I will praise Him!
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalm 16:6-11, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 147
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp (NIV).
How many stars are there in the Milky Way galaxy? According to astronomers the answers is somewhere between 100 billion and 400 billion. That’s quite a wide range. If we don’t know the number of stars in our own galaxy, how can we possibly know the total number of stars in the universe?
The difficulty of this calculation has not stopped scientists from coming up with an estimate. There are about two trillion galaxies in the known universe, so multiplying the number of stars in an average size galaxy by two trillion will give us an answer. Using these figures the total number of stars is 1 with twenty-four zeroes after it. But astronomers admit the actual number could well be ten times higher.
We need to understand today’s reading from Psalm 147 in the light of this astronomical number. He [the LORD] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
The size of the universe blows my mind. It is so beyond comprehension in size and scope that we are left staggered and breathless. We can’t begin to take in the smallest fraction of it. But our great Lord knows the name of every star. If the universe is so big then it’s painfully obvious that my concept of God is far too small. He boggles the brain. The word awesome doesn’t begin to capture His greatness. He is truly limitless in time and space.
Knowing the greatness of God and his created universe should leave us in wonder about the next statement in this psalm. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Why would this great limitless God care about me and the state of my heart and mind? Why would He consider me significant? Why would He care for me? Why would He fix His attention on anyone on this earth—this speck of dust in greatness of the universe? The LORD has galaxies to tend to.
But He cares. This great, limitless God cares for the likes of you and me. Now that’s the wonder of it all. That’s the biggest ‘wow’ in the universe. I’ll never get over His love—the love that hung suspended between heaven and earth on a wooden cross. That’s love—limitless love.
Response: LORD God, I can’t begin to fathom your greatness. You are far too wonderful for me. I don’t deserve a moment of your thoughts. But you did so much more. You sent Jesus. Thank you for your creation and your great redemption. Amen.
Your Turn: How big is your God? Does He fill your universe?
Stories of Finding Love in Unexpected Places
These stories will amuse, encourage, and inspire you to reflect on ways you’ve been shown love, and to consider how you might show more love in the future.
The men, women, and children in these stories experience love in ways they’d never have thought of, from people they might not normally have noticed, and in surprising places:
- on the wrong side of the tracks in small-town Ontario
- beside a wood burning stove in the Central African Republic
- in the words of an old letter in a New Brunswick house
- next to a burned-out Saskatchewan farmhouse
- upon a deserted country road in British Columbia
- adjacent to a chopped-down jackfruit tree in the Philippines
- over a table in an empty Alberta restaurant
- at a bus stop in a Quebec city
- from the bombed-out ruins of a house in the Netherlands
In a world that seems consumed with busyness, these heartfelt stories will take you to a quiet place and remind you that simple acts of love can make a lifetime of difference.
“As we emerged into an open grassy area, Champ suddenly went ballistic.”
Author Bio: David Kitz is an award-winning author and a contributor of the short story entitled, CHAMP! on page 171 of Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon.
For more information on the book purchase visit: https://www.davidkitz.ca/bookcart/index.php?route=product/product&path=64&product_id=63
Reading: Psalm 147
Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds (NIV).
There are a lot of brokenhearted people in this world. No, I’m not talking about sports fans who have suffered heartbreak because their team has lost. I’m talking about the more serious issues that arise—the loss of a home, a career, or a family member. I’m talking about those devastating life events from which full recovery may never be possible.
Today’s evening news carried the story of a woman who had lost her home due to severe flooding throughout our region. There she stood with her voice breaking as she described all the work she and her husband had put into their lovely home. Looking beyond her you could see nothing but brown water lapping against the sides of her house. Everything they had worked for was ruined.
Every Friday morning for a dozen years I have been meeting with a group of men who have entered into a covenant to grow stronger in their relationship with the Lord. We are accountable to one another in our commitment to grow in love and service to Jesus. But faithful commitment to the Lord provides us with no guarantee against personal heartbreak.
One of the leaders of our group lost his wife last fall due to pancreatic cancer. Now Chris must cope with the loss of his wife while also providing care and comfort for his young son and his teenage daughter. That’s heartbreaking. That’s a daunting task!
I’m not sure that I could cope with that level of loss.
In today’s reading from Psalm 147, we see a call to praise coupled with a promise that the LORD will build up, restore, and heal the heartbroken. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
I need words like that. I need healing words. The wounded need healing words. As God’s people we need to give and receive words that comfort the grieving, build up the downcast, and minister healing to the wounded. All too often our tongues do more harm than good. Too often we speak words of judgment, when we should leave judgment to the LORD.
Today, remember there are a lot of brokenhearted people in this world.
Response: LORD God, heal my hurts so I can help heal the hurts of others. I pray that your people will find comfort in your word. May your words bring health and healing. You are worthy of praise. Amen.
Your Turn: How can we bind up the wounds of others? Do you have wounds that need healing?
Reading: Psalm 146
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD (NIV).
Are you looking for the LORD’s help? Let’s be honest now. Many of us are. Well here’s a startling truth. The self-sufficient and well-to-do need not apply. We can also add the smug, the proud, and the arrogant to that list.
I thought the LORD was willing to help all who came to Him. True, but here is the sad reality; the arrogant and self-sufficient don’t come to God. They have no need for Him. They are too wrapped up in their successes and their pride to come in humility before the LORD. In reality, the LORD is the unseen author of any genuine human achievement of lasting value.
Today’s reading from Psalm 146 gives us a glimpse at those who should get their application in for the LORD’s help. Here’s the list as found in this psalm: the oppressed, the hungry, prisoners, the blind, the bowed down, foreigners, the fatherless and widows. Help is promised to all of these. To put it simply, the LORD helps the needy.
I have often heard it said that the Lord helps those who help themselves. I have even had people insist that this statement is found in the Bible. It is not. This non-biblical proverb is often used to justify human greed. In other words, I’ll grab whatever I can without any thought for those who are less fortunate. Furthermore, I’ll frame it as God blessing my greed. Ouch!
The character of God is the exact opposite. He is attracted to the needy. He helps the needy rather than running from them. Jesus continually demonstrated this quality in his earthly ministry. He showed compassion to the oppressed, the hungry, the blind, the widow and the fatherless. He set captives free from prisons of sin and shame. Jesus calls his followers to do the same.
Response: LORD God, I confess that often I avoid the needy rather than seeking to help them. Give me a heart of compassion—a heart like your Son, Jesus. You are my great provider. Thank you. Amen.
Your Turn: How do you respond to someone in need? Do you always help? What does genuine help look like?
Reading: Psalm 146
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, my soul.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God (NIV).
Last week I had a delightful telephone conversation with my mom. She was pleased to report that her last and final round of cataract surgery had gone very well. Her vision has greatly improved. Speaking of her follow-up exam, she said, “The most excited person in the room was the doctor. He was thrilled that the surgery turned out so well. I was the oldest patient he had ever operated on.”
My mom is ninety-four, but she doesn’t let a minor thing like that slow her down. After all, age is just a number. She still keeps a busy schedule and out works many women half her age. Who else but my mother would annually sew a hundred quilts and donate them to Lutheran World Relief?
But she knows, just as we all know that her life here on this earth will come to an end. We best make the most of it while we have this precious gift. Time marches on, and time will eventually march us off to the grave as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow on a new day.
In today’s reading from Psalm 146, the psalmist makes a lifelong commitment. He commits himself to praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
This is not an insignificant commitment. We were made to worship and we all do it, even the atheists among us. Some worship their money; others worship the pleasures of this world. Perhaps the greatest god of the current age is the god of self. Monuments to personal vanity have been erected all around us. I have been known to set up a few of these myself.
Genuine praise for the LORD tears down personal idols. It establishes His lordship over our lives. It acknowledges that He is in control. I have so little power. I can’t turn a white hair to black, at least not in the true sense. But the LORD knows the number of hair on my head and the number of my days. Ultimately, my life is in His hands. My life here is temporary. That’s why I need to put my hope and my trust in God—the eternal One. The psalmist’s words ring true. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. And that blessing holds true for ninety-four-year-olds too.
Response: LORD God, I thank and praise you for the gift of life. You are worthy of worship. I commit to worshipping you every day for the rest of my life. Thank you for eternal life through Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Will you praise the LORD for all of your life? Are you ready to make that commitment?
Reading: Psalm 145
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever (NIV).
Psalm 145 begins with David calling us to praise the LORD, and it ends with a similar call to praise. David extols the virtues of the LORD. He sees Him as righteous and faithful. One can have these virtues, but still be distant or aloof. But that’s not how David sees the LORD.
David knows his God hears him when he prays. How does he know this? For David this isn’t an answer he learned from a textbook. He knows God hears prayer from personal experience. In his daily life David called out to the LORD over and over again in times of trouble, and over and over again the LORD helped him. That’s why he can record the following words in this psalm of praise: He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
What about you? Have you discovered from personal experience that God answers prayer? Have you called out to the LORD in a time of trouble? Has He brought help your way?
Just this week my wife lost/misplaced her driver’s license. This produced some anxious moments as she discovered this loss just as she was about to board a flight across the country. She had arranged a car rental at her destination, but without her driver’s license she could not access the car. Some desperate prayers were offered up and in due course, after she arrived at her destination, the answer came. The driver’s license was found.
Do we involve the LORD in our day to day activities? That should be the norm. Here is David’s testimony—the testimony of Holy Scripture: The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
That should be our testimony in the daily grind of life, in the ups and the downs. The LORD is near 365 days of the year. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his disciples with these words of assurance, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We can rest assured that He is as near as our next breath.
Response: LORD God, I am so glad that you are not distant or aloof from those who call out to you. You are near to me. You answer prayer. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Amen.
Your Turn: Can you testify that the LORD is near and He answers prayer?