Pastor's Bible Study

Pastor David's Bible Study is held twice per week -

Wednesday evening at 7pm & Thursday morning at 10am. Pick your most convenient time and join us!



We are on hiatus until December 2.

Pastor David's Bible Study is taking a short break. 

He will pick up where he left off in the book of Romans on Wednesday, December 02.


Wednesday link:

Time: 06:45 PM Pacific Time

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83213817171?pwd=QWlpVGYxaEZmeXpreGRGMDlLb3VsUT09

Meeting ID: 832 1381 7171

Passcode: 594860


Thursday link:

Time: 09:45 AM Pacific Time

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85361362761?pwd=RWpxVzBHQUNnaGR4eU5RQnJURmpjdz09

Meeting ID: 853 6136 2761

Passcode: 913657

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Pastor's Devotionals on the Psalms


Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #1


Psalm 136:1 and 23-26

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good--God’s faithful love lasts forever! God remembered us when we were humiliated--God’s faithful love lasts forever. God rescues us from our enemies--God’ faithful love lasts forever. God is the one who provides food for all living things-- God’s faithful love lasts forever! Give thanks to the God of heaven—God‘s faithful love lasts forever.


Today I begin a new series of devotionals I am calling “Praying the Psalms.” The Book of Psalms is a collection of hymns and poems that express the joys and struggles of life and of faithfulness. Some Psalms make challenging statements expressing deep pain within the psalmist’s heart. Other Psalms make beautiful affirmations about God and the blessings of God. Many of the Psalms teach us something about prayer. Today, I begin with a Psalm of Thanksgiving.


Psalm 136 is a beautiful antiphonal song declaring thankfulness for the providence of God. Upon reading the Psalm, you will quickly notice that the Psalm is written in the form of a litany. Fourteen times, the Psalms says “Give thanks.” Twenty four times the Psalm says “God’s faithful love lasts forever. In between, the Psalm lists reasons to give thanks. As we read through the Psalm, we can see that the psalmist is giving thanks for God’s work in creation as well as for God’s providence throughout the history of Israel.


Reading this Psalm causes me to think about my own life, and all that God has done for me, all that God has seen me through. I have much to be thankful for, even to this day. Yes, we are living in challenging times. We all know that. But even in the midst of the challenges, we find reason to be thankful. As we face the sin of racism, I am thankful more and more people are standing up and calling for change. As we face Covid-19, I am thankful for researchers who are working for a cure, and for medical professionals who care for us in our time of need. As we face violence, I am grateful for the many public servants whose desire it is to make this world a safe place for all people—for all people!


Praying this Psalm is both easy in meaningful. It is as simple as following the psalmist’s pattern while inserting our personal reasons for thanksgiving. Here is an example from my life: Give thanks to the Lord who is good. God’s faithful love lasts forever! Give thanks to God who gave me life, who blessed me with loving parents and wonderful sisters. God’s faithful love lasts forever. Give thanks to God who brought Geri into my life and who blessed us with a great family. God’s faithful love lasts forever. Give thanks to God who called me to ministry, who has given me gifts to us to bring blessings to the lives of others, and who has brought me to Desert Spring. God’s faithful love lasts forever. Give thanks to God who, though there have been many hardships, has always seen me through providing grace sufficient for every need, bringing people into my life at just the right time. God’s faithful love lasts forever. Give thanks to God who is at work in my life now, even in the midst of this challenging time as I face the struggles of this day. God’s faithful love lasts forever. (You get the idea)


I invite you to take a few minutes and try praying this Psalm. Be specific in your list of reasons to be thankful. Remember to follow thanksgiving statements with the proclamation “God’s faithful love lasts forever. Pray and give thanks. Psalm 100 tells us we enter into God’s with thanksgiving. As you pray this Psalm, be attentive to the presence of the Holy Spirit. For God is near.


God bless you and stay well.

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #2


Psalm 8:1-6

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth! You made your glory higher than heaven! From the mouths of nursing babies you have laid a strong foundation because of your foes, in order to stop vengeful enemies. When I look up at your skies, and what your fingers made—the moon and the stars that you set firmly in place—what are human beings that you think about them; what are human beings that you pay attention to them? You have made them only slightly less than divine, crowning them with glory and grandeur. You have let them rule over your handiwork, putting everything under their feet.”


Today, we continue with this series of devotionals I am calling “Praying the Psalms” as we turn our attention to a Psalm 8, and how it is that prayer “orients” our lives.


Maybe you have had this experience? A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and got out of bed. For a few moments, I was disoriented. Thinking back upon it, I must have thought I awoke up at our land. But, I was at home. So, everything looked different than it was supposed to. I was confused and disoriented and not certain what to hold onto. Have you had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night and not knowing where you are? It is uncomfortable.


Life can be that way. We can be disoriented, uncertain of who we are or what we are supposed to do. We can feel a bit lost and uncertain. Times like we are living through now, with all the changes that have taken place in our lives, can leave us feeling disoriented.


Prayer orients our lives. I helps us understand who we are. It helps us understand where we are. It helps us to understand what we are supposed to do. Psalm 8 reminds us of all three. What does Psalm 8 tell us about who we are? God made us to be a little lower than God; God made us to be grand! Of course, we don’t always feel that way. Life can disorient us. Praying the Psalm re-orients us, helping us to see ourselves the way God sees us. Try praying Psalm 8 verses 3-5. Change the language to first person. (Instead of “what are human beings that you think about them” pray “who am I that you think about me?” (You get the idea). Pray this prayer. Then think for a few minutes about your life, and what this prayer is saying specifically about you. Finally, ask yourself this question: How does this prayer help orient my life?


Psalm 8 also helps us understand where we are. Where are we? We are under God’s watchful eye, we are under God’s care. Think for a minute about ways you have experienced God’s being attentive to you and caring for you. Make a mental list of a few of the experiences. Then offer those experiences to God: Thank you God for caring about my life, for…..(you can fill in the blank).


Psalm 8 also helps us understand what we are supposed to do. We have responsibility for God’s handiwork. Just as God cares for us, we care for all that God created. What are a couple of ways you will care for someone or something God created this day? Offer your plan to God: Lord, here is something I am going to do for you today. Finish the prayer the way Psalm 8 finishes: “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!” Praying Psalm 8. Amen.


God bless you and stay well!

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #3


Psalm 51

As we continue this series of devotionals I am calling “Praying the Psalms” I invite you to open your Bible to Psalm 51 and take a moment to read all 19 verses. Today we are going to learn to use Psalm 51 to pray our sins as a way of expressing our need for God.


As you read the Psalm, notice all the ways “Sin” is described. In my translation (I am using the “Common English Bible”), sin is described using words like wrongdoing, guilt, evil, violence and even ‘born guilty of sin.” All of us have sinned. None of us are perfect in our love for God and in our love for others. The word sin literally means ‘to miss the mark.” It is an archer’s term, so we can imagine an arrow missing the mark or target. Sin has to do with us missing the mark when it comes to God’s will for our lives. Jesus summarized God’s will for our lives with the great commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. As I think about ways that we miss the mark, I know that sometimes we put our needs before those of others, sometimes we fail to love ourselves, sometimes we don’t concern ourselves with what faithfulness requires, sometimes our love for God is not of first importance. Thinking about ways that you have fallen short of God’s will for your life, what words best describe your sins? What is it that you dislike about yourself, and does that say anything about sin?


King David wrote Psalm 51 as a confession after having done some horrible things (2 Samuel chapters 11-12 tell the story). In the Psalm, David does not name his specific sin; instead, he names the condition of his heart. Notice what David asks of God. (To wipe away his wrongdoing, to wash him completely, to purify him, to not look at his sins, to create a clean heart within him, to not throw him from God’s presence, to not take the Holy Spirit from him, to return the joy of God’s salvation, to sustain him with God’s Spirit, to deliver him.) King David knows that his sin is not just about one specific time when he did something wrong! The issue is much bigger—it has to do with his life missing the mark, with not having a heart completely committed to God. So, he prays for God to deal with the root of his problem: to create within him a clean heart.


As you think about confessing your need for forgiveness, what do you want God to do for you? Be specific!

The act of confessing our sins and asking God to help us opens the door to forgiveness. There is power in forgiveness. Forgiveness removes guilt, creating a clean heart. It opens us up to offer praise that is acceptable to God. As forgiven and redeemed people, we are ever aware of what God has done for us and how God has blessed us with “the joy of salvation” as opposed to feelings of guilt or inadequacy, or shame. As Christians, we know Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all sin, even ours. So, claim your forgiveness. And, know that God is able to sustain you in the life of discipleship—the Holy Spirit is at work doing so right now.


I invite you to take a moment to pray Psalm 51. First describe your sin (your answers to the first “bolded” statement above), then ask God to help (your answers to the second ‘bolded statement above); having confessed, ask God to well up within you the joy of having been forgiven (the joy of your salvation) and thank God for the Holy Spirit that will sustain you as you continue to seek to live a faithful life. Praying Psalm 51! Tomorrow we turn our attention to praying our salvation: Psalm 103.


God bless you,

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #4


Psalm 103

Today, as we continue our devotional series on “Praying the Psalms,” I invite you to open your Bible to Psalm 103. Psalm 103 is a Psalm that expresses what it feels like to experience salvation. As such, it is a great Psalm to pray.


In verses 3-5 of the Psalm, we hear 5 different actions of God that have to do with our salvation: God forgives our sins, heals our sickness, saves our lives, crowns us with faithful love, and satisfies us with good things. Do any of these describe your experience with God? Which ones? Are there other ways God has acted in your life that are a part of your experience of being saved? If so, how else has God acted in your salvation?


When thinking about salvation, it is important to remember that our salvation comes about because of what God does for us, and not because of what we have done for God! Verses 8-14 remind us of God’s nature as well as what it is that God has done for us: God is compassionate, merciful, patient and full of love. God doesn’t deal with us according to our sin or repay us according to our wrongdoing. God loves us too much for that! And, what does God’s love mean to our lives? As far as the east is from the west, God removes our sins. God loves us like a parent loves a child. Stop and think for a moment about what God has done for you.

You may notice that the Psalm starts off in the first person (“Let my whole being bless the Lord”) and then shifts to third person in verses 3-19 (example: “God forgives all your sins, heals all your sickness”). In praying this Psalm, it can be meaningful to change verses 3-5 to first person. So, for example change verse 3 to read “God forgives all my sins, heals all my sickness (in verses 3-5 you will be changing “you” and “your” to “me” and “mine.” In verses 10-19 try to change the verses to first person as well. This will be a little trickier, but doable. So, for example in verse 12, instead of “As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far God has removed our sin from us” substitute “that’s how far God has removed my sin from me.” And, in verse 15 instead of “The days of human life are like grass” substitute “The days of my life are like grass. You get the idea.


Take a few minutes to pray the Psalm in this way. Read it slowly, changing it to first person, paying attention to how it feels to pray this prayer. The salvation God offers us is bigger and more wonderful than we can begin to express! Thank you Lord! “Let my whole being bless You!”


God bless you and stay well!

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #5


Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

King James Version (KJV)


We continue our series of devotionals “Praying the Psalms” as we turn our attention to the best known of all the Psalms. I wrote out the King James Version (above) because, if you are like me, this is the version you may be most familiar with (and may have even memorized). The Psalm is so familiar to many of us, that it may be difficult to hear anything new in the Psalm. So, to open up the richness of meaning in the Psalm, I am going to ask you a series of questions. You may want to write out your answers to the questions, so you can refer to them during prayer (warning: doing what is asked in today’s devotional is going to take 10-15 minutes). As a way to help open the Psalm up in new ways, I am going to be quoting the Psalm from the Common English Bible from this point on.


The first verse of the Psalm says “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. Take a moment to think back upon your life. Write down some of the ways God has provided for you (take a minute or two, the list might be pretty long).


Verse 2 says “He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive.” What do the images of grassy meadows and restful waters bring to your mind. Can you think of a time when you felt like this? How has times of rest and renewal helped to keep you alive? Write down your answer. (For example: the images remind me of Sabbath, and Sabbath helps me focus upon what is most important in life—God, family, friends. This keeps me alive!)


Verse 3 says “He guides me in the proper paths for the sake of his good name. Can you remember times in your life when God guided you? Write down a few words that remind you of those stories.


Verse 4 says “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff protect me.” Our Shepherd not only provides for us, cares for our well-being, and guides us, our Shepherd protects us too! Can you remember a time when you felt like God protected you? Life is full of danger. We face dangers all the time. Certainly, we are facing many today. Is there something you are facing right now for which you would like some help, some protection? Write it down.


Verse 5 says “You set a table for me right in front of my enemies, You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!” Notice that the metaphor for God has just changed. In the first 4 verses of the Psalm, God was our Shepherd. Now the Psalm addresses God as our host. What holds the transition from Shepherd to host together is the recognition of danger. The scene is a banquet. God has set the table for you, so you know it is extravagant! But, to be certain we don’t miss the point, we hear that God will anoint us with an abundance of oil. That image may not mean much to us today, but back when the Psalm was written, anointing a guest’s head was an act of extravagant hospitality. (Remember the stories of Jesus being anointed in the New Testament.) To make sense of this image, it helps me to think of ways God has poured blessings upon my life. Can you remember times when God has poured blessings upon your life? What are some of the ways God is pouring blessings upon your life now? Write them down. Now, remembering the dangers you face now, picture God pouring these blessings upon you in the midst of this time, with all its dangers.


Verse 6 says “Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.” All that you have written so far is content for what is meant by “goodness and faithful love.” And, because it will pursue you all the days of your life, such provision and rest and guidance and protection and blessings will continue for as long as you shall live.


Now, let’s pray Psalm 23. To do so, you will be including your answers to the above questions right into the Psalm. Where you see an underlined blank space (____), simply add in our responses to the question related to the verse. (note: I am taking slight liberties with the Psalm.) 

So, here goes:

1. The Lord is my Shepherd, for the Lord has provided (______), I lack nothing. 2. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive by (____). 3. He guided me (_____) keeping me on proper paths for the sake of his good name. 4. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I do not fear (_____) because you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they protect me. You set a table before me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over with these blessings (____). Yes, because of all you have done, I know goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Thanks be to God. Amen!


God bless you and stay well!

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #6


Psalm 150

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise God in his fortress, the sky! Praise God in his might acts! Praise God as suits his incredible greatness! Praise God with the blast of the ram’s horn! Praise God with lute and lyre! Praise God with drum and dance! Praise God with strings and pipe! Praise God with loud cymbals! Praise God with clashing cymbals! Let every living thing praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!


Today, as we continue this series of devotionals “Praying the Psalms,” we reflect upon the final Psalm in the Book of Psalms: Psalm 150. In Psalm 150, the psalmist expresses praise in a powerful way. The word “praise” is used 13 times in this short Psalm. Clearly, the psalmist felt compelled to express praise to God! When have you felt compelled to praise God? Can you remember a time when all you could do was express your praise? Maybe it was a time of answered prayer, or a time when you experienced a miracle, or a time when you felt ever so close to God, or a time when you were overwhelmed by God’s love, or…you get the idea. Take a moment to write down a time when all you could do was praise God. (I will ask you to insert this answer in the first _____ space in the prayer below.)


In verse 2, the author tells us why God is to be praised: because of God’s mighty acts and incredible greatness. Of course, there are other reasons why we might be moved to praise God. What is something about your experience of/with God that is reason to praise? Maybe it was God’s forgiveness, or love, or guidance or protection or….you get the idea. Take a moment to write your answer down. (I will ask you to insert this answer in the second _____ space in the prayer below.)


In verses 3-5, the psalmist describes praising God. It might be helpful to imagine a worship service with lots of music (including a whole lot of loud instruments!) and dance. Worship as described in the Psalm may or may not be meaningful to you. Think for a moment about what it is that makes worship meaningful for you. How do you describe your way of offering praise to God? Maybe it is with hands raised in the air, or with loud music, or in silent prayer, or…you get the idea. Take a moment to write it down. (I will ask you to insert this answer in the third_____ space in the prayer below.)


In verse 6, we hear who should praise God. The Psalmist calls upon every living thing to praise God. Of course, that means the psalmist calls upon us to join our voices in praising God. So, let’s pray Psalm 150.

As we did when praying Psalm 23, I am going to write out Psalm 150 as a prayer that includes (___) where you can fill in your answers to the above questions. Again, I will take some liberties with the Psalm. 


Let’s give it a try:

Praise the Lord! I will praise the God in his sanctuary! I will praise the God in his creation! I will praise the God because _________! I will praise God in his mighty acts! I will praise God as suits his incredible greatness! I will praise God who _________! I will praise God with the blast of the ram’s horn! I will praise God with lute and lyre! I will praise God with drum and dance! I will praise God with strings and pipe! I will praise God with loud cymbals! I will praise God with clashing cymbals! I will praise God with my voice, as I _____! I join my voice with all of creation if offering you praise, Lord God. Praise the Lord! Amen.



Praying Psalm 150. God bless you and stay well.

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #7


As we continue this devotional series “Praying the Psalms” we turn out attention to Psalm 139. Psalm 139 if a fairly long Psalm: 24 verses. I invite you to have something to write on and then take a couple of minutes to read the Psalm.


Psalm 139 begins with a powerful affirmation of God’s involvement in our lives: Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down, and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways. There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord, that you don’t already know completely. You surround me—front and back. You put your hand on me.


What does it mean to you that God examines you and knows you? The Psalmist goes on to say that God is familiar with all your ways. How does this make you feel? Is there anything about your life—thoughts and or behaviors—that you keep hidden? Take a moment to write down a few thoughts.


God knows you. God knows your innermost thoughts. While this thought might be troubling at first, this is really good news. You can’t hide from God, nor can you hide aspects of your life from God. “Where can I go to get away from your Spirit, where can I go to escape your presence” means that God is always with you, God is always involved in your life, and God is not surprised by anything about your life. God, who knows you so well, loves you flaws and all, and wants to be involved in your life! This is a promise! Being known by God is good news!


Of course, since God knows you so well, and since there are no secrets you can keep from God, prayer becomes an opportunity to be fully honest about your life. God knows how you feel; God knows what you keep hidden; so, why not offer your feelings and secrets to God? In doing so, you open new aspects of your life to God’s healing.


In verse 19, the Psalmist opens a part of his life that harbors anger: “If only you would kill the wicked!” the Psalmist prays. The Psalmist continues “Don’t I hate everyone who hates you? Don’t I despise those who attack you? Yes I hate them through and through.” Obviously, the Psalmist has some pretty strong feelings about some folks! And, harboring such anger is not healthy! Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who want to harm us. The Psalmist has opened up some feelings in need of healing. Do you have feelings or thoughts that are in need of healing, in need of God’s help? Take a minute to write down some thoughts.


The Psalmist, who began the prayer by saying “Lord, you have examined me,” now invites the Lord to look deep his heart: “Examine me, God! Look at my heart….Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal paths!” Having expressed his feelings, the Psalmist now asks God to point out what needs to change in his life, and to help lead him on the right path. What a great way to end the prayer! I invite you to take a minute and to pray Psalm 139. Feel free to change verses 19-22 so that you express thoughts or feelings that you harbor deep within you. Lord, you have examined me. You know me. Thanks God!


God bless you, and stay well!

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #8


Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!

    They are like chaff

    that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


Today, in this series of devotionals on praying the Psalms, we take a look at Psalm 1. Psalm 1 helps prepare us for prayer. Its focus is on having a heart for prayer. The Psalm begins with the word “Blessed” or in some translations “Happy.” There are great blessings that come from focusing on what is good and true—upon God and God’s Word. As I read the Psalm, I hear in it questions about my life: What do I give my attention to? What occupies my mind?


We are living in the midst of a time when it is easy for our minds to get lost in the news and issues and struggles of our time. While it is important to think about matters impacting our lives and our world, doing so from the perspective of our faith in God helps us to know what faithfulness requires of us. So I ask myself “What would Jesus say about how I am to live in the midst of a pandemic? I ask myself “What would Jesus say about the racial inequality woven deeply into our culture and what does God expects of me? I ask myself “What would Jesus say about how a Christian lives in a time like ours, how I am to live this day? These questions push me to think, not just about the news of the day, but also about God’s Word and how the Bible keeps me grounded in truth. While the news of the day can become depressing, focusing on God’s Word helps me find purpose and joy—I are blessed!


Verse 3 of the Psalm provides a wonderful image of what life is like for those who give their attention to God’s Word. The Psalmist says that those who delight in God’s Word are like trees planted by streams of water. Take a moment to think about the image of a tree planted by streams of water. Use your imagination. What does this image say about your life? Trees have roots. What is your life rooted in? Trees provide shade and shelter. Does your life bring such blessings to others? You get the idea.


The Psalmist pushes the analogy of a tree a little further. How does God’s Word help you to “yield fruit in season?” Times of drought come. We are in one now. In such times, it is easy to wither a bit. How does God’s Word keep us from withering?


Psalm 1 helps prepare us to pray. Having spent some time reflecting upon the Psalm, spend a few moments in prayer. Here is my prayer this morning:

Loving God, I want to live faithfully for you today. Help me to focus upon your truth, guide my path, and use me for your purposes. Help me to drink deeply from the waters of your Word that I not wither in the midst of the challenges I face. By your grace, may this be a day when I make a difference in the life of someone who is struggling. Thank you God. Amen.


 (Note: For those who can use some help thinking about what Jesus would say, the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke are great books of the Bible to start reading.)


God bless you and stay well!

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #9


Psalm 96:1-4a and 11-13

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;

    sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;

    proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;

    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;

    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

13 Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes,

    he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

    and the peoples in his faithfulness.


Prayer is an act of faithfulness. Prayer is how we communicate with God. Through our times of prayer, we talk to God and we listen too, for sometimes God has something to say to us. Prayer requires honesty (it is not like our words are able to deceive or trick God). In prayer, we open our hearts before God, allowing God into our lives, our joys and concerns, our needs and worries. Often prayer is an act of hope; hope, in that when we pray we “hope” something will come of it! Psalm 96 is a prayer of praise and hope. The Psalmist praises God for the great things God has done in this world. And, the Psalmist looks forward to a time when the prayers of God’s people are come to fruition and the Lord will come and restore all of creation: “Let the heavens rejoice,” the Psalmist says, “let the trees of the forest sing for joy.”


In Genesis 3:14-18 we hear about the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. The consequence of sin is brokenness in our relationships, brokenness when it comes to how it is that we understand ourselves and our lives. We also hear that the brokenness extends to all of creation, capture by words like ‘Weeds and Thistles” in Genesis 3:18. St. Paul, in Romans 8:22, says that all of creation is groaning, awaiting the reconciliation of God. In Psalm 96, the Psalmist proclaims that the day will come when the Lord will establish righteousness and justice, and all of creation will join in worship and praising God.


The Psalm has a pretty simple form. It offers praise and thanksgiving for what God has already done. Then it calls others to join in. Finally, knowing what God has already done, it look toward the future with hope. God is not finished with us yet!


I invite you to pray a prayer in the form of Psalm 96. First, offer praise and thanksgiving for what God has done for you in your life. Then offer thanks for what God has done for other people in your life (whether they know it or not), praying that they too will join in giving God praise and thanksgiving. Finally, think of a need or prayer request that is yet to be answered. Praise God, that the day will come when that prayer will be answered; envision all of creation joining you in giving praise.


Here is my example (the short form): “Holy God, I thank you for Jesus, for the new life and salvation I have in him. I praise you for the healing that has come to my life, through him. I thank you for all that you have done for my family, for my church family, for my neighbors and friends, and for knowing that the day will come when we will all join our voices in giving you thanks. Oh God, I trust you and know that the day will come when my prayers are answered, and healing will come to this world: pandemics will be no more for you will make all things new. On that day, all of creation will join together in singing your praise. Thank you God. Amen.”


Praying Psalm 96: you get the idea…

God bless you and stay well.

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #10


Psalm 137

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept

    when we remembered Zion.

2 There on the poplars

    we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs,

    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;

    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD

    while in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,

    may my right hand forget its skill.

6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth

    if I do not remember you,

if I do not consider Jerusalem

    my highest joy.

7 Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did

    on the day Jerusalem fell.

“Tear it down,” they cried,

    “tear it down to its foundations!”

8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,

    happy is the one who repays you

    according to what you have done to us.

9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants

    and dashes them against the rocks.


Psalm 137 is a very interesting Psalm. It is a Psalm that expresses great pain. The Psalmist captures some of the emotion of the people of Judah being held as captives in Babylon. They long for their home, for Jerusalem, even as their captures mock them, saying “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” This is a Psalm that longs for justice, and so it ends with the desire that Babylon will get a little of its own medicine!

While it is difficult to imagine the depth of pain that the Psalmist is feeling, it is not hard to imagine being angry, nor is it difficult to imagine anger over injustice. There are some things in life that ought to make us angry. And, there are some of us who have experienced injustice first hand. We know the pain it brings.

When it comes to praying the Psalms, Psalm 137 gives us a wonderful example of the importance of offering our deepest emotions—even our anger—to God.


As I mentioned yesterday, prayer in honesty. It is not like the feelings we have are hidden from God! God already knows how we feel, including the anger we harbor. When we pray our anger, we open that part of our life up to God, allowing God in. And, God knows how to make something of our anger. God can lead us to know how to best make a difference, turning our anger into a way to change a situation or injustice. God can heal us of our anger, freeing us from the burden of carrying bitterness over grievances that are in the past. God can even show us the way of mercy and forgiveness—the stuff that reconciliation is made of. When we pray our anger, telling God how we feel, not holding back but getting it all out, God can handle it! And, good can come of it. So pray.


Is there something that makes you angry today? Tell God about it. Then, ask God to help you see the situation through God’s eyes. Think about this for a moment. Then, ask God what loves requires of you. Take your time. Think about what love requires. You might be surprised by the direction and healing that comes.

God bless you and stay well.

Pastor Dave



Pastor David’s Psalms devotional #11


Psalm 90:1-6 and 12

Lord, you have been our dwelling place

    throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

    or you brought forth the whole world,

    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn people back to dust,

    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

4 A thousand years in your sight

    are like a day that has just gone by,

    or like a watch in the night.

5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—

    they are like the new grass of the morning:

6 In the morning it springs up new,

    but by evening it is dry and withered.

12 Teach us to number our days,

    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.


Today, I am concluding this series of devotionals entitled “Praying the Psalms” as we take a look at Psalm 90 and the importance of praying our death. By praying our death, I am not suggesting that we pray we will die! Instead, I am talking about making certain we live. There is a wisdom in being aware of our mortality—such awareness impacts our lives and our prayer life.


The Psalm begins with a statement of faith: You have been our dwelling place throughout the generations. Think for a moment about those words. What does it mean to you to say Lord, you have been MY dwelling place throughout my life? For me, it means that throughout my life even to this day and beyond, I live within the very presence of God—God is my home, and home is where I belong.


The Psalm continues with another statement of faith: from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. In comparison, our lives are so short. We are like grass of the morning. In the morning it sprigs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered. The older I get, the shorter life seems. I have a friend who once told me that life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end, the faster it unravels. There is truth in that statement. When I was a child, a year seemed like forever. Now, a year slips by in the blink of an eye. Where has all the time gone? So, the Psalmist prays “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.


How does being aware of your mortality help you gain wisdom? How does being aware of your mortality impact the way you will live today? Are there decisions you have made, actions you have taken, and people you have reached out to, because you are aware of your mortality? Think for a moment about these questions. Have you ever said “life is too short to_____? How would you fill in the blank today: Today, I am aware that life is too short too_____. Finally, how does an awareness of your mortality effect the way you pray?


These are important questions to consider. When the Psalmist prays teach us to number our days that we gain a heart of wisdom, the Psalmist is asking for help in being able to answer these kinds of questions. The wisdom that comes from numbering our days impacts the way we live our remaining days. Such wisdom also impacts how we pray.


I invite you to take a moment to pray your death, to acknowledge before God your mortality and your awareness that life is short. Then thank God for the time you have, and the blessings this time brings to your life. Ask God to give you wisdom that you live your days fully and faithfully. Finally, take a moment to pray the words of the Psalm (I changing the words of the Psalm to first person):

Lord, you have been my dwelling place

    throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

    or you brought forth the whole world,

    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn me back to dust,

    saying, “Return to dust, (your name).”

4 A thousand years in your sight

    are like a day that has just gone by,

    or like a watch in the night.

5 Yet you sweep me away in the sleep of death—

    I am like the new grass of the morning:

6 In the morning I spring up new,

    but by evening I am dry and withered.

12 Teach me to number my days,

    that I may gain a heart of wisdom.

Amen.


God bless you and stay well.

Pastor Dave