Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday, July 23rd: Psalms 33-34, Acts 16:22-40 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalms 33-34; Acts 16:22-40

There were numerous verses that stood out to me in our Psalms reading today, but the one that particularly challenged me was right at the beginning.

Psalm 33 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Play skillfully.

God has given each of us gifts, talents, and abilities.  We are not supposed to waste them.  We are to hone them, practice them, pursue them.  Not so that everyone can see how great we are, but so everyone can see how great He is.

My piano teacher shared this verse with me years ago.  God has blessed me with a talent or gift for playing the piano.  It comes naturally to me.  But I still needed to put the work in to be able to play skillfully.  When people make comments like "Oh, you're so lucky to be able to play piano like that", it irritates me because luck had nothing to do with it.  Hours and hours of hard work had a lot more to do with it.

And that, precisely is the danger of being able to play skillfully - becoming proud of our accomplishments, of our skillful playing.   Not just being proud of it - but taking all the credit for it.  Yes, there were hours and hours of practicing involved.  But God still gave me the gift, He gave me the desire, He gave me the determination, He gave me the fingers and feet that I use to hone the gift He gave me, and He deserves the glory, not me.

I always love this story in Acts.  First, that Paul and Silas were praising God and singing while in chains and a jail cell that I'm sure was not exactly comfortable.  Then that they acted with integrity, grace, and compassion when the earthquakes released their chains.  And that the other prisoners didn't try to escape!  The jailer and his household became believers.  And Paul doesn't let the authorities off easily in their release after their wrongful arrest.  Amazing story all around.  God is clearly at work in every area of our lives.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Psalms 35-36; Acts 17:1-15


Pamela said...

11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

God's way is perfect and will come to pass regardless of anything we do to try and stop it.

This verse also stood out for me;
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Our principal used this verse in a chapel devotion and he emphasized that we truly couldn't understand what something tastes like until we took a bite ourselves. No amount if looking at it, smelling, touching, or hearing will accurately determine what something will taste like to an individual person. If we don't sample God's goodness personally then we are missing out on what He has for us.

Nathan Reimer said...

Psalm 34:19
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;

This goes to show that living for God doesn't mean we won't face hardships. But because we live for God we know that He will deliver us from them at some point.

Conrad said...

The two verses in Psalm that stood out to me were mentioned by Pamela and Nathan.

Taste and see that the Lord is good (34:8).

I don't like to try new food. In fact, I can't even enjoy food not knowing what I'm eating. If I'm not constantly seeking God and biting into the Word, I will not recognize His goodness.

And 34:19. We will still face times of trouble but I liked the second half of the verses wording in The Message translation - "still, God is there every time."