Life Lessons

DSCF7062Every morning before my son goes to school we sit down together and read one Psalm.  I believe that this has been life altering, attitude adjusting, and great preparation for our day.  We also pray together as well.  Recently we read Psalm 146 and it struck me how timely this Psalm is for our generation.  I know that this is an election year and so the airwaves are full of arrogance, condemnation, and political strategies.  I personally tune out as much as I can because I don’t believe that a two-minute commercial is how to make a decision for whom to vote, but I digress.  I want us to look at Psalm 146 today and hopefully learn something new.  I prefer to use the New American Standard Bible (NASB) version today and so in this version the Psalm begins with a heading, a subtitle of sorts.

 The LORD an Abundant Helper.

I love this description of our Lord, our abundant helper.  I need all the help I can get as a Christian living on this earth.  In fact as my son read this Psalm out loud I realized something rather profound.  Have you ever tried to help someone who didn’t want help?  Have you ever tried to help someone whom you can see desperately needs help but they are so bound up in stubbornness and pride that they refuse to acknowledge their need for help?  I know that I have seen such a person but since my help was rejected I was not able to help them.  I had to be patient and wait for that person to finally acknowledge that they needed my help before I could do anything to help them.  Often God has patience with us and cannot and does not help anyone until they are willing to be helped.  Oh how thankful I am for God’s patience!

Praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD, O my soul!  I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being, Psalm 146:1-2, (NASB).

I believe that the first step for a stubborn heart to begin to soften and change is when a person begins to praise God.  It is in the praising that we acknowledge that we need help and that we need a helper, a savior, and we choose to believe that God exists and that there really is a plan for our life.  Praising always follows wrestling with God.  Praise for the One and only true God comes naturally flowing out of a heart of stubborn pride that has been shown a more excellent way to live.  What’s next?

 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.  His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish, Psalm 146:3-4, (NASB).

Wow!  This speaks volumes to me especially during this politically charged election year!  The President nor any political party has the power to save me.  Congress can’t save me.  The Supreme Court can’t save me.  My family can’t save me.  An ideology can’t save me.  While all of these systems and persons can be used by God to provide peaceful comfort to me, they have no power to save me.  The Democrats can’t save me neither can the Republicans or the Independents!  Only God can save me through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Every person that draws breath today will one day perish and will become dust once more.  My advice is to go and vote, do your part as a citizen of this earth but don’t expect salvation to come from government and politics because it is not within their power to save, only God can bring to you salvation and only you can accept or reject that plan.  What else can we learn from this Psalm?

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them;  Who keeps faith forever; Psalm 146: 5-6, (NASB).

If a stubborn heart comes to the point of realizing that only God can save then a marvelous thing happens.  The world begins to look differently, every flower, grass, tree, mountain, and stream, animal…everything we see is observed with newness and the reality and awe that God created it all for us to enjoy.  What a blessing this is for us!  We see that God has given us a great blessing in the established order of the universe, in the established order of nature, and in the established order of government and family.  We see the faithfulness of God to all generations and we begin to realize what a true blessing this all is and it makes us appreciate the things of God so much more.  We see the hope that salvation brings that there really is something more than just what this world offers.  We see our own place in the world and realize that we are nothing compared to the God we serve.  We are humbled before Him.  Our eyes are opened to what this blessing from God really is, not only for us, but our family, friends, community, country, and world!

Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry.  The LORD sets the prisoners free.  The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; Psalm 146:7-8, (NASB).

When our blind eyes are opened to the things of God we begin to see where justice comes from, where law and order comes from.  We understand who gave us the system of government that we live under.  We begin to see who is the true giver of food to feed the hungry.  The farmers do their part but it is God who gives the increase.  We see that we were prisoners to sin but now we have been freed from that prison and we can breathe as free people and not be afraid any longer.  We are the blind whose eyes were opened and we are the lowly who have been raised up to become an adopted member of God’s family.  We have all the status and rights as an adopted heir.  We become righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ and therefore we are loved by our Lord, loved with the special love of a Father to a child!  No longer are we blinded by pride and stubbornness or the things of the world, fame, fortune, and all its blitz and bling!  We see truth and we know that the world will pass away and so will all its blitz and bling!

The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.  The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the LORD!  Psalm 146:9-10, (NASB).

Now that we belong to Jesus we have become strangers in this world and the world will hate us just as they hated Jesus Christ.  God becomes our protector.  God is the protector of not only strangers in a foreign land but also He protects widows and orphans from the predator prone world.  What a comfort that has been to me, for as a divorced woman raising an adopted son I feel like a widow and I have times when I feel very vulnerable in this world.  And best of all, God will not allow evil to win!  Those who work wickedness against the children of God will be stopped and their plan to harm us will not succeed.  Oh, it might sting us a little for a little while, but the harm they wanted to cause us will not happen!  Why?  Because God is our protector and if God is for us, who can stand against us (Romans 8:31)?  NO ONE!  Who will be here when the plans of the wicked fail?  Who will be here when the earth passes away and is no more?  Who will be here when this generation and the next and the next and the next have departed this world?  Well, who has been here for every generation until now?  The answer is obvious, God!  God does not change and He will be here long after presidents, princes, governments, politicians, you, and I are gone.  What a comfort that is to me and I hope it is to you as well.  Praise the Lord!

Until next time…Katherine

May Flowers 046

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