Ministry, leadership, discipleship, the local church and the deep riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Today's time in God's reliable truth is in Psalm 138.
Don't let me be half-hearted in my thankfulness to You. Instead, let my thankfulness overflow in sharing of Your greatness (1, 4, 5). Increase the value of Your authority and promises in my life until I bow my will to Your authority and endure in the hope of Your promises (2). I desperately need Your strength in me (3). Thank You for not showing preference for the self-sufficient, but for those who recognize their complete need for Your powerful right hand in their lives (6-7). Continue to work in me until I complete the eternal purpose for which You created me (8).
Today's time letting the truth of God change us is in Psalm 137.
Even though You will never exile me from being Your child, sometimes I exile myself from intimate fellowship with You (1-3). When I do exile myself, how can I possibly worship You ? (4). Apart from a joy-filled, intimate walk with You, may my hands and mouth not be able merely to go through the motions of worship (4-6). How very worthy of punishment is anyone who pulls me from being close to You (7-9). Keep me from pulling anyone from a close walk with You today.
Today's time being reminded of our Savior's love is in Psalm 136.
Thank You for showing me that real love is unending love (1-3). Thank You that You reveal Your love for me by creating (4-9), saving me (10-24), and providing for me (25-26). By these great and powerful works, You draw my focus to You, which is the most loving thing You can do. For if You pointed my eyes to the greatness of anything but You, I would miss out on Your ultimate awesomeness. It would be less than loving for You to point me to second best. But out of love for me, You create, save me, and provide for me so that I will look at that which is most glorious, You. So, don't let me be satisfied by the beauty of the world. Don't let me be content with the idea of salvation or heaven apart from You. Don't let my stuff satisfy me. But instead, let it all point my eyes to Your great beauty, righteousness, and love today.
Today's time celebrating the one true God is in Psalm 135.
Thank You for choosing me (4). You are the only God who rules over all nature and history to accomplish salvation for Your people (5-12). Thank You that Your justice and compassion never change (13). Remind me always that I will become like the gods I worship (18). If I let anything other than You rule me, I will become unable to speak truth, unable to see others' needs, unable to hear others cries, and dead to the purpose for which You made me, which is to point joyfully to Your greatness (15-18). So let me praise You alone and be ruled by You alone today so I will become like You (19-21) speaking truth, serving others, and displaying Your greatness to the world.
Today's time being shaped by the Word is in Psalm 133.
Let the world see the transforming powerful of Jesus in the unifying love of Your people. We don't want to get along just by avoiding those who are difficult. Instead, we want to have an affection for each other which flows from a common love for both You and for the diverse work You give to each of us. When we live together as One, it will be like the sweet smelling anointing oil running down in abundance over Aaron, the high priest. Everyone around will smell it. Just as Aaron had to be anointed prior to coming before You, we need to be anointed with an abundance of your sweet smelling love for each other as we approach You in worship (2). If we don't love each other, we can't claim to love You. This unity will make us fruitful like the dew (3). Without it, we will be a barren body. Lord, unify us today.
Today's time submitting ourselves to God's truth is in Psalm 132.
By faith in Jesus, You have made me into Your holy dwelling place (1 Cor. 6:19). The house that David worked and suffered to find for You, You have made me into it by Your Son's suffering (1-5). I need Your presence, power, righteousness, and joy in me (8-9). Jesus, sit on Your throne and rule me forever (11-12). Thank You for wanting to take up residence in me (14). You provide for my needs and satisfy me with salvation that overflows in joy (15-16). Let others see that joy and righteousness today.
As I approach You in worship, I recognize that neither my righteousness nor my religious understanding makes me worthy to come into Your presence (1). Instead, like a child with its mom, I rely exclusively on Jesus to be all that I need to be able to live in Your presence (2). I will not worry today. Since You are my Father, my soul trusts You and is calmed and quieted in peace (2). Help all my hopes be in You, not the world (3). Let me lead others to know the peace of hoping in You (3). Thank You for allowing me to be close to You by the life and death of Your Son.
Today's time being shaped by the Word is in Psalm 130.
Thank You for hearing me cry out to You from whatever hole I might be in (1-2). Thank You also for not treating me according to the way that my sin deserves (3). I am truly in awe of the way you love and forgive. Make me more like that (4). Help me wait with hopeful anticipation not for what the world promises, but for what Your Word promises. As watchmen used to stand on the city walls looking out for enemy attacks until the safety of morning light, I wait for you to rescue me from all evil and bring me into Your kingdom of light in heaven (6). I rest in Your promise of all-sufficient redemption (7-8). Help me lead others to rest in that promise too.
Today's time being shaped by God's truth (as opposed to the world's lies) is in Psalm 129.
Use me to lead others to understand spiritual battle (1). All my life, the enemy has sowed evil in my life (1-3). Thank You, Lord, for cutting me free from the enemy's enslaving ropes. You are righteous (4). Keep the enemy far from me (5). Cause the seeds that he sows to die and not bring the fruit of sin in my life (6). Instead, let your family be blessed as we approach to worship You (8).
Today's time being shaped by the Word is in Psalm 128.
Convince my heart that obedience brings the most joy (1). In this life, my earthly work might be rewarding and my earthly family might be fruitful and grow, but Lord, I am also aware that this world is cursed and I must work among thorns and thistles, and that pain in childbirth is only the first of much pain in raising kids. But I look forward to heaven where all evils are removed. Until that day, bless my labor for Your kingdom, making it fruitful and making my family of faith grow (2-4). Let me live long enough to see my spiritual offspring's spiritual children (6).
Today's time aligning our thinking with God's is Ps. 127.
Convince my heart of the uselessness of attempting things that You have no part in. If You don't protect me, there is nothing I can do to protect myself (1). Let me be consumed by You, not by work (2). Help me parent so my children know that they are my reward (3). In addition to my own children, give me many spiritual children to raise. I know that the more people you raise to spiritual maturity through me, the happier I will be (5). And I know that raising spiritual children is the kind of house you are a part of building (1 Peter 2:5). Use me to build on this spiritual house today by sharing with someone what You have taught me.
Today's time being transformed by Truth is in Psalm 126.
How joyful it is when times of Your just and good discipline are over, when Your correcting hand is lifted. After I submit to Your correction, there is restored fellowship and intimacy with You. That is my treasure because then I can authentically worship You. Let my co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family see all You do to protect my deep and real joy (1-3). Let the blessing of worshipping all together be like rivers in the desert to me (4). Make me faithful to plant seeds of Your rule in my life and in others' lives, even when the ground is hard, and let me celebrate when You give growth to those seeds and Your rule grows in me and around me (5-6).
Today's time conforming our thoughts to God's is in Psalm 125.
When everything is crumbling around me, make me an unshakable mountain in the midst of it all (1). As Jerusalem is protected by mountains all around, surround me and keep the sin of self-rule from conquering me today (2). Don't let the remnants of sinful rebellion continue to rule over me since You have declared me to be righteous in Your sight (3). Make even my heart holy, not just my actions, so I will know Your goodness (4). Hold me and keep me from turning from You today (5). In You, there is peace (5).
Today's time being re-focused on the Lord is in Psalm 124.
Give me opportunities today to tell others that You are my protector (1-4). Just as you made a way for Israel through the raging Red Sea so that they could make it to the promised land, keep me from being overwhelmed by the obstacles I face on my way to You in heaven. And just as David was thankful that You protected Israel from enemies on her way to the promised land, I am thankful for how You daily "deliver me from the evil one" on my way to heaven (2-3,6-7). And just as David understood that his worshipful "song of ascent" was possible in Jerusalem only because God has led Israel safely through the wilderness to claim their promised land, remind me that You will lead me safely to heaven, where I will be able to worship You perfectly (1). But as I wait to sing my own "song of ascent" to You in heaven, help me also worship You today while I am still in the wilderness knowing You will rescue me.
Today's time being reminded of the Truth is in Psalm 123.
You are on the heavenly throne, not me (1). I don't rule myself. My most acceptable response is to bow, submit, and serve You as my only King today. Don't allow me to take my eyes off of You today. Help me live only to please You today, waiting to hear "well done my child." (2). When I hear it, it will cause every critical word and action of those around me to fade into nothingness (3-4).
Today's reminder from God is in Psalm 122 (compare it with 1 Tim. 2:1-4).
Thank You for letting me live in a country where I can openly rejoice when my friends say "hey, let's go to church." Let going to worship with others be something for which I long (1). Any country is as it should be when its people worship You in thanksgiving (2-4). Such a country will have good judgement (5). Remind me always to pray for America's peace and work for its good so that my family, friends, and I can can worship You openly so that the lost will hear of Your greatness and want You (6-9).
Today's time drawing near to hear the Lord is in Psalm 121.
I come to worship You now very aware that my help comes from You. Remind me to turn to You first for help, not to what You have made (1-2). Plant my feet stubbornly in the path of righteousness and keep me from slipping into worldly thinking (3). I praise You because when difficulty raises its head at me, it does not catch You sleeping or too far off to save me (4-5). You have shielded me from so much evil. As I gather to worship with Your people this week, protect my "coming and my going" so I don't miss out on transformative seasons in Your presence (8).
Today's time letting the truth of God wash over us is in Psalm 121. (The next 15 Psalms are "songs of ascent" and were likely sung 3 times per year on the way up to the Temple. Today's is from the perspective of one living among the godless and longing to make the trip to worship with God's people.
I live at a time and in a culture where truth is a low priority (2). The peace that I long for with others is so elusive (7). When I am overwhelmed by the godless and wild ways of the world around me (as in Meshech and Kedar), remind me that I am not a citizen here. I am on a pilgrimage to You where truth is undeniable (5-6) and judgment of the liars is certain (3-4). Keep my mouth from lies today and in the midst of this crazy, messed up world, bring me to You in worship.
Today's time in God's Word is in Psalm 119:145-176.
Let me not waste a moment of my life thinking in opposition to Your truth (147-148, 164). Thank You that when those far from You come against me, You are already near me to protect me (150-151). The entire Bible is true and unchanging (160). Your promises are my treasure (162). Let what comes out of my mouth point to Your greatness (171-172). Thank You for being a God who chases after me when I wander (176).
Today's time being shaped by the Word is in Psalm 119:137-144.
My comprehension of Your righteousness falls far short of Your actual righteousness. Help me understand the heights of Your righteousness so I will understand The criteria by which You evaluate me and trust what You decree for me (137-138, 144). When I forget Your Word, thank You for acting in grace toward me, not anger, even though You would be justified to act in anger (139). Give me such a love for Your Word that I can't get enough (140). Even when life overwhelms me, let Your Word be that which lifts my heart in joy (143).