colossians 1:4 [AMP]