Tag Archives: Psalm

The Grubby Book

This is a reblog of a post done by a fellow-writer residing in Australia. You can check his blog out here. Thanks Pieter!

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~ Psalm 91:1-2

In a previous vocation I had the privilege of officiating at the funerals of many older saints. Quite a few of these had gone through wartime experiences in Europe or Indonesia. They had been through the worst that humanity can inflict upon their brothers and sisters.

A Psalm that was often requested at their funerals was Psalm 91. It encapsulates both the horror of war and the beauty of God’s grace. These people were able to declare in life and in death, “The Lord is my refuge.” They had the confidence, in a bombing raid or in a Japanese prisoner  of war camp, that nothing could remove them from their place in the eternal family of God. Incidentally, it was this solid expression of  faith that was lived by the Moravians in the face of danger that impressed and impacted John Wesley so deeply a few centuries earlier.

One story I remember clearly: on a visit to an elderly white-haired saint, I noticed a small grubby book, in an otherwise immaculate bookcase. I commented on its incongruity. This elderly man, while holding his wife’s hand, told me its story. This was the Bible he kept in a tropical  Japanese prison camp. His wife and children were in a separate camp. He kept it closely wherever he went.It was his constant companion. He would have been severely punished, even killed, if he had been found with it. The worst moments were snap inspections. So when an inspection was called he quickly scratched a hole in the dirt and stood on the book. It was a precious memento that had pride of place in his bookcase. It was a reminder of God’s centrality in his and his family’s life. And he added with a wink, “I could always say I stood firmly on the Word of God.”

May we also dwell in the Most High by “standing” firmly on the Word of God.



Filed under Bible, Courage, Faith, intimacy with the Lord, Trusting God

I didn’t expect to like it

I didn’t watch it on purpose and didn’t expect to like it. I sat down to peck on the laptop and Mykaela, one of my 17-year-old daughters, had it on.

Robert Irvine, a world-famous chef, completely transforms an about-to-go-under restaurant. In 48 hours of furious activity they change the physical appearance, the menu and the habits/attitudes of those involved.

I found myself wanting to watch more episodes but wasn’t sure why.

With a background in carpentry I enjoy how they tackle significant changes to the decor on a very limited budget. And the creativity is rather ingenious. But that’s not it.

As a pastor who counsels people it is intriguing to watch Irvine help the owners and staff navigate the relational issues and management habits that have been hampering progress. But that’s not it.

As a guy who seldom meets a meal he doesn’t enjoy, the variety of food they cook and the subtle but critical changes made by Chef Irvine are very interesting. But that’s not it.

After watching 5 or 6 episodes it finally dawned on me why I like this show.

The owners don’t know what else to do and are within months, weeks or even days of going belly up. For most, they have invested not only sweat equity but all their money. In short, they are hopeless.

Robert Irvine brings experience, insight and tough love when necessary. But ultimately, what he brings is HOPE.

The value of hope is immeasurable and universal. But the hope we have in Christ is beyond anything this world can offer.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
~ Psalm 31:24

“…those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
~ Isaiah 40:31

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
~ 1 Peter 3:15

It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to want to throw in the towel. What challenges are you facing? What circumstances of life are wearing you down?

Are you putting your hope in God?
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Encouragement, God, Hope, Trusting God

Is God Enough?

What is it you’re facing or dealing with that has you feeling like hope is slipping through your fingers like sand from the beach?

Is it keeping you awake at night? Distracting your thoughts during the day?


There is not a single need you could possibly have that isn’t addressed by the words of Psalm 23.

Not one.

No matter what inadequacy or hardship you’re facing and how deeply you’re facing it, no matter how problematic or distressful or exacting it may be—if the Lord is your Shepherd, He can meet all of your needs.

The Twenty-third Psalm was David’s way of saying God is more than enough to meet whatever lack or constraint or extremity or impossibility you might ever encounter. ~ Excerpted from God Is More Than Enough by Tony Evans

Don’t rush through Psalm 23. Slow down. Take a few deep breaths. Calm your spirit. Take a few moments to remember that God is God. He is our Creator. He is Lord over all of life. And He is fully aware of everything that troubles your heart.

Now read Psalm 23 slowly, letting the words soak into you like water into a sponge on a hot summer day. Then take a deep breath and read it again.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.    
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.


What aspect of God as our Shepherd is most meaningful to you?

Click here to read an excerpt from God Is More Than Enough
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Encouragement, Faith, Fear, God, Grace, Hope, intimacy with the Lord, Peace, Trusting God

More than just a change in scenery

Last week Susan and I enjoyed the sunshine and warmth of Florida. Eli, our oldest, is starting an 8-month internship with Disney World near Orlando so I took Monday and Tuesday to ride down with him. Our time together was great!

We arrived Tuesday afternoon just ahead of Susan’s flight. Eli was busy with getting settled in but had enough space for us to enjoy some activities in the area together before Susan and I flew back on Saturday.

Besides the sunshine and warmth, the real treat was the change of pace and chance to relax. Susan and I had time to step away from the busy routine and reflect on different aspects of life; things that get lost in hectic daily activities.

Do you know which of the Ten Commandments is given the most amount of space in Scripture? The most attention?

Keeping the Sabbath!

It’s not about a certain day of the week, but the rhythm of pausing from the regular routine long enough to give our relationship with God some serious attention.

At it’s core, Sabbath is a reminder that God is God and we are not!

Most of us would quickly acknowledge that we are not God, but we tend to live as if we are – as if it all depends on us. We worry, we fret, we pace, we lose sleep at night… and we always think we know how things should be handled!

Few of us can spend part of every week in Florida but we can all carve out space daily, weekly and monthly to stop and spend time with God, letting Him remind us that He is in charge and has everything under control.

The Sabbath was put in place by God because He knew how easily we slide behind the steering wheel and try to take charge. Perhaps that’s one reason God inspired David to write in Psalm 46:10…

Be still and know that I am God.



Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Margin, Reflection, Rest, Trusting God

Do we really believe this?

Really? Are we sure? What if it’s a day that is not going so well? What if the day holds some less than pleasant activities?

This is one of those passages of Scripture that is tossed around a lot. It’s easy to quote it when things are going well; when all is good and life is enjoyable.

But what about those other days? Those days when we don’t know how we’re going to make ends meet? Those days when past hurts overwhelm our peace of mind like a fierce midwestern thunderstorm tearing through town? Those days when bad news comes from the doctor’s office?

To trust that this is the day that the Lord has made and rejoice along with being glad on those days requires an act of faith. Those are the times when we must choose to trust that God is still sovereign and still in control even if circumstances are unsettling or unpleasant or unnerving.

This day… today… every day, will we choose to rejoice and be glad in it?


Filed under Faith, Scripture, Trusting God