Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
Psalm 80 did youI am remembering a particular day in my first grade teaching career that happened many years ago. Our own kids where school age. Our morning that day was filled with unfortunate mishaps. One girl couldn’t get her hair just right and cried. Our son made a mess of breakfasts eating then couldn’t find all he was supposed to have for school that morning…and didn’t really care. The youngest decided she was sick…and she was. Randy drove off to his job earlier. I am trying to get everyone in their places so I can be at work in my classroom before the kids arrive. (I’m getting queasy just writing this as I remember!)
I was not smiling when I came to work. I was not smiling when I was preparing for class, restocking all the learning centers with the lessons of the day. I was behind schedule. Nothing had gone right. My routine was thrown off. I didn’t have time to meet my little first graders at the door with smile as I normally did.
The energy and excitement of the arriving first graders did not sway my mood. But I affected their mood. Trouble brewed in every learning center. Kids became unkind and unruly every where I turned to look. I knew what was wrong. I halted the insanity with “Stop!” “We need a do over!” All eyes were on me to figure out what the crazy lady was going to do next. They knew they weren’t doing all that is right but didn’t know how to stop.
I told all of them I had a bad morning and what was happening in our classroom was mostly my fault. “Here is what we are going to do. We are going to begin this day all over again. Get your coats and book bags.” I then sent them all into the hallway. I told them I was going to shut the door for just a bit, then reopen the door and greet them properly…with a smile.
They eagerly but cautiously followed the teacher’s direction and lined up in the hallway to wait. I opened the door after breathing deep and asking for God’s help to reset this day. The students immediately calmed down after seeing the smile they were accustomed to seeing each morning. A bad day ended well and good, thanks to God. The mood of disruption transformed to peace once more. God changes everything.
Psalm 80, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
1-2 Listen, Shepherd, Israel’s Shepherd—
get all your Joseph sheep together.
Throw beams of light
from your dazzling throne
So Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh
can see where they’re going.
Get out of bed—you’ve slept long enough!
Come on the run before it’s too late.
Psalm 80 shine on us3 God, come back!
Smile your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.
4-6 God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
how long will you smolder like a sleeping volcano
while your people call for fire and brimstone?
You put us on a diet of tears,
bucket after bucket of salty tears to drink.
You make us look ridiculous to our friends;
our enemies poke fun day after day.
7 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, come back!
Smile your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.
8-18 Remember how you brought a young vine from Egypt,
cleared out the brambles and briers
and planted your very own vineyard?
You prepared the good earth,
you planted her roots deep;
the vineyard filled the land.
Your vine soared high and shaded the mountains,
even dwarfing the giant cedars.
Your vine ranged west to the Sea,
east to the River.
So why do you no longer protect your vine?
Trespassers pick its grapes at will;
Wild pigs crash through and crush it,
and the mice nibble away at what’s left.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, turn our way!
Take a good look at what’s happened
and attend to this vine.
Psalm 80 make someone smileCare for what you once tenderly planted—
the vine you raised from a shoot.
And those who dared to set it on fire—
give them a look that will kill!
Then take the hand of your once-favorite child,
the child you raised to adulthood.
We will never turn our back on you;
breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!
19 God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, come back!
Smile your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.
The smile of the teacher is such a rich blessing and a sign of peace to students eager to please and do what is right. God’s people missed His smile (their teacher, guide, protection, and provider) during their many bad days of being attacked and ridiculed. The Temple, their place of peace and meeting God, had been destroyed. Their normal wiped out. The Psalmist cries out,
“God of the angel armies, come back!
Smile your blessing smile; THAT will be our salvation.”
The “vine”, the legacy of God’s people is at risk of being cut off in their minds. The enemy has come to destroy. Oh God, “breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” “Smile your blessing smile, THAT will be our salvation.”
Psalm 80 mother teresaHeart Check:
Think of the time you felt God was not smiling on you. What did you do about it?
Does the countenance on our face cause others to wonder to whom we belong or what is wrong? What can we do about it?
God puts a smile on our faces that is genuine and natural because of the inner joy that is unspeakable and full of His glory…even on bad, unhappy days. We just need to call on Him to help us, knowing that our look reflects who is in our hearts.
Don’t “fake it ’til you make it” either, (my pet peeve phrase that is detestable to me). Smile, make them wonder what you’ve got (Newsboys) and then TELL them who put that smile on your face. The smile of God IS a true blessing! Our smile can be the blessing a tired person in retail needs today! Be that blessing.
Psalm 80 smiling
Dear Heavenly Father,
This life has trouble, anxious moments, challenging situations but you promised, with a smile on your face, to always be with us and help us. Your ways are perfect in every way. We turn to you. Smile your blessings smile on us so we will reflect Your smile on our faces…so others will know You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing…
Shine. (or Smile!)
Make ’em wonder whatcha got.
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored.
Let it shine before all men.
Let em see good works and then
Let em glorify the Lord.

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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