Psalm 120

Wise Father, You know what’s best.  Tell us what to do!
My children’s futures are at stake and there are so many roads to choose from.  There is no road that is free from hazards and danger.  So many people are eager to fill their heads with lies and call it Truth. Protect our children’s souls and make them Your own.  Bless them with generous amounts of wisdom and discernment so they can know what is True and what is false.  Increase their desire to pursue Truth and knowledge and prepare them to be ambassadors for Your Kingdom wherever they go.  Give us wisdom, Good Teacher, and help us to make choices that will bring You glory.

Psalm 119

Your heart finds peace when you obey God’s Word.
Things start to make sense when you listen for God’s voice and follow Him.  You’ve told us how to live, generous Father; You’ve given us clear instructions and expect us to follow them.  Now if only I could keep my focus on You!  If only I could keep from wandering off and doing my own thing every day!  Then I wouldn’t feel like such a schmuck when I compare what You’ve asked of me to what I’ve done.  Keep my eyes fixed on You.  Anchor my heart to Your Kingdom.

Thank You for Your unconditional love.  My desire is to follow You unconditionally, but I need You beside me every step of the way because I can’t do it on my own.

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How the heck are we supposed to know what is the right thing to do?!  By reading and meditating on Your Word.  I’ve stopped trying to rush through the Bible and I’ve learned to take my time, chewing and meditating on Your every word.  It is astonishing how Your words, penned so long ago, are so relevant to me and my culture.  You are Truth!  You are always true!  And so I will pursue Truth with a passion.  I’m storing Your words and promises in my heart and right when I need to hear them again, out they spring!  I can hold You to Your promises because You are Truth.  You are always true!  You hand out wisdom, Father, hand some to me.  I will pass it on to my children all day long and they will pass it on to their children one day.  I’d much rather spend my life pursuing You than anything else: wealth, respect, a career.  You are the only One who satisfies and when I am outside Your will even my “dreams come true” are as a tall glass of sand when I was expecting water.

I don’t have to wonder at how to stay within Your will.  Your Son — Your perfect Son — lived among us to show us the way.  He taught us what we should do; He showed us how we should spend our time.  Thank You gracious King for Your example!  Help me follow it!

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Give me wisdom and discernment Father so that I can know You — really know You!  I want to know and do whatever it is You are asking me to do.  I long to be able to fathom even an inch of the vast depth of Your power and love and glory.  I  know if I understood better who You are and who I am because of You, I would not be able to keep silent about Your greatness.  If  I had the slightest idea about the vastness of Your glory and authority I would have an urgency about telling my neighbors about You and Your love.  If I had even an inkling of what You want me to do and the power You’ve made available to me to do it, I would not waste a single minute of my life.

I am seeking for You, King of creation, now reveal Yourself to me and light a fire in my heart so that I may be a good servant.

*

*Sob!*  I feel awful!  I couldn’t be more miserable.  I have failed again!   Why can’t I just obey You God?!  Half the time I can’t even hear what You’re asking of me and the other half I hear it and forget it.  I’m a failure!  But when You look at me You don’t see this failure.  No, You see Your sinless Son standing before You in my place.  And You are preparing this broken child to be a part of something big.  Not just me, but all Your children together are working as one and becoming Your beautiful bride.  We are Your body; Your hands, feet, and mouth to the world.  Apart from You we are nothing, so hold us close strong Father.  Keep our eyes focused on You.  Burn into our minds our mission of proclaiming the Good News about Your love.  Don’t let us stray, Good Shepherd.  Don’t let us get caught up in things that don’t matter.  Fill us with Your Spirit and help us to build each other up with Your Word when we screw up.  We will mess up every day patient Father, but our faults are a testament to Your redemption and unfailing love.

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Your Love and Truth make up the mold that is shaping my life.  I want to pour myself into it and be changed by You.  Your Promises and Commands make up the path that guides my feet.  I want to run with abandon down it, drawing closer and closer to You.  Your Infinite Majesty and Higher Ways are a vast ocean that I cannot comprehend.  I want to plunge deep into it and lose myself in You.
You are everything to me; I depend on You for life and peace and purpose.  Don’t hide Your face from me, don’t be stingy with Your Spirit.  Fill me with Your Spirit and with wisdom and understanding of You even though I don’t deserve it!  I know I have not been a faithful ambassador for Your Kingdom.  My own fear and comfort have kept me from proclaiming Your goodness to my city — from letting my heart be moved and changed by You.  Forgive me Father!  I want to be a faithful servant!  I am ready to count the cost and follow You.  Tear down my walls of conformity and comfort.  Root out all my apathy.  Burn away my pride and fear of man and let me be a zealous witness for Your Kingdom!
“I’ll set Your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.”  Be ever on my mind, King Jesus.  Let me never miss an opportunity to proclaim Your sacrifice and redemption.  Send fellow travelers who are zealous for Your Truth, for I’m a friend and sister to all who love You and I could learn from them and be encouraged by them.  Train me in Your ways, Good Teacher, and I’ll teach all who will listen.  You don’t make mistakes, Purposeful Creator, You have a plan in mind for all of us.  Even my troubles have turned out for the best — they forced me to lean hard into You.  May I never leave Your side again.

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How can the creation ever understand its Creator?  Yet this is what I long for.  Give me wisdom and discernment so I may know You better.  I know Your ways are good, right, and perfect; help me to walk in them tirelessly.  Your Truth never goes out of style; may it be the song that inspires my dance all my days.  Comfort me when it feels I’m walking this road all alone.  Strengthen me when life’s demands overwhelm me.  Inspire me when I drift into apathy.  You are too great to ignore, too majestic to put off until later, too magnificent to disobey.  I am running after You with every ounce of energy that I have but the world is crumbling away beneath my feet, threatening to pull me into its despair.
Come quickly Lord Jesus!  Come gather Your children to Your side before we annihilate each other and Your creation.  The world desperately needs You!  Reveal Yourself to us!

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Your Word helps me to understand the journey You have me on.  When I read about You and how You’ve interacted with and taken care of Your people for thousands of years, I can start to see what my role in Your story must be.  For it is Your story, King of Heaven, not mine.  I have been created to bring You glory and my life is not my own.  You have put me in this place, what can sometimes feel like a prison (although it bares my selfish and ungrateful heart to call it that) just like You guided Joseph into his prison.  You have the greater good in mind; You know what my family will need and You have put me here to provide for them.  Grant me a heart like Joseph’s that served You faithfully no matter where he was and put his all into whatever he was asked to do.  Give me a humble heart that sees not myself in the center of the picture, but You, then others, and lastly me.  I am a servant.  Make me a humble, faithful servant.

But You must change my heart, Good Father, because I am wrestling with discontentment, selfishness, and fear.  Fill me with Your Spirit of peace so I can nestle into Your will, embrace it, and obey with vigor, putting 100% into all I do instead of my current 32%.  Give me a clear understanding that I am serving You and grant me a glimpse of the eternal impact I am making for Your Kingdom as I shepherd these young hearts.

Draw me to Your Word each day for instruction and encouragement.  What a gift I have so readily available!  I am part of a privileged few that have Your Word at our fingertips whenever we want to read it.  Let me not take this for granted!  Your word is Life!  It is always true and it is as alive and meaningful for me today as it was for Your people the day it was written.  Give me a hunger for Your Word like David had.  Draw me into Your Scriptures as a lover into an exciting relationship.  May I never become overly familiar with Your Gospel and think it has nothing new to offer me.

In You and Your Word I can retreat from all else.  You renew me.  You fulfill me.  You soothe my aching heart.  You always seem to say just what I need to hear — how can I help but obey?  Open my eyes and heart so I may understand You better.  I’m so desperately hungry to find fulfillment in joyful obedience to You.

Open our ears, soften our hearts so that we may set aside ourselves and serve You with delight.  My heart is breaking in two because so few are living by Your Word — even Your own children get caught up in their own comfort.

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You and only You are good, right, and perfect, righteous Father.  I never need to doubt Your Word.  Your law — there is so much of it! — is Your perfect Word.  But anyone who tries to uphold Your Law on his own effort is doomed to utter failure.  This just shows us that Your Word reveals Your Word — Your own perfect Son Jesus Christ.  In Him we have salvation and through Him we can be counted as righteous.  Apart from Him I am worse that nothing — I am a selfish, prideful mess!  That is why, as troubles are falling on me like rain, I look to Your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ, to give me the strength to go on.  Your Spirit inside me is what gives me the power to take another step, to swallow my snarkiness and let my heart be changed by You.  So don’t withhold Your Spirit generous Father.  Fill me to overflowing with Your patience, kindness, and joy.  I’m crying out to You morning, noon, and night because I desperately need You and I want nothing more than to bring You glory with my actions, thoughts, and words.

My prayers can come right into Your presence because Your perfect Son took the punishment that I deserved.  Let me never take that for granted.  Give me the wisdom and discernment that can only come from knowing You; from being well-versed in Your Word.  Then let Your wisdom flow from my tongue wherever I go.  Don’t let Your Word sit idly in my head but cause it to burn in my mouth until I let it out.  Your glory is my purpose!  Others need You as much as I do.

“O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it.  Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Psalm 118

Thank God because He’s good, because His love goes on and on!
Sing it out family, “His love goes on and on!”
Share the news with all Portland, Red Sea, “His love goes on and on!”
Children of God, tell the whole world!  “His love goes on and on!”
There is nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you.
There is nowhere you can go that will remove you from His love.

Have you ever done something so horrific that the people you love could not forgive you?  God still loves you and is ready to forgive!  Call out to Him.

Have you been the victim of those horrific acts done to you by someone else?
God loves you; He is ready to heal!  Call out to Him.

Have you been up against the wall, trying your damnedest to keep your head above water and feel like you just don’t have the strength to go on?
God loves you; He is ready to rescue!  Call out to Him.

Have you been wandering aimlessly, swept up by the busyness of each day, apathetic to the needs of the world around you?
God loves you; He is ready to guide!  Call out to Him.

Have you been seeking God with all your heart, laying down your life in service to Him?  God loves you; He is ready to reward!  Call out to Him.

The Lord hears our cries!  He will not turn a deaf ear to those who pursue Him.  “You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.”  He will embrace you and make you whole.

When you join God’s family you become part of His Kingdom here on Earth.  The life will not be easy — the kingdoms on Earth are at war and you are asked to join the fray.  No, life will not be easy but it will be good.  And oh!  The promises of the Kingdom to come!  Eternity with our loving Father and Savior!  Peace among all on Earth!  These promises give hope and courage to the heart of every saint.  We know that God always keeps His promises.  He is faithful to the end.

O God, You are my strength, my song, and my salvation!  Apart from You I am nothing.  Your Spirit inside of me gives me the strength to make it through each day.  I sing my love and praise to You each morning.  You sing comfort over me each afternoon.  In the evening we sing together as a family,  “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”  Praise the Creator who is worthy of our adoration.  He is the One who has saved us!  He has sacrificed His own Son so that we also may be called sons of God.  He is the One who conquered death so that we could live on in eternity with Him.

When you join the family of God, you are blessed!  So sing His praises with everything you’ve got!  Let the whole world know of His goodness!  His love goes on and on!

Psalm 116

O God, my God, how do I love You?
Let me count the ways…

I love You because You hear me when I cry out to You.  You listen and respond in ways that soothe my soul.  You have never given me over to despair; when it seemed that all was lost, You held me up and kept me from drowning.  You keep me anchored to the cross of Your son.  When temptation tries to drag me under and my sins threaten to overwhelm me, You extend Your hand of grace; You shepherd me back to the narrow road that leads to You and Your kindness and forgiveness melt my hard heart like wax.

You are gracious and You delight in making things right.  What can I do to thank You?  How can I show my gratitude to You for replacing my fear and depression with rest; my anxiety with Your peace?  I will tell everyone I meet about what You’ve done for me — for all of us!  I will sing Your praises as long as I live.  I will teach my children to follow Your commands and obey Your word.

Good King, I bow before You as Your humble servant.  Use me as You will.  I am ready to serve You with my life.  Thank You Holy King of Heaven!  Thank You for Your love and faithfulness!

Psalm 115

Father, we ask You for a lot of things out of selfishness and greed and pride, but as we are maturing, as we begin to know You better, we are learning to ask things, not for our own benefit, but for Yours.  Father, we ask You now, not for our sake, but for the advancement of Your Kingdom to show Your glory!  On account of Your merciful love we ask You to provide for our friend.  On account of Your faithful ways, we ask You to heal her broken heart.  We ask You to do this because people are asking, “Why would her God let this happen to her?  Where is her God now?”  Reveal Your glory, Father of the orphans and the widows.  Let all who hear her story praise Your name.

God our Father is with us and He holds all things in His control.  We don’t always understand why or what He is doing, but we can be assured He has not forgotten us.

So many people worship ideas and things made by people.  Money can’t hear their prayers.  Their philosophies can’t meet their needs.  Arts and media can’t satisfy their souls, and eco-altruism cannot be their salvation.

But you, children of God, you serve a living God who knows and cares for you intimately.  Trust Him!  Trust your helper!  Submit to your King!

Father in Heaven, look down and see Your children being swallowed up by grief.  Bless those who fear You.  Bless those who trust You.  Expand Your kingdom family on earth, generous Father.  Children of God, He is King over all but He has put us in charge of the earth.  Don’t turn a blind eye to the needs around you.  It is your responsibility to take care of your sister.

Father, we want our brother back.  What praises it would evoke from all who know of him!  But we Your people will praise You no matter what.
Praise the King of Heaven!

Psalm 114

With God, all things are possible!
In my life I’ve seen miraculous provision, impossible hearts turned, broken bodies healed, and my own character changed in ways inexplicable.  My God is so reliable — my miracle provider — I’m hardly surprised when a van is given to us.  But I’m always thankful!  So, so thankful!

Brothers, don’t look so shocked when God heals a broken bone overnight!  We serve a mighty God!  Sisters, don’t be so surprised when your bully gives his life to Christ!  We serve a God of power.

It is because of my confidence in Your mightiness, God — my assurance in Your ability to make people whole — that I come to You again to ask that You heal my brother.  Cast out the demons that confuse his mind, tear out the darkness that shrouds his heart.  Let him hear Your voice again.  Let him feel Your joy and be moved by Your Spirit.  Only You can save him, Father.   We’re counting on You!

Psalm 113

Praise Praise Praise!
Shout praises to the King!
If you know God, really know Him, you can’t help but praise Him.
Servants of the King, praise Him with your words, thoughts, and deeds.
Did you think of God today?
That’s praise!
Did you thank Him?
Holla!  Praise!
Did you pass on something He’s given or taught you?
Praise, praise, and more praise!
God is aMAZing!  There’s nothing that can compare with Him
Nothing and no one else is so majestic yet intimate, so vastly full of love.
No one loves the poor like God.
No one stands up for the interests of the downtrodden like a servant of God.
Chin up if things are hard for you now!
God has a place of honor for you at His table.
Praise the One who loves us no matter what!

Psalm 112

When you’re confident of your place at God’s table, there’s no need to heard what you have.  When you’re an obedient child of God, you can be confident that you will be taken care of.  Even in dark times God’s children can see His light.  They know how to look for and deliver His grace, mercy, and justice.  God’s children know how much they have been given and so they can freely give to others.  They seek God first so they don’t wander aimlessly.  They live honest lives so they’re not bothered by slander and gossip — God knows their hearts, it doesn’t matter what people think.  God’s children know that “stuff” on earth is temporary — it doesn’t matter in the long run — so it’s easy to give it away.  They are generous with their time, money, and lives so that others can see what really matters.  Only people last for eternity so God’s children invest in people.

Psalm 111

My heart is full of awe and praise for how much — how infinitely much — our Father loves us!  Three families gathered ’round the table and we each have a story of how God has guided and provided.  Even the table itself is a testament to God’s provision.  He opens doors and closes them according to His will.  All we have to do is trust Him and follow in obedience.  He knows what we need long before we even know it ourselves.  What once seemed like a job cruelly taken away is now clearly a blessing in hindsight.  Stick with God because He takes good care of His people.  When you seek God’s Kingdom first, you can be sure all your needs will be met.  In God’s Kingdom Family there’s plenty of love, plenty of food to go around.  You don’t think that the One who was so generous that He gave His own life for our sins would be stingy with the little things, do you?!  No, God shows His love for His people in big ways and small.  Gather ’round the table with your brothers and sisters and thank God for all His blessings!