QT – Psalm 92

Vs. 1, “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.”  A fitting reminder as we draw nearer to the PTL retreat and are reminded how wonderful it is to praise Him.  Notice that this is not something that just happens during the morning…praising the Lord is something we do throughout our whole day!  Those who do not know the Lord will never grasp the power of praise & prayer (vs. 6).

Regarding application…We are Instruments.  Vs. 3, “to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.”  One of the reasons I really love the guitar is how mobile it is.  We really can’t carry a Piano around with us, but a Guitar we can take anywhere and use it for worship.  But there is even a more mobile instrument than this….and that is your voice.  One of the main reasons God created our voice is to use it as an instrument of praise.  Speaking is not the only way we can communicate, think sign language.  But our voices can be beautiful instruments to praise.  Let us be careful how we use this wonderful instrument as we are reminded from James 3:9, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.”  

QT – Psalm 91

Vs. 15, “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”  Though we are unsure of the author of this Psalm (it could be Moses)…there is one thing that is unmistakable.  This psalm bears a very Messianic (Jesus) theme and focus.  No matter what dangers one may face which are many listed here; snares, pestilences, plagues, stones, lions, snakes…God protects.  While we may not have those particular dangers today, we have our own list of dangers in our own lives.

Regarding application…Finding Security.  Vs. 14, “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”  Throughout our lives, security has always been a overarching theme.  We craved safety and security when we were little children.     As our years progress, it doesn’t stop.  We find security in our churches and teenagers in youth groups.  There is security in our relationships with each other.  There is financial security as you go into the adult world and start working.  But the one true security that you cannot lose…that will never fail you…is the security in our relationship with the Lord!  As this week progresses, put your concerns and fears in Him and He will protect you!  

QT – Psalm 90

Vs. 14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  Because Moses was the author of this Psalm, it’s safe to say it was the first one!  This was written probably when Moses would see the lack of faith when he sent the 12 spies and only Caleb & Joshua came back with encouraging news.  It was only natural for Moses to be a bit discouraged by this.  Not to mention God expressing the limit of years most of the Israelites would have because of their lack of faith.  Remember, the adults who experienced the crossing of the Red sea, would never have the opportunity to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.

Regarding application…God’s Favor.  Vs. 17, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”  Indeed, Lord…we ask for special favor upon us as we here at CTC Youth are getting ready for our own journey in this PTL retreat.  It’s a wonderful thing to know that we are in God’s favor.  That God favor’s us (Human beings) in all of His creation!  With God on our side, who can stand up against us!  Just as a home team in a sporting competition have the favor of the crowds (and often win more because of it)….we have the favor of God sitting in our bleachers rooting us on!

QT – Psalm 89

Vs.. 1, “I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”  Ethan was from the tribe of Levi and one of the temple worship leaders.  Ethan had witnessed one of David’s descandant’s be defeated in battle and began to wonder if God was going to be faithful to His promises.  But throughout the Psalm, we see Ethan turning back to the Lord in trust.  Unknown to him, Jesus would be the fulfillment of the Davidic promises. 

Regarding application…God’s Faithfulness.  Six times in this Psalm, Ethan refer’s to God’s faithfulness.  Question: How did Ethan know God was faithful?  Because as he looked to the past, he had seen and heard of God’s great promises being fulfilled.  There are times in our lives of questions and uncertainties…but if we know Scripture and look to our own lives, we will be able to see God’s faithfulness too!  When I was younger, I thought I might not live to be 25 years old…but God had different plans for me.  Even when I made mistakes and seemed to veer down the wrong path…He was there to forgive and guide me back!  Praise God for His faithfulness!

QT – Psalm 88

Vs. 1, “O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.”  Heman was the one who wrote this Psalm and he was the grandson of of Jacob.  It’s safe to say that Heman was going through a very difficult time in his life.  He gives us a very vivid picture of his struggles and does not ligthen his complaints to the Lord.  We must give him credit, much like Job….he still tuned to the Lord and expressed his sorrows.

Regarding application…Blaming God.  Vs. 16, “You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.”  Heman was venting…but we know he still put his trust in the Lord.  Setting Heman aside, we need to be very careful with how we blame things on God.  Sin is not the fault of God.  When tough times come, our reaction towards God can really show us the condition of our hearts.  All around things can change…but we put our trust in the Lord who does not change (in a good way).  

QT – Psalm 87

Vs. 2, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.”  The earthly Zion (Jerusalem) points us to the Heavenly Zion!  We must desire to build our foundation (vs. 1) in the Lord as we live this life.  We are reminded God has chosen Israel to be a light to this world (vs. 4-6).  As proud as Israel was/is to be chosen, we too find our pride in our identity in Christ.  

Regarding application…Our Lives in Christ.  Vs. 7, “As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”  Question: What does “fountain” mean in this verse?  Fountain is referring to salvation, a source of life.  I remember when I was in grade school and they had water fountains at school.  Do they still have them today?  It seems we have water filters, water bottles and fountains no longer exist.  But, fountains we laid all around the school to provide water to the students.  Water is like life.  Likewise, God has put spiritual fountains all around our lives (Bible, Prayer, Church, QT’s, etc.)  Let us come with joy in our hearts each day for He has provided us salvation!

QT – Psalm 86

Vs. 1, “Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.”  Question: In times of trouble, who do you turn to?  David turned to the Lord.  Only the Lord could truly satisfy his troubles.  Brothers & sisters, God never promised us we would not have troubles, but in these troubles we can find hope.  The effects of a sinful world will exist until the new Heaven’s and Earth.  God indeed answer’s your requests when you put Him first.  It could be an encouragement from God’s word, a text from a friend, a phone call from a family member, etc.  We are all needy and poor…and that’s okay to admit.  Just trust in the Lord.

Regarding application…An Undivided Heart.  Vs. 11, “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”  Question: How does your heart get undivded?  Sadly…in many ways…some because of us, others because of circumstances in our lives.  I’m so sorry if you have a heart that is hurting today.  Even hurts can divide our hearts from the Lord.  The only way we can mend that heart is when we turn to the Lord and ask Him to teach us!  Take time today to pray and ask the Lord open your mind and spirit to the condition of your heart.  You might be suprised or scared to see what you find.  Thankfully, this journey of discovery is not done on your own.  That’s why you have the church/youth group to help you along the way!

QT – Psalm 85

Vs. 13, “Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.”  Most biblical scholars believe this was written after God would bring his people out of the Babylonian captivity.  As they found a new beginning, the transition wasn’t always an easy one.  While they had been restored physically, there was still a spiritual restornation needed. 

Regarding application…Revive Our Hearts!  Vs. 6, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you.”  Another fitting reminder as we get ready for this year’s PTL Retreat over Labor Day weekend.  I like how the Psalmist is reminding us that we may rejoice again.  Often times we view this world with our cup half-empty…with a pessimistic outlook.  But there are times when our cup should be overflowing and joy comes reviving our hearts!  Those special times are given to us just as God’s people observed the different Feasts/Celebrations…we too have our own pilgrimmage up the mountain to draw closer to God!  Start reviving your hearts now!

QT – Psalm 84

Vs. 1, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty.”  In this Psalm we see the deep longing that the Psalmist has to go back to Jerusalem.  The praise song “Better is One Day” is based off this psalm and it reminds us just how important it is to not take for granted the ability to worship!  Perhaps the Psalmist looked around and saw other people not having the awe & respect that God deserved to inspire this Psalm.  No place is better to be than in the House of the Lord…sometimes we get too comfortable in this world we live in.

Regarding application…Do You Love to Worship?  Vs. 2, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”  There are lots of things that I enjoy doing in this life…but, I’ll tell you that this thing called worship is amazing~!  I’m so excited to go up to the mountains soon for our Youth Retreat to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth!  I still remember the first time I was exposed to worship as I know it today when I went to KPC (Korean Presbyterian Church) in Indianapolis, IN.  It was as if I had all these things I wanted to say to God and worship songs helped me express it to Him more eleoquently than I could have done it on my own.  That’s part of the beauty of worship is just expressing our love to the one who loved us first!

QT – Psalm 83

Vs. 18, “Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”  Asaph turns to the Lord because he see’s the nations joining together to form a evil alliance against God’s people.  He wonder’s why it seems God is silent and asks of the Lord to help them overcome the enemy.  It seemed God was turning His ear to the cries of the righteous…but God’s timing is always perfect.  Asaph’s heart is in the right place as He wants only the best for God’s people and hopes that even the enemy would turn to God (vs. 16).

Regarding application…The Enemy is Preparing.  Vs. 5, “With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you.”  Make no mistake brothers & sisters in Christ…The enemy is preparing an alliance against God’s people.  Now more than ever, I feel the evident attacks of the enemy as we near closer to our Youth retreat.  I’m thankful to the Lord in His timing in reminding me that I must be aware of not underestimating the enemy’s tactics.  It’s one thing to know about it…but it’s another thing to do it!  I think just like in real battle, the enemy will ally themselves together to take out a strong army.  The enemy will also ally together to take out a strong spiriutal movement for the Lord.  As the enemy prepares…we also need to prepare!!!  Turn to God’s word today…keep your heart protected and be prayer warriors each and every day.  Whether you are part of our CTC church down in So. Cal…or in Oregon and beyond…there is things we need to put our trust in the Lord.  Remember the song “Shout Unto God”…The enemy has been defeated~~~~