How deep is your Love

Psalm 36:5, 7

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalms 36:5, 7 NLT

We spoke yesterday how sin ( what divides us from God and the marvellous life he offers) narrows our lives. sin is controlling, manipulating, it enslaves us and makes us live puny lives. 

Today, we see the contrast of life in sin to a life in the love of God.

For the love of God is specious, meteoric, brings liberty, it’s unconditional, unfailing. His love and faithfulness are put side by side, his righteousness and justice alongside too. We people can proclaim to ’love’ but we fail to be faithful and decent or truthful. But God is very different from us. He is characterized by his love which is endless and welcoming, perfect and deep. 

How deep is your love? 

How long do we bear with someone until our interest has gone? How long do we stay in a relationship when life gets taught? How deep are we willing to love each other in order to see change and transformation? 

I can tell you that our love runs out, it’s scarce even when we think we are offering all we have, but Gods love is endless and he is the fountain of love. 

When we run to him we experience the vastness of his love, we are absolutely assured by his faithfulness and rested in his kindness. 

Jesus said the ultimate price for us to experience and live out that love, let’s start now. 

( See Isaiah 54:10, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:38-39) 

Looking Inside You

Psalm 36:1-4

We can dress the outside and make it look good, but there is not easy makeup for the inside.

Sin in the Bible is described with different words like wickedness, transgressions and other descriptions that speak of inappropriate or illegal behaviour. The truth is that God made humans for a purpose and since the garden of Eden we have deserted that purpose and walked far away from it.

We have tried hard to ’not worship or glory in God and as that result not enjoy anything that he created for our joy and contentment. (see Westminster catechism ’what is the chief end of man? )  

So, we have turned away and choose to worship the nondivine forces. 

Those forces although good ( can be good) are not made to be worshipped. And when a good thing is used as the ultimate great thing does not good to us but enslaves us.

We are created to worship you see and we must worship something, someone, and if that is not God ( the only one who can handle worship)  that very thing will consume us and leave us empty and dissatisfied every time. 

So, we might look ’well kept, all tidy up and scrubbed up’ on the outside but the inside might tell another story. The stench of guilt, death and darkness seems to linger and not go away. We definitely try ‘expensive brands of makeup to hide them or cover them” like morality, good acts, noble duties, still they only seem to work for the outside. We need an awakening, we need life flowing and bathing our inside, we need our creator to take his rightful place. We need his breath to fill our lungs and bring us to life. 

I came to give you life, says Jesus, but not just any life, but an abundant life to the full. 

(See Matthew 23:25, Romans 1:21-23, John 10:10)

Party Friends

Psalm 35:27

Friends in need are hard to find. Joy friends even harder. 

LD

What I mean by that is having friends in your life who are happy for you when you’re happy- sincerely hapy. 

These are the friends tha friends that celebrate your life, throw a party to bless your marriage, graduation, pregnancy. 

Oftentimes it’s not hard to find ’suffering’ friends. For we all suffer. 

But to have friends that are not jealous, not envious, not covetous of your success and wellbeing is a gift. 

Party friends are rare. For to celebrate other’s wellbeing is grace.

People that sincerely celebrate your health, your marriage, your children, your identity and your accomplishment are the real deal. 

I am not talking here about friends that party at your expense, but friends that expend to party for your life.  

LD

If we don’t have friends like that, let become one of them ourselves. 

Let celebrate peoples lives and wellbeing in the church and home, at work and through the phone, in sickness and health, in riches and poverty. For life is not all doom, there is miracles happening and in need of celebrating all the time. 

( See Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 12:15, 1 Corinthians 12:26)


Better or Bitter

Psalm 35:10 MSG 

We can be better or bitter in life, but we can’t be both.
In yesterday’s devotion, we explored how friendships and relationships, in general, can be hard.
We saw how David, the writer of Psalm 36 runs to God as his first response with his anger, anguish and agony and hurt by people he trusted.


The reason why we run to God with our aches is that unaddressed hurt can become a root of bitterness in us and dismantle our lives.
When we look to Him as our comforter and help, we give ourselves an opportunity to be better and not bitter.
In his presence we see the situation with fresh eyes, we trust our hearts to God and we lean on him for solution and healing.
Revenge brings to ruins, but God’s vindication is always valid.

”If we spend our time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to us and how they hurt our hearts, then we will be authorizing them to hurt us over and over again throughout our lifetime. ”

( See James 3:14, Proverbs 28:13, Ephesians 4:26)

When Friendships Hurt

Psalm 35: 1-8, 11-17, 25-26 

Friendships can be the best thing that we treasure in life or a source of drama and trouble. The thing is – we all have issues, we all have insecurities and the way we handle our problems impact our friendships. 

Hurt can push us to be and behave in a way that is regrettable but hurt must be expressed and processed. That’s what our writer in Psalm 35 is doing. He is hurt by people he thought were his friends. 

These people not only that have been unjustly accusing him of stuff he has not done but they are rejoicing in his downfall. They are preparing traps ’nets and holes’ for him to fall and mess up his life. 

He is hurt and disappointed, angry and frustrated, the only consolation he gets is by pouring his outrage to God. 

He says it as it is, and he invites God to be his defender and his name protector. 

Jesus is our best friend.  His love and mercy for us paved the way for us all to practice real friendships. When we are hurt and mistreated, when we are accused without cause, when we are tangled in something we did not intend, we run to him first for justice and strength, for understanding and directions. We hope our hearts and pour our feeling ( even when they are full of anger and outrage ) trust me he is big enough to handle honest feelings. 

Let start this week by being honest about how we feel, really! 

( See John 15:13-15, Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 4:29-32 )

Distress Destination

Psalm 34:22

Where is the destination to your distress? Do you run to food for comfort? Do you binge on tv shows for consolidation? Do you yearn for the bottle to drown your sorrows? 

Don’t get m wrong, food, shows and wine can help (I personally know that), but only for a moment though – after that, we are left with the residue of their misused effects. The hangover is a let down all the time.

There is no food or drink, no person or present big and good enough that can redeem us like God does. 

“The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”

Psalms 34:22 NASB

When we run to him with our guilt and shame, with our pain and disappointment, with our sin and condemnation, we will be comforted. 

When the destination for our distress is in trusting him, we will find that God redemption is there waiting for us. 

No danger of death can stop the deliverance of the Lord. 

So, today my question is: Where is the destination of your distress and how can you make God the place where you empty your pain?

How trusting Him can be more powerful and effective than relying on temporary sources of help? 

( See John 10:27-29, Romans 8:31-39, Hebrews 12:1, James 1:12)

The Bodyguard

Psalm 34:20

We often call good people in our lives as our ’bodyguards’ we see their friendship and presence as something protective and necessary to our wellbeing. 

These people cover our shortcomings and embarrassment, stop the ammunition of harm and destruction aimed at us and make sure that our posture and straight standing is maintained throughout our walk. 

It is the people that see us as we are, the good and bad, the tears and trials, the joys and lows, yet they stick with us and stay with us when many will leave and never look back. 

If you have any of these people in your life, count yourself super blessed, still, God promises to be that and muchmore , he promises to be our very own bodyguard 24/7. 

“He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken.”

Psalm34:20MSG

The idea here is God guarding not only our bodies but our hearts also. 

His presence and his angels are constantly with us. They minister protection, provision and peace to us. 

LD

So, no weapon send to harm us will prospers because our bodyguard is shielding us 

No harm comes to us unless has gone through our bodyguards first. 

No arrow pierces us because all the shots are upon his body in Calvary. 

If you need protection today, if your body or heart are in danger of harm, let us rest assured that the strongest and wisest bodyguard is with us, always. 

( See Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Free from all Fears

Psalm 34:4, 6, 17, 19, 22

The world we live in is full of rational and irrational fears. We people seem to grow the list of things we are afraid of constantly. Fears like ’fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of snakes” seem old tales nowadays compare to some of the unusual things that we are afraid of at the present. 

Common Phobias now include fear of chicken, names, beards, water, clouds, numbers etc etc hundreds of them.

If we add to that, problems that we face daily, trails, tribulations, difficulties, pain and suffering and that makes for a life ruled by fear and anxiety. 

There is one answer for all our ’fears, troubles, problems and difficulties’ we face and that is: Freedom from them all

LD

Yes, freedom from them all. ‘Is that even possible’- you may ask?

Yes, it is!

Let us read the assurance that today’s devotion gives us.

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”

Psalms 34:4, 6, 17, 19, 22NLT

Trusting God to come to our help and deliver us from ALL our fears is possible.

Fear and troubles might be present, but with God, they are not the driving force of our lives.  

(See 2 Timothy 1:7, Luke 11:9, Isaiah 12:2, 2 Timothy 1:10)

Everything is Better Together

Psalm 34:3

A shared joy is a double joy, ( Swedish Proverb) and a problem shared is a problem halved! Togetherness is more important than we anticipate. It gives us that strangely beautiful sense of family, belonging and support that we all need. 

Togetherness enhances our joy and halves our burdens. 

LD

What is even more powerful about togetherness is when we worship God as a whole organism. 

We may come to a place of worship as individuals beaten by life, disappointed by our decisions and in physical or emotional pain,  but all that changes when we are together. All our life seem to look different when we join our voices in adoration with others.

Corrie Ten Boom said : If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest. That’s what we do when we are drawn into corporate worship.  

We magnify Christ, his attributes and love for us, we fix our eyes on his incredible grace and forgiveness, mercy and truth. By doing that together we get this sense that we are not alone, that we are far stronger than we think, that fear has not got the last word in us and that we are his forever. 

That’s why worship is magnetic, it’s supposed to draw us to Christ and to each other as one. There is not becoming one unless we come together. 

( See Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42, Matthew 5:15-16

Lessons from our Lips

Psalm 34:1

What we do constantly is what we live out customary. 

LD

Our habits start as weak and unnoticed until they become our lives. What we do with our mouths and minds becomeseventually who we are. 

’My lips are full of perpetual praise…’ (verse 1 TPT)  

Our lips tell the language of the heart. Listen to your speech, what is coming out of your mouth often? Praise, problems, complaining, whining, thanks, appreciation? 

What is the habit that inhabits mostly in our routine?  

The best way to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. 

Can we start our days with thanks today? Can we praise and give thanks to our God even when life feels less than that? 

Can we replace complaining about life will thanks even for a few moments as a start? Let’s begin today!

( See 1 Chronicles 16:34, Ephesians 5:19-20, Colossians 3:17, Philippians 4:6-7)