BELIEVE AND WAIT

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:13,14

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13,14)

Jesus clearly laid it out — “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). By now most of us know how difficult it is to live in this fallen world. We face trouble, pain, disappointments, and difficulties year after year. It is easy for us to focus on the negatives and when we do we get discouraged and overwhelmed.

David faced many troubles throughout his life. But he had confidence in the Lord — “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Instead of focusing on our troubles, we need to look for the Lord’s blessings. We must believe that He will show us His goodness even when we are facing difficulties. We must remember that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ — “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The Lord will show us His goodness even in the midst of our troubles.

We must believe and wait for the Lord — “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Waiting for the Lord can be difficult. But we can count on Him to show us His goodness when we do. We must be strong and take heart in the midst of our troubles. Jesus has promised to give us His peace in the midst of the troubles we will face in this world. What more could we ask for?

Lord Jesus Christ, You have told me that I will face trouble in this world. But that I should take heart for You have overcome the world. When I face troubles, difficulties, disappointments, and hardships, enable me to believe and wait. I am confident that You will show me Your goodness in the land of the living. Give me the grace to wait on You, to be strong, and to take heart. Grant me Your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Standard

SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:7-12

“My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.” (Psalm 27:8,9)

What stands out to me in this passage is the reference to the desire of David’s heart — “My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!'” David was known as a man after God’s own heart. Here the emphasis is on David’s heart. From the very essence of his being, David had an intense desire to seek the face of God. This is consistent with his “one thing” of verse 4 — “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in the shelter of His tabernacle.”

To seek the face of God is first and foremost to seek His presence, to know that He is with us. It also means to seek His favor and acceptance. This is why David went on to pray — “Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger.” David knew that he did not deserve God’s favor and acceptance because he was a sinner. However, God has granted us His favor and has accepted us through the work of His Son Jesus Christ.

To seek the face of God also means to seek His will — “Teach me Your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors” (v. 11). The straight path is the path of righteousness and holiness. It is the path of the will of God.

Does your heart say to you — “Seek His face?” I long to be like David. I want my heart to desire God above all else to seek the face of my Lord. He bids us to come to Him. He will not turn us away, for He loves us and desires for us to come to Him in worship and praise. He has been our helper and He will continue to do so.

Lord Jesus, I desire to seek Your face. I long to see Your beauty and glory. I know that You are with me always. However, there are times I feel far from You. Grant me grace to seek Your face with all of my heart. You are my helper and my strength.

Standard

DAVID’S ONE THING

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:4-6

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in the shelter of His tabernacle.” (Psalm 27:4)

Notice David’s singleness of purpose — “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek.” Above all else David’s greatest desire was to be in the presence of his Lord. Being in God’s presence relieves us of all fears (vs. 1-3). David found great comfort and peace when He was in the presence of His God. The house of the Lord refers to the place where God is present. In the Old Testament there was first the tabernacle and later the temple. These were symbolic places of God’s royal residence. We now have Christ “who tabernacled among us” (John 1:14). We are always in the presence of the Lord Jesus.

David wanted to be in the Lord’s presence where he could gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. We can only imagine how beautiful our Savior is. Like David, I long to see the beauty of Christ. One day we will see it face to face. Now we can only get glimpses of His beauty by faith. I am reminded of the words of the hymn Fairest Lord Jesus — “Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations! Son of God and Son of Man! Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forever more be Thine.”

David also knew the safety he could experience in God’s presence — “For in the day of trouble, He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle” (v. 5). We cannot be in a safer place than to be in the presence of our Lord. During our times of trouble, He will keep us safe. He will hide us in the shelter of His glorious presence.

Lord Jesus Christ, I long for the day when I can see Your beauty and glory face to face. I know that You are with me always. Enable me to learn to practice Your presence in my life. You hide me in the shelter of Your tabernacle and lift me upon a rock in my days of trouble. Let me find rest in You this day.

Standard

WHOM SHALL I FEAR?

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-3

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

This is one of my favorite Psalms. I often quote it to myself and I use it regularly at funeral services. It gives me such peace and hope. The Lord is my light. Light reflects all that is positive. The Lord is the light I need to walk by. He shines in the darkness. Often darkness leads to fear. It has to do with the unknown. Because the Lord is my light I have nothing to fear. He will lead me through the unknown. He will give me direction and guidance.

The Lord is my salvation. There is no salvation apart from Him. He saves me from sin and evil. He rescues me from the domain of darkness. He makes eternal life possible for me through His Son.

Because the Lord is my light and my salvation, I have nothing to fear. He gives me confidence to live my life in the midst of this fallen world. He is always with me and He will never forsake me.

The Lord is the stronghold of my life. He protects and defends me agains all odds — “When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (vs. 2,3). The opposition may be great — evil men, enemies, foes, an army and even war! But we will be protected because the Lord is our stronghold. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b).

Powerful Lord, You are my light and my salvation. You give me direction and guidance. You saved me by Your grace. You are the stronghold of my life. I have nothing to fear. When I face opposition and times of trouble, let me remember that You are with me and that I have Your protection to defend me.

Standard

A PRAYER FOR DELIVERANCE

Scripture Reading: Psalm 26:8-12

“Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.” (Psalm26:9-11)

David desired to honor God by seeking to lead a blameless life. However, he knew that he failed to do this at times. He needed God’s grace and mercy — “Redeem me and be merciful to me.” David trusted in the Lord. He sought His presence — “I love the house where You live, O Lord, the place where Your glory dwells” (v. 8). David desired to worship God and to please Him.

David was concerned about the state of his soul — “Do not take my soul alone with sinners.” Earlier in the Psalm David prayed — “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (v. 2). He wanted to make sure that his soul was right with God.

What is the state of your soul? Are you fully trusting Christ for your salvation? We know that our redemption is made possible by the precious blood of Jesus Christ — “For you know that it is not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (I Peter 1:18,19).

While David sought to live a blameless life, he knew that he was a sinner. He prayed for God’s deliverance. He trusted God to redeem him and to be merciful to him. Let’s be sure that we are doing these things as well.

Lord Jesus, thank You for redeeming me by Your precious blood. Thank You for being merciful to me. Give me the power and grace to live a blameless life before You.

Standard

A PRAYER FOR EXAMINATION

Scripture Reading: Psalm 26:1-8

“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26:2,3)

David asked the Lord to test him by examining his heart and mind. David clearly understood that he was a sinner. He wanted to honor the Lord in the way he lived. He was committed to walk continually in God’s truth. He did not always do this, but deep down he had the desire to honor God by his thoughts and actions.

Most of us have the desire to please and honor God. But we also know that we are sinners. We have failed God time after time. But even so, God’s love is ever before us. He doesn’t stop loving us nor does He reject us when we fail Him.

We all have blind spots. We fail to see our flaws and sinful patterns. Thus, like David, we must ask God to test us, to try us, and to examine our hearts and minds. We are prone to sin. We make excuses for our deceitful thoughts and actions.

We need God to examine our hearts. Remember the words of Jesus about the heart — For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). We need to face up to the fact evil still remains in our hearts, even though we are believers. Thus, we must constantly sake God to examine our hearts.

God will reveal the hidden things of our hearts and minds to us. When we does we must repent of our sins and flee to Jesus for forgiveness. Then we must be committed to walk continually in God’s truth.

Lord Jesus, test me and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for Your love is ever before me, and I will walk continually in Your truth.

Standard

A PRAYER FOR THE LONELY

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:16-22

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sin.” (Psalm 25:16-18)

We all will experience losses during our days on this earth. We will lose people we love and will experience loneliness at times because of our losses. I recently visited one of my very dear friends who lost his wife suddenly. We had a precious time together talking, remembering, crying and laughing. He is experiencing loneliness and grief and I was able to share my experiences of facing these painful emotions as well. My time with him was such a blessing. It is so important to reach out to those we love who are going through hard times.

David felt isolated and alone. He called out to the Lord — “The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.” David felt overwhelmed by the troubles of his heart. He was filled with anguish and he was exceedingly lonely. It seemed that his troubles had multiplied greatly. He cried out to the Lord for relief.

When we go through times of loneliness and grief, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed. It is hard to get our minds off our pain. We focus on the negatives. It is almost as if we are looking for trouble. These are the times we need to call out to the Lord for help — “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.” God hears our cries and He will come to our aid. He will gather us up into His arms and comfort us with His presence. For you see, in reality we are never alone, for He is always with us.

Gracious God, I pray for those who are experiencing loneliness and pain. I pray for those who are facing times of trouble and anguish. Hear the prayers of the lonely. Come to them and bring comfort to their souls. Bring peace and joy to them as they find their refuge in You.

Standard

A PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:7-14

“Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love remember me, for You are good, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.” (Psalm 25:7,8)

God wants us to be honest about our sinful ways. Of course, He knows all about us. He knows our thoughts, actions and even our motivations. While He knows these things, He still wants us to face up to them and confess them — “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:8,9).

David, the man after God’s own heart, knew that he was a sinner. He asked God not to remember his sins and to forgive him of his iniquities — “For the sake of Your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great” (v. 11). David knew that God is gracious and forgiving. He trusted God to grant forgiveness. He also trusted Him to instruct him in His ways.

We know that the basis of our forgiveness is the saving work of our Savior Jesus Christ. He makes it possible for our sins to be forgiven. Because of what He has done for us, God will not remember our sins — “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). This is the gracious nature of our Lord!

Lord Jesus Christ, I come before You to confess my sins. Forgive my iniquity though it is great. Remember not my sins and my rebellious ways. I know that You are good and upright and that You will instruct me in Your ways. Thank You for being gracious and merciful to me. Thank You for paying the ultimate price for my sins.

Standard

A PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:1-10

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” (Psalm 25:4,5)

Seeking God’s guidance is a major theme of this Psalm. David deeply desired for the Lord to reveal His plans and ways to him. How often do we pray for guidance the way David did? I confess that I do not do it enough. I plow forward with my plans and desires without first seeking God’s guidance.

Notice the persistence of David in the Psalm — “Show me Your ways…teach me Your paths…guide me in Your truth and teach me.” These words convict me of my failure to seek God’s guidance as I should. David longed for the Lord to lead him and to teach him.

David knew where his hope was — “for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” We must remember that our God is all powerful and all wise. He knows what is best for us. He is also our Savior, the One who comes to rescue us and to deliver us from sin and evil. Indeed, our hope is in Him all day long.

We must seek God’s guidance in humility for — “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches His way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant” (vs. 9,10). We must humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, “that He may lift you up in due time” (I Peter 5:6). We must also be obedient when the Lord gives us guidance. We must choose to follow His ways.

Three words stand out to me in this prayer for God’s guidance — persistence, humility, and obedience. We must be persistent in seeking God’s guidance. We must humble ourselves before Him and be obedient to His will.

Sovereign Lord, David’s prayer is my prayer. “Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

Standard

THE KING OF GLORY

Scripture Reading: Psalm 24:7-10

“Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:8)

As we come to the end of this majestic Psalm, we see the imagery of the King of Glory processing to His dwelling place — “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in” (v. 7). Our great King comes to the age-old fortress to make it His own.

The Psalmist asks the question: “Who is this King of Glory?” The answer is given: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” The question is asked a second time: “Who is this King of Glory?” Again the answer is given: “The Lord Almighty — He is the King of Glory” (v. 10).

The King of Glory is none other than our warrior King, the Lord Jesus Christ. As our King, He protects us and defends us. He goes to battle for us. He is all powerful and the King of Glory is victorious over all.

Adding to the description of the King of Glory we go back to the beginning of the Psalm and see how the King of Glory is the owner of all things — “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it, for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters” (vs. 1,2). The King of Glory is the creator God.

He is also the all holy God — “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stain in His holy place?” (v. 3). Only those with clean hands and pure hearts can enter into His presence.

The King of Glory is all victorious. He comes in great power to occupy His throne. We must bow down before Him in humility and praise, for He is the Lord Almighty. He is the King of Glory.

King of Glory, I bow before You in humble reverence. You are the victorious King who comes to save me and to protect me. You are the Creator God who is the owner of all things. You are my Warrior King who is all holy and all wise. I come into Your presence to praise You and to worship You, my King of Glory and my Savior.

Standard