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On My Heart Devotional                             
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God graciously gives us everything we need for life and godliness. In our spiritual journey we rely on Jesus Christ from beginning to the very end. Everything comes from God. Christian spirituality is simply following Jesus and receiving from Him. My prayer is that you will be encouraged by these devotionals and random thoughts.

Reflections on a few Psalms

Psalm 27


One Thing I Will Ask

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me high upon a rock. Psalm 27: 4-5 (NIV)

I remember one of the Sunday school teachers I had very well. I don’t remember any of the lessons but I do remember Mrs. Davison. I remember her because she cared about her students and loved Jesus. She was always talking about the things she prayed for and how God answered. Every week she told us about specific answers to her prayers. She prayed about everything. She prayed for parking spaces, purchases, her family, direction, what to wear, where to go and what to say and do. Prayer was natural for her (like breathing), she prayed about things I never thought about praying for.

One day Mrs. D mentioned that she prayed daily for each of us, her students. I couldn’t get that out of my mind. I knew she meant it. I knew she was actually praying for me and my friends.

God used Mrs. D to show me that God is real, alive and active. She was constantly aware God presence. She helped me see the beauty and wonder of the Lord Jesus.

King David was preoccupied with the person of God. He wanted to be close to God, see and appreciate God’s beauty. His priority was to seek God’s face. The one thing he asked God for was to enjoy the constant presence of God. He wanted to be close to God, see and appreciate His beauty.

In the day of trouble the enemies of our soul are powerless before a Savior like our God.

 
Psalm 42

Thirst for God

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42: 1-2 (NIV)

I’ve been extremely thirsty. It is always refreshing to finally get a drink of water. There have also been times when I’ve asked, “Where is God?” I wanted to hear from God but experienced nothing but silence.

The writer of Psalm 42 is in deep distress. He is in tears. His enemies mock him. Remembering better times only increases the pain. He wants again to experience the refreshing presence of God. He is like a deer being chased by a dangerous predator whose mouth is dry. The deer’s need for water is desperate. In the same way the writer’s thirst for God is intense.
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Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5) The most important conversations we have are often the conversations we have with ourselves. The writer of Psalm 42 prayed honestly, cried, talked to himself and reminded himself of God’s character.

Faith and hope argue with fear and sorrow in our mind. In this case faith and hope in the living God win. God is trustworthy; grace gives us hope. When distress is overwhelming there are sound reasons to trust in God, who never changes.
 

Psalm 63

A Thirsty Soul

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Psalm 63: 1-3 (NIV)

When I am dealing with problems, loneliness or sorrow my soul can become dry, tired and weary. My greatest need is God.

The introduction to this Psalm says, “A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.” David has had to flee for his life. He is tired and weary; there is no relief. He is thirsty. There is no water. David has experienced God’s power and glory in the past and this encourages him. This situation gives him a deep thirst for God. He cannot get God out of his mind. God’s love is better than life.

The answer to my spiritual dryness and weariness is found in God. The problems we face are real but God is more real. He is not a stranger. He is near to us. He is compassionate. He cares. He is the lover of my soul.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise Him. Psalm 63: 5.
 

Psalm 84

The House of God

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 (NIV)

There are some Sundays when I am tempted to skip church. It may be because I’m tired, discouraged or I just don’t want to be around people. But I go to church anyway.

I’ve been going to church and Sunday school every week since I was child. I don’t think much about it. It’s a deeply ingrained habit. I take it for granted.

Every week when I attend a worship service I pray, meditate, listen to God’s Word read, confess, sing praises and remember the life, death and resurrection of Christ as a part of the service. Every week I am reminded of the gospel and my need for Christ. I look around and see others worshiping, just like me. No matter what has happened during the rest of the week, God graciously provides me with what I need to keep my heart from becoming hard.

When I am spiritually “dry” I still pray, listen to God’s Word, confess and think about God’s goodness when I attend church. I am encouraged in my walk with God. I find myself praying in church when it seems impossible to pray. Others pray for me when I can’t. I find myself confessing sin and repenting when I wasn’t planning on it. I might not have picked up my Bible or prayed all week, but my heart is softened when I hear God’s Word read. I am reminded of Christ’s death and experience His grace in the Lord’s Supper. I see others around me and I know that I am not alone.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84: 1-2

The church is God’s lovely and gracious gift to us.
 

Psalm 130

Forgiveness

Out of the depths I cry to you, O God; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130: 1-5 (NIV)

I avoid thinking about my own sin. I reason that I'm not as bad as most other people. I'm a good guy. So why sweat it?

The writer of Psalm 130 asks a very powerful question: If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? If God did keep a record of sin, then there would be no hope for us. That is the real problem we face. We are all answerable to God. The real reason I avoid thinking about my sin is that I sin and I don't like to think about it. It would be a very long embarrassing record. Sin permeates my thoughts, motives and actions every day. Even the good I do is tainted by sin.

Thankfully, with God there is forgiveness. Because of God's unfailing love there is complete forgiveness and full redemption in Jesus Christ. Our amazing redeemer, Jesus Christ, has set us free. All our sin has been taken away.

Thinking about my sin and confessing it actually reminds me of God's unfailing love. God turns something I don't want to think about into something quite amazing.



Psalm 139

What are You Thinking About?

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139: 1-6 (NIV)

My wife, Anne, knows me better than anyone else. Many times she knows exactly what I am thinking or what I'm about to say. Sometimes she asks me "What are you thinking about?"  There are definitely times I don't want to answer that question. I don't always want to admit what I am thinking about. It can be embarrassing. My thoughts can be selfish, wishful, strange, foolish or sinful. There are times when it is best for me not to voice what I am actually thinking.

God does know what we are thinking all the time. He knows everything about us. He knows our thoughts. He knows when we sit down and when we stand up. He knows every word that we speak before we even say them. He knows our past; he knows our future. He knows us intimately and completely. No one knows us better than God.

My love for Anne is deepened because she knows me so well - the bad, the good and the ugly. I am often amazed that someone who knows me so well loves me.

The amazing thing about God knowing me completely is that His knowledge brings me comfort, peace and confidence. Nothing about us will ever surprise God. He sees all of our life. No hidden sin or unexpected weakness will ever come to the surface to that will surprise Him or disillusion Him. He knows me intimately and completely and He still loves me. It is wonderful.



Psalm 145

Praise

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145: 1-7 (NIV)

There are many days when praising God is not easy for me. When I'm praying my mind strays to my to-do list. I think of friends who are battling cancer or who are deeply hurting, experiencing tragedy and loss. I read or listen to the news and it seems like the world is falling apart. It is easy to think of things to pray about. It's not easy for me to focus on God and his glory.

Psalm 145 is an acrostic Psalm. Each verse begins with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet. God's glory and greatness are revealed everywhere, from A to Z. There are a lot of reasons to praise and exalt God. His creation displays his glory. God's power, might, faithfulness, compassion, love, provision and grace is evident all around us. This Pslam reminds me that there is a lot of God's goodness to celebrate! I can't even begin to list all the reasons there are to praise God. He is definitely worthy of praise and adoration.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm 145: 21



Psalm 146

Hunger Season

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146: 7-9 (NIV)

Have you ever said "I'm starving!"? I have. I wasn't close to actually starving (I never have been) but I was hungry and looking forward to eating a good meal.

When I was in Mozambique and Malawi I heard African Christians talk about "hunger season." I found out that hunger season is the time of year when crops have been planted but are not yet ready to harvest. Most of the previous harvest has been consumed. There are food shortages and any food there is in the market is very expensive. During "hunger season" it is common for people to live on just 3 or 4 meals a week.

This Psalm gives comfort to the hungry and the oppressed. It encourages me when I see oppression and people in need. God cares deeply about the oppressed, the hungry, prisoners, refugees, the fatherless and widows.

Psalm 146 also says that God loves the righteous. That's a BIG problem. I am not righteous. Fortunately, God provides what we most need. Christ, the righteous one, died for my unrighteousness. We have been given the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because of Christ we experience God's love.

"I delight greatly in the Lord: my soul rejoices in God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

I also experienced joyful worship in Malawi and Mozambique. I saw African believers rejoicing and celebrating God's mercy, grace and love. They understood that Christ had clothed them in His righteousness.


More to come soon....

Bob Krepps  2012 & 2013 all rights reserved

Reflections on the Book of Hebrews