The Psalmist states in today’s verse that trusting in a person is worthless or useless; the Psalmist declares a person cannot rescue another. This thinking is contrary to what the world exclaims. I remember growing up with the hope of being rescued. Remember the stories of a knight on a white horse? Today, our entertainment includes superheroes, and even underdog heroes. Lots of stories about people saving the day, rescuing people, getting the win—and these are the stories we cling to and celebrate. These stories do not simply entertain; the stories invade our thinking. We begin to think a person could help our situation and a person could even rescue us.
Yes, it is true. A person could help you. People help people daily. A person could rescue you. People rescue people every day. But the hope of man—the hope of man—it is in God alone. Here’s where we get caught up, where we all get caught up. When we are around a certain person, we feel happy and we begin to think that the person is the reason for our joy. When we are bailed out by someone from a financial hardship, we begin to think the person will help the next time. When our neighbor rescues us every time we have car trouble, we start to expect it. But people let people down. We are not strong enough to carry another. We can barely carry ourselves. Even though we have moments where we can be used to bless, to help, to rescue—we cannot carry another completely. Most importantly, we cannot offer a person hope. We cannot offer a person salvation.
We can point to hope. We can point to salvation. We can point to Jesus. We can lend a hand. We can speak life. We can be there to listen. We can be the hands and feet of Christ. Remember though, only God saves. Jesus is our only hope. Don’t put everything on another person’s shoulders. You have a Savior who already carried your burden and paid the price a million times over. An empty hope is no hope at all. Thank God for Christ Jesus!
“Give us a father’s help when we face our enemies. For to trust in any man is an empty hope.” – Psalm 60:11 [TPT]
These past few months I have been very intentional with my water drinking. Most people do not drink enough water, and even though I love water, it was clear I wasn’t drinking the recommended amount. Typically, we drink other liquids higher in a caloric intake, or we confuse thirst for hunger, and we end up eating and drinking a lot of calories to fill the void. For a healthier lifestyle, I recognized the need to drink deeply. As I have been tracking my intake and noticed a great increase from my daily due diligence, I have also noticed I’m even more thirsty for water. I am able to recognize that my body wants water, not a candy bar. I am seeing positive results from being intentional with my water drinking.
Today’s verse is one of those verses you can close your eyes and envision, especially if you live in Pennsylvania. I have seen deer crossing over to seek water. As it is essential to life, the deer make the journey to the streams that flow, because this is where the deer will have the necessary water to drink deep and be satisfied. Maybe you miss the awesomeness of this verse because you do not need to journey out for your water. When you work harder for something, you appreciate it more. I can imagine the deer are so happy when they get to partake of the water they sought.
What does this mean for us? Does your soul long for God? This is a tricky question. The truth is we are all longing for our Father God. We spend our lives seeking Him out. The problem is we can get sidetracked and replace God to worship something other than God. The truth is your soul is always longing for God—you may not realize it. As you are more intentional with seeking Him, you will find your thirst for Him increases. You will notice you true desire for Him. You will recognize when you are struggling because you lack time with Him. You will want nothing more than to drink deeply with God. Allow His power and His presence to move within you. You will be overwhelmed.
“I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from your presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of you!” – Psalm 42:1 [TPT]
I’ve been struggling with a fever for days. Today I found myself on the floor at the foot of my Christmas tree, which happens to be a cross. As I looked up at the well-light, decorated cross tree, I considered the goodness of God.
Our God, holy and almighty, stooped down to us. Not only did He stoop down, sending His one and only Son to live life in this broken world and die on the cross, but He continues to stoop down again and again, meeting us where we are in this broken world.
This is grace. Reaching down and lifting up to where you are. No one demonstrates grace like our Father. We cannot earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. Yet He gives it freely to all who believe. When we believe, we are called children of God—and co-heirs with Christ. We go from sinner to saint, from dead to alive.
Every day, we need this reminder of His grace. You may feel down today, but you will not be down forever. You may feel pain today, but you will not feel pain forever. Breathe in some grace today, and then pour it out as well. We all need grace.
“He stooped down to lift me out of danger from the desolate pit I was in, out of the muddy mess I had fallen into. Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.” – Psalm 40:2 [TPT]
I remember when I was younger, and I would make shadow puppets in the light of the projector in elementary school. As we know, the “puppets” were not real—it was only my hand forming particular appearances in the light. I also recall trying to jump on my own shadow or change my shadow appearance. Yet these shadows are all temporary because they are dependent on light and a particular blockage of this light. Take away the cause the for shade, or the actual light, and it is clear there is nothing there.
Today’s verse speaks about us living lives in shadows, actually as a shadow. This is a difficult concept for us. We certainly can say we accept that life is temporary, and we are but a breath; however, we often live otherwise. We cling. “We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things.” We start building a kingdom here. Yet if we refocus, we are reminded that we are just living in the shadows. Whatever we are building up will not stand. Our better investment is to invest in the Kingdom.
Today, as you consider yourself living in the shadows, take time to focus on the Light. Be reminded that in His Light, with His Light, we can see the Good News and the Truth of God. He will reveal all things. Seek Him out in His Word and in prayer. He will reveal to you hidden things. Instead of clinging to things, cling to Him. May all you do and all you say bring glory to Him.
“We live our lives like those living in shadows. All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away. We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things, only to leave them all behind for who knows who.” – Psalm 39:6 [TPT]
I love to cook; however, I still have the occasional mishaps like when items boil over. When something boils over on the stove, it makes such a mess. It is horrible to clean up, and often there is still some remnant of evidence left behind of the disaster even after trying to clean up.
Today’s passage speaks of this life motto to live by, and it’s great. Guard your ways. Speak only what is right. Muzzle your mouth. Remain silent. This is all important. The Bible tells us that our words have power—life and death in fact. So, we need to be mindful of our words. And yet, we often try to hold our tongue and our thoughts fester, and we begin the spew things out of our mouth. We boil over. It is as if we become dragons and we then breathe fire over everything. Such destruction.
This boiling over lifestyle is not fruitful nor glorifying. The Psalmist here is asking for God to remind him of life’s limits, of the short time span we have here in this life. In focusing on the brevity of life, we are reminded that life here is temporary and all that we are struggling with is for a brief moment. As well, our focus is then an eternal focus. We are reminded to live this life motto out, and to seek God to help us each day so that we do not boil over. We ask Him to help us fix our thoughts. We ask Him to help us with our patience. Time is brief, and what we want to boil over is love—overflowing, overwhelming love.
“Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by: I will guard my ways for all my days. I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak. Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy, I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around me. I will remain silent and will not grumble or speak out of my disappointment. But the longer I’m silent the more my pain grows worse! My heart burned with a fire within me, and my thoughts eventually boiled over until they finally came rolling out of my mouth. ‘Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is. Help me to know how limited is my life and that I’m only here but for a moment more.’” – Psalm 39:1-4 [TPT]
What do you want? That is a pretty big question. Whenever I pull up to a drive thru window for dinner, I ask the kids, “What do you want?” Every year in November, this is again what I ask my kids as I prepare my Christmas shopping list. What do you want?
Today’s verse says that if we make God our utmost delight, our greatest pleasure, He will give us what we desire most. He will give us what we want. We tend to focus on the second part – that He will provide for you what you desire most. We always make it about what we want. But we miss the first part. We miss how we first delight in Him.
This is a game changer. See when you fix your eyes on Him, when you focus on Him and do life with Him, then what you desire most changes. If He is your utmost delight, He is your greatest desire. When He is your greatest pleasure, everything else you want flows from Him. The focus is never on what you are provided, but the Provider. The gift is never the resulting blessing; the true gift is God being your utmost delight and pleasure of your life. He is the blessing.
“Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.” – Psalm 37:4 [TPT]
Today’s fortune cookie said this: “There is no glory unless you put yourself on the line.” Glory is a big thing. We read in the Bible that we are made for God’s glory. We read that no one can steal God’s glory. In fact, the glory is God’s alone.
This fortune cookies basically says that one must be on the line for glory. If there is no sacrifice, no challenge, if things are simple and ordinary, there is no achievement—there is no magnificence. If you are satisfied with mediocre, you may be missing the mark.
Sometimes in life, we are at an all-time low and God gets greater glory from our faithful obedience as He leads us from all-time low to our greater destiny. Sometimes we must sacrifice, humble ourselves, and risk what may appear as an easy win, so that we can get the more difficult victory. In faith, we are often led to put it “on the line,” to even say “no” to the good, so that we can say “yes” to the great. Remember, it all comes down to God’s glory. So today, ask the Spirit if you are living for His glory.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11 [NIV]
God delights in every step. Every step. The focus for many is on the success of step(s) taken. We think every step of obedience should result in something big. In this age of social media, we see the blessings of God that others receive, and human nature is to compare lives.
As well, when we make a step and we do not see a visible result, it can cause frustration and doubt. When we take a step and it appears as if something bad happens thereafter, we experience discouragement. Today’s verse does not say that God delights in the successful steps we take to follow, but that He delights in every step we take to follow Him. Every step; not the result of the step(s).
Be careful not to be caught up on the result of your steps. Do not let the results of past steps keep you from taking the next step. Remember, God delights in the steps. He is cheering you on as you live out your purpose. Keep pressing forward. Keep pursuing Him. Keep taking the steps to follow Him.
“The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.” – Psalm 37:23 [TPT]
Moses had the great task of bringing God’s people out of Egypt. He had to deal with the hard-hearted Pharaoh and the stiff-necked Israelites. The first meeting with Pharaoh caused the Israelites more burden and they were not happy with Moses—they actually wanted God to judge him for making them a stench. Moses responds by turning to God at this point and he asks why—“Why did you ever send me?”
How many times in life have you asked God why? How many moments in your life did things not make sense? When was the last time you thought God was doing a certain something, but the situation was very different? What about when you believe God wants you to respond to a particular calling or command, yet after you pour your energy into obediently following in faith, you find yourself making someone a stench—or even becoming the stench yourself?
Life is not easy, and we do not always understand what God is doing. We cannot see the big picture. We cannot think or imagine like God. We are commanded to act in faithful obedience. We are often quick to ask God why, perhaps because we are upset with the results. Yet God is not finished yet with us. There is a bigger picture. We miss out when we focus on the quick results we can see with our human eyes. We miss out when we forget that the true fruit of obedience, the true blessing, is having a relationship with God. Walking side-by-side with the Lord was our purpose from the very beginning. Though sinners, through the blood of Christ, we can again walk side-by-side with the Lord. Today, rejoice in His presence and enjoy this great blessing. Remember it is never in the why… the answer is always the Who.
“Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?” – Exodus 5:22 [ESV]