The 39th Year


This month I entered into my 39th year. I felt the Lord impress upon me to turn to Psalm 39 and so I did… and as I read He spoke the hard truth to my heart.

I said, “I will guard my ways
That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
While the wicked are in my presence.”
I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
Lord, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.
“Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Make me not the reproach of the foolish.
“I have become mute, I do not open my mouth,
Because it is You who have done it.
“Remove Your plague from me;
Because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing.
“With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity;
You consume as a moth what is precious to him;
Surely every man is a mere breath. 

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner like all my fathers.
“Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again
Before I depart and am no more.”

I have been walking faithfully with the Lord since Psalm 25. He used Psalm 25 to bring me back into fellowship with Him three days before my 25th birthday. Last year I survived Psalm 38. I didn’t think I would… but He is faithful. Now I step into Psalm 39.

The 39th Psalm begins with David sharing how he stayed silent. He stayed silent and guarded his mouth with a muzzle while the wicked were in his presence. Perhaps he stayed silent as to not say something cruel. Perhaps he stayed silent so as not to offend. Perhaps he stayed silent in order to protect himself. Perhaps he stayed silent in order to not reveal his position. It doesn’t really matter the why of the silence, because the result of the silence was felt regardless of the reason for it.

He shares that in his choice of silence while in the presence of the wicked, he EVEN refrained from good. 

His sorrow grew worse.

His heart was hot.

His musing burned within him.

I have a tendency to be hurt and just tuck it in and walk away. Then the hurt just turns in me, over and over and over, as if on instant replay. I read Psalm 39:3 and I get the picture of someone using friction to start a fire. The musing is like rubbing the two sticks together and the more you rub them the breakdown of the wood creates the smolder and the smolder the fire.

When we try to suppress our hurt or when we wrestle with the realities of evil and pain in this life, regardless of their source, apart from God we create this friction, this burning, and if we refuse to bring it to the throne of God and wrestle it out WITH Him, it will indeed destroy us.

I understand where David was at… in his attempt to not screw up around the wicked, he stopped doing anything. He just quit. Have you been there beloved? Have you been trying to serve God with a full and obedient heart and have found yourself being attacked on every side from those you never expected it to come, in a way that you never expected to be? Blindsided by those you never before would have labeled “wicked”? Wounded, have you found that you now just refrain even from doing good?

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:9


But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

2 Thessalonians 3:13


And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Hebrews 13:16

In Psalm 39:4 I can see David in his hurt and in his inner churning and heart burning throwing his hands up to God and crying out… basically saying, “What is the point!?!?

I know that cry… I have made it myself.

I have learned truly how short life is and how we are indeed a mere breath. We have a very short time on this earth. Even if we live to see a hundred plus… to those who are separated from us that time is simply not enough. We desire more. We desire eternity. Indeed, even a hundred years is as a mere breathe. 

I watch our American world today and listen to the things that we are in such an uproar over and stressed out concerning and I agree with the words of David in Psalm 39:6

Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

There is only one thing that matters… Is my heart in the hands of God? Is my soul alive with the Spirit of God?  Do I possess Christ? Am I sojourner with the LORD? Really… does Christ possess me?

When I am at my wits end, when I have stepped into a pit of hurt and confusion and darkness and I no longer know up from down and have even found myself questioning the goodness of the God I cry out to and trust in… when I remember that my heart is His and that all souls that are in His Son are safe in His hands… I find myself on my knees remembering my hope alone is in Him.

I know He alone holds the answers. I know He alone is sovereign. I know that good or bad, joyful or painful, He for some reason has allowed it. I know that anything not in Him will be consumed as a moth. This includes this earthly body.

Which included my Daddy, and my Phillis, and now my Daddy-in Law who is preparing to enter into eternity. Which includes myself, my children, my friends, my co-workers, my schoolmates, strangers that I pass on the street… our bodies will perish, but there is one thing that is eternal in this life and that is our souls.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Christ came to save souls. Christ saved my soul, in order to use my soul, my mind, my might, my strength, my body to serve Him to save other souls.

People are what matter.

God loves people.

God sent His Son to save people.

I have learned that when I find myself hurt and churning here in this life, it’s because I have made something consumable more precious than what is not consumable… which is an eternal soul.

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57

And then there is the grand conclusion…

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Oh beloved of God… NEVER allow any hurt by what is perishable and consumable to keep you from doing good and investing in what is not perishable or consumable… which is the human soul.

Your toil is not in vain when it is in the LORD… for nothing IN HIM will be destroyed.

Tonight at my parents home my mother brought up the question… a question every one who professes to be a believer should ask, “when was the last time I shared the gospel to someone or led someone to Christ?”

Not invited to church… but shared the gospel and led to Christ. Is my life a pathway to the Lord for those watching it being lived out? Am I a light in the darkness?


(This post was updated on December 25th, 2015 at 11:30pm)