Psalm 55

God are You there?  You’ve got to hear me right now!  I need You!  I thought You were on my side.  I gave up everything to serve You.  I was doing my best to listen and obey, serve with a cheerful heart, expect nothing in return.  And then I got punched in the guts, kicked to the ground, my heart ripped out of my ever-loving chest – by Your people!  If it had been the Enemy – an attack by those who hate You most, I would understand that.  I would’ve leaned hard into You, depended on my Christian brothers and sisters to support me in this battle.  But my wounds are all coming from “friendly fire.”  This is breaking my heart!  I don’t know where to turn or what to do.  My confidence in You is the only thing that keeps me going, but even that has been shaken.

I need a break!  I want to run away from this place.  This is too hard.  If only I had wings like a sparrow.  I’d dash out of here and dance my way to heaven where I could bask in life’s simplicity.  I’m desperate for a change, but You’ve asked me to stay here, to stick in it.

God!  Tell these people that they’re wrong!  Open their eyes to the path of bodies they’re leaving in their wake and make them apologize!  But oh.  It isn’t their hearts that are on Your operation table.  Not today.  Today it is mine.  I thought my heart was being torn to bits, but You were healing it: tearing out old scars, removing wrong doctrine and misunderstanding of who You are.  You gave me a newer, stronger heart.  Now I am more whole; now I have been put through the fire refined and pure.  In Your time Father, You will deal with each of us.  In Your time.  I trust You.

Psalm 54

For God’s sake – for Your sake, God – Help us!

With Your strong, safe name protect us from Satan’s attacks.  Listen God, we’re desperate; hear our pleas.  There have been times when we were “too busy” to hear You – show us mercy and don’t return tit for tat.  Satan has it in for us.  He’s got hit-men hidden around every corner trying to hit us where it hurts.  He thinks he can get away with it.  But KaPow! God’s not gonna leave us wide open.  He’s all around us – before us, behind us, above us, beneath us – protecting us from the Evil One.  Not only are we safe, but Satan’s going to get it in the end.  So I’ll sing out in worship!  God is my protector – my knight in shining armor!  Thank You for Your unfailing Love!

Psalm 53

Everyone claims to know the truth these days, but no one’s truth can be True.  “What’s good for you may not be good for me and that’s good for everybody,” they say.  The blind are leading the blind down here!  But You, O God, have established Truth and it cannot and will not be changed.  You have given us a Guide who sees and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is only one way to God the Creator Father, and that is through Jesus Christ the Sinless Son.

Psalm 52

“I’m an olive tree growing green in God’s house.  I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now.”

My roots go down in God’s soil.  I can’t be moved from the safety of His house.  Because of His good care, I produce fruit for Him to enjoy.  He is trustworthy in easy times and hard.

Psalm 51

Let me remind You how generous You are God; King of mercy I beg You to forgive my sins.  For I’ve really blown it this time.  I put myself above the need for repentance – thought the sermon wasn’t for me.  The worst sin of all!  In this time of joyful fellowship with You, growth in our relationship, I let my pride get the best of me.  The ugly sin of pride made me think there was nothing I needed to repent of – think that I didn’t need Your forgiveness.  Jesus have mercy!  I beg You to give me a humble heart!  I know that will bring many sufferings, but it’s worth it.  Snatch me from falling in with the Pharisees!

I’ve been mired in this sin and pride since I was born.  I’m a mess on the inside, even though I can make the outside look pretty good.  You want to transform me from inside to out.  Enter me then.  Make me a new creation, something You can really use.  I come to You, naked and humble – bathe my soul until it shines.  Clear all the sin out of me – everything!

I like to pretend I’m clean, but when I stop and think about it, I know the ugliness of my heart.  My sins are ever-present.  It’s against You that I’ve sinned and Your judgement against me will be fair, whatever You choose to do.  But I beg You, clean me from the inside out.  Turn my weary, plodding heart into a full orchestra (with dancers?!) of praise.

If anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation!  Send Your Spirit on me and turn what was dragging me down into something that can bring You glory!  Turn me from trash to treasure.  Let me teach others not to do what I did.  Use me, Father, to bring others to You.

I know I deserve worse than death, but I beg You to have mercy on me.  Salvation God, I want to praise You with my life! You don’t want me to “look good” or just go through the motions.  The “perfect Christian” act means nothing to You.  I’m learning to be in relationship with You as my pride is shattered.  No more pretending, just humble obedience and constant repentance.  That’s what You want from me.

A few days after I wrote this psalm, I read the chapter called “The Prayer of Tears” in Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.  It moved me to re-write Psalm 51 again.  Here is the second version.

Psalm 51 again – My Prayer of Tears

Father, Jesus, Spirit have mercy!  I stink to high heaven with my sins – of pride, of selfishness, my hard heart that doesn’t want to be changed by Your love – that is ashamed to be like You in Your tears.  Forgive me!  O Father forgive me!  No wonder it is so hard for me to confess my sins!  I am not cut to the heart by them.  Most of the time they seem like “no big deal.”  But they are a big deal!  They’re a big, stinking, filthy, oozing mess of shit that I’m trying to explain away as “normal” or “not that bad.”   Christ have mercy on me!  Let me know my transgressions!  Let my inner cesspool be a constant stink in my nose.  Here I am trying to look good and show others how to please You, but I’m letting my filthy backside hang out in front of You like it’s no big deal!  Spirit, give me a broken and contrite heart!  I sin because I am a sinner.  There is every shame in that, but when I bring it to You, there is no shame.  Break my heart, God.  Let my tears wash through my heart and purge me – my sins caught up in a river of tears that flow to the ocean of Your love.  It is not my tears that cleanse me – only Your blood can do that – but in my sorrow I can release the sins that I’ve been concealing (even from myself) for so long.  Give me a soft heart, stripped of all that has encrusted it, gentle Father.  Spirit, enter my spirit and give me the right motives in my actions and praise.

Don’t give up on me yet, God!  I’m ready to be changed by You – just take it gently!  Let me experience the deep joy that can only come after true sorrow for my sins.  Help me to be a willing participant in this change!  If I thought “paying You off” would help, I’d do it because that seems so much easier than what You’re asking of me.  But that’s not what You want from me.  The true sacrifice is my broken heart.  When I truly understand how much I have hurt You; when I allow myself to weep for what I have done to You, then You will not turn away from me.  With Your loving arms You will embrace me and say, “I know.  I know.”

Psalm 50

All rise for the God of Everything –

Majestic and Magnificent, Resplendent in Power –

He’s entering the courtroom and taking His spot in the Judge’s seat.

There’s no question that this courtroom will be fair!  Justice will be served here!

All those who serve Me, come listen.  I appreciate your sacrifices, they show you withhold nothing from me – but do you think that’s what I really want?!  Do you think I need your $500 a month?  No!  I’m the owner of everything.  I have all resources at my fingertips.  Provision is my job, not yours.  What I really want, what would really be a gift to Me, is your obedience, your love, and your praise!  I want you to trust that I will take care of you!

Now, those of you who could care less about Me, it’s your turn.  You guys are determined to disobey.  Every time I call your name, you let yourself get distracted or think of every excuse why you shouldn’t listen.  You hang out with the wrong people and they’re teaching you bad habits.  I waited patiently for you to learn your lesson, but this is Enough!  When I lay out all your wickedness where you can see it, you’re going to be embarrassed.  Now’s the time to make your decision.  Which group are you going to stand with?  I’m ready to give my verdict.

Those who praise Me – and all are welcome to join this family – will receive mercy.  As soon as you set foot on My path, I’ll show you how sweet my salvation is.

Psalm 49

This lesson applies to everyone whether you’re rich or poor, male or female; if you live on earth, you should listen.

God gave us some pretty obvious instructions.  It’s possible to twist them around and make them mean what you want them to, but if you ask God to give you understanding, they’re as plain as day – He’s not hiding anything from us.

I’ve been studying God’s Word a lot.  I like to write my understanding in poems and sing songs of Scripture.  Because I’m hidden in Christ in God, I don’t need to worry about a thing.  Nothing evil can find me here!

Here’s the deal, though.  No one can “pull themselves together.”  We should never say that.  That can only come through Christ.  Even those that look like they have it all together can’t do anything about eternity.  Everyone dies people!  In 100 years Brad Pitt will be just as dead as the Pope and the homeless guy on Burnside and you and me.  Money doesn’t save us.  Things don’t mean anything when it comes to eternity.  No matter how smart you are or how much stuff you have, you’re going to die.  The only thing that matters is the fruit God is looking for.  That fruit is the currency in the next Kingdom.  It may not amount to much on this earth, but when God’s Kingdom comes in fullness, you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams!

So if you put your faith in God, death will be a party, an improvement!  I’ll never envy the rich and famous.  They can’t take what they have with them and if they don’t have God, I don’t want to go where they’re going anyway.

Psalm 47-48

Roar, stadium of people!  Roar because Your God is stepping out onto the court.  Get excited and sing His praises because You know that He has won the game.  All those on His team can be sure that they’ll go home the victors.  Get excited about this and give God the praise He’s due!

Strong, beautiful, awesome God we can’t stop looking at You.  Like the Alps with the sunset on their backs, we gasp at Your beauty and power.  You are holy!  We must sing it out in our city.  When people realize the true scope of Your grandeur and raw power, their knees shake and they fall abject before You.  No one would ever try to take You on if they realized who You really are.

But even though You could quash us like bugs and demand respect from the loftiest of kings, Your concern is for the poor, the downtrodden, the needy and unattractive.  This is confusing to me, but I’m glad that’s who You are.  Be glad church!  Dance, daughters of God!  He does what He says and He cares about you!  Remember every detail of what He’s done so you can tell your kids and their kids.  We must remember!  God is forever and He will lead us to our true Home.

Psalm 46

God can handle my doubts and digging – He’s a safe place to vent my fears and frustrations.  I know that no matter how recklessly I throw myself at Him – doubts and trust alike – His Truth will catch me and pull me ever closer to Him.

He made the Earth and every creature in it.  Nature obeys His every command.  It is foolish to doubt His power or existence.  He’s been around forever.

This God of everything is the One who protects us!  Stop what you’re doing for a minute and look at the big picture.  See how God is in it all and you’re just a speck.  This is the God who loves and pursues us!

Psalm 45

I’m ready to write a love song to my beautiful King Jesus.  Too shy to say the words to His face, my pen will sing the words in my heart.

Beautiful Jesus, You are my heart’s desire.  Even though I’ve never seen Your face, the beauty of Your kindness, the gentleness of Your compassion, Your strong words to those who oppose You – all I read about You makes my heart melt with longing to be with You.  I want to follow You like a faithful servant, ready and willing to do all You ask.  But more than a servant, You treat me as a friend.  I want to lay my head on Your chest and listen as You talk about Your love for humanity and the intimate, intricate relationship You have with Your Father and Your Spirit.

I present myself before You, clothed in a dazzling white dress, beautiful in a way only You could make me.  I put my own home and allegiances behind me.  I’m all Yours.  Yours and Yours alone.  You take my breath away as I gaze on Your beauty – wrapped in a robe of glittering stars, Your face brighter than the sun.  I want to bring You children – expanding Your kingdom with voices of little ones who love You.  Thank You Jesus for choosing us to be Your bride.