Wednesday, July 19, 2017

PSALM 43:3-4 - GOD, THE PINNACLE OF JOY


Day 10 – GOD, THE PINNACLE OF JOY

taken from A Life's Symphony of Joy
by Susan Slade

Psalm 43:3–4

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me;
let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Then will I go unto the altar of God, 
unto God my exceeding joy:
yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. . .

            The psalmist asked God to send out His beacon to light the way into His presence.  He asked the Lord to bring him “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).  God was his overwhelming, glorious jubilation.  God is not only the source of joy, but He is the essence, the totality, and the fabric of joy.   The Lord inspired a spontaneous melody for the psalmist to play on the lyre.  He chose to demonstrate or share his reasons for joy even while still walking out of despair.

            Practically my whole last undergraduate semester, I had walking pneumonia, which doctors kept misdiagnosing.  That was really frustrating.  Finally, the doctor who normally saw me in the infirmary figured it out.   He sent me home to bed and said that I was not supposed to get out for anything.  My caveat to him was, “I am going to church because I need to be in an atmosphere of healing and praise.”   He reluctantly agreed.   I went back to class slightly too soon, and my caring professor sent me back home and told me in no uncertain terms not to come back to class or I was not going to graduate on time.  This caused me to have to write my undergraduate senior project within a six-weeks’ timeframe, rather than having the entire semester like everyone else had.  That was terribly challenging.  I thrived, despite the time limit, by the grace of God.  Even though I got a “C “on the format because I did not have the proper style manual, I got an “A” on the content.  It did not make the sting of the substandard grade any less for me because of the battles I had gone through in order to bring it to completion. God was my exceeding joy, for His extravagant grace enabled me to graduate on time.

         Are you rejoicing in a goal accomplished?  Praise God that He is the pinnacle of your joy!  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Psalm 42:4-5 - WRAP YOURSELF IN PRAYER by Susan R. Slade



Excerpt from A Life's Symphony of Joy by Susan R. Slade

Psalm 42:4–5

When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me:
for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God,
with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

HOPE (Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language): Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God's gracious promises; a scriptural sense. A well founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of ineffable happiness.

INEFFABLE (Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language): adjective [Latin ineffabilis; in and effabilis, from effor, to speak.] Unspeakable; unutterable; that cannot be expressed in words; usually in a good sense; as the ineffable joys of heaven; the ineffable glories of the Deity.

In Psalm 42, The psalmist reminds himself that he once had been the pied piper of the worshippers.  However, at that time, his soul was parched, anguished for the quenching power of the Lord’s presence.  His enemies constantly badgered and harassed him concerning God’s seeming lack of faithfulness to him.  They were in essence saying, “This best Friend of yours has abandoned you.”  The psalmist started to believe the taunting of the haters, and asked the Lord, “Why have You forgotten me?”  Then he asked himself, “Why are you behaving this way? Why are you drowning in a self-made pity party?”   He turned his focus off of himself and off of the problems and onto his solution—the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God.

After graduation from ORU, I moved from the vibrancy of campus life into an apartment building designed for the elderly and physically or mentally challenged.  Many of my neighbors were severely mentally impaired and, if off their medications, could be frightening.  I was in self-imposed isolation due to fear.  I went through a really deep depression, to the point that I hardly spoke, except to talk to God in prayer, because I was so depressed and empty.   It lasted I don’t even know how many months.  I would pray, and I would cry.  Then I would pray and cry some more.  I would be frank with God in my heart because I reasoned that God knew anyway, so I might as well say what I was feeling and thinking because I couldn’t hide anything from a God who knows everything.  I was very forthcoming about my pain, emotional as well as physical.  The emotional even eclipsed the physical at that time.  I can’t even say when it began, because I was praying continuously and crying out to God, but gradually, in the fullness of God’s time, He was faithful to lift the cloud of depression.  I was able to experience the free exercise of joy once again.

When you are in a time of despair, don’t neglect to wrap yourself in prayer. At the appointed time, the Lord will lift your cares.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

PSALM 141:2 - MY PRAYER


My Prayer
By Susie Hale, 7/5/2017

Lord, I lift up my prayer to You,
my thanksgiving, petitions, and praise.
May my pleas rise as fragrant incense
to begin and end each of my days.
May I come before You confessing
so that You can cleanse me from sin.
May I thank You in every difficulty
and trust You to heal me within.
May my worship rise up as a sacrifice
when I cannot understand Your ways.
You work all for my good and Your glory,
and I will lift up my hands in praise.




Monday, July 10, 2017

PSALM 32:7 - SONGS OF DELIVERANCE



Songs of Deliverance
By Susie Hale

For me, songs of deliverance, songs of comfort, songs of praise are all songs that are either word for word scripture or strongly based on a Bible verse. Therefore, I have made it a habit to memorize this type of song and have even set scripture to music myself. The psalms were originally songs that helped people remember God’s goodness, remind themselves of His protection, and praise Him for all He had done.

Let me share an example from my own life of how God can use scriptural songs to encourage us. My father suffered a major heart attack and had been told there was too much heart muscle damage for him to do well with bypass surgery. However, while he was still in ICU, his situation became critical. We were told if he did not have surgery that day, he would die but that he probably could not survive the surgery. He made the decision to go for surgery as he believed the Lord would have him live for his family. As he was being transferred by ambulance to another hospital, I was running errands he had asked me to do for him. I was so afraid. I prayed through tears. I had learned a chorus based on Psalm 32:7 at church which ended with “whenever I feel afraid, I will trust in You.” I sang that scriptural song through my tears as I drove to the hospital. The Lord used it to calm and strengthen me.

Shortly after having quadruple bypass surgery, my dad was walking around the cardiac intensive care unit. All three of his doctors proclaimed it a miracle. Not only did he survive the surgery, but he lived another joyful twelve years!  PRAISE THE LORD!

Friday, July 7, 2017

PSALM 51:17 - CONTRITE SPIRIT by Susie Hale


PSALM 51:17
CONTRITE SPIRIT

Giving thousands of dollars to my church or a ministry
Is not as satisfying to our Holy, Sovereign Lord
As coming before Him, broken, confessing my sin
When I know I’ve not been living according to His word.
The Holy Spirit within me convicts me of my wrongs,
But sometimes I choose to ignore His gentle voice.
I choose instead to listen to my own selfish desires
Or let Him be drowned out by this world’s noise.
When I turn to the Lord with a humble attitude,
When I am honest with the One who sees all and knows,
Then will I be completely made clean and refreshed
Because in His grace, the Lord’s forgiveness He’ll bestow.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

PSALM 51:8, 12, 14 - INTIMATELY ENGAGED WITH GOD


Day 13 – INTIMATELY ENGAGED WITH GOD
(From A Life's Symphony of Joy by Susan Slade)

 Psalm 51:8, 12, 14

Make me to hear joy and gladness;
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. . .
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit. . .
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

            In Psalm 51, David puts all his cards on the table, lays his heart completely open, transparent to the Lord, within David’s own humanity.  Not only did David commit adultery with Bathsheba, but he conspired to have her husband, Uriah, murdered.  Even though he knew that the Lord was aware of his sin, he openly and humbly confessed it in agreement with God’s view of things.  David had eager anticipation that God would bring him back into His fellowship.  David needed to be restored in order to be fit for holy service and for habitation by the Spirit.  Then he would have the capacity to joyfully praise God because God and David would be intimately engaged once again.

            The Master Fisherman had His hook in my mouth for six years, but I would not obey my calling from Him.  I tenaciously refused to receive the fact that I could be the Lord’s minister, and failure to obey is disobedience. When I finally gave up the struggle and accepted my calling, the Lord reeled me into His arms of joy once more.

            Is there a sin or a failure to obey God that is hindering the joy of your journey?  Confess it and, by the power of His Spirit, turn back to the Lord.  He will forgive you and cleanse you.  (1 John 1:9)   He will restore your joy of being in right relationship with Him and bearing fruit for His glory.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

PSALM 33:12 - WHAT SHOULD WE DO?


What Should We Do?
By Susie Hale

Our pledge of allegiance to our nation’s flag proclaims us to be “one nation under God.” At some point in our history the majority of the people who recited that pledge of allegiance to the flag and the republic it represents also claimed allegiance to our Sovereign God. However, it seems that is less and less the case, at least if one gauges that allegiance by obedience to His will and His ways.

Our forefathers valued freedom to exercise religion without government restrictions or interference. However, over the years that has been interpreted as freedom FROM religion rather than freedom OF religion. At this point in time, Christians are still free to worship as we please. We are free to attend services at the church of our choice—to worship, study, and pray corporately—without fear of arrest or persecution. Some predict that freedom may be taken from us soon.

What should we do? This year, may we as Christians, those called by His name, take a moment from our picnics and fireworks to humble ourselves, turn from our wicked ways in repentance, earnestly pray, and seek God’s face. May we examine ourselves and confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing individually. Then may we, alone or in our celebratory groups, take a moment to beseech God to heal our land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.