August 4, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 74

This Psalm is a plea for divine help and restoration. The writer lies out before God how the enemy has defiled the temple, destroyed His city, and taken His people hostage. God’s people are in desperate need and great distress, however, this psalm is not about their need. The writer tells God that His name and reputation are being tarnished by this attack and his main concern is His (God’s) honor and continued praise. The writer then reminds God of how He had helped His people in the past when they were in similar

Often times in our lives, when we face trials and difficult circumstances, we ask God to help us by taking away the circumstance so we can get back to where we were. We rarely have a God-oriented perspective on our situations. When we have a hard time or a circumstance that causes us to lose sight of God our natural and often, first response is to make sure we are taken care of and made whole. Once that happens then we come back to God and assess our relationship with Him. When was the last time something bad happened to you and your immediate response was, “how can God get glory from this?”, or, “how does this affect the way people see and worship God?” The world is watching us and the people in your world are waiting to see how you handle each day’s troubles.

Do you complain and try desperately to find personal comfort and satisfaction or do you turn everything into an opportunity to see God honored, to see Jesus lifted high so that He can draw all men to Himself? We live in a nation that advertises self-comfort and self-centeredness. We need to be a people consumed with how God’s great name can advance in and through us and our life circumstances and penetrate our world, just like this psalm expresses.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

August 3, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 73

Eternal Perspective…

What a great and encouraging word! Can you relate to this psalm?
Here is what’s happening: He is seeing the prosperity of the wicked! In our world, it’s like seeing your friends or family, who don’t live for God, have a good and happy life. They don’t live for God, they don’t feel guilty about disobeying God, they don’t confess or repent, and yet their lives are good! They seem to be pretty happy and there doesn’t seem to be any “bad” consequences. It seems a little unfair for those who try, day-in and day-out, to obey God and spend time with God! Can you relate?

The psalmist writes in verse 2 that his “foot had almost slipped,” meaning that he almost gave in to these feelings that he was having. He goes on from verse 2 through verse 12 to describe how the “wicked” are living great lives! And verse 13 is the kicker; he goes as far to say, “surely in vain have I kept my heart pure.” Basically, he is saying…”I’ve lived for God for nothing!! It doesn’t matter! My life isn’t any better!” In verse 16 he discusses how much this thought weighed down on him. How about now, can you relate?

So, how does he get from his disappointed state in verses 1- 16, to verses 23- 26, where he basically says, “I don’t want anything else but God!” That seems contrary to everything he just said! Well, we see in verse 17 that everything changes…that’s where I want to land today.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

What does it mean to have an eternal perspective? You hear this a lot, but do you really think like this. Do you consider this present suffering as nothing in comparison to the glory that is to be revealed (Romans 8:18)? Do you have consistent joy because you know this life is short, and soon you will see Christ? OR does every little bad thing in your life seem like the end of the world? Do you meditate on the shortness of life and have an eternal perspective? This man did.

In verse 17, he says “until I entered into the sanctuary of God.” He is basically saying that He fixed his eyes on GOD! He saw God for who He was and gained a God sized perspective. He saw God’s plan and it changed him!! It changed him so much that he said some of the most powerful words in all of history, “whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v 25-26). WOW! He is basically saying, “God, you are the only thing that fills me up, you are my portion, and I don’t want anything else but you!” He goes on to say “for me, it is good to be near God” (v.28). He goes from thinking that there is no point to living for God (verses 1- 16) to not wanting anything else but God (verses 17-28)! All because he fixed his eyes on God and gained an eternal perspective. He saw how short life is and how long eternity is.

So, how about you? Do you feel like living for God has become pointless? Well, my solution for you is to gain an eternal perspective. Think about how short this life is. Think about the fact that God could take your life today. What’s the point of living for anything else? What’s the point of wasting your life by chasing other things? It will be over shortly. And the final destiny of the wicked is eternal death. It is far wiser to live for God now than it is to suffer for it in eternity. Thinking eternally also involves the way you view your trials. There is far more joy when you are thinking with eternal perspective.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

August 2, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 72

In Psalm 72, we see David praying for justice for his people Israel. David’s prayer not only shows heart of God for that time period but foreshadows the eternal plan of God through Christ.

First, we see the implications for that day. The king of Israel was considered a son of God and God worked through the king to rule his people Israel. David is pleading for justice and righteousness so that he could defend the poor and needy and bring honor to God. David also wanted all other nations and tribes to bow down before him. At first glance that request seems selfish and that David is power hungry, however, David is showing the will of the Lord to save all peoples and all nations. If the other nations submit to the rule of the Davidic King they bring themselves under the rule of God.

Second, this psalm points us to God’s eternal plan through Christ Jesus. Christ, who comes to us through the line of David, is the true son of God. Through Christ God brings righteousness to all people who submit to His Lordship.

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross satisfied the wrath of God bringing justification, righteousness, and grace to all of those who believe in Jesus name, the son of God.

We live in a day and time where we see ourselves as individual nations. Most of us are proud of our heritage but as Americans we are mostly out for our own well being. We are the kings and queens of our own proverbial castles. So, do we submit to the rule and reign of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do you individually? Do you as a family? When I see David pray for Tarshish to render tribute to the Son I can’t help but ask the same for us. The only way to experience grace is to lay down the rule and reign of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

August 1, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 71

Psalm 71 is filled with:

—deep theological concepts
—desperate pleas for God’s help
—strong desires for retribution
—passionate worship and devotion

In 24 verses, the psalmist, who is unknown, ties together all of these concepts into a song to the Lord. It is pretty clear when you study this psalm that whoever wrote this borrowed content from earlier psalms (similar to Matthew & Luke borrowing from Mark, etc). In fact, you might be wondering why there is so much repetition (sometimes word-for-word) in the psalms, and this is something I would like to address in today’s Jumpstart.

For example, today’s psalm says:

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:1-3

You might think this looks familiar. Well, that’s because we’ve already been through Psalm 31 (Davidic) as well:

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me… Psalm 31:1-3

While you might be thinking, “Is this guy plagiarizing David?”, let me offer a word of support for this. The psalmist has learned from his predecessor. He can’t help but regurgitate what his king taught him. And he should, especially if his king was godly. A wise man once said “We stand on the shoulders of giants.” In other words, we are here because of those who came before us. If we learn from them, we’re going to teach what they passed down to us. Besides, “there’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) anyways, right? Another support to this is that Jesus quotes plenty of the Old Testament. Maybe we need to stop trying to reinvent some wheels and simply teach what God has already laid before us.

And maybe, just maybe, God put certain concepts and verses in the Bible multiple times because He knew that we would need repetition to drive home truth into our sin-plagued minds.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

**Continue to pray for our Brazil Team. We have an exciting week of ministry ahead.**