Psalm 8:1

Psalm 8:1 A Psalm of David.
[You are Yahweh, Jehovah, the great I AM, who exists from eternity to eternity, having no beginning, no end–the Creator of stars, Spinner of the earth, Bringer of the dawn. You are great and glorious, powerful and pure, the Lord of all.]
“our Lord,”
[You are both THE LORD and OUR Lord. You stoop down to enter our little lives, to walk with us, work with us, watch over us. You invite us to join you in your majestic plans, making meaningful work for each of your children, tailored lovingly to fit our abilities, gifting and situation.
In being my Lord you are present, alert, watching, ruling, protecting, guiding and deeply involved in every detail of my life. You I can trust, you I can be sure of, you I can praise in every incident because you are good, through and through.]
“how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
[Your name, O Eternal God, is pure and powerful, high and holy. You move with majesty, unrushed, sure, full of grace and glory. You are majestic and mighty, the only One with no beginning and no end. You are the One to be extolled and lifted up before all creation.
Truly, your name is to be exalted above all in all the earth, above the heavens, in all the universe. It is to be honored by our reverence, our obedience, our awe and worship. You are to be exalted throughout the whole earth, by every person in every place at every moment, for all of time and beyond–for you are worthy.]
“You have set your glory above the heavens.”
[You who spoke and created the stars, who stretched out the heavens with your hand, who set the limits for time and tide, you are far beyond the heavens, you are outside of time, you are beyond human comprehension.
Your glory is far above us, far beyond what we can imagine, yet in your grace you give us glimpses into the beauty of your character. I see echoes of your glory in Springtime with the wealth of flowers, each more lovely than the last. I see your glory in their colors—bright and gentle, rich and wonderful; in their shapes—varied and pleasant, crisp and smooth; in their scents—pleasing and positive, pure and powerful.
So it is with you, Lord: you are beautiful, lovely, colorful, richly scented, wonderfully complex and grandly inspiring—and much more so than anything we can imagine in our earth-bound understanding. Truly your glory is great, stretching far beyond the limits of the universe.
Help me to remember this and to continually stand in awe of you, to honor you today by wholehearted obedience to what I know to be true.]
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Psalm 7:17

Psalm 7:17 “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness”
[Yes, to you, O Yahweh–Jehovah, King of glory, the great I AM, the Holy One–to you we bring praise because you are righteous, pure, positive and perfect. You alone are worthy of worship, honor and glory.]
“and [I] will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”
[You are the utmost Authority, the final Decider, the great Judge of all. Your decisions are right, made in full knowledge, measured against your own pure character, filled with lavish love on one hand and heavenly hatred for evil on the other. You a holy love for goodness and justice.
You have a powerful desire to end all evil, to establish the reign of good, having a gracious commitment to bringing as many as possible into your Kingdom–that is, all who are willing to receive your gift of forgiveness and bow before you as King of all–before you bring the final judgment.
In the light of your presence we must bow before you, Lord Jesus, bask in the greatness and power of your love, rise up to obey you in all today. May you be pleased in our obedience, done in the power of the Spirit and according to the wisdom of your Word, for You alone are worthy of worship, worthy to receive songs of praise, hymns of exaltation and words of glory.
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Lifted Up

“Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” Psalm 113:1
This morning I came to Psalm 113 in my reading. I was tired, had a busy schedule before me and was unhappy with some things that had occurred. The day looked bleak from a human perspective. So, I chose to look up and away to the Lord, to get His perspective, to remember what He is like and what He does.
Verse seven of Psalm 113 especially spoke to me: “He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap….” That perspective turned my day into a much better one.
You reminded me, Lord, that although I am poor and needy, stranded in the dust and dirt of this world, you are going to do some “lifting up” for me today. This immediately encouraged my spirit and gave me a tangible hope for a positive day with you.
In you, Lord, we have a powerful God. I just marvel at the way you used your Word to empower me with the kind of encouragement and uplift I needed. Our part is to take the time to look and listen, and you certainly will meet us with what we need to hear.
Praise be to you, Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. Glory be to you for your goodness, greatness and grandeur. We are your children and as such are not to view life as being only a series of small, everyday events.
We need to have the bigger picture, to remember that you have involved us in your great and grand scheme to redeem, release and re-form the universe. Keep this grand vision ever before us to give us perspective for the day and help us to fulfill our responsibilities as a part of this great plan.
You, Lord God, are wise and loving, patient and perfect, powerful and persistent. We can trust you as you strongly sweep us up in your arms, your family, your plans, your purpose. You are moving history to a conclusion and taking us with you and we praise you for it!
Prayer: “Help us today to see the unseen, to live in the invisible, to think by faith, praising you, Lord God, in and for all things, for you are worthy of such praise. May we listen, grasp and respond to what your Word tells us. Amen.” –Edified!
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Psalm 7:12-15

Psalm 7:12 “God is a righteous judge….If he does not relent,”
[and you, Lord, are our faithful God, who follows through. You will not hold back from dealing with evil, but at the right time bring judgment on all evil and those who persist in it.]
Psalm 7:12,13 “he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows.”
[You have readied all for the final judgment of the world, of sin, of the devil and his forces as well as those who refuse to bow before you. It is certain that You will bring the transformation of all creation that has been warped by sin, returning it to the pristine conditions of the original creation as the New Heaven and New Earth. In the meantime, judgment comes every day on those who persist in evil:]
Psalm 7:14,15, “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment.”
[doing and being evil brings emptiness, not fulfillment.]
“He who digs a hole (like in the picture below) and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”
[Evil brings evil to the perpetrator. This is the unchanging law of your justice, Lord. In the end this always happens: think of Hitler, Stalin and Mao; think of Idi Amin of Uganda, Saddam Huseyin of Iraq, Mubarek of Egypt; think of me when I make selfish and unkind decisions.
I praise you, Lord, that you do not tolerate evil, that you have prepared the answer to evil and will eliminate it, while all who accept your solution to evil (the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) will live in sinless and joyful relationship with you forever.
In the midst of the evil of people and devils today, of ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas and Al Kaida, you, Lord. are at work and we can rest in that, joining you in returning good for evil, blessing for cursing, prayers for persecution, kindness for cruelty. Guide us in doing that today.]
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Psalm 7:11

 Psalm 7:11 “God is a righteous judge,”

[You are absolutely right in your decisions, Lord God, you are able to judge completely correctly, and you are absolutely sure to do so wisely and at the right time.

As you did not draw back from crushing your own Son in your righteous wrath to redeem your enemies, so you will not hesitate to judge sin to the fullest in the future, at the exactly right time, with truth and righteousness, wisdom and impartiality.]

“…a God who expresses his wrath every day.”

[Praise you that you move in your wrath consistently, constantly, even now! Today you will move against the evil in the world, holding it back, judging evil-doers, allowing them to suffer the natural outcome of rebellion against you. They will be blown down like the shallow-rooted tree in the picture below because they refuse to take shelter in you.

You also will continue convicting us of our sin, seeking repentance in our hearts and moving us inexorably towards the judgment day where you will remove all evil, locking it up in the lake of fire.

And, as followers of Jesus, having entered the shelter of your forgiveness, we know that every day you protect us from evil, including our own, while on judgment day we will be declared righteous in Christ, forgiven and cleansed. In this we can rest, praise and obey. And in that rest we have the privilege and responsibility to call others to enter this shelter.

To you, Lord of All, King of Glory, Shepherd of sinners, God of Grace, Judge of evil, and Ruler of Righteousness, to you we come, to you we bow, to you we give glory. Before you we want to be open, transparent, humbled, whole-hearted and committed to obedience.

I give you glory now with all my mind, soul and strength. Today may you be the Ruler of my heart, the King of my thoughts, the Lord of my actions each moment. May you be exalted, praised and honored in my life every day.]


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The Great Fall

In late August of 2004 the son of our landlord called me and said, “I must move out of my rented apartment in four weeks,” he said. “I want to move into yours. So you must move out before the two weeks are up!”
As always, it is a shock when we have to move, but that’s part of being a renter. We prayed for God’s guidance in finding a new place.
The Turks have a saying, “Look for good neighbors, not a good apartment.” Ending up with bad neighbors can make life miserable, as one of our teammates had discovered recently. He and his family had moved into an apartment above an old woman and her son, both eccentrics. They would often bang on the radiators if they thought someone was making too much noise and would call the police to come and “straighten out” any neighbor who bothered them in some way. It got so bad that our teammates eventually had to move out.
In my search for a new apartment, I started with a price limit for the rent; that filtered out about 90% of what was available. And of those places within the price range, most were either unlivable or too far from public transportation.
We did find a reasonably nice one in a good place, with neighbors who seemed ok, but it was two flights down from the street level so was quite dark, and the view from the living room was of the roofs of the houses in front of us.
The next apartment we visited was just the opposite: two floors up, bright and sunny and airy with a nice view. In fact it was so bright with the afternoon sun shining in that Barbara put on her sunglasses. As we left the apartment, she went ahead of me toward the stairs, while I asked the real estate agent some more questions.
With her sunglasses still on, Barbara started down the dark stairwell but, unable to see well, she lost her balance on the top step and fell. I was too far behind her to help and watched in horror as she basically flew through the air all the way to the bottom of the stairs, landing on her face on the marble landing and then ramming her head into the marble covered wall!
I ran down the stairs to where she lay still, face down against the now blood-spattered wall. In my hurry to help her, I did everything wrong. I rolled her over, scooped her up in my arms and carried her out to the real estate agent’s car. If she had had a spinal injury, I could have made it much worse by doing this, but the Lord graciously overruled.
The real estate agent drove us to the nearest medical place, a private hospital in the cellar of a mosque in our neighborhood. He was so nervous that he almost had an accident on the way.
I lifted Barbara out of the car and carried her up the ramp. The guard at the door, seeing her blood-covered clothes, immediately brought a wheelchair for her and led me to the emergency room.
Within less than a minute of arrival, Barbara was on the table with a doctor and two nurses examining her. They worked quickly and compassionately.
Within an hour she had x-rays taken, a cat scan done, was tested by the eye doctor for her double vision and examined by the orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon gently held her right wrist, “You are fortunate not to have broken your neck in such a fall. And amazingly, you don’t seem to have any serious head injuries, considering that you fell about three meters vertically and landed on your face, then hit the wall with your head.
“But, you do have broken a bone here in your wrist and I need to operate on it. Have you had anything to drink since your fall?”
“Yes,” said Barbara, “I drank some water right after we got to the hospital.”
“Well, then you must wait four hours before I can give you anesthesia,” he said. “Be back here at 11 pm.”
I called a taxi and took Barbara home. We worked together to get her out of her bloody clothes. Even in her battered state, Barbara noticed how blood stained they were and expressed sadness that one of her favorite outfits was now ruined. We threw all her clothes into the water in the bathtub and carefully got her washed up. It was too difficult for her to do it alone, not being able to use her broken right hand.
We were back at the hospital by 10:30 pm. A nurse took her away in a wheelchair while another took her information from me.
“Would you like a room here for the night?” she asked. “Your wife will have to stay overnight after her operation.”
“How much will it cost?” I asked.
“Twenty Liras,” she replied, “and that includes breakfast.” That was about $10, so without hesitation I agreed.

From Edified

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

I praise you, Lord God, for your care and protection, your guidance and direction. It is so very good to know you, the great and mighty One–and truly, knowing you is enough for joy. I praise you that you are freeing me from the fear of men and are helping me to grasp that you, Lord God, are the only One to be feared.

It is wonderful that you give us a clear description in Psalm 34:13,14 of what it means to fear you. These points are such ordinary, everyday things; yet as I obey you in them, it means I am fearing you, not people, or my own ideas. It means I care what you think more than what others or I think.

“Keep your tongue from evil….” Help me to be aware when I’m about to speak any evil, like gossip, negative, judgmental statements, cutting remarks or humor that makes fun of others. Convict me so I can repent and instead speak what is good, helpful, healing and kind.

“And [keep] your lips from speaking lies.” Alert me to when I am formulating lies in my thinking, like “poor me” or “this is terrible” when the truth is, “This is difficult, but I praise you that you will help me through” or “This is uncomfortable, but I thank you for what you are going to do with it, Lord.”

“Turn from evil and do good;” Make me aware of whenever I am contemplating something evil, like selfishness, lustful thoughts, impatience or resentment. Help me to repent immediately and choose good instead.

“Seek peace and pursue it.” Help me to have the courage and determination to actively work for peace with all those around me rather than avoiding those who clash with me or refusing to forgive or not wanting to ask forgiveness.

In response to these truths, Lord, I must resolve to be deeply concerned for what you think. I want to live for you a life worthy of your great Name, with a love growing in knowledge and depth of insight so that I may be able to “discern what is best, and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).

And thank you, LORD, that we can obey you because you are Yahweh, whose glory is in your holiness; because you are Elohim, whose great power is seen in creation and whose full faithfulness is seen in your promised provision of salvation; because you are Adonai, who is worthy to be obeyed fully and promises to provide completely so we can obey.

Prayer: “I bow before you, O Triune God, Creator and Lord of the universe. I surrender my all to you. Help me to fear you in each decision I make so that you can be glorified in my life today. Amen.”


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Psalm 7:9-10

Psalm 7:9 “O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts,”
[You, Lord God, know the full truth about every person, nothing is hidden from you, as you discern our thoughts, desires, motives and intents right to the bottom of our being. Therefore Your judgments are fully informed and righteous, true and just.
To you be praise, honor and glory for your perfect, pure, powerfully positive heart, leading you to act in full knowledge and wisdom, in total love and grace to do what is right and best for your creatures and creation.]
“bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.”
[Praise you that this is your desire, Lord, to end evil and violence, setting limits on them now, then at the right time locking them up for good in the lake of fire.
You are our only hope in the darkness of this world, in the flood of evil, in the failure of human hearts, in the power of the devil to deceive and delude. You are Light and Love and Life in the midst of darkness, despair and death. Praise you for your goodness and the hope you bring.]
Psalm 7:10 “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.”
[Yes, you are our only help and hope, for you are the Great and Final Authority, you are the Most High over all creation. You have the last word in every situation; no one can counter your judgments.
And in your authority, we are safe, for in your love you have shielded us from your righteous wrath through the blood of Christ, and you are now protecting us from Satan, sin and self. We can rest, safe in your shadow, for you are the Almighty One, undefeatable, all wise and the Victor in the end of every situation.
I praise you now, O Lord Jesus, for the protection you provide: in the past, in our present and in the future. You are worthy of worship, worthy of our total obedience, worthy of our full affection. May you be honored in my life today in attitude, thought, word and action.]
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Psalm 7:6-8

Psalm 7:6 “Arise, O LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.”
[Praise you, Lord God, our Heavenly Father, that you hate sin and injustice, that your anger, like an avenging fire, are directed against all evil and wrong-doing, against the wrath and rage of your enemies. Praise you that you act against sin at the right time and in the right way, whether it be in us or our enemies.]
“Awake, my God; decree justice.”
[This is our hope: that you, O God, are just, that what you decree and judge will be right, pure and good, done in full knowledge of peoples’ motives, thoughts and deeds. Therefore, we can trust you fully.]
Psalm 7:7 “Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high; let the LORD judge the peoples.”
[In you, O Jehovah (LORD), is safety; you only are our refuge. You look down from your throne and see the hearts of every person on earth, you observe all that they do, so you know and judge correctly. You are the One we can trust.]
Psalm 7:8 “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.”
[Praise you, O Lord God, that you do not judge me according to my own righteousness–for I have none–but that you judge me according to the righteousness of Christ, in the goodness of Jesus that He has bought for me at the cross. You have given me this righteousness, qualifying me to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of Light! (Col. 1:12) In you I am called, cleansed, created anew, claimed as your child, commissioned to special service, deeply cherished and dearly loved.
With you there is the hope of forgiveness, the certainty of acceptance, the gift of love and the power of grace. I can freely confess my sin to you, for you are good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy and truth to all those who call upon you (Psa. 86:5). And I can stand tall and sure at your side, knowing that I am in the shelter of the Most High; no one can accuse me of anything that you, Lord Jesus, have not covered with your cleansing blood.
May I live for you today, Lord Jesus, trusting you in whatever comes, fulfilling the purpose of my life by giving you honor and glory continually in thanksgiving and praise.
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Nurturing Our First Love for Jesus

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3
Yes, praise be to you, Lord God, the Triune One, Breather of the stars, Lighter of the sun, Spinner of the earth, Bringer of the dawn. We glorify your name, for you are the Holy One, sparkling in purity, shining in truth, spreading light with every act.
We exalt you, the totally good One, pouring grace upon your creation, watering the garden of our souls with your love, planting seeds of good desire in our hearts.
You are the mighty One, towering far above all creation, powerful in every good work, filling the universe with your majestic, gracious Presence.
You, O Triune God, O heavenly Father, O heavenly Son, O heavenly Spirit, are worthy of all honor, all worship, all glory. All creation points to you, all will bow down to you, all will proclaim you to be Lord, for you are the only holy and pure One, eternal, unchanging and perfect, deserving of full adoration, exaltation and magnification.
You, Lord God, are the Most High: the Wise Creator and Eternal God, the Mighty Master and Kind King, the Successful Savior and Righteous Redeemer, the Faithful Father and Perfect Planner, the Powerful Protector and the Beginner and Ender of time. Therefore, it is right to bow before you in joy, it is right to rise up in obedience, it is right to live in the light of your presence, it is right to exalt you in all we do. Yes, praise belongs to you forever and ever!
Prayer: “May I walk in the light of your presence through this day, Lord, aware of your mighty grace, your powerful wisdom, your majestic goodness. May I give you praise in each event, whether it be pleasant or painful, for you are always worthy of worship. Amen.”
–from Edified!
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