Monday, October 31, 2011

Psalm 52 ~ Like a Green Olive Tree


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

Like a Green Olive Tree ~ from Psalm 52

I am like a green olive tree
In the house of God.*
The love of God is constant
And I will trust His faithfulness
Forever and ever.
He will keep His covenant,
The promise He made with me
Through Jesus.

I will give Him praise forever
Because He has done
What He said He would do.
I will keep my focus
And my expectation on God
And proclaim His goodness
Before all His people.

* See also A Green Olive Tree in the House of God and Abiding Even in the Face of Evil.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Psalm 46 ~ Abundantly Available Help


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms

Abundantly Available Help ~ from Psalm 46

God is our shelter and our strength,
Our abundantly available help,
Even in calamity.
So we refuse to be afraid.

When the earth shudders and shakes,
We will not fear.
If the mountains should drop into the sea,
We will not fear.
Though there be earthquakes and tsunamis,
We will not be afraid.
In all these things,
God is still our shelter and our strength
Our abundantly available help.

There is a river that streams from heaven
To the people of God,
His dwelling place on earth,
And makes us glad.
God is with us, His kingdom is in us.
We will not be shaken
Because God will help us
And He will not be late.

Nations rage and kingdoms topple
When God lifts His voice.
But Yahweh, with His angel armies, is with us.
The God who sheltered Jacob
Will be our shelter, also.

This is what we will see,
The wonders of Yahweh,
Bringing war to an end all over the world;
Weapons are useless against Him.
Nations will cease their striving
And will know that He is God
And confess Jesus is King.
He will be praised among the nations
And glorified in all the earth.
Yahweh, with His angel armies, is with us.
The God who lifted Jacob high
Will lift us, also.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Psalm 41 ~ The Happiness of Helping and Being Helped


Global Celebration, founded by Georgian and Winnie Banov, is one of the ministries we support. In addition to bringing the joy of Jesus around the world, they also put on huge feeds and bring ministry to impoverished areas in places like Mozambique, Nicaragua, Bulgaria and other countries. They even go to the garbage dumps, literally, to help the poor who dwell there. Here is more about this ministry and how you can be a part. “Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will give a reward to the lender” (Proverbs 19:17 HCSB).

The Happiness of Helping and Being Helped ~ from Psalm 41

O the happiness of helping the poor and the weak!
It is a joy that comes straight from Yahweh’s heart.
He will rescue me, too, when I am in trouble;
He will make me smooth in the day of adversity.
Yahweh will protect me on all sides;
I will be happy and prosperous on the earth,
And He will deliver me from the enemy.

Yahweh will give me strength
When I am sick and weak;
He will raise me up and heal me.
He will bend down and show Me His favor;
He will restore my spirit and heal my body.
Yahweh will help me
And the enemy will see his defeat.

Yahweh takes care of me and keeps me going,
Because I belong to Him, fully and completely.
He has set me before His face forever.
O the happiness!



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Psalm 40 ~ Yahweh, My Rescue


A personal confession based on the Psalms.

Yahweh, My Rescue ~ from Psalm 40

I waited with focused expectation before Yahweh.
He bent down and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the terrible pit I was in.
I was stuck in deep; He pulled me out
And set me on solid ground.

He has given me a new song,
A new opportunity to praise Him.
Now I do my victory dance.
Many will see what Yahweh has done;
And be in awe of Him ~ and have hope.

O the happiness of trusting in Yahweh!
I am not dependent upon the arrogant
Or subject to their deceits.
So many marvelous things Yahweh has done for me.
His thoughts and plans for me
Are wonderful, incomparable.
They are more than I can count.

He has caused me to hear and understand.
My desire is to please Him,
And He instructs my heart.
The good news* of Jesus and His rightness
Has done this in me, and I will proclaim it.

Yahweh does not hold back His lovingkindness,
His faithfulness, His tender mercies;
He protects and sustains me.
Yahweh shows favor to His people and rescues them.
He will turn back those who wish me evil
And put to shame those who seek my harm.

But I will be merry and celebrate
And say how great Yahweh is;
He is my rescue and my help
And His thoughts toward me
Are for good.

* The Hebrew text here (Psalm 40:6-9) uses gospel language. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, here uses the word euangelizo, to evangelize, to proclaim the good news. See Hebrews 10:5-10, where the author applies this passage to Jesus.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Psalm 37 ~ Possess the Land in Patience


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

Possess the Land in Patience ~ from Psalm 37

I do not worry when bad people have it good;
I do not envy them; they will not last ~
And their time comes quickly.
I keep my focus on Yahweh;
I trust in Him and keep doing what is good.
I stay put and feed on His faithfulness.

I delight myself in Yahweh,
My heart is pliable before Him.
He brings it into line with His heart.
And gives me all my desires.

I commit my way to Yahweh,
I roll it all over onto Him,
Holding nothing back.
I put my confidence in Him,
And He does for me
Whatever needs to be done.
He will bring forth His rightness in me.
He will shine His light on my life
And everyone will see His goodness on me.

So I wait, quietly and patiently, before Yahweh.
I do not get agitated
When those who do wrong prosper.
I do not let it get up my nose;
I let go of rage, for it does not help
But only makes things worse.
Those who do wrong will not last,
They will be cut off.
But those who trust in Yahweh
Will possess the land.

So I will wait, quietly and patiently,
Trusting in Yahweh,
And I will possess the land.
I will enjoy the abundance and wholeness
That comes from His shalom, His peace ~
Nothing missing, nothing broken.

Yahweh will take care of me all my days,
And my inheritance will last forever.
He will not let me down in tough times;
Even in famine, I will have more than enough,
To give and to share.

Yahweh directs all my steps,
And they lead me to delight.
Even if I stumble, I will not be down for long;
Yahweh will lift me up again.
Over the years, this is what I have learned:
There is always help for His people,
And bread for their children.
Yahweh loves justice and will set things right;
He will never turn us away.

I think on what is wise and true,
And speak of what is right and good.
Yahweh instructs my heart
And makes my steps sure.
My expectation is in Yahweh;
I walk in His ways.
He will lift me up to possess the land.
His future for me is shalom, peace.
He is my strong place in troubled times;
He will surround me with help
And bring me through.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psalm 36 ~ The Covenant Love of Yahweh


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

The Covenant Love of Yahweh ~ from Psalm 36

The covenant love* of Yahweh fills the heavens.
His faithfulness covers the earth.
All His ways are right and good,
As firm as the mountains.
His judgments are profound,
As deep as the sea.
He sustains every living thing.

The covenant love of Yahweh ~
How incomparable and precious it is to me.
I find my peace in the shadow of His wings.
I feast on the abundance of His house
And drink from the river of His pleasure.
He is the fountain, the source of my life,
And His light causes me to see.
His love for me will never end
And He will lead me in His rightness.

* The Hebrew word translated as “love” in many English versions is hesed. It is the love God has covenanted to show His people and do good to them. Various translations render it as mercy, faithful love, steadfast love and lovingkindness. Yahweh is the name by which God reveals Himself in covenant relationship with His people.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Psalm 35 ~ Yahweh Contends for Me


When I pray through the psalms, there are some instances when I make a personal confession where the psalm writer makes a petition. I do this because I understand and confess the psalms through the New Testament reality of Jesus the Messiah and the coming of His kingdom into the world. So, for example, where the psalm writer says, “Contend with those, Yahweh, who contend with me” (Psalm 35:1 JVD), I am mindful that Jesus has already done that for me: He has taken on the devil and death and sin, and everything that stood against me, nailed it to the cross and rose victoriously from the dead three days later. So, I confess with Paul, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:35-37).


Yahweh Contends for Me ~ from Psalm 35

Yahweh contends with those who contend with me.
He fights against those who fight against me.
He is the Warrior who stands for me and helps me.
He will stop those who are after me,
Because Jesus is my salvation!*
Those who seek my life will be brought to confusion.
But I will whirl and twirl for joy because of Yahweh;
I will delight thoroughly in Jesus, my Champion.

Who is like Yahweh?
He keeps the weak from being overcome
And the poor from being plundered.
He rescues me from destruction
And will not let the enemy triumph over me.
He will clear my name.

Those who stand with me
Will shout for joy and celebrate.
Yahweh will be great in their eyes
Because He takes pleasure
In the prosperity of His people.
I will speak of His faithfulness,
Because He always does what is right,
And I will praise Him continually.

* The Hebrew word for “salvation” in this psalm is yeshuah. As a name, it is Yeshua, which is Hebrew for “Jesus.”



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Psalm 34 ~ A Brag About Yahweh


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

A Brag About Yahweh ~ from Psalm 34

I will bless Yahweh at all times,
I will always be singing His praises.
I will brag about Yahweh with every breath,
So the humble may hear and hope
And be light-hearted in Him.
I want everyone to see how great He is
And to praise His name together with me,
With loud and joyful shouts.

I focus diligently on Yahweh
And go to Him about everything.
He hears me and answers my prayer.
He rescues me; His perfect love casts out my fear.*
I look to Him and I am encouraged;
He will not let me down.

When I am in need or afflicted,
I cry out to Yahweh and He hears me;
He rescues me from all my troubles.
Yahweh sends His angels to surround me
He delivers me because I trust in Him
And honor His name.

I have tasted and seen that Yahweh is good.
I turn to Him and ~ O the happiness!
I live in awe of Yahweh and honor Him,
And I have no lack.
I focus on Yahweh and go to Him;
He gives me every good thing.
I enjoy life and experience His goodness everyday,
Because I guard my mouth, my words,
Speaking only what is good and true.

I will not do what is evil,
Only what is good.
I will pursue peace, the shalom,
The wholeness that comes from God alone,
And I will strive to live well with all people.

Yahweh watches over me and hears me when I cry.
He delivers me out of all my troubles.
When my heart is burdened,
Yahweh is near, to help me.
When I am crushed, He heals me.
Yahweh rescues me because I belong to Him.
I trust in Him, and there is no condemnation.**

* “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
** “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Psalm 32 ~ The Happiness of Being Forgiven

I understand and confess the psalms through the New Testament reality of Jesus the Messiah and the coming of His kingdom into the world. In Him is the fulfillment of all the promises and prophecies God made in the New Testament. The forgiveness of God comes to us in Him.


The Happiness of Being Forgiven ~ from Psalm 32

O the happiness!
When I crossed the line,
Yahweh forgave me.
When I did wrong,
He pardoned me.
When I came clean,
He did not hold any of it against me

When I was hiding out,
My strength was gone;
I was in anguish.
Conviction was heavy on me
And I was miserable.
But when I admitted I had done wrong,
Yahweh forgave me all
And removed my guilt.*

So when I have messed up and done wrong,
I will run quickly to Him,
For He is near, even if I am far away.
And if trouble comes
I will be in the right place,
For He is my safe and secret place.
He will protect me on all sides.
He will see me through,
And I will be shouting for joy.

Yahweh will teach me
And give me direction.
I will keep my eye on Him
And He will guide me.

Those who do wrong
Bring pain and sorrow on themselves,
But those who run to Yahweh
Are surrounded by His faithful love.
My heart is light in Yahweh;
I whirl and twirl and shout for joy
Because of Him.
O the happiness!

* “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin ... If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7, 9)



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Last Word is a Good One


Praying the Psalms for twenty-five years, I know that there are a number of styles and moods. Some are wisdom psalms, some are about the reign of the king, some are laments, some are imprecatory (where the writer prays for God to go get the enemy). Not all are upbeat in tone, and not all lend themselves well to my current project of developing personal confessions from the psalms. Sometimes the psalm writer is disappointed, disoriented, even depressed. But they all resolve to a position of faith at the end of the psalm, if not before (the lone exception is Psalm 88). However, every single one, is called tehillah, a psalm, a praise to God, because in each one, the psalm writer brings his joy, his sorrow, his disappointment, to Yahweh. Even in Psalm 88, though the writer finishes it with a depression as dark at the end as at the beginning, his orientation is still one of faith because he addresses the matter to Yahweh his God.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to discuss what faith means in the face of disappointment and tragedy. Here is the answer I gave: Faith does not deny the reality of tragedy, sickness or death, but it says that God is bigger than all those things, that He gets the last word on them and that that last word is a good one. I have been blogging a series of personal confessions adapted from the Psalms, in which I “confess” (agree with) and affirm that “last word.” The kingdom of God has broken into the world; the eschaton (the time of “last things”) has entered into the middle of history, and I believe that God’s “last word” is very powerful in this present time, for life and healing and restoration.

Someone then asked how we can know we won’t be disappointed and that the “last word” will be a good one. I began my answer with Galatians 3:13-14.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us … that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Jesus the Messiah has redeemed us from the curse, blessed us and given us the Holy Spirit — God dwelling in us. The final word God has for those who are in Jesus is a word of blessing that supersedes the word of cursing.

How do I know I won’t be disappointed and that the “last word” will be a good one? I look at the cross and the resurrection. I look at the Table of the Lord and the covenant that Jesus cut with God by His own blood for our sake. That covenant is the new and better covenant God promised Old Testament saints would one day come. It is based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6), and those promises are nothing but good. The Table is a revelation of that blood and that covenant and it prophesies the return of King Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:26).

I have no doubt, then, that all God’s promises will be fulfilled. And I know that I will be abundantly satisfied when the kingdom comes in fullness because I have already experienced it in part, and in increasing measure.

So I will always confess the promises and faithfulness of God, even in — especially in — the face of adversity and disappointment. I will always expect the love of God to break through on my behalf and manifest His rule and reign in every situation. He always gets the last word on my life, and it is a good one.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Psalm 28 ~ Yahweh’s Treasured Ones


A personal confession based on the Psalms.

Yahweh’s Treasured Ones ~ from Psalm 28

I bless Yahweh.
He hears me when I cry out to Him
And answers my prayer.

Yahweh is my strength and my protection.
I trust Him completely,
And He surrounds me with help.
I jump for joy and praise Him
Everywhere I go.

Yahweh is the strength of all His people.
He has anointed us for salvation,
For strength and prosperity,
For health and freedom in Jesus.*

He will deliver us and bless us ~
We are His treasured inheritance.
He will guide, protect and provide for us
And carry us like a shepherd,
Now and forever.

* The Hebrew word for “salvation” in this psalm is yeshuah. As a name, it is Yeshua, which is Hebrew for “Jesus.” Whenever I come across this word in the Psalms, I always think of Jesus, and I always remember that there are many aspects to the salvation God has for us in Him.




Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Psalm 27 ~ The Goodness of Yahweh in My Life


In English versions of the Psalms, the word LORD (all caps) is used to represent the name of God, which in Hebrew is the four letters, YHVH. It is the name by which God entered into covenant with His people. Many Bible scholars and commentators today believe the pronunciation is most likely Yahweh (or Yahveh), and this is how I speak of Him in these confessions. If it should turn out that this is not the correct way to pronounce His name, it is no more incorrect than to pronounce it as Lord.

Also, when I speak of Yahweh, I have in mind the Holy Trinity, God in Three Persons ~ Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is who God has always been from the beginning.

Here is another personal confession I have adapted from the Psalms.


The Goodness of Yahweh in My Life ~ from Psalm 27

Yahweh brings light to every part of my life.
He is my salvation, my rescue, my freedom,
My healing, my prosperity, my victory.*
Yahweh is the strength of my life.
There is no reason for me to fear anything.

The one thing I really want, I already have.
It is the only thing I need ~
To dwell with Yahweh
All of my life and forever.
I gaze upon His beauty;
It is time well-spent.
I study His ways
And I ask Him about everything.

When trouble comes, He keeps me safe
In the glory of His presence,
Where the enemy cannot see.
He sets me in a place the enemy cannot reach.
Even if I am surrounded, I still have the advantage,
So I give Yahweh loud shouts of praise.

He speaks to me deep in my heart.
“Seek Me only,” He says.
O Yahweh, Your presence is all I want!
He will never turn me away in anger.
He will not leave me or let me go.
Even if everyone else runs away,
Yahweh will still be with me,
The God who rescues me.

Yahweh will direct my way
And lead me in a smooth path,
Even when adversity comes.
My confidence is this:
I will see and enjoy
The goodness of Yahweh in this life.
My expectation is set on Yahweh,
My heart is fixed on Him
And I am encouraged.

* The Hebrew word for “salvation” in this psalm is yesha and can have all of these meanings: deliverance, rescue, liberty, safety, welfare, victory, prosperity, and healing. Which one do you need in your life today?



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Psalm 26 ~ Yahweh Clears My Name


To confess, literally, is “to say the same thing.” That is how the English word derives and also what its counterpart in New Testament Greek, homologeo, means. To confess something is to speak in agreement with it. When we confess our sin, as in 1 John 1:9 for example, we are agreeing that there are things we have done that are indeed sinful, things we ought not to have done. When we confess the Lord Jesus, as in Romans 10:9, we are agreeing and affirming that Jesus Christ is indeed our Lord and King. When we do, we have so much more we can confess because we become heir with Him to all the promises of God.

Here is another personal confession I adapted from the Psalms.


Yahweh Clears My Name ~ from Psalm 26

Yahweh clears my name
Because my whole life belongs to Him.
He is the one I trust.
He examines me and roots out whatever does not belong,
So my heart and my mind
Are pure and blameless before Him.
His covenant love is always in front of me
And I live by His faithfulness and truth.

I come before Him
With a loud voice of thanks,
To declare the wonderful things He has done.
I love the beauty of His habitation
And the glory of His presence.

I will walk in integrity,
The wholeness of who I am in Him
And who He is in me.
He makes me stand on firm and level ground.
I will bless Yahweh with all His people.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Psalm 25 ~ My Whole Life


Years ago, I began making confessions like these, based on similar Scriptures. I was in a very difficult time in my life and I knew I needed a strong, bold faith in God if I was going to get the turnaround I needed. So I printed out a number of Scripture promises, cast them in the first person, in the form of personal confessions, and began speaking them out. I did not just read them silently to myself — I knew I had to get these down deep into my heart. So I read them out loud. It was awkward at first, but I kept at it. I paced back and forth in the hallway of my home, reading and repeating these promises and confessions out loud, over and over. Before long, I began to speak them out louder and louder. I got to where I was shouting them out regularly.

What was I doing? I was letting them fill my eyes, my mind, my mouth and my ears, and before long they began to fill my heart. You might say I was defibrillating, shocking my heart back into the rhythms of faith with the Word of God, recalibrating my thoughts and emotions with the promises of God, realigning my will with the heart of God. After about a month, I began to see breakthrough. My life has been different and I have walked in a deeper level of faith and joy ever since.


My Whole Life ~ from Psalm 25

I lay my whole life before Yahweh.
I trust Him with everything,
He will not let me down.
My expectation is in Him,
He will not leave me hanging.

Yahweh guides me in His ways
And shows me how to live.
He leads me in what is faithful
And teaches me what is true.
He is the God who rescues me,
Prospers me, sets me free.
Everyday I wait and I watch
All the day, for Him.

Yahweh looks at me with compassion,
He thinks of me with His eternal love.
He does not hold my past against me,
But He forgives me out of His tender mercy,
Because He is good.

Yahweh leads me in what is right
And guides me with proper judgment
In the way that is pleasing to Him.
I live in awe of Yahweh and honor Him.
He directs me like an arrow
In the way He wants me to go.
So, I live the good life
And dwell in prosperity,
My children and all my descendants
Shall possess the earth.

Yahweh reveals His secrets to me
And shows me the blessings of His covenant,
I always look to Yahweh
Because He always rescues me,
Sets me free, and protects me.
I will live unashamed
Because I trust in Him.

My whole life is before Him
That I may always do what is right,
And He preserves me,
Because I look to Him.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Psalm 23 ~ Yahweh My Shepherd


When David and his band of soldiers returned home to Ziklag, they found that it had been burned with fire, and their wives and children had been carried off by the Amalekites. “Discouraged” is not a big enough word to describe the state of their morale. They wept bitter tears until they simply had no more power to weep. For David, it was even worse, for he was their leader, and his men were so consumed by grief that there was even talk of stoning him. He was in distress, and it might have destroyed him completely, except that David learned how to encourage himself in the LORD (1 Samuel 30).

We may not really know exactly what that looked or sounded like, but I expect it included singing some of the psalms he had written about the Lord, going over again the many times he had experienced the faithfulness of Yahweh in his life, confessing them over and over to his soul until he was ready to rise up, pursue and “recover all” (v. 8).

David’s most well-known song is, of course, Psalm 23, the “Shepherd Psalm.” I have adapted it here as a personal confession. My hope is that you also might find this and my other psalm confessions helpful for encouraging yourself in the Lord.


Yahweh My Shepherd ~ from Psalm 23

Yahweh is my Shepherd;
I will never be in lack,
For He supplies everything I need.
He leads me to abundant, green pastures,
Where I lie down, satisfied.
He refreshes me beside calm waters.
He restores my soul, renews my life.
He leads me in the paths that are right and good
And bring honor to His name.

Even when I walk in the low places
Where death casts its shadow,
I fear no danger,
For my Shepherd is with me.
He will guide me through and protect me.

Yahweh prepares a table before me,
A rich feast spread for me ~
Right in front of my enemies!
They cannot stop His blessing in my life.

He welcomes me with His favor;
And anoints me with fresh oil
I am revitalized.
He fills my life to overflowing,
With good things.

His faithful love and goodness
Is with me wherever I go,
And I will dwell with Him forever.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Psalm 21 ~ Victorious Joy


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

Victorious Joy ~ from Psalm 21

Yahweh’s strength fills me with joy;
I shout wildly because of His salvation ~ Jesus!*
He has given me the desires of my heart
And has not held back what I asked of Him.
He brings rich blessings to me
And crowns me with good things.
I asked Him for life
And He gives it to me abundantly,
Forever and ever.

My glory is great in Jesus
What a grand and magnificent life I have in Him!
He has blessed me greatly,
Prosperity without end.
My joy overflows because of His presence.
My confidence is in Yahweh,
So I will not be shaken.
I praise Yahweh for His strength
And sing of the mighty victories
He has won for me.

* The Hebrew word for “salvation” is yeshuah. As a name, it is Yeshua, which is Hebrew for “Jesus.”



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Psalm 20 ~ My Help From Heaven


For the past 25 years or so I have been praying through the Psalms each month. The math works out quite handily: 150 psalms divided by 30 days in a month comes to 5 psalms a day. So each day I pray through five psalms, beginning with the first five on the first day of the month, the second five on the next day, and so on. I do not necessarily read through all five each day, however. Sometimes I am caught by one in particular, sometimes by just a section of one, and sometimes even by just a single verse, and I spend my prayer time on that.

This has happened much more frequently in recent years. I have discovered that the more I pray the psalms, the more sensitive I become to them and the more they open up inside of me. Sometimes like an overstuffed suitcase springing wide open when I pop the latch. I never know, from day to day, which portion might hold a fresh revelation for me.
So, although the psalms also have a strong community dimension, they have become very personal for me over the years. They are a large part of my prayer, my meditation, even how I talk to myself. Here is a personal confession I have adapted from Psalm 20.

My Help From Heaven ~ from Psalm 20

Yahweh answers me whenever I am in trouble.
The God of Jacob lifts me out.
He sends me help from His sanctuary,
From the heart of heaven,
From the midst of His people,
From His dwelling place
Deep in my heart.
He remembers the sacrifice,
The blood of Jesus,
Shed on my behalf.*

He gives me the desires of my heart
And fulfills my purpose,
The God-given plans He has for me.
I shout for joy because of the victory He has given me,
And I celebrate the name of our God,
For He has granted all my requests.

Now I know that Yahweh takes care of me in every way,
With salvation, prosperity, and victory from His mighty hand.
Some trust in their own strength, their own resources,
But I will remember and trust in Yahweh our God.
They will collapse and fall
But I will rise up and stand straight.

* “But you have come … to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:24)



Personal Confessions from the PsalmsPersonal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Psalm 19 ~ The Instruction of Yahweh


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

The Instruction of Yahweh ~ from Psalm 19

The instruction of Yahweh is whole and complete;
It makes me come alive.
The testimony of Yahweh is dependable;
When I am foolish, it makes me wise.
The direction of Yahweh is straight and level,
And fills me with gladness.
The word of Yahweh is clean and clear,
And causes me to see.

Yahweh’s honor is pure and lasts forever.
His decisions are always trustworthy and right.
They are richer to me than a fortune in fine gold,
And sweeter than honey fresh from the comb.
They enlighten my way and keep me from danger.
They lead me into a rich, rewarding life.

God instructs me concerning hidden errors
And clears me of faults I did not know.
He pulls me back from willful sins
And will not let them rule over me.
So I am blameless before Him,
Cleansed of a multitude of sins.*

I yield the words of my mouth
And the thoughts of my heart
To Yahweh, my Rock and My Redeemer,
And I have favor before His face.

* “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin ... If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7,9)



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Psalm 18 ~ My Strength in Time of Struggle


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

My Strength in Time of Struggle ~ from Psalm 18

I love you, Yahweh, my Strength.
Yahweh my Rock,
My Fortress,
My Deliverer.
I call upon Yahweh ~
He is worthy of all praise ~
And I am rescued.

When I am in distress, I call upon Yahweh.
I cry out to my God
And He hears my voice.
My cry comes before Him
And He does not turn His ear away from me.
He answers and acts on my behalf.

When I am surrounded by darkness,
Yahweh gives me light.
With Him, I can charge into battle,
By my God, I can leap over barriers.
He is my shield and I trust in Him.

Who is God, except Yahweh?
And who is a rock, except God?
He arms me with strength
And keeps me on the path of victory.
He makes my steps swift and sure,
And He sets me in the high places,
Safe and satisfied.

Yahweh trains me for the battle,
With skill and strength.
He shields me with His salvation
And lifts me up by the might of His hand.
His favor makes me increase.
He gives me room to maneuver quickly and freely.
By Him, I overcome all my foes.

Yahweh lives!
I bless Him as the Rock of my life,
The God of my salvation.
I give Him thanks in front of the whole world
And sing praises to His name,
Because He has given me the victory
And has shown me His faithful love.



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psalm 16 ~ My Inheritance


A personal confession adapted from the Psalms.

My Inheritance ~ from Psalm 16

I put my trust in Yahweh,
I find my refuge in Him.
He preserves me and protects me.
Everything good in my life comes from Him
And I take delight in all His people.

Yahweh is my portion and my inheritance.
He is my cup of blessing.
He sustains me and holds my future.
The boundary lines of my life have fallen in pleasant places.
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

I will bless Yahweh,
Because He guides me.
I think about Him in the quiet of the night
And He instructs me deep in my heart.

I keep my focus on Him, always,
And I will not be fearful of any danger.
So I am lighthearted,
Everything in me whirls and twirls with joy.

For He will not abandon me.
He will show me the path of life.
In His presence is abundant joy
And at His right hand, where I am seated with Jesus,*
Are pleasures that last forever.

* “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:4-8)



Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Personal Confessions from the Psalms
Prayers and Affirmations for a Life of Faith, Happiness and Awe in God
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Believing the King

Nicodemus came to Jesus, recognizing Him as a teacher come from God (John 3:2), but he was immediately confused by what Jesus had to say. “How can these things be?” he asked (John 3:9).

Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:10-12)
There are things Nicodemus, the Pharisees and the Jewish ruling council should have known, and a testimony they should have recognized and embraced, but they did not. “We speak what we know and testify what we have seen,” Jesus said. Some see in this the plural of majesty, the “royal we,” but it seems more likely that Jesus is speaking of Himself and “everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8), so that “Our witness” is essentially the testimony of Jesus and the Spirit. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of heavenly things in earthly terms such as “birth,” “water” and “wind,” yet he did not understand. How then, could he ever hope to understand the things of heaven, the things of the kingdom, the things Jesus came to bring, apart from the new birth that comes from the Spirit of God?

Nevertheless, Jesus continues; He does not turn Nicodemus away but gives him opportunity to receive the witness — and the new birth — of the Spirit. “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man” (John 3:13). The only reliable witness of the things of heaven is the one who comes from there.

Now, pay close attention to how Jesus refers to Himself here; He calls Himself, “Son of Man.” That terminology is very much about the kingdom of God. It is the phrase used in Daniel about the One who comes from heaven and to whom is given “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). From His first words to Nicodemus, Jesus has not ceased speaking to Him about the kingdom of God and the one God anointed as King.

He goes further, with a reference to Moses and the Bronze Serpent. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). In their wanderings through the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land, the children of Israel spoke out against the Lord and against Moses. On one of these occasions, poisonous snakes went through the camp, causing many of the Israelites to die. The people came to Moses repenting of their rebellion and asking him to pray to the Lord on their behalf. God then had Moses make a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole, promising that anyone who was bitten and would look on that bronze snake would live (Numbers 21:4-9). It served as a focal point for their repentance and faith.

It is no coincidence that this story concerns Moses. The Gospel according to John has compared Jesus to Moses from the beginning.
  • In John 1:17, there is the direct statement, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
  • In John 1:21, the Pharisees ask John the Baptist if he is “The Prophet.” This is a reference to a promise God made to Moses: “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). John said he was not that Prophet, but indicated that he was the forerunner (John 1:23-27).
  • In John 1:45, after Phillip begins to follow Jesus, he finds his friend Nathanael and tells him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth.”
Now, in John 3:14-15, Jesus compares Himself to Moses. Remember that the poisonous snakes came because the people rebelled against the Lord and Moses. The remedy was a bronze snake — the image of the very thing that was killing the Israelites! — lifted high. To look on it was to live. In like manner, the Son of Man, to whom is given eternal dominion over all nations, must be lifted up. In this is a reference to the Cross, where Jesus bore in His own body the very thing that was killing us all.

Jesus is the fulfillment of Moses, one like him yet greater than him, The Prophet. He is the Messiah, the Anointed One of Psalm 2: “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2). The only remedy for this rebellion is for the Son of Man to be lifted up. All who look on Him live.

This is the way in which God loved the world (John 3:16): He gave His one and only Son — the one of whom God said, “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6) and to whom He said, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (Psalm 2:7-8). God gave His Son, Jesus, to be “lifted up.” To look on Him, to believe in Him, is to enter into the life that belongs to the ages, even the life of the kingdom age that has come into the world through Him.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Water, Spirit and the Kingdom of God


“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4). Nicodemus was confused. Why would Jesus say to him, a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council and a teacher of Israel, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Nicodemus surely knew about the promise of God’s kingdom; it was his job to know. But being “born again”? Well, that was something for Gentiles who wished to become part of the Jewish faith. When they converted, they received baptism, a ritual bath, and were considered as children newly born to the faith. But Nicodemus was already a faithful Jew and heir to the promises God made to Israel. So why talk to him about being born again?
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
This new birth Jesus talked about was a birth of water and the Spirit, and necessary to enter into the kingdom of God. But what He said next was even more surprising to Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” It was similar to what He had already said, but it was also different. Before, Jesus spoke generically, “Unless one is born again …,” and Nicodemus could think He was referring merely to Gentile converts. But now Jesus made it direct and personal: “You must be born again,” with “you” in the plural form (in the Greek text), referring not just to Nicodemus, but to every Pharisee and, indeed, to every Jew. It was not just Gentiles who needed a conversion experience, the Jews needed it, too.

“How can these things be?” Nicodemus asked (John 3:9). Now he was really confused.

Jesus said, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? (John 3:10).

Nicodemus should have understood this, but he didn’t. There was another well-known promise about the time of Israel’s restoration, which was indeed the time of kingdom fulfillment. God spoke it though Ezekiel the prophet.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)
God used the figure of water as a metaphor of cleansing for all the sins of Israel. He promised them a new heart and a new spirit — His Spirit — not just to be with them but to be in them, so that they would now be able to live faithfully as His covenant people. This is the essence of new birth.

The kingdom of God, the rule and reign of God on earth as in heaven, is the fulfillment of Israel’s story, but Jesus’ message to Nicodemus was that even Jews needed to be converted to it, no less than all the other nations. He reiterated this great need even to His disciples.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
The idea of becoming as little children is that they are completely dependent. Likewise, we must be completely dependent upon God if we are going to be a part of His kingdom. (See also The Kingdom of Little Ones). This dependency is through faith in Jesus, as we will see in the next post.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Promised Kingdom


Nicodemus came to Jesus and recognized Him as “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Jesus spoke to him about the gospel of the kingdom of God. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. God had long promised His people, Israel, that He would anoint a King would come and rule over Israel and the nations. Jesus recognized Nicodemus as a “teacher of Israel” (v. 11), and as such, Nicodemus would have been aware of the various prophesies of the kingdom, such as the following, from Psalm 2.
Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed.
(Psalm 1:1-2)
Yahweh’s Anointed is the Messiah (“Messiah” means Anointed One; in Greek, it is Christos). God says of Him, “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (v. 6). This is the Son, to whom God says,
You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession. (vv. 7-8)
The one God calls “My Son” is the Messiah, the one anointed to be King. Not just king over Israel, but over all the nations of the earth. The prophecies about Messiah are about the kingdom of God inhabiting all the earth. Isaiah spoke of a coming messianic king and a kingdom of ever increasing dominion and endless peace.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7)
This is the gospel God promised would be announced. Isaiah tells of those who would bring the good news, and also what the content of that good news would be:
How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation*,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
(Isaiah 52:7)
The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, uses the word for “evangelize,” to gospel or to preach the gospel, twice in this verse. It is a proclamation of peace and salvation, and the content is about the kingdom. It is the declaration, “Your God reigns!” (*The Hebrew word for “salvation” here is yeshuah, which as a name is Yeshua, the name of Jesus in Hebrew.)

Daniel also prophesies of the promised kingdom and the “Son of Man” (which is how Jesus often referred to Himself), to whom would be given everlasting dominion over all the nations of the world.
I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14)
Jesus not only announced, from the beginning of His ministry and throughout, that the kingdom of God was at hand. At the end of His ministry, He declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). The promised kingdom, the rule and reign of God on earth, had begun.

Nicodemus would have known about the promised kingdom, though he did not recognize that he was in the presence of the King. The question he would ask, however, was not about the kingdom. What perplexed him was why Jesus would be talking to him about being “born again.” There is another important prophesy about the kingdom that he apparently had not understood. We will look at that in the next post.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nicodemus and the Gospel of the Kingdom


Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a member of the Great Sanhedrin (the supreme court of Israel), came to Jesus late one night. “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him,” he said.

Jesus answered him, moving past the question, directly to the heart of what Nicodemus needed to hear. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). A moment later, he reiterated, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:6).

What was Jesus talking about? The immediate answer most evangelicals would likely give is that He was speaking of being “born again,” a birth of “water and the Spirit.” And that is quite true, as far as it goes. But what was He speaking in regard to? Why is it important that one have this new birth? The answer is found in both statements: The kingdom of God — the rule and reign of God, the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. One must be born of water and the Spirit, in order “see” it (to recognize and know and understand it), to enter in and experience it.

Jesus’ ministry was all about the kingdom of God, from the time He began to the time He ascended to heaven. After His baptism, and the Temptation in the wilderness, Jesus came preaching “the gospel of the kingdom of God,” declaring that it was now “at hand” (Mark 1:14-15). Throughout His ministry, He constantly spoke about the kingdom: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35; see also Matthew 4:23 and Luke 8:1). The healings and exorcisms He performed were a demonstration of the presence and power of the kingdom: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). He sent the disciples out to do the same: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:7-8). The message and miracles of Jesus and the disciples were all about the kingdom.

The forty days after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead were a time of revelation about the kingdom. Jesus presented Himself to the disciples, “being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Then, before He ascended to heaven, to His throne at the right hand of the Father, He came to the disciples and said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). This was a declaration about the kingdom, no longer just a future hope but a present reality. What had been promised so often in the Old Testament was not just “at hand,” but had now begun, with Jesus as King.

Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, would have known (or should have) what those promises were (we’ll look at some of those in my next post). His next questions were not about the kingdom of God, but about the startling statement Jesus made, that one must be “born again” to enter into it (we’ll look at that in the post after next).