The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 4

The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 4


Psalm 87:7  God says to us: ‘All My springs of joy are in you.’ 

 

This is the fourth and final part of the series on Psalm 87:7. Click here to read the previous post.

Isaiah wrote, and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 58:11 

Jesus said, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. John 7:37, 38. 

 

I Thirst No More 

We have been considering the amazing blessings of life and joy that God gives us in our lives. The metaphor that God uses to teach us this principle is that of water. Specifically, a spring of water or fountain that is within us and flows from us. 

 

We are the recipients of His blessings! As such, we are sources of blessings that become dispensers of His blessings. 

 

Making a Difference 

When we bless others, does it really make a difference? 

Tucked away deep in the book of Ezekiel is a description of the fountain that flows from the temple of God. Since we are also the temple of God, this description from Ezekiel is a metaphor for our lives.  

 

For us as Christians, this fountain describes the far-reaching effects of our blessings as they are released by us into the lives of others. 

 

The God Who Multiples 

In Ezekiel 47, the prophet was given a vision of the Temple of God. And He said that water was flowing from under the threshold of the temple. Similar to what Jesus said to us; from [our] innermost being will flow rivers of living water, John 7:37, 38. 

The living water within us is a blessing of life and joy to us… but it is not just for us! The metaphor describes the water as flowing from us (the temple) and giving life to others. 

 

We are blessed so that we might bless others.  

 

Let the water flow!

  • Ezekiel describes the water flowing from the temple at first as a trickle. And behold, water was trickling from the south side, 47:2 
  • Ezekiel then goes out a thousand cubits and the water is now ankle deep. And he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. 47:3 
  • Ezekiel goes out another thousand cubits and the water is knee-deep. And led me through the water, water reaching the knees. 47:4 
  • Ezekiel goes out another thousand cubits and the water was waist-deep. And led me through the water, water reaching the loins. 47:4 
  • Ezekiel goes out another thousand cubits and the water is deep enough to swim in. For the water had risen, enough water to swim in, 47:5. It was now a RIVER! 

 

Ezekiel goes on to describe that all water life will flourish. Additionally, the fresh water will produce abundant trees, bearing fruit and lush greenery. So, everything will live where the river goes, 47:9. 

In business, when a company grows and expands quickly, we say that it is scaling. In digital media, we say it is going viral.  

When it comes to blessing others, our words and actions may begin like a simple trickle of water. But God will multiple our meager efforts and expand our blessings toward others into a flowing river. We may never see it and we may never realize it. But it is God’s work and He will bring it to pass as He sees fit. 

He doesn’t tell us all that He is going to do when we release our blessings toward others. But His Word tells us Who He Is! And we know His attributes of power, love and abundance is enough. He will do mighty things!

Who is He? He is a God who multiplies our blessings: Grace upon grace upon grace. He is a God of perfect love and a God of absolute power and might. He is able and He will do wondrous things, far beyond our imagination. 

If you have received Jesus and the fountain of His joy is within you, then today, allow the blessings of your life, through kind words and acts of service, to trickle from you in the simplest manner. Then, by faith, know that God will turn your simple acts of obedience into rivers of life for many. 

 

Let the river flow! 

 

Father, may we by faith speak words of blessings and life to others. May we by faith, serve and give to others without expectations of return. Forgive us for hoarding the amazing gift of salvation and grace for ourselves. In word and deed, bring to life Your blessings through us to others. Help us to be diligent and faithful, and we’ll leave the results to You. Amen! 


The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 3

The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 3


Psalm 87:7  God says to us: ‘All My springs of joy are in you.’ 

 

Last time I wrote: 

[But] there are springs of joy that reside within God’s people that provides us blessings upon blessings which are far beyond the common graces of this world. 

Old Testament

The Old Testament is filled with prophecies and references that portray the favorable time of God toward the Jewish nation in the future. He will gather them into the land of promise and will restore the temple and bless their land.

This is the context of Psalms 87:7 All My springs of joy are in you. 

 

The springs are a reference to the fountain that flows forth from the Temple in Jerusalem during the future time of God’s favor and blessings toward the Jews. The prophet Joel writes of this when he says: 

 

and in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the Lord to water the valley of Shittim. Joel 3:18 

 

Now, fast forward to the time of Jesus’ ministry upon earth. In Luke 4, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 and say, 

 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. 

 

He closes the scroll, sits down (rabbi’s sit down when they teach), and says, 

 

Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Luke 4:21 

 

Initially, the Jews are thrilled with Jesus and hopeful He will rescue them from the oppression of the Romans. But Jesus makes it clear that His favor during His first coming is spiritual and not physical.

And at this time, He is extending His favor toward the Gentiles, (Luke 4.24-27; Acts 13:46-52). Jesus came to extend salvation to all nations. 

 

The favorable time for the Jewish nation will come in the future and all prophecies will be fulfilled. But for now, until the second coming of Jesus, God is extending His favor to the nations in order to save many. 

 

I am a blessed recipient of the favor of God extended to the salvation of the nations. I am a Gentile Christian, as are many of you. As such, all of the blessings of the literal future blessings upon Jerusalem and the Jewish nations are spiritual realities that apply to Christians today. That which was and is and will be physical and tangible for the Jews, is now spiritually given to us as Christians. 

  • In the past, the Jews were required to make sacrifices. But now, for us, Jesus is our perfect sacrifice, Hebrews 9:15  
  • In the past, the Jews were led by a high priest. But now, for us, Jesus is our High Priest, Hebrews 4:14,15  
  • The law of God is no longer written on stones, but is written upon our minds and our hearts, Hebrews 8:10 

 

The Fountain 

As it pertains to our current study of Psalms 87, We as Christians, are the temple of God, (I Corinthians 6:19), and from us (just like the literal temple in Jerusalem in the future, Joel 3:18) a fountain of joy and blessing flows from us.  

 

Jesus spoke of this fountain within us when He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. 

 

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. 

 

What does it mean that a fountain of joy is within us and flows from us? We’ll answer this question next time. 

 

Father, we are so grateful that You are a God of salvation and redemption! You are the God who saves. You have saved us and have blessed us with every spiritual blessing. You have given us everything we need. May your blessings overflow in our lives so that we can bless others with acts of service and words of life. We are blessed so that we can bless others. May we receive with joy and gratitude and may we give with joy and sacrifice. All glory and honor be to You now and forever. Amen! 


The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 2

The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 2


Psalm 87:7 

Last time I wrote,  

We often say, ‘God blesses us so that we can bless others.’ This is very true and this Psalm takes us deep into that principle. It teaches us that God gives us a fountain of blessings that abides within us. 

Common Blessings 

Yes, we had good things in our lives before we were Christians. We had times of joy and times of blessings before we surrendered to Christ. But they fell far short of the blessings we have now as His redeemed and beloved children of God. 

Previously, we were recipients of the common graces that God shines upon everyone in this world.

Everyone, whether they love God or hate God, enjoys the beauty of God’s creation; a beautiful sunset, the view of snow-capped mountains, the majestic scene of a mighty ocean. Everyone, regardless of their faith or lack of faith in God, has the opportunity to enjoy love, family and friendship. These are the common graces of God that He gives to the world.  

 

Special Blessings 

But there are springs of joy that reside within God’s people which provide us blessings upon blessings that are far beyond the common graces of this world. The apostle Paul speaks of these special graces that are provided by God to His own loving people: 

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… Ephesians 1.4 

 

The apostle Peter wrote of our great blessings in his opening lines of 2 Peter: 

 

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 1:2-3. 

 

Everything means Everything 

Both Paul and Peter use a descriptive word that is worth thinking about. Paul says, [we are] blessed us with every spiritual blessing

Peter says, His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. 

 

God has given us everything we need.  

  • He’s given us everything we need to be saved, forgiven and secure for eternity in heaven. Ephesians 1:1-2:10  
  • He’s given us everything we need to grow in Him and honor Him with our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. Romans 5:1-5 
  • He’s given us everything we need to face the temptations of sin and Satan. Ephesians 6:10-18 
  • He’s given us everything we need to face trials and the difficulties of life. James 1:2-4. I Peter 4:12-19 

 

God has given us everything [we need] pertaining to life and godliness.

When Jesus said, it is finished, (John 19:30), He was affirming that He had given everything so that we could have everything. When Jesus said, it is finished, He was proclaiming that His work has been finished, complete and His mission was accomplished.

We are the blessed recipients of His finished work.  

Jesus speaks in Revelation 21:6 saying, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

As blessed recipients of the work of Christ, Jude 1 says we are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. 

 

Father, we are so grateful for the abundance we have received as Your beloved; Your blessed ones. Forgive us for not acknowledging and realizing at all times the fullness of what You have done and what You have given us. Knowing that You have given us everything we need; in return, we want to humbly honor You with our lives. Give us the strength and perseverance to live daily in submission to Your guidance and Your perfect will. Amen. 


The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 1

The Wonder of God’s Blessings, Part 1


Psalms 87:7 

 

Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in you.’ 

God speaks to us in a metaphor as He says ‘All my springs of joy are in you.’ 

 

What Does it Mean? 

Let’s unpack the meaning of this metaphor that describes the wonder of God’s blessings in your life. It’s important to realize the context in order to fully understand.

This Psalm is a prophetic description of the times of blessing for the city of Jerusalem. Someday in the future, the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people will once again be at the center of God’s blessings. 

With that context, let’s unpack this metaphor of the spring of joy within us.

 

First, What are the ‘springs of joy’?

In the future times of Jerusalem’s blessings, the prophets Joel and Ezekiel describe an abundant fountain that will flow from the temple in Jerusalem and richly water the surrounding areas, (Joel 3:18; Ezekiel 47:1-12). 

The prophets portray that everywhere this water flows, abundant life and blessings abound. 

 

Secondly, the springs of joy within us are like this fountain flowing from the temple of God in Jerusalem.

So, God’s springs of joy are a picture of His abundant blessings within us. God’s blessings don’t simply surround us, they reside within us. The springs of joy [are] in you. In Christ, we are the temple of God, I Corinthians 9:19. In Christ, we also are a picture of the temple of God that the prophets described.

The fountain of His joy is within us who have been saved.  

 

Thirdly, the fountain flows from the temple and waters and blesses outwardly. 

Ezekiel describes the fountain as flowing outside of the temple, first as a trickle, and then growing and expanding into a mighty river of blessing and life. Just like Jesus multiplied a small amount of fish and bread into a meal for thousands, the overflow of our blessings to others, grows into a mighty river. From the temple in Jerusalem during the times of favor, the fountain flows and richly nourishes the land.

The metaphor for us, His blessed ones, is that the fountain of blessings within us flow forth and bless others. 

 

Blessed to Bless Others 

To sum it up: 

  • The literal fountain in the temple of God during His times of favor is a metaphor of the springs of joy and blessings given to each of us who are saved. 
  • These blessings are not just around us, but are springs of joy [are] in you. 
  • The fountain of Jerusalem will flow forth and nourish the surrounding areas. The metaphor for us is that the springs of joy within us will flow outward and bless many. 

We often say, ‘God blesses us so that we can bless others.’ This is very true and this Psalm takes us deep into that principle. It teaches us that God gives us a fountain of blessings that abides within us. The prophets expand on this theme and teach us that the overflow of our fountain (blessings) blesses others. This is quite amazing to consider: We are both the recipients of God’s abundant blessings as well as a source of His blessings. As a source of God’s blessings, we are also dispensers of God overwhelming blessings to others as well. 

 

There’s much more to consider. More on the blessings of God next time. 

 

Father, fountains of fresh and pure water are such a wonderful metaphor of your blessings within our lives. Water purifies; water cleanses; water refreshes; water heals; water is life. Your blessings are to us the very essence of our lives. We have received much; help us to give much. We are blessed so that we may bless others. Help us every morning to soak in the wonder of Your blessings during our time with You. Then, may we go forth during our day and allow the overflow of our blessings to bless others. All for Your glory! Amen!  


At All Times, Part 2

At All Times, Part 2


Psalm 34:7-10

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

The Promises of God  

Last time, we looked at Psalms 34 and discussed the beauty of being mindful of our Lord throughout the day. Additionally, the expression of our soul’s awareness of God is to speak His praises out loud and throughout the day. I think we all agree, we should do it more.  

God calls us to praise Him always and, in this calling, as we’ll look at today, He promises rich rewards. What a kind Father He is. Let’s look at the wonderful promises. 

 

Promise # 1: Your face will shine 

When we praise the Lord at all times, the look on our faces will reflect a radiance that comes from the God we praise. Heartfelt praise will transform how You feel and how you will look. Our Psalm for today says

They looked to Him and were radiant.   

Stephan is an example of the Spirit of God radiating from one’s face in Acts 6:15, And fixing their gaze on him (Stephan), all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. 

When you set your hope and praise upon the Lord, people will notice the difference in your face! They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed,” Psalms 34:5. 

Praise also fills you with unashamed confidence! And their faces will never be ashamed, Psalms 34:5.

Why?

Continual praise takes your eyes off of yourself, your fears, your insecurities and lifts you up before God where your boldness and confidence soars to new heights. And your face will show it! 

 

Promise #2: Care and provision of God 

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.

Those who humbly live and are mindful of God in fear and reverence, live their daily lives with boldness, confidence and the resolute assurance of the presence of God. The Psalm promises that His angels will encamp around us.  

We are bold because nothing happens to us outside of His care and provision. Even when it seems all is wrong in our world; the Lord is near. He may allow you to encounter hardship but do not lose heart; He promises to save us from our troubles (verse 6), and rescue us from our enemy when we look to Him as our refuge, (verse 7,8).

 

Promise #3: The Lord gives and gives 

Consider these words from verse 9 & 10:  for those who fear Him there is no want, and …they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. 

God is not stingy when it comes to giving. He gives with abundance all that we need. This is the secret of the ever-elusive peace and contentment that everyone seeks.  The missing piece of the puzzle of life is the attainment of peace and contentment.

David spoke of contentment in Psalms 23:1 where he writes, I shall not [be in] want.

Know the secret: Fear God and He gives us all that we need and even more. He blesses us with contentment. 

 

How do I get the promises of God?  

Now, consider the prerequisite of contentment and possessing all that is good and having no want. What is the “cause and effect” of it all.

Those who FEAR Him and they who SEEK Him shall not be in want.

Okay, there it is. Fear Him and Seek Him and what will follow will be goodness. The result will be that you will have no want.  

As we close, ask yourself, what am I focused on?

Jesus said, Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you, Matthew 6:33.

May I NOT FOCUS on what I want, my needs; to have, to hold, to possess. Instead may I focus on the fear of the Lord and seeking Him always, and all these other things will be provided by God, in His perfect time.  

 

Lord, may your presence always be on my mind and may I speak of you often. Cause Your presence to fill my heart and pour over into the countenance of my face, to Your glory and honor. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Amen! 


At All Times, Part 1

At All Times, Part 1


Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 

Verse 1 says I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  

If I’m honest with myself, I must acknowledge that I am not conscious of God throughout the day. I have a God-conscious adrenaline surge in the morning during my devotions (which thankfully I crave when I awake). But then I go through the day mindful of MY activities and focused on MY desired accomplishments.  

Psalms 34:1, I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth, reminds me that I need further spiritual maturity in order to live and breathe in the Spirit with a stream of consciousness that is soaked in the awareness of the presence of God. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. My activities and accomplishments are not usually anti-God, per se. But I am not “mindful” or actively conscious of God most of the time. Most of the time, I am simply pursuing my daily activities focused on the events around me in my physical world. But, oh to be more mindful of God always. 

 

Progress: Thinking about God 

I do want to encourage you though, in my progress and yours as well. Since I have significantly re-committed my life (about four years ago) to begin each day with God in His Word, (reading, reflecting and writing), I am progressing in my awareness of the presence of God throughout the day. The reality of His presence with me and the work He is doing in my mind and soul have increased. It is good. It is delightful progress. So be encouraged in your progress as well.  

 

Progress: Speaking about God 

To carry this theme further, this psalm conveys the sense of not only “thinking” about God always, but “speaking” about God always.  

I will bless and His praise shall continually be in my MOUTH. Also, My soul will make its boast in the Lord, and O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. 

When we dwell upon the beauty and grace of our God toward us, it is natural for us to want to share our praise of God with others.  

 

Try This 

A helpful and simple way to apply this Psalm to your life is to seek out fellow Christians and others throughout the day and speak simple phrases of praise and gratitude toward God. Make it a habit to speak to others and say: 

  • God is good toward me today. I’m having some difficulties, but I sense His power and grace. 
  • Are you sensing the presence of God today? I am especially aware of Him today and it makes a huge difference. 
  • I’m feeling really grateful toward God today. How are you feeling? 
  • I just wanted to let you know that God placed you on my heart today. I’m praying for you. 

 

Keep it simple and keep it humble. When we do this, we are prompting ourselves to stay close to God. We are also blessing others and encouraging them to be aware of the work of God in their lives. You are both worshiping your Lord throughout the day as well as serving others by bringing them along with you to worship. 

 

Father, forgive us for allowing our minds to wander throughout the day toward the things of this world. Our fears and anxieties are many. But we are grateful that You are always with us. We are in your thoughts continually. We are so blessed and grateful to have such a caring, kind and loving Father as You. May we see progress in our lives to think of you always, speak of You of often and bless You continually. Raise our heads and set our thoughts upon You. Amen.  


The Cure for Depression, Part 2

The Cure for Depression, Part 2


Psalm 77:7-9

Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promises come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger, withdrawn His compassion? 

Asaph, who penned this Psalm, is in the pits. He is low; really low.  

Have you ever been there? I know that I have. 

 

What usually causes our depression? 

  • You look around and the world appears to be crumbling before your very eyes. You feel out of control.
  • You look inside yourself and are troubled with internal anxiety and fear. 
  • You look at the waves crashing over you; you’re alarmed at your helplessness; you feel deserted and alone. 

 

Depression is heightened when you ‘look’ around at the world and/or you ‘look’ within yourself. Where you set your eyes and what you focus upon, is a huge factor in your mental state of depression. This Psalm helps us cope with the overwhelming pain of depression.

 

Here’s two lessons to chew on: 

  1. It’s okay to feel down. This Psalm guides us to understand that our weariness of heart is normal. Don’t fake it; don’t suppress it; don’t deny it. 
  2. It’s okay to feel down, but don’t take it out on others. Instead, follow the pattern of this Psalm and cry out to God. Unload on HIM and not on others! Once you unload ‘your’ issues to God, you will then be ready to focus on your restoration. 

 

Look Up to the Most High! 

Asaph takes us down with him in his description of despair. But a huge change takes place in verse 10. The Psalmist recalls the right hand of the Most High. This is a descriptive phrase referring to the Power of God; the Most High! 

Despair sets in when we look around at the chaos of this world. Fear and anxiety are heightened when we look within ourselves and realize we are weak and lack control over our lives. But when we look UP!!! Look UP! Look UP! 

 

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely, I will remember Your wonders of old. 

 

I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? 

 

You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have, by Your power, redeemed Your people. Psalm 77:11-15 

 

Have you ever heard someone say, ‘He or She is a different person’? In this case, Asaph becomes a completely different person in the transition of verse 10. He goes from the pits of despair to the heights of hope. What happened? 

 

Raise Your Head and Raise Your Eyes! 

When you are down, really down, it’s hard sometimes to raise your head; to just look up. So, go ahead and unload on God. It’s Okay. God already knows how you feel so you may as well just speak it. Speak the pain out loud and let it go to God. Then raise your eyes to God!

 

Here’s a different Psalm that teaches the same principles. Psalms 30 says,  

 

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.

 

Weeping may last for the night; but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:2-5 

 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11 

 

By faith, as best you can, set your attention on God rather than the world around. By faith, as best you can, set your attention on God rather than your own troubled heart. Stop looking around you at the chaos. Stop looking inward at your fears and anxieties’.  Look up to God and recall His greatness; His power; His kindness and His love.  

 

Psalm 77:14-15

You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have, by Your power, redeemed Your people. 

 

Father, we are weak and volatile. On the other hand, You are steady, consistent and always perfect. When we are weak, You are strong; when we are unfaithful, You remain faithful; when we waver, You remain steady. You are the rock of our salvation; my life and my joy are in You! The next time we are in despair, give us the faith to look up and set our eyes upon Jesus. Amen 


The Cure for Depression, Part 1

The Cure for Depression, Part 1 


Psalm 77 

It’s the holiday season so hopefully you’re not depressed. The reality is, however, that the holiday season can indeed be emotionally draining for many. So, whether you need it now or you file this away for another time, Psalms 77 provides a cure for depression. 

The ups and downs of our emotions 

The very interesting thing I’ve realized about writing my spiritual insights from my personal time in the Bible, (and sharing them with you) is that my writing is affected by the ups and downs of my emotions. I’ve been journeying on this blogging adventure for about four years now. When I am emotionally strong and feeling optimistic about life and God, my writing soars and the process can be exhilarating.  

There are other times, however, that my emotions wane and the burdens of this world capture my attention. At these times when I tend to be looking at the waves from the storm rather than fixing my eyes on Jesus. I allow a victim-mentality to overtake me.

It tempting to focus on the difficulties and stresses of life and say ‘this is unfair; this is too much.’  

Depression, for me, is looking inward and living inside myself. It can feel like a hole and there’s no easy way out. When you’re in a mental hole, remembering times of joy is difficult. It can be as challenging as lifting a weight of 1000 pounds.  

 

He’s a real downer 

Since I read the Bible and write every morning, I can’t avoid God during the down times I encounter in life. Fortunately, I have to write anyway (otherwise, I fall too far behind in my blog posts :). I don’t know exactly how many people read my blog or listen to the podcast. But nevertheless, you all provide me with accountability. I have to confront God and His Word every day, regardless of my emotions, whether up or down. For me, this has made all the difference in the world regarding spiritual growth.  

I was reminded of this reality this morning when I read Psalms 77. This is a Psalm of Asaph, (not David).  

 

Asaph allows the readers to know exactly how he feels.  

He doesn’t do what I and other Christian writers usually do when we force ourselves to write optimistic affirmations about God, even if we don’t feel like it. Asaph, on the other hand, lets his grief be known. 

 

My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me. In the day of trouble, I sought the Lord; in the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; my soul refused to be comforted. When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak, verses 1-4 

 

See what I’m talking about? What preacher or Christian author would begin his sermon, his post or his writing with, When I remember God, then I am disturbed? I am so troubled that I cannot speak.  

 

I’m in a hole 

When I remember God, then I am disturbed?  What does that mean?

Here’s what I believe it means. I have a high view of God. I know He is Sovereign and in control of all things and that He directs the affairs of my life by His mighty providence. That should give us comfort, right? But sometimes knowing the power and sovereignty of God disturbs me? 

With an understanding of our great God, I’m disturbed that He’s not answering my prayers in the way I feel He should. And He’s not answering them NOW!

I don’t like what He’s doing in and around me. It hurts. People I love are hurting. Life can be tough; really tough. And I know He can change my situation in a moment, but He’s not changing it. That can be very disturbing.  

(It’s not easy to write these words, but sometimes it how I feel. And it is how Asaph felt when he wrote this Psalm). 

The Psalmist continues,

Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promises come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger, withdrawn His compassion? 7-9. 

Anyone who knows God and is loved by Him, agrees these are silly questions. Of course, the answer to these questions is NO. But we still struggle with these doubts, don’t we? And that’s OK – as long as You take it all to God in complete honesty and transparency. That is the first step. 

I’ve taken you down into the pits with Asaph, the Psalmist. The second half of the Psalm will take us back up. Next time we’ll discover the cure to depression. 

 

Dear Father, when I consider the volatility of my emotions that take me up and down, up and down, I’m thankful that You never change. I am so grateful for Your unchanging nature of perfect holiness. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. When we place our hope in ourselves, we are disappointed. When we place our hope in others, we are disappointed. May we fully place our hope in You, even when we are at our lowest. Help us to trust You. Amen! 


Honey from A Rock, Part 2

Honey from A Rock, Part 2


This is Part 2 of the Honey From A Rock series. Click here to read Part 1.

 

Who expects to get honey from a rock?

Psalm 81:10-16

Who expects to get honey from a rock? 

I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide and I will fill it. But my people did not listen to My voice, and Israel did not obey Me. So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices.  

Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries…But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat and with honey from the rock I would satisfy. 

 

Honey From A Rock

Honey from a rock is an interesting phrase. There are two aspects to understanding this phrase: 

  1. There is food that is functional. Food that is nutritional and good for us to eat. Then there is food that adds flavor and enjoyment to the meal. There is food that brings sweetness and pleasure. Honey is such a food; sweet and enjoyable. God does just bless us practically and functionally. He blesses with the sweetest and most wonderful blessings we can imagine. 
  2. This metaphor of honey from a rock describes rare and valuable products as coming from the most unproductive places. God can and will bless us in the most unusual and unpredictable ways imaginable. He can produce honey from a rock. 

When we are suffering the consequences of self-sufficiency, none of our efforts, not matter how sure and sound they seem to be, truly produce good results. But when we are close to God, listening and following Him, the sweetness of honey comes our way out of nowhere. Who expects to get honey from a rock? But when we are following God, His blessings and favor come over us in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. He will even turn a rock into the honey of blessings and favor toward us! This is amazing! 

 

The Heart of God 

The passion of God’s heart is to bless us, not discipline us. However, when we run away, do our own thing, when we rebel and disobey, God disciplines those He loves. 

However, let’s renew our view of God and His passion for us. I found a parallel passage to this Psalm in Isaiah 30. Read this carefully and allow this reality of God’s nature to fully sink in. What does God long for? 

 

Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. Isaiah 30.18. 

 

He longs to be gracious and He’s waiting. Waiting for what? 

 

Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! Psalms 81.13. 

 

Again, He longs to be gracious and He’s waiting. Waiting for what? 

 

He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 30.19 

 

To cry out to God, then to listen and obey is the very heart of the phrase, Living Scripture Daily. Listen to Him speak to you daily from the Bible and allow this daily time to transform your life day-by-day. Start small and build on it.  

The promise of God is that He will unleash His blessings upon you in the most amazing ways. Doesn’t mean life will be easy. It means the joy, the grace and blessings He will pour over you will come in good times and bad times. And even out of the bad times, His blessings will be like the sweetness of honey from a rock. 

 

Ashes to Joy 

Let’s face it, our primary means of listening to God is to read His Word, reflect on its meaning and listen to God as he teaches you how to live accordingly. Then walk in it by faith. The righteous live by their faith.  Over time, God will turn your ashes into joy. He promises it so! And today’s passage says He’ll do it quickly. 

 

Lord, it’s so simple but we’ve made it so hard. The compounding results of living our own lives and following our own paths, creates hardship after hardship. Sometimes we feel like we’re in a hole and can’t get out. Help us to take just one step at a time toward the path of following You. Just one step at a time. The hole seems deep but You have promised to respond QUICKLY! What a great and loving God You are!!! Amen!