A Good Night’s Sleep

Psalm 4:6-8

6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Have you ever had a time in your life when it seemed like peaceful sleep eluded you? Maybe the stress at your job was keeping you from being able to keep your eyes shut throughout the night. Maybe you’ve had terrifying dreams that make sleep anything but peaceful. Maybe it’s wondering how the bills will be paid, or worrying about a wayward child, or maybe it’s just good ‘ole insomnia. If that’s you, Psalm 4:6-8 have to encourage you.

David knew that while the world searched in futility for peace apart from God, true peace could only be found in God. His joy was not dependant upon circumstances. The protagonists in this passage are content and find joy when their business (grain and new wine) does well. David’s peace was deeper. And, he could truly lie down his head and sleep in peace because he knew that God was watching over him.

Struggling with peace?

Maybe it’s time to let others in on the secret. Ask a close friend to be your prayer partner, lifting your pain to the Lord. Perhaps keeing a journal of how you are feeling would help. As you keep a record of God’s faithfulness in written form you have somewhere to look back to when the doubts arise. God is faithful and will sustain you in the tough times. May you sleep in peace, tonight!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Peace sounds awfully good about right now. In our uncertain world, You are the only one who can truly satisfy. Forgive us for the times that we try to find peace apart from You. And, thank You that we can rest in the assurance that You are watching over us 24/7, 365 days a year.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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Sacrificial Giving in Tough Economic Times

Psalm 4:5 – “Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.”

I love thinking about the Lord, and how He responds to us. He must chuckle sometimes at the lack of trust that we put in Him. He has shown us time and time again that He is faithful, and for whatever the reason we struggle to believe that He is there, that He knows, that He cares, and that He is not surprised. God is worthy of our trust. And, He is worthy of our sacrifices.

The other day I was talking with someone who has had a history of making great sacrifices to the Lord. This person was grieving because he was no longer able to sacrifice the way that he had in the past. Uncertain economic times mean different things to different people. While some people are concerned about not going on the vacations that they used to go on, or that they would have to wait a little longer to purchase their luxury vehicle, this person was upset because he couldn’t sacrfice to the Lord in the way that he once had. God knew his heart. And, I believe that God was more than satisfied by the way that this man lived his life. The man was trusting the Lord that a day would come when he’d be able to sacrifice like never before. Then he began to think that maybe he could sacrifice in ways that he hadn’t before. He started to think about new ministries, new ways to serve God by serving others, and about the time that he spends with God. And, he was energized.

What do you sacrifice for the Lord? Does your life show that you are prioritizing your relationship with God above all else? If not, sacrifice that which gets in the way and trust God. He wants to do great things in you. And, He wants to show you amazing things.

Dear Heavenly Father,

To You we owe our lives and everything we have. You have demonstrated what true sacrifice is all about. You gave Your Son so that we might experience forgiveness and life everlasting. Help us to honor You in all that we do.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

How the Father Sees You

Psalm 4:3-4

“3Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. 4In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent. Selah”

We had our small group this evening and were discussing Galatians 2. It’s an interesting chapter of Scripture, where Paul tells the Galatian believers that they are justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ, not by works. In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul talks about being crucified with Christ and that he no longer lives, but that Jesus Christ lives in him. What a beautiful picture of how God views us. When our Heavenly Father looks upon us, He sees us with the eyes of a Father, looking down in love towards His children. He sees us not for who we were, but for who we are in Christ. He sees Jesus Christ dwelling in us. That is special. It means that we have been set apart for God’s pleasure.

In Psalm 4:3, David reminds us that God has set apart the godly for Himself. He has a special calling on those who follow Him. Let’s remember who we are in Christ. And, let us remember that God wants the world to see Him dwelling in us.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are a patient, and a loving Father. Thank You for your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You see Jesus when you see us. You see Him dwelling in us. Help us to yield control of our actions, emotions, decisions, and all that we are to You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Delusions and false gods

Psalm 4:1-2
“1 Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. 2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah”

This morning I preached a sermon entitled The Church That Can’t Stop Worshipping, at Woodbury Community Church. In the message we looked at five components of the heart that truly worships God. We discoverd that the heart of worship is a heart of humilty, obedience, sacrifice, allegiance, and love. When we talked about the heart of allegiance, we talked about God’s desire for us to love Him, and no other gods.

How many of us have been guilty of pursuing other gods? I know that I have. In my dellusion, I’ve allowed myself to believe that something that was created by man could be more desirable than God. David, who asked God to answer Him when he called, recorded God’s answer. God asks all people how long we will love our delusions and seek after false gods. I don’t want God to have to ask me that question anymore. I, for one, want to be among those who say, “I have left my delusions and false gods once and for all. I have seen what the world has to offer, and it has come up empty compared to You.”

May you demonstrate a heart of allegiance today!

Dear Heavenly Father,

It’s easy to allow the world to crowd out Your voice. We don’t want to do that anymore. We desire You, and want to live for your glory. Thank You for purusing us even during the times that we have failed to pursue You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Prayer First

Psalm 3

1 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” Selah 3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. 4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. 7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Selah

I love Psalm chapter three. It’s a beautiful picture of the trust that David has in his God. No matter how many foes David had against him, he felt the presence and assurance of God’s deliverance. When he was facing overwhelming odds, David rested in the truth that he could go to God in prayer, and that God would answer him.

Where do you go in the time of your great stress? God wants you to trust Him. He wants you to come to Him before you go to anyone else. This week I faced a situation where I needed God’s wisdom. Instead of going to Him, I went to people. I talked about the area where I needed wisdom. I asked for opinions on what I should do. I got no shortage of good answers. But, I should have gone to God first. When I finally turned the situation over to Him, God answered. And, God answered in the most unexpected way. He loves to do that. As great as the opinions were that I received, none were as good as God’s ultimate answer.

Like David, you can trust God with all of your stress. Give it to Him today, and wait to see how He answers.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are a strategist like no other. While we make plans, You know the future. While we stress about decisions, You know the ultimate outcome. While we wonder where You are, You say, “I am here.” Help us to come to You first. Help us to trust You with every area of our lives. You are our Ultimate Salvation and the only Hope we have. Thank You for always being there.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Who is Your Refuge?

Psalm 2:10-12 – “Therefore, you kings, be wise; warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

King David loved his relationship with the LORD. He was chosen by God to lead his people. From the field to the Kingdom, David walked with God. And, David experienced God’s blessing. This chapter has shown us the awe that David had to be called a Son of God. And, this chapter reminds us of the God who lifts up and the God who tears down. David concludes by warning his enemies to serve th LORD with fear and trembling. He reminded his enemies of the special relationship that he had as Israel’s king. And, he reminds all of us of an incredible truth at the end of verse twelve.

Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Where do you take refuge? This week has been one of the most uncertain financial weeks in the history of our country. Just today, President Bush announced emergency measures for government to come in and bail out banks and financial institutions who had written countless bad loans. Our refuge must never come from governements, or finances, or relationships, or any other thing other than God. He is our Refuge. He is our Strength. Put your hope in Him today!

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are our Rock. We can depend upon You for everything. Help us to trust You when the world feels like it is falling apart. Help us to call out to You. You promise to show us great and mighty things when we do. We long for You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

I Am Your Father

Psalm 2:7-9 – “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

There is a great scene in The Empire Strikes Back, which will to me always be the second film in the Star Wars film franchise, where Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that his is his father. I remember sitting in a movie theater as a ten-year-old boy being blown away that revelation.

In Psalm 2, David reveals what God told him. Imagine the awe that David must have felt as the God of the universe declared to David, that He was his Father. The shepherd boy, was now a child of God. And, the shepherd boy’s Father, would make the nations of the earth his inheritance.

If you have trusted in Jesus Christ to be your Savior, then you too are a child of God. The hope that you have for eternity includes heaven, which is better than anything that this earth has to offer. May you declare your love for your Heavenly Father today!

Dear Heavenly Father,

You have given us more than we deserve. To be called a son or daughter of God is a thrilling thing. Thank You for Your matchless love. You are worthy of our praise and adoration. We love You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.