Powerful

POWERFUL

 

Psalm 117
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
2 For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?

My Reflections in Prayer
Father, Praise seems to be the word of the day as I pray through this psalm.
I am curious as to why the psalmist wrote. Praise the Lord, all you nations and in the very next sentence, in his very next breath he writes; Praise him, all you people of the earth.
I wonder if it’s not a call to both corporate praise and individual praise.
That we should lift you up first as a community and secondly as individuals.
And why? Because of your unfailing love for us that is powerful. For “us” – I like that because even as I praise you as an individual I’m reminded that your unfailing love is for “us”! Not just me.
This morning if I’m to repent of anything I repent of not relying on the power of your unfailing love often enough.
And I’m reminded again that you remain faithful, even when I am being faithless.
As a people, let us praise, a powerful God. Amen

From Tim Keller’s book: The Songs of Jesus
SINGING TO THE NATIONS. All peoples should praise God (verse 1) for his “love toward us” (verse 2). The Gospel proclaims God has broken into history to save a people for himself and has done so supremely in Jesus. This challenges the narrowness of those who believe “all good people can go to heaven” whether they believe in Jesus or not. No—this salvation is open to all, even those who have not led good, moral, and pulled-together lives. It is not for those who think they are good enough but for those who know they can be saved only by God’s chesedh, his grace (verse 2), and who believe in Jesus’s saving work in history for us. If you pray or sing this psalm, it recoils on you. You must go out and sing God’s praises to the nations too.

 

Prayer: Lord, I praise you that you care for all the races, nations, and peoples, that you want to encompass all of them with your saving love. I confess I am not nearly as generous, that some kinds of people I strongly dislike. Help me to see all as both sinful and yet the recipients of your loving offers. Amen

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Vows and Promises

Psalm 116: 12-19 [NLT]

What can I offer the Lord 

for all he has done for me? 

 13  I will lift up the cup of salvation 

and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. 

 14  I will keep my promises to the Lord 

in the presence of all his people. 

 15  The Lord cares deeply 

when his loved ones die. 

 16  O Lord, I am your servant; 

yes, I am your servant, born into your household; 

you have freed me from my chains. 

 17  I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving 

and call on the name of the Lord. 

 18  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord 

in the presence of all his people— 

 19  in the house of the Lord 

in the heart of Jerusalem. 

Praise the Lord! 

 

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?

Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?

Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?

 

My Reflections in Prayer: 

 

Father, 

You are God, You are Savior, You are Redeemer. 

You are always worthy of all praise 

You are compassionate

The psalmist speaks of promises made and vows to be kept

What promises have I made to you? 

What vows have I made to you? 

What promises should I make to you? 

What vows should I make to you? 

Lord, show me what a sacrifice of thanksgiving looks like 

Teach me to give you the praise due you. 

 

From Tim Keller’s Book: Songs of Jesus 

DELIVERED FROM DEATH. God saved the psalmist from death (verse 8) because his servants’ deaths are costly (“precious”) and painful to him (verse 15). The psalmist feels he has been virtually resurrected back into the land of the living (see verse 9). God does, of course, allow his people to die, but they are so precious to him that he will someday pay the ultimate price on the cross so that our physical death will be just an entrance into greater life (2 Corinthians 5:1–10). Therefore, we can drink “the cup of salvation” to him (verse 13), celebrating this salvation in worship. But that is only because he drank the cup of divine wrath on sin, for us (Luke 22:42).

 

Prayer: Lord, you died that I might not die forever, and you rose so I might live forever. For this may I “sing your praise without delays.” Help me live my days in joyful hope, helping my soul to remember that as sin “consigned thee to dust, His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.”Amen.

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JUST LIKE ‘EM!

JUST LIKE ‘EM!

Psalm 115:1-8 [NLT]
Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to your name goes all the glory
for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
2 Why let the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in the heavens,
and he does as he wishes.
4 Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
shaped by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
and eyes but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
and mouths but cannot breathe.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
and feet but cannot walk,
and throats but cannot make a sound.
8 And those who make idols are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?

Prayer of reflection:
Father,
Glory, Glory, Glory, that only begins to express the adoration due you.
Unfailing love and faithfulness – from such a rushing stream of kindness flows but a shallow creek of gratitude.
Forgive me, not only for no lifting up your name enough.
Forgive me, when I lift up instead some worthless idol that I’ve bought into somehow, sometime, somewhere.
When I’m not trusting in You, who am I trusting in? What am I trusting in?
The Psalmist said that You do as You wish.
Teach me to trust in you more and more.
Cause me to flee from idols and idol makers.

From Tim Keller’s book, “Songs of Jesus:
THE POWER OF IDOLS. In the story Something Wicked This Way Comes, each person has a particular secret desire which they think will bring fulfillment—restored youth, sex with the beauty of their fantasies, athletic prowess, lots of money. But when they sell everything to get their dream, they are enslaved by it rather than satisfied. That fits with the biblical teaching of idolatry. Anything more important to you than the real God is an alternate god. Idols have no power (verses 5–7) to give you the love, forgiveness, and guidance you need. But paradoxically they do have power to make you like them (verse 8) and to keep you both spiritually blind and unable to see as well as spiritually lame and unable to change.

Prayer: Lord, I confess that I make an idol out of people’s approval. Let me be so satisfied with your love that I no longer respond to people out of fear of displeasing them but only in love, seeking what is best for them. Remove my idols of approval—which can never give me the approval I need. Amen.

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LIFT ME UP

 

Praise the Lord! 

Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord. 

Praise the name of the Lord! 

 2  Blessed be the name of the Lord 

now and forever. 

 3  Everywhere—from east to west— 

praise the name of the Lord. 

 4  For the Lord is high above the nations; 

his glory is higher than the heavens. 

 5  Who can be compared with the Lord our God, 

who is enthroned on high? 

 6  He stoops to look down 

on heaven and on earth. 

 7  He lifts the poor from the dust 

and the needy from the garbage dump. 

 8  He sets them among princes, 

even the princes of his own people! 

 9  He gives the childless woman a family, 

making her a happy mother. 

Praise the Lord! 

 

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?

Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?

Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?


Prayer of Reflection

Father, 

I love how the psalm starts out with this resounding, YES! – like of course, or ABSOLUTELY! 

You are more than worthy of our praise, and may it ever be so. 

I must confess that somehow between selfish desires, and busyness I lose sight of your presence, your power, your peace and more times than not I find myself being the needy one you are lifting up from the garbage dump. 

But the YES! comes from knowing YOU always LIFT me UP! 

Praise the Lord! – that’s code for thank you. 

 

From Tim Keller’s Book: Songs of Jesus

GREATNESS AND SMALLNESS. Praise God because there is nothing too great for him. He is over all time (verse 2), all places (verse 3), and all human power and authority (verse 4). But also praise him because there is no one too small for God (verses 7–9). He enthrones the poor (verse 7). The situation of the poor often is used to open them spiritually to the need for grace and the riches of salvation (Luke 6:20; Revelation 1:6). Materially God works for justice in history for the oppressed (Psalm 103:6, 140:12, 146:7). He loves working through the barren (think of Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth) and puts the lonely in community (verse 9). God’s greatness is seen in his regard for the ungreat. In Jesus he proved to be great enough to become small himself.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise you that one infinitely greater than the universe with all its galaxies would become a tiny infant who needed to be fed and carried and changed. And you did it for me. That humbles my heart and yet lifts it to the stars as well. Thank you, Lord.

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SPEND OF GIVE

Psalm 112[NLT]
Praise the Lord!
How joyful are those who fear the Lord
and delight in obeying his commands.
2 Their children will be successful everywhere;
an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
3 They themselves will be wealthy,
and their good deeds will last forever.
4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
6 Such people will not be overcome by evil.
Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
7 They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
8 They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
9 They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?

Prayer of Reflections

Father,
When I started to read this psalm if sounded almost like I was listening to some “name it, claim it” preacher.
Obedience that leads to wealth. It’s easy to start daydreaming great “what if’s”
But then my heart heard these words in verse 4 about being generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Holy Spirit help me to lend into that. May I give away more than I spend of my resources, my talents and my time.
Forgive my selfishness and make me more selfless
Teach me to trust You O Lord, for my needs and some of my wants
Guard my heart, make me more generous.

From Tim Keller’s Book “The Songs of Jesus

THEIR LONGINGS COME TO NOTHING. Those who do not merely believe in God but fear him and so obey out of inner delight (see verse 1) have their characters transformed into his likeness (Ephesians 4:22–24). God is compassionate (111:4) and so they are generous (verses 4–5). God’s word endures (111:8) and so those who fear him are steadfast even when news is bad (verse 7). God is righteous (111:3) and so are they (verse 3), but remember that “righteousness” in the Bible consists not only of traditional family values (verse 2) but also of helping the poor (verse 9). The psalm says without God your deepest longings won’t be fulfilled (verse 10). That means that with God they will be (Psalm 16:11; John 6:35).

 

Prayer: Lord, I thank you that you give us the bread of life. All around me people are looking for meaning, satisfaction, freedom, connection. But these are all aspects of deep spiritual hunger, and only your grace and your face can satisfy that. Keep me from their cosmic wild goose chases. Let me taste and see that you are good. Amen.

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BECKON ME!

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CHANGE

Psalm 109: 21-29 [NLT]

21 But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord,
for the sake of your own reputation!
Rescue me
because you are so faithful and good.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is full of pain.
23 I am fading like a shadow at dusk;
I am brushed off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak from fasting,
and I am skin and bones.
25 I am a joke to people everywhere;
when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.
26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me because of your unfailing love.
27 Let them see that this is your doing,
that you yourself have done it, Lord.
28 Then let them curse me if they like,
but you will bless me!
When they attack me, they will be disgraced!
But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing!
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace;
may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
God is faithful and good; has unfailing love; and blesses me
Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Need rescuing, I am poor and needy and my heart is full of pain.
I am a joke to people everywhere
Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?”
Change!

Father,
You are everything that I’m not. Find me, bless me, change my heart O, God.

From Tim Keller’s book: Songs of Jesus
BUT YOU, LORD. The phrase “But you, Sovereign Lord” here, as ever in the psalms, marks a great turning point. Hard prayers become softer, hopeless prayers more confident, sad prayers are filled with joy, and guilty prayers arrive in mercy. Our prayer may rightly begin with our own hurts, sins, enemies, surroundings, troubles. But it is only when you lay these things before God, see them in light of who he is, and say, “But you . . .”—that release, relief, growth, hope, and strength begin to come. The “But you . . .” of the psalms has its New Testament counterpart in Paul’s great “But now. . . .” The entire human race is lost in sin (Romans 1:18–3:20), “but now apart from the law . . . righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21–22).

 

Prayer: Lord, I thank you that your reality changes everything. I am weak—O, but you . . . I deserve nothing—O, but you . . . I don’t see any way out of this—O, but you . . . My life seems to be derailed—O, but you . . . I don’t know how to pray. Ah, but you will help me. Amen.

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