IS THERE ANYONE? ANYONE?

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Randy taught me how to go camping. In our very early years of marriage, with a three month old, we went camping. We bought a tent with our hard earned cash. We took more than we needed because it was my first time. With a baby in tow, most of our packing included supplies for an infant. It was comical, now that I look back. But the thing that I remember most was what Randy was taught by his dad when camping. “Leave the place better than the way you found it.” We cleaned and and even swept so that the next family of campers would have a clean place to settle for their memorable trip.
 
Psalm 53 anyone who lovesI woke up this morning thinking about how, over the past forty seven years of marriage, we tried to do life with that mantra. Randy was pastor of three “turn-around” churches at different times over the course of 25 years. I watched him lead with the same thought…”we must leave this place better than the way we found it.” We all worked hard, listening for God’s leading to be better stewards of life, to be better followers who lead others to find and follow Jesus and to ultimately leave people better than the way we found them, encouraging others to keep growing from the inside out.
 
Humans. We were all created in the image of God. Some of those images have been messed up by the world, trampled on and broken. Because this, they are determined to hurt others because of the overwhelming hurt they have experienced. Or they learn from the hurt and help others. Mm.
 
Something else also occurred to me this morning. Do we leave people better than the way we found them? Consider all the past conversations we have had over the past few days. Now, think about it, did we leave those people, who were also, like you, created in God’s image, better than they way we found them? Did we leave them with the impression of the glory of God in us? Did they notice that Christ is living in us? Did they see the image of God revealed in our behavior?
 
OR did we, like most of the world centered on self and self image throw up all over them with problems that are not their problems, criticize them, give them what I call left handed compliments, present ourselves as better than they are, and worst yet, gossip about others who you think have more problems than you? Prayer requests that turn into gossip are not prayers God hears.
 
We have two choices. We either add to the lives of others or we suck life from them. Do we leave people better than they way we found them?
 
Psalm 53, The Message
A David Psalm (David, tell us how you really feel. Wow.)
 
Psalm 53 11-2 Bilious and bloated, they gas,
“God is gone.”
It’s poison gas—
they foul themselves, they poison
Rivers and skies;
thistles are their cash crop.
Psalm 53 God looks downGod sticks his head out of heaven.
He looks around.
He’s looking for someone not stupid—
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.
 
3 He comes up empty. A string
of zeros. Useless, unshepherded
Sheep, taking turns pretending
to be Shepherd.
The ninety and nine
follow the one.
 
Psalm 53 stupid4 Don’t they know anything,
all these impostors?
Don’t they know
they can’t get away with this,
Treating people like a fast-food meal
over which they’re too busy to pray?
 
5 Night is coming for them, and nightmare—
a nightmare they’ll never wake up from.
God will make hash of these squatters,
send them packing for good.
 
6 Is there anyone around to save Israel?
God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
Psalm 53 anyoneDavid was appalled at all the blowhards, show offs, gossipers, and God haters of his day. He gives us descriptor words of humans who suck the life from those trying to know God, believe in what He says, trust in Him and follow Him no matter what.
 
His question at the end of his tirade is this, “Is there anyone around to save us? The answer: “God turns life around.” We can join Him in his work by first loving Him with all that is in us, then love others the way HE loves us.
 
Another haunting thought is found in this passage that stops us and provokes us to think about how God is looking around for someone whose heart is fully his.
 
“God sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He’s looking for someone not stupid–one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman.”
 
(Also in 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”)
 
Heart Check:
 
Psalm 53 God callsAre we willing and committed to leaving others better than the way we found them?
 
Are we willing and committed to “turn around” and be all that God intended for those created in His image to be?
 
These thoughts bring me to tears this morning. If it breaks my heart when humans degrade and suck the life from each other, then what does God think?
 
God save us! THIS is a prayer is answers.
 
Psalm 53 seek God
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of self. We repent of seeking satisfaction from things that will not last. We repent of using people to get what we think we want out of life here. We repent of allowing our hurt to hurt others who are unaware of the hurt in us. We repent of taking life instead of encouraging more life in others. You have given us the right way to think and how to behave. You didn’t make it hard. What is hard is to get self out of the way. Turn us around. Transform our thinking and behaving. Help us to sweeten the day of others, making their lives better for being with them than they were before. You have done that for us. We are committed to following your example.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
Mm, tears are gone and now I’m singing an old chorus from my youth…
 
Every day with Jesus
Is sweeter than the day before
Every day with Jesus
I love Him more and more.
Jesus saves and keeps me
And He’s the one I’m waiting for
Every day with Jesus
Is sweeter than the day before
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UNDER GOD

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
We are past another election of officials who will speak for us because of our vote…or at least that is what we hope will happen. We pray that we will come together, “one nation, under God” and ask what God wants. Some will rely on the wisdom of God, others will go their own way, seeking more power. But, we are still one nation, under God as we pledge in our allegiance to our country.
 
Psalm 52 one nationBut there is a greater, higher allegiance we have to God, the Creator, the One and Only who is above all and in all. We are under His protection, living in the shadow of His wing. We are under His Hand of grace, mercy and blessing. We are under His authority. We are under His will and purpose for our lives. He is God and we are not.
 
We are UNDER GOD but sometimes we don’t show it in our behavior. God gives us success in the work HE invited us to join Him in and suddenly we think we are in control. When things start to fall apart we blame Him, complain to others, blame each other and then gossip until the work is destroyed all because we forgot that we are under God. No matter how high we climb, we will always be under God.
 
David knew where he stood with God. He was under God’s authority. He knew all the reasons why we should not cross God, go our own haughty ways or try to control God. What are we thinking? We are not thinking.
 
Psalm 52, The Message
A David Psalm, When Doeg the Edomite Reported to Saul, “David’s at Ahimelech’s House”
 
Psalm 52 9 praise God1-4 Why do you brag of evil, “Big Man”?
God’s mercy carries the day.
You scheme catastrophe;
your tongue cuts razor-sharp,
artisan in lies.
You love evil more than good,
you call black white.
You love malicious gossip,
you foul-mouth.
 
5 God will tear you limb from limb,
sweep you up and throw you out,
Pull you up by the roots
from the land of life.
 
6-7 Good people will watch and
worship. They’ll laugh in relief:
“Big Man bet on the wrong horse,
trusted in big money,
made his living from catastrophe.”
 
Psalm 52 Gods love8 And I’m an olive tree,
growing green in God’s house.
I trusted in the generous mercy
of God then and now.
 
9 I thank you always
that you went into action.
And I’ll stay right here,
your good name my hope,
in company with your faithful friends.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
We read three things going on with this anxious prayer of David about those who are not living “under God”. These three highly contrasting themes are honestly evaluated.
 
1. The Sinners Are Boasting (vv. 1-4). The phrase “mighty man” is the equivalent of our “big shot” and was spoken derisively. Doeg and Saul were mighty in their own eyes but insignificant in God’s eyes; David was insignificant in their eyes but important to God. David depended on the mercy of the Lord (vv. 1, 8), while Saul and his men depended on themselves and their own resources.
 
2. The Saints Are Laughing (vv. 5-7). Verse 5 is the central verse of the psalm and marks the turning point in David’s experience as he contemplated the wickedness of the human heart. He was confident that God would one day judge Saul, Doeg, and all who follow their evil philosophy of life.
 
3. The Faithful Are Serving (vv. 8-9). The contrast is clear: The wicked are like uprooted trees, but the godly are like flourishing olive trees that are fruitful and beautiful. Saul and Doeg would perish, rejected by the Lord, but David and his dynasty would be safe in the house of the Lord!
 
When David wrote this psalm, he was angry, and rightly so. (For the reason, see 1 Sam. 21:1-9; 22:6-23.) Doeg was one of many men around Saul who catered to his whims and inflated his ego in order to gain power and wealth. He typifies all who promote themselves at the expense of truth and justice. (Cough, cough, election ads)
 
The battle between the flesh and the Spirit still goes on. However, it’s possible that David was also writing about Saul, who certainly fits the description given of the proud, powerful tyrant. There has always been a certain amount of evil in high places, and God’s people must learn to handle it in a godly manner.
 
Psalm 52 praise you foreverThe psalm ends with David vowing to praise the Lord in the congregation as soon as God established him in his kingdom. The private victories God gives us should be announced publicly for the encouragement of God’s people. Meanwhile, though evil may seem to triumph, we must continue to obey and serve the Lord and not get discouraged. The “last laugh” belongs to the Lord’s people.
 
Psalm 52 22 cast your caresHEART CHECK:
 
Gossip, lies and put downs happen in and out of God’s church. Humans lean on gossip as a way to gain self power. “I know something you don’t know” and “I will use it to get what I think I need and want.” Yikes. Gossip kills. It splits the Body of Christ in many broken pieces. Gossip is not under God’s plan and best for us. Gossip is the opposite of Truth. Gossip is the opposite of God’s Word. Here are but a few of the “one another” scriptures:
 
“…encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
“…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10)
“…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
“Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
“…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
“…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
“…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.”
(Galatians 5:15)
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)
“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
“…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
“…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
“Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
Psalm 52 5
“Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
“…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
“Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
“…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
“Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)
“…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
“…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
“Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)
“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
“…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
“…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
“…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)
 
God’s Word proves the list is inexhaustible! So Friends, go, build someone up today! AND guess what will happen….When we are living UNDER GOD, He will bring a person to our minds who needs encouragement. Don’t delay! God uses us to encourage each other so that His glory is seen in us. Look up. Live like Jesus taught us to live.
 
Psalm 52 under GodDear Heavenly Father,
From a honest prayer-psalm from David, you took our hearts to a place of humble realization that we live and behave under Your authority and care. Thank you, God for reminding us to build each other with tangible ways to do that instead of gossiping. Thank you for numerous opportunities to serve each other with the gifts of the Holy Spirit you have given to us. You have lifted my spirit by flooding my soul with Your Holy Spirit. Continue to help us think more like you and a lot less like the world. Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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NO EXCUSES

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 51 blot out
We can hide our sin from family and friends for awhile. Or we think we can. We can compare our sin to others and think our sin is not too bad. We can put our sin in the back of minds and try to forget about it. We think we are so good with hiding that we eventually deny that we sin. Our sin, unconfessed, then quietly births babies over the course of time that compound our sin with names called lie, cheat, steal, gossip, hate, anger, murder and sarcasm for life. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s not peace. It’s not what God had in mind for His creation.
 
David, “the apple of God’s eye”, “a man after the heart of God” sinned. He tried to deny it, hide it, and cover it up with more sin. God finally stepped in and told the prophet Nathan to confront David, the chosen king. It took a lot of courage for Nathan to confront the king whom he loved and served, but it was necessary and right.
 
Before we read David’s prayer of confession (Psalm 51), let’s review part of the story that led to this honest, repentant confession of David to His Lord, God.
 
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
2 Samuel 12: (NIV)
 
“The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
 
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
 
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
 
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
 
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.
 
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
 
Psalm 51 contrite13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
 
There is MUCH more to the story and I encourage you to read from beginning to end so you, (like myself), can get the full flavor of the seriousness of unconfessed sin between our Lord and us.
 
David realized that all he had done and tried to hide was sin…FIRST against the Lord, God he said he loved. His love for God was put aside for what his flesh wanted. “I have sinned against the Lord.” God made David clean up his mess after the confession. David responds with humble repentance in our next prayer psalm and longs for his relationship with God to be restored.
 
Psalm 51, The Message
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan About the Affair with Bathsheba
 
Psalm 51 mercy1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
 
4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
 
Psalm 51 renew7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
 
Psalm 51 create in me16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
 
18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!
 
HEART CHECK:
 
When David hears Nathan show him the extent of his sin in story form, he immediately responds with, “I have sinned against the Lord.” His prayer of confession includes the same, “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.” Yes, God knows. God knows it all, even before we choose to admit it.
 
We hurt others with our sin, but ultimately it is God and our relationship with Our Creator that is “violated”, made unpure and unholy.
 
What sin are you hiding that you think is not worth confessing? Ask for the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
 
How we treat others in direct correlation to how we treat God! When we strike back at others, we are striking back at God. When we love some but hate others, God sees that hate in us.
 
When we sin, it is first against God and our relationship with Him.
 
Psalm 51 paid
BUT, we have a way out! God sent His beloved Only Son into the world to pull us out and save us from our own sin. God in His loving grace, full of mercy, gave us HIS plan for redemption upon confessing. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
 
“Confession is good for the soul” say the philosophers. Confession leads to eternal life says God, our Father and the Creator of all Who knows all and is in all.
 
Don’t hold back. (Preaching to myself this morning.) Stop and confess it all. Make a clean break with God, Whom we have offended.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
If there is anything offensive to You, God (and there probably is, for it is coming to mind), I confess. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
 
In Jesus Name, Amen
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A BANQUET OF PRAISE, SERIOUS HUMILITY

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 50 accept
Do we ask God what HE wants? Do we begin our day with this request? Do we ask this question only when we have exhausted all other avenues of self led behaviors and failed? Do we realize He will guide us? Do we know how much God loves the details of our lives? Details trip us up but God loves to untangle the details and set us going in the right direction once more. He is God and we are not.
 
Psalm 50 GodGod is judge. Only God. “The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court, that here GOD is judge.” God is not shy in His coming but will not go where he is not invited. The purpose of this “trial” was not to judge and condemn the sinners but to expose their sins and give them opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Our Lord is the God of second chances.
 
God speaks in to the writer of this prayer-psalm with EXACTLY what He is looking for from His people. Look for what God wants…
 
Psalm 50, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
Psalm 50 11-3 The God of gods—it’s God!—speaks out, shouts, “Earth!”
welcomes the sun in the east,
farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion,
God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance,
he’s not shy in his coming.
Starbursts of fireworks precede him.
 
4-5 He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
he’s taking his people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore
on the Bible their loyalty to me.”
 
6 The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
that here God is judge.
 
Psalm 50 107-15 “Are you listening, dear people? I’m getting ready to speak;
Israel, I’m about ready to bring you to trial.
This is God, your God,
speaking to you.
I don’t find fault with your acts of worship,
the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine,
the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name;
the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you?
All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison?
or drink draughts of goats’ blood?
Psalm 50 15Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
 
16-21 Next, God calls up the wicked:
 
“What are you up to, quoting my laws,
talking like we are good friends?
You never answer the door when I call;
you treat my words like garbage.
If you find a thief, you make him your buddy;
adulterers are your friends of choice.
Your mouth drools filth;
lying is a serious art form with you.
You stab your own brother in the back,
rip off your little sister.
I kept a quiet patience while you did these things;
you thought I went along with your game.
I’m calling you on the carpet, now,
laying your wickedness out in plain sight.
 
PSalm 50 thanksgiving22-23 “Time’s up for playing fast and
loose with me.
I’m ready to pass sentence,
and there’s no help in sight!
It’s the praising life that honors me.
As soon as you set your foot on the Way,
I’ll show you my salvation.”
 
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
Here is a bit of history from the study and findings of Warren Wiersbe:
 
Every seventh year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests were obligated to read the law to the people and explain its meaning (Deut. 31:9-18; Neh. 8), and this psalm may have been written for such an occasion. The emphasis is on the consistent godly living that should result from true spiritual worship.
 
Asaph was one of David’s worship leaders. A group of eleven psalms attributed to Asaph is found in 73–83. God the Judge summons the court (vv. 1-6) and confronts two offenders: the formalist, to whom worship is a ritual to follow (vv. 7-15), and the hypocrite, to whom worship is a disguise to cover sin (vv. 16-21). The psalm closes with a call to all worshipers to be faithful to God (vv. 22-23).
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Since Cain and Abel, humans bring to God what they think God wants but rarely deliver what God desires of us. God desires honesty and humility. He wants us to want Him. He wants us to long for Him. He wants us to love Him completely. God sees every heart. God seeks hearts that are completely His. He created every heart. He knows when we are praising Him only from a sense of duty, pride, ritual or worse yet, from a place of showy hypocrisy.
 
Again, what He really wants, like what most parents want from their children, is true love and devotion to Him. He wants us to want to be with Him!
 
God says to His people, “Why should I want your blue ribbon bull, or more goats from your herds? Every creature in the forest is mine.” God created all. Everything we think we possess is God’s first.
 
Then God says, “Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of KEPT promises…” Ouch…
 
What promises have you made to God? Have you kept your promises to our Mighty God, Our Creator of all?
 
Love God like you promised you would love Him. Do what you said you would do for him because of your love for Him. When God calls, answer! Don’t delete that call from “recent calls” but answer, put Him on speaker phone if you have to so you can hear every word!!
 
Psalm 50 I AMGod goes on to say, “…And call for help when you’re in trouble–I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
 
Is God your last resort or your first source of help?
 
When we turn to God for help, we acknowledge that we don’t know what tomorrow holds much less the next ten minutes. We acknowledge to the God who knows everything that we really don’t know much of anything at all except that He is God and we are not. This is a form of praise! This is honest humility.
 
Are you ready to let go of what you think you know for all that God knows and is willing to help you know?
 
What does God require of us?
Let’s revisit Micah 6:8:
 
“O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
 
Psalm 50 God callsDear Heavenly Father and Lord of our lives,
We spread out a banquet of praise this morning by serving you humble hearts, minds that seek only You, and souls that long for Your Holy Presence. We need You every hour. Every hour we need You. Accept our praise from our hearts to Yours. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
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THE RECKLESS LOVE OF GOD

Psalms – Prayers of honesty
 
Psalm 49 15.jpgIt doesn’t get any plainer than our next prayer of honesty and realism. “Like our dogs, we age and weaken. and die.” Okay, then, tell us how you really feel! Right? But it is true. Life here is only for a little while, a brief journey on God’s created earth. Some of us prepare for our forever home with God for eternity because of the receiving God’s gift of salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ His Son. But most of us will only be impressed with obtaining all the riches and power they can get now and be dumbfounded later with what they cannot take with them when they die. Their death is eternal.
 
“They can’t take it with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. Just when they think they’ve arrive and folks praise them because they’ve made good, they enter the family burial plot where they’ll never see sunshine again. We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.”
 
Where do you stand?
 
“But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death, He reaches down and grabs me.”
 
I am reminded of the time Jesus first “grabbed” me. I am singing a new song in the background of reading and understanding this “from the gut” prayer psalm.
 
Here is a modern day version of Psalm 49…
 
Reckless Love
Cory Asbury
 
Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
 
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,
 
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me
 
And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,
 
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
 
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,
 
(Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson)
 
Psalm 49, The Message
A Psalm of the Sons of Korah
 
1-2 Listen, everyone, listen—
earth-dwellers, don’t miss this.
All you haves
and have-nots,
All together now: listen.
 
3-4 I set plainspoken wisdom before you,
my heart-seasoned understandings of life.
I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise,
I solve life’s riddle with the help of a harp.
 
5-6 So why should I fear in bad times,
hemmed in by enemy malice,
Shoved around by bullies,
demeaned by the arrogant rich?
 
7-9 Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue,
pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
The cost of rescue is beyond our means,
and even then it doesn’t guarantee
Life forever, or insurance
against the Black Hole.
 
10-11 Anyone can see that the brightest and best die,
wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
They leave all their prowess behind,
move into their new home, The Coffin,
The cemetery their permanent address.
And to think they named counties after themselves!
 
12 We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.
Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.
 
13-15 This is what happens to those who live for the moment,
who only look out for themselves:
Death herds them like sheep straight to hell;
they disappear down the gullet of the grave;
They waste away to nothing—
nothing left but a marker in a cemetery.
But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death,
he reaches down and grabs me.
 
16-19 So don’t be impressed with those who get rich
and pile up fame and fortune.
They can’t take it with them;
fame and fortune all get left behind.
Just when they think they’ve arrived
and folks praise them because they’ve made good,
They enter the family burial plot
where they’ll never see sunshine again.
 
20 We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.
Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
The psalmist had a message for everybody in the world, the important people and the nobodies, the rich and the poor (vv. 1-2). The word world is the translation of an unusual Hebrew word that means “the total human scene, the whole sphere of passing life,” not unlike “world” in 1 John 2:15-17.
 
The writer spoke from his heart (v. 3; see 45:1) the wisdom and understanding that the Lord gave him, and he dealt with an enigma that only the Lord could explain (v. 4). The enigma was life itself and its puzzling relationship to the distribution of wealth and the power that wealth brings.
 
How should believers respond when they see the rich get richer? Should they be afraid that the wealthy will abuse the poor? Should they be impressed by the wealth that others possess and seek to imitate them? The writer gives us three reminders to help us keep our perspective in a world obsessed with wealth and the power it brings.
 
1. Wealth Cannot Prevent Death (vv. 5-12).
2. Wealth Will Not Determine Your Destiny (vv. 13-15).
3. Wealth Must Not Increase Your Desires (vv. 16-20).
 
Psalm 49 snatch meHEART CHECK:
 
For the believer, death is only a valley of temporary shadows, and Jesus is the Shepherd (23:4). There is coming a “morning” when the dead in Christ will be raised and share the glory of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18; see Ps. 16:10-11; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2-3).
 
We can’t ransom someone who is about to die (vv. 7-8), but the Lord has already ransomed us from sin and the power of the grave (v. 15; 1 Cor. 15:20ff.). When we die, God will receive us to Himself (73:24; 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Gen. 5:24), and when Jesus returns, He will raise our bodies from the grave. Decision for Christ, not the possession of great wealth, determines our eternal destiny.
 
“Listen, everyone, listen–earth-dwellers, don’t miss this.” We have two choices. Choose well. It’s a matter of life or death. For eternity.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for snatching me from the clutch of death eternal to life with you forever! Thank you Jesus for paying the debt of my sin as well as the sins of the world. Thank you for reaching down. Thank you for your “reckless”, unconditional, forever love for us. Your love is unstoppable, limitless and most times, hard to wrap our human minds around the depth of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have encouraged me this morning.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.
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LIFETIME WARRANTY: FOREVER LOVE, FOREVER GUIDANCE!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
How many times have you purchased an appliance, small or large and something went wrong 24 hours after the warranty ran out? How many times have people proclaimed love for you and said they wanted to be your friend…until you disappointed them in some way…and they walked away? How many times have you needed help from those you helped but they didn’t have the time for you? How about the car dealer who promises help 24/7 (ridiculous sounding as I write this but it was said to me) for the vehicle you are buying only to find out there are restrictions in the fine print of that promise? And those restriction typically are what will go wrong! With the right lawyers, any contract can be declared null and void. Is there anything we can depend on? Is there anyone left we can trust completely?
 
Psalm 48 greatYES!
 
“Our God forever, who guides us till the end of time.”
 
Wait, what?
 
“Our God forever, who guides us till the end of time.”
 
His love never changes and never ends. Our God does not need rest so He is ready to help and guide. God is God and we are not. There is no one like our God!
 
It’s time to stand still, focus and just praise our great God!
 
Psalm 48, The Message
A Psalm of the Sons of Korah
 
Psalm 48 11-3 God majestic,
praise abounds in our God-city!
His sacred mountain,
breathtaking in its heights—earth’s joy.
Zion Mountain looms in the North,
city of the world-King.
God in his citadel peaks
impregnable.
 
4-6 The kings got together,
they united and came.
They took one look and shook their heads,
they scattered and ran away.
They doubled up in pain
like a woman having a baby.
 
7-8 You smashed the ships of Tarshish
with a storm out of the East.
We heard about it, then we saw it
with our eyes—
In God’s city of Angel Armies,
in the city our God
Set on firm foundations,
firm forever.
 
Psalm 48 forever9-10 We pondered your love-in-action, God,
waiting in your temple:
Your name, God, evokes a train
of Hallelujahs wherever
It is spoken, near and far;
your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action.
 
11 Be glad, Zion Mountain;
Dance, Judah’s daughters!
He does what he said he’d do!
 
12-14 Circle Zion, take her measure,
count her fortress peaks,
Gaze long at her sloping bulwark,
climb her citadel heights—
Then you can tell the next generation
detail by detail the story of God,
Our God forever,
who guides us till the end of time.
 
Psalm 48 unfailing loveSOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
Believers, who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord, today are citizens of the Zion that is above (Gal. 4:21-31; “…like Isaac, we are children of The Promise! Heb. 12:18-24; “…city of the living God” Phil. 3:20; “our citizenship is in heaven…”) and rejoice that the Lord cares for us even as He cared for His ancient people Israel.
 
The people praise God for all He has done, is doing and will do. Forever love, mercy and grace. Forever help and guidance. Hallelujah! What a mighty God we serve!
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Psalm 48 with us
God is always with us. He provides us with a lifetime warranty of love, mercy and grace. He waits for us to call on Him for guidance. Those who seek Him find Him. That is promise that will not be broken by the One who loved us first and best and who has the best for us.
 
The pilgrims immediately went to the temple to worship the Lord, to meditate on His faithfulness, and to joyfully praise Him. Worship is the proper human response to divine mercies. Note how the fame of the Lord spread from the city itself (v. 11a) to the towns of Judah that Sennacherib had plundered (v. 11b; Isa. 36:1) and then to the ends of the earth (v. 10). So may it be with the message of the gospel (Acts 1:8)! When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom, His glory and dominion will be from sea to sea.
 
What is our response to all God has done, is doing and will do? Think about it. Stop and praise God now.
 
Who do you really trust?
Who do we tell?
 
The greatest danger a nation faces is not the invading enemy on the outside but the eroding enemy on the inside–a people gradually turning away from the faith of their fathers. Each generation must pass along to the next generation who the Lord is, what He has done, and what they must do in response to His goodness and faithfulness. God’s plan is to make Jerusalem a joy to many generations (Isa. 60:15).
 
To trust and obey a Lord who is “our God” and “our Guide” is to have a future that is secured and blessed.
 
Psalm 48 14
Who is your lifetime warranty?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. In a confusing world of opinion, selfishness and pain, You are there. You have the answer that we need to hear. You are Savior and You are Lord. Guide us still as You have from the beginning of Creation. Be with us. Change our minds to desire all of you and what You have for us. We praise You for all you are and all you have done to bring us this far. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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VICTORY SONG OF PURE PRAISE!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
When a work assignment for God is completed, who gets the praise and kudos? When we struggle through a huge, mind altering, life changing issue in our lives, who do we shout thank you to first? When you finally get the job of your dreams, the one you’ve been waiting for all your life, what victory song comes immediately to mind? When a relationship is finally restored, who do you tell?
 
Psalm 47 God reigns.jpgThe promise of 46:10 is fulfilled in 47: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (nasb). Five times the people are commanded to “sing praises” to the Lord, who “reigns over the nations” (v. 8 nasb). If this psalm was written to celebrate the defeat of Sennacherib (see 46), then it describes the people of Israel proclaiming to the surrounding Gentile nations the glorious victory of their God, a victory won without their having to fight a battle!
 
This is also a messianic psalm, with an emphasis on the coming kingdom. As the people of Israel praise their God to the Gentiles around them, they make three affirmations about Him. Look for it…
 
Psalm 47, The Message
A Psalm of the Sons of Korah
 
Psalm 47 clap1-9 Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo!
Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!
God Most High is stunning,
astride land and ocean.
He crushes hostile people,
puts nations at our feet.
He set us at the head of the line,
prize-winning Jacob, his favorite.
 
Loud cheers as God climbs the mountain,
a ram’s horn blast at the summit.
Sing songs to God, sing out!
Sing to our King, sing praise!
He’s Lord over earth,
so sing your best songs to God.
 
God is Lord of godless 

Psalm 47 6

nations—
sovereign, he’s King of the mountain.
Princes from all over are gathered,
people of Abraham’s God.
The powers of earth are God’s—
he soars over all.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
How God’s people praised Him help us to praise Him in our lives. The three affirmations of God’s power, love, mercy, grace and strength are:
 
1. Our God Is an Awesome King (vv. 1-4). We have moved from “Be still” (46:10) to shouting, clapping, and the blowing of trumpets. Jewish worship was enthusiastic, but they also knew how to be quiet before the Lord and wait upon Him. Since the theme of the psalm is the kingship of the Lord, they worshiped Him the way they welcomed a new king (1 Sam. 10:24; 2 Kings 11:12-13, 20). “The shout of a king is among them” (Num. 23:21).
 
Psalm 47 praise God all the timeThe early church patterned its worship after the synagogue and emphasized prayer, the reading and expounding of Scripture, and the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. When the Jewish people clapped their hands and shouted, it was to the Lord in response to His marvelous works. They did not do it to praise the people who participated in the worship service.
 
To know God is to know One who is awesome in all that He is, says, and does.
 
2. Our God Is a Triumphant King (v. 5). God fills heaven and earth, but when He acts on earth on behalf of His people, the Scriptures sometimes describe Him as “coming down.”
 
The night 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain by the angel, God came down and brought judgment (Isa. 37:28-29, 36) and then “went up” in great glory to His holy throne (v. 8). David gave a similar description of victory in 68:18, a verse Paul quoted in Ephesians 4:8-10, applying it to the ascension of Jesus Christ.
 
From the human viewpoint, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a great defeat and tragedy, but not from God’s viewpoint. In His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus won the victory over the world and the Devil (John 12:31-32; Col. 2:15) and satisfied the claims of God’s holy law so that sinners could believe and be saved. What a victory! He then ascended to heaven, far above every enemy (Eph. 1:19-22), where He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3).
 
Psalm 47 pure praise3. Our God Is King of Kings (vv. 6-9). A remarkable thing occurs: The rulers and peoples of the Gentile nations join Israel in praising the Lord Jehovah! He is not simply the God and King of Israel, but He is the “King of all the earth.” It was God’s plan when He called Abraham that Israel would be a blessing to all the earth (Gen. 12:1-3; John 12:32; Gal. 3:7-9), for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
 
Throughout their history, Israel has been persecuted by many nations of the world, yet it is Israel that has blessed the world. Israel brought us the knowledge of the one true and living God, they gave us the Scriptures, and they gave us Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Today, Jews and Gentiles in the church are praising God together (Eph. 2:11), and one day in the glorious kingdom, Jews and Gentiles will glorify and praise Him (67:1-7; 72:8-11; Rom. 15:8-13).
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Psalm 47 shoutFor God’s people, every day is Ascension Day as we praise and worship the exalted and ascended Lord!
 
Who do you praise first and often?
 
What do you say?
 
Do our prayers include praise?
 
Write down ten praises to God every day. They more we praise God the more we value Him. The more we give Him glory, the more we live our lives in joyful gratitude. Begin now…try it for 30 days. See what happens when we develop a habit of praise.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are awesome! You are the One and Only to be praised! You are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are the beginning and the end. You are the Giver of life. You are our Savior. You are with us. You never change in your love for us. You are wisdom. You are our strength. You are who You claim to be…the lover of our souls. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.
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