Bible Devotions

Can you praise God when things aren’t going your Way?

Read Psalm 56.

What clues did the psalmist leave us that might help us learn to praise God in the midst of a trial?

Recognize God is still in control.Twenty-three times the psalmist points to God or references Him, in only thirteen verses.  This proves he knew God was in control.  He continued to call out to God through this psalm.

Recognize you are powerless. Humility is critical to getting help.  If you are not humble, you will never ask for help.  Look at verses one and two.  The Psalmist recognizes his weakness.  He knew he was unable to save him self and his enemies were too strong for him.  We should be so wise to see our own limitations.

 Trust God to work it out. Several times the psalmist uses affirming statements of trusting God.  Verses like “I will trust in You”, “In God I have put my trust”, and “This I know because God is for me” demonstrate he knew God’s Word and helped solidify his own faith and trust in God.

Remember the end of the rebellious. “Shall they escape by iniquity?”  God’s Word is clear the rebellious will not see the Kingdom of God.  There’s a place reserved for the wicked, unless they turn from their evil ways.  The psalmist reminds himself though they may say and do many evil things their reward is eternal separation from God.  They will not escape.

 Remember God’s delivered our soul from death. If the wicked are judged how much more sweet is the deliverance of the righteous?  Remembering the Lord has saved you, kept you from falling, and enabled you to live is cause for praise, even in the middle of a trial.

Next time you’re in facing a trial, remember how the psalmist dealt with it.  Know God is in control, you are powerless, trust Him to work it out and remember both the end of your enemy and your eternal salvation.  Then don’t forget to praise God in the middle of it.

Lord, thank you for your word of encouragement.  Help us to turn to you.  Teach us to trust you even in the middle of chaos.  Empower us with your Spirit.  Remind of us our end that we may be confident in your salvation.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.


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Seven Wonders

 

Read Psalm 119.

 

As I read Psalm 119 over and over, I started to see many things appear.  Let’s take a look the seven wonderful themes revealed in this section of scripture.  Read the psalm with me. 

 Reflecting on God

The psalmist writes 55 positive affirmations of God, His Word and His Character throughout this psalm.   This is a good example for us to follow too.  We need reminding of how big God really is to keep our problems in the proper perspective.  A several times the psalmist seems overly occupied with his thoughts about his difficulties and the wicked men around him.  During these times, he pens wonderful things as he realizes God is in control.  For example:

“The proud have dug pits for me…All your commandments are faithful.”

“Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.  Righteous are You O Lord, and upright are Your judgments.”

“I see the treacherous and am disgusted because they don’t keep your word.  The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

 

Did you notice each time his mind focused on man, he pulled himself out of it by choosing to focus on God instead.  How beautiful!

 Following God’s Commands

The writer stresses the importance of following God’s commands by using words such as keep, kept, cling and observe 29 times in this psalm.  For example:

“To keep Your percepts diligently.”

“I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

“But now I keep Your word.”

“Because I keep Your percepts.”

“That I will keep Your righteous judgments.”

 

Remember at the time this psalm was written they had The Ten Commandments and a plethora of man-made laws added to it.  God said “Keep the Sabbath” and man added over 600 explanatory laws to “help” people keep the Sabbath, but all it did was make it harder to keep.  That seems like a lot of pressure, if you ask me.  Man can make up many rules and regulations, but one thing is for sure “rules with out relationship results in rebellion”, as our pastor always says.

 

Directing One’s Self

Twenty-eight times the psalmist uses “I will” statements as if to tell himself he is planning to stay on this path.  The future tense of these statements seems to reinforce his idea or his plan to follow God.  Below are some examples:

“I will never forget Your precepts.”

“But I will meditate on Your precepts.”

“But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”

“I will delight myself in Your commandments.”

“I will walk at liberty.”

“I will speak of Your testimonies.”

 

Having a goal or commitment is definitely a good thing.  These “I will” statements are mini-proclamations of his desire to follow God.  We need to remember we can’t follow Him by our own strength or will power.  We need His Holy Spirit in us to guide us in all truth and help us live for Him.

 

Recounting Your Good Works

With almost the same quantity, the writer uses the past tense “I have” statements as he examines the good he has already done.  Some examples are:

“I have done justice and righteousness.”

“Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.”

“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes.”

 

While there is nothing wrong about reminiscing over good you have done, we do need to be careful our thoughts do not turn into a prideful account of “Look how good I am”. We can not be righteous in our own power.  Our righteousness is like “filthy rags” in God’s sight.

 

Meditating on God’s Word

A good anecdote to the problem of pride is to stay in God’s Word.  This could be one reason the psalmist mentions he will meditate, consider, incline or contemplate God’s Word 14 times.   Knowing God’s Word is truth and actively taking it in to ponder it, examine it, and consider the impacts of it are two different things.  Any time something is repeated means it is important.  We meditate on God’s Word to keep His truth firmly planted in our mind.  Listen to what the psalmist says:

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.”

“So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.”

“It is my meditation all the day.”

 

Thinking about God’s Word is how we take it in and let it sink deep within our hearts.  Considering the impact of God’s Word in our life is how we implement what we’re learned.

 

Delighting in God’s Commandments

Fifteen times the psalmist references delight, rejoice or long for God’s Word.  Reading God’s Word has this affect.  Hear the joy the psalmist experienced:

“But I delight in Your law.”

“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

“Behold I long for Your precepts.”

“For Your law is my delight.”

“I rejoice at Your Word, as one who finds great treasure.”

 

God’s Word penetrates our heart and touches us at our core.  It instructs, corrects, trains, and comforts us in our troubles.  There is nothing like the Word of God! 

 

Accepting Our Weakness

The last verse of this psalm sums it all up for me.  “Let my soul live and I shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commands.”

 

The psalmist acknowledges God is in control and it’s His Word that helps him.  Notice he also acknowledges his own weakness.  This is critical for us too.  We are all like lost sheep.  No matter how many times we say “I will” do what God wants our will is not strong enough to make us carry it out.  The psalmist recognizes this and puts it in God’s hands when he says “seek your servant”.  For it truly is God in us working to act and will us on God’s path.

 

Let’s recap what we’ve studied so far.  If our focus is on circumstances/troubles we are overwhelmed.  The solution is to remind ourselves of God and His all powerful ways.  If we try to keep God’s commands through will power alone we fail.  Even if we recount our good works, they are nothing but rags unless done by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  The solution lies within God’s Word.  With the help of the Holy Spirit unlocking this treasure, we can accomplish all God prepared for us to do.  The result: God is honored and His Word is cherished more than sliver and gold.

 

How about you?  Did you enjoy reading Psalm 119 with me?  I hope so. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for your rich word leading us into everlasting life.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to your truth.  Helps us live for you this day.  In your precious name we pray, Amen.  

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Tough Times Praise God

 

Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it?  When tough times come and they always do, we have a choice.  We can choose to dwell in it and become angry or bitter.  Or we can choose to look to God instead by recalling all He has done, remembering His promises and keeping hope alive.

 

Now both options require work on our part.  Whichever we choose, our mind will be working.  Words and actions will follow for good or bad.  The choice is ours.

 

It’s terribly easy to allow our self to think “it’s all about me”.  We may not ever think those exact words, but when our thoughts are all about how something affects us, we are on the path leading away from God and peace. 

 

It’s much more difficult to discipline our self to remember “it’s all about God”.  Turning our thoughts away from the problem at hand, to consider all God has promised to us takes time.  We have to know His promises before we can remember them.  Reading God’s Word is where we find out about His promises.  Each one is like a nugget of gold we mine for in His Word.  Try reading Psalms 90 – 106.  There are plenty of examples on how to focus on God’s greatness during the trials of life. 

Two Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  Keeping our eyes on the eternal things helps us endure the temporary heartache and troubles of this life.

Remember we are children of God, adopted into His family when we accepted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as payment for our sins.  God will not abandon us.  He will be with us.  He is in us.  So don’t let your current troubles weight you down.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lord when we are consumed with our troubles remind us to turn to you.  In you is rest and peace when we trust in you.  Help us endure what we must, trusting you each moment.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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