Archive for category Psalms
Today’s readings are:
In Genesis, we have the story of the tower of Babel. It’s short, so here it is:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
On the surface, it might be confusing why God would not want them to be able to do anything if unified. But, it’s interesting they used man-made materials (bricks and tar) rather than natural (God-made) materials. Does this tell us something about their hearts and their motivation. They were trying to make a city and a name for themselves.
I think it’s important to note that we are able to do anything if we are unified. This is a message for the church today! But, not to make a name for ourselves, but always for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.
In Matthew today, we have one of Jesus’ most famous sermons, the sermon on the mount. “The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed” says author John Stott.
There’s also a good reminder for us as Christians in today’s reading. We are to be the salt and light of the earth. If we lose our “flavor”, what good are we? Let’s be salt and light today.
I am amazed by the story of Noah. It’s so hard to take it in. How bittersweet it must have felt for Noah to realize that God honored him above all others and saved only he and his family to restart mankind.
In Matthew, Jesus just had the encounter with satan in the wilderness and now is preparing to begin his ministry on earth.
Today’s Psalm is actually a song written by David. I sure wish I had the chord chart!
Keep reading along. We’re going through the entire Bible in a year!
Here’s the reading list for today:
Well, here it is. Genesis 3. The fall of mankind. I cringe each time I hear Eve’s response:
“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
Did you see it? God never said anything about “touching” the fruit. Already she is twisting what God said. And, she falls for the serpent’s deceit.
Also – some folks (usually men) like to point out that it was Eve that first took the fruit. Well, I would like to point out that Adam was standing right there next to her when she did. He didn’t say a word. He’s just as guilty as her:
“She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Buckle in – we’re just getting started. Are you with us? We’re reading the entire Bible in a year.
The thing always blows my mind when I read Genesis 1 is the power and majesty of our God! When you stop to think about all the incredible detail and amazing vastness and unbelievable tenuity of what God did – all in 6 days?! Boom. Mind blown.
And, in Matthew 1 – I love the fact that Joseph was a kind man and even though his wife-to-be was suddenly pregnant, and she was telling him some unbelievable story about how she got pregnant, he did not wish to disgrace her. But, an angel came in a dream and explained everything. He had trust in God to accept the potential risk of reputation to stay with God’s plan. And look how he was blessed. Can you imagine raising a child you knew was the son of God? Boom. There it goes again. Mind blown.
Hope you’re reading the Bible in a year along with us! You won’t regret it.
A great reminder for me today as I go out into a world that thinks that money, power or fame is the ultimate goal. American idols will only fade into nothingness, but the word of the Lord remains forever
Here’s what jumped out at me today:
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Lord, today I declare my trust in You alone.
grace & peace,
As we finish up the final five Psalms, I notice that each of the remaining Psalms are praise Psalms. Today, in Psalm 145, David lifts up praise to God for his greatness and his works.
1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
Two things hit me as I read today:
The words “every day” in verse 2 reminded me that I need to be consistent in my praise. I need to be consistent in my faith and in my reading of His word. I’ve learned that God IS merciful and full of grace. But when we can praise Him and honor Him in the good times and the bad, when we’re busy and when we have time for Him, that’s when the blessings really flow. A consistent faith reduces the emotional highs and lows that are so difficult to navigate. If we can keep our eyes on the Lord through it all, things just go better. I’m reminded of the verse in Matthew chapter 6:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt. 6:33)
The other thing I noticed in this chapter is in verse 4 where “one generation will commend Your works to another.” This was a reminder to me how important it is for our generation to make sure our children and their children hear the stories of the Bible. We have an important responsibility to instill in our kids a love for the Bible and the treasures within. How can we incorporate teaching our children into what we do in our men’s groups, in our worship services, in our homes?
Lord – I love Your word. Help me to seek You every day. Help me to know how to encourage others to seek You every day. Your works are great and worthy to be praised for all generations!
grace & peace
I found Psalms 144 interesting. David praises God for training him for war. He acknowledges that God has rescued him and is his refuge in times of trouble. He recognizes that with God, his family and his nation will be blessed. And, right in the middle of all this we find:
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, 10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David from the deadly sword.
We know David was a skilled musician. We have record of him soothing King Saul with his harp-playing skills. He was a song writer and worship leader.
In this Psalm, I see how David considers singing a song to God a gift-giving experience. I read this chapter as if he is saying, “You have done great things for us, so I will sing you a new song.
Have you ever wondered what you can give to God? I mean – He made everything that we can see – what can we possibly give back to Him? Sure, we give our tithes and offerings to Him. We know when we give to “the least of these” we are giving to Him. But what can we give directly to God?
Since I’ve had children, I’ve looked at my relationship with God in a whole new way. When my daughter was two years old, for example, she didn’t have a career or even an allowance. She had no money except for the few coins she had managed to collect from her treasure hunts or from begging her parents. Yet when it came time for Father’s Day or birthday celebrations, she always had managed to bless me with a hand-made card or drawing. I could tell she put her heart into her gift and wanted it to be special…and it always was. I kept them all. No, I probably couldn’t sell these treasures on ebay or in an art gallery. But, since they came from my daughter, they were so special to me – priceless.
I think David has given us a clue as to what we can give directly to God that will bless Him: a new song. If you’re not musical, you may be thinking that’s impossible. But try this…just make sure no one can see you – perhaps while you’re driving or when no one’s home. Just start praying to God in song. Tell Him your cares or your praises to a made-up melody. It doesn’t have to rhyme or sound like a top-40 hit. Just pour out your heart to Him and see what happens. Or – open the Bible to a Psalm and read His word aloud to a melody – in other words, sing His word back to Him. I’ve found these to be among the sweetest times of praise I’ve ever experienced.
Like a father receiving a gift from his young child, our Daddy wants to hear from His children – from their heart.
grace & peace,
The first half of Psalms 143 is a reminder for me today to think on the good things. There are plenty of things to distract us. We face trials and tests every day. Our friends and family disappoint us. We disappoint ourselves. The enemy makes our lives difficult. Stuff happens. Yet, like David reminds us in this Psalm, we need to meditate on the good things – like God’s faithfulness and greatness:
1 O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. 2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. 5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. 6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Chin up, soldiers. It’s a war we’re in, but I know how this turns out… WE WIN!
grace & peace,
You know the story – David is being hotly pursued, his life at stake, by King Saul. According to Matthew Henry, David pens this Psalm inside a cave he’s been chased into. He cries out in desperation to God to rescue him from his pursuers.
4 Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. 5 I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
The part that jumped out at me was this: “no one is concerned for me.”
I lived the majority of my life not understanding the importance of friendships. I had been brought up to take care of myself and to be independent. My loving parents encouraged me to figure things out on my own. Being the “baby” of 5 siblings teaches you how to survive in a competitive environment!
So, when my life blew apart after a divorce, my friends all disappeared. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t figure out how to fix things and I was ready to give up. God heard my cry and sent people I didn’t know into my life to lift me out of my despair and pull me through until I could stand on my own again.
Since then, I’ve realized the importance of friendship with godly men. I looked up some of my friends from High School and we now get together every year from all over the nation for a long weekend. Through email we keep in touch all year.
My friends in my men’s group, the Wildmen, also understand the importance of friendship between men and I have dozens of men I can call upon in my time of need.
Now that I’m back on my feet, I try to make myself available to others for prayer, conversation, encouragement or other kinds of help. There are plenty of hurting people out there – people like David running from their pursuers, running from themselves, hiding from pain or rejection, struggling with addictions or griefs, who really need to look to their right…and find someone who cares.
Look to your left…who needs to see you today?
grace & peace,
As you read Psalms 136, you can’t help but notice the repeating of the phrase “His love endures forever.” There are 26 verses in this chapter and each one ends this way.
Unlike many Psalms, I can kind of see how this one fits to a song – as the Psalms were intended to be used. Yet, reading it without the musical context, the emphasis on this phrase had an impact on me. Here are the first three verses:
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
Kinda reminds you of the song we sing in our churches called “His love endures forever,” doesn’t it?
I’m thankful for this reminder today of God’s greatness, His provision, His power and majesty. But I’m especially thankful for His love, without which I would be lost.
Thank You for your forever love, Father.
grace & peace,