Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 18, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 74 – Why?

Day 2678:  In a 24 hour span, spent time with both Moms (200 miles apart) and both kids and all grandkids (120 miles apart). Thank You God for family! 

Scripture:  O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? How long, O God, will the adversary revile, and the enemy spurn Your name forever? Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? 

Yet God is my king from of old. You divided the sea by Your strength. You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.

Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled, and a foolish people has spurned Your name. Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; do not forget the voice of Your adversaries, the uproar of those who rise against You which ascends continually.    Excerpts from Psalm 74

Thoughts/questions: Why? A question that continually attacks my spirit, especially now as Christ followers around the world are persecuted and killed and even in the U.S., we now wear the black hat as if we are the enemy.

But then I realize as Asaph, this Psalmist did, that Yet God is my king from of old. And then he goes on to list His mighty and awesome acts. When I remember just how GREAT God is and how small my little mind is, I receive His peace!

My prayer is still the same as Asaph’s in the last paragraph, but I seek no longer to answer why, but to trust the true, living, and sovereign God of the universe! His ways are not my ways, but His ways are best!

Suggested prayer: True and living God, I believe, help me with my unbelief . . . 

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 17, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 73 – Enter God’s Sanctuary!

Day 2677: Never should I minimize the importance of TGIF. Thank God I’m Forgiven!

Scripture:  For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind.

They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth. They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?” 

When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. How they are destroyed in a moment!

With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.    Sections of Psalm 73

Thoughts/questions: God does allow those who choose self over Him to be successful from a worldly perspective. David began to envy them as we sometimes do. This resulted in confusion for him UNTIL . . .

Until his perspective changed and became heavenward and eternally focused resulting in him stating, until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.

If this is currently your struggle as well, look up, enter God’s sanctuary, and let God render to your heart and mind the things that are truly important!!!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, help me to focus on things above . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 16, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 72 – Our Prayer?

Day 2676: We were praying for rain in California, now we’re praying for no damages from all the rain!

Scripture:  Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. May he judge Your people with righteousness and Your afflicted with justice. May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon is no more. 

For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence.

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.     Sections of Psalm 72

Thoughts/questions: At first glance this prayer may seem a bit selfish, but with a second look, David requests God’s blessing so he can be helpful to the people he leads.

Is this our type of prayer or are we seeking physical and material blessings for ourselves and our families? Maybe we should seek to be blessed so that we can be a blessing.

Consider your life – your family, where you work or spend most of your time. Then personalize and say this prayer as your prayer regarding your impact on those God has placed in your community. 

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, may You bless me Your servant so that I can be a blessing to others . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 15, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 71 – From Beginning to

Day 2675: Over half way thru February. Treasure each day!

Scripture: In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed. Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man, for You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.

By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; do not cast me off in the time of old age. O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help! I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them.

O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me. For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? May You increase my greatness and turn to comfort me.  Sections of Psalm 71

Thoughts/questions: Sustained from our birth and not cast off in the time of old age. No wonder the Psalmist starts with, In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge! Why wouldn’t one want to take refuge in the only One who is there for us from beginning to end!

Under normal circumstances, ALL others will leave us. The previous generation will die out and no one will have been there from birth to death. No one except God! That knowledge should allow us to declare with David, You have done great things; O God, who is like You?

Suggested prayer: Father God, You are my forever God. From conception and then throughout eternity! I take refuge in You . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 14, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 70 – Poor and Needy

Day 2674: And a Happy Valentine’s to one and all! And as Christ followers, love is our theme every day!

Scripture: Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord, to help me. May those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.  May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame.

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.  Psalm 70

Thoughts/questions: Today the Psalmist, David, contrasts himself and God. Although a king, when comparing to ‘The Lord is great,’ David calls himself poor and needy.

Do you concur with him or do we tend to compare ourselves to others? When looking horizontally, we might appear rich in some areas and certainly self-sufficient. But the reality is, we ARE ALL poor and needy.

When we are finally broken and realize that without God we are nothing, then He will lift us up and place us in the appropriate place in relation to Him and others! Time to speak the truth in complete humility, “I am poor, Lord! And I am needy! Without You, I am nothing!” Speak it, believe it, live it!

Suggested prayer: True and Living God, Thank You for being so great and yet still loving me . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 13, 2017

Personal Sharing — Too Much Information!

Day 2673: Monday! Seek to serve every day – especially on Mondays!

Scripture: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:17,18

Thoughts/questions: When I think about life say 30 years ago, information was inputted to us minimally compared to today. Our circle of friends we directly communicated with was small, news came as news not opinions and only through a few sources, social media did not exist, and spin and fake news had yet to be accepted ways of communicating!

We now know WAY TOO much. Social media and ‘news’ aside, we have become knowledgeable about so much from our many friends we now communicate with. Our lives are filled with ups and downs and knowing the many downs in our friends’ lives can even overwhelm us as our care receptors go on overload.

Ephesians tells us what we should really KNOW! Him, His hope, His riches, His power! Two things – 1) we need to understand that God gives each of us grace for the challenges of our own lives, but that grace does not extend into the lives of everyone. We have to be able to care, but not at our own expense.

2) Balance would be good. We won’t be able to completely stop the information overload (although we should limit some sources which tend to irritate), but it is imperative to KNOW more of what Paul prays for us in today’s verses! That WILL change our perspective!

Suggested prayer: Father God, may we all know more of You and filter all ‘other’ knowledge . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 11, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 69 – Deliver and Destroy!

Day 2672: May your weekend be wonderful!

Scripture: God, in the abundance of Your gracious love, answer me with Your sure deliverance. Let neither the floodwaters overwhelm me nor let the deep swallow me up, nor the mouth of the well close over me.

Answer me, Lord, for Your gracious love is good; turn to me in keeping with Your great compassion, and do not ignore Your servant, because I am in distress. All my enemies are known to You. May their eyes be blinded and may their bodies tremble continuously. May their camp become desolate and their tents remain unoccupied. May you punish them for their crimes; may they receive no verdict of innocence from You. 

As for me, I am afflicted and hurting; may Your deliverance, God, establish me on high. Let me praise the name of God with a song that I may magnify Him with thanksgiving. May you who seek God take courage. For the Lord listens to the needy and doesn’t despise those in bondage. Let the heavens and earth praise Him, along with the sea and its swarming creatures.   Portions of the last section of Psalm 69

Thoughts/questions: The Psalmist requests two things: his deliverance and the destruction of his enemies. We’ve probably all felt that way at some point, but is that God’s standard for us?

Jesus said no! But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you Matt. 5:44 This statement is one of the many times being a Christ follower is revolutionary! Sure we can initially respond like the Psalmist; however, we are ultimately responsible to follow Jesus, not our emotional response!

Have enemies? Start praying for them and then God will begin a work in you where you will be able to be like Jesus and love your enemies!

Suggested prayer: Lord God, I can’t do this by myself . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 10, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 69 – Despair!

Day 2671: TGIF – Thank God I’m Forgiven!

Scripture: Deliver me, God, because the waters are up to my neck. I am sinking in deep mire, and there is no solid ground. I have come into deep water, and the flood overwhelms me. I am exhausted from calling for help. My throat is parched. My eyes are strained from looking for God. 

Those who hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head. My persecutors are mighty, and they want to destroy me. Do not let those who look up to You be ashamed because of me, Lord God of the Heavenly Armies. Let not those who seek You be humiliated because of me, God of Israel.

I am a stranger to my brothers, a foreigner to my mother’s sons. Zeal for Your house consumes me, and the mockeries of those who insult You fall on me. I weep and fast, and I am mocked for it. When I dressed in sackcloth, I became an object of gossip among them. The prominent people mock me, composing drinking songs.   Portion of first section of Psalm 69

Thoughts/questions: I hope to never feel this level of despair and trust you never have nor will. Yet within the despair, the Psalmist is still concerned about how his life is impacting others’ relationship with God – Wow!

When sorrow strikes, thoughts often go inward. The view regarding others is obstructed by a large mirror! May we never experience what the Psalmist is going through, but may we always be concerned about how our life impacts those around us. (and hopefully no one will be writing drinking songs about us!)

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, thank You for keeping this type of despair from my heart . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 9, 2017

Personal Sharing — #1 Enemy!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | February 8, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 68 – God is Great!

Day 2669: Life’s distractions are many; don’t let them win!

Scripture: God arises, and His enemies are scattered. Those who hate Him flee from His presence. But the righteous rejoice and exult before God; they are overwhelmed with joy. Sing to God. Sing praise to His name! Exalt the One who rides on the clouds. The Lord is His name. Be jubilant in His presence.

God, You poured out abundant rain on Your inheritance. When Israel was weary, You sustained her. Your people live there; You sustain the needy with Your goodness. God’s chariots were many thousands. The Lord was there with them at Sinai in holiness.

God is for us; the God of our deliverance. The Lord God rescues us from death. The singers are in front, the musicians follow, strumming their stringed instruments among the maidens who are playing their tambourines. Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord who is the fountain of Israel.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God! Sing praises to the Lord, to the One who rides the heavens, the ancient heavens. Behold! He thunders with a mighty voice. You are awesome, God, from Your sanctuaries. The God of Israel is the One who gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God! Excerpts from Psalm 68

Thoughts/questions: Allah akbar (God is great/greater) is a phrase not welcome in the ears of so many Christ followers throughout the world. However, Christ followers would do well to emulate them and extol the praises of our Jehovah God more often! Not to elevate self and promote our agenda, but merely to acknowledge the One who rides on the clouds!

Blessed be God!!!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, may I never be ashamed to stand up for You . . .

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