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EUCHARISTEO. DOES IT SAVE US? (PSALM 33)

Eucharisteo — a poetic word pregnant with meaning. It represents the gospel, the broken body of Christ — and our response of thankfulness for who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do.

Eucharisteo.

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I welcome letters, even those that strongly disagree with me, if they are peaceable. (James 3:17) Thoughtful questions make me think, and help me see things I may have been blind to, or show me if I am being unclear. God uses the fellowship of believers to keep us from sin and error. I try, as Dawson Trotman (founder of Navigators) did, to take criticism into my prayer closet and sift it before God, to see what is true and what is not. I recently received a gentle letter from a women’s ministry leader that decided not to have the women in her church do my book, Idol Lies, as a study because I quoted and recommended Ann VosKamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. She felt Ann taught salvation by gratitude. I thought, I pondered, and reread what Ann wrote. Poet Luci Shaw told me once that many theologians are left-brained, and they may struggle with the metaphors and manner of speaking of poets. I think that keeps happening to Ann, a poet for our time, and my heart grieves for her being misunderstood, but also, for those who are missing the beauty and the power of poetry.

I had a conversation with a godly philosophy professor about the importance of interpreting both Scripture and other writings according to their genre. He was talking about the word “literally,” and said it actually means “read according to the literature,” meaning, according to their genre. Don’t read prose like poetry or poetry like prose. When the psalmist tells us we can find refuge “under His wings,” look for the meaning and don’t press it the way you can prose.

Ann speaks of “eucharisteo,” a poetic picture pregnant with power. I want us, with the help of Psalm 33, to ponder and practice eucharisteo.

I believe my kind letter-writer was well-intentioned but misunderstand this poet. We know, and I know Ann knows, that salvation comes through faith alone, faith in the shed blood of Christ. Yet there are at least two ways thanksgiving is important in regard to salvation.

A THANKFUL HEART IS ONE EVIDENCE OF A SAVED SOUL

First, could we not say that a grateful heart is one evidence of a saved soul? David Martyn-Lloyd Jones, when he asked individuals if he or she was a Christian, watched their attitude when they responded. If they were miffed by the question, he knew they thought they had done something to receive it. If instead they were profoundly thankful and said something like, “Yes — isn’t it amazing?” he knew they understood it was a great gift to them. Also, Romans 1 indicates that the wrath of God comes to those who suppress the truth about him, who …did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” It seems that a saved soul is a profoundly thankful soul for what Christ did at the cross on his behalf.

 

cross-of-christTHANKSGIVING HELPS US RECEIVE THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION

Secondly, Ann isn’t talking about salvation from the penalty of sin, but salvation from the power of sin. What she repeatedly says is that “Eucharisteo” (the act of continually remembering His acts, His love, His mercy, and His promises that are manifested in so many ways) “really might be the mystery to the fullest life.” She tracks it through the Scripture and then repeats: “Thanksgiving — giving thanks in everything prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.” What can rescue us from grumbling? Isn’t is treasuring what He has given us? What can rescue us from the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy? Isn’t it, treasuring the power that the Sword of the Spirit and using it to back that slimy liar into a corner?  And what can rescue us from despair when we see we have failed again? Isn’t it thankfulness in realizing that He loved us so that He did die for us and that He is faithful and just to forgive us again?

One of my favorite parts in One Thousand Gifts is when Ann talks about how Satan hammers nails into us, but as Erasmus said, “One nail can drive out another.” Ann says “my camera is a hammer.” She photographs the glories of the simple life that produce thankfulness in her heart, and that hammer out the nails Satan tries to drive in, and rescues her. And she shows those photographs to us, daily, on her blog. We can do it too — and often use Facebook to share our thanks. I think we have to be careful, however, not to be glorifying ourselves, but to glorify the One who gave us these gifts. I loved how my youngest daughter, Annie, framed this idyllic picture of her husband David (and our blog manager!) and her girls that she put on Facebook. She wrote:

“First time we’ve done a family of 4 bike ride. Miabelle kept wanting to go more and more and pushed out a little over 3 miles on her bike! I know we always post bright, happy pictures on Facebook and Instagram but let’s get real here, I’m a grump, a lot.. but my black twisty heart felt sooo happy and thankful on this bike ride with my little family…”

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Another way we can encourage our hearts to give thanks is to start singing his praises through the day. It is fitting, Psalm 33 tells us, to sing praises. It is not only an evidence of being filled with the Spirit, it completes our joy.

No, giving thanks doesn’t save us. But it is one evidence of a saved soul. And we can experience the fullness of salvation from the power of sin by continually giving thanks. Psalms 33 and next week’s Psalm 34 help us to do just that. Because of our “natural curvature of the soul,” we have a tendency to forget the greatness of God and His unfailing mercy — and when we do, we become depressed, irritable, and self-focused. Indeed, giving thanks can rescue us.

SUNDAY ICEBREAKER

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?

3. Watch this and comment:

MONDAY/WEDNESDAY: Psalm 33: A PURE PSALM OF PRAISE TO HELP US GIVE THANKS

Derek Kidner says Isaiah 40 is the best commentary on Psalm 33 — so we will look at some cross-references to help us understand this psalm better, and in so doing, pray it better. The psalm begins with the fact that it is fitting for us to give thanks. Why? Our iniquity has been pardoned. Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort my people…her iniquity has been pardoned.”

To prepare your heart, listen to this from the Messiah, straight from Isaiah 40 — it has a wonderful little commentary at the beginning. As you listen, remember, this promise from Isaiah is for us, His children, and allow yourself to be comforted.

4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?

5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.

 

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HE GATHERS THE WATERS OF THE SEA AS A HEAP;

HE PUTS THE DEEP IN STOREHOUSES.

This world is full of evil, and evil leaders. I’ve been reading Unbroken and learned that Hitler used the Olympics in Germany to increase his power before he began the holocaust. We said it would never happen again, but isn’t that what we are seeing with Vladimir Putin right now? Where is hope? God’s Word promises that God is in control, that one day, as Isaiah 40 says, the warfare will cease. We can pray and thankfully trust God has a plan.

6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.

 

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   7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.

 

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8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.

 

387018_429723300397208_1858781759_nPrepare your heart for the closing section with this:

 

9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.

 

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My friend Linda Strom is with me now, and she quotes Max Lucado who says waiting is not passive. We wait, but we wait prayerfully, thankfully, expectantly.

10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)

Thursday-Friday:

This is under five minutes.

 

I am so enthusiastic about One Thousand Gifts that even if you have read it, I think you will also be blessed by hearing it — because Ann is a poet, and poetry (including the psalms) is to be read aloud. So if time permits, listen to her first chapter, and comment. (And if you are left-brained and want a week off, you may take it with grace!)

11. Comment on the above.

Saturday:

12. What is your take-a-way and why?

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277 comments

  1. Renee…..couldn’t respond above…..but the Texas accent made me laugh out loud 😀

  2. This is from The Valley of Vision, prayer of “Praise and Thanksgiving”–I thought it was fitting and beautiful:
     
    O MY GOD, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,for adorning it, sanctifying it,though it is fixed in barren soil;for the body thou hast given me,for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding; for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others,for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joys of heaven,for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly. I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.
     

    1. Thanks Elizabeth-love Valley of Vision..Some gems: “My heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.”  and  “for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.”

    2. Thank you, Elizabeth for this prayer. I am not familiar with the Valley of Vision prayers-thanks again for sharing!
       

    3. thank you for sharing this excerpt from the Valley of Vision, Elizabeth. It is beautiful.
      Today I listened to Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) on Psalm 33:21″Our heart shall rejoice in him.
      Yes, I have seen Jesus as the morning star and I will gaze upon Him as the sun in his strength. Truly, the presence of Jesus is all the heaven we desire. He is at once the glory of our brightest days; The comfort of our nights. ” C.H.Spurgeon
      I think of last week and the thought that we experience the deepest sorrow and the deepest joy. Yes, I claim that statement. and am grateful.
       

      1. Shirley–this Spurgeon quote is beautiful. He is my favorite and this really spoke to me this morning–thank you for sharing.

      2. I think of last week and the thought that we experience the deepest sorrow and the deepest joy. Yes, I claim that statement. and am grateful.

        So succinct and direct, Shirley.  I so like that about your posts.  You have a confidence that inspires me.
         

    4. Elizabeth, what is Valley of  Vision? A book?

      1. Laura–yes Valley of Vision is a book of old Puritan Prayers–I thought I had seen an online version before, but I have a hard copy–its just a little book, here’s a Gospel Coalition article I just came across–it explains the contributors, etc
        http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/07/11/valley-of-vision/

  3. Elizabeth – that prayer was a lovely morning prayer …..thanks for sharing it!   A friend gave me Valley of Vision several years ago and I have found it to be SO timeless.  

  4. 5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God.  Compare this with Isaiah 40:12.  Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.   I can’t help but see how verses 4&5 are worth pausing and pondering as they lead in to verses 6&7.  Verses 4&5 weave together who God is with what He does…”upright, faithfulness, loves righteousness and justice, steadfast love…”  And so I meditate on this, our God.  And then I think about the disciple Jesus loved (John 21:20), beloved John, reading this passage and seeing in verse 6, “the Word”…”logos”…..and then the Holy Spirit through John writes the incomparable first chapter of John….”In the beginning was the Word….all things were made through him…..and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….”   .    So I began in verses 4&5 thinking about God the Father, and by verses 6&7 I was seeing God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – just as in the first chapter of Genesis.  I read Isaiah 40:12 and just think “shut my mouth”.  Childish though it may sound, all I can think to say is “God is BIG”.  
    “Oh my Creator God.  You ARE big.  I cannot wrap my mind around the words I’ve just pondered in your Word.  But my heart knows the Truth…..and my heart begins to pound with wonder and amazement.  The precision and perfection of your Word delights my soul.  To see you, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit…..three in one……from Genesis to Psalms to Isaiah to John……and all throughout your Holy Word.  Oh Jesus.  Your hands.  Those hands that in Isaiah 40:12 “measured the water” and “marked off the heavens with a span….”  Your hands.  Freely you allowed those hands to be nailed to a cross for me.  I bow down.  There is none like You.  Amen.

    1. Jackie, I love what the Spirit opened your eyes to see in this passage…the connection between who God is with what He does, and how you see the Trinity.

  5. 5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
     
    The first verse that stood out to me was, “…He is faithful in all He does.” That sure sums up the Lord. He is faithful. Faithful to keep all of His promises, to do what He says He will do. He deserves my trust because He is faithful. A person who is faithful can be depended upon to do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. A faithful friend stands by you no matter what. He is faithful in His relationship with us, like a husband who remains forever faithful to his wife.
    Secondly, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made…” This makes me think of John 1 where Jesus is called the Word. I think this points to Jesus, by whom all things were made.
    Isaiah 40:12 uses beautiful word pictures like “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand; who has weighed the mountains on the scales?” Because the Lord created all things, He is the one who set the laws of nature in place; things that scientists today figure out with mathematical equations and the laws of physics and chemistry. But they are just discovering what God in His masterful mind created.
    Lord, there is truly no one like You. No one’s mind or intelligence can equal or rival Your mind and intelligence. In all the beauty and fascination of the natural world is Your unfailing love beheld; You could have made the world gray and colorless and rather plain, but instead You created flowers and animals and all kinds of things that are too numerous for me to count. You never run out of fresh ideas for colors, shapes and sizes, and different kinds of things. This shows me that Your mind is limitless. You rule over it all with righteousness and justice, and are gracious to us to love us and to share what You have made with us; to share Yourself with us. Thank You, loving and giving God!

    1. Susan
        Reading through your post, I am reminded of a poster I had once that said,  
      “All I have seen of the Creator teaches me to trust Him in all that I cannot see.”  

  6. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
    That He sees the hearts of men-the hearts HE created-he knows what they do in their homes, in governments-he watches them. He knows what is going on, but more yet-he is in control-I am trusting he is much wiser than me! He is in control and has a plan in the works..Like what Linda Strom said, I just need to wait with prayer, trust and expectation-and trust God to lead me in helping those who are suffering.
     
    Lord your majesty is too much for me to behold-your strength, your wisdom, your Love-when you intervened with Paul on the road-you overwhelmed him and brought him to his knees..you shook his heart to the core-a pharisee of pharisees whose pride was overwhelming-whose heart was set like a rock to go and destroy Christians for your sake..yet you humbled him in an instant. You strengthened Ananias not to fear when he helped Paul..You ‘chose’ Paul and Ananias from the very beginning-YOU are the ruler of all hearts for you have them in your hand. When Jesus died on the cross, you shook the Earth and tore the veil. Lord you are our hope-and some day the Earth will be restored because IT IS FINISHED-you won. Help me to trust and wait as Linda said-with prayer and great expectation. In your name I pray, amen.
     

  7. I have something to share this morning. As I said last week, I am committed to lament before The Lord for all matters of my heart. There is one matter so deep that it defines me. It is desire for my sons to glorify The Lord and enjoy Him forever as the little girl said in the video. A few years ago there was an event that just tore my youngest son away from the church. It was so unfortunate and damaging. It came up yesterday in conversation with another believer reminding me this morning to bring it to The Lord. As I pray this lament I see the metaphor of planting a bulb in the earth. When we do that we give it up to the earth but not without hope because we know that it will become something far greater than that seed. Can we take these things, the split seconds of carelessness or just unfortunate events that result in changed life and entrust them to The Lord forever? Please help us Lord.
     

    1. Ann,  You’ve written some sentences that are just below the surface for me and I haven’t had the words to express quite yet.

      Can we take these things, the split seconds of carelessness or just unfortunate events that result in changed life and entrust them to The Lord forever? Please help us Lord.

      Amen!  “Please help us Lord”

      1. Anne and Renee
        Before seeing these commments, this afternoon I have been pondering and wrestling with this very thing.  The heartache for me is similar to what Anne described.   Oh how I need to plant that bulb of anguish…to plant (and replant) those tears….and know that something greater will come.  That joy will be produced.  
         
        Amen.  “Please help us Lord”

        1. Lord I pray for Wanda, Renee and myself that You would help us to trust in what we cannot see. The beauty that You will bring out of ashes in our lives. Help us to speak our laments to You and then trust You with them. How blessed we are because the course of our lives is in Your hands. How happy we are because we are Your daughters.

    2. Anne, what a beautiful metaphor of the bulb being planted. Yes, we all have laments in this category. As my children have become adults and go through difficulties and let downs in so many areas, it is painful to me. But my hope is in God as I lament over these sad moments that often go into years. You have described it so poignantly.

      1. “give it up to the earth but not without hope because we know that it will become something far greater than that seed.”
        I agree, Shirley…beautiful metaphor, Anne. 
        Anne, I pray that your son will be able to put behind him the hurt of the human institution (indeed difficult and made even more so with the evil one’s taunts) and be able to separate it from the Lord.

  8.  
    1.        Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
     
    Long time ago in the Philippines, I was in a boat coming back to our island after Christmas caroling in another. The waves were rough and it was a dark night. Only a few stars lighted our way. I remember feeling afraid and alone despite the fact there were at least 10 of us in that boat. As the boat lurched and rolled in the waters, I also remember feeling overwhelmed by the power of the deep waters. As I reflected on this Psalm 33 passage and Isaiah verse today, the experience of that once upon a time was brought to the forefront of my mind. How vast and powerful were the waters! And the creator who made the waters and the starry host is also my Father!
     
    Lord, I praise you that you are a God who is faithful in all you do and loving to all you have made. Your Creation was made according to the beauty and order of your design and they are under the command of your word. How great are you, Lord! Then sings my soul-How great Thou art!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NojwQKHuF54 Chris Tomlin “How great is our God” with a fitting end of “How great thou art!”
     
     
    1.        Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
     
    Lord, what a great reminder –your plans stand firm FOREVER; the purposes of your heart through all generations (mine, my daughter’s, her future descendants-I need not fear –you are God and you will work out your purposes through all generations). I praise you, Lord. In the midst of all evils in our world today, no one can say he is in control. YOU are the one who brings about your purposes.  There is nothing/nobody to compare with you. You sit enthroned above the earth; you are Lord of lords!
     
    And Lord as I reflect on your sovereignty, my concerns for today are put into perspective. The God whom I serve and love, is the God whose plans will stand firm. I can go through my day trusting you to carry out your purposes in my life, in the lives of the ones I love, and the affairs of the peoples of the world.
     
    Bend my knees, O Lord as I see and hear of the atrocities happening in the world. Help me to keep trusting you and doing my part as you lead. Press on me the love you have for others and may it be a springboard for love in action on my part.
     
     

  9. 4. Sing and praise. Focus focus focus on Him when I sing in the car or with pandora at home.
    5. He spoke and it came to be. Wow I have no words… Lord you are clearly in control. You are so big and I am smaller than small. Thank you for giving me a beautiful place to spend my days. It amazes me that you put so many details into nature. You love us so much. Thank you. 
    6.no one can stop His plans. Fear not! I’m thankful to live in USA. Your word reminds us of who you are and how we so easily forget….fear no evil.
    7.these verses terrify me. You love me and my actions don’t even come close to showing your glory. I sin and you love me still. Who am I ? Help me be your light. I need you every hour.
    8. Guilty. You are my only hope. You make me new and my strength comes from you and you alone. Please forgive me when I try to become my own ruler of my life. Its silly and pointless and I am only complete when I draw strength from You. I’m really  tired today. Please help me make it through and not only make it through but to do life well today. Amen

    1. Natalie-your #7-Love.. :))) made me also sing the song in my head-Lord I need you oh I need you..every hour I need you..my one defense, my righteousness Oh God how I need you. 

  10. I posted  questions 4-8 but don’t see them posted. Hummm….Maybe something on my end. 

  11. Nevermind it was just delayed 😉

  12. Dee-yours and Renee’s posts from June 30th are stuck at the bottom-may need David to correct that. 🙂

  13. I am once again reminded that my plans and my wants are not necessarily yours.  Thank you for the reminder.  
     
    Times where I waited on The Lord – every time my husband was called or transferred to a new church I had to wait on Him.  My timetable was not necessarily His timetable.  Also, waiting on whether I would be a grandparent.  My daughter has an illness that impedes pregnancy, while my son is still single.  Miracles do happen as my daughter, through a bunch of confusing circumstances had to come off the medicine for her illness, and she conceived.  Matthew was born almost 7 years ago now.  A true test of waiting on The Lord to fulfil a desire.

  14. One other comment – my typical response to my students in high school when they questioned an assignment was that my goal was to frustrate or challenge them.  Seems I need to be more patient and understanding of God when He frustrates me, personally, or our nation, or our world.

  15. During the last week or so, I’ve almost been bombarded with situations which might have been much more difficult in the past.  Then, yesterday, I got sick, stood someone up for lunch, slept through phone calls and then, this morning, received a class eval from work which was “mixed.”  Students loved it or hated it (doesn’t really surprise me, because as an undergrad, I would have hated this teaching style — and I think differences were by major).   The difference now is that I’ve been before the Lord continuously.  I am SO “in over my head” but I am not in over His head!  I am filled with his peace and know his love.   This morning, the following from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible on Is 40 was helpful:

    The difference between the Creator and the creature is immeasurable (v. 25). So why look to idols (v. <a 19) or to other nations (v. 17? Instead, look to the Creator of the earth who is also the Lord of Israel—their Redeemer (vv. 26–27).
     
    When we are exhausted, when we wonder how we can continue, Isaiah reminds us not to look at ourselves and our own resources. Instead we turn our eyes to the all-knowing (v. 27), sustaining (vv. 22–26), and creating God (v. 28) who “does not faint or grow weary,” but rather “gives power to the faint” (vv. 28–29). Strength from God in this context comes not from self-improvement but from waiting on the Lord, who promises to sustain us as we make this pilgrim journey (vv. 30–31).

    1. Deep breath… “Stuff” from outside and inside keeps piling on.  If it weren’t for the Lord, this would not be good.  I can see His hand in this; it still is very hard.  Please pray.

    2.  I am SO “in over my head” but I am not in over His head! 

       
      Good to hear of the increased peace throughout these times, Renee.   Am praying for you.

  16. I’m sorry, Dee.  I noticed that my post was awaiting moderation.  I’m sure it was the links to specific Bible verses copied as part of  the quote (I learned a long time ago with YouTube not to include more than one link in a post).  I edited out the html code, but it doesn’t look as though editing pulled it out of moderation.  Not trying to create more work for you!

  17. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
     
    I find both of these passages immensely reassuring.   God has all power and he is in control and sustains each of us on our daily path.   He can control the nations.    In Psalm 33:10, are phrases like “”foils the plans,” and “thwarts the purposes.”     Sometimes the evil in the world seems to reach a crescendo, and I have frequently prayed the prayer “Lord, please thwart the efforts of the evil-doers!”      So these scripture passages would seem to confirm that I am right in praying those prayers, and that God is most certainly capable of answering those prayers to the fullest extent.    God is so great, awesome and powerful that we are literally incapable of describing him.   No words or concepts are adequate.   Anything that we might say in trying to compare him with anything on earth would only limit our understanding of him.     When we sometimes take the stance that a particular situation is “hopeless,” we are guilty of underestimating God.  Anyone on earth who might consider himself important hasn’t learned yet that he is only like a “speck of dust” or  like a grasshopper!     Yet our God is concerned for each one of us, and He spans the distance and closes the gap.     Praise to  you, O God,  for your great love that draws us close to you and makes a relationship possible with you, despite the fact that we are nothing and you are everything!
     
       7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
     
    That is an interesting comparison.    Psalm 33:13-15 is saying that the Lord looks down from heaven watches everything that happens on earth with each and every one of us.   However, Isaiah 40:27 is indicating that Jacob/Israel feels as if they are not regarded by God at all, as if their acts were hidden from the Lord’s sight.    Complete contradiction.    Of course the Isaiah passages goes on in later verses to say  Have you not heard that the Lord’s awareness encompasses everything?        Forgives us, O Lord, when we trick ourselves into thinking we can hide from you, or that we can ever get beyond your loving awareness and control!     

  18. Oh,  I just had an “aha” moment, while looking at the photo of the child with his hands over his eyes.    We  sometimes play games with a baby that lead him to believe that, if his eyes are covered, he is invisble.     I think sometimes we try to play those games with God — only we are in the role of the baby.    We dupe ourselves into believing that, if we don’t see God right before our eyes , he can’t see us.       

    1. I really like your answer to #6 Deanna.  ‘We are  literally incapable of describing God’.   This gave me pause.  So very true.    The prayer analogy is good too.  

  19. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise
     
    The rhetorical questions throughout Isaiah 40, give me so many reasons to praise You Lord,   “Who counseled and instructed You?  Who can understand Your mind?   Who taught You the right way?”   No one!    You are the supreme Counselor,  the perfect Instructor,  You are Omniscient.  You are Righteousness.  “To whom, then will you compare God?”  To no one!  No one compares with you Lord God Almighty.  
     
    I praise you Lord that You know our world.  You created it.  You know the hearts of people everywhere.  You know when leaders rise and fall.  You know the Truth about the stories I hear in the news.   You see all the things I don’t.  And this is comforting and praiseworthy.  Sometimes, you foil and thwart the plans of the nations and people.  You have YOUR plans that stand firm.   I don’t understand why evil sometimes reigns or why suffering prevails.  But I do know You.  I know your character, your attributes and your loving Father heart and I praise You.

  20. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
     
    There is nothing like the kingdom of heaven! Nothing can compare. God is in complete control. Thank you Lord for Your capable hands on our crazy world! We know you are truly the one who will reign on Earth no matter what humans produce here. You are in charge. Lord please change the hearts of those people who are terrorizing others with crucifixions and beheadings. Please help them understand Your love. Send an angel to the Middle East, Lord. These are awful times in our world; it pains me to think of the  poor souls who have been killed in the past few days. Jesus please forgive those who are committing these horrible atrocities and turn them right round to stop their terrorizing. Make them understand that ultimately You have the last say; that You will judge because You made it all. You will decide who gets what and when it will happen. Thank You for my life Lord, and when death comes, thank You for my crossing to Jesus’ arms, Lord. I think of Stephen, stoned with a smile on his face because he was entering heaven with You. What a glorious day! Thank You Lord for Your mercy. Amen.

  21. Wow – what a wonderful rendition of “Comfort, Ye” – the tenor was really singing “skillfully” – note reaching for notes he didn’t have! 🙂 I loved the size of the ensemble and how the conductor also played the harpsichord…very true to the Baroque era!
    4. The way to give thanks that jumps out at me in verse 3 is “play skillfully”. I just think it encourages us to give the best that we have of the creative abilities that God gave us, and to even further develop our creative abilities for His glory (not to boast that we are skilled!). I think God has made us all creative in some way, even if it isn’t musically! 
    5. The Message paraphrase says, “The earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction”…that jumps out at me – that God is pleased with his handiwork (including me!?). It’s like a huge relief…to be a part of the creation that satisfies God – that would be fulfilling our ultimate purpose.
    6. Both passages remind me of Psalm 2…who do the kings of this world think they are, plotting and conspiring against God’s annointed/chosen one? Praise be to You, Lord, for You alone reign supreme over the entire universe, and the most powerful men on earth are but like grasshoppers under your feet. We praise you for your mighty power, and for your truth which shall ultimately prevail.
    7. Oh, this hits home for me. When I feel forgotten, overlooked, insignificant, or not measuring up to God, I need to speak these truths to my soul from Psalm 33: He formed my heart, He created me with a purpose, He loves me, He sees me, He cares for me. (Realizing that my idol isn’t just comfort – I definitely have some approval idol issues to deal with….)

    1. Rachel-your number 4 is so good. I totally agree!

  22. Wanda – “You know the Truth about the stories I hear in the news.”  What a wonderful framework to remind myself of before I even begin to read the news – giving Hope to even the most “hopeless” of reports.   Laura – your prayer drips with the greatness of our God….and it is so beautiful to see your pleas for changed hearts (Ezekial 36:26) for those committing terrible sins against humanity.  Your heart is so reflective of the Lord’s heart…….and I think it’s directly linked to how you lift Him up and adore and esteem Him as above all and the greatest!   Rachel…..”When I feel forgotten, overlooked, insignificant, or not measuring up to God, I need to speak these truths to my soul from Psalm 33; He formed my heart, He created me with a purpose, He loves me, He sees me, He cares for me.”  Love, love, love this!!  NEEDED your answer to #7 this very morning!     Once again……so humbled by His care for us through the words He gives us to speak to one another…….even though I’m sharing as a “newbie” on this blog, I’m SO GRATEFUL for every one of you sisters – and your desire to work through these scriptures prayerfully…..and share the precious gems along the journey!

    1. Trying on my “big girl poetry pants” just for Dee this week 🙂 She wants us to try new ways for praise right?! I am trying soo hard.

      1. Laura-:))

  23. 6.  The verse that is key for me is Psalm 33:11  “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.”  This drives us to live as 2 Cor 4:18 so succinctly puts it …”as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”   What we see is the havoc and heartache created by evil humans……what is “unseen” (though seen through eyes of faith) is the unshakeable greatness and sovereignty of our God…..and His plan unfolding…..always, His plans to ALL generations!  
    “Oh Lord, Greatest of any…..you know the way my heart weeps to even think of the word terrorist……terrorists scored a direct hit into my dear Jes’ life and our families’ life with the death of Abel.  But I think now of Corrie Ten Boom….meeting the redeemed death camp guard who had caused her sister so much pain and sorrow……by the power of your Holy Spirit she was able to forgive……I pray for those responsible for the death of Abel…….and so many more….many sorrows they have brought into the lives of little children …….oh God, bring redemption even into their hearts……show them the folly of their ways.  Show them how very, very SMALL we all are before You, Holy God.   Show them your Greatness……and how you set it aside to enter into our human experience in every way…….and You poured out Your life’s blood to buy us back……change their hearts Oh God.  With You nothing is impossible.   You are the only God.  We bow before You alone.  Amen.  
     

  24. 7.   The Lord sees “all the children of man”….”all the inhabitants of the earth”….and “observes all their deeds”……directly contradicts what we say as in Isaiah 40:27……”my way is hidden from the Lord..” “my right is disregarded by my God”…..
    “Oh my God……how often my lament turns into whining…….I accuse You of not bringing justice into my life and the lives of my family…….how can I go there again and again?   Please forgive me.  I want to sing in my heart “I will trust when I cannot see….when I’m faced with adversity….and believe Your will is always best for me…..I will trust when I cannot see….”  YOU see, Lord.  Let that be enough for me.  You are enough.   Thank You.

  25. 8.   Going right along with these passages , Jeremiah 9: 23&24 speaks of the same……I recently memorized those verses which say “Thus says the Lord, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understand and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  
    Oh Lord……why oh why does it mean so very much to me to “fit in” to this world……why do I fret about others’ boasting and feel the impulse to boast continually fighting to rise up in me?  Why do I not want to let others “one up” me??  Sometimes I so relate to what Paul shares in Romans 7……”when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”    “wretched man that I am!” “who will deliver me?”  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”…….I will park my heart here today…..on Jesus Christ our Lord.  Oh, Great God above all….THANK YOU, THANK YOU that your mercies are new every morning!  Amen.  

  26.    7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
     
    Lord,  You know my heart. You know the hearts of everyone. There is no hiding from You, the Creator of all. You love us so much! I must disappoint You often. I am sorry. I don’t feel compassion when I should, I don’t reach out and help others when I should, and I certainly don’t go looking for unfortunate types to lift up when they are in desperate need. I wish everyone could feel You with Your arms wrapped around them. The security, the love, the protection. How sweet! To please You is a gift back to me. Thank you Lord for knowing I am only capable of small things in my own little world. I appreciate that on a day to day basis I have opportunities to please You. I will try to do better Lord. I will try to look past the sins of my immediate circle; to remember You made it/them all for Your glory and so I must treat it/them as if they are a direct path to You. Me touching You. Amen.
     

    1. like this Laura “To please You is a gift back to me.”–I think of your beautiful dancing that way–the gift He has given you, and the gift it is back to Him to see you in praise–and the beauty you feel in doing it…a circle of blessing

      1. 🙂

  27.  7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
    Lord forgive me in my unbelief. In a moment I can so easily bend away and my affections are put on an idol and I act as if you don’t see my day to day interactions, circumstances, and my heart-as if you don’t consider everything I do, as if I am alone and forsaken and need to take the reigns as if you aren’t in control..I have forgotten how you suffered being forsaken so I wouldn’t be-and that YOU SEE. You don’t disregard my cause..you weep with me, you grieve with me and you rejoice with me-and you pursue me even when I fail-even when I have grieved your heart and forgotten you. Help me!  You are wisdom-you are beautiful-help me to hear you. I love you amen.

    1. oh rebecca–this one got tears–“as if I am alone and forsaken and need to take the reigns as if you aren’t in control.” and all of this, my prayer too “You don’t disregard my cause..you weep with me, you grieve with me and you rejoice with me-and you pursue me even when I fail-even when I have grieved your heart and forgotten you. Help me!  You are wisdom-you are beautiful-help me to hear you. I love you amen.”

  28. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. We forget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
    Lord help us as we fight this current giant in our life-help us not to run to our idol of comfort and control and make an unwise decision- but help us to fight this giant by trusting in you.  

  29. 6.
    Lord, Your power is incomprehensible to me. My mind cannot begin to understand the depths of Your wisdom and strength. You do not need to look to anyone for help or counsel—You are the Source. When I try, when our world tries, to manage on our own wisdom and our own strength, we inevitably fail. But You stand ready to be our Rescuer, Redeemer, Resource in times of trials. Thank You Father that You are the only Source of all power and wisdom—how can I look anywhere else but to You? I lift up my eyes to You, Lord—lead me.

  30. 6. What do you learn about your Lord?
    The Lord is the one in charge; He ultimately dictates the ways of this world.  Nations’ leaders may “feel” powerful and in control, but that is not reality, there is One stronger, greater, all knowing, all powerful, more intelligent, more creative, etc., i.e., the Lord, and His plans and purposes will prevail.
     
    springboard of praise…
    Oh Lord, our world is filled with despicable acts of injustice, abuse, violence, and terror.  Nations’ leaders think they hold the power and control in their hands…thank You, that You are truly in control and have the final word.  Your word tells me that You foil the evil plans of nations and thwart the evil purposes.  Thank You, Lord, that Your plans stand firm forever, the purposes of Your heart stand firm through all generations.
     
    7. Use this as  springboard for confession.
    Lord, I do not always comprehend Your ways and means; forgive me when I lack trust or doubt You in my incomprehension.  Only You know what is best; forgive me for assuming this role at times…forgive my arrogance.  Thank You for helping me to repent; thank You for Your mercy.

  31. 7.
     Father, You see me. My ways, my words, my thoughts, are not hidden from You. Please forgive my words of impatience, my attempts to manipulate. Please forgive my deepest, unspoken fear. I find comfort in knowing You see—and You are still with me. You have loved me since before I was born, before my parents…before the foundation of the world. Lord, cleanse me and shape me that I may love You more.

    1. Elizabeth, “Lord cleans me and shape me that I may love you more.”..Oh Lord me too- I ask that too. 

  32. 9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
    Thank you God that you don’t grow tired or weary of what is going on in the world- with kings and men- rather you are passionate for justice and for their rescue. Thank you that you don’t grow tired and weary of me and my failings, and my weakness!! Thank you that you came and suffered beyond what I could so you could deliver me from the ultimate suffering of walking alone, apart from you here and now, and eternally. Thank you that you are rescuing me from the power of sin. I truly can’t live without you-Your unfailing Love is my hope and strength and because of the cross my hope is sure. THANK YOU.

  33. 8.
    Father, forgive my unbelief. My heart knows that You are the Source of all power, You alone are worthy of my trust, and You will not forsake me. Still, I so easily try to figure things out or find solutions on my own, or fear when I realize I have no power to you’re your mercies are new every morning. All Your works are filled with Your faithfulness. You are love. You are my love. Where else can I ever go or turn?–only You, Lord. You are my hiding place. I will trust in You.

  34.  9.
    I think this is my favorite passage of the week—this part in Isaiah especially. We used to sing this song in my Catholic church growing up –wow, I haven’t heard it since. I can hear my mom singing it-wow.
    Oh Father, thank You for Your gracious, everlasting love. It is so amazing, so incomprehensible—that You, the Creator of all, the all-powerful One, love me—deeply, since before the foundation of the world. You promise Lord to give me strength, to give me power, to renew me, if I wait on You. So I will wait. When I don’t know what You’re doing, I will wait. When I feel afraid of the unknown, I will wait. It is a choice, and I feel so weak in it—but You promise to lift me. I fear trials Lord, You know I do, and You know which ones I fear most. And I confess I do not like them or want them. I confess my faith is still so selfish at its core that I want to be protected from my worst fears—but Lord, You are good. You hold me. I will not run ahead in my imagination, I will wait. I will trust. I will remember the ways You have lifted me in the past. I will remember Your promises and Your power that is greater than any fear.

  35. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
     
    I learn that only the Lord’s plans and purposes are guaranteed to happen; God can foil and thwart the plans and purposes of men. God looks down from heaven and sees everyone and knows what they are doing; He is always watching. He knows the intentions of the heart. Isaiah passage says that the Lord is supreme in His knowledge; He has never been “taught” by anyone. He doesn’t need anyone to shed light on understanding a situation. Compared to God, the nations of the earth are as nothing; drops in a bucket, dust. No one and nothing can compare with God. To the Lord who sits enthroned, the people of the earth are like grasshoppers. Powerful rulers can be made as nothing in an instant; blown away like chaff.
     
    Lord, it seems like the evil people in this world who go around hurting and killing others and making themselves powerful have the upper hand; it often seems like they are winning. It’s not only terrorists in other countries but it’s people in our own country who get angry and out of control and decide to go and kill innocent people. Surely there must be many plans that You have thwarted; others have been permitted. I don’t understand but I must trust that You have a master plan and are always in control. You do not need advice or help in understanding the hearts of men. Only You know how to rightly judge a heart and to repay evil and You also give mercy and forgiveness.

  36. 7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
     
    The Psalm 33 passage says that God sees and knows what is happening here; He is watching. He is the one who formed the hearts of all men and women and He “considers everything they do”. Isaiah 40:27 asks, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, my way is hidden from the Lord, my cause is disregarded by my God?” God is being accused of not caring, of being disinterested.
     
    Lord, how often I think that You do not care about my circumstances or my hurt feelings and my pain, my sadness. It is wrong to accuse You of being disinterested and uncaring. That is a human flaw, and I am often guilty of knowing the pain of another and being too busy or too selfish to respond, to take the time to listen and care. At my worst, I can think that the person somehow deserves their pain, that they brought it upon themselves. It is wrong to view You like that, to attribute to You sinful human attitudes. How many times have I deserved that You should just wash your hands of me; yet You remain faithful to Your promises. Help me to be quicker to repent and turn back to You.

  37.  
    7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
     
    Lover of my soul, my ways are not hidden from you. You look down from on high and see all mankind including me. You watch and consider-you who form our hearts and know the “curvature of our souls”, the tendency to be ME oriented rather than God-oriented. There is nothing that escapes your ever-seeing eye. Yet, why do I sometime pretend and compartmentalize my ways especially my sins as “little” or “big”? covered or not covered by the grace bestowed by the death of my Savior, Jesus? Oh that sin of pride, rebellion, disobedience be so obvious in its awfulness and in my awareness be confessed and forsaken! Praise you for having seen my sins and yet upon true confession, you extend your forgiveness. “And as far as the east is from the west, so far (have you) removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
     
     
    8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. We forget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
     
    It is foolish to trust in “size of army, strength, horse” which could signify ourselves, our resources like money, skills, aptitude, background etc. Lord, often my “giants” are anything related to my desire to be in control and to be approved of and as a result bring some measure of comfort to my personal idol of SELF. Turn my eyes away from myself and help me to trust you. Help me to learn how to wait patiently on you and not to get ahead of your purposes which often lead to sorrow and regret.
     
     
     
    . Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
     
    My God is El Roi –the God who sees me. My hope is in the One who loves unfailingly, who delivers in a way He only can and who is my daily help and shield. Every day is a day to trust in Him and as I do His will, He will not only renew me but allow me to soar. His arms will bear me up amidst the difficulties and challenges-I need only to look to Him.          A song from the Selah group, ” I look to you”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvlgG9Uqa6g
    “I look to you After all my strength is gone In you I can be strong I look to you And when my melodies are gone In you I hear a song, I look to you.”
     
     

  38. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
     
    I guess, I got ahead of myself and touched on the verses from  Isaiah in my answer to #7.  Sorry!  
     These verses from Psalm 33 indicate that it is foolish to trust in military strength   I think we have seen this played out again and again as a nation.   We go into a country and think that we have cleaned things up and stabilized the situation, but then we turn our backs for a short time, and it all breaks out again, as if we had not tried.    The real battles in life are located in people’s thinking and attitudes.   If those things do not change, all the military action in the world will do no good.     People are persuaded to change, instead of  battering them  into revising their attitudes.      We need to be in prayer for changes of the hearts and minds.   In times of crisis, we need to place our hope in God.     
     
    Forgive me, O God, when I try to pound things into place so they are the way I think they should be.    I want to ask for your help that I can find kinder, gentler ways to accomplish the desired results — the results that are your will and not mine.     Amen.   
     
     
     
    9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
     
    Both sets of scripture are promoting the idea that God is always watchful and there to protect us.    Even the strongest of people get tired at times, but God’s strength is everlasting.     We have the promise, not only that God will not grow weary, but that we will be able to renew our strength through Him.   When we are facing something that we think we just don’t have the strength to complete, we will be lifted by God to get through that event.    Sometimes it is just that we are given the strength to be able to wait for Him to act, so that our activities can go forward.     Thank you, Dear God, for the word “everlasting, ” as it describes your presence and help for me.   I will try to be patient and learn to wait — it doesn’t come easy, Lord!     But when I pray “Lord, give me strength!”  I know I can count on you to do just that!     Thank you for your everlasting love, help, strength, guidance, and most of all the gift of life everlasting!    Amen.   
     
     
     

  39. OK, this song will date me a bit, old Twila Paris from 8th grade, so get in 80’s mode if you listen! Its been in my mind while reading these passages this week–and it always reminds me of when my faith really began to be challenged and deepen–always brings me to tears. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=essnbl7pbAk

    1. Like:)

  40. 11. Comment on the above.
     
    I’ve seen this video many times before but it never fails to convict my heart. “Find a way to stay fully awake…stop living like life is an emergency…all for you…gratitude for the seemingly small and insignificant..this is the seed that plants a giant miracle… pay attention to the moments with an offering of thanks, because this is how you spend your one life well”.
     
    The “for you” always gets me, the “you are loved” sign…I am reminded anew that He does all He does motivated by love, for us, for me. I always think about the flowers. I’m an outdoor/nature girl and love creation–but oh how I LOVE flowers. Outside of loved ones and my dog, I think flowers are my favorite creation–because in a way, they were not necessary–they are just gifts. Elaborate, extravagant gifts from our True Love. They are decoration–one of His ways of celebrating US.  Oh Lord, forgive me for how many times a day I allow myself to be distracted by busyness, demands, schedules, worries. Then I miss it. I miss YOU. Help me to slow, to rest, to open my eyes. Thank You. Amazing grace-filled love.

  41.  

     

    10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)
     
    “Lord, remember the various times this school year have found me physically worn out at school? One instance was when I was trying to meet a deadline and the precious hour I needed was spent talking with a troubled student. I realized I did not have the hour to spare but you nudge me to talk with the student nevertheless. That same night, I just can’t keep my eyes opened so went to bed early praying to you to help me meet my obligation the next day. And I remembered what you did for me! School got cancelled! Thank you that you not only gave me more time to prepare but gave this worn out body the physical rest it needed! You were the wind beneath my wings, prompting, helping me soar like eagles and giving me the renewal to continue “running and walking” without being weary and faint. It is just like you to come to the rescue at the most opportune time. Thank you, Lord!”
     
     
     

    1. Ernema–I love this example of how God met you

  42. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
    with singing, with joy, with musical instruments, with skill, with creativity, with volume!
    turn off the radio when I’m driving, and deliberately use that time to sing praises.
     
    I’ve picked up another shift as a street chaplain this Friday night. It’s likely to be busier and longer than last week, as I’ll be in the city centre rather than a suburban centre. So more nightclubs and more people. We have 2 teams operating in the city centre each night.

    1. Will write this down to be reminded to pray for you tomorrow, Kerryn.

  43. 5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
    Where I work, I think the favourite hymn is How Great Thou Art… in a similar vein, I’m inspired by Chris Tomlin’s Indescribable. I’m awed by the vastness of creation. The unfathomable expanse of the universe. Feeling dwarfed when surrounded by wilderness that goes on and on and on…
    O mighty God, with just a word you bring worlds into existence, or bring them to destruction. How can we question you? Yet we do, and you allow it and you smile at our audacity. O that all people might see your glory and acknowledge your power, rather than ignoring you and writing off your work as coincidence.  

  44. 6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.
    What pains me right now is that the Australian government is causing suffering, so I am complicit in that suffering. Children held indefinitely in immigration detention on Manus Island and in Nauru, sent there and held there by our government, determined that no asylum seeker who arrives here by boat will ever settle in Australia. Church leaders have been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience this year regarding this issue.
    Our Lord loves righteousness and justice, his love never fails, and his plans succeed. Therefore the cruel plans of this government will cannot ultimately succeed; their victory is very temporary.
    Father, I am frustrated that our words to politicians are brushed off so lightly. But your word is powerful and cannot be ignored. A word from you brings nations plans to naught. To the leaders of nations, these people are just numbers and problems. But you know each one, you love them and you care for them. Your love will prevail; your justice will be done.
     

    1. Amen to your prayer, Kerryn.   I share some of those kinds of frustrations in the USA in regard to immigration also. So good to know God’s plans cannot be thwarted in the midst of so much human error.

  45. 7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
    Father, my frustration is because I have not left the problem in your hands. I cannot fix it. I can do the things you give me to do, and speak the words you give me to speak, but I cannot rescue anyone myself. I am not their hope, their help or their shield. Only you can fill that role. Right now, I place those asylum seekers into your care… if you have a part for me in your plan, I know you will lead and guide me.

  46. 8.   I was struck by the “war horse is a false hope for salvation” phrase….since horses are our business, this hit home for me…..and for the past three summers, a horse named Jake Rattle N Roll has been the “war horse” of my husbands’ stable…..steady, dependable….etc….usually by this point in the season Jake has had 4 or 5 starts and made a bit of $$ss……THIS year, Jake has made only one start to date!  The reasons for this are so varied as to be almost unbelievable!  (He’s not been injured or anything of that kind)  And what is true for Jake has also been true for the rest of the stable…..meaning our livlihood has been SEVERELY impacted!  With a daughter fighting cancer and currently unable to work herself…..well, you can begin to imagine the financial GIANT stomping around and shaking our little corner of the world!  The ripple effect has been increasing pressures on our marraige and in many other areas of daily life……..
    Reading Isaiah 40:18-21 would be funny if it were not so grievous……all of the WORK that is involved in trying to get an idol to MOVE……which it never will!  Choosing a skilled craftsman, the best materials…..all for naught!  It WILL NOT MOVE.  Hmmmm.  
    Oh Lord……you know how confused I am as I try to see how this passage of scripture need be applied to my life.  Please give me that “play dough heart” that was spoken of here  last week…….only You can soften the hardness that daily seems to accumulate in my broken heart…….only You can help me name my sin without feeling guilt for “failures” that have been allowed/engineered by You to open the eyes of my heart to Your sovereignty …….Your plans for my life…….I desperately need You today my God.  Please help me, like Elisha’s servant to see what is unseen…..that “the mountain was FULL of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”……and thank You for reminding me of that particular passage…….Your Word is very great.  You are the best, the Only God.

    1. So many battles you are facing, Jackie.   May God’s peace prevail as he provides for all of your needs.  The waiting is hard.  You are gaining so much insight from His Word and His heart…..blessings.

  47. 9.   This phrase “hope in his steadfast love” from Psalm 33: 18……several of the verses I have memorized over the past month have included God’s “steadfast love”…….so it would seem that He is calling me to SEE His steadfast love…..and what that can mean in my life!!  And there it is again in verse 22!   Meanwhile, He “keeps them alive in famine”…..oh yes!  
    The Isaiah 40 verses are incredibly tender to me……25 years ago, when my mom passed from earth into the arms of Jesus, she recited verse 21 to all of us gathered around her bed…..probably only about a half hour before she breathed her last earthly breath.  She had not been speaking at all for several hours, so it was amazing that she was able to clearly articulate this verse.  Gathered around her bed were both of her parents (nonbelievers), my dad, her only sister (who had led my mom to Christ about 20 years before), my only brother and myself…….I had been a rebel of rebels to that point in my life……but on the long drive home to Maryland from Wisconsin after her funeral……the Lord drew me to Himself in repentance and faith in Him……MUCH of what He had used over the years to prepare my heart was my mom’s life……..and most powerfully, her death.  Because, as in Isaiah 40:21, she spoke of LIFE as she lay dying……..I could not get away from that.  Beautiful.
    Oh my God…..THANK YOU for this reminder of Your great faithfulness.  How beautiful You are.  How precious.  Help me to desire nothing on earth but You…..may all else pale beside You.  Amen.

    1. So touching Jackie! Thank you for sharing this.

    2. Yes, thank you for sharing about your mom and the impact it made on you, Jackie. I am touched by the fact that she hadn’t been speaking, and then said that verse…it makes one wonder about the mystery of how the Spirit is communicating with our spirit; obviously the Lord was very near to her!

    3. Agree with Susan, Jackie.  What a testimony of the Lord’s presence as He was drawing her completely unto Himself.  I do love to see how even on someone’s death bed, God uses their faith and speaks to others through it.  Thanks for telling us this part of your faith story.

  48. 10.  This is a season of waiting in almost every area of life……..a recent amusing example of God zinging through the fog is that a few weeks ago I responded to a friend’s request for a detailed update on my daughter’s health……she had just gone through a SCARY and significant crisis…….my response was indeed DETAILED!  The next morning she contacted me wondering again about Jes’ health….and and that point I realized that my text had been sent to a NEW CLIENT for my dog boarding business!!  Needless to say, I was mortified and immediately contacted this new client and apologized……her response was that “I took that as a need to pray for your daughter”…….when I met BRiget in person here on the farm yesterday, she revealed that she and her husband began to pray for Jes and have continued to do so!  Turns out her husband works somehow for the Ravi Zaccharias (sp?) organization….and they are “people of prayer”…….ONLY GOD could have made certain that my text to a friend went awry…..and ended up in the hands of praying believers!!!  The icing on the cake is that my daughter arrived at my home just before Briget left, so they were able to meet in person…..and Briget had tears in her eyes when she was leaving.   How great is our God?????

    1. Wow, Jackie.  Great example!

    2. Wonderful!  Amazing….yes!

  49. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
     
    Things foolish to trust in are great armies to protect, kings (or governments), idols. 
     
    Dearest Father, thank You for giving us Your Son. Thank You for caring enough to take on our human sin and giving us life eternal. You can handle anything that is seemingly drowning us. Please Lord draw near. I am afraid for Sarah and want her to make it without me. I fear the thoughts and worries of her future. Help her Lord; help her to make better choices and to understand just how to live and how to stay away from people who can suck her in to trouble. I know I should let her fail; it is so hard to do. Help me have faith that You are in charge! Please don’t let my mind wander from Your love. Thank You Father.