A Missionary’s Verse

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalms 57:9-10

Many a missionary have gone to the foreign mission field quoting verse nine, and verse ten would sustain them while they were there.

Missionaries – those who travel outside their culture and home countries – wear a lot of hats they normally wouldn’t need to wear while at home.

They are thrust into cultures with teams and other missionaries they only recently met.

They must learn:

  • language
  • how to shop
  • how to negotiate
  • how to work with other missions
  • what to say and not to say
  • how to raise and maintain support
  • how to stay encouraged when there is little fruit for their efforts
  • and a lot more.

They have to be able to process what they see and hear through their own cultural filters. Plus they have to raise their family while they are doing all of this.

Would you take the time today to pray for a missionary family you know? It takes a lot of work to get to and stay on the field. Then take the time to write them and let them know you’re praying for them. You may be the only person from “home” that’s been in contact with them this week. Yes, they are able to praise the Lord among the nations, but they can’t do it alone.

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His Song

7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 57:7-8

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that a bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

You would think that by reading these verses that David’s clearly “a morning person.” But I think there’s more to these verses than just looking outside and proclaiming it to be a great day.

David was still hiding in a cave when he wrote this. But David, much like the Apostle Paul centuries later, didn’t let his confined surroundings stop him from being joyous. It wasn’t where they were that mattered, but in whose company they were in. It would have been easy for both to fret and worry and become exasperated at their conditions. To some extent, we see David going in and out of these emotions, but he ultimately knew where to put his trust and hope.

The fact that David, who was described as a man after God’s own heart, had “peaks and valleys” in his spiritual walk certainly gives me hope.

What about you? What’s your “song?” What is it about God that excites you? What has He done in your life this week?

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Still Not Fair

6 They spread a net for my feet—
    I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
    but they have fallen into it themselves. Psalm 57:6

If you think about it, it’s really unfair in a odd way.

The nations and rulers who desperately try to stamp out Christianity really don’t have a chance against the power of God. They torture pastors, burn churches, take women and children hostage, and still Christianity shines bright. I am not at all diminishing the sacrifices that these people make for their faith. After all, it’s extremely easy for me to write what I just wrote without ever having to experience those atrocities.

  • Families are devastated.
  • Innocent lives are ruined.
  • Churches go for months without their pastors and elders.

From a purely secular standpoint, nobody should be able to withstand such devastation for long. But somehow, those who remain find the courage and strength to carry on, and the church grows stronger still.

As you remember the Persecuted Church around the world today, would you pray for healing?

As mentioned, it’s easy for me to type out these words, but I really don’t know what it’s like to have my family ripped away from me because of what they believe. I really don’t know what it’s like to have my pastor tortured for his faith, and what that can do to your psyche and spirit. Pray for supernatural healing for those pastors who are enduring torture for Christ’s sake.

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Glancing at Problems; Gazing on the Lord

4 I am in the midst of lions;
    I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:4-5

The old adage is true: “when you’re up to your neck in alligators and mud, it’s difficult to remember you just came to drain the swamp. Life can throw us curve balls at times. It can be hectic, frantic, and full of unexpected twists and turns. We barely have time to glance at the Lord, let alone gaze and stare for long periods of time. But why does it have to be that way? Why can’t it be the other way around?

In this passage, David seems to be seeing the clear problems he is facing and glancing at the Lord. In fact throughout these last few Psalms, David has made a habit of doing just that. I think the key thing to keep in mind is that the Lord wants to help us work through our problems. He doesn’t want us to face those “lions” and “ravenous beasts” alone. He never intended that we would face those enemies alone.

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Not Much Has Changed

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23

Joseph received two more dreams that gave him clear direction. The family ended up in Nazareth, which is where Jesus would have grown up. At this point in the story, Jesus would have been at least a couple of years old.

After a whirlwind adventure that took them from Nazareth to Bethlehem down to Egypt and back to Nazareth, they were now very changed people than when they first left Nazareth. Wise men from the East had visited, smelly shepherds had visited, the first crib for the baby boy was a cow’s trough, and they had escaped the clutches of and infanticidal ruler (and quite possibly his son). And all this because of their toddler, Jesus.

So it is with this scenario we find Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. What more can be said about the birth and travels of the boy Jesus in the first years of his life?

  • Wise men still fall on their faces before Him.
  • Smelly people still seek him out.
  • People who are persecuted for their belief in Him still do not have a place to lay their heads at night.
  • Many run for their lives because of homicidal rulers who want to see His people destroyed.

Not much has changed.

Merry Christmas!

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