Saturday In The Psalms—My Praise Is Beautiful

…praise from the upright is beautiful (Psalm 33:1).

God thinks praise from upright people is a beautiful thing! That’s great … for the person who is upright.

Whose life does God think is “upright”?

Well, God helps me with that too! “The Lord looks from heaven” and He sees me (v. 13), and “He considers all [my] works.” But before looking at my works, He develops the inside part of me from which my works flow—“He fashions [my] heart individually” (v. 15). I am not an assembly-line, mass-produced product. I am a unique, one-of-a-kind creation!

So how do I get God to spend this individualized attention on me? “Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him” (v. 18). Just standing in awe of His greatness—worshiping Him—asking for His kingdom to come and His will to be done—is the kind of invitation God delights in.

When I fear God it gets His attention and invites His individualized heart work on me. That makes me beautifully upright in His sight, and makes my praise pleasing to His ears. My praise glorifies God and increases my reverential awe of Him, which develops an even deeper fear of God … [and the cycle repeats!].

God delights in making my praise of Him delightful. I am a beautiful thing in His sight!


But none honors God like the thirst of desire,
Nor possesses the heart so completely with Him;
For it burns the world out with the swift ease of fire,
And fills life with good works till it runs ov’er the brim. … 

Oh then wish more for God, burn more with desire,
Covet more the dear sight of His marvelous Face;
Pray louder, pray longer, for the sweet gift of fire
To come down on thy heart with its whirlwinds of grace. … 

God loves to be longed for, He loves to be sought,
For He sought us Himself with such longing and love:
He died for desire of us, marvelous thought!
And He yearns for us now to be with Him above. —Frederick William Faber, Desire Of God
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The Power That Comes After Delegation

I gave charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel… (Nehemiah 7:2).

Good leaders delegate.

The project of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and hanging the doors had been completed, so it was time for Nehemiah to move to the next assignment God had for him.

To keep the momentum going which he had started, Nehemiah picked two trusted men:

  1. Hanani—his brother, who had previously visited Judah and brought back a faithful report about the condition of Jerusalem.
  2. Hananiah—a “man of integrity” and most importantly a man who “feared God more than most people do.”

These are good men that can carry on for Nehemiah. Nehemiah started the project, brought it to completion, and now new leaders are needed to keep the momentum going.

Notice that it is after completing the project and then delegating to new leaders that Nehemiah writes, “Then my God put it into my heart” to take on a new project (v. 5).

A mark of a godly leader is one who appropriately delegates so that he can receive God’s new assignment.

This is Part 9 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Live Blessed And Peaceful

SpockI think most people are familiar with Spock’s famous Vulcan hand signal that means “Live long and prosper.” But long before Star Trek, the origins of this idea were displayed in the pages of Scripture.

The Hebrew word for grace or favor is first used in relation to Noah: “BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). The conjunction BUT at the beginning of this verse tells us that the favor Noah experienced is being contrasted to something exactly the opposite. Here’s what we read two verses earlier, “The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain” (v. 6).

Noah had to make a choice: would he fear God, or would he fear man. It’s a choice we all have to make today. We have to weigh and decide:

  • Fear of God vs. fear of man
  • Pleasing God vs. pleasing myself or someone “important” to me
  • Humble reliance on God vs. self-reliance
  • Objective obedience to God vs. subjective agreement when it feels okay

In the section of Psalm 119 called shin (vv. 161-168), the psalmist wrestled with this as well. He decided that he wasn’t going to be afraid of government officials that could persecute him, BUT “my heart trembles at Your Word.” He decided that he wouldn’t look for worldly treasures, BUT he would “rejoice in Your promise” (v. 162). That he wouldn’t praise temporary things, BUT “I praise You for Your righteous laws” (v. 164). That he wouldn’t try to find satisfaction in the temporary, BUT he would bask in the “great peace [for them] who love Your law” (v. 165). On and on it goes…

  • …I wait for YOUR salvation
  • …I follow YOUR commands
  • …I obey YOUR statutes
  • …I obey YOUR precepts (vv. 166-168)

People that live this way experience the same favor and grace that Noah experienced.

The Lord BLESS you and keep you; the Lord make His face SHINE upon you and be GRACIOUS to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you PEACE. (Numbers 6:24-26)

You can live blessed and peaceful by choosing God above all else!

Next Sunday we wrap up our series on the 119th Psalm, and I would love it if you can join us!

Here is the video from yesterday’s message—

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle. … Idle Christians are not so much tempted of the devil as they are tempting the devil to tempt them. Idleness sets the door of the heart ajar, and asks satan to come in; but if we are occupied from morning till night, if satan shall get in, he must break through the door. Under sovereign grace, and next to faith, there is no better shield against temptation than being ‘Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.’” —Charles Spurgeon

“satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” —Isaac Watts

“Our God and Father may, for wise ends, which shall ultimately subserve His own glory and our profit, lead us into positions where satan, the world and the flesh may tempt us; and the prayer [Matthew 6:13] to be understood in that sense of a humble self-distrust which shrinks from the conflict. There is courage here, for the suppliant calmly looks the temptation in the face, and dreads only the evil which it may work in him, but there is also a holy fear, a sacred self-suspicion, a dread of contact with sin in any degree. The sentiment is not inconsistent with ‘all joy’ when the divers temptations do come; it is akin to the Savior’s ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,’ which did not for a moment prevent His drinking the cup even to its dregs.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Meekness loves to learn. And it counts the blows of a friend as precious. And when it must say a critical word to a person caught in sin or error, it speaks from the deep conviction of its own fallibility and its own susceptibility to sin and its utter dependence on the grace of God. The quietness and openness and vulnerability of meekness is a very beautiful and a very painful thing. It goes against all that we are by our sinful nature. It requires supernatural help.” —John Piper

Dads, this is an important article for you to read if you have a daughter.

Did you know that 41,000 people commit suicide each year? Here is a helpful piece on how you can help bring hope to the hopeless.

Seth Godin says, “If your employees can’t answer how something they do helps the customer or the company, you’ve insulated your people from their jobs.” Check out his post Why Do You Do It This Way?

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