out-of-the-blue92

This past Sunday, Blake did another Out of the Blue message. He basically stepped through Psalm 92 to show how worship can bring us closer to God. Praising the Lord can help us refocus on what is good, and right. It can take our focus away from what is wrong, and the things of the world that seek to distract us.

At the end of the message, we were all given a devotional that walks through Psalm 92. I thought it might be interesting for me to share my answers to the devotional questions.

But first, a refresher.

Read through Psalm 92 and check your answers against mine. I don’t expect us to all have the same answers, in fact, I hope there are differences. Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Psalm 92

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by a ten stringed instrument, a harp, and the melody of a lyre.

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. O Lord, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts. Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this:

Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever. Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish; all evildoers will be scattered. But you have made me as strong as a wild ox. You have anointed me with the finest oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents. But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

How have you felt God’s unfailing love?

I see God's unfailing love in Gatherings at Radius when new friends join us and experience church in a way they never have before. I see His unfailing love come through those closest to me who know my faults, and my failures and yet they love me anyway.

Give three things from your life that show God's faithfulness.

1. My job - In it I have found a vision of my future, and it was provided from an answered prayer. It didn't come about the way I would have chosen, but it came exactly the way I needed it to.

2. My friends - My core group of friends stretch my faith, and continually teach me/show me how to be a better version of me. There was a time in my life I questioned whether I would ever have such close friends, and I wasn't even sure that was something I wanted. God has made it abundantly clear that close friends are something I desperately need, and I am so thankful for them.

3. My finances - We may not be the richest kids on the block, but God has been continuously faithful in making sure we have the money we need when we need it.

Singing praises produces joy -- What do you think joy looks like?

Joy looks like lots of things to me. Laughing with friends. Sitting next to a river surrounded by trees and mountains. Walking along the water at Vinoy Park. Playing frisbee with my son. But, I also associate joy with peace. I think joy is being confident in my relationship with my creator, and knowing that he loves me. When I trust he loves me, then I can trust he will protect me, provide for me, and produce good fruit from within me.

God rights the wrongs. How does this help you to live differently?

It's freeing to know God rights wrongs. It doesn't mean I can go around doing wrong, and expect God to clean up my mess. No, in fact it's the opposite. Because God rights wrongs, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to do what it right, what is good, and what it pleasing to God. But, I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to beat myself up because I'm not good enough. God is good enough, and he is working through me. So, shouldn't that be good enough? Can I end an answer with a question?

Since you are enabled and anointed to be the change for good -- what might that look like in your life?

My first thought is to be careful with this one. When we, as believers, finally get to a point when we actually believe we are enabled and anointed, it comes with the temptation to think that we are somehow above other people, or better than them. I think we've all either known people who think this, or know people who think that's how Christians are.

It's amazing to think that God could enable me to be the change for good, but I have to remind myself that's it isn't me who is doing the good, it is the Holy Spirit working within me. The only thing I did was allow it to work. When I accepted God's forgiveness of the sins in my life, I also gave up ownership of my good deeds. Or, at least, that's what I try to tell myself. There is a part of me that desperately wants to own those, and be praised for them.

Bottom line, if God wants to use me to be the change for good, then I am all for it.

In what areas of your life do you feel like you are not thriving?

I've been wrestling with wondering if I am serving God or man. It's easy, in your relationships with people, to want to do good things for them, to support them, to help them, and to be there for them. But sometime I wonder if I have the same kind of zeal for God. Am I really serving Him? Or, am I serving my earthly relationships? If I was really seeking a closer, more personal, relationship with God, what could my life look like?

What action steps is God calling you to take to activate His promises and your growth?

Ohhh. Action steps! I don't like this question. If I write down action steps, then I'm going to actually have to do them.

I think God is calling me to spend more personal time with Him. I mean, if I am really seeking a closer personal relationship with Him, then I need to be carving out more time to spend with Him. Sure, I get time on Sunday, and I take bits of time to read a chapter in the Bible each day during the week, but sometimes I feel like that's just so I can put a checkmark in a box. I feel like He and I communicate each day, but I don't take that deep focused time to just dwell in His presence.

Side note: I've recently started using my morning runs for this, and it has helped.

Name someone that you can think of that finished strong their life for God.

I'm stumped on this one. I know people who are thriving late in life for God, but I can't think of anyone who has passed away recently that finished strong for God, at least not anyone I knew well enough to really explain why they finished strong.

How did their life look vital and green?

Those who I know who are in old age, and who are still producing fruit, seem to live stronger healthier days than those who simply retire and sit down in front of the TV while they wait for God to 'call them home.' I hope that when I leave this Earth, God is still working through me in some way, whether it is with people directly, or through my writing.

Look at verse 15's declaration -- which one do you struggle most to personally declare?

15 They will declare, "The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in Him!"

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord is just, and that there is no evil in Him. I think I've become pretty confident in those two statement over the last 4-5 years. So that leaves just one.

He is my rock!

I think I still try to be my own rock a lot of the time. Sometimes, I lean on other people's rocks. Sometimes it feels like there is no rock (maybe that means we are in The Matrix). Other times, I think I make God my pebble. He's there, but I can kick Him to the side when it's not convenient for Him to be there.

Pray and tell God you know that this is true about Him and ask Him to help you to live in that belief.

Lord, thank you! Thank you for always being there, and for always being faithful. Even when I run from you -- even when I deny you, you still love me. You are an amazing God, and there are no others like you. God I ask you to help me see you as my rock. I ask you to help me feel your presence in my life. I ask you to be with me, and allow me to be with you. I want to serve you. I want to know you. I want to see you working through me so that I can give you the glory.

Strengthen me. Give me the courage to trust in you, and to know that I am good enough, because you are within me. I love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.