Angie Benjamin

When life gets blurry, adjust your focus!! {Psalms 102:1-104:35}

2:56 AM



Today's reading is simply beautiful,

In Psalm 102, We see David being overwhelmed by trouble and pouring our his heart and problems before the Lord.

We've all been there. Moments of deep pain and despair, in which we don't even care about the basics needs such as eating.

Moments in which the heartache is so bad that we begin to feel rejected by God Himself. We start wondering, where is He?...

But our beautiful God and creator is eternally with us and will keep all of his promises, even though we may feel alone.

The word of God says that this world (and its problems) will perish, but God and His love for us will remain.

In those times of need God alone can be our comfort and our strength. It is beautiful to know that even when we are too weak to fight, we can trust and lean on Him.

I believe it is when we recognise and acknowledge our shortcomings and weaknesses that God's great power becomes available.

Only when we realise that we have come to the end of ourselves we allow God's power to manifest in our lives and in our situations.

So what to do when everything seems so dark and gloomy?

PRAISE




In Psalm 103, David praise focuses on the things God had done and was still doing for him.

I think this is key. Telling our soul and redirecting our thoughts to the goodness of God. Remembering the good things that He has done and remembering how far He has taken us from.

It is very easy to complain about life. After all, our world seems to be upside down...but David reminds us that there are far many more things to be grateful for and to praise God for, such as:


  • He forgives our sins.
  • Heals our diseases.
  • Redeems us from death!
  • Crowns us with the love and compassion.
  • Satisfies our desires.
  • Gives us righteousness and justice.


And the best of all? We receive all these without deserving any of them!

We can go through life resting assured that regardless where we are in our life's journey, we can count our past, present and even future blessings!

So when things are not going quite right and you're feeling down, please go back to David's list.

Train your thoughts to focus and redirect your attention to PRAISE!

So as a photographer, I've learnt a very important lesson in life...









Becky Austin

The Delight of Worship (Psalm 96-101)

3:34 AM



“Unless men see a beauty and delight in the worship of God, they will not do it willingly.” John Owen

I remember that when we were in the planning and discussion stages for our journey through the Bible this year that we talked about a theme of Praise and Worship.  Each time I have written a post, I have tried to focus on what magnifies God and what helps me see aspects of his character that I can draw attention to.  Honestly, that’s not a hard task because every God inspired book of the Bible reveals God to us if we will just take the time and have the interest to look.  I believe that David chose to look diligently for God and he had the ability to see God manifested in every facet of life.  He was obviously fascinated with God and passionate to express his admiration.  From his heart’s outpouring in Psalm 96-101, we are blessed to have great examples of sincere expressions of praise and worship. 

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.”
Psalms 96:1-4 

Can you appreciate David’s enthusiasm? These are words that come from delight and not obligation. David tells us to “ sing a new song” which suggests fresh, original, joyous expression. He tells us to sing “to the Lord”. Our worship is “ for God”. It’s something we offer to Him. He encourages us to “tell of his salvation from day to day”. Our worship connects us to God but it also connects us to each other.

“For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.”Psalms 97:9   David was King of Israel, but David remained humble in his understanding of God’s ultimate authority.  All of mankind worships something or someone.  In order for our hearts to truly worship God, we must be willing to humble ourselves and willingly submit to God’s authority.  We can’t worship God if we are worshipping self or the pursuit of idols. 

“Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalms 100:3  David felt connected to God.  He felt that he mattered to God. Having a sense of purpose can help us have a heart of gratitude.  Praise and worship most easily flow from a grateful heart. “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalms 100:5  

Do you find worship of God to be more of an obligatory task or a delight? We were specially designed to honor, worship and glorify God. David delighted in worshiping God and declaring his power and love to as many as he could. Through worship he remained humble with a teachable heart and God delighted in him.  As you read through these Psalms, I hope you can relate to David's enthusiasm and offer your own "new song" of worship to God who loves you and wants to be the One you delight in.


“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose and all this gathered up in adoration the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and source of all actual sin.” William Temple 

Protection

Resting In His Shadow {Psalm 91}

12:00 AM


O to have beautiful bronzed skin that tans to a golden brown in the sun! Unfortunately, I could faithfully sunbath all summer long and I’d never have that gorgeous tan I covet! My skin only turns different shades of red, and a few of my granddaughters are even fairer than I am.

A few years ago our whole family took a summer vacation to the beach.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t planned ahead very well and came with only one tiny beach umbrella for 11 people!

It was late in the day when I happened to look down at our fairest grandchild and noticed that her skin was beginning to burn in spite of all the sunscreen we had repeatedly lathered on her. She was having such a great time playing in the sand with her cousin that I hated to call her over to sit under the umbrella, so I took a beach towel, wrapped it behind me like a cape, held the two top corners in my hands, stretched out my arm and stood there between her and the sun, to shield her from anymore harmful rays. I didn’t think much about it at the time, for I was enjoying watching them play together, but sometime later as I began to read,

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
the picture of what I had done that moment came flooding back, and I knew God had reminded me of that moment to demonstrate that He does the same for us.

 Can you picture your heavenly Father standing over you, protecting you, because He wants you to continue enjoying what you’re doing? We may not always sense His protection, and probably forget He’s there at times, or even wonder if He's left us to fend for ourselves in some tough situations, but He’s there! He has to be because of His character!  He can't forget us if we belong to Him, for I know His love is far greater than my love for my granddaughter, though I can’t imagine what that must look like.

Psalm 91 speaks mostly about spiritual warfare and it happens to be my favorite Psalm for it also speaks of His care for us. The best way to remember it is by remembering: when in need call 9-1-1. No matter what difficulties we’ll face today, God is a place of refuge we can run to, and a shelter from harm.

The more we break down this Psalm the more precious it becomes! For example the word “dwell” used in verse 1 actually means, “to take up permanent residence.” Here, He’s reminding us to stay in His presence, for it’s a permanent place. His Word says if we do that, we will “rest” in the very "shadow” of Almighty God!

If you look up the definition of, “shadow” you might just find, a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. (You must know I had to smile when I saw that) We are all pretty familiar with the effects from the sun. It can produce burning heat, harm our skin and wipe out our energy. The harm diminishes when we move into the shadows, OR the shadow comes to stand between us and the sun. I love knowing He comes to shelter us from pain; be it physical or verbal, His shadow diminishes what is actually felt in its intensity. Just knowing He's in control brings such a comfort and peace.

This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with His goodness and the power of God, and offers great reminders that He is faithfully at work on behalf of those who love Him.  But it's the end of this Psalm that I don't want you to miss, for He gives us 8 reasons why we have no reason to fear:

“Because he loves me, says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

Because we love Him, He will,

-  Rescue us (deliver)
-  Protect us
-  Answer us (respond)
-  Be with us in trouble
-  Deliver us and bring us to safety
-  Honor us
-  Satisfy us with long life (abundance life according to John 10:10)
-  Show us His salvation."

How amazing is that? We are blessed for seeking Him, and choosing to walk in His ways. In the midst of this dark world, I can’t imagine living without Him. The truth is, this world has been growing darker since sin first entered it, yet God is here to remind us that we can walk, work, even play assured that He will always be there to remind us that we're not alone.

And though He never tells us that we won't face hard times, He does say He'll be with us through it to protect, and help us make it to the other side. We may never fully know this side of heaven, how much He has sheltered us from in this life, but I look forward to finding out, don’t you?

 Until then, I know He can be trusted to stand over me and be my Shield and yours.

Blessings!

sue