May 12, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 4

I love the book of Psalms. This book brings real life and theology into a beautiful marriage. Psalm 4 is a wonderful psalm of God’s salvation and His provision. We see His salvation in a few different ways. First, we see it in the past. In verse 1 David recollects God’s past faithfulness to save Him from his enemies. Next, we see God’s present salvation. In verse 3 David speaks out to his enemies and tells them that God has “set apart the godly.” God has saved and continues to protect those He loves. Finally, we see
God’s future salvation.

In verse 8, David speaks about the idea of sleeping in peace because of the assurance that God will continue to keep him protected. We can see this as well in our lives as believers. Jesus has saved us from our sins. They are cleansed and we are forgiven, a past salvation. Praise God that isn’t the end. Hebrews 7:25 and Romans 8:34 tell us of Jesus’ intercession. Jesus is always standing before God the Father claiming us as His own, telling God and all His angels that we belong to Him and that our sins have been
paid for. What amazing grace and awesome love! Of course, we know that one day in the future Jesus will come again and, on that day, “ He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,” These truths should draw us to a worship with awe and joy that is indescribable.

The second thing we see here is God’s provision. David writes of two types of provision in this Psalm. The first one is God providing him with justice. In verse 4 he writes to “be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” David is angry at his enemies and, as many of us would, probably wants justice. In our anger we cannot accomplish God’s righteousness. (James 1:20) God tells us that He is the one who grants justice. David realizes this and says in verse 5, “put your trust in the Lord.” Is there someone in your life that you wish you could see get justice? Remember who the judge is… it’s not you or me.

David also writes of God’s provision of joy. In the midst of tribulations and troubles, David writes verse 7. He tells us that God has given him more joy than anyone that has any worldly possessions. How often do we take for granted God’s joy and yet long for the things of this world? Take joy in that fact that you have Jesus and all His riches and blessings. David sure did.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

May 11, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 3

Memory that Motivates!!

Scripture continues to teach me more truths that inspire me to fall more in love with God! Especially passages like this one! Don’t miss this.

This Psalm, titled, “A Psalm of David, When He Fled From Absalom His Son,” referring to the occasion in 2 Samuel 15-16, is well adapted for Israel to relate to in their times of distress as well as for us to relate to in our times of distress.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”:

Verse one and two of this chapter gives us insight into this desperate situation! Salvation here refers to both physical and spiritual deliverance from danger. And the fact that the enemies are saying this of his SOUL (verse 2) shows that the enemies are basically saying, “your SINS are so bad that God cannot save you!!”

This guy was in desperation. He was physically and spiritually aching. And on top of that, his enemy was telling him that his sins were so bad that he was beyond the reach
of God.

Can you relate? Have you been spiritually or physically aching in one specific area or another? Is the enemy (satan), just like his enemy, telling you that your sins are so bad that you are beyond God’s reach?

Don’t give up yet! Before you lie down and give up due to your struggle, look at the rest of this Psalm and take heed to his example!! In verses 3 – 7, he REMEMBERED! He remembered who God was, he remembered what God had done in his life, he remembered how God had been faithful to Him, he remembered how God had heard his cry, and he remembered the many ways that God had cared for him in the past, and how, by faith, he was able to sleep in peace though faced with danger. He remembered. These past memories built his confidence for the current situation, enabling him to walk by faith and not by sight.

All throughout the Bible we see characters remember. In the dark, they remember what God has done in the light. They remember how He has been faithful to them. They remember how they have been rewarded when they trusted God.

So what about you? Are you in despair? A place of desperation? My answer to you is to remember. Remember who God is, what He has done in your life and how He has been faithful in the past. Remember what He did for you on the cross. Or are you in a place where you are being challenged to give up a certain sin? Is it difficult to trust that God’s way is better? My answer to you is, to remember. Remember His blessings for those who diligently seek Him. Remember who He is, which will enable you to walk by faith and not by feeling. Let your memory motivate you to obedience!!

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

May 10, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 2

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” ~ Forrest Gump. All of us have heard this quote before and it seems so true but actually, it is not true at all. A better statement would be, “life is like an 80’s action movie, different settings and characters but the plot remains the same.” ~Chad Wiles. Solomon summed it up best in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

Psalm 2 picks up this theme as well. The nations and kings set themselves against the Lord trying desperately to overtake His throne. We see this all around us. Nations wage war against one another to gain control over this world for selfish gain, but not a single nation including our own follows the Lord. To take it one step further, many of us, including Christians, rarely make decisions in our everyday lives with the glory of God in mind.

So what does God have to say about it? He laughs at our meaningless toil. There will come a day when God will judge all of us in His wrath. What a humbling thought! So I ask myself, and I encourage you to do the same, where do I place my hope? Do I place it in the things of this world or in God and our Lord Jesus Christ? How do I make decisions? Are my decisions made for the sole purpose of bringing God glory or to bring glory to
myself?

Psalm 2 ends giving us the correct perspective. V.11-12:

“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

It is my prayer that we would all be sweetly broken by the message of the cross and we would humble ourselves before the Lord today. Understand that on our best day we are sinners and only through Jesus blood are we restored. We have nothing else to live for.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

May 9, 2011 — Psalms Begins!

Today you should read: Psalm 1

We’re so excited about starting the book of Psalms today! This new book will take us on a devotional journey through the summer. I truly believe that “There is a Psalm for every sigh of the heart” (Donald Whitney), thus, this book is ideal for us to go through as a church.

When we’re up, it rejoices with us.
When we’re down, it comforts and empathizes.
When we’re confused, it looks to the only wise God for help.

No matter where you are right now in your Christian faith, this journey will bless your soul.

As we kick off, here are two great introductions to the book of Psalms, one from the NLT Study Bible and the other from the ESV Study Bible. These really set a great trajectory for what we’ll be diving into:

“The Lord Jesus and the apostles loved the book of Psalms and quoted from it; beyond that, they lived out of it. These ancient prayers and praises of Israel are also God’s inspired word. The psalms provide a bridge to cross between the Old and New Testaments, and the themes addressed in the psalms find further development in the NT. Jesus connects with the dynasty of David in its mission, its disappointments, and its failures. Where David’s dynasty has failed, Jesus gives hope. His sinlessness, his identification with the suffering of the members of David’s dynasty, his perfect obedience, and his exaltation open up new perspectives on the many questions raised in the Psalter. Yet we are still living by faith; the hope of the book of Psalms, that God’s people will completely fulfill his purposes and that all nations will submit to the Messiah, still remains for the future (see 1 Corinthians 15:25-27).” — NLT Study Bible

The ESV’s introduction ties specifically to what we’re looking at today: Psalm 1. Check it out:

“The first psalm serves as the gateway into the entire book of Psalms, stressing that those who would worship God genuinely must embrace his Law (or Torah), i.e., his covenant instruction. This psalm takes topics found in wisdom literature such as Proverbs and makes them the subject of song; the purpose is that those who sing the psalm will own its values—namely, they will want more and more to be people who love the Torah, who believe it, who see themselves as the heirs and stewards of its story of redemption and hope, and who seek to carry out its moral requirements. They can delight in the idea of being among the “righteous,” feeling that nothing can compare with such blessedness. By its sustained contrast, the psalm reminds readers that in the end there are really only two ways to live .” — ESV Study Bible

That final sentence says it all… there are really only two ways to live. That is the crux of the first Psalm, and essentially, the Bible. There is either hope in God through Christ, or there is the wicked path that leads to destruction. This Psalm must have been on Jesus’ mind when He compared the narrow gate and the wide gate.

Today, I want to pose a series of questions to make us all evaluate our current spiritual state:
1) Have you been following the advice of the wicked in your daily affairs?
2) Have you stood among sinners/joined with mockers lately?
3) Have you been delighting in God’s word? Or is your time with Him sporadic at best?
4) Are you trusting in the path that the Lord has laid out for you?
5) Are you bearing fruit and prospering in Christ?
6) Have you ever truly come into a relationship with Christ? Why not now?

If you’d be so bold, feel free to answer any of these in the comment section below. May the Lord bless you richly today.

Posted by: Todd Thomas