July 27, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 68:1-18

Rejoice, you who have life!

This psalm allows you to see aspects of God that you may not normally meditate on. It is a victory cry! Verses 1-2 ask God to be the Victor over enemies and foes. Verses 4-18 describe God’s wondrous victory through His actions and characteristics. Verse 3 is the turning point of this section. The beginning verses are asking God to bring death, but verse 3 is encouraging those who have life! Even though God will bring death upon the wicked, He will bring life to the righteous! And those who have life are called to rejoice!

Today’s “Walk-Away”

How often do you rejoice in the finished work of Christ in your life? How often do you experience happiness and joy due to the life that Christ has brought you? How often do you even think about it? It seems that most of our lives are deceivably focused on one thing: ourselves. I say “deceivably” because our joy is truly conditional upon us, our plans, our future, our circumstances, but we tell ourselves that our joy is from God and is for His plan!

I think we have lost sight on what our focus should be. We have lost sight of the true Source of our joy. If our joy is conditional upon anything but the finished work of Christ, which has brought life to sinners, it will not be sustainable.

It is so interesting that this psalm says, “may the RIGHTEOUS be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful!” The condition for joy and happiness is righteousness. We who are in Christ have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb. So rejoice because we are considered righteous before God! Some of you have been miserable for far too long; do you think that maybe it is because the condition for your joy is something other than Christ?

Whatever your “condition” may be, even if it seems godly, make the switch. Make the condition for your joy to be Christ alone and feel your soul rejoice in the only Victor, Christ Jesus our Lord!

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

July 26, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 67

I am blessed. I have a beautiful wife who loves me and loves God. I have a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I have friends who I can count on. I never have to worry about having food to eat or a car to drive. I get to spend time pouring into people through God’s Word which is what I love to do. Honestly, I could go on and on about what God has blessed me with. As I write this, I’m examining my thoughts and wonder if I see these blessings as tools to glorify God or to give myself credit.

Psalm 67 is a prayer asking for God’s blessing on Israel. Israel understands their calling to be a light to the world as God’s people. They want to glorify God through His blessings on them. Israel understood that if they were living for the Lord and lifting Him up that the rest of the world would come to know Him as well (v.1-3). *Note: God’s plan was to save the whole world in the Old Testament as well.

Do we see the blessings in our lives as tools to glorify God or ourselves? Do lost people see my marriage and recognize God in it or do they think that Chad and Marie really have it figured out? Do they see our house and think God really took care of them or that we must have really worked hard to earn this house? I am not sure of the answer to these questions but I do know that the responsibility comes back to me. Do I make sure to give God the glory in everything or do I take some of the glory for myself? When someone comes to my house do I tell them that my wife and I prayed diligently for God to provide a place for us in Lexington and He answered our prayers or do I tell them what a great deal I found? God blesses us all in many different ways every day but many times we like to take the credit for it.

In this psalm, the people of Israel were focused on their purpose as God’s people and wanted to use their blessings to point people toward the Lord. I challenge you to look at your life and ask yourself if you are using it to point people to the Lord. If your answer is anything but “absolutely” then I encourage you to repent and begin to lift God higher than yourself. Remember this life is not about you; it is about God and His glory.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” John 12:32

Posted by: Chad Wiles

July 25, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 66

This is a cool psalm. Have a nice day.

Just kidding! There is so much to say about today’s psalm because it’s loaded with great content. It is a psalm of praise broken down into a handful of distinct, almost stand-alone, stanzas. Let’s walk through them together…

Section 1: v.1-4

The initial stanza is a call to worship. However, it starts with nature and creation, not with people. The psalmist makes a plea to “all the earth” to worship the Lord, bring Him glory, sing His praises, etc. This is a great reminder that all of creation finds its hope in the Lord, not just humans. Read Romans 8:19-21

Section 2: v.5-7

In common form, the psalmist reminds those reading of the Lord’s provision and salvation. Throughout the psalms, you’ll see very similar phrases to verse 6: “He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot.” The Lord saved Israel from Egyptian captivity. He saved Israel when she didn’t think she needed to be saved. This reminder calls us to worship the Lord for all He’s done for us. What has He done for you that you can praise Him for today?

Section 3: v.8-15

One of my study Bibles had a great summary of these verses. Here are some of the highlights that hit me:

The song moves on to the ways in which God has preserved Israel (us) through all manner of trials, without dwelling on whether those trials were brought on by Israel’s own unfaithfulness (as in Judges) or by God’s mysterious purposes (as in Ps. 44:17–22). Strikingly, God has brought Israel through all these, to a place of abundance, and the call goes out to the Gentiles, Bless our God, O peoples! God has chosen his people to be the vehicle by which light comes to the whole world, and thus the preserving of Israel is crucial to all mankind. Gentile Christians can see themselves as part of the fruition of all that God has done for Israel.

Isn’t that cool? We as Gentiles can enjoy the promises of God that He made to His chosen people, because we are now His chosen people!

Section 4: v.16-20

The closing stanza of this song is the psalmist taking the “satisfied customer” approach. He says, “Come and listen, and I will tell you what He’s done.” While we often view this as what we do in evangelism, we ought not limit it to that. God has done great things for all of us. We should constantly tell our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about what God has done and enjoy mutual encouragement and faith.

GOD IS GOOD! Celebrate Him today. Share His goodness with your family and friends. Point the world to Him.

Posted by: Todd Thomas