An Overtime Victory

Tags

, ,

Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 28b -365Reading: Psalm 28:6-9

LORD God,
help me to grasp the full extent of the victory
I have in you.
Now I ask you to hear my prayer,
“Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
Amen.

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

A Come from Behind Olympic Victory

Tags

, , ,

Reading: Psalm 28:6-9
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The L
ORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever
(NIV).*

img_20211005_1103546

Fall reflections on Greens Creek — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
David ends Psalm 28 with a doxology of praise. Yes, it is good and fitting to praise the LORD. He hears our cry for mercy. To those who seek to know Him, He is not a God of harsh judgment or we would all perish. He is my shield and strength despite my frequent failings. David declares, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” I can join in David’s declaration and personally testify to the truth of these words, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”

Our God does not stand afar off. He is near to those who call on Him.

David was not one to be shy or reserved in his expression of praise. He exults, “My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” When David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he gave full expression to his joy.  Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets (2 Samuel 6:14-15).

Recently, I watched as Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over a shocked American team. There was no shortage of leaping, dancing and rejoicing in the Canadian ranks. The outburst of praise and jubilation was completely fitting for them.

But as born-again children of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have a far greater reason—an eternal reason—for bursting forth in praise. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over death, hell and the grave. And he scored that victory for you and me. Together we are on an international team—Team Believer—believers in Jesus. What a victory he has won! What a celebration!

We join with David in declaring, “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”

Response: LORD God, help me to grasp the full extent of the victory I have in you. Now I ask you to hear my prayer, “Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Amen.

Your Turn: Why do we put limits on our expressions of praise to God, when our praise is exuberant and boundless at sporting events?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

The Redeeming Sacrifice

Tags

, ,

Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 28_1aReading: Psalm 28:1-5

LORD God,
have mercy on me.
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil.
I put my trust in the redeeming sacrifice of your Son, Jesus.
You are my help and salvation.
Amen.

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Do You Want Justice in This Life?               

Tags

, , ,

Reading: Psalm 28:1-5
Of David.
To you, LORD, I call;
you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
Because they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again
(NIV).*

img_20211007_1050380

The abbey ruins at the Mackenzie King Estate, Gatineau Park — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
David begins Psalm 28 with a plea for God to hear him. As the psalm progresses it becomes clear this is a plea not only for mercy, but also for justice. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.

The cry for fairness is perhaps the most universal of all human desires. What is the most oft repeated complaint in a kindergarten class? If you guessed, “That’s not fair!” you win the gold star. A desire for equality of opportunity and fairness is simply part of our human constitution; it’s bred into us.

Governments are defeated and revolutions happen when leaders fail the test of fairness and equality under the law. But all too often we do not see justice served in this life. The murderous Pol Pot was never brought to justice though three million Cambodians died under his regime. On a personal level, you too may have suffered a grievous injustice. When we become aware of such offences and heinous crimes, David’s call for justice rings true and clear. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve.

The oppressed and the oppressor will meet the God of justice in the afterlife. But the redeemed have this assurance, ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Response: LORD God, have mercy on me. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil. I put my trust in the redeeming sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. You are my help and salvation. Amen.

Your Turn: When you see injustice around you, do you take it to God in prayer? Are there other biblical ways to respond to injustice?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

I Remain Confident of This

Tags

, ,

Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 27_13Reading: Psalm 27:7-14

Lord God,
this is my confession,
“I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
I will,
“Wait for the LORD.”
I will,
“Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Amen.

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Does God Hear Me When I Pray?

Tags

, ,

Reading: Psalm 27:7-14
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
Be merciful to me and answer me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my mother and father forsake me,
The LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
Lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
For false witnesses rise up against me breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (NIV).*

img_20211007_1049293

Through the open window of prayer — Mackenzie King Estate, Gatineau Park — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Is God listening? Do I have His full attention? Is He even there? Even people of great faith ask questions such as these. Listen to David’s plea, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD.”

David’s psalms are replete with calls for God to listen and then quickly respond to his cries for help. These pleas for a listening ear happen with such frequency throughout the Book of Psalms that one can be forgiven for wondering if God is deaf. In our minds we know this is an absurd proposition. He who formed the ear can surely hear the faintest whispered prayer or unvoiced thought. But despite what our intellect knows, we still plead for His listening ear. Along with David we cry out, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.”

I suspect the problem in prayer is not that we are speaking to a deaf God, but rather we, the petitioners, are deaf to God’s answers. The patriarchs and prophets of old heard the voice of God. They conversed with the LORD Almighty. Many of these conversations are recorded verbatim in the Old Testament. A fine example of this is found in Exodus as Moses speaks with the LORD at the burning bush.

Have we lost the ability to hear God? Has a great collective deafness settled across humanity?

In a cold world filled with rejection, there is a God. There is a God of mercy the lonely soul can turn to. There is One who understands. There is One who listens to our anguished prayers. David discovered and knew that reality. We can join with David and say, Though my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

Response: LORD God, this is my confession, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” I will, “Wait for the LORD.” I will, “Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Amen.

Your Turn: Are there times when you doubt God is listening to your prayers? How do you know He is there? Has the LORD spoken to your heart?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

One Thing I Ask

Tags

, ,

Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 27_4Reading: Psalm 27:4-6

Lord Jesus,
I want to be with you.
I want to live my life close to you now,
and close to you forever.
Show me how to do that.
Be near me, Lord Jesus.
I ask you to stay close by me forever,
and love me I pray.
Amen.

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Are You at Home with the LORD?

Tags

, , ,

Reading: Psalm 27:4-6
One thing I ask of the LORD,
This is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To gaze on the beauty of the LORD
And seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
And set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
At his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD (NIV).*

img_20210930_0835054

Early morning calm — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
No matter where we travel, or how pleasant the journey, within us all there is a longing to be home. The same longing for the safety and comfort of home can be found in this psalm of David, but for David, being at home meant being in the presence of God. The LORD God was David’s refuge and comfort. To be near the LORD was to be safe, at rest and fully at peace. Nearness to God was the paramount desire of David’s heart.

Now hear David’s heart cry, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek him in his temple.”

David’s statement here delineates a clear priority. For David the house of the LORD was of first importance. But, I do not believe it was the physical structure or house that attracted and captivated David. It was the LORD of the house who captured David’s heart. He wanted to be with Him. He longed to see Him and be at home in His house.

Like many preschool children, my youngest son Joshua had some difficulty pronouncing the t-h sound, so in his four-year-old vocabulary the word ‘with’ became ‘whiff’ instead. He would make odd sounding statements such as this, “Daddy, I want to come whiff you,” or, “I want to do that whiff you.” Doing something ‘whiff’ someone brings to mind the notion of being so close to them you can smell each other. That’s close—really close; bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh close—father and son close—intimate in a family kind of way.

Something deep and soul changing transpired as David tended that flock of sheep on those Judean hillsides. In his youth David met God. The LORD was ‘whiff David,’ so close they could smell each other. David in his youth tasted and saw that the LORD is good. So even now in his adult years he yearns for that intimacy. He yearns for the house of the LORD. He is filled with a longing for home.

Response: Lord Jesus, I want to be ‘whiff’ you. I want to live my life close to you now and close to you forever. Show me how to do that. Be near me, Lord Jesus. I ask you to stay close by me forever, and love me I pray. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you at home with the LORD now? How at home will we feel with Him in eternity, if we aren’t at home with Him now?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

                                                                                       

An Eight-Day Journey

Tags

, , ,

The biblical novel I have written takes you on an eight-day journey to the cross and the resurrection. From Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to his death, and his resurrection three days later, we see all these events through the eyes of the Roman centurion, Marcus Longinus.  The Soldier Who Killed a King takes you there—to this pivotal week in human history.

Are you ready to take that journey? It’s a journey of eye-opening personal transformation.
4485 FACEBOOK-1

For a closer look click here.

Begin the Music

Tags

, , ,

I will praise the LORD!

img_20210826_1727333

Landestreu Church — photo by David Kitz

(Psalm 81:1-5, NIV)*

Sing for joy to God our strength;
    shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
    play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
    and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel,
    an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
When God went out against Egypt,
    he established it as a statute for Joseph.

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

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.