Monday, May 31, 2010
You can read a sermon on Proverbs 15:8 by John Piper here.
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (NIV)
A gentle response diffuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire (The Message)
Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (NIV)
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. (The Message)
Our attitudes and words have a huge influence on not only us, but those around us.
Though obviously these verses are applicable for all areas of life, today they made me think of parenting and the power my attitudes and words have over my children and the overall atmosphere of our home.
The saying goes "If Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and unfortunately that saying is very true. However, happily, the reverse would be just as true.
Smiling is infectious. So is laughter.
It's true. Try it if you don't think so. If you smile at someone, almost inevitably they will smile back at you. Unless they think you're up to something :)
As mother's we have the power and ability to influence the atmosphere of our homes from the moment we get up to when we get into bed.
If I greet the day with a smile on my face (v 13) and patience and encouragement on my lips (v 1), I am going to help my family be in a good mood and help deflect arguments and minor skirmishes that regularly occur when humans spend time together in close quarters.
But if I am sad, impatient, curt or even harsh in my tone - I can see the change on those little faces. And it rightly fills me with remorse. Thankfully, children are very quick to forgive when their parents repent and ask for forgiveness. And truly, almost nothing makes the same impressesion on a child as seeing their parent (whom they love and respect and want to be like) admit when they are wrong, make amends and request forgiveness.
Determine to answer gently. Determine to smile and laugh more. And watch your house be transformed!
Lord, I thank you for the myriad of emotions we are able to feel every day. Help us to deal with our emotions properly. Help us not to let our emotions, fickle as they are, rule us and those around us. Help us see the tremendous power and influence our words and attitudes have on the atmosphere in our homes. Lord, we want to exercise patience in word and deed, we want to answer gently, we want to smile and see that smile reflected on the faces of our children, we want to infuse our homes with joy - give us the strength to do that consistently, faithfully, even when we don't feel like it because we know it is the right thing to do. Thank you Father.
Tomorrow's passage: Proverbs 17-19
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing."
We Christians carry on our backs everywhere truth, amazing and profound. We can say something to someone absolutely right on but our method of delivery has everything to do with their hearing Christ in us. Wisdom is characterized by humility in the other verses in today's passages and when we deliver it it needs to reflect that quality. We humans are all on level ground before the cross that has no place for cutting remarks to fellow believers or unbelievers. When I see someone deliver truth with this attitude I struggle with great frustration and I feel it when I do it myself. I love what is said about the way Jesus presented the gospel in these verses:
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
"For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ."
How often we (and remember when I say, we I include myself) carry one around without the other. The sad thing about this is that we damage the gospel when we don't carry them in harmony as Christ did. Our own sin taints this. Pride that we have truth revealed to us (which should instead be humble joy), and this can lead to us feeling we are more spiritual than others to the point of it blotting out our humility all together. Our humble hearts help us stay at the foot of the cross where we belong. They keep us sensitive to the pain of others, the distance they are from God and their blindness because of it. In the body of Christ, pride makes us develop a superiority complex that comes out in our attitudes of delivery of truth. What we say may very well be true at it's core, but if it's not spoken equally with grace it will not be delivered as Christ would have had it be.
Wisdom is full of grace and truth because wisdom is the character of Christ. Wisdom does not loose it's power in reforming our sinful hearts because it is humble and full of grace, it actually gains power because of this. Man is proud and even we as believers struggle (and I KNOW I do!) with having a proud reaction even when we grow in Christ! It's a spiritual act of discipline just as important as our exercise of the body, to stay humble as God gives us wisdom. Only then can our delivery be as it ought to be. Truth and wisdom are a double edged sword on their own, they divide soul and spirit and judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. We don't need to let our words take on that role that only God's wisdom can do properly. We need to bring healing to the world of sin carrying the amazing grace AND truth of Jesus through His wisdom and minus our cutting remarks to the fallen whether they be the unsaved world or the brother or sister in the Lord we brush up against.
This is a struggle for me always and I need to remember it.
Lord, THANK YOU, that you are full of grace and truth! Thank you that you grant us wisdom through the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ and not from anything glorious coming from within us. Thank you that you have saved us who were lost and that you opened our blind eyes and healed our hurting hearts. Help us to feel the pain that needs healing from wisdom. Guard our hearts and our mouths from pouring forth harsh cutting words that will taint the pure gospel of your truthful grace and work for us. Forgive us for the many times we fail you in this way. Help us get up and shake of the dust and keep running the joyful race ahead of us.
Tomorrow's reading is Proverbs 14-16:33
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Making wise choices and choosing to honour God's instructions will provide us with something worth more than any earthly possession.
I teach Grade 1 (and just found out that I get to stay!) and I spend vast amounts of my day giving instructions and trying to get my Grade 1 friends to listen to them. My job is to teach them but without their ability to listen to my words, they are missing out on what I want them to learn. God has infinite wisdom, he is our teacher, and He is giving us direction and instruction, but how well are we listening?
This commentary offers these thoughts:
The will of God is made known by the works of creation, and by the consciences of men...The chief difficulty is to get men to attend to instruction. Yet attention to the words of Christ, will guide the most ignorant into saving knowledge of the truth. Where there is an understanding heart, and willingness to receive the truth in love, wisdom is valued above silver and gold.
God knows our tendency to lean towards worldly treasures over eternal ones. He spells it out clearly that we are to value wisdom, knowledge, and His desires over anything else. Listening to instructions from God, our most important teacher, will help us to grow is wisdom. Verse 11 says
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
More precious than rubies. This link makes this comment about rubies:
Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the world's most valued gemstone. Even diamond was considered common in comparison to the supreme beauty and value of this glowing red gem.
Silver, gold, and rubies are just a commodity and can only be enjoyed for a moment. However, submission to our Heavenly Father can offer an even greater reward that lasts forever.
Dear Lord, You are a wise and knowledgeable techer. Thank you for your desire to teach us. It is our desire to grow in wisdom and knowledge but we occasionally get side tracked and need your help to stay on task. Make us strong against the temptation to place anything ahead of growing closer to You. Help us to understand the huge difference between temporary and permanent. Thank you for who You are and for helping us to become more like You. Amen.
Tomorrow's reading is Proverbs 11-13:25
Friday, May 28, 2010
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked shcemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
God hates haughtiness, lying, murdering, scheming, eagerness to do wrong, a false witness, stirring up dissension.
We often tend to put sin into categories - big sins and little sins. And it is true that there are more serious consequences for some sins than others, both for ourselves and those around us.
And yet, this passage also reminds us that sin is sin.
God hates haughtiness? God hates lying? God hates stirring up dissension? I'm not a murderer, I'm not a schemer, I'm not eager to do wrong and I have not been a false witness (well, maybe as a kid getting another kid in trouble - but I dare say I'm guilty of the other 3 at at least one point in my life. None of these are things I do on a regular basis, but I don't think there is a human on this planet that hasn't lied at least once.
But lying is in the same list as murder. Sin is sin.
We can't excuse our sin because it's a "little" one. It's either right or wrong.
Though there are some genuine gray area in life, I think we try to make the black and white issues appear gray in order to excuse our little sins. But guess what? We don't get to decide what's right and what's wrong. Society would certainly try to convince you of that fact. But it's a lie. As always, we need to go back to the Word. We need to study it, we need to meditate on it, we need to know and understand what it says so that we will not be swayed by popular opinion or secular worldview or anything else.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You have given us the truth, that You ARE truth. Thank You that You have laid things out for us, that You have made your expectations clear. Give us a thirst for Your Word. Help us to treasure it, and to mine it as for precious diamonds. Help us not to be content with "small" sin in our lives. Help us to root out anything that hinders our relationship with You. Amen.
Tomorrow's passage: Proverbs 8-10
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Commentaries on today's passage
Proverbs 1:7-33 The Two Ways by Bob Deffinbaugh
Proverbs 1:7-9 Do Not Forsake Your Mother's Teaching by John Piper
Proverbs 4 Get Wisdom by John Piper
There are just so many verses that jumped out at me! I'm disappointed that we're going to fly through the Proverbs in just 8 days.
Here are just a few of them that stood out from today's passage....
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Prov 1:7
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the table of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Prov 3:3-4
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Prov 3:27
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Prov 4:7
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Prov 4:23
So much good stuff in here!
A few comments I'd like to make.
First of all, it is very clear that wisdom is something that we can strive for. It is a gift of God, and yet it also is something we need to work hard for - it will require effort.
There are numerous blessings or benefits of wisdom mentioned in the Proverbs - long life, prosperous life, favor with God and people, success, health, riches, honour, peace, pleasure, protection, etc. So - if you don't have those things does it mean you are not wise enough? That you have not searched for understanding? No, not necessarily. These are not guarantees, they are general principles. In a perfect world, all who strive for wisdom would receive all the blessings and benefits of wisdom. But we do not live in a perfect world. Often, wisdom does have benefits in this life, but sometimes sin intervenes and blessings have to be delayed until Jesus' return.
Another thing I had not noticed before - and likely reading chronologically is what triggered this thought for me - in the beginning of chapter 4, King Solomon is telling his son (and us!) about his father's teaching. King David instructed his son very clearly on the importance of striving for wisdom. He said "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she wil watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor." Proverbs 4:4-9 Is it any wonder that Solomon asked God for wisdom? He was listening to the instruction of his father!
And how do we get wisdom? In John Piper's sermon, he indicates five ways to get wisdom - we must desire wisdom, we must study God's word and other great books on theology and biblical interpretation (he puts forth a challenge in this sermon - on average, if you would spend 15 minutes each day reading a book, you could read 20 books in a year. He guarantees that if you commit to doing that, you will not be the same person in a year from now!), we must pray to God for wisdom, we must think of the shortness of this life and the infinite life of the next, and we must come to Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Prov 1:7-9
John Piper's sermon on these verses is absolutely excellent and I highly recommend reading it in it's entirety. Here are his main points (for those that are too short on time)....
First of all, the family is God's idea (mother, father, children) and it is for His glory.
Secondly, the family is a school. Though we may receive support from Sunday School teachers, friends, grandparents, mentors, etc - raising our children in the Lord is our responsibility as parents and we will be held accountable for the job we did, as well as who we entrusted our children to.
Third, the foundation of the family and of the family school, is the fear of the Lord. God is to be central.
Fourth, the responsibility belongs to both mothers and fathers. Neither is exempt from the awesome responsibility of training our children. And the rewards are eternal!
Fifth, children are to listen to their parent's instruction while they are young and at home, and they are not to forsake their teaching once they have left home.
Sixth, hearing their father's instruction and not forsaking their mother's teaching will result in rewards for our sons and daughters - gifts and prizes around their necks.
The family, as a home and as a school was God's idea, for His glory, as a way to teach and instruct our children how to live in this world with a godly perspective. When children honour their parents by listening and not forsaking their teaching, they will be rewarded.
Tomorrow's passage: Proverbs 5-7
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Commentaries on today's passage
Psalm 72 - Conceptions of Davidic Hope by Greg Herrick
Psalm 127 - A Word for Workaholics by Bob Deffinbaugh and Don't Eat the Bread of Anxious Toil by John Piper
I'd like to focus on Psalm 127. Both of the above commentaries were an excellent read. I especially liked how Bob Deffinbaugh tied in the last half of the psalm with the first half - since at first glance they seem so unrelated.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1 This verse tells us that no matter what work we are doing - whether it's building a house, guarding a city, or washing the dishes - if we are doing it with the wrong motives, relying on our own strength instead of in God, if we are doing it anxiously, then it's being done in vain and is useless.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:2 This verse seems to be a warning against workaholism, as well as anxiousness and not trusting fully in the Lord to provide for us. The NASB says for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
John Piper summed up these two verses very well....
So don't eat the bread of anxious toil, because no matter how hard you work to achieve anything, God has lifted off your back the final responsibility for its success, and God can accomplish more good for those who trust him while they sleep than they can accomplish with anxious labor while awake. (from above commentary)
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in teh hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is teh man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
The first tie in to these verses from the first few is that children are a gift from God, a blessing that he gives us during our rest - after all, children are often conceived in bed, when we rest - not when we toil.
Secondly, children are a gift of God, a reward. As Bob Deffinbaugh explains...
A man may toil to build a house, but by giving us children God builds our home. The watchman stands guard to provide security and protection, but the children God gives provide a greater security. Solomon poetically describes them as arrows in the hand of a warrior (v. 4). The children born in a man’s youth are strong and well established by the time he has reached old age. His quiver full of children will look after the aged man and his wife......The man who puts too much stock in his labor is the man who has failed to understand the grace of God. In His grace God has provided man with a time of rest and relaxation. And in His grace God has made provision for many of our needs through the gift of children. Contrary to the thinking of the workaholic, God’s gifts are not acquired by feverish efforts, burning the candle at both ends, but by resting in His grace.....We, sadly enough, have reversed our priorities from that given in this Psalm. Many have come to view children as a curse and work as the means of finding fulfillment and security.
This is a beautiful psalm - reminding us to trust in God's grace, in God's strength and to value the blessings He gives us in our children, to realize that they are our priority and our blessed responsibility.
I found a very interesting post in a blog I read occasionally which I think is very appropriate to this psalm as it encompasses work, children and parenting (specifically mothering) - here is a snippet....
the widespread exodus of mothers out of the home have implications we can barely grasp. A societal problem is never a symptom of just one disease, but it’s hard to think of a more destructive shift than that of mothers leaving her domestic realm in droves.
And here is where tomatoes are thrown. Which is why so few people are willing to say what needs to be said…that mothers have a full time, very important job already and when they abdicate that responsibility, we all pay for it.
“It’s my business”. Actually, it’s not. The character of a child, multiplied exponentially, becomes the character of society. That affects me greatly. It affects you. It affects us on a personal level when we are left in the wake of familial distress, and it affects us on a much larger level as we deal with economic effects and the influences of those who lead our country. We do not live autonomously!
So back around….dear mothers, we have a hard job. Some days I feel like giving up. I’m sure you do too. It would be easier to let someone else do this work. But it’s not about what’s easiest. It’s about what’s best. For us, for them and for everyone. You’re not just feeding babies, or keeping a clean house or sweeping up Cheerios.
Every little moment you are planting, watering and weeding around those tender seeds of character which will one day either grow to flourish and give life all around it, or become a needy, sucking vacuum that depletes the life around it.
Rule your realm.As of tomorrow we're moving into the Proverbs. It's going to be really hard to cover 4 chapters per day here - you could literally focus on one verse per day! Definitely different verses will jump out at each of us - could provide some good discussion and insight.
Tomorrow's passage: Proverbs 1-4
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
reference from Wikipedia; other internet sources). A little sketchy, in my opinion, but apparently they have a detailed account of the relationship.
Regardless of all that, it would seem obvious that they did, in fact, meet and converse together. I would assume that her visit was a lengthy one, given the fact that best estimates put the journey from where she lived to Jerusalem at 6 months travel by camel each way. One doesn't travel on a camel for six months, stay for a week, and then leave again for another 6-month trek.
The thing that stood out to me was the verse that said "Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her." In the little bit of reading I did about her, it says that not only did she rule her kingdom, which was reputedly large, although what exactly it encompassed is a matter of some debate, but she was also interested in astronomy and philosophy. It would indicate that she was an intelligent woman. I also read that at the time riddles were a common thing for people to engage in, whether as game-play or a passtime, or for purposes of determining someone's knowledge or ignorance, or maybe all of the above. Some of the accounts I read mentioned her asking him not only all types of questions, but many riddles as well. And he was able to answer all her questions. I am DREADFUL at riddles, and I can't even answer all of my boys' questions, and they are 3 and 5! Now some of that is because I can't explain something to them in a way they are currently capable of comprehending, but sometimes, I just don't know. It seems obvious that King Solomon definitely was blessed or gifted with considerably more knowledge and wisdom than the common man. When God gives a gift, he gives abundantly!
Tomorrow's reading is 1 Kings 4:1-34; Psalm 72 and Psalm 127.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Today's passage consists of Solomon's prayer for the people, the dedication of the temple and God's second appearance to Solomon.
I'd like to focus on both Solomon's prayer and God's word to Solomon.
Solomon's prayer is a great pattern for our own prayers....
1) Plea for God's presence. May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 1 Kings 8:57
2) Pray for the desire to do God's will in everything. May he turn our hearts to him 1 Kings 8:58a
3) Pray for the desire and ability to obey God. to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers. 1 Kings 8:58b
4) Pray for help with each day's need. that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need 1 Kings 8:59
5) Pray for the spread of God's kingdom to the entire world so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 1 Kings 8:60
It actually bears some strong similarities to the Lord's prayer....
Solomon's prayer is followed by a very strong reminder - But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time. 1 Kings 8:61
Solomon's warning to the people is virtually the same as God's message is to Solomon when He appears before him again. God reminds Solomon of the blessings that will come with obedience as well as the consequences of disobedience.
And, of course, both God's words and Solomon's prayer for the people, are totally applicable to us today. Following God brings blessings and rewards (not necessarily material) and turning away from Him brings suffering, punishment and eventually destruction. We need to choose daily to follow God.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Unfortunately, as we know, Solomon did not heed God's words, or take his own advice. Sin is deceptively attractice. If the wisest man in the world can fall prey to Satan's trickery, no one is unsusceptible. We must always be prepared to fight this spiritual battle, and to support each other and pray for each other, as the body of Christ.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Tomorrow's passage: 2 Chronicles 8:1-18, 1 Kings 9:15-10:13, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12, 1 Kings 10:14-29, 2 Chronicles 9:13-28, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17 or, with less flipping, 1 Kings 9:15-10:29, 2 Chronicles 8:1-9:28, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I read these passages and enjoyed them but just could not zero in on what was worth highlighting or expounding upon. So, I read them again (well, at least one of the versions of them as they do pretty much duplicate). As I read I realized I was starting to think of the prayer as it applied to me, the temple of the Holy Spirit. What got me thinking this was the commentary on Solomon's prayer by Matthew Henry, specifically his opening comments on the prayer:
"In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer."
The New Covenant gives us a whole, further developed and incredibly more intimate meaning of "the temple" of God. It makes Solomon's statement even more incredible as well:
"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"
Not only is it mind blowing that Almighty God would choose to dwell on little, tiny earth (in comparison to the massive universe and again, this is making me have Louis Giglio flashbacks:), and not only in a GLORIOUS, ASTOUNDING temple, but in me and you! The Spirit dwells in men now who have repented and turned to Him. So, I thought it worth reading Solomon's prayer again thinking of it in the light of the temple of the body. It does not all apply so the parts that don't I've left out and the others I've embellished to gain the picture without changing the truth of the overall message. I'll start in verse 27 of the prayer and I've highlighted changes. Every time you read "temple" refer to yourself.
"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple (you) have built! Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My Name shall be there,' so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays (for) this place. Hear the supplication of your servant when (I) pray (for) this (temple). Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
"When (I) have been defeated by an enemy because (I) have sinned against you, and when (I) turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive (my) sin and bring (me) back to (my inheritance in you).
"When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because (I) have sinned against you, and when (I) pray (for) this (temple) and confess your name and turn from (my) sin because you have afflicted (me), then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servant. Teach (me) the right way to live, and send rain on (me) (blessing me again because of my) inheritance.
"When (bad things, or hard times) comes to the (me), or (loss), or (disaster) or when an enemy besieges (me) in any of (my) (dwellings), whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by (me or believers around me)— aware of the afflictions of (my) own heart, and spreading out (my) hands toward this temple- then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with (me) according to all (I do), since you know (my) heart for you alone know the hearts of all men, so that they will fear you all the time they live (remembering their inheritance in you too).
As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people but has come from a distant land because of your name- for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and (acknowledges you and seeks you because of) this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do (I), and may know that this house (you) have built bears your Name.
"When (I) go to war against (my) enemies, wherever you send (me), and when (I) pray to the LORD (regarding) the temple (you) have built for your Name, then hear from heaven (my) prayer and (my) plea, and uphold (my) cause.
"When (I) sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with (me) and give (me) over to (the consequences of my actions), (which) captiv(ate and imprison me) , far away or near; and if (I) have a change of heart (while being) held captive, and repent and plead with you in (this state of burden) and (I) say, '(I) have sinned, (I) have done wrong, (I) have acted wickedly'; and if (I) turn back to you with all (my) heart and soul, and pray to you (remembering my inheritance in you), toward the (dwelling) you have chosen and the temple (you) have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear (my) prayer and (my) plea, and uphold (my) cause. And forgive (me), who (has) sinned against you; forgive all the offenses (I) have committed against you, and to show (me) mercy; for (I) (am) your(s) and your inheritance, whom you brought out of (sin), out of that iron-smelting furnace.
"May your eyes be open to your servant's plea, and may you listen to (me) whenever (I) cry out to you. For you (chose) (me) to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, O Sovereign LORD, brought our fathers out of Egypt."
I tried, like I said to keep it very accurate. It was significant to read it this way for me, I hope it is for you.
Tomorrow's passage is: 1 Kings 8:54-66; 2 Chronicles 7:1-10; 1 Kings 9:1-9; 2 Chronicles 7:11-22; 1 Kings 9:10-14
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Today's passage focuses on the building of Solomon's palace as well as the furnishings for the temple.
It mentions that it took 7 years to build the temple and 13 years to build the palace. This does not necessarily mean that Solomon wanted his palace to be better than the temple. We need to keep in mind that there had been extensive preparations for the temple by King David, and none for the palace. As well, there was some urgency in the building of the temple - trying to get it done as quickly as they could. Again, this was not the case with the palace.
I think it shows that Solomon's priorities were in the right place by building the temple first.
Solomon constructs all the details of the temple as per God's instructions. There are numerous cases in the Bible where people failed to follow all God's instructions and paid the price for their incomplete obedience, which is the same as disobedience. Things were done the way God wanted it done.
I think that's something that's really important for us to remember about how we live our lives today. It doesn't matter if we think that something is the right thing to do. Our standard of right and wrong needs to come from God's word. Anything short of that is simply unreliable, unstable guess work.
Tomorrow's passage: 1 Kings 8:1-11, 2 Chronicles 5:1-14, 1 Kings 8:12-21, 2 Chronicles 6:1-11, 1 Kings 8:22-53, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42. For less flipping read 1 Kings 8:1-53 and 2 Chronicles 5-6
Friday, May 21, 2010
Today's passages contain the intriguing story of Solomon's startling "cut the baby in half" verdict that seems to establish in everyone's mind that God has, indeed, blessed him with great wisdom, but the reading focuses mainly on the building of the great temple in Jerusalem. The permanent place of worship that the Israelites have dreamed of having since they left Egypt almost 500 years earlier; the one David had all the plans for, but wasn't allowed to construct because of all the blood on his hands.
It must have been an incredible structure!!
What's really quite extraordinary (you know, other than its size, its decor, its building materials... and oh yeah, the fact that it was designed by GOD HIMSELF!) is that the rocks were all prepared at the quarry so that no hammers or chisels were needed at the actual building site ~ someone on that jobsite had some mad math skillz!! That requires serious precision!
As the daughter of a home-builder, I can recall countless times my dad came home annoyed that the company comissioned to design and construct the rafters hadn't made them the right size. This was a constant source of frustration for him! Partly because it slowed him down, but partly because my dad just happens to BE a math genius. He would have preferred to design and create the trusses himself (because then they would have been done perfectly the first time!), but of course, that would have cost the client more, so it usually didn't happen that way.
So I can really appreciate how detailed and precise the plans for this temple must have been, and how very carefully they were followed by the stone masons. David Guzik explains the significance of the 'silent' building site:
i. This speaks to the way God wants His work done. The temple had to be built with human labor. God did not, and would not, send a team of angels to build the temple. Yet Solomon did not want the sound of man's work to dominate the site of the temple. He wanted to communicate, as much as possible, that the temple was of God and not of man.What a great picture of the way God is working in our lives now ~ hammering and chiseling away at us while we're still in the quarry, shaping and sanctifying us...
ii. This speaks to the way God works in His people. Often the greatest work in the Kingdom of God happens quietly. Yet the building site of the temple was only quiet because there was a lot of noise and diligent work at the quarry.
iii. This speaks to God's work in the church. "But why is this so particularly marked? Is it not because the temple was a type of the kingdom of God; and the souls of men are to be prepared here for that place of blessedness? There, there is no preaching, exhortations, repentance, tears, cries, nor prayers; the stones must be all squared and fitted here for their place in their New Jerusalem." (Clarke)
...so that someday, when we enter the eternal House of God, we will be exactly the way He designed us. Perfect and holy, fit for permanent residence in His glorious presence.
Tomorrow's passages: 1 Kings 7:1-51 and 2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
This is the passage where God actually says to Solomon "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 1 King 3:5
Incredible! Can you imagine God appearing and telling you to ask for whatever you want?
So many people would ask for power or wealth, but Solomon did not.
He asked for wisdom. He asked for discernment.
And I'd say he showed that he already had a great deal of wisdom when he asked for wisdom! What a wise request he made.
And God rewarded him not only with wisdom, but also with wealth and power, so that there was never before or after another king like Solomon. Wow - that's an amazing statement!
What a great reminder that when we align our will to the will of God, when we want what He wants, when we are people after God's own heart, when we seek Him, when we study the Word to become more like Him - we will be blessed! We may not be blessed by money or power. But we will be blessed with wisdom. We will be blessed with a closer relationship with Him.
Tomorrow's passage: 1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 5:1-18, 2 Chronicles 2:1-18, 1 Kings 6:1-13, 2 Chronicles 3:1-14, 1 Kings 6:14-38. For less flipping use 1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 5:1-6:38, 2 Chronicles 2:1-3:14
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
John Deffinbaugh's commentary The Judgement of the "gods", is a great in-depth look at Psalm 82, and is important because Jesus quoted from this Psalm (John 10:34-36) as proof of His deity.
In Psalm 82 God is standing amongst the people of Israel, particularly the leaders who had been appointed to judge righteously in God's stead. However, instead of judging righteously, instead of defending and rescuing the weak, the poor and the oppressed, they were judging corruptly and God's patience was at its end.
v6 is particularly important as this is the verse Jesus quoted in the NT.
I said, ‘You are gods
The leaders were being reminded that they were appointed by God to lead in His place, in His name and according to His character and commands.
and all of you are sons of the Most High.
Not only were the leaders being reminded of this fact, but all the Israelites as well. The whole community was responsible to ensure that godly leaders were put in place. Further, everyone has a responsibility to be a leader when it comes to doing what's right.
Ultimately God will reign in the person of His Son, the Messiah. For now, He reigns through His “sons,” the “gods” who are appointed to reign in His stead. It must also be said, God is to reign in and through His people collectively. We who belong to Him are all His sons, destined to reign with Him in the future (cf 2 Tim 2:12, Rev 20:6),but also to actively promote righteousness now. (from above commentary)
The psalmist knows that righteous rule will only be truly possible on the earth with the coming of the Messiah and concludes the psalm by petitioning God for exactly that.
So, when Jesus quotes from Psalm 82 He identities them as the fulfillment of v1-7 and Himself as the fulfillment of v8 - the Messiah.
This passage brings up several things.
First, of course, is to decide whether or not we believe Jesus to be the Messiah and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.
Secondly, it's a reminder and warning to all leaders. Leadership is not due to our own power, but God's. Leaders represent God and they will be accountable for how they lead. Each one of us is a leader to some degree - most are parents, and if nothing else, we all are in relationships with other people and we are responsible to lead when it comes to doing what's right. We also need to remember that this power is given to serve - especially the weak, the powerless, the poor and the oppressed.
Third, it reminds us to respect those in position of authority over us, God has appointed them as leaders and we need to respect them.
Fourth, we need to choose carefully who we will follow. We are all leaders to some degree, and followers to some degree. We need to choose the right leaders to lead us. And we need to help hold them accountable.
And last, but certainly not least, we can look forward to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ when His perfect righteous rule will last forever.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Tomorrow's passage: Psalm 83, 1 Chronicles 29:23-25, 2 Chronicles 1:1, 1 Kings 2:13-3:4, 2 Chronicles 1:2-6, 1 Kings 3:5-15, 2 Chronicles 1:7-13. The more non-flipping version is Psalm 83, 1 Chronicles 29:23-25, 2 Chronicles 1:1-13, 1 Kings 2:13-3:15.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I was particularly drawn to Psalm 77 during today's reading. There are times in our lives where things seem to be going terribly wrong. Times where we feel that God is far away from us, has forgotten us, or worse yet,
stopped loving us.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion? (v. 7-9)
As Christians, we know in our minds that this is not the case, but it's hard to keep from feeling that way at times. Fortunately the second half of the Psalm answers the question of how to respond when we are feeling this way.
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.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you? (v. 11-13)
In times of trouble, times of despair, times where we feel that God is too busy with other "more important" things to care about "little old me", and we pray but feel that he is not listening or perhaps listening but not answering, we must try to remember the great things he has done in the past and renew our trust that he will continue to care for and provide for us, even if we can't see it right now. From Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:
The remembrance of the works of God, will be a powerful remedy against distrust of his promise and goodness; for he is God, and changes not. God's way is in the sanctuary. We are sure that God is holy in all his works. God's ways are like the deep waters, which cannot be fathomed; like the way of a ship, which cannot be tracked. God brought Israel out of Egypt. This was typical of the great redemption to be wrought out in the fulness of time, both by price and power. If we have harboured doubtful thoughts, we should, without delay, turn our minds to meditate on that God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that with him, he might freely give us all things.
It's not always easy to trust when we can't see the way before us, but that is when it is most important. The first verses of this psalm struck a chord with me because there have been times, usually at night, usually when I'm fretting about some problem that I can't seem to find a solution to, where it seems that God is far away and not involved in my everyday life. Of course, everything looks better in the morning (usually), but during those night times I hope from now on to remember to focus on God's faithfulness in the past and trust that he will remain faithful and that he knows what he's doing.
Tomorrow's reading is Psalm 79-82.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Commentaries on today's passages
Psalm 50 - Out of Zion, the Perfection of Beauty, God Shines Forth (John Piper) and Call upon Me in the Day of Trouble and I Will Deliver You (John Piper)
Psalm 73 - Battling the Unbelief of Despondency (John Piper) and The Suffering of the Righteous and the Success of Sinners (Bob Deffinbaugh)
I wanted to write just a bit about Psalm 73 today. There are numerous lessons to be learned from this Psalm (see above commentaries), but I wanted to focus on one fairly general truth that we can take away from it.
No matter how much the wicked may flourish in this life, no matter how much it may seem like there is no benefit to righteousness - one day it will matter eternally.
The wicked may prosper in this life. Often they will not, often they will sow what they reap right here on earth. But sometimes it seems like they get away with a lot. Sometimes it seems tempting to do the same, especially when it doesn't appear that we are getting rewarded for doing the right thing.
But the wealth and prosperity of the wicked will end forever at death.
And the rewards for the righteous will also last forever.
Though time seems to stretch on interminably right now, though we long for justice to come now and not later, we can rest in the knowledge that justice will come. All wrongs will be made right. The wicked will be held accountable and the righteous will receive their reward.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
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.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
Tomorrow's passage: Psalm 75-78
Sunday, May 16, 2010
There are many great passages to remember from here. Some favorites of mine are:
"O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow. "
...because it reminds me of one of my Facebook flair buttons "God is big, I am small, that's the way I like it"
"Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;"
....because these beautiful word pictures hit on my emotional longing for my children and remind me to pray this for my daughters and my son.
"The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works."
....because it reminds me that God is indeed GOOD TO ALL, and that what I agree with Him on as to what IS good does not matter, if He says it's good, it's good!
"The LORD sustains all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down."
....because it reminds me that I will fall and my first reaction should be humility which is exercised by turning to my God which involves repentance balanced with assurance of my identity secure in the heart of my King. (i'm pretty sure there is some grammar problem in the that sentence:)
"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth."
....because it reminds me that He is near and knows my heart longs for Him.
"You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. "
....because it reminds me that still, in God's goodness (which does not stop at any point) he puts me in dark hard places that I may find Him more. So when I am there, He is the first thing I should look to and cling to and be assured of.
"I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever. And build up your throne to all generations."
....because it reminds me of what an amazing inheritance I'm part of because of Christ, the seed of David!
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!"
....because it shows some awesome character qualities of God and how we immediately delight at the joyful sound of those qualities because our hearts were made to find complete enjoyment in them!
Furthermore, these Psalms remind us of the emotional battle we have in response to God's doings. David is honest with God in expressing both delight and despair. He's quite the emotional man. Many of these laments would seem that he has decided there is a contradiction in the character of His God don't you think? Yet, we know God does not contradict himself. So, what more can it tell us than the truth that our emotional perspective of God will indeed be bleak at times. We won't always like what He does, we won't always feel his goodness, and we won't always think He is near. None of that changes the truth of his goodness, faithfulness and provision. Sometimes God fills us and sometimes he puts us in a place of longing.
This following quote was shared by a friend of mine on Facebook and it's regarding Psalm 42 but I think it speaks to all the Psalms so I'm ending today with sharing it. Read it a few times or do what this friend of mine was going to do and memorize it for meditation on later. It's amazing.
Sometimes God teaches us effectually to know the worth of mercies by the want of them, and whets our appetite for the means of grace by cutting us short in those means. We are apt to loathe that manna, when we have plenty of it, which will be very precious to us if ever we come to know the scarcity of it. When he (psalmist) was deprived, in a great measure, of the inward comfort he used to have in God.* He now went mourning, but he went on panting. If God, by His grace, has wrought in us sincere and earnest desires towards Him, we may take comfort from these when we want those ravishing delights we have sometimes had in God, because lamenting after God is as sure an evidence that we love him as rejoicing in God. Before the psalmist records his doubts, and fears, and griefs, which had sorely shaken him, he premises this, That he looked upon the living God as his chief good, and had set his heart upon Him accordingly, and was resolved to live and die upon Him; and, casting anchor thus at first, he rides out the storm."
Tomorrow's reading is Psalm 50; Psalm 73-74
Saturday, May 15, 2010
These verses hold some of my favourites:
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
But the one I would like to focus on today is:
Psalm 139:17 &18
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
How can we feel insignificant when the creator of the Universe has us in His thoughts?
One summer I spent a week being a day camp counselor at my cousin's church. This verse was used in one of the Bible application lessons and it has always stuck with me. Each child was given a sheet of black paper, a teaspoon of sand, and a toothpick. They were asked to use the toothpick to separate the grains of sand and to try to count them. Have you ever tried this?? Try it sometime. After some painstaking attempts it was quickly discovered that it was next to impossible to count each grain. The director shared Psalm 139:17&18 with the children and told them that the exercise in counting the grains of sand was to remind them that God thought about them more than there are grains of sand on the earth. What a comforting thought. When we feel alone, discouraged, helpless, or afraid, God is there thinking about us and knowing us and our needs. I hope each of those kids took the message of this passage to heart, and still remember it as I do, even all these years later. This summer, as you spend time at the beach, pick up a handful of sand and let it run through your fingers as you look closely at each grain and remember these verses.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being who you are. Our finite human minds cannot truly comprehend you on this side of paradise. In your infinite wisdom you have created us and know us intimately. Lord, sometimes we stumble and forget about how valuable we are to you. We can become sad and lonely and feel insignificant. Help us to remember that could not be further from the truth. Be with each of us and draw us all closer to you. Amen.
Tomorrow's Readings are Psalm 144-145; Psalm 88-89.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Commentaries on today's passage
Psalm 103 - Bless the Lord, O My Soul - John Piper
Psalm 109 - A Prayer for the Punishment of the Wicked - John Deffinbaugh
Psalm 110 - David's Lord - John Deffinbaugh
I haven't read all 3 commentaries yet, but I have read John Piper's and it is awesome - I highly encourage you to read it. Here are a couple of quotes....
what it means when it says, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him,” is this: When you see a good father, you are seeing a picture of God. Or to put it another way, God designed human fatherhood to be a portrait of himself.....
God created fatherhood in his own image, and good fathering points to God.......
And the question a father should ask is: How can my children benefit forever from the love of God? How can they become the beneficiaries of God’s righteousness rather than condemned by it?....
The steadfast love of God and the righteousness of God will follow your children from generation to generation if three things happen: 1) if they fear him (v. 17); 2) if they keep his covenant (v. 18); and 3) if they do his commandments (v. 18).......
What is the one main thing that this psalm calls us to do for our children? For our wives? For our churches? For our city? For our own souls? The answer is: Bless the Lord.......
Blessing the Lord means speaking or singing about the goodness and greatness of the Lord........
O fathers, let your children hear you bless the Lord for the gospel. Let them hear your soul exult in Christ. Let them hear your humble heart leap up with gratitude. Let them hear your affections for the Savior. Let them hear your love for Christ and his great love for you. Let them hear you say, “O how I bless your name that my sins are forgiven.” Then love your wife and children the way Jesus loved you. (emphasis mine)
How simple, how effective, how challenging, how convicting!
And of course, this advice is just as true for mothers as it is for fathers.
Another passage I love in this psalm....
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:8-12
Truly amazing. His love knows no limit, his forgiveness knows no bounds.
God is love.
God is mercy.
Bless the name of the Lord!
Tomorrow's readings: Psalm 131, 133, 138-141, 143
Thursday, May 13, 2010
John Piper's sermons
Psalm 69 - Pour out Your Indignation Upon Them discusses whether or not David cursing his enemies is something that God approved of, and I Will Magnify God with Thanksgiving discusses how we magnify God when we give thanks to Him.
Psalm 86 - The Lord is Great and Does Wondrous Things gives testimony to the greatness of our God and lists some of the many ways we would be changed if we would keep the greatness of God in the forefront of our minds.
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. Psalm 101:6
David decided that he would intentionally choose godly people to be his mentors and friends.
One of the things we are intentional about in our parenting is teaching our children to choose friends wisely. This will become even more important when they enter the teen years and their friends opinions become so vital to them. But choosing friends wisely isn't only important for our young children or teenagers. It is vitally important for us adults too.
This does not mean that we cannot be friends with non-Christians. On the contrary, we need to befriend the lost and God has told us to love our enemies.
However, we need to make an intentional effort to have as our most trusted and most influential friends those who are godly, truthful, faithful people whose desire is to grow in their relationships with God and to challenge us to do the same.
We need to make sure that if we do have close friends who have different values from our own, that we are mindful of that fact when discussing moral or cultural issues.
An example to make my point....
If you are standing at the side of the pool and want to help a friend up out of the water, is it easier for you to pull her up, or for her to pull you down?
Lord, I thank you for your greatness. Help us to focus on your incomparable, unparalleled, unrivaled, unequal greatness. You are greater than all angels or demons, all evil spirits, all principalities, powers and rulers of this present darkness and all spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly realms. You ARE greatness. Help us to live in light of your greatness.
Lord I thank you that you have blessed us with other people for companionship, friends who can support us and encourage us. Help us to choose our friends wisely, and to draw closest to us those who are faithful to You and your Word, those who will not only encourage our walk with You, but challenge it! And I ask that You help us to be that kind of friend to those around us.
Tomorrow's passage: Psalm 103, 108-110, 122 and 124
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
John Piper sermons on Psalm 67 are Let the Nations Be Glad and Let All the Peoples Praise Thee.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
God is our salvation, our rock and fortress.
God made our salvation possible by sending His one and only Son (John 3:16) to earth to die in our place as a perfect sacrifice, atoning for all our sins, mercifully offering reconciliation and relationship between us and our Creator. All we have to do is accept it. Salvation come through Jesus and Jesus alone. There is no other way to heaven. (John 14:6)
God is our rock. Nothing in this life is stable, nothing in this life is unchanging - except God. Our circumstances may change, our emotions may change, our relationships may change, our jobs may change - but God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is all-powerful, He is sovereign, He is omniscient - He is our rock.
God is our fortress. When others hurt us, we can turn to God. When we are rocked by our circumstances, we can turn to God. When we put our trust in God and find rest in Him, He is our fortress and nothing can shake us. This does not mean nothing will ever harm us - but it does mean that He will be with us through it all, every step of the way.
Dear God, I am so thankful for the merciful offering of your one and only Son Jesus, to die in my place so that I could have a relationship with You. I thank you that you are unchanging and that we can utterly trust you in everything. Thank you that you will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that we can find shelter underneath your wings. Amen.
Tomorrow's passage: Psalm 68-70, 86 and 101
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I apologize for my lateness. Yesterday was a busy day around here so I decided I'd do it first thing this morning, but when I read the passages I had a hard time settling on what I wanted to post about. So here's what I've decided to comment on.
Psalm 40:1-5 -
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 53 from today's reading, as well as other psalms, talk about how evil, corrupt and sinful we are as human beings. The verses above (to me) talk about what God does for us when we turn away from our sinful human nature and ask him to be Lord in our hearts and our minds.
He lifts us out of the slimy pit, sets our feet on a rock, and puts a new song in our mouths. And he is the only one who can do that. We can't get out of the pit ourselves and there is no rock but him on which our feet can stand firm. Our new song, our hymn of praise, will be seen by those around us and "many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." That is something I pray for often. Because I spent a number of years following my own path, my witness to some of the people around me has been diminished. I can't now turn around and start preaching at them. My prayer is that my words and actions in day-to-day life will show a difference and that seeds will be planted.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for saving us. We praise you as the only firm foundation on which we can stand. We pray that you would help us to understand and to seek you, learn more about you, and to follow your will all the days of our lives. Father, give us a true and honest desire for these things, and give us understanding of your Word as we study it, so that as we follow your will those around us will see someone with your love flowing from them and not someone sanctimonious or hypocritical. We thank you that you make all things perfect in your time. Give us patience to wait on you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Tomorrow's reading is Psalm 61, 62 and 64-67.