As High As the Heavens

As high as the heavens are above the earth— that is how vast his mercy is toward those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west— that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself.

As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

He certainly knows what we are made of. He bears in mind that we are dust.

Human life is as short-lived as grass. It blossoms like a flower in the field.

When the wind blows over the flower, it disappears, and there is no longer any sign of it. [vss 11-16]

But from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s mercy is on those who fear him. His righteousness belongs to their children and grandchildren,

to those who are faithful to his promise [covenant] to those who remember to follow his guiding principles.

The Lord has set his throne in heaven. His kingdom rules everything.

Praise the Lord, all his angels, you mighty beings who carry out his orders and are ready to obey his spoken orders.

Praise the Lord, all his armies, his servants who carry out his will. Praise the Lord, all his creatures in all the places of his empire. Praise the Lord, my soul! [vss 17-22]

A psalm by David. (Psalms 103:11-22 GW)


One of my earliest impressions of the existence of God came during a lunar eclipse. As I looked up into the starry night sky, my dad told me of the thousands of galaxies stretched out in every direction throughout the universe.

My four-year-old imagination tried to grasp the vastness of this limitless expansive universe. It scared me.

I remember asking, "What's beyond the universe?" He couldn't answer my question. Later in life, I realized God was beyond the universe because He is its Creator.

This psalm, especially these first few verses, are a great comfort to me. God's mercy and love exceed the vastness of the universe!

Notice, this is the assurance we have when we fear the Lord—when we respect the Creator and Author of life with awe and wonder.

He understands our limited frail human frames. God's mercy extends beyond the limits of our need for it.

David understood the vastness of God and His mercy because of his own need for mercy. Instead of being overpowered by his personal failures and weakness, he trusted in the Lord.

Faith—a personal trust in God—requires us to look beyond our self—our weakness, our limitedness—to see His great majesty.

This is why David was able to proclaim the truths in this psalm. He came to understand how God sustained his life beyond life itself. He understood the everlasting nature of God's mercy.

When you consider the vastness of the universe, remember the immensity of God and His everlasting mercy.

Have you experienced God's great mercy?

Have you learned to fear and respect God who rules over all creation?

Learn to look beyond yourself to see God's merciful greatness as David did!

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

Always Ready to Forgive

Praise the Lord, my soul! Praise his holy name, all that is within me.

Praise the Lord, my soul, and never forget all the good he has done:

He is the one who forgives all your sins, the one who heals all your diseases, 

the one who rescues your life from the pit, the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion, 

the one who fills your life with blessings so that you become young again like an eagle. [vss 1-5]

The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are oppressed.

He let Moses know his ways. He let the Israelites know the things he had done.

The Lord is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive.

He will not always accuse us of wrong or be angry ⌊with us⌋ forever.

He has not treated us as we deserve for our sins or paid us back for our wrongs [vss 6-10]

By David. (Psalms 103:1-10 GW)


In many ways, our relationship with our parents impacts how we relate to God as our Father. God understood this when He gave Moses the fifth of the 10 Commandments—honor your father and mother.

This can be a hindrance or a help depending on the nature of our relationship with our father and mother. We tend to view God through the lens or filter of our experience and memories of growing up.

When this is negative or difficult, it skews our perception of God. When it's positive and affirming, we may have difficulty understanding God's sovereignty. If we were abandoned as children or had absentee parents, God probably seems distant and unapproachable.

All of this can be overcome so we can gain a right or correct view of who God is and of His redemptive love. King David understood how to do this.

My first sense of psalms that began with "bless the Lord oh my soul" confounded me. Was this just self-help psychobabble or efforts at self-talk? Aren't people who carry on conversations with themselves losing a grasp on reality?

The more I read through the Psalms and saw the depth of David's internal prayerful struggles and joyful exclamations, I began to understand.

David understood his relationship with God. Not only was it based on a personal trust (faith) in God, it was spiritual in nature. David's exhortations to himself went much deeper than mental self-talk or cognitive reasoning. He spoke to his inner, spiritual nature—his inner self. We can call it soul-talk.

He reminded himself of his spiritual yet experiential encounters with God during his life. He dialogued with God from his innermost being. This is the nature of genuine faith in a personal relationship with God!

The Lord is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive.

Do you ever remind yourself how God has helped you and blessed you in your life?

It's a good practice to take time each day to review how the Lord has blessed you, helped you, and shown you His loving kindness.

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

Praise in His Presence

lightstock.com

lightstock.com

Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth. 

Serve the Lord cheerfully.

Come into his presence with a joyful song. 

Realize that the Lord alone is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people and the sheep in his care. [vss 1-3]

Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving.

Come into his courtyards with a song of praise.

Give thanks to him; praise his name.

The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation. [vss 4-5]

A psalm of thanksgiving. (Psalms 100:1-5 GW)


Acceptance and approval are important for our sense of well-being. Children long for and need this from parents, siblings, and grandparents. When they don't receive it from family, they look to others for it.

There's both a sense of peace and joy when we experience acceptance and approval. How much more so when we know God's acceptance and approval.

This is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving (see "guide" download below). It's a song of celebrations and acknowledgment. This psalm was written to sing while bringing a sacrifice [offering] of thanksgiving into the temple.

Before the Lord Jesus came and opened a new way to God's presence, the temple represented heaven on earth for God's people. Now, we can know God's acceptance and approval and enter His presence by faith.

The expressions of praise and thanksgiving are in acknowledgment of who God is and of His blessing for those who trust in Him.

It's God who created us, we didn't create ourselves. There are no "self-made" men or women in God's kingdom. The Lord is our Shepherd and we are the flock under His care.

Just like children who are confident of their acceptance and approval within their family, we are assured of God's goodness, mercy, and faithfulness as we confidently enter His presence. This brings a settling peace in our hearts and minds and fills us with overflowing joy!

Have you experienced God's peace and joy as you offer praise and thanks to Him?

This short psalm is a quick read and a great way to begin each day!

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

A New Song

lightstock.com

lightstock.com

Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord! Praise his name! Day after day announce that the Lord saves his people.

Tell people about his glory. Tell all the nations about his miracles. The Lord is great! He should be highly praised.

He should be feared more than all ⌊other⌋ gods because all the gods of the nations are idols. The Lord made the heavens. [vss 1-5]

Splendor and majesty are in his presence. Strength and beauty are in his holy place.

Give to the Lord, you families of the nations. Give to the Lord glory and power. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves.

Bring an offering, and come into his courtyards. Worship the Lord in ⌊his⌋ holy splendor. Tremble in his presence, all the earth! [vss 6-9]

Say to the nations, “The Lord rules as king!” The earth stands firm; it cannot be moved. He will judge people fairly.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad. Let the sea and everything in it roar like thunder.

Let the fields and everything in them rejoice. Then all the trees in the forest will sing joyfully in the Lord’s presence because he is coming.

He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and its people with his truth. [vss 10-13]

 (Psalms 96:1-13 GW)


Many times I've heard music playing in the background at restaurants, doctor's offices, and in some stores. It used to be called Muzak, a mix of pop songs dressed up like an orchestra playing classical music. It was typically bland and monotonous.

Popular Christian music on "family-friendly" radio stations can sound the same way. The same songs played over and over and in modified versions. I can only listen to it for a short while.

Most songs regardless of the genre (pop, country, hip-hop, etc.) focus on romantic love, it's highs and lows. The style of music changes over the years but the content is the same.

Christian worship music was primarily God-centered but more songs seem to be worshiper-centered if you know what I mean. 

Whatever the music, each generation brings a variation of style for younger ears typically looked down on by older generations. But it's all pretty much the same and some songs seem to get stuck in our minds, both good and bad.

What makes a new song new? It's not the style or even the content. It's when it is fresh and new in us, in our hearts and minds. Even older songs can seem new when heard because they're fresh or renewed for us.

Reading through the psalms we see lots of repetition of words and thoughts. But what makes these new is the way they're expressed and when they are sung.

Singing a song of joy in a time of darkness is singing a new song. A song of prayer and meditation in the midst of chaotic times can also be a new song. These can be the offerings of heart when we enter His presence in prayer or worship.

Have you experienced an older song become fresh and new in your heart?

Do you ever sing for joy in difficult or dark times?

Lift your heart and voice to the Lord in praise and worship in a fresh way. At times, it may seem the earth and the world join in around you!

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

Worship Is Better than Whining

lightstock.com

lightstock.com

Come, let’s sing joyfully to the Lord. Let’s shout happily to the rock of our salvation. Let’s come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving. Let’s shout happily to him with psalms.

The Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth, and the mountain peaks are his. The sea is his. He made it, and his hands formed the dry land. [vss 1-5]

Come, let’s worship and bow down. Let’s kneel in front of the Lord, our maker,

because he is our God and we are the people in his care, the flock that he leads. If only you would listen to him today! [vss 6-7]

“Do not be stubborn like ⌊my people were⌋ at Meribah, like the time at Massah in the desert. Your ancestors challenged me and tested me there, although they had seen what I had done.

For 40 years I was disgusted with those people. So I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts continue to stray. They have not learned my ways.’ That is why I angrily took this solemn oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest!’" [vss 8-11]

(Psalms 95:1-11 GW)


Several hymns and worship songs are taken directly from this psalm. Although it begins with an uplifting invitation, it ends with a solemn reminder. It begins with encouragement and ends with a warning.

A simple truth is embedded in this psalm that is easily missed. You've heard of selective memory but we can also be selective in what we hear or read.

The warning at the end is a history lesson, a reminder of a whole generation who paid a stiff penalty for complaining and whining and their unbelief. Even though they experienced freedom and saw miraculous events, their hearts were full of bitterness and self-focus.

I heard someone say years ago, "Don't why God, worship Him!" It's great advice. We all question why certain things happen but it can easily turn into bitter whining if unchecked.

We've all seen the whiny child in a store with a frazzled mom or dad. This is usually followed by a mid-store meltdown. It ain't a pretty scene! Many of us have been both the whining child and the frazzled parent.

This can easily be us with the Lord unless we heed the exhortative invitation of this psalm. We're encouraged to come and sing joyfully to the Lord and to worship and bow before Him.

It's a choice we often need to make between whining at the Lord or worshipping Him. It's an issue of the heart. Will we be stubborn and self-willed or thankfully surrender our heart and life to the Lord?

Worship is always better than whining! It sounds nicer too.

Do you find yourself whining at the Lord more than you worship Him?

Remember who the Lord is—a great God and a great king above all gods —and who you are—we are the people in his care.

Let go of the whining and complaining and lift your voice and heart to the Rock of your salvation!

©Word-Strong_2017


Here's a great worship song taken from Psalm 95 by the Sons of Korah

SonsOfKorah-DresdenDE

SonsOfKorah-DresdenDE

Psalm 95 by Sons of Korah in Dresden, DE


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!