SAFE IN HIS PRESENCE

Psalms 23 “The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD’s house for days without end.” This Psalm can arguably be called the most familiar chapter of the Bible. I have used a more modern version here than the King James that is more familiar. I find that different versions may give me new insights into familiar passages. I’m concentrating on the following section of the Psalm. “Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage.” The first thing that pops out at me here is that the Shepherd doesn’t lead his sheep around or away from this valley. But goes with them through the valley of death. Did you hear that? Through and with. Because the Shepherd is with them there is no fear. They trust in him to keep them safe even in this dark place. The Shepherd’s tools reassure the sheep that everything will be alright. The rod is a weapon to be used in defense or offence as needed. So the sheep are comforted knowing that the Shepherd has the strength, ability, and tool to protect them from those that would do them harm. The staff was a long stick with a curved end that could be used as a weapon if needed, but its primary purpose is to protect the sheep from themselves. The staff corrects the path of wayward sheep by general nudges or perhaps not so gentle for those more prone to wander. The crooked end is perfect for lifting those who have fallen or become stuck. There rod to protect from outside threats and the staff to protect them from themselves. Truly ,I fear no harm, for he is with me. Prayer Lord, Master, Protector, in times like these we need your protection more than ever. There may be an invisible danger in the air we breath or the things we touch. We believe that you want only the best for us. Whether you lead us around three danger or take us through it, we put our truest in you. Your will be done. Amen Also visit my other blogs
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    What it’s the Greatest Commandment?

    Exodus 20:1-7 And the Lord spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who led you away from the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. You shall not have strange gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor a likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on earth below, nor of those things which are in the waters under the earth. You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them. I am the Lord your God: strong, zealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my precepts. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not hold harmless one who takes the name of the Lord his God falsely.” This is the long version of the first three of the Ten Commandments. When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” “Jesus said to him: “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus, in effect, rolled the first three commandments into one. Those three all deal with who God is, and how He is to be treated by humankind. He is to be loved completely. Love God more than your self, your spouse, your children, your country, your job, your bank account, your hobbies, your television, your … your anything. Anything, that is cherished above the Lord, is an idol. “You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them.” Prayer Lord, forgive us for those times we have allowed or hearts to be drawn away from you. Lord, we adore you. “Your teachings are worth more to me than a thousand pieces of silver and gold. (Psalms 119:72) Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    “Forgive Me” Prayer

    Psalms 50:1-19 1. Unto the end. A Psalm of David, 2. when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he went to Bathsheba. 3. Be merciful to me, O God, according to your great mercy. And, according to the plentitude of your compassion, wipe out my iniquity. 4. Wash me once again from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. 6. Against you only have I sinned, and I have done evil before your eyes. And so, you are justified in your words, and you will prevail when you give judgment. 7. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sinfulness did my mother conceive me. 8. For behold, you have loved truth. The obscure and hidden things of your wisdom, you have manifested to me. 9. You will sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be cleansed. You will wash me, and I will be made whiter than snow. 10. In my hearing, you will grant gladness and rejoicing. And the bones that have been humbled will exult. 11. Turn your face away from my sins, and erase all my iniquities. 12. Create a clean heart in me, O God. And renew an upright spirit within my inmost being. 13. Do not cast me away from your face; and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. 14. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and confirm me with an unsurpassed spirit. 15. I will teach the unjust your ways, and the impious will be converted to you. 16. Free me from blood, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will extol your justice. 17. O Lord, you will open my lips, and my mouth will announce your praise. 18. For if you had desired sacrifice, I would certainly have given it, but with holocausts, you will not be delighted. 19. A crushed spirit is a sacrifice to God. A contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn. As I was meditating on David’s prayer for forgiveness, it occurred to me that the was praying for absolution for sins that he had been caught in, the adultery with Bathsheba and the dearth of her husband. David also ask for forgiveness for iniquities that he alone ores aware. And finally for the obscure and hidden things of which God, in his wisdom, our aware. Prayer Lord, forgive my sins of which others are aware. Lord, forgive my sins of which only you and I are aware. Lord, forgive my sins of which only you are aware. Amen.

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    Laundry

    This week my wife and I took our dirty clothes to the laundromat. As I was watching the clothes swirl around in the glass door of the front loading machine, the seed of a musing was planted in my brain. I imagined what it would be like to be an article of clothing in that machine. As I thought backwards on the life of one of those shirts sloshing back and forth in the washer. I can see the beginning of its life as the seamstress or tailor cuts the clothe and stitches it into a shape pleasing to them. Next it it’s packaged and purchased. It begins its life. It has a purpose to clothe the naked. However, as time goes on it becomes soiled. So, to the laundromat it goes. It is mixed with other pieces of laundry, some are shirts similar to itself however, some are socks, shorts, slacks, and dresses. At first they lay quietly while comforting warm water bathes them. But soon a motion begins. At first it is a gentle rocking. But then things begin to change. The motion becomes more turbulent and sometimes painful. Then things begin to spin faster and faster. It then slows to a stop. The shirt breathes a sigh of relief. But then the spinning begins again and again. At last the shirt, all tangled in a wad with the rest of clothes is placed in the dryer. Once more it begins to spin, but slower this time. Warm air begins to dry the clothes and they separate from the soggy ball into their individual forms. At last the shirt it’s removed from the dryer and is once more ready to clothes the naked. I see so many parallels between the shirt and our walk with God. He creates us to His design and sets us to work on His plan (psalm 139:24). Along the way, bits and pieces of this broken world begin to cling to us (Romans 3:23). Words, thoughts, and deeds not of God but of the world inhibit us from fulfilling His plan for us. He has created a community of believers each with their own gifts and duties (1 Corinthians chapter 12). Through His baptism he brings us together. It is necessary to occasionally shake things up in our lives to get its back on track, and sometimes the shaking is painful (Hebrews 9:15). Then in the warmth of God’s love we are once more ready to be about our Father’s business. (Psalm 51:12) Prayer Father, your lessons are everywhere if we will but seek them. Give us a seekers heart. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    The 23rd Psalm Revisited

    1.  The Lord is my shepherd. Isaiah 30:21 “and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.”

    2.  I shall not want. Philippians 4:19 “And may my God fulfill all your desires, according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

    3.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

    4.  He leads me beside the still waters. Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” 

    5.  He restores my soul. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think over you, says the Lord: thoughts of peace and not of affliction, so that I may give you patience and an end.

    6.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
    Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

    7.  for His name’s sake. 1 John 3:2b Most beloved, we are now the sons of God.


    8.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not turn away, for I am your God. I have strengthened you, and I have assisted you, and the right hand of my just one has upheld you.

    9.  for You are with me.

    Matthew 28: 20b “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    10. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Ephesians 6:10-18 “the full armor of God … belt of Truth … breastplate of righteousness … the gospel of peace … shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
    11.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Romans 8:38 & 39 “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    12. You anoint my head with oil. 1 John 2:27 “But as for you, let the Anointing that you have received from him abide in you. And so, you have no need of anyone to teach you. For his Anointing teaches you about everything, and it is the truth, and it is not a lie. And just as his Anointing has taught you, abide in him.”

    13.  My cup runs over. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make every grace abound in you, so that, always having what you need in all things, you may abound unto every good work,”

    14.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Romans 7:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

    15.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

    Prayer
    Thank you, Lord, for your presence with us in the past, in the present, for the future, and for life eternal.
    Amen

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    Give Thanks

    Ephesians 5:15-20
    So then, be very careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people. Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants. Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Give Thanks
    Every Tuesday evening our church opens the doors to the 150 year old chapel for prayers and hymn singing. It is a great time of sharing our joys and concerns. I always leave refreshed and renewed. There is power in being filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good.

    Prayer
    Father, what a blessing we receive when we gather together in your house and share in worship. Thank you for inspiring so many writers of scriptures, psalms, and hymns. Thank you for your words.
    Amen.

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    Come, Lord Jesus.

    Revelation 22:16-17
    “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

    The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.


    What an invitation!

    I have told you before that I’m not a fan of prophecy. I have not been given the gift of deciphering the symbols and allegorical illustrations. I’ve read through the Revelation of John many times, seeking the truth. All I know is that there will come an end to this world as we know it. At that time, every person who has ever lived, will be judged for their belief, faith, and actions. Some will be welcomed to a life eternal in the presence of God. Some will be forever cut off from God.

    Having given that disclaimer of any prophetic insight, I do understand this gem of invitation found near the end of the book. It is an open invitation for all to come and share in the promises proclaimed by prophets, poets, and the Lord Jesus himself, throughout the holy scriptures.

    That is enough of an understanding for me to praise God and say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”

    Prayer
    Lord, I know that is your perfect will that none should perish. I believe that you are holding the end time until all have been given a chance to accept or deny your gift. The people of this world are connected to information in a way never before possible. So I  believe that your return will be soon. Come, Lord,come!
    Amen.

    Praise the Lord

    Psalm 145:1-6
    I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

    Every day I will bless you,

    and praise your name forever and ever.
    Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.
    One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
    On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
    The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.

    Praise the Lord

    I often forget to just stop and praise the Lord. 

    A.C.T.S is a prayer guide.
    • Adoration: Give God praise and honor for who he is as Lord over all.
    • Confession: Honestly deal with the sin in your prayer life.
    • Thanksgiving: Verbalize what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you.
    • Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.

    This is a useful guide to help organize your thoughts on prayer. However, sometimes I know I need to slow down and just say and sing praises to my Lord. I don’t want to be the child who only calls Dad when I need something. The psalms are a great way to train yourself in the ways of adoration.

    Prayer:

    I love you, my God and King, I will proclaim that you are very glorious; I will praise you now and forever. Every day I will praise you; Yes, I will praise you forever. Lord, you are great, and you deserve to be praised.  All people should praise you. We cannot fully realize how great you are. Amen.

    How to Praise God

    Psalms 145:1-9

    I will highly praise you, my God, the king. I will bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day. I will praise your name forever and ever. The LORD is great, and he should be highly praised. His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will praise your deeds to the next. Each generation will talk about your mighty acts. I will think about the glorious honor of your majesty and the miraculous things you have done. People will talk about the power of your terrifying deeds, and I will tell about your greatness. They will announce what they remember of your great goodness, and they will joyfully sing about your righteousness. The LORD is merciful, compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive. The LORD is good to everyone and has compassion for everything that he has made.

    How to Praise God

    I love the old time hymns more than the modern praise music. The old hymns are based on scripture and are sound teaching put to music. On the other hand, I find much of the praise music filled with the repeated phrase, “Praise God” to be empty words. Saying, praise God, is not praising God. Think about it. If I were say to you, “Praise you”, would that mean anything? If, instead, I were to say to you, “Thank you for being there for me when I really needed you”, that would be praise to you.

    The psalmist teaches us how to properly praise the Lord. He lists the reasons why he gives praises to God.

    • The LORD is great
    • His mighty acts
    • things He has done
    • His great goodness
    • His righteousness
    • He is merciful
    • He is compassionate
    • He is patient
    • He is always ready to forgive
    • He is good to everyone 
    • He has compassion 

    Prayer:

    I will highly praise you, my God, and king. I promise to bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day. I will praise your name forever and ever. I remember your help in times past. I remember when you saved me out of troubled times. I also remember your strength being with me through the tough times in my life. For these and so much more, I praise you, my rock and my redeemer.

    Amen.

    Give Me Understanding

    Psalm 119:140-144

    (God) Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.

    Give Me Understanding

    The psalmest praised God’s law. He told how he found comfort, hope, and joy in them. He was thankful to God for promises kept. He then did the wisest thing of all, he prayed for understanding.

    Prayer: (this section of the psalm is the prayer for today. Read it aloud in a prayerful manner)