May 15, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Psalm 30)

Submitted by Lillian K. Gracepoint Austin Church

Psalm 30

Key Verse
Vs. 9, 11-12: “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?.. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

God is … /Lessons for me …
This is a psalm that David brings for the dedication of the temple. He sings this psalm in the place where He worships God. And what David ends up remembering in this place is what his life’s purpose is, to sing praises to God and not be silent. So he is encouraging others to join him in worshipping God.

Lately as I’ve had to deal with more of my sin and the shame of it, and the consequences that it has on me, the people that I love, and the church and ministry, I sometimes fall into that thinking of “What business do I have in God’s kingdom, in God’s church?” I’ve known what it feels like, that sentiment “then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.” The anger and wrath that my sin deserves from God is unbearable, the shame is sometimes too overwhelming to deal with. As someone who’s been Christian for 12 years now, I know to my core that there is no hope apart from God. My greatest security and love can come only from Him. So in some ways, as my love for God has grown, the darkness of those times when I feel disconnected from Him because of my sin or complacency has grown more intense. The hurt I know that I’ve inflicted on God feels more palpable, as I can grasp more of how much He grieves because of my sin. And these times can lend themselves to those feelings of despair, “What good can I contribute to the church? What redemption is there left for someone like me?”

Vs. 5 – “For his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime.” But this verse then challenges the legitimacy of those feelings of despair. Though my sin angers Him, yet I have His favor during my whole life. This verse tells me that in God’s eyes, my sin does not hold the definitive assessment of my life. Rather, it is the truth that God’s favor is with me throughout my life, even if I cause anger because of my sin. What an astounding thing, that though my sin can arouse the anger of the Holy God, yet His favor lasts further than that. This means then that God’s view towards His children isn’t just causing them to think about their sin and fall into despair. So often I think a lot of people, including myself, will think like this, that God just wants me to be continually sorrowful because of my sin. But David says, “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?” David understands that this kind of life isn’t what God had intended, God doesn’t want me to sink into a grave of despair, and to “die” from my excessive sorrow. He wants to turn my mourning into joyful dancing, take away my mourning clothes and clothing me with joy. Why? So that I can sing praises to Him and not be silent.

This is the culmination of a redeemed life, that I can sing praises to God. This is the good that I can contribute; this is the redemption in store for me when I am confronted with my sin. God sees my life as a vehicle of praise for Himself, my life can be a temple of worship. He doesn’t see any “gain” in keeping my life stunted by my sin and remaining in spiritual death. Instead, even though my life has been marred by my sin and shame, He makes it useful again in order that it can be evidence that He is merciful and faithful. That provides the greatest security for me, that whenever I think my sin has gone too far, even then God does not find any gain in letting me remain in despair over my sin. He still desires that I be brought up from the grave, and be given a new life of joy.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the grace you’ve given me. Honestly, I’ve fallen into those thoughts of despair, after being confronted with my sin and shame. But in today’s psalm, you’ve reminded me again that Your favor lasts a lifetime, that you find no gain, no delight in seeing me destroyed by my sin. Rather, You desire to turn my mourning into joyful dancing, to peel away my clothes of mourning to clothe me with joy. Thank You for Your incredible mercy, the high cost You’ve paid on the cross to bring me out of the depths, to save me from the grave. Lord, I commit to living a life that is in constant praise of You, telling of Your mercy and faithfulness in my life. I know that though my sin grieves and angers You, Your anger does not last forever. What a good and forgiving God You are. I am so undeserving of the grace I’ve received already and continue to receive. I pray that I will continue to hope in You alone, that there is no greater security than resting in Your love and favor upon my life. Amen.

Submitted by Tim F. Gracepoint Austin Church

Psalm 30

Key Verses:
Psalm 30:1
I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

God is…
As we read through Jeremiah last week, we saw the heart of God. He gets angry because he loves us so much and yet we destroy our lives when we refuse to listen to him and we bow down to false gods. His anger is that of a parent as he sees his child self-destruct. There have been many times in my life where I felt the anger of God. I had done things, thought things, and said things that were like a slap in the face to God. And he confronted me about it. It definitely wasn’t pleasant, and it was exactly that unpleasantness that seared the pain of what I had done into my heart. Why is it that a parent has to come down hard on his child when they go running out into the street or play with things that could maim or kill them? That image of a parent showing anger is what stays in the child’s mind and keeps him from that situation the next time. There is merit to anger, if appropriately placed. So when God’s anger burned against me, boy did I feel it. Those were some horrible weeks that I went through. But what was the result? I think that my life is forever changed because of those few weeks. I learned lessons that will indeed last me a lifetime. And that just goes to show how v. 5 is indeed true. There are moments of repentance, when God’s word comes at me with fire. Though at the time it doesn’t feel like it is “only a moment,” yet later when I look back on those times and see just how much fruit those times of repentance have yielded, the favor that has lasted seemingly a lifetime out of it, I can indeed testify to this verse. There will be times of repentance in my life. But I must take heart and not lose courage, because though those painful times come, the overwhelming reality will be that those times will indeed seem like it was just a moment, and his blessing, the way he leads my life when I have repented, that favor will indeed seem like it is lasting a lifetime!

Lesson for me:
Looking at v. 1, what kind of enemy gloats over the one they are beating? You would gloat if you beat someone that you have been in fierce competition with, someone that you are neck and neck with. These are the kinds of enemies that are around me today. I don’t realize that the enemies of my soul are this serious and strong, then I am not seeing reality. I remember the days when I would think that I was so strong, the days of my youth when I felt like “I could change whenever I wanted to” and “this has no power over me.” Whenever I would hear a message of warning about the devil and his schemes, I wouldn’t take it all that seriously, I felt so strong. But what has happened over the years? I have failed. Time and time again. And after each of these failures, I looked back and remember how confident I felt in my ability to fight off sin and see how misplaced that confidence was. As I get older, and the times of failure are ever before me, my confidence in myself has given way to a clearer view of who I really am as well as an accurate view of how powerful the enemy, the devil, is. When I was young, the devil definitely had his moments of gloating over my defeat. There were times I am sure he was ecstatic over my fall, my failure. But I learned. After all those failures, I learned just how strong the enemy is, and just how weak I am. And I learned that I cannot rely on myself to triumph, I need a stronger man, much stronger then I am. And it is in my older age, as I call out to God more and more, asking him to lift me out of the depths, that is when I experience God’s deliverance, and that is when the gloating of the devil starts to be silenced. The devil is strong, there is no way I can defeat him of my own power. The only hope that I have is to call out to God for help. Lord, may I be humble and know my weakness and come before you to lift me up and depend on you for deliverance.

Prayer:
Heavenly father, I praise your name, I exalt your name to the highest place. Lord, as I look back on my life and see just how you delivered me from the depths of my own sin, how you came and, like a parent, took hold of my life and yanked it from the downward spiral it was in, how can I not but sing your praises. Lord, though there were tough times along the way, times which are still very vivid in my memory, times when your righteousness was revealed and repentance was called for, yet because of your action in my life, I am indeed seeing that your favor lasts a lifetime. It was hard to see it at first, and indeed the gloating of the enemies around me was loud, yet now that many years have gone by, I can see more clearly how living my life according to your will has blessed me in so many ways. Lord, it is the devil’s way to make me feel like a fool for following you, and oh how I felt the pressure of that mockery. But every year that goes by just reveals to me all the more how much your ways are right and indeed the only way to live. The world’s lies become shown for what they are as the days go by, and those people that mocked you, along with those people who thought they can handle life on their own without you, Lord, those people are seeing the consequences of their actions. Lord thank you that somehow I was saved from a life lived as the world tells me to. I know it is only by your grace that I was saved from those depths.

Submitted by David L. Gracepoint Austin Church

Psalm 30

Key Verses
Psalm 30:3 “O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.”

Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning

Psalm 30:11-12 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (NLT)

God is …
v.3 He is a God of mercy, a God of second chances, a God who saves, and a God of redemption. As Paul writes in Romans 4:17, he is “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” This is the testimony of every believer, especially my own as I recall how I was once headed down a path of destruction until God initiated His salvation plan through the Cross and brought me to a point of repentance. As one who grew up in the church, I realize how deluded I was about the state of my relationship with God as I was merely a Sunday Christian who, on the other hand, lived quite a secular life. I was a slave to my desires and appetites, hoarding my possessions and focused solely on self and my needs. In retrospect, I was a poor witness to others as a so-called “follower of Christ” and absolutely had no impact on the lives of my non-Christian friends. Had God not demonstrated His mercy by rescuing me by bringing me to Gracepoint where I found people who passionately lived out the gospel daily, I shudder to think of how I would have ended up living a life of isolation, shallowness, and irrelevance.

I recall many times being confronted by the truth of how the Bible described my sinful heart, and grappling with the decision to either accept or reject its claims about me. Though that process was full of pain and often brought me to a point of despair, I remember the immense joy that I felt in finally letting go of my pride and confessing my sins, thereby making the Cross of Jesus much more of a tangible reality in my life. I’ve come to realize that this cycle of being confronted with the truth of God’s word and the choice I have to either accept or reject it’s claims about my sins, is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, and only when I accept it, will I be able to experience the power of Psalm 30:11-12 coming to fruition in my life.

Lessons for me …
The lesson I have learned from this verse is to never stop loving people, or lose hope in the power of what God can do. I have learned that His zeal to save and transform lives is far greater than any of my doubts, prejudices, and my lack of faith. Personally, I look back on these 4 years in Austin and it’s truly been a miracle what God has done. I occasionally joke to myself and with the other staff by saying that God actually worked despite anything we did, given our own issues and sins. This reality is both humbling and reassuring at the same time as it reveals that He is sovereign, and He is the one who is building this church. All I can do is be as faithful as I can in loving people and freely investing my time, money, and resources in them no matter how unresponsive or disinterested they appear on the outside because God is the one who does the work of changing their hearts.

I have also learned that when I regularly reflect on my own testimony of how God rescued a broken sinner like me, and allow that truth to bring me to a point of humility where I can boast in nothing other than what He has done, only then will I be able to experience the thrill and joy of serving Him, and witness the salvation work He is doing in the lives of people. I believe that the extent of my joy and gratitude I have for my salvation will ultimately be the determining factor of what sustains me year after year as I commit to giving my life for the sake of the gospel.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for saving a wretch like me from falling into the pit of despair and raising me up from the grave. Even though I deserved your judgment, you showed your great mercy to me through the blood of Jesus. Lord, I am amazed that you have invited me to join in your Kingdom work of saving souls. I praise you for your faithfulness these past 4 years as you have answered our prayers and did even more than what we expected since moving out to Austin. I praise you for the transformative work you’ve done in the lives of many of our students, with 120 people making salvation and Lordship decisions up to this point.

Thank you for being my good shepherd and for teaching me what it means to minister to someone with persevering/enduring love. Lord, I commit to remembering the depths from which you saved me so that I may always operate out of the joy of my salvation and the humility of knowing that all that I have received and experienced has been undeserved and solely been given to me out of your mercy and grace. Thank you, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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