Life’s Ebb and Flow

I could have listened and watch the water in the grottos at Rosh Hanikra, Israel, for hours. It only took a few seconds for them to teach me something.

The waters slapped against the rock, over and over, ebbing into the rock over many years. As I watched the water, it didn’t seem to move much. It was powerful as it repeatedly crashed against the rocks, but it reminded me of someone beating his head against a wall. Sometimes, we don’t feel as if we’re going anywhere, and we feel battered through the process. We may not feel as if we’re moving, as if we’re repeatedly being slapped against the rocks, yet…

When we abide in Christ, He directs, carries, and changes us. He holds us together with others, just as the particles of water stick to each other and move as a unit. We stick with others…even when we don’t want to at times. God knows who needs to be side by side to experience the ebb and flow of life together.

God moves us to greater depths, even though we don’t like it at times, He knows when we need to repeat the same motion over and over. He knows what changes the repetition makes, even though all we feel is a sea-sickening battering.

As I watched the water ebb and flow, rise and fall, crash and recede, I was filled with gratitude. I was thankful that we can trust God to know just where we are and why. No matter where I am, I can be content…not because I’m thrilled with where I am, but because I’m thrilled that I am with God.

 

Praying through the Psalms: The End Is Just the Beginning

prayingpsalmsimageAs our Praying through the Psalms series closes, it’s not an end as much as a beginning. My prayer has been for you to soak in God’s Word. To claim the truth He gives you about Himself and for your life. When we merely skip through the sections of Scripture we most want, we miss out on many things God has to say to us. When we’re at a loss for words for our prayers, or we’re in a rut, God’s Word is the best place to start. And that’s what we’ve done…started.

We haven’t prayed all the way through Psalms, but you can continue on your own. Or, grab a friend and commit to holding one another accountable as you pray through Scripture. Use the prayer tips I’ve provided along the way. Need a reminder? Simply type “prayer tip” in the search bar, and you’ll have at least a dozen ideas to dig into a growing prayer life.

We need God. I need God. You need God.

Keep talking with Him. Keep listening.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 77

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 77

I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and He will hear me.
I sought the Lord in my day of trouble.
My hands were continually lifted up
all night long;
I refused to be comforted.
I think of God; I groan;
I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.Selah

You have kept me from closing my eyes;
I am troubled and cannot speak.
I consider days of old,
years long past.
At night I remember my music;
I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders.

“Will the Lord reject forever
and never again show favor?
Has His faithful love ceased forever?
Is His promise at an end for all generations?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”Selah

10 So I say, “I am grieved
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
11 I will remember the Lord’s works;
yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders.
12 I will reflect on all You have done
and meditate on Your actions.

13 God, Your way is holy.
What god is great like God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You revealed Your strength among the peoples.
15 With power You redeemed Your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.Selah

16 The waters saw You, God.
The waters saw You; they trembled.
Even the depths shook.
17 The clouds poured down water.
The storm clouds thundered;
Your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
lightning lit up the world.
The earth shook and quaked.
19 Your way went through the sea
and Your path through the great waters,
but Your footprints were unseen.
20 You led Your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Read Psalm 77 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 77 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 76

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 76

God is known in Judah;
His name is great in Israel.
His tent is in Salem,
His dwelling place in Zion.
There He shatters the bow’s flaming arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.Selah

You are resplendent and majestic
coming down from the mountains of prey.
The brave-hearted have been plundered;
they have slipped into their final sleep.
None of the warriors was able to lift a hand.
At Your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both chariot and horse lay still.

And You—You are to be feared.
When You are angry,
who can stand before You?
From heaven You pronounced judgment.
The earth feared and grew quiet
when God rose up to judge
and to save all the lowly of the earth.Selah
10 Even human wrath will praise You;
You will clothe Yourself
with their remaining wrath.

11 Make and keep your vows
to the Lord your God;
let all who are around Him bring tribute
to the awe-inspiring One.
12 He humbles the spirit of leaders;
He is feared by the kings of the earth.

Read Psalm 76 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 76 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 75

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 75

We give thanks to You, God;
we give thanks to You, for Your name is near.
People tell about Your wonderful works.

“When I choose a time,
I will judge fairly.
When the earth and all its inhabitants shake,
I am the One who steadies its pillars.Selah
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn.
Do not lift up your horn against heaven
or speak arrogantly.’”

Exaltation does not come
from the east, the west, or the desert,
for God is the Judge:
He brings down one and exalts another.
For there is a cup in the Lord’s hand,
full of wine blended with spices, and He pours from it.
All the wicked of the earth will drink,
draining it to the dregs.

As for me, I will tell about Him forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.

10 “I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”

Read Psalm 75 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 75 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 74

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 74

Why have You rejected us forever, God?
Why does Your anger burn
against the sheep of Your pasture?
Remember Your congregation,
which You purchased long ago
and redeemed as the tribe for Your own possession.
Remember Mount Zion where You dwell.
Make Your way to the everlasting ruins,
to all that the enemy has destroyed in the sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in the meeting place
where You met with us.
They set up their emblems as signs.
It was like men in a thicket of trees,
wielding axes,
then smashing all the carvings
with hatchets and picks.
They set Your sanctuary on fire;
they utterly desecrated
the dwelling place of Your name.
They said in their hearts,
“Let us oppress them relentlessly.”
They burned down every place throughout the land
where God met with us.
There are no signs for us to see.
There is no longer a prophet.
And none of us knows how long this will last.
10 God, how long will the enemy mock?
Will the foe insult Your name forever?
11 Why do You hold back Your hand?
Stretch out Your right hand and destroy them!

12 God my King is from ancient times,
performing saving acts on the earth.
13 You divided the sea with Your strength;
You smashed the heads of the sea monsters in the waters;
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
You fed him to the creatures of the desert.
15 You opened up springs and streams;
You dried up ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is Yours, also the night;
You established the moon and the sun.
17 You set all the boundaries of the earth;
You made summer and winter.

18 Remember this: the enemy has mocked Yahweh,
and a foolish people has insulted Your name.
19 Do not give the life of Your dove to beasts;
do not forget the lives of Your poor people forever.
20 Consider the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of violence.
21 Do not let the oppressed turn away in shame;
let the poor and needy praise Your name.
22 Rise up, God, defend Your cause!
Remember the insults
that fools bring against You all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamor of Your adversaries,
the tumult of Your opponents that goes up constantly.

Read Psalm 74 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 74 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 73

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 73

God is indeed good to Israel,
to the pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my steps nearly went astray.
For I envied the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have an easy time until they die,
and their bodies are well fed.
They are not in trouble like others;
they are not afflicted like most people.
Therefore, pride is their necklace,
and violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes bulge out from fatness;
the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
They mock, and they speak maliciously;
they arrogantly threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues strut across the earth.
10 Therefore His people turn to them
and drink in their overflowing words.
11 The wicked say, “How can God know?
Does the Most High know everything?”
12 Look at them—the wicked!
They are always at ease,
and they increase their wealth.

13 Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?
14 For I am afflicted all day long
and punished every morning.
15 If I had decided to say these things aloud,
I would have betrayed Your people.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it seemed hopeless
17 until I entered God’s sanctuary.
Then I understood their destiny.
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
20 Like one waking from a dream,
Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.

21 When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
22 I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
23 Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.
25 Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
27 Those far from You will certainly perish;
You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.

Read Psalm 73 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 73 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.