July 24, 2018

Today you should read: Psalm 146

Help and Hope

If a person could have two things consistently in life, these are it. There is nothing in this world we can’t face if we have adequate help and sustaining hope. The good news is that we have both through “the God of Jacob,” “the Lord [our] God.” Because this good news is really good, the psalmist says that the person who has the Lord’s help and hope is “blessed.”

Why is this person blessed? This person is blessed because of who the Lord is and what the Lord does. Ultimately, “The Lord reigns forever.” The ruler and creator of all things wants to be your help and hope, and that’s wonderful news.

We understand, of course, that on this side of the cross, the good news that we’re talking about—being in a relationship with the Lord—is only possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. We are blessed because we’ve been offered the free gift of salvation and, as such, have a relationship with God through Jesus; we have help and hope. That fact should cause us, like the psalmist, to “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord while I live.”

Verses 2–3 warn of the vanity of looking for help and hope in anything temporary. True lasting help and hope are only found in that which is eternal—God and His Word.

Where have you been looking for help and hope? Are there any temporary or fleeting sources that need to be confessed and addressed? Maybe you’ve been seeking for help and hope in things that aren’t even necessarily sinful—going to church, hanging out with Christian friends, Christian radio, etc. None of those are bad, they’re just insufficient when compared to the opportunity we have to be in a loving, life-giving relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

July 23, 2018

Today you should read: Psalm 145

Today, let’s focus specifically on verse 18. The entirety of Psalm 145 focuses on God’s greatness, as well as all He has consistently done. It is a picture of how we should act towards God in response to what He has done for us. But verse 18 speaks to something very specific about God’s character. It is something that is incredibly comforting, and it really amplifies the bigness of God.

Verse 18 says:

 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

This is incredible because it is pointing to the omnipresence of God. It is pointing to the reality that He is everywhere for every person at any given time. This reality is a mind-blowing truth. It not only shows that God is powerful, but also that He has the capacity to care for all of us. I love what C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity: “Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty and every other moment from the beginning of the world is always the present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity tin which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flame… God is not hurried along by the time-stream of this universe…”

As you take some time to pray to God in reflection today, remember that He is present and listening to you. He has time to give, because He is outside the bounds of time, and He wants to lend His ear to you.

By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate

July 21, 2018

Today you should read: Psalm 144

There are so many great verses in this psalm! Read it carefully… I am sure you can recognize some of them from songs we sing. Like many other psalms, this one really highlights the need for God’s protection from enemies and for God’s blessing in wars against enemies. Israel was constantly at war with the surrounding nations who wanted their destruction. They needed the Lord to come through, especially in light of their size in comparison to their enemies. They were constantly the David against many Goliaths.

The psalm begins with the praise, “Blessed be Lord, my rock.” This is an important truth to remember: nothing in life is constant, but the Lord is unchanging. He is steadfast (v. 2), a stronghold (v. 2), a fortress (v. 2), our deliver (v. 2), our rescuer (v. 7 & 11), and the one who gives the victory (v. 10). So whatever enemies you face today, remind yourself of these things.

Over the past few months, we’ve sung this at Center Point. Listen to it and let it set the tone for your day.

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor

July 20, 2018

Today you should read: Psalm 143

David is writing this Psalm when he feels like he is at an all time low. You may question why I would say that David “feels” like he’s at an all time low when he’s hiding in a cave from his best friend’s dad, who happens to be the most powerful person in the nation and is trying to kill him. We read and connect with what David is saying when he’s going through such a dark and discouraging time in our own lives.

He starts off by begging for God to hear him.

“Hear Me, God! Give me your ears. I beg & plead that you listen to me right now.”

He then describes the state of his soul.

“I’m at my all time low. I’m being attacked by my enemies.

My Spirit faints within me. My heart is appalled (great dismay and horror).”

He then tells God that in spite of the state of his soul, he hasn’t forgotten Him.

“I haven’t forgotten you. I remember everything you have done for Israel in the past, for me, personally.”

He then states how his lowly, discouraged soul ultimately THIRSTS for God.

And out of that great spiritual longing he tells God he needs five things; the same five things we thirst for and need when we are discouraged and down.

We need God’s:

  1. Steadfast love (v. 8a)
  2. Faith (v. 8b)
  3. Guidance (v. 8c, 10)
  4. Deliverance & Rescue (v. 9, 11-12)
  5. Help with obedience (v. 10a, 12b)

All five of these things are crucial when we are being attacked by Satan or are going through a fearful trial. We must be reminded of God’s enduring love no matter what hate we face in this world. For David, it was hate to the point of attempted murder. We need faith that helps spur hope and trust in God’s promises and sovereignty no matter the outcome. We need guidance in what to do next and the acceptance of His will, whatever that may be. We need God to deliver and rescue us. God is a deliverer and has the power to do so. We lastly need God’s help to be obedient to whatever He asks in the trial. After all, as David ends this Psalm, we are His servant.

How has God given some of these things to you when you went through a similar dark trial or was in a season of Satan’s attacks?

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor