Psalm 36

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

The audio file below is the entire episode for today. The text below is today’s prayer. I’m reading the Contemporary English Version of the Text, copyright 1995, by the American Bible Society.

God. Abba. Father.

We honor you today. We offer only praise. We humbly ask you to forgive us when we are arrogant or talk in ways that are not honoring to you. We stand before you today and reject those things that are wrong. We turn to you.

Your love is faithful. It reaches far as we can see. Your decisions are just and fair. They are as vast as the highest mountain peak or deepest depth of the sea. Your love is a treasure. It is priceless. We run to you to find shelter. You give us a feast to enjoy in your house when we are famished. We drink from unending rivers of living water when we are parched and thirsty. You open our eyes to see your brilliance in glorious light.

Lord, please keep on loving us. And use us to welcome new hearts into your Kingdom. Protect us from those who are prideful and independent. They will fall in their selfish ways.

We open our hands and our hearts to you, Jesus. Always. Amen.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 35

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

God. Abba. Father.

Some days, Lord, we feel like we are being chased into a corner. Sometimes by real enemies. Sometimes by the choices we’ve made or the circumstances of life. And sometimes, by the enemy of your righteous ways, oh God. When that happens, stand up for us. Help us. Say to us: “I am your salvation.”

Thank you, Lord. When the ungodly pursue us for believing in you, may your Holy Spirit chase them away, may they slip and fall on their way to defeat us. When we have been innocently trapped by those who seek our demise, surprise them with their own ruin.

We will celebrate and be glad when we are saved. We will sing: “There’s no one like our God! You rescue the poor and the weak. You protect the unprotected.” Oh God, while there are very few of us who are being chased to death in our day, this picture that the Psalmist describes sure looks like the preborn, safe in their mother’s womb, who are being murdered by the abortionist. Deliver them today. Protect them today. We cry out for their lives today. We also think of your son, Jesus, who was crucified on our behalf, our slaughtered Passover Lamb. We find it hard to imagine all He went through. Just because He loves us. Thank you for your mercy.

Lord, when we face times of personal injustice, when others repay our good for evil, give us the courage and the grace to pray for them. Even when we stumble and fall and others cheer for our defeat, and we wonder where you are, come to our rescue. We will worship you; we will praise you for saving us. Defend us, Lord God. We are only worthy of your liberation because of your great compassion.

We know you see it all. The good and the bad. Please, don’t be silent. Defend us. Put to shame those who exalt themselves at our expense.

We trust that you will save us. You have saved us! You, Lord, Yahweh, are wonderful! You are worthy of our praise all day, every day. We know that you work all things together for our good. And for your glory.

Yes, may you be glorified. In us and through us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Psalm 34.

We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.

The audio file below is the entire episode for today. The text below is today’s prayer. I’m reading the Contemporary English Version of the Text, copyright 1995, by the American Bible Society.

God. Abba. Father.

God. Abba. Father.

We praise you with all our hearts today, Lord! Even, when we are afflicted or feeling helpless, we honor you great King! We celebrate you and eagerly tell others of your faithfulness to us.

Whenever we need you, God, you are quick to squash our anxious thoughts and fears. We look to you, Father, and we are honest with you. When we were nothing, we prayed, and you have saved us. You send your angels to protect us.

Every one of our senses — our sight, our vision, our hearing, our touch, even the things we taste — reveal your goodness to us. As we take refuge in you, we know we are blessed. We know that as we honor you, we will also have plenty. We thank you for the promise that as we trust in you, we will never miss out. Animals may go hungry, but we, your children will lack nothing.

We thank you for the promise that as we obey you, as we guard our tongues, as we do good and live in peace, you will watch over us, you will turn your ears to us. You are quick to rescue us. Even when we are discouraged and question the hope we have in you, you deliver us! We thank you that even when we are broken hearted, you deliver us! You protect us all. You are our bodyguard.

We respect with caution that those who turn their backs on you will be punished. But those who take refuge in you will find freedom! Yes, when we run to you, we are saved.

Thank you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 46. God is Indescribable, Incomparable.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 46.

The prophet paints a picture of gods made by man being hauled around by mules, then set up and worshipped. Deadweight idols being carried by beasts of burdens.

And God says, “I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, and I’ll keep on carrying you! When you are old, I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.” (v 3-4, MSG).

And then there is this: “I am GOD, the only God you’ve had or ever will have, incomparable, irreplaceable.” (v9, MSG).

This reminds me of the Chris Tomlin song called Indescribable* from his Arriving CD in 2004. The lyrics affirm the words of Isaiah:

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God.
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God.

Nothing compares to God. He is amazing! He is alive. He’s not a dead-weight lifeless idol. He carries our burdens and He does so with joy because He loves us so! Nothing compares to Him. Nothing!

That’s why we worship Him. That’s why we serve Him and serve others in His name.

Isaiah ends this word with a promise of salvation, a promise of deliverance, for the people of Israel, for all of us: “I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” (v13, NIV). 

Indeed, God delivered His children from exile in Babylon which is what most scholars believe Isaiah is talking about here in this passage. But, can I assure you, He will deliver you and me from sin and the bondage Babylon represents. He has done so by the sacrifice of Jesus.

It is worth repeating: That’s why we worship Him.

 

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

*Indescribable written by Jesse Reeves and Laura Story.

Isaiah 5

Isaiah 5 7

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

There is a sad day coming, and some might ask if it’s not already here?

Isaiah opens this chapter with a hope that God has for His people. He has created a vineyard and tended it with care. “I had hoped for honesty and justice, but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found.” (v. 17 CEV). All God asks is that we, His children, live holy lives. Because He is holy. Yes, that might be a tall order, but can’t we at least try?

Some have said that we live in a time right now when “evil is called good and good is called evil.” This is right out of this chapter!

“Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness… doom to you who think you are so smart.” (v 20-21 MSG).

Oh, we are doomed! Walk down the streets of any city, read the daily news, this IS an evil, vile generation. May our prayer be “Forgive us, Lord! Bring conviction on us, God. Bring peace. Bring your children, your people, all of us, to repentance!”

Isaiah continues: “They make sure their banquets are well-furnished… but they’ll have nothing to do with the work of God. Pay no mind to what He is doing.” (v 15 MSG).

We must find a way to turn this world around! It will only be by God’s care and grace! Or else: “Every light in the sky will be blacked out by the clouds.” (v 30 MSG).

Isaiah is shouting a warning siren that has fallen on deaf ears. Even today. This is very sad.

There is hope! We can be saved. But we must first admit that God is holy and we are not. Can we do that? Can we live justly and honestly before God and man?

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Dad. My wonderful Dad.

The last photo of my dad and I together. 1981.

Lessons from my dad (with some input from my sisters, thank you!), in random order:

How to polish my shoes.

How to take calculated risks.

How to provide for your family.

How to work hard.

How to sing with your whole self (especially “How Great Thou Art”).

How to trust others.

How to fix a flat tire.

How to mow the lawn and shovel the snow.

How to be a gentleman.

How to be a Good Samaritan.

How to serve God and honor God.

How to encourage and love your wife.

How to provide for your family.

How to fly a plane.

How to fix just about any broken thing around the house.

How to be a good son-in-law.

How to give good gifts.

How to be a creative problem solver.

How to use my common sense and good judgment.

How to tie a neck tie, a half or full Windsor.

Measure twice, cut once.

How to siphon gasoline out of car and into the lawn mower can (I can still taste the gasoline, yuck).

How to properly tuck in my shirt tail.

How to garden… even gardening and raising vegetables you don’t like yourself.

How compounding interest can add up to big returns.

How to use a slide rule.

How to balance a spoon and fork on the smallest bit of toothpick.

How liquid nitrogen turns a hot dog into glass.

How to put “English” on a pool shot or a ping pong return.

Why playing the lotto is morally wrong.

How to drive. How to drive a stick shift.

How to let the School of Hard Knocks teach me a thing or two.

How to camp. How to build and start a fire.

How to swim.

How to bargain for a car. How to bargain for a casket (now that’s a funny story).

How to give grace. How to laugh. How to love. How to live. How to die.

 

My favorite story about my Dad: He was a Gideon — best known for being one of those folks who place Bibles in hotels.  He was also a private pilot and he would go flying on Saturday mornings.  At his memorial service over 30 years ago, his good friend Lou — also a pilot and a Gideon —  produced a talley sheet from Dad’s pilot log book that included the names of many, many small airports in the midwest.  Lou explained that these were places where he and my Dad had flown to on many a Saturday and placed a Gideon Bible in the pilot’s lounge.  And it was something only he and Lou knew about.  He combined two loves, flying and the Lord, into something that blessed God and many unknown souls.

What lessons did you learn from your dad?

 

(First published on Father’s Day 2012…)