Psalm 118:5-6

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David’s quiet time

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
    don’t let me be disgraced.

As I read these Psalms…

My mind is transported back many decades.

I’m a young man, a student. In more or less constant turmoil.

Confused. Alone. Afraid.

This is a particularly difficult period.

I’m in my mid-20s. The people I’m closest to have all graduated and I feel all alone.

Again.

These Psalms are my comfort.

As I read them their words become my prayer, because I have no words of my own.

And because these words speak more accurately of what I’m feeling and thinking than anything I’ve ever read.

From David.

A long-ago warrior.

A man after God’s own heart.

I am reading his quiet time journal and I feel a connection to him. And through his words I am connected to the Father who sustained him many centuries before I was born.

Save me and rescue me,
    for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me,
    and set me free.
Be my rock of safety
    where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,
    from the clutches of cruel oppressors.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
    No wonder I am always praising you!

My life is an example to many,
    because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
    I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
    Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
For my enemies are whispering against me.
    They are plotting together to kill me.
They say, “God has abandoned him.
    Let’s go and get him,
    for no one will help him now.”

O God, don’t stay away.
    My God, please hurry to help me.
Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers.
    Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me.
But I will keep on hoping for your help;
    I will praise you more and more.
I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
    All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
    though I am not skilled with words.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
    I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
    do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again.

Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
    because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel.
I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
    for you have ransomed me.
I will tell about your righteous deeds
    all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
    has been shamed and humiliated.

Psalm 71:1-24

It is 2015…

And I am re-connected.

As much as I’ve healed, I still carry some of that inner turmoil around with me and it drives me back time and again to the Father who sustains me.

And David’s quiet time journal still comforts me. And encourages me. And nourishes me.

“Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.”

Mindfulness in the waiting

I wait quietly before God,
    for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2

Whether…

…the conflict is a pitched battle on the outside or fears and turmoil inside the mind—the battle is the Lord’s. Only he can still the storms and bring peace.

And he surely will.

If I am mindful of his continuous presence.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:5-8

Autumn—and a glimpse of Winter

 

I didn’t have a clue what I was about to see…IMG_20141011_082603

Was headed to work on Saturday, not having a clue what I was about to see.

When I turned west on Research Parkway, there was the dazzling white on the upper reaches of Pikes Peak.

USAA is a ways down from that peak view, and I prayed that the fog bank would not be covering the campus and that I would be able to snap a shot from the garage.

I was not disappointed!

God didn’t have to do this

But he did.

I don’t have an attitude of gratitude when I drive to work on Saturdays.

But when I stood there in the parking garage yesterday morning, stunned, all negative thoughts were just…overwhelmed with the goodness of God.

I am so privileged to live in a place of such ever-changing beauty. When I see and soak in these often unexpected gifts of beauty, I am able to reconnect with both the might and the goodness of the God of the Universe.

Psalm 145:5

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

David’s quiet time

 Where I can always hide

Dunnottar Castle

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me and rescue me,
for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me,
and set me free.
Be my rock of safety
where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 71:1-3

Today…

My Bible reading plan is all Psalms taken from times of turmoil in David’s life.

As I read these Psalms, my mind is transported back many decades.

I’m a young man, a student. In more or less constant turmoil.

Confused. Alone. Afraid.

This is a particularly difficult period.

I’m in my mid-20s. The people I’m closest to have all graduated and I feel all alone.

Again.

No words of my own

These Psalms are my comfort.

As I read them their words become my prayer, because I have no words of my own to pray—only feelings, and giving words to them makes me even more afraid.

Anyway, these words speak more accurately of what I’m feeling and thinking than anything I’ve ever read.

Words from David.

A long-ago warrior.

A man after God’s own heart.

I am reading his quiet time journal and I feel a connection to him. And through his words I am connected to the Father who sustained him many centuries before I was born.

Today

It is 2014 again and I am re-connected.

As much as I’ve healed, I still carry some of that inner turmoil around with me and it drives me back time and again to the Father who sustains me.

And David’s quiet time journal still comforts me. And encourages me. And nourishes me.

Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Psalm 71:18

Heritage Post: Jesse McElreath & Effective Praying for Others

Jesse McElreathWhen I was a young man and very young Christ-follower, I was blessed to be mentored by one of the elders of our church, Jesse McElreath.

During the time I knew him, Jesse’s teaching, both public and private, was extremely practical and down-to-earth.

No pie-in-the-sky with Jesse.

And he had this really cool way of putting everything into outlines. Action steps. Principles. Subject areas.

The way he taught didn’t just ring with relevant truth, but with genuine practical application. And it had a profound effect on everyone he taught.

One day he taught us some specific ways to pray for friends. We’d all been wondering how, exactly, we should best pray for people. What we should pray for. What our objectives should be.

This, word for word, is the answer Jesse gave us.

Later, when I learned how to pray scripture, this outline and these verses provided a powerful foundation for personal intercession.

(I can’t help but wonder, as I type this out and hyperlink the references, how Jesse would have utilized the internet and blogging if they’d been available to him then!)

To begin with, we should pray for…

1. Their relationship to God

Then we should pray for…

2. Their relationship to family

  • That they might become the person described in Ephesians 5 and 6:

A godly husband. Eph. 5:25-33 (see 1 Pet. 3:7)

A godly wife. Eph. 5:22-24 (see 1 Pet. 3:1-6)

A godly son or daughter. Eph. 6:1-3

A godly parent. Eph. 6:4

A godly employee. Eph. 6:5-8

A godly boss. Eph. 6:9

  • That they might walk in the ways of the Lord. Ps. 78:5-7
  • That they might have quality time with family. Deut. 6:6-10

Finally, we should pray for…

3. Their relationship to ministry

What is the Most Effective Tool for Rewiring Your Brain?

wiring_05, a photo by m4rlonj on Flickr.

There’s something important I’ve learned about scripture memory that’s often overlooked. It’s really been driven home to me over the last two years especially:

It isn’t the quantity of scripture memory that rewires the brain. It’s the depth of thinking and feeling invested in the verses. It’s the application of the verses into the day-to-day and moment-to-moment of my life.

The first five verses I memorized as a new Christ-follower serve as the foundation of every verse I’ve learned since then. I have broken them down repeatedly into their component parts, searched the scriptures for insight and clarity into the meaning of their words and phrases. I have prayed them into my life and into the lives of my friends (and sometimes enemies). I have mentally hyperlinked them to additional verses I’ve learned and explored. I have held the teaching of preachers and artists up to their lights. I have judged my actions and attitudes by them.

And I have clung to them in the darkness.

I am in the midst of transitions more radical than any I’ve experienced in almost 40 years. These five verses and the ones that followed them over the decades are the roots of change that are now bearing fruit.