Where Does My Help Come From?

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

These are beautiful verses. So, do you have them committed to memory yet?

You could easily recall the verses:

  • When you’re discouraged and need a “pick me up”
  • When you question God’s reality in your life
  • When you just need a “sanity check”

God can and will use these verses to encourage and strengthen you.

Take a few minutes to memorize them. Write them down and take the words with you throughout the day.

May God bless you abundantly.

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Paddling Furiously

3 What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
4 He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.

5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. Psalm 120:3-7

Have you ever seen a duck glide smoothly across a pond? It’s a peaceful, calming sight. What you usually can’t see is the duck’s feet. They are paddling furiously so that the duck can get to its destination. So while the the duck appears to be calm on the outside, on the inside it is working hard.

The psalmist continued to make references to the tongue and how powerful it is. We must remember that our tongue can really be a dangerous tool if we are not careful. When others are throwing flames at us, our words still need to be peaceable and patient. Inside we may be infuriated and very upset, but on the outside calmness and peace should be the order of the day.

It certainly doesn’t mean we have to be meek and passive, but it does mean that externally we need to be the “adult in the room.”

Now, is this easy? Not at all. It never is. But it is doable with the Lord’s help.

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Victims of Lying Lips and Deceitful Tongues

1 I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.
2 Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. Psalm 120:1-2

We all have been victims of lying lips and deceitful tongues. It’s not fun and it can be quite hurtful. We certainly can’t control what others say about us, but we can control how we think and feel about it.

Our first tendency is to lash out at the individual responsible for the insults. It’s not helpful to the situation but it’s a very real feeling. We would be very wise, however, to just give it over to God. Obviously it’s easier said than done. Then if you need to confront the person face-to-face, it’ll soften your words and tone.

Calling on the Lord in these times of distress addresses the pain and insult at the same time. He can soothe the pain and “go after” the person who insulted you. You may still need to confront if the situation warrants it, but the Lord will have softened the heart first.

It’s always a good thing, however, to go to the Lord first.

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A Review

Over the last few days we’ve breezed through the longest chapter in Psalms. Today, though, perhaps it’s just best to reread the entire Psalm and reflect on its truths. Of course even if you’ve read it dozens of times in your life, you are bound to discover even more nuggets of truth.

Set aside a few minutes some time today to just read through the entire psalm in one sitting.

You will be blessed.

Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

Gimel

17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.

He

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.

Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reech out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.

Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully,
but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,
and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.

Heth

57 You are my portion, Lord;
I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord;
teach me your decrees.

Teth

65 Do good to your servant
according to your word, Lord.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I trust your commands.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.
69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Yodh

73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.
79 May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.
80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.

Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
84 How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?
85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to your law.
86 All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
87 They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your unfailing love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
94 Save me, for I am yours;
I have sought out your precepts.
95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder your statutes.
96 To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless.

Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.

Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,
but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your laws.

Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;
do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
126 It is time for you to act, Lord;
your law is being broken.
127 Because I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
128 and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.

Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.

Tsadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,
and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord,
and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.

Resh

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.

Taw

169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

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Glory and Praise to God

Taw
This psalm is an acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
    give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
    deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
    for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
    for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
    and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
    and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands.

One of the reasons we live is to give God glory. Whether it’s in our words or actions, we bring glory to God. It’s a simple concept actually. It’s a little more difficult to execute consistently, but certainly not impossible. I believe it’s the little steps that make the difference:

  • the unexpected kind word to someone who may not deserve it
  • the pause before you speak or write the ill word
  • the awareness that people are watching and judging your actions because of who you say you are
  • the simple thanks whispered to God for the things we normally take for granted

The psalmist echoed those words, “Let me live that I may praise you and may your laws sustain me.” He realized what his mission in life was.

May our lives continue to bring glory and honor to God.

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Nuggets of Scripture

Sin and Shin
This psalm is an acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
    but my heart trembles at your word.
162 I rejoice in your promise
    like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood
    but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
    and I follow your commands.
167 I obey your statutes,
    for I love them greatly.
168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
    for all my ways are known to you. Psalm 119:161-168

Have you ever read a Bible passage that just stopped you cold? It’s like an “aha! moment.” Suddenly the Holy Spirit has revealed something you had never seen before even though you’d read the passage dozens of times.

The psalmist understood that concept when he wrote “…like one who finds great spoil.”

These “nuggets” of Scripture are found throughout the Bible. God highlights the passages for our edification. He knows what we need and when we need it.

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The Lost and the Found

Resh
This psalm is an acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
    for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
    preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
    preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
    but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
    for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
    preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
    all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:153-160

There are two verses I’d like to key in on today:

155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
    preserve my life according to your laws.

Even though the wicked are far from God, He still has compassion on them, well, on us. He has always been the God of the Second, Third, and Twentieth Chance. Did you believe the first time you heard the Gospel? It’s rare that any of us did.

God has the ability to change the hardest of hearts. Some reading this feel that one person you know is just lost beyond all hope. But what if you see no fruit, no slightest change in the person?

D.L. Moody once remarked, “I wouldn’t be praying for this person for thirty years if I didn’t believe God would save him.”

God has you praying for this one person for a reason, and perhaps you are the only person in the world praying for that person. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Keep expecting God to move.

God still has compassion on the lost. And He still has compassion on us, the Found, as well.

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Nearer To God

Qoph
This psalm is an acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees.
146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever. Psalm 119:145-152

Though we can’t touch God, we can certainly feel His presence in our lives. After all, the Holy Spirit dwells in us so we should always feel His presence, right?

That definitely should be the case but it’s not always so. Sin and the cares of the world creep in and crowd out that relationship. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As we yield ourselves to Christ every day, we realize that wherever we go, the Spirit of God is with us. He’s already with us but as we commune with Him, we are more apt to recognize that truth and accept it (and in many cases we simply remember it). Then when we’re tempted to say or do something that doesn’t square with the Word of God, He puts a “check” in our Spirit that it’s not right. Perhaps this “check” is a warning to just examine the situation more closely or just a pause to think about what we really want to say, but it’s there for our protection. God has an infinite number of ways of loving us, and one of those ways is to warn us.

In verse 151, the psalmist wrote: “yet you are near, Lord …”

Yes, He is near.

He’s nearer than we can imagine.

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A Simple Truth

Tsadhe
This psalm is an acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

137 You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live. Psalm 119:137-144

The Bible is one of the most examined book in the world, from a seeker’s view point as well as a skeptic’s. It has stood the test of time amid critics and scholars from around the world. Many of these scholars even turn to Christ after careful examination because the Bible has stood up to intense scrutiny.

The Bible, however, can be understood by little children and the elderly. In fact, that one famous children’s song tells us the truth so succinctly:

Jesus loves me This I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.

That song, sung in the right circumstances, can melt the hardest of hearts.

Sometimes the simple truth of the Gospel is all it takes.

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