Psalm 75

“We thank You, God, we thank You — Your Name is our favorite word; Your mighty works are all we talk about.”

We talk about how You set things right.  We talk about Your upside-down Kingdom.  When everything seems backwards and uncomfortable, we look through Your lens and discover we’ve been walking on the ceilings — living our entire lives upside-down and backwards.  We’ve been fighting our way to the top when we should be clamoring toward the bottom, lifting others up as we go.  We’ve been struggling to keep our head above water when we should have given up control long ago and let ourselves drown in Your deep.  Your Kingdom come, O King of Creation, for Your Kingdom makes so much more sense than this one!

Don’t talk smack about God – He’s the One who made you.  Would you insult the One who holds your eternal future in His hand?!  God is the One in charge, not us.  He builds some up and brings others to their knees, but always with the intention of bringing glory to his Name.

And may my life do just that, Father.  Whether You need to reduce me to a miserable pile of ashes or lift me up among great leaders, may my response and my actions bring You glory.  May Your story and Your praises flow from my mouth forever and ever Amen.

Psalm 74

God!  God!  Our city has forgotten You.  Our nations does not know who You really are.  Your churches are dying as the sex industry is growing.

You are stronger than that!  Remind us of who You are, of what You are capable.  Our city is in darkness, violence is all around us.  Don’t leave the victims of this sin to themselves.  Rescue them, Father, like the lost lambs You promised You would go after.  Pave a new road for the victims of the sins of this generation.  Let them sing Your praises as they march toward Your kingdom.  This is no peace rally – we must fight for the remains of our city.  There are plenty who would stop us; we need You to lead us Conqueror God.

Redeem this city, Righteous God.  Stand up for Yourself, for what is right, and inspire Your children to stand up with You.  Don’t let this city demean You anymore.  We’re all going to hell in a handbasket.

Psalm 73

I’ve never doubted that God is good.  He’s so good to those who serve Him, those who put His Kingdom as first priority.  But I nearly missed out on the full experience of His goodness.

I was puttering around with a little bit of the Kingdom, perfectly content to enjoy my little blessings; but then –whoa!  I got pulled deeper into the Kingdom — more sacrifice, more obedience and much more blessing.  Not earthly blessings: not more money (although we always have enough), not the career I’ve always dreamed of (quite the opposite, in fact), but Kingdom blessings: peace, joy, and love – deep unexplainable love – in my heart, a son who is growing in wisdom, love, and Kingdom learning.

There were days when I envied those who apparently have it made – a great career, lots of money, a house with rooms for each person – but that isn’t Kingdom stuff, it doesn’t last!  Even if they are Kingdom people, those are the responsibilities and talents God has given them.  I need to account for, keep track of, and manage my own responsibilities.

Sometimes it seems as if Your people get the short end of the stick, God.  Everyone else gets to pursue their own desires and make their own rules.  But when I enter Your sanctuary God, when I see the big picture in Your Kingdom perspective, then I can remember and realize those things are all just ice cream houses.  You are preparing us for an eternal mansion!  And all along I was totally oblivious of what You have in store for us.  I was an ignorant fool in Your presence.  Here I still am in Your presence, but You have taken my hand and opened my eyes – just a little – so I can see a glimpse of Your glorious Kingdom as You lead me.

And that glimpse is all I needed!  Now I long for You!  I hunger for You every day.  You’re all I want and need.  I’ll sing Your praises until I’m a bag of bones buried in the ground.  But then I’ll be with You in Heaven so I’ll sing even louder!

Everyone!  Listen!  God is as stable as Haystack Rock and He’s Faithful!  If you’re falling apart, run to God!  He has so much in store for those who love Him and obey Him!

Psalm 72

Father — good, knowing, loving Father — please give the gift of good parenting to N and me.  Give the gift of wise and just rule to this household.  Please give us discernment as we shepherd the children You gave us and let us be honorable in the way we raise these little ones.  

Let all who see us delight in the outcome of our efforts, not for our glory, but for Yours.  May our methods and results bring You glory.  Help us teach them to stand up for the poor and needy and not be pushed around by bullies.  Bless our family with Your love and an intimate relationship with You for generation after generation – until You return and we can know true intimacy with You. 

Let this family be like refreshing rain to our thirsty friends and neighbors as we reflect Your beautiful glory; let us us share Your righteousness as we spread it like wildflowers through St Johns.  Let us be peacemakers our whole lives.  May all who know us know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You are our King.  

I pray that people from all over the world will fall down and worship at Your feet when they see how You saved this hopeless family: 2 flawed parents and 2 strong-willed kids and yet You have shown us grace and have healed our wounds.  You are shaping our children into strong soldiers for Your Kingdom.   You are redeeming my helpless and hopeless parenting skills and teaching me how to guide my children back to Your cross every day.  

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  You have saved us!  We have so much!  You have blessed us beyond understanding.  Let us joyfully sing your praises from morning to night and then let us dream of Your love.  You are our King!  King Jesus!  Let everything that has breath praise the King!

Psalm 71 – Salvation & Refuge Come from God

I look to God for help when I need it.  I never regret it, He never lets me down.  God is the master of timely rescues; a Savior to all who call to Him admitting they need help.

Put Your ear to my heart and listen, God.  Only You know how to make this old ticker tock to Your glory.  My doctor, my counselor, my friend — You are everything to me.  My firm foundation, my safe space, my shield — only You can keep me grounded and safe.  Pull me from the clutches of apathy, pluck me from the talons of pride.  Rescue me from my own sinful nature and redeem me so that I can be useful to You.

Ever since I was a little kid You have taken care of me, guiding me down the path that leads to Your Kingdom.  We’ve been through it all together, from my beginning until the end – Please God, keep using me until the end!  Let my mind always be strong enough to remember You and grasp the depths of Your love for me.

I can’t stop thinking about You.  And thinking about You brings praise to my lips.  Every beautiful thing I see reminds me of Your creativity and then…Praise!

I’ll write all my praises down; I’ll write a book of the ways You deserve to be praised.  That way, everyone can read about Your love today.  From start to finish I’ll sing your praises.  I need to tell everyone about Your good salvation.  I need to encourage others to look forward to Your Kingdom come!

There’s no one like You God!  I’ve got to sing it to the world.

Psalm 70

“Let those on the hunt for You sing and celebrate!  Let all who love Your saving way repeat this truth: ‘God is mighty!'”

Let those who are seeking for You find You — reveal Yourself in little bits at a time so we can digest Your goodness God.

To C reveal Your faithfulness; reveal Your love and mercy, gentleness and passion.

To M reveal Your steadfastness, Your strength, Your community.

Let all of us who know Your salvation rejoice it it!  Let Your name and Your praise be ever on our lips.

Guard our hearts from fear of man.  Be our strength and our reason for living.  Let us live lives that please You — Your Kingdom come in our homes and neighborhoods.  Teach us to invest in the eternal rather than the temporary.  Let the fruit of our lives reflect the passion of our heart: King Jesus, Lord of Heaven and all Creation, good Master of all who love and serve Him.

Psalm 69

God!  Father in Heaven!  Help me!  I can’t do this, I’m in over my head!  I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.  I don’t know how to raise my son to honor You.

I’ve called to You for help so loud and long my voice has given out.

People are starting to stare – “Who’s kid is that?!”

“God, You know every sin I’ve committed.”  I can’t hide anything from You.

Don’t let those we’re trying to tell about You be discouraged by the condition of our son’s heart.  Please don’t let our parenting seem as hypocrisy to anyone.  “Don’t let those out looking for You come to a dead end by following me –  Please dear God in Heaven!”

Because we’re trying to make You King of our family, we look like idiots – “They can’t even control their own kids!”

I love You more than I can say – that is why I’m so frustrated with my son’s disrespectful behavior.  When I poured myself out in patient love, all I got was disrespect.  When I told him of my sorrow, he just disobeyed.  (This is beginning to sound like what You have gone through with me, Jesus.)

So I pray some more.  “God, answer me in love!  Answer with Your sure salvation!”

Rescue me from my swamp of discouragement.  Don’t let me drown in my self pity!  Don’t let me give up now.   Help me to cling to You for dear life and cling to my son, fighting tooth and nail for his soul.

“Answer me, God, because You love me.”  Show this whole family Your mercy and grace.

“I’m hurt and in pain; give me space for healing.”  Give me strength to continue each day.  I’ll shout praises to You, Lord, because You are our salvation.  You have captured my son’s heart and I know You will not let him go.  You are shaping him into a vessel You can use and putting me through the fire at the same time.

May our lives be a sweet sacrifice to You, loving God in Heaven.  This is all we ask.

Psalm 68

I’m not feeling this one today.  David sings of victory in war, but today I need to write a psalm of weary defeat.

Where is this power and might You’ve promised God?  Daily I come to You, looking for help and still I fail.  My strength is gone, my energy sapped, my spirits low.  I need You now, Strong God.

I know I can’t raise my son to follow You on my own; please help me now!  Loving Father who chases after each lost sheep, pursue these bedraggled lambs and bring us back into Your fold.  We’re tired, we’re cranky, we need You!

Psalm 67 – A Psalm for a Sunny Day

Father of lights, give Your light and Your distinctive flavor to Your children.  Smile on us and let Your heart swell with pride because You love us.

Everyone — in Your Kingdom and out — will see what You’re like, what makes You so wonderful, why it’s so easy to praise You.  God, let all people thank and enjoy You, our hearts thankful and happy like when we finally see and feel the sun after a loooong winter.

You care for everyone.  Near and far, there’s no one You don’t care about.  Let everyone thank You for Your kindness and mercy.  Let everyone enjoy Your goodness.

Don’t hide your exuberance, children of God, earth and all its creatures.  We have been blessed by God, our loving God.  Let’s honor Him, thanking Him and enjoying His presence.

Psalm 66

Hey Red Sea, let’s raise the roof!  Let’s sing praise until all of St Johns hears us.

Sing a song, paint a picture, write a story, dance a dance to tell of how amazing God is, of what He has done in our lives.

Magnificent God in heaven, when the world sees You – Really Sees You and understands who You are – everyone will fall to their knees in worship.

Come on, Church, take a good look at God’s creation.  It will take your breath away.  Gaze on Mt Hood, soaked in sunset orange and pink.  Hike to the middle of Forest Park – smell the earthy trees, the sweet flowers blooming.  Listen for the chirp and creak of bird and bug – all the little creatures voicing praise to their Creator.  Wander out in the fields on Sauvie Island and taste the sweet ripe berries and peaches, juice dribbling down your chin.  All this was made by our Father in Heaven for us to enjoy.  Don’t you feel loved?!

And here’s cause for a song — look at the faces around you.  Think of the change and growth God has done in each of us.  Sure, it hasn’t been easy but our journey has only drawn us closer to Him, taught us to lean hard into Him when the going gets rough and to live with open, generous hands when times are good.

God set us on the road to life, kept us out of the ditch, now let’s praise Him for it!  I’m bringing the gifts You’ve given me and my hard-earned treasures to Your house God.  It’s the least I can do to thank You.  Generous God, You deserve the best, the biggest portion of what I have.

Red Sea, come and listen!  Let me tell you what God did for me.  I called to Him when I needed help, relied on Him when I needed strength.  I sang His praises in my darkest moments.  And God heard me!  He heard me and came running.  He has never let me down, never left me out in the cold.

Praise God and thank Him!  “He didn’t turn a deaf ear, He stayed with me, loyal in His love.”