Category Archives: Psalms

Random Musings About Praise and Radiance

Today has been a long, long day following a very busy week. Last week I was gone at camp then this weekend was full with a funeral, grad parties, and what seems like a million other things. On top of that this week is VBS at our church and I’m helping with music and at the last minute helped fill in for the skit. Add to that not having caught up on sleep from camp and not getting much sleep these last few nights, you have a very sleep deprived, crabby, worn out, and stressed girly.

Just a few minutes ago I went to update my twitter status and was about to complain about all my pitiful woes when I was struck with reminder that we need to praise God in both good and bad. So as I looked up a Bible verse as my twitter update instead of my complaining, I was reminded about a verse from Psalms 34 which I have been trying to memorize and meditate on lately which served as a beautiful reminder. “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (v. 1)

Once again I am reminded that God tells us to stay strong when we are past our breaking point, that we are to praise Him when we are too tired to do so, that we are to find our strength in Him alone, and how He works through our inabilities.

Another verse from Psalms 34 that I really love is verse 5, “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” When thinking of that now in context, they are radiant because they are praising the Lord, boasting in Him, seeking Him, crying out to Him, taking refuge in Him.

I have never seen a person that is truly praising God in corporate worship that didn’t look radiant. I personally love to see people worship the Lord with extreme joy and to see it in their faces or just seeing their hands lifted to the heavens in praise. It is amazingly encouraging to me and it draws me to praising God even more. It’s contagious! That’s the way our lives should be all the time, contagious.

When we are blessing, glorifying, seeking, experiencing, loving, praising, boasting, and serving God we will be radiant. It will be contagious. My dad always says that “passion is caught, not taught” and I couldn’t agree more! So go out there! Be contagious!

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Filed under Everyday Life, Faith, Passion, Psalms

A Different Kind of King

 “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel!” was the loud shout from the people as Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey. The had made a path for their king with their cloaks and others were waving palm branches in the air. I’m sure that the thoughts of many minds in the crowd were thinking, “finally we have our Messiah! Freedom from the Romans is here!” Israel had waited so long, God had been silent and nation after nation had taken over the country. They had hoped and prayed for a king, and now, with everything Jesus had done, this must be the king that would bring them out from under oppression.

 Little did he know that in a matter of days this great and mighty king would be hanging lifeless on a bloody Roman cross. That this king would suffer and die for our sins. That He would endure God’s pure wrath that was supposed to be ours. Jesus didn’t come as a political king and redeemer like the Jews thought he would. Jesus came to die and His kingdom was not on earth, it was in heaven.

 Jesus was different than all other kings that ever walked the earth. He didn’t seek His own power, pleasure, and luxury but He left His throne up in heaven to humble himself, become a man, and to die. He knew that His glory and His kingdom was heavenly, one that could never be destroyed. Here are a few of the great verses about the kingdom of God.

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;” (Psalms 45:6)

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,and your dominion endures throughout all generations.” (Psalms 145:13)

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” (Col 1:13)

 I love that last one. We are no longer under the kingdom of darkness but we are now in the glorious kingdom of Jesus! Isn’t that amazing to think about?! Jesus may not of come as a political saviour or an earthly king, but He is the king of Kings and lord of Lords and He will come again and victoriously reign over the entire earth.

~_~_~_~_~

 On a different note, I’m sorry for my lack of posting. I’ve had a super busy week and I got sick on top of it! I was hoping to be posting more for my Easter series but it hasn’t worked out that way. I will try to post more in the upcoming week though. Remember that tomorrow is the monthly poetry and I’m looking forward to that! I need to get my poetry written! God bless you guys and I’ll post again tomorrow!

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Filed under Christianity, Easter Series, Faith, Holidays, Jesus, Psalms, Uncategorized

Lessons From Life: My Everything

 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
   you hold my right hand.
 You guide me with your counsel,
   and afterward you will receive me to glory.
  Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
  My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
   you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
   I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
   that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalms 73: 23-28 )

 These verses have been ones that God has been putting on my heart lately so heavily that they are not ignorable. He keeps asking me the question, “Olivia, am I the strength of your heart? Am I your portion forever? Am I your all?” I wince as I respond to Him, “Lord, I love you, you know I do.” He gently yet sternly asks again, “How much do you love me?” I wince again. “God, I’ve given you my life, what more do you want?” He is persistent. “Are you willing to give me those little parts of your heart that you’ve kept back? Those places in your life that you want to hold on to?” I start to panic… He knows about those things?! “God, what do you mean? I’ve given you my dreams, I’ve given you my heart and life.” He shakes His head. “Not all of your dreams. Not all of your heart and life. There are still those things that you want to be in control of. Give them to me. I wont let you down.” We continue on. Me in my hesitation to surrender these parts of me and Him in His gentle and yet strong pursuit of me and my everything. Until finally I came to my breaking point.

 A few nights ago God got through. I’ve been having some daily joint pain in my hands and fingers that has been concerning me because it’s been going on for about three weeks. The things that seem to make it worse are typing (though only sometimes) and playing piano and violin (again this is only sometimes) which really worried me. The use of my hands and fingers are pretty much my life. I’ve always said that I could never live without my hands. The very idea that the pain in my hands could be an actual reason for concern (and not just my wild imagination) scared me. The thought of not being able to use my hands as easily as I would like made me scared. God gently yet firmly kept telling me to surrender it to Him. I complained, I protested, I objected, but in the end I had no choice but to let go. I had to put my hands into God’s hands.

 Earlier this week He had me weeping over the above passage. In more areas than just my hands, He has been showing me that I need to surrender, that HE needs to be my everything. He needs to be my strength, my beauty, my portion, my all, my desire, my life, my everything. I have been begging God for months to show me that. To let my heart truly know the words of this Psalmist and be able to sing the words of “Enough” by Chris Tomlin or Barlowgirl’s song based on Psalms 73 and know that I mean them with my entire being. Though in my brain I might of realized it would mean me coming to a breaking point first, it really didn’t set in until it was happening.

 In the last two weeks God has just been blasting me with the message of faith, surrender, and His wondrous sovereignty everywhere. From a theological note in my study Bible, to the Jerry Bridges video we watched for Sunday school, it’s been everywhere. God has really been trying to get His point across… that just shows you how thick sculled I am most of the time. I am so glad He finally got through to me. Wrestling with God isn’t enjoyable, and you don’t win, so it’s time to wave the white flag. I will leave my ramblings over what God is showing to me with the words of the song “Let Go” by Barlowgirl. These words mirror my heart so perfectly that it almost scares me.

Yeah I trust in You
I remember times You led me
This time it’s bigger now
And I’m afraid You’ll let me down
But how can I be certain?
Will You prove Yourself again?

‘Cause I’m about to let go
And live what I believe
I can’t do a thing now
But trust that You’ll catch me
When I let go
When I let go

What is this doubt in me
Convincing me to fear the unknown
When all along You’ve shown
Your plans are better than my own
And I know I won’t make it
If I do this all alone

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Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Faith, Jesus, Music, Passion, Psalms

Great is His Faithfulness

 This fall and even the last year has been full of things that I just don’t understand. I have spent much time saying, “God? What’s your plan in this? I can’t see it. Please show me it!” Yet often time God gently whispers to my heart saying, “Just trust me. I know you and I love you. This is for your good and my glory. I have a plan, but it’s not time for you to see it yet. Lean on me until you can.” It can often be hard to just have simple childlike faith in God.

 We have temptations and struggles all around us and Satan in forever whispering lies in our ears. He is constantly saying, “God doesn’t know what He’s doing. You are crazy to trust Him at His word. He didn’t really mean that you have to trust Him with EVERYTHING, I mean, this is just way too big for God.” It’s the same lie he has been saying since the very beginning (Genesis 3).

 The Bible is so clear though, that God is faithful. He never forgets His people and He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. One of the themes of the Bible is God’s faithfulness. From Genesis to Revelation, God is faithful. Especially in the Psalms and the books of prophesy where it looks like God has forgotten His people. These are some of the verses that reflect that in the Psalms: 25:10, 57:10, 86:15, 89:2, 14, 33, 100:5, 111:7, 117:2, 119:90.

I love these words from Lamentations. After the author describes the horrors of the fallen Israel and the pain and strife of himself and the others around him, this is what he says; (Chapter 3)

 “21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,  to the one who seeks him;  26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

 God is still there and He is always faithful, even when we can’t see His purpose or understand His plans… He remains faithful. He is unchanging and always good. He always has a plan that is for our good and his glory. We need to rest in God and in the fact that He knows what He is doing. I pray that we will both do so and surrender our every single problem and need to Him. God bless.

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Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Faith, Psalms

Psalms 73 (My God’s Enough)

 Only a few mere minutes ago I was sitting at my computer (and obviously I still am) and I was listening to itunes. I had it on shuffle and all of a sudden BarlowGirl’s song Psalms 73 (My God’s Enough) came on and I was struck my the words, not for the first time though. So I decided to reread Psalms 73 and was struck again by the beauty of it. Now I want you all to read the whole chapter, but for now I will give you a simpler version of it.

1 Truly God is good to Israel,
         To such as are pure in heart.
 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
         My steps had nearly slipped.
 3 For I was envious of the boastful,
         When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
10 Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
 11 And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
         You cast them down to destruction.
 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
         They are utterly consumed with terrors.
 20 As a dream when one awakes,
         So, Lord, when You awake,
         You shall despise their image. 
          21 Thus my heart was grieved,
         And I was vexed in my mind.
 22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
         I was like a beast before You.
 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
         You hold me by my right hand.
 24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
         And afterward receive me to glory.
         
 25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
         And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
 26 My flesh and my heart fail;
         But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
         
 27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
         You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
         I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
         That I may declare all Your works. (NKJ version)

 I know that is a lot, but so powerful. I have felt like the Psalmist many times. You look at the TV and see all these people who are wicked and sinful, and yet their lives seem so perfect. They have fame, fun, money, everything that people chase after. We see slave owners that are filthy rich. Politicians with power, yet don’t play by the rules to get it. We forget that their end is destruction. If they don’t turn to God their end is hell. We tend to envy the wicked. I do it myself. But when reading Proverbs last spring I was struck by how God promises that the WICKED WILL NOT PROSPER, EVEN THOUGH IT APEARS THAT WAY. These are the lyrics of BarlowGirl’s song,

I’ve had enough of living life for only me
And reaching just for the things that keep destroying me
So sick of envying the lives of so many I see
Somehow believing that they have what I needMy God’s enough for me
This world has nothing I need
In this whole life I’ve seen
My God’s enough, enough for me

 


I can’t explain why I suffer though I live for You
Those who deny You they have it better than I do
Cover my eyes now so that my heart can finally see
That in the end only You mean anything

Who have I in heaven but You
Nothing I desire but You
My heart may fail but not You
You are mine forever

 

I really hope this reminds you all that God is enough for us. That even though the evil (or vil-eay in Pig Latin) appear to be winning, they will come to a bitter defeat. They are no match for God’s wrath. And though those who chose to live for God in this life will not have all the joys of this life, we will have eternal life in the next and be rewarded for what we do here. For our God is a God of justice. He will not let the wicked go unpunished.

Love in Christ, Olivia (Nobody) <><

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Justice, Psalms