Flourishing – Psalm 92:12-15

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the LORD;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Psalm 92:12-15

I’ve been encountering some continual frustration lately. There’s an area in which I feel like I’m not seeing a need met. I pray for God’s provision, and while I see small things trickle in, it doesn’t appear to be enough to fill the need I’m looking at. And each time something happens and an expected provision falls through (which has been happening far too often for my comfort), frustration hits and I look to Him with, “Again?? When are You going to show up here?” And discouragement threatens to take hold.

But I know my God provides. I know He does. He sees the need, and He will meet it in perfect timing. Of course He will. He promises to do so. I know He led me to this place, and He’ll see me through.

This was the basic discussion I had with a friend last night. And my faith started to take hold again…until he spoke stronger words of encouragement, to point me to the reality that our God is able to provide abundantly more than what we might expect. That He could start pouring out provision to go above and beyond, meeting the need and then some. I know what this friend said is true, that it holds with Scripture. But oh, how my faith struggled to really grab onto that. To really believe it and not allow the past (however recent) to dictate how I perceive future possibilities.

Then this morning, as I prayed through all of this, God opened my eyes to something I hadn’t seen before: He is meeting my need. It’s just a different need than the one I’ve been seeing.

Apparently there is a need in me for the strengthening of my faith through these challenges. And that need is greater than the other. That need must be met first. And so my God is being faithful to provide.

Oh, see His great love for us in this! Our God is an immeasurably faithful provider! He is faithful to see our needs and meet them, and will not allow a need to go unmet – whether we can see those needs or not. I don’t know why this other need is greater in this moment. But my God does. He can see far more than I. There is purpose here, and it is good.

These verses in Psalm 92 struck me with a truth the other day that I believe it fits perfectly in light of this focus, as we contemplate the faithful provision of our God who knows and meets all of our needs. It is this:

Whatever our lives hold, we will flourish.

Because our God has deemed it so.

The paths we walk will be difficult at times, but these difficulties will not defeat us. On the contrary, they will only contribute to our further growth, glory, and strengthening. They will add to our flourishing in the courts of our God. They will be God’s provision to meet our needs – those needs we don’t see. But needs that are vital, nonetheless. Needs that, if left unmet, would break us down and cause us to miss out on the beautiful abundant life God wants for His children. A life in which we flourish.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture? One that conveys a beauty that just overflows. A life that brings such glory to God, because it’s so obvious how thoroughly He met our needs – and went above and beyond what would be minimally required. This is the picture of filling our cup to overflowing.

Our God doesn’t do the minimum. He is so much bigger than that, and His love for us is so much greater. We will see Him come through, meeting needs we weren’t even aware of. So that we will not just walk through life, but will flourish. Because He is just that faithful. And through all the decades of our mortal lives – however long we’re here – we will be able to declare the uprightness of our Lord, that He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.


Giving Thanks for the Sacrifice – Mark 14:23-24

“And [Jesus] took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drink of it.
And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’”

Mark 14:23-24

While the act of giving thanks was likely expressed by Jesus at every meal, my heart is stirred that perhaps this particular moment felt very different to our Savior.

In giving thanks for this cup, He was giving thanks for that which symbolized His blood that was very soon to be poured out.

And I wonder… what might He have struggled with in that moment, as He drew His breath to speak? Was there a shift in the atmosphere, a felt gravity or wrestling, as Jesus chose praise and thanksgiving for something that conveyed the agony and sacrifice He was about to experience? Did His voice tremble with the weight of it?

This was His whole purpose in coming. The accomplishing of the Father’s will, the saving victory for those who would come to believe in Him. As Jesus had said in those final days, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:23,27).

He was set. Determined. This was His purpose, and He would fulfill it to the uttermost.

But oh, let us not miss His humanity in these moments. His soul was troubled, knowing the time drew near. After this final supper shared with His closest disciples and friends, Jesus went to the garden to pray, even as His accusers gathered to find and arrest Him. Fervent, heart-wrenching prayers. Crying out for deliverance from this cup of wrath, if there was any other way for our salvation (Matthew 26:38-39). In such agony that His sweat became as drops of blood (Luke 22:44).

This was not a light matter to our Savior, facing the cross. He knew what was in store.

Yet He gave thanks. For this cup of wine that symbolically held His blood of the new covenant. He gave thanks to the Lord, knowing He was the Lamb whose blood would seal our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

Behold His great love for us, that He would give thanks even knowing what it would cost Him, satisfied in His anguish because it would provide for our salvation (Isaiah 53:11).

Behold also His commitment to bless the Lord and give thanks to Him in all circumstances.

Fully God, yes, and also fully man. With all the emotions and struggles we face.

This is what makes Him our perfect Savior, Intercessor, and Help. He has experienced it all (Hebrews 5:7-9).

In our battles when we struggle to fathom giving thanks for that which feels unspeakably wrong, our Savior understands. He has been there. He has wrestled through it. And He won.

He knows, and He can strengthen. He can show you how to do what feels impossible: how to give thanks to the Lord in the midst of your deepest, darkest trial.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16

Taken for Granted – Mark 14:6-7

“But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
For you always have the poor with you…but you will not always have me.’”

Mark 14:6-7

The woman in this passage poured out an offering of great sacrifice, seeing Jesus’ worth and taking this opportunity to express her love for Him. The disciples, in this instance, only saw the value of the oil used to anoint Him and, rather than perceiving in it a reflection of His surpassing value, instead lamented its loss as wasted.

The disciples were taking the presence of Jesus among them for granted.

How often do we do the same?

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10a). How often do we forget this? Becoming complacent, perhaps even because of the constancy of Christ? Oh, may the faithfulness of His Spirit in us not lead us to neglect the treasure that He is!

May we pour ourselves out, giving generously and pursuing Him without reservation, seeing His worth and all-surpassing value. Knowing that as we give of ourselves, He promises that “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap” (Luke 6:38). Our God will give us what we need, filling us to overflowing.

When we give all to Him, we gain everything. When we fix our eyes on Christ, when He is the focus of our life and its very definition, He brings our life purpose and fullness, because He fills it – He fills us – with Himself. In infinite value and glory.

We will not lose Christ; He will not allow that to happen. But we can miss out on wonders and beauty and the deep, abiding joy and satisfaction of abundant life.

We can miss out on knowing that a day in His courts, a day intentionally dwelling in the presence of the Most High God who draws near to us when we draw near to Him, is far better than a thousand days spent elsewhere.

Let us seek Him, always. Not the elsewhere. Only here, with Christ, can we bear fruit. Only here can we accomplish anything of true, lasting value. Don’t miss out on the beauty of Him. Don’t let your heart stray.

You can’t lose Him – rejoice in this, in His steadfastness! And press into Him to discover all the more what this means. Be captivated by the wonder of who this God is who gave His life to draw all people to himself. Even while we were sinners. Even when we wanted no part of Him. So that He could set us free and give us life.

Let your heart be captured again by this One whose value far surpasses all else. His infinite, unsearchable greatness is able to continue captivating you with depth for as long as you will seek Him. Into the reaches of eternity.

A Safe Place – Psalm 91:4

“He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

Psalm 91:4

Under His wings we find refuge.


From our self-criticisms.

From the weariness of trying to be more, to do more.

From guilt of past choices, whether sinful or simply unwise.

From fear of the future, or fear of consequences of our past.

From the pain or despair of the present.

From confusion of not knowing which way to turn.

Refuge from so many things, found under the protective wings of our God.

Because we are loved here. Wholly. Not in spite of certain things, but loved completely. Mistakes and struggles and all. Loved because we are His.

You are loved here as you are, and you are safe. Because the Lord has seen it all and has chosen to love you, to commit to your good and your joy and your redemption forever.

Take refuge in the One who loves you without reservation and without wavering. The One who formed you and all of your details, and the One who understands it all.

There is a throne of grace to which we can come for help (Hebrews 4:16). There, we will not find judgment or criticism, but kindness and strength. Wisdom and hope. Love.

The Most High God, the Almighty, is a refuge for us. A safe place of belonging. To which we may continually come, without fear of being let down or turned away. There is no fear here; here, there is perfect love. Love that fills every space. Love that never fails.

We can rest here, knowing our God will never leave us and will complete the work He has begun. His faithfulness is our shield – a picture that gives strength to the shield of faith spoken of in Ephesians 6. We have faith and can raise our shield because we know our God is faithful. And even when our faith wavers, He will cover us with the shield of His constant and everlasting faithfulness. Because it remains firm regardless.

Might and Faithfulness – Psalm 89:8

“O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
with your faithfulness all around you?”

Psalm 89:8

Might and faithfulness. Inextricably linked in this verse. It is a declaration of the Lord’s great power. And in the same moment, of His unending and definitive faithfulness.

The God of heaven demonstrates His power through faithfulness to His people. Intently focused to bring strong support to those whose hearts are blameless toward Him, who believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (2 Chronicles 16:9; Hebrews 11:6). To fight for them, declaring that the battle is the Lord’s and none can stand against them (Exodus 14:14; 2 Chronicles 20:15; Isaiah 54:7).

You will be able to stand and say, “He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:49). For the Lord knows those who are His, and He will not abandon or lose any one who is His own (2 Timothy 2:19; Isaiah 49:15; Hebrews 13:5; John 10:28-29).

“Who is mighty as You are, O LORD,
with Your faithfulness all around You?”

This is how our God chooses to be known, in our hearts and in all the earth. Our God, perfect in splendor. Our God, whose majesty fills the skies. His glory radiates throughout the universe, shining all the more brilliantly with each mighty act of faithfulness toward His own.

And we are His own.

A people for His own possession, to proclaim His excellencies, the glory of His grace (1 Peter 2:9).

Those who were not a people. Those who had no place to belong, no rest for our souls. Now taken in, not as servants, but as beloved children (1 Peter 2:10; 1 John 3:1).

The eternal God is our dwelling place (Deuteronomy 33:27). Mightier than all, with His faithfulness all around Him.

All because Jesus came, making peace by the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). So we who were once enemies might be brought near (Romans 5:8-10).

“They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.” (Isaiah 44:4-5)

We find refuge and salvation in the cross, and hope in Christ’s resurrection. Our God is victorious. And we will see His might and faithfulness toward all those who are His – toward you, and toward me. Toward each one of us who have trusted in Christ and declared, “I am the LORD’s.”

You are the LORD’s. And He will not fail you.

Who We Need Him To Be – Psalm 88:1-3

“O LORD, God of my salvation;
I cry out day and night before you…
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.”

Psalm 88:1,3

The opening of this psalm, this prayer, strikes me this morning. “O LORD, God of my salvation.” The writer begins with this statement of who God is – who he needs God to be in this moment.

I see a similarity to one of my favorite devotions by Charles Spurgeon, in which he focuses on our bringing God’s promises before His throne and saying, “Do as Thou hast said.”

In a sense, this is the same. The psalmist needs salvation in his circumstances, so he declares to the Lord, “You are my salvation; save me. Do as Thou hast said. Show Yourself to be who You have said You are.”

It is a statement of faith. And a reminder to ourselves in the midst of whatever we’re facing. A prayer stemming from the very words of God. We are asking, as Moses did, “Please show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18).

What is your cry this morning?

Who do you need God to be in this moment? How do you need Him to show Himself?

Because He does care enough to do so.

He sees you.

He hears your cry.

He will show Himself to be a fortress – or whatever it is you need.

Because He is the fulfillment of all that you need.

Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1; Ezekiel 34:11-16)

Father. (1 John 3:1)

Provider. (Matthew 6:25-33)

Deliverer. (Psalm 32:7; Psalm 107:13-16)

Healer. (Psalm 103:3; Psalm 107:20; Isaiah 57:18-19)

Hope. (Romans 15:13)

All comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Isaiah 51:3)

Salvation. (Psalm 68:19; Isaiah 33:6; 45:21)

Refuge. (Psalm 71:3; Joel 3:16)

Love. (1 John 4:8-10)

Compassion. (Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 49:15-16)

Strength. (Isaiah 41:10)

Victor. (Isaiah 54:16-17; Revelation 5:5,9-10; 19:11-16)

Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 43:1)

Immanuel, God with us. (Isaiah 8:10; Isaiah 43:2)

This is who God is. All of these, and more. Whatever it is that you’re going through, however you’re struggling – know that God will be everything that you need. Fix your eyes on who He is, and ask Him to show you His glory.

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.”

Psalm 18:1-3

The Same Spirit – Galatians 2:8

“For he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised
worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles”

Galatians 2:8

The Lord is working in us. He is working through us. With as much power and authority as He worked through the apostles.

The same Spirit dwells in each one of us who has believed in Christ, as He has dwelt in those of every generation of Christ’s church.

The Spirit of love, power, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Pouring into us grace and gifts that we are to use for His glory, fulfilling our individually designed purpose as part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-6).

Sometimes I think we see those great heroes of the faith, or those around us who seem so strong and their prayers so effective, and we wonder if they have been given something more. If we are lacking something, and can’t reach whatever level they’ve attained. Assuming a place of lesser standing, and maybe wondering whether our prayers will be heard as much as theirs are.

Believer, may your heart rest assured today: you have not received less of Him. But perhaps, at times, we employ less of Him. Not seeking Him with our whole heart. Pursuing our own desires above His. Allowing doubt to weaken our faith and our prayers. Getting distracted by the world and neglecting to see our God at work around us.

Oh, may God open our eyes to see Him here. To recognize the Spirit within us, who is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). The Spirit that brings us faith powerful enough to overcome (Romans 12:3; 1 John 5:4). The Spirit who brings each of us into the good works that our God has prepared for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10).

Peter’s second letter begins with this greeting: “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1b). If anyone would be elevated in standing, would it not be these who walked with Christ and were called into His ministry face-to-face? Yet those of us who have believed through their message are of equal standing with them. We have the same direct access to the Father, the sovereign God of all, because we have the same Savior who redeemed us to adoption as beloved sons, and the same Spirit who indwells us with the presence and wisdom and strength and power of God.

O Lord, may this be our courage, the uplifting of our heart. We are not alone today. We will not be defeated. Regardless of our past or our present, we do not walk in defeat, but in victory. Because the Spirit of the Most High God dwells within us, to will and to work for His good pleasure. Leading us into all truth. Guiding us in the way we should go. Producing within us that beautiful fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as we abide in Christ. Revealing to us those things that hinder our relationship with You, and declaring freedom and deliverance over us, because Christ is able to break every chain.
We can move undeterred into that to which You call us, because You will work through us to accomplish Your great purposes. And we can pursue righteousness, because You are working in us to purify our heart, renew our mind, and strengthen our faith – and You will faithfully complete Your work.