After God’s Own Heart

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.
Psalm 9:10

The theme running through Psalm 9 is that God listens to our prayers. King David had a close relationship with the Lord, and he knew him as a shelter for the oppressed and a refuge in times of trouble. He also testified, to his own heart as well as to others, that God cares for the helpless and does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.

David knew God. And the longer David knew him, the more he trusted him. But his relationship with God didn’t start when he became king. It started when he was a young boy and a shepherd to his father’s flocks of sheep. It was in those years that he first started to know of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. As life went on, he continued to walk in step with God so that later, when his own kingdom was under attack and he was on the run for his very life, he knew God and proclaimed, out of his own life experience, that God would not abandon him. That God would be his shelter and refuge.

Sometimes, like David, we need to remind our own hearts of who God is.

Every time we believe, and God acts on our belief, it strengthens our confidence in him and our conviction that he is God.

As we live out our days seeking God first, we get to know him better and we see the scriptures proven true. Every time we place our trust in God over our circumstances, our faith muscle is strengthened. This is what David did. This has to be one of the reasons why he was dubbed “a man after God’s own heart”.

This week, read through some of the Psalms and underline anything that talks about God’s character. For example,

The Lord is known for his justice; Psalm 10:16

He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety; Psalm 18:2

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart…; Psalm 51:17

The Lord watches over the path of the godly…; Psalm 1:6

You will show me the way of life…; Psalm 16:11

Let this be your window into the character of God. Let this practice open your eyes to who it is that loves you deeply and calls you his own child.

And remember to be confident in this: He will not abandon those who search for him. So go boldly, and be full of faith.

Aligned with the Right Side

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28

In the section of Romans where we find verse 28, Paul is reminding the church in Rome that while we long for the day we are free from death, sin and suffering, we are not without hope. For the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and God causes everything to work together for those who trust in him.

Every once in a while, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night full of peace and indescribable joy. It’s like on those nights the presence of God is made tangible to me, and there is nothing like it. I long for those nights. For while my life is still full of death, sin and suffering, I have this confidence that it is temporary, and even in the worst of it I am not alone. For God is with me even in my weakness.

What I’ve come to realize is that without Christ I could never hope to be at peace. The temptation and subsequent guilt of sin is too much for me to handle, and Satan is constantly trying to drown me in guilt even while Jesus is calling me to repentance and forgiveness. The pain I see others going through is more than I can bear, and Satan keeps convincing me that I am their savior even while Jesus tells me that he is both theirs and mine.

When my focus is on my shame and failures, that is all I see.

I need to put my focus on God, who is actively involved in my life. If I’m not seeing his activity, it’s because I’m deciding that the pain is more important than his sovereignty.

I’ve started trying to remind myself in the morning that I never know what might happen in a day. I even made it into a little jingle that gets stuck in my head. It keeps me looking up. On those days my first thought when there is a change in plans or something unexpected happens is what is God up to? For while there is indeed an enemy at work, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.

This is also where it’s been helpful to root myself in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Without it, how would I know that God is working on my behalf? How would I know that faith makes the enemy flee?1 How would I know that my fight isn’t against people, but against the rulers, the authorities, and the powers of this dark world? Against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?2

In a war between good and evil, God and Satan, don’t give Satan more attention than he deserves. Look for the ways God is winning, triumphing, and fouling the schemes of evil. We never know what might happen in day, so let’s make sure we’re aligning ourselves with the right side.

If you’re having a hard time seeing him at work, pray that he will show you ways that he’s working that perhaps you’ve missed. The more we practice looking for him, the more we’ll see his mighty hand at work. Today, remember that he is for you. He is working everything together for your good.

1 James 4:7
2 Ephesians 6:12

Come, Ask, and Listen

My child, I want you to know that I see you. I know you. I set you free from the sin you so constantly wrestle with. I created you for rest. Breathe. You do know me. You know what I desire.

Child of light in a dark world, though you feel hidden and unknown heaven sees you and is watching. The angels watch and are amazed. I have new things to say to you. In your town, I see you as a star of light as you spend time with me. Zooming out, you join the other stars of light around your state. They are fewer than you’d expect, but I want them to be more.

Don’t underestimate the power of spending time in my presence. You were created for it. All you need to do is come, ask, and listen.