God is the Strength of My Heart (July 15)

July 15

God is the Strength of My Heart 

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 73:15-28 | 1 Chronicles 19:1 – 21:31 | Romans 2:25 – 3:8 | Proverbs 19:10-12

Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 73

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26 ESV).

Some questions just can’t be answered to the heart’s satisfaction. Questions like: “Why do the wicked prosper?” As Asaph begins this Psalm he pours out his heart to God. He is in a place of suffering while the wicked only seem to prosper. How can this be? Somehow life just doesn’t seem fair. Why am I the one getting beat up and burned out, and not the wicked?

In the first 14 verses, Asaph seems to be “in a fog.” When you are hurting, things are often that way. Your situation seems worse than it really is; the situation of those we envy seems much better than it really is. When life gets us down, we don’t see things clearly (22) and we tend toward self-pity. Even trying to understand becomes oppressive (16). Our heart left to itself tends toward grief and bitterness (21, 22).

But there is a turning point in this lament Psalm: verse 17. “Till I entered the sanctuary of God.” The lament is an important part of our prayer life. We need to pour out our hearts, like Asaph, in complete openness and honesty. We need to open our hearts to God: even our questions, doubts, fears and wounds. But we do so in his presence, and when possible in the company of a loving group of fellow believers who are there with us to help us move from bitterness to strength. We need to enter the sanctuary of His presence.

We pour out our hearts to God, and suddenly we become aware of his presence—his nearness. “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel” (23-24).

In his healing presence, our hearts our strengthened. He, himself, becomes “the strength of our heart and our portion forever” (26). We find the courage and strength for the day. We are able to place the unanswerable questions in the hands of the Sovereign Lord and move ahead in the joy of his presence.

“As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” It really is good to be near God. Pour out your heart to him and he will draw near to you. ”The Lord is near to all who call on him. To all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Let your heart be strengthened in his presence.

God, you are the strength of my heart. I bring my hurts, my doubts, my questions, my concerns and I lay them at your feet. Thank you for always being with me and holding my right hand. Thank you for guiding me with your counsel. Thanks for strengthening me for the tasks of this day.  Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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