This past weekend I was blessed with the ability to attend the True Woman 2016 conference “Cry Out!” in Indy. The first session I attended at the conference was taught by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She spoke on the topic of brokenness—my favorite study topic I have gone through so far. Needless to say, I was very excited the moment she shared what she would be speaking on.
I studied her book “Brokenness: the Heart God Revives” early last year with the ladies in my church. It was a book that changed my walk and my life, one that I will not ever forget. As Nancy began sharing the importance of being broken, humble before the Lord and those around us, she said we would be looking at three different stories in the book of Luke that displayed the characteristics of brokenness. These three stories were mentioned in her book, so I already knew what we would be covering. What I did not know was how God would use one of these stories to open my eyes.
The second story we read was in Luke 15:11-32; the parable of the prodigal son. I had read this story many times before, but this time was different. As we went through this parable and looked at the attitude of the prodigal, I noticed how similar his story was to mine, just not in a way I would normally think of.
The prodigal took his inheritance and went out into the world seeking pleasure, running away from his home to find enjoyment in a life of rebellion. But the fun came to an end, the money ran out, and he found himself at rock bottom. The son decided to humble himself and return home to repent and ask to become a servant in his father’s house. On his way back, while he was still a good distance away, his father saw him coming and ran to embrace him. Before the son could even get the words out to apologize, his father’s response was: “22 (speaking to his servants), ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Wow.
Though I’d heard this many times before, the grace the father showed his rebellious son really hit me. I began to cry when I realized that I am a prodigal child. I can find myself relying on things in the world to satisfy my desires instead of running to my Heavenly Father who is the only One that can satisfy all of my needs. Yet when I humble myself and repent, my Father is faithful to extend His grace, love, and mercy on me, even though I do not deserve it. This is such an incredibly humbling blessing.
I am so thankful that God used this message to speak to my heart in this way. Through this story I saw just a glimpse of how truly loving and gracious my God is. No matter how I fail, my Father is faithful to forgive when I repent and embrace me as I run into His loving arms.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
One of the biggest things I have battled with is thinking before I speak. I used to just say whatever popped into my head, no matter how rude or insensitive it was, without thinking of how my words could affect those around me.
Ephesians 4 verse 29 says; “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” When reading this verse it is hard not to feel convicted about how I use my words. I should be speaking in a way that is kind, encouraging, and ultimately glorifying to God.
In James chapter 3 we read of how powerful our tongue truly is. “7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” In the book of Proverbs the author tells us that words can speak life or death; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Prov. 18:21). These verses show us just how difficult it can be to watch what we say and “tame our tongue.”
In the psalms we read of David calling out to the Lord for help with this very thing; “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Ps. 141:3). It is so important that we ask for the Lord’s help with this in our own lives. On our own we cannot successfully conquer this struggle, yet by God’s grace through the righteousness of Christ we are able to overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
When we take time to think before we speak, we are able to consider how our words can affect others—whether that is in a positive or negative way. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Prov. 16:24), “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 16:1). One of the biggest blessings I have experienced through trying to choose my words carefully is seeing the way that I can encourage others through words of affirmation. It is so wonderful to be able to encourage others through the words we speak!
As believers, our goal in life should be to bring glory to God in everything that we do—including how we speak. Though this can be hard at times, through prayer, studying the Word, and leaning on Christ, we can use our words to speak life into others and glorify God’s name.
One verse that is great to use when we pray is Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” It is simple, yet powerful. We should take time each day to ask God for His help to guide our speech and shape our hearts and minds to reflect Him.
How will you use your words today?
Today was the LAST DAY of our 31 days through the book of Psalms! We of course finished out the book, reading chapters 148-150.
Psalm 148 is beautiful, as it calls for literally every single thing to praise the Lord. I especially liked how the author called for even the weather to praise Him. I just think that is such a neat picture to imagine!
In Psalm 149 I like the command to praise the Lord using various ways to do so. I personally love to dance and sing as ways of worshiping God, so reading the author speak of using those very means of worship is awesome. David is calling us to worship Him in song, in dance, with our words and hearts. By using our gifts that we have been given, we are praising Him with the very talents He has given us to use to bring Him glory.
Psalm 150 is really awesome in how it uses the phrase “Praise the Lord” 13 times in just 6 verses! What a great reminder as we close out this study in the Psalms that we are to use the breath given to us to praise the One who gave us life so abundantly.
Throughout this study in the book of Psalms I gained a new appreciation for praising the name of the Lord. I found so much encouragement in each and every chapter as I read multiple authors experience hardships, feel alone, cry out in distress, seek God, find hope, and ultimately put their trust in Him. Each chapter offered something I was able to relate to, as I experience many of the emotions the authors write about in my own life. The most encouraging thing I found was that even though they suffered, they still chose to rejoice in the hope of our Lord and trust that He would deliver them because of His steadfast love. The steadfast love of our God endures forever!
For day 30 of 31, we read Psalms 145-147.
In Psalm 145 we read “one generation shall commend Your works to another…” This is what we should be doing today—sharing the glorious works of God with the coming generations. My favorite verse in the chapter is 19; “He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.” That has to be one of the most encouraging texts to read in all of the book of Psalms! God truly does fulfill the desires of our hearts when we earnestly seek Him above all else.
Psalm 146 is a wonderful reminder that God is in control. He alone created heaven and earth and everything in and above it. Why would we even want to put our trust in something that was created instead of trusting the Creator?
Psalm 147 shows David praising all of the works of the Lord. He describes creation and what it takes to uphold that creation. He discusses how God can change nature just by speaking it into existence. It truly is awe-inspiring to think about the greatness and power of our King.
We are so close to the end of our 31-day study! For day 29 we read chapters 141-144.
In Psalm 141 we read as David cries out to the Lord, pleading for Him to quickly come to his aid. In verse 3 we read of him asking God to guard his mouth. This is so important for us to understand that we too should be praying for God to guard our tongues. As mentioned before, our words can speak life into others, or tear them down. We should be proactive in praying for God to help our words speak truth and compassion.
I love how in chapter 142 we see David crying out to the Lord for help. He knows that though the people around him may not care, God loves and cares for him so deeply that He is all he will ever need.
Psalm 143 is yet another example of how David cries out to God in times of trouble. David is a man of God whom we can look to as a good example of someone who puts their trust in Him. In this song, David says he will look upon the works of the Lord of old and meditate on them. We should do this very same thing in trying times—remember and meditate on His word and take comfort in knowing He saves His people.
Psalm 144 is an awesome picture that tells us God will prepare us for battle. He will lead us into seasons of struggle, but give us His strength so that we can endure it. He is our strength and our deliverer. In Him we find all we need!
On day 28 of our 31 days through the Psalms, we read chapters 137-140.
In Psalm 137 we read that the author was captured by his enemies and tortured for his faith. He was asked to make music to the Lord, almost to be mocked for it. The author seemed upset by this, not wanting to forget who he was singing of (the Lord), and if he were to forget, he wished to lose his ability to play music all together. He knew that his gift was from God and God is the one who he should be using his talent for.
Psalm 138 is beautiful. The author begins this song by saying he will give thanks to the Lord with his whole heart. This has been mentioned in psalms past, but is once again a great reminder that we should be living in a way that we praise and give thanks to God with all of our heart and soul. Verse 6 of this chapter is one of my favorites; “For though the Lord is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar.” This is a wonderful reminder that it is important for us to live a life of brokenness and humility, as God is near to those who are humble in spirit.
Psalm 139 is lovely in how it shows us that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is all powerful, in control of every living thing. He knows all, even before it happens. He is everywhere—He does not live inside of time, but instead is outside of time, which is something hard to even comprehend. I love the way David closes out this song by asking the Lord to search his heart and know his thoughts. We too should be praying for God to know our hearts.
In chapter 140 we see David crying out for deliverance from the wicked. I love what he says in the last part of verse 9; “let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!” this is so neat to me because it makes me think of praying for God to have those who speak lies and deceit be torn up by their wicked words. For the words they utter to come back and bite them, so they might learn that they cannot expect to get away with it without being affected. The words we speak have more power than we realize, so it is vital that we think before we speak.
For day 27, we read through chapters 131-136.
In Psalm 131 the author says he has calmed and quieted his soul. I love that. It can be so easy to just keep our focus on “high” and “marvelous” things without keeping our eyes on the Lord. With this comes anxiety and fear—but when we take time to pursue our relationship with God, we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with peace, thus calming our soul.
Psalm 132 made my friends and I think of the importance of finding time to spend with the Lord each day. Verses 3-5 say “I will not enter my house of get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord…” Though this passage is not specifically referencing that very thing, it reminded us how we should not go to sleep before making time to spend in fellowship with God.
Psalm 133 reminds us that unity within the body of believers is important. Without the support and fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we face our struggles and burdens alone. This Psalm reminds me of what we have been studying on Sunday’s at StoneWater in Philippians and how Paul discusses the importance of unity within the church body.
Psalm 134 calls the servants of the Lord to bless His name. I love this because we are His servants, yet we are blessed abundantly and have graciously been given the privilege to stand in His house as part of His church. Being a servant of God is by no means a bad or lowly thing, but the highest honor and blessing imaginable!
In Psalm 135 we read a beautiful song of praise. Verse 14 says “The Lord will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants.” What an encouraging reminder that the Lord is for His people!
Psalm 136 tells us that our God is the God of gods. That is pretty amusing when you think about it! So many people worship false idols and gods who have been created or imagined by man. They are weak, having no power or authority. God Almighty is more powerful than all others are imagined to be. He is the God of all things, even over the “gods” of every other false religion.
In this chapter one of the things that stood out the most was how many times the phrase “The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever” is repeated. It is such a beautiful truth, and we should be reminded of it over and over again. His steadfast love endures forever!
During day 26 of our study through the Psalms we read chapters 126-131.
Psalm 126 reminded me that we are to persevere in times of trial. One verse in this chapter said” Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” I take this to mean that when we carry on during difficult seasons of pain and hardship and lean on the Lord for our strength, we will be filled with His joy and peace as we push through, knowing that He is working through us and growing our faith.
In Psalm 127 we see once again that without God, we will not ultimately succeed. Though things may go well for us at times, we cannot experience the ultimate joy and satisfaction that we were designed for unless He is King of our hearts and the driving force behind our actions.
Psalm 128 says those who fear the Lord shall be blessed. The way it describes the author’s house, labor, and family, it gives the impression that when we are obedient to the Lord, we will receive more blessings and be more satisfied in our life. Through obedience to Him we can experience fullness that cannot be found anywhere else.
Psalm 129 says that those who afflicted the author did not prevail. Even though they worked against him, he was not beaten down because he had faith and his hope was in the Lord.
I loved how the author tells us in Psalm 130 that if the Lord marked our iniquities we could not stand. God instead shows forgiveness to His people, allowing us to fear Him. I take this to be a blessing that because of His steadfast love and forgiveness, we can show respect/fear in a way that is not frightened, but in reverence of His love and mercy.
During day 25 we studied Psalms chapters 120-125.
Psalm 120 is another great song reminding believers that God hears us when we cry out to Him. He will deliver us! We see the author asking for deliverance from lying lips and deceit. This is so important for us to pray about in our own lives. We must focus on the Word and speaking the truth, not following the way of the world and its lies.
Chapter 121 is awesome. Even though this psalm is short, it has so much encouragement in it! I love how the author points out that his help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. It is beautiful!
Psalm 122 is a song in which David says to pray for peace in Jerusalem and for the people of God to be safe as they love and worship Him. This song reminds me of how much we need to be praying for our own country—for our nation to seek God and live for Him. The Lord should be praised and feared, yet the country that once served Him now mocks His very name. It is disturbing at best, but we know that God is sovereign, even over such saddening times.
Psalm 123 also reminded me of prayers we should have for the US at this time. We should be pleading for mercy, yet asking for God to have justice.
Chapter 124 praises God for His mercy and help in times of trouble. I love how David says that if it was not for God, they would not have been saved. The Lord delivered them.
Psalm 125 reminds me of a song that we sing at StoneWater during worship service sometimes. The song is called “Those Who Trust” and echo’s the words of this psalm, saying “Those who trust in the Lord shall not be moved.” How comforting is that?! Those who put their faith in God will be placed on a firm foundation that is constant and true. We will not be moved!
On day 24 we went through Psalms 118-119.
Psalm 118 is a beautiful song of praise! The very first verse says “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” The chapter goes on to repeat the phrase “His steadfast love endures forever.” The author gives thanks to God for being a protector and defender. He tells us that those who trust in the Lord are blessed. We should be taking refuge in the King of kings instead of the princes of the earth. The Lord is the strength of His people and He should be praised forever!
Psalm 119 was a long one—it is actually the longest chapter in the entire Bible! One of my favorite parts of this chapter is in verse two. It says those who keep the testimonies of God and seek Him with their whole heart are blessed. I love this because it is a reminder that we should be seeking God above all else and walking in His wonderful statutes. Verse 11 says “I have store up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Again, a powerful reminder that we should be studying and meditating on the Word so that we might walk in the righteousness Christ paid for us to have.
Throughout all of 119 it is clear that the underlying theme is finding joy in the commandments and statutes of God. No matter what trials we face, we can take comfort in knowing that with His word, He will guide us through. Everything we endure is for our growth and His glory. We are to delight in His word and desire it above all other worldly things. It’s beautiful to read so many accounts of people submitting to the will of God!