God is Awesome

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely. Psalm 145.18

This psalm, written by David, is a hymn of praise to God. It talks about the greatness of God. It extols his mighty acts and amazing deeds. It recognizes God’s mercy, compassion, patience, and love. It states that the Lord is just in all his actions and exhibits love in all that he does. He is there to help those who cry out to him in truth.

Many of the same ideas are stated in the New Testament. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught that God takes care of his creation. He feeds the birds as an example. He certainly loves mankind and has shown that love in an amazing way. John 3.16 states that he gave his own Son to die for us. Romans 8.28 states that all things work together for good for those who love God.

God is near and his love for us is real. In return, he asks that we love him and show that love through obedience to the truth.

#risingjoy #Psalms #love

Deliverance

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Magnify the Lord with me! Let’s praise his name together! Psalm 34.3

This psalm was written be David. The superscription makes a reference to 1 Samuel 21.10-15. David had gone to King Achish of Gath to flee from Saul who was King of Israel.

When David heard what the king’s servants were saying about him to Achish, he was very afraid. He altered his behavior and pretended to be insane in their presence. David was able to leave there without coming to harm.

This psalm praises the Lord. The Christian should be continually praising him. Our boasting should be in the Lord and all that he has done for us. As his name becomes known in the earth, his glory is increased and magnified. He answers our prayers for help and delivers us from our fears.

Let us be like David and taste and see that the Lord is good!

#risingjoy #Psalms #praise

The Shepherd’s Care

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. He restores my strength. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation. Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. Psalm 23.1-4

David wrote this psalm from his own experience. David was a shepherd who took care of his father’s flocks, 1 Samuel 16.11-13. He was well aware of the flock’s dependence on the shepherd.

Jesus described himself as the good shepherd in John 10. He takes his sheep and helps them to find pasture, verse 9. He also lays down his life for his sheep, verse 11.

Jesus knows his own. They are the ones who listen to his voice and follow him. He will care for them and save them. Are you a part of his flock?

#risingjoy #Psalms #shepherding

Sleep Well

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure. Psalm 4.8

Do you have nights when your mind is in overdrive? It jumps from one item to another, usually, from one problem to another. You toss and turn in your bed, knowing that you need to sleep to face the next day. And it just does not come. Or when sleep comes, it is shallow and fitful?

What do you do with your cares and your worries? Do you stubbornly hang onto them, determined that you will resolve them yourself, while knowing that it is not possible?

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5.7 that you should cast all you cares on God because he cares for you. Paul wrote for you not to be anxious about anything, Philippians 4.6, but to tell your requests to God, and his peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Only the Lord can provide safety and security! Make sure that you abide in him!

Sleep well, my friend.

#risingjoy #Psalms #sleep

Revive me

Rule-keeping has acquired a bad name in religion. Probably, because man makes rules. And probably, because man rebels even at God’s rules. And possibly, too, because some have removed obedience from the gospel.

Whatever the reasons, and however many they are, it’s in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

And Scripture sees the keeping of rules as being dependent on God.

Revive me with your loyal love, that I might keep the rules you have revealed.
Psalm 119.88.

God is willing to constantly revive us. The author looks for it, expects it, desires it. His obedience depends upon it. As does ours.

Obedience is a condition to salvation and continued grace. But it also depends upon God’s power and finds in his loyal love motivation more than sufficient to revive the flagging soul.

#devotional #Psalms #obedience

What is justice?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

How blessed are those who promote justice, and do what is right all the time! Psalm 106.3

The Lord loves justice, Psalm 11.7. Justice is the quality of being impartial or fair. Wisdom walks in the pathway of justice, Proverbs 8.20. God has promised that if we ask for wisdom, he will give it to us generously, James 1.5.

God calls people to stop sinning. Sin separates us from God. In Isaiah 1.17, Isaiah wrote “Learn to do what is right! Promote justice!” How can we learn to do what is right? Where is the source of what is right? 2 Timothy 3.16 answers those questions telling us that the scriptures are where we find the source of what is right and what we need to do.

People who try to do what is right all the time are blessed! They will be happy and at peace.

#risingjoy #Psalms #justice

God the same today

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Dark clouds surround him; equity and justice are the foundation of his throne. Psalm 97.2

This psalm is referring to God. He alone is worthy to be praised. He has revealed himself to man, first through Moses and, today, through Jesus.

In Exodus 20, God gave the ten commandments to Moses. In Exodus 19.9, he had told Moses that he was going to come in a dense cloud on top of the mountain. The people would be able to hear when God spoke with Moses. The purpose of this was to help the people to always believe in Moses.

Today we have many science fiction movies that have special effects that wow us and entertain. However, when God appeared on Mount Sinai, he descended on it in fire that completely covered it. The smoke went up like from a great furnace and the whole mountain trembled. The result of this: the people trembled with fear, Exodus 20.18-20. Moses had told the people that God was testing them that the fear of him would prevent them from sinning. It was not a special effect; it was real!

God is the same today! He wants us to fear him, to have respect for him, and to obey him. His will has been revealed through Jesus Christ, his Son. His words have been written for us to read and learn, 2 Timothy 3.16. God’s word will bring judgment, Hebrews 4.12-13. We must be prepared!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

What is it to be godly?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The godly will possess the land and will dwell in it permanently. The godly speak wise words and promote justice. The law of their God controls their thinking; their feet do not slip. Psalm 37.29-31

To be godly is to be holy or to be like God. Peter wrote in I Peter 1.15 that we are called to be holy because God is holy. If we are God’s children, we will take on the characteristics that show who God is.

We meditate upon his law, Psalm 1.2, and find pleasure in obeying his commands. Solomon in Proverbs 1.7 wrote that fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge.

Those who are godly speak with wisdom and are blessed, Proverbs 3.13. God gives wisdom generously to all who ask for it, James 1.5.

When we look into the perfect law of liberty and fix our attention there, we will live it out in our lives and be blessed in all that we do, James 1.25.

#risingjoy #Psalms #godliness

The Lord promotes justice

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Turn away from evil! Do what is right! Then you will enjoy lasting security. For the Lord promotes justice, and never abandons his faithful followers. They are permanently secure, but the children of evil men are wiped out. Psalm 37.27-28

This psalm was written by David, who became king of Israel after Saul. After he was anointed by Samuel, he entered into the service of the king. Saul persecuted David for some time and even tried to kill him more than once. However, David always respected Saul for being the king.

1 Samuel 24 relates an occasion that Saul was hunting David to kill him, even though he had done nothing to deserve the punishment. Saul had entered a cave to relieve himself. David and his men were hidden at the back of the cave. David crept up and cut off an edge of Saul’s robe. Afterward, with his conscience bothering him, David would not allow his men to hurt Saul. The king left the cave unharmed. After Saul had started down the road, David came out of the cave and called to him reassuring him that he was not planning evil against Saul.

David did turn away from evil, for the most part, and did what was right. He served as king of Israel for forty years and the kingdom did well under his guidance.

#risingjoy #Psalms #justice

Tries God’s patience

Rising Joy, Vicki Matheny

Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving! Let’s shout out to him in celebration! Psalm 95.2

What a difference gratitude makes! It helps us to focus on the positive things in our lives. God blesses us each day with the things that we need if we will obey him.

We basically have two choices: obey, not obey. When we do not obey, we live in rebellion to God. What are the results of rebellion? Many times it brings anger, resentment, selfishness, and many other negative things to our lives. Rebellion challenges authority. It tries God’s patience and brings his disgust.

God is the creator of the universe in which we live. He holds the depths of the earth is his hand. The mountain peaks belong to him. He made the sea and formed the dry land. We should bow down in worship before him. He cares for us and loves us! That is cause for thanksgiving and celebration!

#risingjoy #Psalms #gratitude

The reason to go to worship

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I desperately want to be in the courts of the Lord’s temple. My heart and my entire being shout for joy to the living God. Psalm 84.2

The temple was the place where the Lord was present in the Old Testament. The Jews would travel from afar to offer sacrifices to God. It brought joy to the heart to be in the temple, God’s dwelling place.

The temple in Jerusalem no longer exists. However, there is a spiritual temple today. Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 2.21 that in Christ they were growing into a holy temple in the Lord. That holy temple today is the body of Christ. Christians are members of Christ’s body, 1 Corinthians 12.27.

Do we have the same desire to be in the Lord’s temple, the church? The church is not a building but a group of people who gather to worship God. Does my heart shout for joy to be in the presence of God? So often I hear people complain that they did not get anything out of worship. They were not sure why they even went. Friends, the reason one should go to worship is not what is received, but what one gives. We are in the presence of the living God and should be giving praise and honor to him. That privilege is enough to bring one joy!

#risingjoy #Psalms #temple

Something wonderful happened

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Rejoice in the Lord and be happy, you who are godly! Shout for joy, all you who are morally upright! Psalm 32.11

There is something to be said for living correctly. You do not have to constantly look over your shoulder to see if you are about to get caught.

David writes in Psalm 32 about the negative effects of sin. When he refused to confess his sin, his body wasted away. He groaned in pain all day long.

However, once he confessed his sin and did not try to cover it up any longer, something wonderful happened. God forgave him. David encourages the faithful followers of God to pray while there is a window of opportunity. God will teach us how to live through his word and his faithfulness will overwhelm the one who trusts in him.

Those who are godly and morally upright can rejoice, be happy, and shout for joy!

#risingjoy #Psalms #sin

Upon our repentance

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning. Psalm 30.5

This is a psalm written by David. David had experienced the Lord’s anger first hand. In 2 Samuel 24, we read where the Lord’s anger raged against Israel. He incited David against them, telling him to count both Israel and Judah to know the size of their armies. Joab goes to do the bidding of the king much against his own better judgment.

After nine months, Joab returned from counting the armies. David felt guilty for having ordered the count. In 24.10, David confessed his sin to God asking him to remove his guilt. God sent Gad, the prophet, to present him with three options of punishment to remove his guilt. David chose to be attacked by the Lord through a plague rather than to be attacked by men, 24.14.

David felt the Lord’s anger in the plague that lasted for three days. It lasted for a brief moment. In 24.25, David built an altar for the Lord and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. The Lord accepted them and the plague was removed from the land.

Upon our repentance, God restores our lives. While we are reaping the consequences of our sins, we may experience sorrow, but joy arrives with the realization that our sins have been removed and forgiven.

#risingjoy #Psalms #repentance

Two paths we can choose

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight. Psalm 16.11

There are basically two paths that we can choose to take in this life: the path that enters through the narrow gate which is a difficult way that leads to life and the path that enters through the wide gate which is a spacious way that leads to destruction, Matthew 7.13-14. The psalmist teaches that God leads us in the path of life if we choose to follow him.

The path of life might be difficult, but 1 John 1.7 says that as long as we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. We are not in this alone. We have the presence of God and his Son with us as well as other Christians.

The psalmist states that he experiences absolute joy and sheer delight in God’s presence. I can experience that same joy and delight today knowing that my soul is prepared to live with the Lord.

#risingjoy #Psalms #life

Full of positive thoughts

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But may all who take shelter in you be happy! May they continually shout for joy! Shelter them so that those who are loyal to you may rejoice! Psalm 5.11

This psalm was written by David who was once king of Israel. One of the meanings of to “take shelter” is to go somewhere for cover or protection from danger or bad weather. The life of David was turbulent many times, but almost without exception, we can read of his trust in God to see him through the difficult times.

This verse is full of positive thoughts. We can be happy when we take shelter in the Lord. This does not mean that bad things will not happen. Even David experienced many bad things in his life. But in the midst of the trial, our soul is protected and secure. It brings a joy to our lives that is continuous. David asks that God shelter those who are loyal to him so that they may rejoice. God is our protection. It is a protection that brings joy to the heart!

#risingjoy #Psalms #shelter