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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 84:11’

(A personal psalm)

 

 

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

The Lord gives grace and glory;

He does not withhold the good

From those who live with integrity.

–Psalm 84:11-12 HCSB

 

I praise you, O God, that you are the Sun of my life (Psalm 84:11a), sustaining me in body, mind, and spirit, lighting my way with infallible dependability.

Just as the magnetic force of the sun keeps the planets in orbit around it, you keep me within the orbit of your love and care.

Like the sun you are my ever-present, never-changing source of power, enabling me to grow into your radiant likeness, day by day.

Even when menacing clouds of despair or discouragement roll in, your splendorous Light breaks through with encouragement, hope, and strength.

 

 

I praise you, O Lord, for being a shield around me (v. 11a)—a living shield that is always present, always on guard, and always ready to act.

Through the fiercest storms of life, you are a refuge, a stronghold in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9).

You have protected me from what I thought I wanted, life choices that would have led me down treacherous paths.

And with the truth of your Word, you’ve deflected the poisoned arrows of hurtful thoughts and harmful lies.

 

 

I praise you, O Father, for the favor and honor you bestow upon me (84:11b).

Evidence abounds every day of your loving benevolence, as you not only meet my needs but graciously supply surprise blessings far beyond necessity.

Throughout my life I’ve seen evidence of your gracious provision: financial obligations met when funds ran low, impossibly long to-do lists shortened by cancellations and changes of plans, difficult circumstances resolved.

Even though I may walk through dark valleys of illness, trial, or tragedy, I know you will pour grace into my soul, enabling me to endure.

 

 

I praise you, O God, that you do not withhold even one good thing from those who live with integrity (v. 11c).

It’s so easy to become focused on material things, even though we know that a full closet, a garage of gadgets, and a large bank account offer fleeting satisfaction at best.

Instead, your priority, Father, is providing the good things of eternal value.  You never withhold your quieting peace or soul-drenching joy, the delight of your calming presence, your perpetual strength to persevere, or the exhilarating hope of eternal life.

These good things and more are always available to those who trust in you.

 

 

Heavenly Father, when trouble invades my life remind me that:

  • My vision of what’s good is severely limited (Romans 11:33-36).
  • Your ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • You accomplish monumental purpose through the meanest of circumstance (Romans 8:28).
  • The perseverance to navigate a hard road will one day be lavishly rewarded (James 1:12).

 

 

I praise you, Almighty God, for each good thing you bring my way, each blessing mentioned here and countless more unmentioned.

Now may complete trust and enthusiastic obedience be my gifts to you.

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.youtube.com; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.youtube.com; http://www.dailyverses.net; http://www.pinterest.co.uk; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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My first teaching job was in a small community southwest of Lexington, Kentucky. Although the school included first through sixth grades, there were only five teachers. Second grade was divided, some students included in first, the rest with third. I was assigned the first/second split.

The first morning of school went by quickly as we read stories, played a few learning games, and completed a class chart of favorite summer activities. Soon it was time to march to the cafeteria for lunch.

The children lined up to receive their plates of food, and then were instructed to pick up napkins, utensils, cartons of milk, and straws – all without benefit of trays. Little hands struggled to hold so many items–much less carry them all without accident.

 

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So began my habit of standing at the end of the counter, wrapping utensils and a straw in a napkin, then perching a milk carton on an empty corner of the plate as the students passed by.

One second grader, Ricky, was much too manly to use a straw. Each day he would proclaim, “I don’t need no straw.”

Each day I would patiently correct him: “I don’t need a straw.” Ricky would repeat it again after me.  It almost became a joke between us, as the exchange occurred day after day, month after month.

One noontime in March, while focused on wrapping the next set of flatware, I heard Ricky’s voice proudly proclaim, “I DON’T NEED A STRAW!”

My eyes popped, Ricky’s twinkled, and his broad smile indicated his pleasure in remembering–all by himself–how to correctly form his request.

A quick hug, a few pats on the back, and an “I-am-so-PROUD-of-you!” let him know how I felt.

It never occurred to me to say, “Well, it’s about time, Bud! You DO realize we’ve repeated this little ceremony over one hundred times, don’t you?”

No. This was a moment to celebrate! Our perseverance had paid off. And perhaps this one little grammatical victory would prompt Ricky to conquer the next. I was thrilled.

Do you suppose that’s how God feels when our “practice makes perfect?”

When:

 

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  • Our quiet time with him finally becomes a near-daily habit?
  • We remember to express gratitude and praise to him throughout the day?
  • We’re able to think before we speak more consistently?
  • We forgo some purchase for pleasure in order to supply someone else with necessities?
  • We put aside our agenda to do a favor for someone else?

Yes, I believe God is thrilled with our steps of progress, just as I was with Ricky’s effort. If God withheld his pleasure until we reached perfection, we’d never experience even one good thing (Psalm 84:11). He’d always be in discipline-mode.

But Isaiah tells us: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion” (30:18).

David reminds us that out of his grace and compassion he guides our steps and takes delight when we follow his way (Psalm 37:23).

Another psalmist proclaimed that the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (147:11).   No mention of delight reserved only for those who are perfect.

Ah, but what about Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:48:   “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect?”

Yes, that is the standard, but God does not disapprove of us because we haven’t achieved that goal.   He knows perfection this side of heaven is impossible. What he does approve of is effort—to press on like Paul to “receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:12-14).

When we stumble, we keep going. When we fall, we get up and try again.

But listen closely.  You’ll hear God celebrating our progress (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

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We praise you, Heavenly Father, for being a gracious, compassionate God,

who is slow to become angry and always abounding in loving-kindness.

Even as we strive to be more like you,

we can rest in the knowledge that you will not condemn us

when we stumble and fall.

Thank you for your readiness to forgive and your everlasting love.  

Thank you for continually drawing us closer to you and your perfection. 

 

(Psalm 103:1-2, Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:9; Jeremiah 31:3).

 

Photo credits:  www.pinterest.com; http://www.grist.org; http://www.neabscobaptist.org; http://www.untilsheflies.com.)

Reblogged from June 15, 2015.

 

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Tuesday afternoon, our older son, Eric, held up his iPhone so I could see the screen. On display was an unimpressive image of a sphere, various shades of beige to brown against a black background. Not much of an attention-grabber.

“What am I looking at?” I inquired.

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“Get ready to be amazed,” he teased. “It’s Pluto.  The New Horizons spacecraft just arrived there after a 9 ½-year flight, and sent this photo back to NASA.”

First, I was impressed by how far the spacecraft had traveled: over three billion miles. Even at thousands of miles per hour, it took New Horizons almost a decade to reach Pluto.  Incredible.

Then I noticed how well-lit the dwarf planet appeared, considering its distance from the sun (3.6 billion miles).  Also astounding.

And I marveled how a tiny sphere of rock that far-distant, is still controlled by the sun’s strong gravitational pull, keeping it in orbit within the solar system. In fact, there are even more dwarf planets beyond Pluto that are maintained in a stable, elliptical orbit around the sun.

It’s no wonder David proclaimed:

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“The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

–Psalm 19:1

We’d be smart to consider the heavens with David.  Our attention is so often focused on to-do lists, calendars, and bank accounts, we forget we’re just specks in the cosmos. Even Planet Earth is less than a tiny pinhead of matter, when compared to the universe.

Yet we view the sun as playing a supporting role in our lives, giving us light and keeping us warm. In fact, the sun is the star (pun intended!) of the Solar System Show. It occupies center stage, and accounts for 99.8% of the mass in our planetary system.

In actuality, the sun is the most important influence to our existence. It is perfect in size, perfectly distanced from earth, burning at the perfect temperature and brightness in order to sustain life here on our little planet.

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Yet another sun is even more perfect.   “The Lord is a sun” (Psalm 84:11).

Just as the physical sun is a glorious object in creation, so our God is glorious in light and splendor (Psalm 104:1-2).

The sun has existed since time began, and will continue to exist until time (as we know it) ceases. God, too, spans all of time (Isaiah 40:28).

The sun is a source of incomprehensible power. To produce the same amount of energy as the sun, 100 billion tons of dynamite would have to be detonated every second! Yet our God is more powerful yet. He is the Creator of our mighty sun, the sovereign Lord of the universe (Jeremiah 32:17).

The sun provides light; the Lord provides the light of his presence and understanding (Psalm 44:3; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

The sun provides warmth; our God provides the warmth of comfort and consolation (2 Corinthians 1:3).

Without the warmth and light of the sun we would soon die. Without the Light of Life (Jesus) in our lives, we would forfeit eternal life (1 John 1:5-7).

The sun’s glowing beams shed beauty and joy; our God sheds beauty and joy into our hearts (Isaiah 61:3).

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Thank you, Father of the heavenly lights, for illuminating our lives from without and within.  We praise you for your dazzling splendor!  May we walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness, and reflect his radiance to those around us.

 James 1:17; Malachi 4:2, 1 Corinthians 3:18

(Photo credits:  www.earthsky.org; http://www.youtube.com; http://www.suddenlinkfyi.com; http://www.allposters.com.)

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