I Am Loved

by Erin Bird

Today we will conclude our three-week series on three truths from Psalm 139, one of my favorite psalms. So far we have seen through this famous psalm that you are intimately known as well as spiritually safe. Now, we get to celebrate the truth that you are deeply loved by God.

Today’s portion (verses 13-18) is possibly the most famous part of Psalm 139. You hear it when Christians defend the rights of the unborn. You hear it used to encourage someone who is struggling with their self-worth. But even though it is fairly famous, it is still worth taking the time to read again (or maybe for the first time!):

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:13-18)

Infatuated with Love

When some people “love” something, whether a rock band, a type of food, a movie franchise, or even another person, they want to know everything about that person or topic they can. It might be more accurate, though, to say this “love” is actually infatuation. But if you have ever been in a serious relationship (whether it resulted in marriage or not), you know that at some point your infatuation moved to a true deep level of love, yet you still longed to know more and more about the other person.

When we read verses 13 through 18, we see David acknowledging the truth that God is “infatuated” with him, knowing everything there was to know about Israel’s famous king. From the very day of David’s conception, God had been intimately and intricately putting David together. This means God knew everything about David. He knew David’s past in his mother’s womb (verses 13-15), David’s future (verse 16), and even David’s present DNA.

And yet, this doesn’t scare David. It helps David feel loved. Just knowing God knows everything about him causes David to burst out “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” (verse 17)

But God didn’t have these feelings or this approach just with David. God has these exact same thoughts and feelings towards you! God knows you – your past, your present, and your future – and He fully loves you. You are His masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10) He rejoices over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17) You are deeply loved. And He has loved you from the moment He began to knit you together in your mother’s womb.

So may you be encouraged today knowing that no matter what you have done or what you might be going through, God loves you. He has seen all your days, and He has redeemed each and every one of those days through the cross because of His deep abiding love for you.

I am Known

I Am Known

By Erin Bird

A few Sundays ago, I used Psalm 139:13-14 in my sermon. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. In their book No Matter What, No Matter Where, Larry Libby and Steve Halliday argue that Psalm 139 is the perfect psalm to guide Jesus-followers through times of transition. As we get ready to celebrate graduates transitioning to the next chapter, or simply transitioning from Spring to Summer over the next few weeks, it felt like now was a great time to look at this famous psalm.

So for the next three weeks, I am going to use Psalm 139 to help you remember that no matter what is happening around you and no matter where you find yourself, you are known, safe, and loved by God.

I Know You
In the movie version of J.R.R. Tokien’s famous The Two Towers, there is a scene where the wizard Gandalf releases King Theoden from being mind-controlled by the traitorous Saruman, As the “veil” seems to lift from his eyes and mind, Theoden sees his niece and says, “I know your face.” And then he remembers her name… Eowyn.

But in that moment, Theoden is not saying he recognizes his niece like you might recognize the face of a famous actor, athlete, or politician. He is saying, “I know you.” He had watched Eowyn grow from young girl to womanhood. He raised her like his own daughter when her parents passed. She was a dear, close relative whom he loved deeply.

This is what God says to you through the first six verses of Psalm 139. But rather than having the “veil” lifted from His eyes or mind, God writes these words to lift the veil from you so you might see just how deeply God knows you. Listen to them for yourself:

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.”
(Psalm 139:1-6)

If you are like me, you probably skimmed right through those verses, whether because you are in a rush, or because you feel like you already know this psalm. So let me encourage you to slow down for a moment, and go back and read those six verses again, this time truly contemplating what God is communicating.

I see four things in these verses God knows about you:

1. God knows your past
Good counselors ask good questions of their patients. Many of their questions aim to help the counselor “search” through the person’s past in order to know them so that they can then counsel them.

When David says God “searches” him, David recognizes that God knows his past– the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yet, rather than act embarrassed, David seems overwhelmed in a good way (“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!”). God sees and knows all the mistakes of David’s past, and yet God loves him.

All of us need people in our lives who know our junk, and yet still accept us. We long to be known. Psalm 139 shows us that God knows our past, so therefore knows us perfectly.

2. God knows your present
But God doesn’t just see David’s past, he sees his present – his sitting down, his rising up, his day-to-day activities.

On the evenings when the Bird family is able to sit down at the dinner table all together, we typically ask one another, “So how was your day?” Knowing each other’s daily activities helps us continue to know one another and stay connected.

God does this even more perfectly than your closest friend. No matter what you are going through, He is right there with you. So if you have a wonderful moment – praise Him! And if you are struggling – tell Him. He knows your present circumstance even better than you.

path through a forest3. God knows your future
Notice David says God knows his path. This means God knows the path he’s been on (the past), where he currently is on the path (his present), but also God knows where he is headed on the path (his future).

To show this truth further, David says God knows what David is going to say before the words are even on his lips. That’s how well God knows him!

This means God knows what is going to happen to you during this next hour, the rest of today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and more. This should bring comfort to you! (We’ll talk about being “safe” next week.)

4. God truly knows you
Lastly, I just want to point out that because God knows your past, present, adn future, He trulyknows you. He doesn’t just have a vague awareness of your existence. He doesn’t know you like a boy who “knows” his idol. He truly know you– the real you.

And what blows David away (and I hope blows you away) is that this type of intimate knowledge means God truly and deeply loves him – and even likes him! (We will talk more about God’s love in two weeks).

So may you rest this week in the truth the God truly knows you, loves you, and even likes you!

Summer of Psalms

 

Summer of Psalms

By Luke Anderson

Psalms 118:19-25

19: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20: This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

21: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

22: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

23: This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25: Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!

This passage is rich with hope and meaning.  Every verse could be looked at as an individual promise or prophecy of what is to come.

At the end of the day we see that the Lord is sovereign in all things.

Psalms was written hundreds of years before Christ, yet we have an image of Christ in verse 22.  The stone is an image of Christ. The world cast Him aside, yet He was and is the foundation God builds His church upon.

God does not need the perfect to accomplish His will. He needs the willing! Verse 23 says, “This is the Lord’s doing.”  It IS marvelous in our eyes how He can take average and broken people to advance His kingdom!

Verse 24 is a special verse in my own family.  There is a popular song called “This is the Day that the Lord has Made”.  If you are unfamiliar with it, you can find it on YouTube.  It puts the words of verse 24 into song.

When our kids get up in the morning and are sometimes grumpy, (shocking, I know!) I have them sing this song.  It is a powerful verse that gives meaning to the day.  This is just not another random day that we need to get through.

This IS the day that the LORD has made; for us! There is meaning and significance in this day.  The Lord has ordainedthis day to happen from the beginning of time.  He has a plan specifically for you today that fits in His greater plan.

My dad would often say to me. “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!” As annoying as it was when I was thinking only of myself and thinking how hard the day was going to be for me, the truth is, every morning is an opportunity for a new start.

Let us instead rejoice AND be glad in it! He is our King and our Redeemer. Verse 25 shows us how we can cry out to God to save us and give us success over our selfishness and inward thinking.

Summer of Psalms

Summer of Psalms

By Elder Tim Corcoran

Ps 118:14-18

14 The Lord is my strength and my song;  he has become my salvation.

15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,

16  the right hand of the Lord exalts,  the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”

17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,  but he has not given me over to death.

What does this tell me about God?  That he provides salvation and is worthy of praise for that.  God’s actions are valiant- brave, showing courage and determination.  Even in times of strife, I trust in God who does good and acts valiantly.  My belief is in the Lord, who gives eternal salvation.
To “recount the deeds of the Lord” reminds us that God’s purpose for us is to glorify him by retelling what he has done in our lives and through history.
“The Lord has disciplined me” to me means that everything may not be enjoyable, but will be to the benefit of me and the kingdom in the end.

 

Keep up the summer giving thanks challenge that was introduced at the beginning of June.
We will continue through July 31.
Every day, send a text or email to someone who will keep you accountable.
In that simple daily message, note two things:
1) a truth about God to give thanks, and 2) something else for which you are thankful.

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