March 26, 2020

Pastor’s Devotional
Encouragement from the Psalms

It is so important for us to stay connected during this time!
To that end, we will be bringing you some devotional thoughts from the book of Psalms
to help stay your heart and mind on the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Look for emails twice a week through the end of April.
We’re in this together!
-Your Pastors
Psalm 3
 
Dependent. It’s practically a bad word in our world today! We are a culture of those who strive to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” a culture of “self-made” people. We think we have control.
 
But David gives us a window into his soul in Psalm chapter three, that I think applies to all of us more than we think. A soul that recognizes and acknowledges when it feels afraid and helpless. A soul that must process its dark night before finding the joy of the morning.
 
Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!

Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
 
Our perspective today might be: “My situation is bleak, Lord! I’m feeling alone and targeted and my circumstances are overwhelming such that even others think I’m done for.”
 
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
 
David knows he cannot depend on his own wits and strength, he needs a shield. A shield does not mean immediate healing/blessing/deliverance; but it means he can keep fighting, as he calls out to the Lord expecting his answer. David’s life was in shambles at the time he wrote this Psalm (see 2 Samuel 15 & 16); his family had fallen apart, he’d been forced to flee the kingdom he’d ruled with God’s favor and success. But sin had wrecked him. “To lift up the head” is a Hebrew expression for restoring someone who has been cast down in dignity and/or position.
 
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
 
However autonomous we think we are, there is a stretch of time every night where our life and survival is completely out of our hands. The Lord sustains us in our most vulnerable state while we are asleep. David understands this and applies it to his situation; “though tens of thousands assail…!”
 
Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
 
David uses the same verbs he used to describe his enemies in verses one and two, to ask God to act – to “rise up” and to “deliver.” He declares that his confidence lies not in military might, or clever cunning, but in the Lord.
 
In the same way, may we cry out in seasons of fear, uncertainty, helplessness, or hopelessness, that our deliverance comes from the Lord! May the blessing of his transforming presence be upon us at all times!
 
Pastor Paul Hoover

March 23, 2020

Pastor’s Devotional
Encouragement from the Psalms

In Psalm 2 there is a contrast between the kings of this earth and the King who ultimately rules over the earth.  The kings of the earth (probably written at the time of king David) join together and they are described as “against the Lord.”   Psalm 2 conveys the significant contrast of strength between God and the kings.  The contrast is so significant that God is described (compared to kings) in verses 4 and 9 in the following way:  

v 4 “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”   

v 9 “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”  

Sometimes we have thoughts about certain individuals in our culture who appear to have a significant amount of power.  This Psalm is not about social justice but about the magnitude of God’s power.  

Another theme in Psalms 2 is the one who God declares as “son.”  God is the one who declares his “anointed” and “son” (see verses 2, 7, 11).   God is the one who called and anointed David to be the king of Israel.  David would end up being in the lineage of Christ.  Psalms 2 is often quoted in the New Testament, especially with the emphasis that Jesus is God’s son (Romans 1:4, Heb. 1:5, Heb. 5:5). 

The end (v 12) of this Psalm states “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”  The idea that God is the one in whom we can “take refuge” conveys the idea that we have protection because of him, but it also conveys that he is the one who in which we can “confide in.”   He is so trustworthy and thus we can confide in him regarding our fears, unknowns and concerns.  

During this time of uncertainty, God is our refuge! 

Prayer: “God, thank you that you are our refuge in the midst of the uncertainty with the coronavirus. God help me trust in you in the midst of the unknown.”  

Pastor Dan Broyles 

March 19, 2020

Pastor’s Devotional
Encouragement from the Psalms

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalms 1:1-6 NIV

“Blessed,” what a way to start the Psalms off! That word “blessed” should pique our interest because all of us are curious about how we can participate, how we can get in on living the blessed life. Psalms use the word “blessed” 26 times so if you are wondering what it means to be blessed, let Psalms define it for you.

Psalms 32:1-2 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit.” David is clearly saying that there is no such thing as a blessed life unless we experience supernatural intervention in Christ which brings forgiveness and covering of our sin. Soak that in for a moment.

Psalms 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Here blessed is defined as having the LORD as a refuge, a haven, a rock, and a fortress.  

Well if that is what blessed is count me in. That’s exactly what I long for and want. But how? The Psalmist tells us blessed is wrapped up in delighting in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night and the result is enjoying abundance, purpose, power, and fortitude in the LORD.

The Psalmist also spells out pitfalls to avoid on our way to being blessed: He says, if you want to be blessed, DON’T walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners and sit in the seat of mockers – the result of those activities is a life that is blown away, that perishes and is judged wanting.

In these days of trouble and trial, of fear and failing, of hoarding and haranguing turn your attention to the LORD and his desire to secure for you in His Son, Jesus, life, and life to the full. Be blessed!

Prayer: Dear God, our strength, our refuge, our fortress. Show us what it means to be blessed in you. Help us to avoid walking in the counsel of the wicked and standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of mockers and open us to the delighting in your law and relishing it day and night in Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN.

Pastor Dennis Stoneman