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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 21

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

At first glance, Psalm 21 may not seem applicable to our modern lives, far removed from kings and kingdoms. But we can learn much from King David. Not only from the chronicle of his life, recorded in previous books of the Bible but perhaps even more so from the Psalms written for and by him. For it is in the psalms where we see David's heart.

What do we see in Psalm 21? We see the powerful and anointed King David giving all the glory to God. His victories in battle, his rise to the kingship, everything David has or has accomplished he attributes to his Lord. 

This humility was not a one-time thing in David's life. It was a pattern and, I believe, his humility before God was one of the reasons God called him a man after His own heart.

The pattern of humility continues in Psalm 51. 
Against You only have I sinned and have done was displeases; (vs 4)
God, create a pure heart for me, and give me a new and steadfast spirit. (vs 10)
God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; You, God, will not despise a chastened heart. (vs 17)
There are parts of Psalm 51 I pray often. I hope you will too.

In Psalm 81 we again find Asaph, one of David's lead musicians, praising God and speaking the cry of God's heart, "If My people would but listen to Me . . ." (vs 13) You can almost feel the anguish God must feel when His people ignore His word. It reminds me of Christ weeping over Jerusalem.

Psalm 111 is one to sing to Jesus and holds a hidden gem:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and they who live by it grow in understanding. (vs 10)
Finally, Psalm 141 holds a prayer that many of us might find beneficial to pray often:
Lord, set a guard on my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips, (vs 3)
Praise the Lord! With all my heart I shall give thanks to the Lord. Great are the works of the Lord. His deeds are full of majesty and wonder; His righteousness stands sure for ever. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Shalom,










Friday, October 20, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 20

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Are you facing a battle today? Then Psalm 20 is for you. This psalm is the prayer of the king on the eve of battle. But you can make it your own. God is faithful.

Psalm 50 contains some verses that may challenge our understanding and view of God.
God, the Lord God, has spoken and summoned the world (vs 1)
When you have done these things, and kept silent, you thought that I was someone like yourself; (vs 21)
The whole world? Yes. Summoned them (us) to what? Listen. Follow. Act.

How often do we bring God down to our level? and view Him and His actions on human terms. There is a clear warning here.

The following psalms, 80 and 110, point to the Messiah and fill us with hope for the future.
Let Your hand rest on the one at Your right side, the one whom you have made strong for Your service. (Psalm 80:17)
Sit at my right hand, and I shall make your enemies your footstool. (Psalm 110:1 cf Matt 22:42-45)
You are a priest for ever, a Melchizedek in My service. (Psalm 110:4 cf Heb 7:17)
Oh, Beloved, these verses stir my soul and ignite my anticipation for Advent . . . just a few weeks away!

Truly Jesus is God's answer to our pleas for mercy!

I wonder how often Jesus sang these songs about Himself and wept over the blindness of those who listened.

Let us not be deaf to their message today.

Shalom,






Thursday, October 19, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 19

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

I'm overwhelmed by today's readings. I could spend a day expounding on each one. Psalm 19 ends with a prayer that we would be wise to begin with:
Cleanse me of any secret fault. Hold back Your servant also from willful sins, lest they get the better of me.
The psalm begins by putting us properly in a place of humility before the awesome and awe-inspiring God we serve. (vs 1-6)

Psalm 49 reminds us that we could never pay the price for our sins. (vs 7) and assures us that God will do what we cannot. (vs 15)

Psalm 79 is a cry for national justice. This psalm is one of three that are attributed to Asaph, one of David's chief musicians. He was a Levite, in Jerusalem at the time it was overtaken by the Babylonians. 

In contrast, Psalm 109 is a cry for personal justice. I find it hard sometimes to concur with the complete lack of compassion in some of these verses. But it's important to remember that David was God's chosen and anointed king. For the same reason that David would not lift a hand against Saul, actions taken against David were viewed as being taken against God Himself.

I think it is difficult for us to see sin as the dark evil it truly is. We prefer to view things in shades of grey. [click to tweet]

Psalm 139 wraps everything neatly together. Reminding us that, "You Lord know all about it." And that no matter where we are, God is with us.

I can't decide which is the better prayer to end with, so I'm incorporating them both!

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my mind be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer! (Psalm 19:14)

Examine me, God, and know my mind; test me, and understand my anxious thoughts.  Watch lest I follow any path that grieves You; lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Shalom,







Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 18

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Today's reading is song after song singing God's praise and shouts of His deliverance. David has much to thank and praise God for in Psalm 18 and Psalm 78 records a long history of God's faithfulness and deliverance of the Hebrew people.

What about you? Have you written an account, maybe even in the form of a song that tells of God's faithfulness and deliverance in your life? 
... so that it might be known to a future generation, to children yet to be born, and they in turn would repeat it to their children. Psalm 78:6
Perhaps you're keeping a record in a journal or on a blog.  There are many ways we can tell of His faithfulness.

Psalm 138 is a personal favorite of mine. I like to turn the last verse into a prayer before God:

Lord, accomplish Your purpose for me. Your love endures forever. Do not abandon what You have made. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Do you have a favorite Psalm or verse you like to pray to Him?

Shalom,






Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 17

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Psalm 137 ends with some rather graphic language that is likely to offend our genteel sensibilities. Few of us living in first-world countries can relate to having our homeland overthrown, being captured and taken away in exile. The graphic language here helps us understand the depth of loss the Israelites experienced and hints at the brutality of the Babylonians.

This psalm always brings Daniel (of Daniel and the lion's den) to my mind and it is within his story that God's true purpose and teaching bare itself out. Daniel was one of the exiles brought to Babylon as a young man. But unlike the Israelites in Psalm 137, Daniel did not "lay down his lyre". Using the wisdom God gave him, Daniel remained loyal to his God and lived, even flourished in a pagan land.

There is a great lesson here for us, beloved. The more evil and chaotic our society becomes, the more I want to retreat. But that is not what God would have us do. Daniel's life it a testimony and a great source of wisdom and insight for us in the Babylon of today.

There are two other psalms I'd like you to spend time with today. Psalm 107 gives a faithful account of God's mercy and redemption in a variety of situations. Maybe you'll find yourself in these verses? 

And finally, let us clap our hands and sing aloud, sing Psalm 47 to Jesus.

How awesome is the Lord Most High, great King over all the earth!

Shalom,


PS If you're interested in a study of Daniel, I highly recommend Alistair Begg's And He Shall Reign sermons. You can find them here. Free downloads are available.





Monday, October 16, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 16

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Psalm 106 reveals a cycle of faith and failures by God's people. The lesson here can be applied both collectively and individually. 

Where are we as a Church in this cycle? Where are you?

The key to staying on the faith side of the equation is found in Psalm 16:8
I have set the Lord before me at all times; with Him at my right hand, I cannot be shaken.
For the times we fail to do this, there is grace. The road to grace is not hidden but it is narrow and only easily discerned through humble eyes. [click to tweet]

Do you see humility in the Church today? Where? When faced with the truth of God's sovereignty and the ugliness of our own sin, do we respond with humility?

Humility is the key that unlocks the door to grace. [click to tweet]

Psalms 46 and 76 reveal a warrior God. A majestic and awesome God who breaks arrows and smashes shields. Are you ready for Jesus to return and reveal in glory His place as King?

If you are, then join with me today in singing Psalm 137 to Jesus.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His love endures for ever!

Shalom,


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 15

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.



Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

I have a note in my Bible above Psalm 105, it says:
"This history is about knowing the eternal purposes of the living God Who stands behind all these names, places, and events."
The same Lord that directed them is now directing us.

Praise the Lord.

Shalom,




#write31days

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 14

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Today's first reading greets us with the grave words echoed by Paul in Romans 3. We, the collective human race, is depraved, unfaithful, and altogether corrupt. Psalm 44 seems to add insult to injury as it tells of God's rejection and humbling of His people. Psalm 74 continues:
God, why have You cast us off? and is it forever?
And then Psalm 104 helps us remember that everything we are everything we have, comes from Him:
What You give them they gather up; when You open Your hand, they eat their fill of good things.
Thanks be to God our story does not end in depravity! The Lord has blessed us indeed. But not just by supplying for our physical needs. He has made provision for our spiritual needs as well.

Where once we were dead in our transgressions - we are now alive in Christ!

Truly He has blessed us!  Come let us bless Him in return. Let us lift up our hands and bless the Lord!

Shalom,








Friday, October 13, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 13

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

You may have noticed a recurring theme in many of David's psalms. They often begin with a lament over God's abandonment and cries of suffering, yet they almost always end with praise and rejoicing over all God has done.

This is no dichotomy, beloved. Rather it is a beautiful picture of a life lived by faith. The apostle Paul begged God to remove his affliction but God said no. "My grace is sufficient for you..."

Christ Himself asked God to remove "this cup" and was denied.

So you see, when we are denied our prayers we are in the best of company. I pray this will comfort you a little but perhaps this will comfort you even more: 

When we feel abandoned and denied by God we need to remember that, in truth, He has done neither. [click to tweet]

Our feelings often lie to us. Never more so than when they tell us God has abandoned us. That is one of the enemy's favorite lies!

The truth is that God has promised that He will never forsake us or abandon us. (Heb 13:5) 

And what about those prayers we feel have been denied? That one is a little more tricky to reconcile in our hearts. But today's readings help move us toward understanding if we read prayerfully and with an open mind.

Psalm 73 brings clarity to our confusion when evil seems to prosper. 
I set my mind to understand this but I found it too hard for me, until I went into God's sanctuary, where I saw clearly what their destiny would be. (vs 16-17)
Psalm 103 reminds us again and again about God's compassion, righteousness, and justice.
He has not treated us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our misdeeds. (vs 10)
Beloved, when we begin to see that God's "no" is not about us and our lack (Christ lacked nothing) but more about Him and His righteousness it changes everything. We can know the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7), we can, like Paul, be content in all circumstances (Phil 4:11). We can, like the great cloud of witnesses before us, walk by faith. (Heb 11-12)

We can, like the psalmist, sing, Bless the Lord, oh my soul!

Shalom,








Thursday, October 12, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 12

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Our first reading today reminds us of the power of the spoken word. We've seen the truth of this in the public arena and I'm sure all of you have experienced this in your own lives. Words can build up and they can destroy. The pattern of one or the other in a person's life can shape their psyche and greatly influence their actions and perspective.

But there is one Word that trumps them all. God's word. Not only God's Word in the form of Jesus Christ, Who will break the bonds of the toxic words in your life and give you a renewed heart and mind but the word of God in the form of the holy scriptures is there to instruct and guide us in our every day lives.

God's word is pure (vs 6), infallible, and will stand forever.

When we are in distress and cry out to God, His light and His truth will be our guide. Psalm 42:3 When we need to know how to pray for our leaders and our nation, His word guides us. Psalm 72 When we need to be reminded of our position before God, His word reminds us that He laid the earth's foundations and that heaven and earth will pass away, but He will remain. Psalm 102 Best of all, when we need it the most, His word reminds us of His promises and gives us hope. Psalm 132

When was the last time you told your husband how much you respect him and how thankful you are for his love? Or told your child how proud you are of them, how special they are to you? Or told your wife what a great partner she is and what a great job she is doing in taking care of you and your family? Or thanked a friend or parent for the influence and encouragement they've been in your life? 

It doesn't have to be a big speech. Just a few, purposefully spoken words can breathe life into someone and change their day. You never know, it might even change their life.

I am extremely thankful for each and every one of you. Whether I know you or not, whether you comment or not. If you're here, you matter to me and you matter to God.

Today, may the words of our mouth speak life to all we meet. 

Shalom,




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 11

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.



Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Somewhere in this great book of Psalms is the cry of your heart. If you haven't found it yet, you will. We're not even halfway through.

Few can read Psalm 11, especially verse 3 and not identify with David's feeling of helplessness when it appeared that evil was winning the day.
When foundations are undermined, what can the just person do?
Perhaps you're finding hope in the promise of Psalm 41:3 today?
On his sick-bed He nurses him, transforming his every illness to health.
Are you of the many who can sing the song of joy from Psalm 71:23?
Songs of joy will be on my lips; I shall sing to You because You have redeemed me.
Have you made the vow of Psalm 101? To lead a blameless life, silence the wicked, and bring evildoers to justice?
Morning after morning I shall reduce all the wicked to silence, ridding the Lord's city of evildoers.
No matter what Psalm may be the cry of your heart today, Psalm 131 should be a guide for all of us. It is one of the psalms of ascent. One of the psalms that Jesus and all the Jews would sing as they made their way up to Jerusalem for prepare for the Passover feast.

It reminds us to keep our hearts humble before God. (vs 1)

To see others as better than ourselves. (vs 1b)

To keep an attitude of humility (vs 1c)

and simplicity in our daily lives. (vs 1d)

To be quiet before the Lord. (vs 2)

Trusting completely in Him now and for evermore. (vs 3)

What Psalm is the cry of your heart today?

Shalom,






Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 10

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Did you notice anything particular about today's reading?

Psalm 70 repeats the closing verses of Psalm 40. I couldn't find anything specific in the commentaries that explained this but I think whenever anything in scripture is repeated it behooves us to pay attention.

The cry of David in these verses could easily be the echo of Christ's voice going back across time.

"Hurrah! Hurrah!"

"Crucify! Crucify!"

As we identify with Jesus in His suffering it becomes our cry as well. Yet, even as we identify with the sufferings of Christ, we are, at the same time, surrounded with the truths of God and His infinite love for us.

He hears the lament of the humble. Psalm 10:17

He bends down to me and listens. Psalm 40:1

HIs faithfulness endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5

His love is unfailing and His power great to deliver. Psalm 130:7

We can raise our voices with David's because we know that God will answer us. 

It is for this reason that we enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!

Shalom,


Monday, October 9, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 9

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Have you ever felt like a guest in your own home? It's not an altogether comfortable feeling. Perhaps you've felt some of that restlessness, that alienation in your life in general. Beloved, this is no strange thing. King David recognized the truth of our human existence. He considered himself a "passing guest." (Psalm 39:12)

God has created this world for us and expects us to tend it with love and care. But this world is not our home. We and everything in it are but a "puff of wind . . . a passing shadow."

This great truth should not fill us with dread but rather with hope! All throughout the Psalms, indeed the entire Bible we are assured that He has prepared a place for us where we will dwell with Him forever. Hallelujah!

Those who acknowledge Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, do not abandon those who seek You. Psalm 9:10

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

Shalom,






Sunday, October 8, 2017

Inspired by . . . Sing to Jesus: Day 8

Continuing the #write31day challenge  . . . you can find the entire series here.


Today's Reading:


Today's Offering:

Did you see the full moon the other night? Wow! Spectacular! Celestial displays always turn my mind to God. My thoughts often mirror those of the psalmist in today's reading.

When I look up at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, at the moon and the stars You have set in place, what is a frail mortal, that You should be mindful of him, a human being, that You should take notice of him?

Out of all the things God has made, we are His favorite. We are His beloved. We, yes YOU, are who He sent His Son to die for, that we, yes YOU, might have life and live with Him forever.

The next time you look up and see something extraordinary, may you be reminded of this truth.

Blessings on your Sabbath, beloved,