Psalm 118 ~ Rejected Stone

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:22-24

These stanzas carry a familiarity for the Christian as they are heard in both the New Testament and modern worship. Christ uses the words of himself in all three of the Synoptic accounts, not only making it memorable but also, markedly important across the three diverse audiences for each book. In its NIV84 form, not a week goes by that the day the Lord has made doesn’t ring out in music from the stages of His church. We hear these words and envision the imagery through Christ’s voice, but what does He intend to convey?

Psalm 118 is a hymn of thanksgiving for deliverance. In the case of the Psalmist, deliverance from military enemies who threatened to encroach upon the sovereignty of God’s people. The author leaves no historical context from which to apply the celebration to a particular victory, leaving it open to wide range of interpretations. Regardless, the hymn begins and ends with a vibrant call to praise that cements the goodness of God in the minds of the celebrants:

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

His love endures forever. (v1)

Is your maturity such that you can say the same thing? Can you look over the record of your life, its struggles, troughs and troubles and say with confidence that God is good every minute of every day and this His love is on full display in your life? Should He elect not to deliver you from trouble, will you sing the same words?

When Jesus speaks these words of the monumental change in the kingdom, He has just told the parable of the Tenants to a dumbstruck audience, most of whom would fail to see themselves as actors in the story. If the parable applied to them, their thoughts would run to a world turned upside-down, something they were wholly unprepared to face.

Salvation for followers of Christ is inextricably bound up in this monumentally changed kingdom. While travail may still be a part of our lives, we can take a celebratory attitude in the hope and promise that this change engenders. For a short time we may suffer, but at an appointed time the Lord’s goodness will be more than a promise. It will be the reality of His enduring love.

Grace and peace to you…

Psalm 117 ~ Extol Him All You People

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 117

Extol: glorify, magnify, exalt, bless, make much of, celebrate, emblazon, sound or resound the praise of, ring one’s praises, sing the praises of, trumpet, praise to the skies, porter aux nues, doxologize, praise God from whom all blesing flow…does your list end here?

Grace and peace to you …

image Eric Slatkin

Open Your Gifts


One of the great struggles that most church bodies experience is seeing the number of people sitting on the sidelines, unsure of how and where they fit in. One thing that the Body of Christ was never intended to share with the human body is flab! The Holy Spirit has granted ALL of His people with one or more gifts. Some people have opened and shared their gifts widely. Others sit idly by, not even looking at the tags on the boxes to see if one might be theirs.

After discussing the offices that were given to build up and guide the Church, Paul makes an absolutely essential statement regarding the well-being of the body.

…We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph 4:15-16)

The gifts of the Spirit are given for the benefit of the entire Body (Rom 12) and each gift is a necessary part of the whole. If you elect not to put your gift to use the Body suffers and attempts to compensate in some other fashion. This is less than God-honoring. Likewise, if you choose to intentionally withhold your gifts from the Body, you must realize that you are purposely weakening the whole. This too is not God-honoring.

Ignorance of your gifts is a poor excuse. Take a gifts inventory or simply ask a trusted brother or sister what they see in you. Look for opportunities to put the gift to work and see whether or not it is effective. Pray that the Spirit would reveal your gifting to you. Although it may not be a gift that you want, it will be a gift that fulfills you spiritually and one that serves your brothers and sisters in Christ in exactly the fashion needed.

Grace and peace to you…

image Jonathon_W

Psalm 116 ~ He Saved Me


When the prolific duo of Ashford and Simpson penned these words, were they thinking beyond the human realm?

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

Ain’t no valley low enough.

Ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting’ to you.

The psalmist portrays this distance from the Savior in terms of life and death, painting mortality as the last moment in which He can reach out and pluck His creations for the abyss.

The cords of death entangle me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” (Ps 116:3-4)

Such is extent of the Savior’s reach that not even the ebbing moments of life can rebuff Him. We cry out “Lord, save me!” and redemption extends life forever. Restoration is a now and still to come reality. Whatever remains of our time in this world can be in peace and assurance;

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. (v7)

A thankful heart taken captive by the Spirit guides our gratitude-filled steps, all of these remaining days;

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord—in your midst Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord. (vv 17-19)

Grace and peace to you…

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Psalm 115 ~ Deaf, Dumb and Blind

imageOur God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. Ps 115:3-4

Despite the historical and experiential evidence that idols are powerless over our lives, humankind has continued in their manufacture throughout all of our existence. These statues are meant to assure us of a god’s presence and provide a focal point for our worship. A God who doesn’t take corporeal form requires faith to entrust, an effort that we would often prefer to avoid.

Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (v8)

Because the idol cannot reveal himself nor communicate his attributes, we are left to invent them. Our default character matches our own. As we explore the theology of our idols we find the worship requirements malleable as the attributes adapt to our fallen nature. Low demands and a conciliatory spirit become the hallmark of the deaf, dumb and blind objects.

The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. (vv 16-18)

Idols ultimately fail. The moment comes when the answers they provide no longer fulfill their intended design. We are left to confront the reality of the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God who can, and does, answer our prayers and petitions. Only, that is, when our eyes are pointed in the right direction.

Grace and peace to you…

image ha! Graphics and Design

Psalm 114 ~ We Ran So Far Away



Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,

at the presence of the God of Jacob,

who turned the rock into a pool,

the hard rock into springs of water. Ps 114:7-8

The psalmist pours out his worship as he remembers the great work of God in bringing His people out of Egypt. Psalm 114 is brief but wonderfully expressive. He writes of the moment marking the birth of Israel, of the becoming God’s people.

When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,

Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. (vv 1-2)

Do we have an equally exquisite psalm stored up in our hearts for the day we were called out from our previous bondage? In true worship of the Holy Almighty God, you and I as His people should be putting pen to paper and leaving a legacy of thanks for those who come after us. That they may read of our transition from imprisonment to freedom is the greatest motivation we can give to others, imbuing them with hope for their own situation.

Grace and Peace to you..

image Sonyason

Psalm 113 ~ Distances


Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? Psalm 113:5-6

In this brief recital of God’s great glory, the careful reader notes the psalmist’s use of contrast in the verses. As you read and meditate on the verses you are struck by the various ‘distances’ that bookend the effusive worship.

Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. (v2)

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, (v3)

the One who sits on high, who stoops down to look (v6)

He raises the poor from the dust (v7)

The God of All, seated in the Heavens surveying all in His domain is also the intimate God. He is seated next to you in trouble, He is present in His full glory no matter the distance we attempt to place between us. He is timeless; there was, is, and never will be, a time in which we are not His beloved. Bending a knee in humble adoration does not call Him screaming across the heavens to be with us, He is already present, His heart overflowing with love.

In our Lenten reflections we focus on the redemption that has transformed our lives. This same distance applies to our forgiven sins..

Let our sins be forgiven and forgotten, both now and forevermore..

Let us walk in the light of God’s glory from the rising of the sun to the time at which it sets..

Let us be mindful of the One who sits on high, who desires to look down on lives of holiness..

Let us remember always that we are the poor and lost who He raised from the dust…


Grace and peace to you..

image Horia Varlan

Psalm 112 ~ His Heart is Steadfast


Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. Psalm 112:6

The psalter can be a challenge to understand in some cases. We must read with the eyes of those who first received the psalms while applying to our lives many centuries past, not always the easiest task. In other cases, the inspired phrasing of the Psalmist make his intent crystal clear. Such is the message of Psalm 112.

The Lord is praised by the life of a godly man. Praise without the need for words is lifted by the God-honoring life of those who fear the Lord and obey Him. Those who pay notice to their abundant lives see no other explanation except divine favor. The just and compassionate fear nothing of men, knowing that they live in the light.

Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. (vv 8-9)

There is no place other than in the light of the Lord for man to be.

Grace and peace to your soul…

image sillydog

Psalm 111 ~ Holy and Awesome is His Name

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. Psalm 111:10


The psalmist records the penultimate  bit of wisdom in the closing stanza of this psalm, immortalizing it and placing it in a context that one would find difficult to challenge. Has God not displayed miraculous works? Is His righteousness in question? Has He provided redemption for those who love Him? Without question the answers to these musings direct us to the same conclusion as the psalmist; love and obedience of the Lord is the foundation upon which wisdom is built.

The proverbial saying is not found in isolation. A survey finds that the Spirit had provided this nugget to many authors:

And he said to man, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’” Genesis 20:11

Many are the interpersonal relationships that are marked with tension because we fail to give them the consideration that Abraham does. It is impossible to find balance if one party does not share the love of God that grips the other. Those who do not know God will default to self satisfaction rather than the self sacrifice of the follower of Jesus. Peace is found through the removal of assumptions and an extra measure of grace.


Grace and peace to your spirit..

image Gin Fizz

Prayer 101 ~ ACT/Supplication

prayer101As we arrive at the last phase of the ACTS prayer structure, we discover that our prayers are at their normal starting point. The upside-down nature of the ACTS framework becomes most apparent when the pray-er arrives at a time of petition. Only after observing our proper position before God, rehearsing our fallen state and giving thanks for his manifold blessings do we lift our concerns and requests to our Father. The benefit of approaching the throne in this manner is most directly realized now; after the preparatory steps, the nature of our petitions develops a new gravity.

…in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

When the mind is conformed to the holiness of God and recognition of our position at the foot of the throne, we are more likely to consider our requests more carefully. Blessings that we might have once breezily demanded are already seen in our life. Wisdom in forming petitions is requested (James 1:5) as we search for the proper words to express a desire to conform to God’s will rather than striking out on our own. In all things, the emphasis that we have placed on God—as opposed to self—provides a better than average chance that will we be looking for His will in our lives rather than asking Him to align with ours.

Be blessed..