A Freewill Offering

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I will praise the LORD!

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Photo by David Kitz

Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
    in your faithfulness destroy them.

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
    I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.
You have delivered me from all my troubles,
    and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

(Psalm 54:4-7, NIV)*

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

The Straight and Narrow Way

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 119_172Father God,
I confess I am prone to stray.
Help me to stay to the straight
and narrow way that leads to life.
I thank you, Jesus,
for seeking me
and saving me by your shed blood.
Amen.

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at this #1 new release click here. For a look back at Volume I click here.

I Have Strayed

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Reading: Psalm 119
ת Taw
(Verses 169-176)
May my cry come before you, LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, L
ORD,
and your law gives me delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands
(NIV).*

L Kranz 2021-04-09

Photo courtesy of Liz Kranz.

Reflection
This is the final reading from Psalm 119. Today’s reading features Taw, the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Day by day we have been making our way through this acrostic poem—reading as it were from A to Z in the Hebrew language. All of it is written in praise of God’s word and His promises. It is difficult to fully appreciate the structural beauty of this lengthy poem, when it is translated into English.  

This line from today’s reading is typical of the psalmist’s praise for the word of God: May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.

At times the psalmist appears to be proud, even boastful of his obedience to God’s word, but here at the conclusion of this magnificent poem, he takes on a more humble stance. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

There is something very human about this prayer—about this ending. We are very prone to stray. The prophet Isaiah reflects on this human characteristic. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

Jesus is our carrier—our iniquity carrier. He carried our sins to the cross where he suffered and died, so that his blood could cover those sins—my sins—your sins. But our sin carrier is also our Good Shepherd, who goes out to find those who are lost. He is the answer to the psalmist’s prayer. This is the purpose for his coming. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Response: Father God, I confess I am prone to stray. Help me to stay to the straight and narrow way that leads to life. I thank you, Jesus, for seeking me and saving me by your shed blood. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you a wandering sheep? Have you been found by the Good Shepherd? How is he guiding your life?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

Nothing Can Make You Stumble

Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 119_165 (1)Father God,
grant me your peace.
Now by faith,
I receive the promise of your everlasting peace.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
(Philippians 4:7).
Thank you, Lord Jesus.
My sins are forgiven.
Amen.

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at this #1 new release click here. For a look back at Volume I click here.

Great Peace at Its Source

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Reading: Psalm 119
ש Sin and Shin
(Verses 161-168)
Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
I wait for your salvation, L
ORD,
and I follow your commands.
I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you
(NIV).*

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Chaudiere Falls and dam, Ottawa, ON — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
We live in troubled times—times of global pandemic, and domestic and foreign conflict. Turmoil abounds. If you follow world events, it seems we are sitting on a ticking time bomb. Problems and conflicts abound, and those conflicts spill across borders as people desperately seek a better life.

Into this world of uncertainty, the psalmist speaks these words. Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 

If we are looking for peace in this world, we are sure to be disappointed. The ways of the world lead directly to conflict, as human greed and pride compete for dominance. This should not surprise us since the world and the systems of the world are controlled by our adversary, the prince of darkness.

Again the psalmist reminds us. Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Our peace is not found in the world; it is found in loving your law, which is the word of God. The good news is that this word of God did not simply remain as pages in a book. It became flesh to live with us. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Furthermore, Jesus, the living word, gives us this promise, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Response: Father God, grant me your peace. Now by faith I receive the promise of your everlasting peace. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Thank you, Lord Jesus. My sins are forgiven. Amen.

Your Turn: What brings you peace? Do you need the peace of Christ?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

What Influences the Prayers We Pray?

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Today’s quote and prayer from “Psalms 365” by David Kitz
Prayer Posture Psalms 365Father God,
teach me how to pray with a humble heart.
Any righteousness or goodness I have comes from you.
I will brag about your goodness,
the cross of Christ,
and your unfailing love for me.
You are true and holy.
Amen.

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will soon be available. For a closer look at Volume I click here.

A Posture of Humility

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Reading: Psalm 119
ר Resh
(Verses 153-160)
Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
Your compassion, LORD, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.
All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal (NIV).*

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Nesting Canada goose at abandoned industrial site — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
As we draw near to the end of Psalm 119, I have a confession to make. Though in general, I love the Book of Psalms, Psalm 119 did not rank high in my affections. Though my views have changed, please bear with me now as I attempt to describe why at first I disliked some aspects this Psalm.

In my opinion the author of this psalm spends too much time posturing. He continually reminds God how good he is and how disgusting others are. Statements like this one set my teeth on edge: I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.

Words like these remind me of the Pharisee bragging in the temple while the tax collector humbly calls out to God for mercy. Jesus concludes that the tax collector “went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). I’m left wondering, how did the author of Psalm 119 return home? Was his prayer heard and accepted by the LORD?

The answer must be a resounding yes. Psalm 119 would not be in our Bible’s if it was not the divinely inspired word of God. So this question remains. How does the psalmist get away with using the sort of comparison that drew Jesus condemnation in his description of the Pharisee and the tax collector?

I believe the answer lies in posture. Psalm 119 is best prayed from a kneeling position. The psalmist is humbly—even desperately—calling out to God. The posture we assume influences the prayers we pray.

Response: Father God, teach me how to pray with a humble heart. Any righteousness or goodness I have comes from you. I will brag about your goodness, the cross of Christ, and your unfailing love for me. You are true. Amen.

Your Turn: What posture do you assume when you pray? How does your posture reflect your heart?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

My Hope Is in Your Word

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 119_147LORD God,
with all the distractions around me,
I want to get in the habit of meditating on your word.
Help me to focus my attention
and thoughts on your promises.
You are good to me.
Amen.

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at this #1 new release click here. For a look back at Volume I click here.

God and His Promises

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Reading: Psalm 119
ק Qoph
(Verses 145-152)
I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD,
and I will obey your decrees.
I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, L
ORD, according to your laws.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
 Yet you are near, L
ORD,
and all your commands are true.
 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever
(NIV).*

eyeglasses on book beside pink rose on cup

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Reflection
Meditation. It seems everyone is doing it. Have you taken up meditation? Even the Bible encourages us to meditate. 

Ah, but there are some fundamental differences between transcendental meditation and the meditation that is described in the Bible. Eastern meditation, which springs from the Hindu religion, calls on the practitioner to relax and empty his or her mind.

Biblical meditation is not an emptying of the mind, or a disengagement with the thought process. Instead, it is active, concentrated thought on a topic, word or Bible verse. On an intellectual level, it has been compared to rumination—a cow chewing her cud. It involves getting the most out of what God has said—digesting His word—so it is fully incorporated into the life of the believer.

Today’s reading sheds light on the psalmist’s practice of biblical meditation: I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

The psalmist is thoroughly engaged with God. He is crying out to Him. He is focused on the word of God and His promises: I have put my hope in your word.

In the rush of life, do we stop and meditate on God’s word? Is Bible reading just a box to check off as we speed through our day? It’s the LORD who calls us aside to spend time with Him.

Response: LORD God, with all the distractions around me, I want to get in the habit of meditating on your word. Help me to focus my attention and thoughts on your promises. You are good to me. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you easily distracted from God’s word? Do you take it with you through the day?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here.

                                                                                           

The Wise Application of Your Word

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 119_140Creator God,
your word and your promises
stand true for all eternity.
Help me to believe and live each day
through the wise application of your word.
Give me understanding that I may live.

Amen.

Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at this #1 new release click here. For a look back at Volume I click here.