Better Is One Day, Psalm 84:1

For the choir director: on the Gittith.
A psalm of the sons of Korah.

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies.
-Psalm 84:1

The title of Psalm 84

Longing for God’s House
Longing for God
The Joy of Worship
My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

“On the Gittith.”

Sweeter than the joy of the wine press, is the joy of the holy assemblies of the Lord’s house.

Derived from Gath, a “wine-press,” denotes a tune (used in connection with gathering the vintage) of a joyous character. This same prefix also precedes Ps. 8 and 81.

Psalms 8, 81, and 84 are Wine Harvest Psalms.

A song anticipating the harvest: Lord who has all the power: How beautiful is the home you are making in your people that you love.
-Psalm 84:1

Harvesting the grapes is a happy occasion of thankfulness for the grapes that have grown well throughout the spring and summer, with joyous anticipation of the supply of wine to come.

We sing about longing for God’s house, longing to be with God, while we take joy in the grape harvest and get ready to make wine.


It matters little when this Psalm was written, or by whom; for our part it exhales to us a Davidic perfume, it smells of the mountain heather and the lone places of the wilderness, where King David must have often lodged during his many wars.

This sacred ode is one of the choicest of the collection… to be called The Pearl of Psalms. If the 23rd be the most popular, the 103rd the most joyful, the 119th the most deeply experimental, the 51st the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of Peace.

Psalm 84 is a psalm of the sons of Korah.

Thomas Pierson (1570-1633)

Here note: that the sons, that is, the posterity of wicked and rebellious Korah (Numbers 16), have an honourable place in God’s sacred and solemn service: for to them sundry of David’s psalms are commended.

How lovely is your dwelling place,

Lord of Armies.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord of Armies.
-Psalm 84:1

What is the dwelling place here?

The Temple?

The Tabernacle?

Or is it the people?

We are the sanctuaries of his presence, the houses of God.

Lovely: beloved, dearly loved, precious, cherished, treasured, esteemed.

Life is a journey to becoming God’s house. We neither have to wait till we go to heaven, nor do we need to go to a place to meet God. He is always waiting for us to live with him in our lives.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord of Armies.
-Psalm 84:1

Life is about knowing God, who is beautiful, magnificent, all powerful, king over me, my master, and my loving father. We are preoccupied with thoughts about and desire for God. When will I see him? How to be loved?

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
-Psalm 84:1 (KJV)


I. Why called Tabernacles? To include
1. the holiest of all;
2. The holy place;
3. The court and precincts of the Tabernacle. “Amiable” is predicated of these. The courts amiable – the holy place more amiable – the holiest of all most amiable.
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II. Why called the Tabernacles of the Lord of hosts? To denote
1. Its connection with the boundless universe;
2. Its distinction from it. Present everywhere where God is peculiarly present here.
III. Why called amiable?
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1. Because of the character in which God dwells here. Is condescension amiable? Is love? Is mercy? Is grace? These are displayed here.
2. Because of the purpose for which he resides here. To save sinners; to comfort saints.
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies.
-Psalm 84:1

They Go From Strength to Strength, Psalm 84:7

They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.
-Psalm 84:7

Being a believer is a journey to God and with God, where your faith is strengthened. 
Everything we go through makes us know God more. 
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The journey, every trial and the unpleasant path, has been making us stronger and stronger; in God, inside us. 
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You’ve been getting stronger, becoming a warrior: brave, courageous, and rich in character. 
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Your destination is a God.
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To come into your inheritance, you must travel forward, claiming, obtaining, and becoming the upgraded identity that God has for you. 
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Your victory in the past season becomes your platform or moral authority in the next season. 
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Your assignment is to stand on the platform of what God has done in your life and invite people onto the journey into the life of Christ.
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Charles Spurgeon:

  • Trusting God in trouble brings present comfort.
  • Present comfort ensures still larger supplies.
  • So far from being wearied they gather strength as they proceed.
  • Each individual becomes happier, each company becomes more numerous, each holy song more sweet and full.


  • We grow as we advance if heaven be our goal.
  • If we spend our strength in God’s ways we shall find it increase.


“Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.”

This was the end of the pilgrims’ march
-the center where all met
-the delight of all hearts.

Not merely to be in the assembly, but to appear before God was the object of each devout Israelite.


Unless we realize the presence of God we have done nothing; the mere gathering together is nothing worth.

Malcolm MacLaren:

One of the distinguishing joys of a Christian career of pressing forward to closer communion and conformity with our Lord and Master, in whom God is manifested: viz. (namely) that we grow day by day in strength, and that effort does not weaken, but invigorates.


I wonder how many of us are babes of forty years old, and from how many of our minds the very conception of continual growth, as an essential of Christian life, has altogether vanished? Brother! are you any further than you were ten years ago?


‘Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.’

There is one road on which whosoever travels is sure to reach his goal.


For no man ever wanted God who did not possess Him, and the measure of our desire is the prophecy of our possession.

Thomas Constable:

The person who sets his or her heart on finding strength in the Lord experiences great blessing. (Looking) forward to travelling to Mt. Zion to worship Him there.

Such a person becomes stronger and stronger spiritually as he or she draws closer and closer to God.

Life is a journey to God, now; where we find the hidden strengths, that we were born with; and develop them, with God, towards God, and for God’s glory and to share with others.
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Believers are pilgrims or sojourners who’s goal in life is to seek, find, and live with God; and their happiness is found and based in a complete investment of their lives, while they are always growing stronger, from the inside out, until they see God here.
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Our lives are redemptive journeys and stories, where we gain strength in God, through ongoing perseverance, where saints are seasoned into courageous warriors, on a pilgrimage to see God.
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They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.
-Psalm 84:7

Living In God’s House

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies.
I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Even a sparrow finds a home,
And a swallow, a nest for herself
Where she places her young—
Near your altars, Lord of Armies,
My King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in your house,
Who praise you continually.

Happy are the people whose strength is in you,
Whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a source of springwater;
Even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength;
Each appears before God in Zion.

Lord God of Armies, hear my prayer;
Listen, God of Jacob.Selah
Consider our shield, God;
Look on the face of your anointed one.

Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than live in the tents of wicked people.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
The Lord grants favor and honor;
He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.
Happy is the person who trusts in you,
Lord of Armies!

-Psalm 84
We are invited to live in God’s house now in this life.  Our desire to live with God is individual and communal.  We each have to decide for and want it.  And we live in God together.
God’s house is yellow.  God uses all colors, but yellow describes the place we get to live in with God.

For the Lord God is a sun and a shield.

God’s house is a place of sunshine.  A color that describes God’s house is yellow.  God’s place we dwell in is a place of joy, warmth, inspiration and vitality.  Cheerful, happiness, strengthening, friendly and creative; are words that describe the atmosphere of God’s house we get to live in now.
The more time that we spend inside God’s house, the more that our minds are renewed into the mind of Christ.  The more time we spend at God’s place, the more we are aware of our identities.  The more time we spend in God’s house, the more energy we have for life, because awake or asleep, God’s place is a place of rest.
When we spend time inside God’s house, we learn to see.  We get clarity about what we see.  We understand what we see better now, through the truth of Christ.
Spending time in God’s house is renewing.  Restoration happens in God’s place where we get to spend time.  It is a safe place to turn our lives around and get back to becoming the person we have been destined to be.
We get to grow up in the safe space of God’s place, while at the same time, becoming like a child.  No matter what our age is, our youth is renewed in God’s dwelling place.  We get to become wise and child-like at the same time.
God’s house is a place of learning.  Inspiration and curiosity are in the air in God’s space.  Creativity is bubbling in the atmosphere of God’s house and imparted to those who spend time there.
The ability to communicate truth and life is imparted to people who spend time living with God.  Discovery is given to those who dwell with God.  That is the ability to look at things and discover things previously unknown.
Decision makers learn how to become wise rulers in the house of God, in the the light imparted by living with God.
Enthusiasm, confidence and optimism are imparted in the presence of God.
Being with God is a sunny place, full of warmth and happiness.
Frankincense, one of the gifts brought to Jesus, is yellowish in color.  In essential oil therapy, Frankincense is said to offer a variety of health benefits like relieving stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity and potentially helping fight cancer.
Yellow is the brightest color.  It is the most visible color.  It is the first visible color.  Yellow is the color of seeing.
Yellow is the color of gold.  Golden means of great value.
Yellow the color of one of the twelve foundation stones of the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19).  And the glory of God, which some people think is yellow in color, like sunshine; will be the light source in the new Jerusalem (Re. 21:23).
Healing light from God (“The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays”) is the promise for those who revere and fear God (Malachi 4:2).  
Living in God’s house is like the, “Yellow Submarine” song.

The Journey into Union With God

I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself
where she places her young— near Your altars,

Lord of Hosts, my King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in Your house,
who praise You continually.

Happy are the people whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a source of springwater;
even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength;
each appears before God in Zion.

-Psalm 84:2-7
The center of life is union with God.  We all have all kinds of things we are involved in and all sorts of relationships.  A common misconception is that life is about building things like a family, a business, a ministry, a following, a resume, an education or gaining wisdom, wealth or fame.
These are really the incidentals to life, that while being good and important, are not the center of life.  The center of life is union with God.  If we do not make union with God the center of our lives, we become off center, misguided, unhappy and discontent.
Psalms like Psalm 84 are not meant to be nor have the meaning of how wonderful it is to go to church, for Christians.  These songs are not about the longing and desire to get to corporate worship times.  Pieces like this one are prophetic poems about union with God in the life of the believer.
The courts of the Lord is God’s presence.  The psalmist tell us that in his next refrain: “My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”  The longing is not for congregational singing nor for contemporary worship, but for union with God who is the center of my life.
God is my source, my wellspring and my only hope.  That is who and what I long for.  That is who I must have and who I must and need to be with.
Without God, front and center, in my thoughts and affecting my heart; my life falls apart.  I have an overwhelming desire for God and to be with God.
Every day, there is an opportunity for all sorts of things to creep into my life and crowd out my relationship with God.  I never lose God, but sometimes these things turn my attention away from God.  And I don’t like that and don’t want that.
I want God to be front and center in my life, in my thoughts and in how I see, hear and feel life and the people I come into contact with.
The psalmist looks and sees the birds who have found their homes, in and on the temple of God.  He sees this as a powerful metaphor of living in God’s presence and making that your home where you create your own and give birth and raise your own families.
Next, the psalmist gives us a picture of how a life of pursuing God works in daily lives.  We are each on a journey, on a road or a pilgrimage to God.  We are all people on our way to heaven.
That is what life is about, being on our way to God.  Everything that we go through or that happens to us is raw material that is a bridge to union with God.  Since mankind fell, life has been hard; and every hardship is softened and transformed by relationship with God.
Being a believer has always been an inside job.  We are changed, transformed and live from the inside out.  The strength of the Lord is deposited into our hearts through grace and by faith, resting on God’s steadfast love or faithfulness.  From the strength God provides in a heart under His care, that has begun its journey, the life of the believer is lived.
The Valley of Baca is the place of weeping.  We all pass through places of sadness. We have losses: disappointments, failures, injustices, seeming silence from God, betrayals, sicknesses, setbacks and loneliness.
The valley of weeping is part of the journey.  There are three things to know about this place of sadness on our journeys:
  1. It is unavoidable.
  2. Our time there is finite.
  3. We get to take our sorrow and see it transformed, redeemed and recompensed.
When we encounter sorrow, how we respond is important.  Children do react and respond childishly, but adults need to face troubles in a grown up way.  “God, help me to grow up, before I grow old”, we say.
Being in denial or sinking into shame are two examples of the wrong way to respond to sorrowful circumstances.  Another destructive one is to get stuck in anger.  
We can not and should not avoid our valleys of weeping, because they are a place of transformation.  With every sorrow or thing that makes you sorrowful, there is a gift attached.  Where their is sorrow, we get to find wells of living water or springs of nourishment.
In the same place where we feel the pain of loss or disappointment, God has already provided sustenance and living waters.  A place of springwater is just below the surface in our valley of tears.  We just have to dig down and find it.
God never blesses us small.  God’s blessings are overflowing and there is always extra.  And that is the picture of autumn rains falling on us in that valley of tears.
The place of revival or renewal 
is in our daily routine lives 
as we meet with God 
in our circumstances of life 
that are sometimes sad.  
The place of revival or renewal is in our daily routine lives as we meet with God in our circumstances of life that are sometimes sad.  God puts a deposit in us at the beginning of our journeys and that deposit accrues interest and our benefactor puts in more deposits along the way.  But we also procure our find compensation that has our names on it, in the midst of the sorrows of our lives.
Bravery is called for for every adult saint.  We valiantly face our trials, setbacks and failures; and go forward, finding new grace packages in the place where we are lamenting.  And God transforms us into the image of Christ.
Even in the greatest of losses, that are shocking, God has reviving waters stored up for us.  God takes wrecked lives and transforms, renews, heals and redeems them.  The greater the loss, the greater the work that God has in store to recover us.
Our hearts are set on the journey of union with God.  We see the birds, raising their families, in and on the temple, as a picture of living our lives in, towards and to God; living lives of worship and service to God.  And then, we embrace the reality of small and large losses and sorrows along the journey and we discover that God has hidden help and sustenance waiting for us, to strengthen us; making us more godly.
Life is a journey into union with God.  That is the center from which life is lived and sustained.  

Pilgrimage, Journey, Story and The Ultimate Goal

They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.

-Psalm 84:7
All of life is a journey, a story and a pilgrimage.  We are sojourners and pilgrims.  We are pilgrims making progress and we are pilgrims who are pioneer explorers, on our way somewhere.
The life of the believer is not static.  If we do not move, we will be moved, backwards.  We are always being called to move forward, upward and onward: from strength to strength.
We are always gaining new skills as we go further along in the journey.  The skills are things like humility, graciousness and deeper and wider love.  
As believers, we are growing up and the fruit of the Spirit that grows in our lives is deeper in flavor and in the exquisiteness of its refreshment.  As we are built and strengthened, we are growing up before we grow old.
The further on that we go, from strength to strength, we have better discernment and we are more patient with others.  We talk less and listen more.
The further along we go, the better that we are able to love in agape, sacrificial, unselfish Christ-like love.  A sign or example of someone who has been on the strength to strength journey with God, is that they handle challenging people with more grace, love and forgiveness.
There is a saying that, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto”.  Going solo in your whole life is a no no.  
Have you ever looked at the V formation of birds, particularly migratory birds, in flight.  Birds, designed by God, often practice shared leadership, in flocks.  Migratory birds would not be able to make their long journey without shared leadership.
We need the support and shared leadership of others, for our journey.  God did not design us to “go it” or be alone.  Sin is bad and destructive.  But a human condition that is deemed “not good” is being alone.  We need a companion, we need a friend; and the best way to find a companion or a friend is to be one to a variety of people and some of these will stick (around).  There is a proverb that says to find a friend, be friendly.
We are plural as friends, family, church and community; but we are each, singularly on a journey to God.  And God, Elohim, is plural.  God is three in one and the God who appears in different ways, but is still the God, God, the only true God.
We are on a journey together, but as individuals.  Each one of us has our own relationship with God.  Some or much of it is secret and intimate, although we share with others about our relationship.  I am ultimately seeking God in an “I Thou” relationship or encounter.
Even though I am one of Jesus’ disciples, in the larger group, he says to me as an individual, “follow me”.  If I ask him about someone else and their walk with him, he will usually tell me to love that person, and follow Him.  His dealings with others are sometimes instructive, but I am ultimately responsible for myself and what he has called me to do and be.  And my quest is to follow him and obey him and become who he is making me to be and do what he has for me to do.
We together are sojourners, on a journey together, with those we live with or have partnered, aligned or been made family with through Christ in the church.  Our whole groups depend on our leaders who spearhead our journey together and make choices when there are a number of options on the path.  And sometimes there is a disagreement and we reason together and prefer one another while sharing wisdom and passionate desires in what or how we think God is guiding us, and we seek for a consensus.
We all have the ultimate goal of seeing God face to face and hearing God say words to us individually.  We all have the goal of resting in God now and forever.  The goal of life for believers is to be with God and that is what animates and gives fuel, inspiration and endurance for the whole journey of our life stories.

2017: Double For Your Trouble, Strength To Strength & The Call To Consume From God

Happy New Year!  I believe that this is going to be our best year yet.  Whether you are under ten or over ninety, I believe that is true.  My wife said to me, “You always say that!”

Yes, I believe every year is a good year; but I believe this one is going to be a very good one.  I went to bed on the 31st, with a smile on my face and I hope you did too.

I also know that people are suffering, and I know that God comforts people who are hurting and going through all sorts of losses and trials.

I do not believe in denial.  Our Lord Jesus is familiar with suffering and acquainted with grief.  He is our Savior in the blues as well as in the celebration.

Three Words for 2017

Double For Your Trouble

Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.

-Isaiah 61:7 (MSG)
God is going to give us a double blessing for the trouble that we went through.
Watch for God to fill up the losses and overflow them with double joy.
What we lost will be given back double.

From Strength To Strength

Happy are the people whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of springwater; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.

-Psalm 84:5-7 (HCSB)
In 2017, we will go from strength to strength.  We were strengthened in 2016.  We will build upon what we gained and go further in 2017.  
2016 was not a wasted year, but a good year where you were strengthened.  In 2017, God will build upon what He built in you in 2016.
January 1, 2017 is not a repeat of January 1, 2016.  You are different.  God strengthened your life in 2016.
You are a pilgrim, on a journey.  You are not where you were one year, 5 years or 10 years ago.  You may still have some of the issues, problems or unfulfilled dreams; but you are different
God is going to build 2017 on what He built in you in 2016 and 2015.  What God built in you will give you the foundation for what he now wants to build.
The pilgrimage or journey that we are all on is towards God.  God gives us all passions, desires, callings and destinies to fulfill, birthrights and inheritances to receive and assignments to serve in. 
In whatever we do, including the high calling/assignment/ministry of making babies and raising children, we do it all to the glory of God.  Making money or publishing writings, doing art, creating community, being a friend or gaining status is only fulfilling if the core aim of our lives is God: knowing God, being known by God, being loved by God and loving God.
We will not find rest, joy or fulfillment in anything unless we first are centered in the pursuit of God.
And the strengthening or building up of our lives to hold more and then give more blessing only comes to us as we go towards Elohim, the plural God.  The blessings that really satisfy only come to us, as we are in Christ.
The mountain of God is the destination of our life’s journey.  As you journeyed in 2016, God strengthened you.  In 2017, God will strengthen you more.  And you will know God, Elohim, God plural, more: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Come Drink, Buy and Eat For Free!

Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!
Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods.

-Isaiah 55:1-2 (HCSB)
We just got done buying, giving and receiving gifts for Christmas.  Some of us now have gift cards or cash to spend.  I think that God has a different kind of consuming and buying that God wants to offer each of us in 2017.  And it is described in Isaiah 55:1-2.
I spend a lot of time shopping, but I don’t call it shopping.  I call it research.  Over the summer, I wanted to buy a couch or a bed or a day bed or a couch with a hide-a-bed.  I may have spent 100 hours or more researching this.
I can tell you that if you want a couch that you can also sleep on that is not junk, you are going to be spending about a thousand dollars, minimum.  I opted for a very comfortable bed, that subs as a couch (like king David’s couches), with a hardwood frame; that came in under five hundred dollars.
I did most of my 100 plus hours of research (shopping in disguise) on-line, but furniture stores are pretty amazing.  You could spend a small fortune at one.  We went to Ikea last summer and had brunch; but we thought the prices were high.
So, I bought a table saw and plan on making my own furniture over the next year or two.  We need more bookcases and I am going to learn how to make windows.
One Saturday, I got all the grocery ads together, and I circled all the best deals that I wanted to purchase.  We get about 8 to 10 ads and I narrowed my stops, based on the ads, down to 4 or 5 stores.  You have to work out a map and get the perishable stuff last, unless you bring an ice chest, which I know some people do.
I did my big trip, to 4 or 5 stores, and saved a lot of money (groceries are expensive!).  But, it took me 3 to 4 hours.  And time is money and time is invaluable.  I never did that again and instead had to choose one store.
Now, our new thing, is that my wife and I go together, and shop as a team, and get to work together and spend time together.  Many years ago, my oldest mentor, who himself was divorced, told me that if you can work together, you can live together.  Before we were married, we renovated my house together, and it was hard, but went well.
I believe God wants to turn out attention away from constant, lengthy and continuous shopping and consuming, towards shopping for and consuming what is from God.  This is symbolized by the water, the food, the wine and the milk.  God wants us to be consumed with consuming from him.
God knows we need groceries, clothes, cars, furniture, appliances and shelter.  But shopping for and consuming stuff is not what life is all about.  Shopping and then buying and doing it over and over, stacking stuff upon stuff, is an obsession of ours, in our western culture.
God wants us to simplify our time consuming and costly and even idolatrous consumption and amplify our free consumption of what God offers.  Many us are so full of material that we have no room and no hunger for the goods God offers us, for free.
God is going to be having a sale in 2017.  We will want to go to God to drink and eat, and it is free.  We just have to take God up on this free offer and go and get it.
Think about your favorite material Christmas gift.  It was nice to get that and I imagine you are enjoying it.  I am going to enjoy that new wrist watch, that waterproof bluetooth speaker and The Passion Translation.
But the gifts that God has for me, the foods and drinks, metaphorically speaking, are ten, one hundred, one thousand, one million times: immeasurably better than any stuff or earthly food.  And it is all free.  All we have to do is come and get it.
The first word of Isaiah 55, which is some times translated “Ho!” or “Hey!”, is translated, “Come everyone”, in the version I chose.  It is a call to “Come and get it”, like a huge dinner bell or meal horn going off on earth.
Will we hear that sound, will we heed the call to come and drink and eat and get satisfied, for free?  To do so, we just have to take the time and make the effort.  And it is not hard, but it is not automatic and takes an effort to get up and go to God, to seek God and say “yes!”
After Christmas, there is a discontent, an aftertaste that is not the taste of satisfaction or contentment; for the material things we longed for and consumed.  Material things can be good, very good: like these Ugg boots I am wearing, that were a gift last Christmas.
Giving and receiving gifts is good and even wonder-full, and reminds us of the gift of Jesus.  But that is the “not only”, and the “also” is that God wants to give us gifts all the time, in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of things.
2017 is a year to receive from God, to be a consumer of God.  For sustenance and for our contentment.  
God wants to give us a foretaste so that we will have a taste for.  In other words, God wants to change our appetites to be consumers of God rather than consumers of stuff, consumers of entertainment and addicts of mood altering substances or experiences.
God wants us to spend more time shopping for what God offers.  What if we started spending as much time shopping for and consuming from God as we do other things?  What if we tried fasting from consuming stuff and practiced feasting on God?
What if we decided to give God 90% and hold back 10%?  The percentage is just a metaphor because our hearts are what God would like to have.  And our hearts are what we will give God, if we love God.
What does shopping for God look like?  If you have this question, it is a question, a quest for you, that will drive you on an adventure to find God and receive from God more and more, to your fill and unto and into a change of your appetites, in 2017.
The photo at the top is of a 1964 (I believe) Plymouth Valiant.  The Hebrew word for ‘strength’, in Psalm 84, is ‘ha∙yil’, that literally means ‘valiant’.

Prayers For Today

I praise You seven times a day for Your righteous judgments.

-Psalm 119:164
Seven prayers, or scripture meditations for prayer, for today:
  1. Psalm 61:1-4
  2. Psalm 84:1-4
  3. Hosea 2
  4. Isaiah 49
  5. Habakkuk 3
  6. Daniel 7:9-10
  7. John 17:6


God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer.
I call to You from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for You have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy.
I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings.

-Psalm 61:1-4


How lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord of Hosts.
I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young—
near Your altars, Lord of Hosts, my King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in Your house, who praise You continually.

-Psalm 84:1-4


Call your brothers: My People and your sisters: Compassion.

Rebuke your mother; rebuke her.
For she is not My wife and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the promiscuous look from her face and her adultery from between her breasts.
Otherwise, I will strip her naked and expose her as she was on the day of her birth.
I will make her like a desert and like a parched land, and I will let her die of thirst.
I will have no compassion on her children because they are the children of promiscuity.
Yes, their mother is promiscuous; she conceived them and acted shamefully.
For she thought, “I will go after my lovers, the men who give me my food and water, my wool and flax, my oil and drink.”
Therefore, this is what I will do: I will block her way with thorns;
I will enclose her with a wall, so that she cannot find her paths.
She will pursue her lovers but not catch them; she will seek them but not find them.
Then she will think, “I will go back to my former husband,
for then it was better for me than now.”
She does not recognize that it is I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil.
I lavished silver and gold on her, which they used for Baal.
Therefore, I will take back My grain in its time and My new wine in its season;
I will take away My wool and linen, which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will expose her shame in the sight of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from My hands.
I will put an end to all her celebrations: her feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths—all her festivals.
I will devastate her vines and fig trees.
She thinks that these are her wages that her lovers have given her.
I will turn them into a thicket, and the wild animals will eat them.
And I will punish her for the days of the Baals when she burned incense to them, put on her rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but forgot Me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Therefore, I am going to persuade her, lead her to the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Achor into a gateway of hope.
There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of the land of Egypt.
In that day—this is the Lord’s declaration—you will call Me, “My husband,” and no longer call Me, “My Baal.”
For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth; they will no longer be remembered by their names.
On that day I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the creatures that crawl on the ground.
I will shatter bow, sword, and weapons of war in the land and will enable the people to rest securely.
I will take you to be My wife forever.
I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion.
I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.
On that day I will respond—this is the Lord’s declaration.
I will respond to the sky, and it will respond to the earth.
The earth will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.
I will sow her in the land for Myself, and I will have compassion on No Compassion;
I will say to Not My People: You are My people, and he will say, “You are My God.”

-Hosea 2


Coastlands, listen to me; distant peoples, pay attention.
The Lord called me before I was born.
He named me while I was in my mother’s womb.
He made my words like a sharp sword;
He hid me in the shadow of His hand.
He made me like a sharpened arrow;
He hid me in His quiver.
He said to me, “You are My Servant, Israel;
I will be glorified in him.”

But I myself said: I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and futility;
yet my vindication is with the Lord, and my reward is with my God.
And now, says the Lord, who formed me from the womb to be His Servant,
to bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel might be gathered to Him;
for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God is my strength—
He says, “It is not enough for you to be My Servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel.
I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, says to one who is despised,
to one abhorred by people, to a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see and stand up, and princes will bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel—and He has chosen you.”

This is what the Lord says:
I will answer you in a time of favor, and I will help you in the day of salvation.
I will keep you, and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land,
to make them possess the desolate inheritances, saying to the prisoners: 

Come out, and to those who are in darkness: Show yourselves.
They will feed along the pathways, and their pastures will be on all the barren heights.
They will not hunger or thirst, the scorching heat or sun will not strike them;
for their compassionate One will guide them, and lead them to springs of water.
I will make all My mountains into a road, and My highways will be raised up.
See, these will come from far away, from the north and from the west, and from the land of Sinim.

Shout for joy, you heavens!
Earth, rejoice!
Mountains break into joyful shouts!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.

Zion says, “The Lord has abandoned me;
The Lord has forgotten me!”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb?
Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you.
Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.
Your builders hurry; those who destroy and devastate you will leave you.
Look up, and look around.
They all gather together; they come to you.
As I live”—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
“you will wear all your children as jewelry, and put them on as a bride does.
For your waste and desolate places and your land marked by ruins—will now be indeed too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
Yet as you listen, the children that you have been deprived of will say, ‘This place is too small for me;
make room for me so that I may settle.’
Then you will say within yourself, ‘Who fathered these for me?
I was deprived of my children and unable to conceive, exiled and wandering—
but who brought them up?
See, I was left by myself—but these, where did they come from?’”

This is what the Lord God says:

Look, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples.
They will bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down to you with their faces to the ground, and lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am Yahweh; those who put their hope in Me will not be put to shame.

Can the prey be taken from the mighty,or the captives of the righteous be delivered?
For this is what the Lord says: “Even the captives of a mighty man will be taken,
and the prey of a tyrant will be delivered;
I will contend with the one who contends with you, and I will save your children.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, 

and they will be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine.
Then all flesh will know that I, Yahweh, am your Savior,
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
-Isaiah 49


A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. According to Shigionoth.

Lord, I have heard the report about You; Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds.
Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years.
In Your wrath remember mercy!

God comes from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran.

His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.
His brilliance is like light; rays are flashing from His hand.
This is where His power is hidden.
Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.
He stands and shakes the earth; He looks and startles the nations.
The age-old mountains break apart; the ancient hills sink down.
His pathways are ancient.
I see the tents of Cushan in distress; the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.
Are You angry at the rivers, Lord?
Is Your wrath against the rivers?
Or is Your rage against the sea when You ride on Your horses, Your victorious chariot?
You took the sheath from Your bow; the arrows are ready to be used with an oath.
You split the earth with rivers.
The mountains see You and shudder; a downpour of water sweeps by.
The deep roars with its voice and lifts its waves high.
Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence, at the flash of Your flying arrows, at the brightness of Your shining spear.
You march across the earth with indignation; You trample down the nations in wrath.
You come out to save Your people, to save Your anointed.
You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from foot to neck.
You pierce his head with his own spears; his warriors storm out to scatter us,
gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak.
You tread the sea with Your horses, stirring up the great waters.

I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound.
Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood.
Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!

-Habakkkuk 3


“As I kept watching, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat.
His clothing was white like snow, and the hair of His head like whitest wool.
His throne was flaming fire; its wheels were blazing fire.
A river of fire was flowing, coming out from His presence.
Thousands upon thousands served Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was convened, and the books were opened.

-Daniel 7:9-10


I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world.
They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

-John 17:6

Worshiping in Sad Times is the Most Authentic Worship

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of heavenly forces!
My very being longs, even yearns, for the Lord’s courtyards.
My heart and my body will rejoice out loud to the living God!

Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there; the swallow has found herself a nest
where she can lay her young beside your altars, Lord of heavenly forces, my king, my God!
Those who live in your house are truly happy; they praise you constantly.

Those who put their strength in you are truly happy; pilgrimage is in their hearts.
As they pass through the Baca Valley, they make it a spring of water.
Yes, the early rain covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength, until they see the supreme God in Zion.
Lord God of heavenly forces, hear my prayer; listen closely, Jacob’s God!

Look at our shield, God; pay close attention to the face of your anointed one!
Better is a single day in your courtyards than a thousand days anywhere else!
I would prefer to stand outside the entrance of my God’s house than live comfortably in the tents of the wicked!
The Lord is a sun and shield; God is favor and glory.
The Lord gives—doesn’t withhold!—good things to those who walk with integrity.
Lord of heavenly forces, those who trust in you are truly happy!
-Psalm 84

Are you suffering?  Are you in exile?  Are you living in disappointment?  Has your world been turned upside down?  Are you bereaved?  Do you feel lost?  Are you on the outside?  Are you chased by depression?

Dwell with God.  Turn your heart toward home.  Refocus your desires.  Walk toward God.  Dwell with God where you are.  Worship God in your loss, your ruins, your dark day.  Worshiping in sad times is the most authentic worship.

We might think of worship as thanking God for the good things, the blessings.  “Thank you for the people in my life, the wealth, the food, the protection, the success.  Thank you, I am so thrilled Lord to have all this good from you.  Thanking you, I worship you for the comforts, the peace, the positives in my life; oh I praise you for these.”

We might even weep tears of joy while we worship God, thanking him for his favor.  I shop and buy things I thank the Lord for.  I have many friends.  A few have not worked out, but many people like me.  I praise the Lord for this.  My children are growing up into God and serving the Lord.  I praise God for that.  I also praise God for good health and a happy marriage.

But what about when life is bad?  Cancer, divorce, lay-offs, war, poverty, betrayal, theft, death, loss, loneliness, interpersonal conflict, rejection, slander, and other disasters.  Can you worship when these are in your life?  Worshiping in sad times is the most authentic worship.

When we are on the outside of the good, in the midst of the bad, the right focus is on God.  Seek to dwell, then dwell with God.  Dwell with God, worship God in the crisis, in the loss, in the negative experience.  Worshiping God in the sad times is the most authentic worship.  Have you experienced the sacrifice of praise?  Do you present you body as a living sacrifice?

When you worship God, seek God, dwell with God; in the midst of your sadness, it is the most authentic worship because it is not about you.  Worship is always all about God, but when we are in loss, we recognize this more.

In all worship, we are saying, “more of you and less of me”.  But, when things are good, we carnally take some of the credit for our blessings, thinking that we have received these blessings because of who we are, like we earned it or deserved it.  What a delusion!

Psalm 84 is about focus and direction and journey.  No matter what the disaster, I want to dwell with God.  God’s dwelling can be found in the spirit, no matter what I am going through.  Distractions and mood altering addictive activities will not heal my heart, but only living in your presence will heal me.

Seek God, says David, the warrior.  David says that dwelling, seeking to dwell with God is a journey or pilgrimage.  We have to set our heart on going on that journey.  David says that the seekers who are journeyers are also weepers.  We must do our grief work.  Grieve your small and large losses.  Grieve it, grieve it, grieve it.

You are seeking, journeying, weeping & grieving; finding authentic worship.  You are walking through your valley and making it a place of springs.  You will find that it is true that when you draw near to God, God draws near to you.  You can see God’s glory in your deepest wound and be dazzled (St. Augustine).

Worshiping God in sad times is the most authentic worship.  Welcome to the dwelling place of God, the place of healing and vision and life.

Prayer time

Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish.
-Jonah 2:1

Jonah finally comes to the place of prayer. Jonah finally comes to the place when he will turn to God. Jonah finally comes to the place where he turns to God. Jonah comes to the place where his faith is quickened. He may be in pitch dark, but he gets clarity about God.

Sometimes it takes confinement by life’s circumstances to get us to pray and for our faith to rise up into clarity about God. God may let us get boxed in so that we will cry out to Him and express faith that says, “you are my only hope and I am your child who puts his or her faith entirely in you”.

There is no better time to start praying than now. It’s never too late to start talking to God. Jonah waited until his circumstances went from bad to worse to terminal. God kept him alive, God saved him with the giant fish; so that he could pray, so that Jonah could reach out to God.

Jonah was headed towards death and God delayed and forestalled and kept death for Jonah at bay, so that Jonah could express himself and pray to God. Have you ever considered that people might have conversations, prayers, with God right before they die or think they are going to die?

Jonah was in the fish for some time before he prayed. He had time to reflect that he was not dead and that God had saved him. What was next, he did not know, but what he did know is that he was alive at that moment. From that place, he prayed.

We can pray to God from anywhere and at any time.

Living from the alter and courts of God

“Even as the sparrow finds out (seeks) a house, and the swallow her nest in which she may hatch her young; so I, thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.”

Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.

LORD God All-Powerful,

my King and my God,

sparrows find a home

near your altars;

swallows build nests there

to raise their young.

Psalm 84:3 (Adam Clarke, MSG, CEV)

Psalm 84 is about living from the dwelling place of God. The Psalmist sees God’s goodness in the lives of the birds who God cares for. He says that even as the birds make a dwelling place to be completely vulnerable, we also desire to dwell with God in vulnerability.

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