Grant Us Success

25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Psalm 118:25

What a simple but wonderful prayer we can pray throughout our day.

As we begin tasks, “grant us success.”
As we begin journeys, “grant us success.”
As we witness for our faith, “grant us success.”
As we make those tough phone calls, “grant us success.”
Even as we lay our heads on our pillows, “grant us success.”

God wants to bless us. Calling out to Him throughout the day blesses Him.

God does want to grant us success as we live out our faith.

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Our Cornerstone

22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:22-24

Recall in the New Testament when Jesus preached in the temple courts. This is the passage he used.

Jesus himself if the cornerstone, the foundation of our faith. As Jesus spoke to the leaders in the temple court, it was clear he was talking to them about their rejection of him. (Also, Jesus used the Parable of the Vineyard and Parable of the Man and His Two Sons to emphasize those points (Luke 20)).

If Jesus is our cornerstone, it is certainly important for us rest on Him when we’re weary from the cares of the world, and to be “glued” to Him in all aspects of our faith.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

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Mighty Things

15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. Psalm 118:15-21

He has done mighty things. “Mighty things,” you ask, “what mighty things?”

Forget for a moment the universe with its vast array of space, stars, galaxies, and planets.

Forget the trillions of gallons of water even in one large lake and multiply that by several trillion to begin to approximate the water that covers the earth.

Forget the trillions of fish and millions of varieties of wildlife in the oceans and seas.

Forget the intricacy of the systems within the human body.

Then forget what He’s done in your life when He saved you, and what He continues to do each day you’re alive.

Also, forget the thousands of lives He continues to change each day.

You really can’t forget those things, can you? No, we’re not supposed to.

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God’s Safe Space

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:5-14

If you’ve been following the current events lately you may have heard the term “safe space.”

A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background…

It’s a fairly recent term and is mostly associated with college campuses. Non-millennials will laugh at the term because it reveals just how fragile our students on college campuses have become.

This is not the safe space or refuge the psalmist is referring to. No, God’s refuge is for the battle-weary, discouraged soul in need of the strength that only God can provide. Our refuge isn’t a physical location (though it could be).

It’s a resting place.

It could be in your bed as you think through the day’s events.
It could be in your car as you consider your upcoming day.
It could be on your knees as you think through what happened that day.

Now, we go to God’s safe space any time and in any manner we choose.

God Himself is that refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble -Psalm 46:1

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His Mercy

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1-4

From the nations to the leaders to us, the psalmist exhorted us to remember God’s mercy (love).

You see, this mercy is not fleeting.

It’s not a whim of God.

The mercy is who God is.

Jesus Christ was the Mercy of God incarnate.

He had mercy on us all those years ago. And that mercy is forever.

That’s an awesome thought, isn’t it?

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Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 117:1-2

Most people in the United States have never seen or experienced the Northern Lights firsthand. For those who don’t know, it’s a fantastic and mind-boggling display of moving light and “magic” in the sky. A typical display typically lasts for 2-4 minutes but you walk away dazed at the majesty of God’s universe.

On an international flight some years ago, we were traveling home from Sweden, which took us northern regions of the globe. It was the middle of the night and most on the plane were asleep. I was gazing at the stars above when I saw the sky begin to dance. I was looking at the Northern Lights at 33,000 feet! I glanced around the plane and everyone was asleep. Everyone. This was something they might never see again. Do I wake them, and if I did, would the lights still be dazzling? I was speechless. I continued to look at the Lights until they dissipated.

It’s like God sometimes wants to show the world all of His glory but they’re sound asleep. Does He wake them or let them wallow in their own glory? Does He force them to do what He wants them to do? Of course not. God is not like that.

Instead He lets them discover Him on their own. His love is always there, always trying to woo them away from the world.

Those of us who have already bowed the knee to Christ can help spread that love. That comes in as many forms and means as there are Believers. He has entrusted us to do something wonderful, something magical.

Praise the Lord!

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A Handshake

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 116:17-19

Business in America used to be conducted with a verbal agreement and a handshake. Depending on the circumstances, it can still be conducted that way but it’s not the norm. Why? Too many people have gotten “burned” and taken advantage of. Today it would be foolish not to have contractual obligations in writing with the blessing and approval of a handful of attorneys. It’s sad.

Even as Believers, we should probably get agreements and contracts in writing because not everyone is who they say they are. It’s just good overall protection of all interested parties. It’s the world we live in.

Still, though, we should really think carefully before entering into agreements. When we do, though, our ‘yes’ should be ‘yes’, and our ‘no’ should be no.’

With or without a signed document.

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15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. Psalm 116:15-16

Verse 15 here is making a statement that can be a bit difficult to interpret. Let me unpack it a bit.

Without question, God loves us whether we’re here or with Him in heaven. Notice, though, what this verse is not saying: it is better for his saints to die and be in His presence. The logical conclusion to that would be, “Why doesn’t He take us all home if our death is precious in His sight?” No, it doesn’t say that.

The Apostle Paul addressed this issue that is very similar to what the Psalmist is saying here:

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

So God loves us whether it’s here on earth or up in heaven. It would be an equally true statement to say “precious in the sight of the Lord is the life of his faithful servants.”

The main point should be clear, and let me repeat it:

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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Surprising God

10 I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.”

12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:10-14

We all like surprises. If you’re at all like me, you like to do little things for the people in your life you love. It may be a card or flowers or tickets to a show or something just out of the ordinary. Something unexpected.

Then the person raves about it until the next time you surprise. It’s certainly a way to keep people guessing in a relationship (in a good way).

The psalmist essentially asked, “What can I do to surprise God? What gift can I bring Him for all He’s done?”

It’s a thought.

Have you surprised God lately? Have you gone out of your way to give or do something completely out of the ordinary? Of course, nothing surprises God – or at least it’s what we say about Him.

But is it true?

The secret of those surprise gifts – as it is in our relationships – is to expect nothing in return. There should be no expectations of blessings other than the gift of giving (talents, time, money, etc).

What have you done to surprise God lately? Think it through. It’s not necessary to spill the beans here because “blabbing” about it tends to spoils it a bit.

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