HERE’S MORE Psalm 56

Here’s another week with Psalm 56.  Says so much about God.  Going verse by verse, we discover that God is gracious, loving and kind.  Forgiving.  Trustworthy and worthy of ALL our praise.  With God on our side, as He is, by faith in Jesus His only Son, fear gets tossed out the window.  Or should.

He cares so much that it’s as if He has our tears in a bottle and a written record of them in His book.  Our picture on a refrigerator magnet in His kitchen.  Our childlike, homemade pictures plastered all over His office.  Sort of.

After all, God is for us.  On our side.  Our advocate, who stands up for us, even when double-crossers smear and slam us.  The Lord never throws salt on our wounds.  Never says one thing to our face only to badmouth us behind our back.  Never abandons us for a younger, cuter, wealthier convert.  Sticks with us through thick-and-thin.  As in forever.  For sure.

There’s no one in this world as good as our God.  No one.  So, enjoy Him!  Relish knowing that He’s always by your side, even when the winds blow hard against us and the tide starts dangerously rolling in.  Especially then.

Depend on Jesus.  Better than the Rock of Gibraltar.  He’s your Rock of Ages.  Takes whatever monkey off your back and carries it on His.  No matter what’s in store, He’s always minding the store.  You get the point.  Don’t you?

So says Psalm 56.  Soak in it!

Lord, what an honor to know and love you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


My father had way too many fears for his own good.  Held him back from what he said he wanted to do.  Or did it?  We’ll never know as he’s been gone for decades now.  Not only my father, as I’ve had my own as well.  Who hasn’t?

The heebie-jeebies cold feet rarely produce much fun.  However, sometimes they keep us from the brink of a mega-mistake.  This is fear’s good part.  However, it takes so much effort to plow ahead overcoming those jittery shakes.  Like an unwelcome arm pulling me back, robbing me of joy and satisfaction.

Psalm 56 prescribes help.  One thing, right off the bat, is that having fears, even crippling ones, is not sin.  David, the psalmist here, is filled with them.  For his life primarily.  The Philistines are out to get him.  David doesn’t kick himself for being afraid.  After all, he knows where to get help.  As we do, don’t we?  Yes, the Lord–‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;  I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?’ (Psalm 56:3-4).

Fear and trust are yoked together, hand-in-hand.  Left with fears alone, we’d be up a tree with out-of-control anxieties.  No hope.  No one to trust in.  But with the Lord on our side, trust marches front and center.  Fear flees heading to the hills.  ‘This I know, that God is for me’ (Psalm 56:9).

Do you know that God is on your side?  I wonder sometimes why He hangs around with one so faithless and fearful.  Me!  Why does He?  Because He loves me…and you.  Which has nothing to do with my efforts, my achievements, education, money invested, size of home or car.  Whatever.  None of that.  Rather, it’s all about Jesus.  All up to Him.  In His court–where we most need it to be.

When fears come, face them with the Lord by your side.  He stands incognito in front of and behind us.  Surrounded by God.  Never out of His care.  Never alone.  Nothing to fear?  Really?  I’ll chew on that this week.  You too?

For standing with us, dear God, we give you thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


I’ve never been much for mathematics.  Not my long suite.  Doesn’t add up.  The only ‘D’ grade I ever earned was in junior high algebra.  Pocket calculators and computers save my financial planning career more times than not!

Reading Psalm 51, let’s pay attention to the Lord’s forgiving ways, as King David pours out his guilt-ridden heart to God, whose mercy and love he counts on.  So many verbs keep adding and multiplying–‘Blot out…wash me…cleanse me…purge me…create in me a clean heart…restore me…uphold me…deliver me’.  Sin…subtracted and divided.

Am I the only one who confesses sins to God yet feels like they’re still hanging around my neck?  Give Him my failures only to take them back like a boomerang?  That’s how it feels.  Does forgiveness give me the runaround?

No.  Not at all.  Unless forgiveness depends on me, I and myself.  But that’s not how it is.  It’s all up to Him.  Jesus takes my sin as if in a huge cup, which He feverishly gulps down, good riddance to the last drop.  Gone.

Hope can be found in Psalm 51.  The first half (vs. 1-9) shouts out confession.  Owning up.  Fessing up.  Coming clean with God.  Sin and its synonyms can be found twelve times.  God only once.  Then moving to the second half (vs. 10-19), we find God referenced six times with sin only twice.

What gives?  Think about it.  It’s as if we’ve emptied ourselves of sin by being humble and honest with God.  He empties us of failure, taking all of it on Himself on the cross, and then filling us with Himself with what’s been null and void which now becomes fully His.

This week spend time in Psalm 51.  Allow Jesus to divide and subtract any of sin’s rot and decay, all the while adding and multiplying Himself within our daily lives, making us clean as a whistle.  Free as a bird.  Scrubbed and spotless.  In apple-pie order.  Enjoy?  Why not?

Thank you, Jesus, for new life… forever.  Amen.


As a pastor I performed numerous funerals.  Multiple times more than weddings, unfortunately.  At one church, I officiated at three funerals on the same day.  Felt like a conveyor belt was needed.  Little time to offer anyone some comfort.

Serious stuff funerals.  One involved a 9 year old boy, who drowned falling through the ice in a nearby pond seeking to rescue his dog.  The dog was saved.  He was not.  Oh, the screaming, weeping and wailing by family and friends.  Can still sense their cries.

Death comes for all.  We take nothing with us.  No U-Haul trailer behind the hearse.  No heavenly forwarding address for income checks.  All left behind.  All.

Psalm 49 gives us much to chew on this week–‘Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases.  For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.  For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed…’ (vs. 16-18).  Blessing himself?  What gives here?

Our psalmist seems to allude to rich folk congratulating themselves, blessing numero uno for how lucky they are.  Clever and industrious.  How much they’ve gotten away with.  But not only those rolling in the dough.  Could be any one of us.  As in me, I and myself.  Really?

Yes…as in taking credit where none is due.  Smarty-pants being overly eager to get ahead.  Eyes too squarely on the ball.  My selfish priorities lining up like ducks in a row.  But what’s missing?  Something’s left out.  You know.

Psalm 49:15 shows its hand–‘But God…’–giving the Lord credit as it’s all due Him.  Being grateful and humble.  Not grabbing the headlines, or hoarding and craving those pats on the back.  After all, pride cometh before…well, you know.  I’d rather not be Humpty Dumpty!

And what happens to those who bless themselves?  Rarely get what they seek.  Accolades elude them.  Unsatisfied malcontents.  Down in the dumps.  Powerful yet pooped out all at the same time.

I wonder how it would be if our praise goes more to the Lord Jesus than anyone or anything else?  Giving Him well-deserved credit.  How would that be?

Let’s give it the old college try.  Pep rally songs and all our thanks to Him!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for everything.  Amen. 

NEGATIVITY WHAT? James 3: 1-12

I’ve heard that each of us possesses a ‘negativity bias’.  A what?  It’s a tendency to be more adversely affected by bad words or events than good, positive ones.  One critical comment about my morning sermon and all the good ones (if there are any–see what I mean?!) get tossed out the window.  That wisecrack gets carried home.  Complimentary ones rarely make it to the driveway.

It’s said that to overcome a negative experience requires four positive ones.  Cutting comebacks take a gargantuan effort to right their wrong.  One good word doesn’t equal a bad one.  Their caustic mouthful will do a number on our emotions, requiring a tall order to bounce back from.

Resonates like this warning from the Bible–‘And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell’ (James 3:6).  Watch your mouth, as we’d say in New Jersey!

One zinger feels like a knife in your heart.  The same with bad experiences.  Don’t expect to jump up immediately after being beaten down.  Takes time.  The scars linger though fade some with the Lord’s help.  Be patient… like I’m not!

Something goes wrong in my life and I’m back in Margaret Hague Hospital in isolation at the Sister Kenney Polio Ward with absolutely no idea what’s happened.   My world turns upside down… at age two.

Trust me–those feelings of abandonment and loneliness never totally leave me, which is another good reason to comb the Bible for God’s promises.  I dig for them holding on for good measure.  For it will take a lot of Jesus’ promises to overcome childhood losses.

With kindness, watch what words you say to yourself.  Replace the negative with Jesus’ promises and warmth.  Up the ante four times.  Keep at it.  Won’t come easy.  Satan’s grip is tight.  But Jesus’ is tighter.  Ultimately, depend on Him.

Thank you, Jesus, for keeping me close to you no matter what.  Amen.