Tag Archives: Psalms

Thoughts on Psalm 131

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Psalm 131 contains just three verses but gives a good pattern for prayer.

PRAY HUMBLY.

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes not raised too high… (v. 1a)

The Psalmist begins with the inner man. A prideful heart ruins even the most eloquent prayer and haughty eyes spoil even the most lofty supplication. This is not to say that words aren’t important, but that a humble heart matters more.

Lord, help me to pray humbly and acutely aware of what a great grace it is that you hear me. Stamp out any hint of self-exalting pride and make me like the tax collector in Luke 18: “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. (v. 1b)

There is sweet freedom in trusting God for the many great perplexities of life. “God is good,” and “God is sovereign” must be enough. It is foolish to speculate about matters He intentionally shrouds in mystery and better to rest upon the revealed counsel of God. Additionally, there is wisdom in diligently serving Him wherever He has placed us doing whatever He has given us to do. There are no unimportant servants in God’s economy and neither do we serve Him in vain.

Heavenly Father, humble my arrogant heart that insists on placing myself on equal terms with You. Conform my will to Yours and let my actions be pleasing in Your sight. Let me seek what you have revealed in Scripture as valuable treasure, for knowing You only deepens my love and devotion to You. You are my Creator. It is enough that You know. It is enough that You see. It is enough that you hear. I am content; for You Yourself have said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

PRAY WITH CHILD-LIKE FAITH AND IN THE SIMPLICITY OF JOYFUL SUBMISSION.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (v. 2)

A child who is weaned from her mother’s milk has ceased to depend upon it for nourishment and is content to sit quietly in her mother’s arms. We often come to God with troubled hearts, agitated and impatient, struggling to grab hold of a perceived need when what we really need first is God Himself.

O God, wean me from this world. Wean me from worldly desires, temporal pleasures, and self-seeking patterns of thought. Let me come to you as a contented child, completely trusting in Your provision and wholly resting in whatever Your will is for me. Let my heart be still and simply trust in You.

O  Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. (v. 3)

PRAY WITH UNWAVERING HOPE.

Here the Psalmist exhorts us to fix our hope forever on God and God alone. He is a God who keeps His promises. There is no firmer foundation upon which to rest our Hope than God Himself. He is perfectly trustworthy and cannot lie. His promises are sure, His Word imperishable, and His Covenant is everlasting.

Lord, thank you that my hope in You can never be disappointed. Thank you for the extravagance of my Gospel inheritance that makes it possible to draw near to Your throne of Grace with confidence and receive unending mercy, unmerited Grace, and help for my needy soul.

(Luke 18:9-14; 1 Cor 15:58; Prov 2:1-5; Ps 139; Gen 16:13; Isa 59:1; Heb 13:5;  Ps 46:10; Num 23:19; Heb 4:16)

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

 


Fool That I Am

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The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Psalm 14:1a

Am I that fool?

At first thought, I would say no. I believe in God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I believe in the Great I Am, the Sovereign Lord and King of the universe. My Heavenly Father who gave His Son that I might live.

I do trust God for my salvation, but how often do I play the fool by failing to trust Him for my here and now? How often do I say the words, “I believe”, but live my life as if God did not exist? How is it that I believe God for a thing as huge and sweeping as life after death, but often fail miserably when it comes to believing Him for today? I fret. I worry. I doubt. Practically speaking, I am a fool.

I’m not quite sure how to get around this. It’s something that I have struggled with all my Christian life. And yet, looking back over my years on this earth, I can see how faithful God has been to me. First, how he plucked me out of darkness and translated me into the kingdom of His glorious light. Then, how He set a fire in my soul and revolutionized my thinking. He has given me hope, forgiveness, and eternal life. My blessings are innumerable. And yet, one of the things I continually fail to do consistently is trust Him.

My pastor is quick to remind us that God takes the trials in our lives and forces them to do good to us. Perhaps this weakness of mine, this penchant for fretfulness, is the part of me that drives me to Him. For where else can a fool obtain wisdom? And, what is there to do with worry but turn it into prayer? Jesus Himself invites us to cast our cares upon Him, proof that He is the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep. The psalmist reminds us that God knows our frame and that He is mindful that we are but dust. How tender are your mercies, oh Lord!

When my fears overwhelm me
May I submit to God’s will.
Let Truth my sweet refuge be
This, that my God is Good, still!

Again, am I that fool? Perhaps not. Not because of who I am, but because of who He is. His strength perfected in weakness.  Like Peter, let me make the heartfelt confession, “Lord, to whom shall [I] go? You have words of eternal life.”

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Note from Terrie: This will be the last post on Gospel Apprentice until the second week in July. Lord willing, I will return from this short hiatus refreshed and ready to write. God bless you all!


FINDING GOD IN THE WILDERNESS

Note from Terrie: A new year begins! No real resolutions this year (I have a hard time keeping them). Well, maybe just one: Read more. That’s a general enough resolution that I may find a bit of success in it. As far as Gospel Apprentice goes, I will continue to try to post 3 times a week, sermon notes, something I’ve written, and the internet mixer on Fridays. God bless your 2013. Hope to hear from you this year on Gospel Apprentice!

"The Wilderness" - Israel

“The Wilderness” – Israel (Photo credit: wmrice)

SERMON NOTES: Pastor Carlos Cuellar
January 6, 2013: Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

FIVE TRUTHS GOD REVEALS ABOUT HIMSELF THAT WILL ENCOURAGE US WHEN WE ARE IN THE WILDERNESS OF LIFE

Psalm 63

1. In the wilderness God reveals Himself as God so that we desire and behold Him. Ps. 63:1-2
-God takes us into the wilderness so that we can learn that He is all we need.
-In the wilderness, God strips away all other gods so that we can see Him alone as God.
-v. 1: Oh God, you are MY God…
-God awakens our desire for Him and then reveals Himself to us.
-David could’ve looked to other things besides God (David’s own sin, Absalom, his circumstances). But David looks to God.
-In our wilderness of life, we can look to the Cross.

2. In the wilderness God reveals steadfast love toward us so that we worship Him. Ps. 63:3-4
-God takes us into the wilderness to show us how much He loves us.
-There we see God’s covenantal, relentless love.
-David learns that nothing can separate Him from the love of God.
-We don’t have to wait until we are out of the wilderness to worship God. We can worship Him, as David did, in the midst of pain and suffering.

3. In the wilderness God reveals His sufficiency so that we are satisfied in Him. Ps. 63:5-6
-We realize that God is all we need.
-We often want God plus something else. God wants us to know that He is enough.
-Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…(no lack).

4. In the wilderness God reveals His helping presence so that we trust in Him. Ps. 63:7-8
-He has been our help (past) and will be our help (future).
-We can be comforted by His presence in the wilderness.
-Ps. 23: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
-When we can’t hold on any longer, He upholds us.
-Even in our darkest hour, we are in God’s hands.

5. In the wilderness God reveals His perfect sovereignty so that we hope in Him. Ps. 63:9-11
-When things go wrong, sometimes our first impulse is to scramble to control the situation.
-David knew that God is sovereign and takes comfort in that.
-God’s sovereign hand acts upon David’s enemies.
-David waits on and trusts God for future deliverance.

This Psalm (song) was written during one of the lowest points of David’s life. Let us also find Him in the wilderness and sing.


In the Morning

O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

Early in the morning, when the house is quiet, He is there, waiting. When I’m able to drag my sleepy self out from under the blankets and stop worshipping my bed pillow for a few moments; He makes it worth my while.

It’s the quiet that amplifies His voice and enlarges His mercies. Precious are the moments when I can believe that all the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus. Before the noise, before the confusion, before the stress, before the anxious disquietude of life begins anew, I look up. O LORD, in the morning my prayers are unhurried and in no danger of being drowned out by the clamor and commotion of life. There is time enough for my expectant heart to sense the sweet bloom and fragrance of truth and hope.

For it is there, hidden and safe between darkness and light that my Lord whispers to me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I hear Him, and my response is praise.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


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