John Markum

From my personal devotions: Psalm 112

I started this blog to give people in my church, family, and friends in ministry a means to better connect with me, and hopefully (more importantly) with God. Along those lines, about a week ago, I thought that it might be a good idea to start sharing some of my thoughts straight out of my personal time in God’s Word with my blog viewers. There’s nothing particularly special about what I think, of course. But I hope that as I try out this newer idea that it could serve as an encouragement to many of you, and perhaps for some viewers who may be unsure of where to start in the Bible for your quiet time with God, this can be something that you do with me.

Psalm 112 –

Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

My Observations:

  • Joy, fear of God, and obedience all go together. (v. 1)
  • My children’s generation will be affected by my obedience to God. (v. 2)
  • When I walk with God, I have light even in dark places. (v. 4)
  • 3 Words describing those who walk with God: generous, compassionate, righteous. (v. 4)
  • Bad stuff still happens to righteous people (v. 7), and
  • by the grace of God, they inevitably win anyway. (v. 8 )
  • God deals with my adversaries for me. (v. 10)



Proactive Prayer

In the Christian sub-culture, there is one phrase that seems to have become a stagnant cliche : “I’m praying about it.” What’s discouraging is that it is often a false statement also. “Ok, I didn’t really pray about it, I just thought about it, but God knows what I meant.” Yeah, God understands it: we’re lazy.

But what if there were something different about our prayers? What if we really believed that God was going to show up and respond to our situations because we asked Him to? What if we started living and acting with such certainty in God’s ability to come through for us that our choices after praying reflected an expectation for God to show up? What if we made bold – even risky – decisions for the kingdom of God because we genuinely believed God would be in it? Well that would be proactive prayer, which is not content to just pray about it, but to make plans to see God do it.

There was once a small country church in a rural, farm community where most of the folks’ livelihood came from their crops. The area was going through a drought, and crops were being lost as a result. The situation was looking pretty serious, so the pastor of the country church called for the whole church to pray and fast and ask God to send the rain and sustain them, calling on His promises to be a Provider to His people. They were to fast and pray until the following Sunday, when they would pray together as a church for the rain. But as people were showing up, the pastor was scolding them for their lack of faith in God to provide. They argued back, “But preacher! We do believe God will bring the rain. We’ve fasted and prayed all week expecting God to send the rain. Honest!” But the pastor snapped back, “Then where is your umbrella!?!”

Where do you get that kind of confidence that not only asks God to provide, but then takes action in expectation of Him to answer? How can you be that sure? You pray according to God’s will. How do you know God’s will? Simple: His word. God’s will is in God’s Word. Claim the promises of God’s Word in your life and walk in confidence that God is going to do what He promised He would. The difference between faith and hope is that hope says, “God I’m asking for this, and I want You to do it.” Faith says, “God, I’m asking for this, and You said You would do it.”

What are some things from the Word of God that You can claim as promises? I’ll share some of those thoughts later. In the meantime, look in His Word for yourself and discover what God has promised for His people.



Can you see it?

Have you ever seen one of those “Magic Eye” pictures? They look like a bunch of textures and colors but seem to otherwise have no rhymn or reason to them. It looks kind of like a big mess on the surface. Once you’ve learned to see “into” the picture you figure out how it works and you can see that there is a design to the mess all along. Here, try this one. Different people have different ways of adjusting their eyes to see it, but it all boils down to depth perseption. Try to look about 3 feet past the screen:

If you can see a shark, then you figured it out! Now right now some of you are mad, cause you’ve tried but you can never make these things work for you. You can’t seem to find the trick to seeing what everyone else is seeing.

God’s word brings my life into focus. On the surface, my life is full of textures and colors and looks like some kind of big abstract mess. But through God’s Word I can see that “All thing work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” God’s Word gives me the advantage to see things from a different perspective, God’s perspective. And only then can I truly embrace the circumstances that God brings my way that look like a big mess on the surface level. Hidden inside all of my pain, failures, disappointments, hopes, dreams, and ambitions, is a masterpiece that is breath-taking, but only from the proper vantage point.

Are you getting frustrated because you haven’t seen anything of “masterpiece” quality in your life? Are your current predicaments making you think that your life is a big mess? Then spend some regular time in God’s Word and learn to see things from a better perspective.

The masterpiece that God is putting together in your life, has been there all along. You just have to learn to see it from His perspective.



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