Let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:5-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Let your requests be made known to God.

I sure have trouble with this! I feel like I have spent a lifetime practicing the present your requests to God part. I still don’t get that right. And with thanksgiving — in every situation? Well, that isn’t always so easy either. I have a long history with God — and still, I get distracted and overwhelmed.

Some things take a while to come to fruition. Some things are never meant to be. But that peace of God is such an amazing gift. The work God does in our hearts as we wait, in prayer, is His work. The guarding of our hearts and minds is His work, but the presenting everything to Him in prayer and supplication is what we need to do.

I am so thankful that God’s peace is in short supply. He wants to give us this beautiful gift! I just need to remember to turn it over to Him before I have any time to be anxious about it.

Let your requests be made known to God.

God loves to hear from His children! What are you laying at His feet today?

My grace is sufficient.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Power. Strength. Ability. We are not wired to be independent little islands and yet we work towards a level of self-sufficiency that often negatively impacts our relationship with our Savior. Our weaknesses reveal God’s strength. I am often too busy making sure I have done all the things that I forget who is really behind them. And having an ability apart from knowing who has granted it can lead me to a “I did it myself” type of attitude.

Let’s be sure to give the credit where it is due. And rest in God’s good gifts of grace!

O my Strength.

Psalm 59:16-17

16 But I will sing of your strength;
    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
    and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress,
    the God who shows me steadfast love.

O my Strength.

How often do I think I can do it “myself”. We have two grandchildren between the ages of 2 and 3 and we are seeing an increased amount of independence. Of course, that is normal and age appropriate. And the rest of life seems to be all about finding the balance between our physical and mental independence, strength, ability, dependence, and how it ebbs and flows during the years. And then, there is the spiritual side of things. In our weakness we see God’s strength. We wrestle with our circumstances. Does our own strength even matter? Are we stronger when we allow God’s strength to be shown? Can we be patient and let God do His work?

When we look to God for His wisdom and His strength, He will deliver. He is our fortress, our deliverer. He shows us His steadfast love.

O my Strength.

Be merciful to me.

Psalm 57:1-3

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. 
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

Be merciful to me.

His mercies are new every morning. Do we start each day remembering God’s mercies?

I know there are times when my day simply starts and I don’t always pause to pray or dedicate my day to God and leave space for His work. But, I know my days always start better when I do. Recognizing my position in this world is important, especially in comparison to God. That isn’t to say that the things I am doing are unimportant, it’s just that knowing who I am in relationship to God helps me keep things in perspective. God…fulfills his purpose for me.

The Lord is my light and salvation.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord is my light and salvation
whom shall I fear?

There is a lot of fear going around these days. We are not quite through a pandemic which has altered many of our lives and livelihoods. And now there is a war in Ukraine. I can’t really stop any of these things that are going on in the world. But I can run to God with my fears and confusion.

Lord, be my salvation. Be the stronghold of my life. Be my confidence and truth. Be my defender. Be my healer. Be the one that knows the bigger picture and sees how it works together. Be the one I trust in all things. Hear me when I am afraid. Help me trust in You.

The Lord is my light and salvation
whom shall I fear?

I give thanks to you.

 Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.

My whole heart. My undivided heart. That heart that cannot curse and bless at the same time. That’s the heart David is talking about.

I can imagine David. His whole heart ready to burst — overflowing with the thankfulness for God’s gifts of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. When we are burden with sin, it’s a heavy load to carry. When we recognize all that God sees and knows about us and and that He still loves us, it is an amazing thing. We are His creation. And He provides for us in ways that are beyond our comprehension.

It’s true we don’t get everything we want. Even those honorable things that seem like they would be good things aren’t always meant for us. Getting to the point of being thankful in all circumstances is a journey of surrender.

But it can begin today.

What difficult things can you look back on in your life and see where God has done some beautiful work? If you have some history with God, you have seen His provision in action. You know what He can do — even if it takes years for it to come to fruition.

What is today’s circumstance that has you wondering is He sees or knows or even cares? Let me encourage you to give thanks to Him for what He has done and what He is going to do. Even if you can’t start with your whole heart, start with part of your heart. As you look back on what He has done, it gets easier to trust Him with your heart. It may start off as bits and pieces, but, between remembering His work in the past and giving thanks for today, you will find that more and more of your heart will participate.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.

Unite my heart.

 Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Unite my heart to fear your name.

Have you ever had a divided heart? They aren’t hard to come by. I find myself longing for that thing I should not be longing for or I am stuck between choosing what is the right thing to do and the thing I would rather do. Maybe you have some other scenarios playing in your head. I want my heart to trust in God so I don’t have to look longingly at that other thing that I don’t need in my life. I want to “fear His name” with that sense of awe and reverence. While God is certainly all powerful, I never really look at His power as something to be fearful of in the current understanding of the word. Merriam-Webster defined fear as profound reverence and awe, especially towards God. That fits.

Even when I have really struggled with the burden of sin and consequences I never saw God as one to be afraid of so I appreciate the difference in the use of the word fear in the definition above. Not that God loves sin, He certainly doesn’t. But His patient love for me, even when I am in the middle of being ridiculous, is always evident.

Lord, unite my heart so it is undivided and that is is Yours. Let the rhythm of Your breath of life set the beat of my heart and let it all be for Your glory! Amen.

For you are great.

Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

For you are great and do wondrous things;
 you alone are God.

God has done marvelous things, He is doing amazing things, and so I know He won’t stop. It’s His nature.

I just need to take a look at my life to see His work, His provision, His care for me. Are the times of loss and difficulty? Of course, that is living this life. Any difficulty I have is not an indication of His lack of love or care for me.

Look back and remember what He has done for you. Look at today and see where He is providing for you. See the pattern? Tomorrow will be the same thing. You can count on Him!

There is none like you.

 Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours
.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours
.

I have always been fascinated by creation. All the amazing creatures designed by our Creator. The symbiotic relationships. The development. How the Universe works together with the sun, moon, and planets and how man ever saw the patterns — which are very different depending on your vantage point. It’s all so vast. And yet, God is so personal. He knows the hairs on our heads. He can telescope and microscope at the same time and not be confused by it at all. On the other hand, I took chemistry and astronomy in the same semester and that was a big mistake. I couldn’t wrap my head around either concept because objects were either a million miles away or thousands of them could fit on the head of a pin.

Today just seemed like one of those days to stop in awe of God’s creative handiwork — from creating to healing to restoring to renewing — He never stops. Take a moment to consider His handiwork. What have you seen in your own life that causes you to be in amazement of what God has done?

Psalm 51

Psalm 51:1-19

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

There are many beautiful things in this Psalm. On David’s part, his humility, broken spirit, and contrite heart. It’s a place where we have all been. It’s so relatable.

But the most beautiful is all that God is doing. The list is long:

He shows mercy and blots out transgressions. He washes us thoroughly and cleanses us from our sin. He teaches us wisdom and purges us with hyssop. He washes us some more. He hides His face from our sin and He blots out some more. And then, He creates in us clean hearts! He renews a right spirit within us! He refuses to cast us away from His presence and He will not take His Holy Spirit from us! He restores to us the joy of our salvation! He delivers us and opens our lips!

Receive God’s good gifts!