May 31 - Psalm 139:24

Thursday, May 31, 2012


May 31 - Psalm 139:24

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Lord really cares about our personal relationship with Him.  There is nothing more that He wants for us than that we walk with Him from now through eternity!

What are some of the signs of a life that is lived with Him?

Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit (in our lives) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Paul continues by saying, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:24-26)

The fruit that shows up in our lives because we walk with the Spirit and are in a personal relationship with the Lord are dimensions of grace.  We love like the Lord loves, we are filled with peace and joy, things that flow from us into the world around us.  We are patient, kind, we exude goodness and faithfulness, we are gentle and we exert self-control.

These are opposite of offensive and make us a welcome part of any community.

Finally Paul reminds us that becoming conceited, provoking and envying others is offensive.  Those things that separate us from others; that offer condemnation rather than grace will never draw others to the Lord.

In all that we do, in all that we say, in all that we are … our greatest gift to the world is to live lives filled with grace and mercy; allowing others to see the goodness of God within us so that they are exposed by our lives to the God who wants to have everyone spend eternity with Him.

May 30 - Psalm 139:23

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


May 30 - Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 

And here it is.  This is what all of the passion is about regarding the wicked and those who hate God. The psalmist wasn’t out to make judgment on everyone else.  That was up to God.  What he wanted to know was what it was God might find in him.

I was looking back at some old journal entries I had made in the mid-late 90s and one of the things I observed at the time was the incredible amount of judgmentalism that was occurring … in the world, in my own communities, everywhere I turned.  We were turning the focus outward in a very negative manner, rather than worrying about how we transform ourselves.

A friend of mine used to tell the story of how, in his small town, a local man had refused to pay him for the veterinary services he supplied.  The man’s animal had died and he blamed my friend, though there had been nothing that could be done.  A lot of bitterness and anger had developed over the years between the two of them and it affected a great deal of this man’s life. The town was too small to manage that much anger.

He said that one day as he was pumping gas, this man drove into the gas station and my friend realized that things couldn’t keep going as they were, it was much too painful.  Even though this man had spread terrible lies about my friend, refused to pay a bill, took every chance to take potshots at him, my friend knew he would never receive an apology.  As a Christian, my friend felt that he had righteousness on his side.  He’d done nothing wrong … at all.  He was the one who had been wronged.

He walked over to the man and said, “I’m sorry,” then walked away.  My friend recognized that the greatest seat of anger and wickedness was within himself and he needed to release it.  In that moment of release, he was also able to release God’s love into the world.  It didn’t matter that the entire situation was caused by the other man’s wickedness, my friend needed to acknowledge that it was his heart that needed to change.

Three days later, the man came into my friend’s veterinary office, paid the original bill and asked for forgiveness.

We don’t release God’s love by setting ourselves up as his tools of judgment on the world.  When God searches our hearts and we allow his goodness and love to shine through, we become his tools for transformation.

May 29 - Psalm 139:21-22

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


May 29 - Psalm 139:21-22

Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 

It is so hard to love God when you are surrounded by wickedness.  The psalmist wants the Lord to know that he is completely devoted to him and not to those who live in wickedness around him.

This is something we all want – we want the Lord to know that we love him and will choose him over the evil of the world.  If God isn’t going to rid the earth of evildoers, we have to figure out how to live on the earth at the same time, yet not become like them.

The enemies of God were very apparent to the psalmist and if they hated God, he wanted nothing to do with them.

It’s pretty simple for us to say this is our reason for treating people who sin or live their lives differently than we do.  We judge whether or not they hate God and as soon as we pass that judgment, we feel quite justified in our poor treatment of these people.

That’s not what the psalmist is doing here.  He calls on God to pass judgment and is truly pledging his devotion to the Lord.  Let’s wait until tomorrow to see what lies at the bottom of all this.

May 28 - Psalm 139:19-20

Monday, May 28, 2012


May 28 - Psalm 139:19-20

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 

Those wicked people.  Isn’t it frustrating that they seem to always be around doing their thing, living their lives and sometimes even flourishing?

We’ve all had those people in our lives.  I knew a girl when I was younger who seemed to have everything.  All her material needs were met, she was bright and did well in school.  Nothing ever really went wrong in her life.  She married a guy who continued to take care of her, had kids, got a good job … on and on and on.  And she was a hideous person. She was a terrible gossip; when it came to competition for things, she was cut throat and mean!  She said awful things about people to teachers attempting to get better grades and take others down.  I could never figure out how things continued to go well for her.  I don’t know what has happened to her at this point and I would never wish evil on anyone, but it drove me nuts!

The Psalmist was frustrated with those who were wicked, yet it seemed as if God left them alone.  There was no obvious punishment for their wickedness, even if they spoke badly against the Lord!

How is it that the God who knows each of us so intimately can allow that type of behavior?

The Psalmist doesn’t have an answer to that question yet, but before the week is over, we’ll uncover the right response.

May 27 - Psalm 139:18


May 27 - Psalm 139:18

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. 

Do you ever just consider the glory of the continuity of God’s word?  Sometimes it is good for me to set aside all the scholarly discussion surrounding the veracity of the Bible and look beyond that to see how everything ties together so completely.

I love to read a good mystery.  Seemingly inconsequential bits of information end up being critical clues to solving the mystery.  In fact, this is such a standard tool, that if I read a description or item that the author tosses out and then avoids or attempts to deflect my attention away from it, I just acknowledge it and file it away to help me solve that mystery before the end of the novel.

God’s word is full of things that are used to describe one thing, then show up later to help us comprehend yet another facet of his relationship with us.

In God’s original covenant, he promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as grains of sand. The Psalmist now tells us (thousands of years later) that God’s thoughts outnumber grains of sand.  Think about how that works.  God’s thoughts are on each of us.  Always.  The immensity of this is sometimes more than I can comprehend!

May 26 - Psalm 139:17

Sunday, May 27, 2012


May 26 - Psalm 139:17

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 

Think of the comparison that has been made here.  God knows everything about us and he loves us with a love that can not be measured.  We have such little thoughts while God’s are vast.  He is aware of every thought we have, yet we can not begin to comprehend those of the Lord’s.  We are his creation – he is our creator.

This Psalm spells out the great chasm that stands between us and God.  We are so small and he is infinite.

Yet … he loves us. He chose to create us.  It wasn’t an accident or a whim, it was a choice. He desires to walk among his children, so much so that when sin overran humanity, he sent his son to die to atone for those sins, so that once more, we would be able to enter into his presence.

How precious are his thoughts.  He thinks about us. His mind is ever on us. He cares for us and loves us. He breathes life into us and then at our death, brings us to himself in eternity.

How precious are his thoughts. He thinks about us. Can you begin to fathom the power of that notion? Can you see the gift of life that he has given to each of us?  Can you understand the vastness of his love?

How precious are his thoughts. He thinks about you.

May 25 - Psalm 139:13-16


May 25 - Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

God knows our thoughts, where we are, what we are doing; even the very darkest of our secrets.  How is this so easy for him? Because he created us.  Every single atom that makes up our being was set into place by God.  Every breath we take is part of his creation.  There is nothing we experience that is outside his creation.  He knows us because he created us.

When was the last time you considered the fact that you were fearfully and wonderfully made?  I suspect that if I were to ask you about yourself, you could find a million blemishes and faults; yet, you were made in God’s image and his loves his creation?

We depend on humanity’s view of us to define our acceptability, yet it is God who created us. We see things through critical eyes, yet it is God who accepts us and loves us with no conditions.

The Psalmist says that he knows full well that God’s works are wonderful.

You are wonderful.  God created you and placed you into time and s pace according to his desire for your life.

You are wonderful.

May 24 - Psalm 139:11-12

Friday, May 25, 2012


May 24 - Psalm 139:11-12

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 

It is dark in the country.  I mean DARK!  On nights when the clouds hide the moon and stars, the darkness is overwhelming.  Driving on country roads at night, with no lights except my headlights cutting through the darkness can be a little scary.

One night I came up to the cabin late after a choir rehearsal.  I opened the back of my Jeep and was beginning to grab things to take inside.  Just as I reached for the second bag, I heard strange animal sounds. They were loud and they were close!  I dropped everything back into the Jeep, slammed the door, ran inside, slammed the main door and decided that unpacking could just wait until morning.

Mom, Dad, Jim and I went to Canada in 1982.  We drove as far as the road would take us (the dirt road that kept going went into an Indian encampment. The guys came out every morning in their pickup trucks to get to work).  Camping with my father was a terrific experience.  He made sure that everyone was comfortable.  He and Jim pitched the tent and set up the entire camp.

We were far enough north that it never really got dark.  In fact, Mom and I were able to read without additional light until 3 am.  However, it was dark enough in the woods behind our campground that she and I chose to NOT sleep in the tent with Jim and Dad.  We preferred the safety of the van’s metal walls.  When Dad and Jim told us about the wolves snuffling around their tent and then showed us the pawprints, we were thankful for those metal walls and stayed in the van the rest of the week.

Darkness exposes our fears.  We think that it hides our inconsistencies and flaws, but what really happens in darkness is that little fears become immense and threaten to overtake our sanity.

We worry when our children are afraid of the dark, but many of us are just as fearful when the lights go out and we can’t see things as they really are.  I don’t mind having a nightlight burning or lights from the computer (not the monitors – hate that), or power bricks.  Those small flickers of light are enough to guide me when I wake up in the middle of the night.

The greatest darkness we find ourselves in can be fear or sin or hatred or sorrow.  There is no electrical solution to combat those fears, but there is a promise we have from God.  He brings light into darkness.  When He created the world, the first thing he created was light (Genesis 1:3).  When all is said and done, and the Lord walks among us, the sun and moon will no longer be needed because the glory of the Lord will bring light and the Lamb will be its lamp (Revelation 21:23).

God is light and in him there is no darkness.  Now – imagine the brightness of that light as He stands in the darkness of your heart.  God brings light into darkness.

This is a promise.

May 23 - Psalm 139:9-10

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


May 23 - Psalm 139:9-10

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast. 

God’s hand will guide me – his right hand will hold me fast.

Throughout scripture we read of God’s right hand.  The right hand is the hand of authority or honor.  When Jacob gave out his blessings, the right hand came first. In Genesis 48:13-14, even though Manasseh was the older son, Jacob crossed his hands so that the right hand would be on Ephraim’s head for the blessing.

The right hand refers to the Messiah in prophecy found in the Old Testament. These prophecies promise that the Messiah will rule over his enemies.

“A Psalm of David. The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”  Psalm 110:1

Psalm 118:16.  “the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!"

This makes a great deal more sense when we get to the New Testament.

Ephesians 1:19-21, “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

Romans 8:34, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the one who has been given great power and is blessed by and whom we know is seated at the right hand of the Father, will hold us fast.

The strength of that right hand is what keeps us safe, no matter where we are.

May 22 - Psalm 139:8

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


May 22 - Psalm 139:8

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 

One thing distinguishing the Lord from other gods is that there is no limitation to his reach.  While lesser gods focus on one area of authority, the Lord God is everywhere. He isn't just a god of the sun or the sea, the winds or fertility.  He is nothing like Athena or Jupiter, Mars or Neptune.  He is the God of creation: omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

Even though He can’t abide in hell, His reach extends to the very depths as it does to the very heights of creation.

Through the next couple of verses, the Psalmist spells out the extent of the Lord’s presence.  The heights of heaven, the depths of hell … tomorrow we see him in the wings of dawn (the east), the far side of the sea (the west), the next day we’ll read of the darkness and light … all of these things portray God’s absolute sovereignty over all that He created.

No matter how high we soar or how low we fall, the Lord God is there.  We can be confident in that. We can relax in that. We can find comfort in that.  God is everywhere that we are. He was there before we got there and will be there long after we leave.

May 21 - Psalm 139:7

Monday, May 21, 2012


May 21 - Psalm 139:7

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 

Jeremiah 23:24 says "Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD."

Hebrews 4:13 says "Hebrews 4:13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account."

This is one of those things we can count on … there is no place in heaven or on earth that we can escape the notice of God.  For some, this might seem terrifying, but for me, these words provide great comfort.

Fear and anger make us do crazy things. Sometimes running away is the only thing we can do to escape our own terrors. I think of all those who feel alone.  I think of children who are bullied, a parent watching a child go through hell, whether physically or emotionally; addicts who can’t escape their drug of choice; families who are abused, whether verbally, emotionally or physically by an angry, sick, person; there are so many reasons, both real and imagined why we want to run away.

When I was young, I had a close friend who had seen so much misery in her short life that all she could do was bolt and run, even though she had a home with loving people.  She trusted no one.  There was no one who felt safe to her.

These words assure us that no matter where we run to, God sees us.  These words are meant to comfort us.  There is no place that is too far away for the one who loves us the most to find us.  With every step we take away from familiar surroundings, he walks with us.  In every dark place we choose to hide, he is beside us.

We can’t hide from him.  He fills heaven and earth.

May 20 - Psalm 139:6

Sunday, May 20, 2012


May 20 - Psalm 139:6

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 

The Lord knows me; he hems me in and lays his hand on me.  THAT knowledge is too wonderful - too lofty to attain.

I have spent the last two years going after more and more knowledge.  There seems to be no slaking the thirst that I have for knowledge.  I read voraciously, I search out information and knowledge all the time.

However, I will never know the extent of the Father’s love for me.  It feels as if I see glimpses of it, but I can’t get my head wrapped around the enormity of it.

What wondrous love this is.  He knows us better than anyone, He cares for us more than we can comprehend and there is no way to grasp the depth of his infinite love for us.

We can try to understand it, we can attempt to put it into words, but no knowledge will ever be enough.  The knowledge of what the Lord has done for us is greater than anything we can contemplate.

May 19 - Psalm 139:5

Saturday, May 19, 2012


May 19 - Psalm 139:5

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

I love to cocoon myself in blankets.  I sleep on my side, so I will lean forwards and tuck the blankets in behind me and then pull the blankets in so they tuck in around my front.  Before I know it, I am warm and snuggled into my cocoon, with not much showing except my nose on those cold, winter nights.  If there is a warm animal tucked in close under the blankets with me, all the better and if I need several extra blankets on top, that’s fine, too!  When I am all tucked in like that, the cold night air has difficulty reaching me.

The Psalmist revels in the protection offered by the Lord.  Imagine those amazing, creative hands, tucking you in cradling you as he wraps his protection around you.  The hand of the Father strokes your hair gently, offering comfort and peace … soothing you.

Now, imagine the Father taking all of your yesterdays and all of your tomorrows and covering those with his hands.  He hems you in behind … all that has happened until this moment and he hems you in before … all that will happen from this moment forward.  Those are also protected and covered by him.

You are safe with the Lord who knows everything about you. From the moment of your birth he offers you protection, safety, peace and love.  All you have to do is reach out for it.

May 18 - Psalm 139:1-4

Friday, May 18, 2012


May 18 - Psalm 139:1-4

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit 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, LORD, know it completely. 

As you read these words, what is it that your imagination grabs hold of?

I consider how only the Lord knows everything about me.  Before him, I am as vulnerable as a newborn.  There is nothing he doesn’t know about me, there is nothing he hasn’t seen me do or heard me say.  I can hide nothing from him.

The Lord knows my deepest wounds and would love nothing more than for those to be healed.  He knows my greatest desires and would love nothing more than for me to see those through his eyes so that together we can make them become real.

He knows my anger and would love for me to release it so that it no longer poisons my heart.  He knows which things make me happy and would love to be able to allow everything in my life to be easy.

He knows my limitations and would love for me to be able to trust him as he leads me beyond those into an extraordinary life.  He knows what I dream about and would love to make those dreams a reality.

He knows when I struggle to wake up in the morning and would love to let me know what will happen throughout the day so that I am as excited about it as he is.  He knows when I awaken in the middle of the night, filled with terror about things I cannot control and he would love to hold me and comfort me and assure me that all will be well.

He knows my sins; he knows my weaknesses and my strengths.  He knows all of these things and yet he is the only one that I trust completely with this knowledge. It is to him that I pour out the truth of my life. He holds it close to his heart and will never betray me to the world, to the deceiver, even to myself.

He has permission to search me through and through, something I give to no person on earth, because there is no one who is worthy of that trust.  Only him … the one who knew me before I was born.  He is the one who knows me now and will know me through my life.