CONGRATULATIONS! We have made it to our half-way week in our Summer in the Psalms! This has been such a good 7 weeks for me, disciplining myself to be in the Word, soaking in God’s Truth. I’ve heard from women who are connecting across state lines, diving into God’s Word together. What’s been your story so far this summer?
As always, if you are just finding us or have fallen behind on the schedule, DO NOT STRESS! That’s the last thing we need in our summers! But I would challenge you to do this:
Re-up your commitment to stay in the Word.
As Psalm 1 encourages, we will be blessed when we meditate on His Word “day and night”. Those that do this will be like “trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves will never wither, and they will prosper in all they do.” As much as I want to be a woman like that, it is not possible without staying near to God Himself through His Word.
So wherever you are at in the study, choose today to dig in. You will not regret it.
1. A Couple Key Themes.
Free-Will – the good and the bad of it. We can choose whether or not we will follow the Lord. Psalm 81 starts us off with the Lord pleading for His people to listen to Him:
“Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me! You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god. For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!” vv. 8-13 (NLT)
This passage says that God desires to speak to me and guide me into His goodness. However, if I am stubborn and choose to go against the Lord, He will let me follow my rebellious heart. Oh, that we would follow Him, walking in his paths!
Joy Is Always Available.
What joy for those who can live in your house always singing your praises. What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord….what joy for those who trust in you. Psalm 84:4,5,12 (NLT)
So often we choose to go negative. I can be so guilty of this. We just finished up a 10-day road trip with our whole family. The combo of being cooped up in a car, junk food, and being good and tired made this mama bear a bit of a grouch at times. I caught myself heading into a grump-slump one day and the Lord gently reminded me that joy is a choice. I was in mid-thought and my son looked at me and asked, “Are you okay, mom?” I said, “Well, I actually have a pretty crummy attitude right now, so I’m really working on changing that.”
Lord help us remember to look to You, and not our circumstances. Help us to choose joy.
2. Questions to Ponder as you Read
-How do these verses encourage you to be honest with the Lord?
-What do these verses say about who God is in our lives?
Short and simple: Think about choosing joy this week. Not sure how? This is what I have seen work in my life:
1. Recognize when something is stealing your joy. I can get stuck in a funk or in the middle of a pity-party. Ask God to help you recognize when you’re heading that way. The enemy would love to keep you there, so this may be a battle at first.
2. Stop and ask the Lord to help you. So many of our Psalms are filled with people asking God for help. He is our joy, our love, our kindness and patience. Ask Him to fill you, and to change you from the inside out. This allows Him to be God in your life.
Earlier in our study we talked about keeping a praise journal. There is something that happens on the inside when we praise our good God. If you have a journal, take some time this week to write in it. Or grab a 3×5 card and write a verse that speaks of praise to Him and put it somewhere you can see it often. Take time to praise Him this week.