August 9, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 78:1-39

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~George Santayana

In Psalm 78, the author begins with a recollection of the glorious deeds that God performed for Israel. We see the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites as God delivered them from the Egyptians. God provided water from rocks in the wilderness and rained down manna from heaven so that Israel would not starve to death. Although God did so many wonders in their sight and preserved Israel according to the covenant made with Abraham they still did not believe.

In spite of everything that Israel had seen they still chose to sin against God. Verses 33-35 focus in on God’s judgment on Israel. It wasn’t until God took away His favor and poured out judgment that Israel turned back to the Lord. However, their turning back was not to worship God but to preserve themselves. It was all about them.

“But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.” Psalm 78:36-37

At this point, if I were God I would have just destroyed the whole nation of Israel. They only cared about themselves. They had a very “what have you done for me lately” attitude. Fortunately for us God has a heart of compassion. He looked past their iniquities and held to his promise. (v.38-39)

So what does all this mean to us?

We are the next generation that verse 6 is talking about. We have to look carefully at Israel and learn from them. We should take warning from verse 8… “they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

So where is your hope? Do you recognize that every time you sit down for a meal that God provided that for you. When it is 95 degrees outside and you are sitting in a house with air-conditioning do you remember that it was God who provided that? If you are a believer in Christ how often do you think about Jesus dying on a cross, so that by grace you would have the privilege to be adopted back into a relationship with God?

I pray that today you would put your hope in the Lord and give Him the glory for your life because it is by His grace that you have been saved. Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

August 8, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 77

Psalm 77 is yet another psalm broken into a number of sections. After every section, you will find the word “Selah”, which simply means an instrumental break or interlude. Interesting fact: my wife Serah’s name was based on a derivative of that word (though Genesis 46:17 also has a Serah mentioned in it too).

In the first section (verses 1-3), Asaph cries to the Lord for help. He “stretches his hands out toward heaven”, which shows a common biblical posture of prayer. It is as if he is literally reaching for help while crying out for help. I often try and practice this as well in my personal prayer time because it is a sign of surrender and submission to the Lord. In other psalms, the lifting of hands often accompanies getting on our knees before the Lord, another appropriate posture of prayer and worship when we consider who the Lord is.

The second section (verses 4-9) describes a place many of us have been before: a lack of rest because of our troubles. When was the last time your circumstances disturbed your sleep? Did you turn to the Lord? Or did you simply try and find all of the ways you would solve the situation? Asaph turned to the Lord, even when He felt like the Lord wasn’t there.

Section three (verses 10-15) is sets perspective for the psalmist and for us. While his circumstances seemed awful, Asaph looked to the past to remember the faithful character of God:

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. Psalm 77:11-12

When we go through difficult times, we must not simply look at the moment of distress as our description of God’s faithfulness. Our human intuition will cause us to blame God and forget how good He has been. Remember how gracious He has been to you.

The final section (through verse 20) is an appeal to God’s power as Creator. If the Lord created the world and everything holds together in Him (John 1, Colossians 1), then He is more than able to speak into our circumstances and bring peace. It’s just like when Jesus told the storm to “be still”. He can utter those words to physical storms and they listen. Do you believe He can speak those same words to the storms of your life? They will listen too.

Church, let’s run to Christ for our peace today. If you need prayer or encouragement today, feel free to leave a comment below. We’re here for you.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

August 6, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 76

Psalm 76 was written by Asaph. Asaph was the grandson of the prophet Samuel (1 Chronicles 6:24). He and his male descendants were set aside by King David to worship God in song and music. He was the first worship pastor. He wrote Psalm 50 and 73-83.
Psalm 76 begins with reminding us that God is to be honored in our lives. We exist to make Him famous!

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20

How does your life make Jesus famous? Now… let’s get honest – what about your life detracts from His fame?

Verses 2-10 tell us that God is a powerful defender. He is able to protect us in any situation and from any foe.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High 
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: 
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; 
he is my God, and I trust him. Psalm 91:1-2

How do you need to trust Him more? In what specific areas? What does your lack of trust imply?

Verse 11 informs us to make sure we keep the commitments we make to God.

When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

What promises have you made God that you have recanted on? Where have you dropped the ball? Go back and repent of this and re-establish those promises today!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

August 5, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm75

Psalm 75 is the answer to the prayer in Psalm 74 as it points forward to the day Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior will return! Can you imagine what that day will be like?

Think just a moment on the new heaven and the new earth. I think the majority of Christians don’t think about this as they ought. So, if you don’t, take time now to think about how life will be when Christ returns. No pain. No sorrow. We will work, but we will not strain or toil in vain (work was there before the fall). Families will not be broken. There will be no pain or suffering…only singing, rejoicing, and making much of God through glorifying Him and giving Him praise throughout all eternity. Oh, how I long (I know you do, too) for that day!

Now, dive back into Psalm 75. You can hear the psalmist and his singing anticipation for when the wicked will be wiped away and the righteous shall reign under the authority and glory of God.
In conjunction, verse 1 and 2 make clear that the Savior leads His people in giving thanks to God for ALL of His wonderful works and waiting in anticipation for His return (of which only God knows). Verse 3 is interesting because at a specific time when earthly government is falling apart the King will come, at the appointed time, and set up His new kingdom with those who are righteous.

Verses 4 and 5 are a cutting challenge to those who are boastful and wicked. He makes clear to those who are boasting to not be “so” confident and questions the wicked, “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?” He warns them not to exalt themselves. He makes clear in verses 6 and 7 that He is the One who brings men down and lifts them up – He is the supreme Ruler.

As you read verses 9 and 10 they will remind you again of the new kingdom. Jesus is the speaker and He is singing songs of praises to the God of Jacob. How amazing it is to think that God is STILL carrying out His promise to Abraham and redeeming to Himself a people, a nation, a remnant through that everlasting promise. And it is made clear that the wicked will be cut off, but the power and glory of the righteous will grow!
Oh how I long for the return of Christ – we will sing – those who are God’s chosen people with an everlasting shout of praise, giving God honor and glory for the rest of the ages!
Worship God-Enjoy God-Be useful to God’s Kingdom.

Posted by: Zach Monroe