Category Archives: 19 – Psalms

Being Grateful


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 5, 6; Psalm 138; Luke 16

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 138

 

There are many recurring themes in the book of Psalms, and one of these themes is gratefulness.  King David was certainly grateful to God, and that spirit of thanksgiving shines through in our key passage today.  David praised God for His love and faithfulness (138:2), and for making him bold and stouthearted (138:3).  He was grateful for being saved during all of his times of trouble (138:7), and knew that God would never abandon him. (138:8)  David understood an important truth about God.  Our proper response to Him should always be one of gratefulness, because He will always fulfill His purposes for us (138:8) and will always answer when we call on Him. (138:3)

Most of us cry out to God in our times of need.  We go to Him with our requests and we ask Him to help us in our most dire situations.  There is obviously nothing wrong with this, as God wants us to take our most sincere needs to Him in prayer, but we can all have a tendency to be one-sided in our prayers.  Spending time with God and having a relationship with Him should be about more than just asking Him for a laundry-list of needs, wants, and desires.  It is important that we not forget to be grateful for all that He has provided.  When we forget about this important piece, we are more likely to get frustrated when we have to wait for God’s answer to our prayers, and we are more likely to question whether He is listening to us in our times of need.  When we focus first on being grateful to Him for the prayers He has already answered, it becomes much easier to wait for His timing and to trust that He will come through for us again.  Spend some time today thanking God for the prayers He has answered.  Thank Him for the big prayers and the small ones in which He has been faithful to you, and praise Him for all the prayers He will answer for you in the future.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Urgent Prayer


Daily Bible Reading – Ezekiel 15, 16; Psalm 70; Revelation 6

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 70

 

If you are anything like me, you probably have a few different types of prayers in your arsenal.  While the words of the prayers differ depending on the day, you probably have certain times of the day in which you talk with God.  For example, I usually spend time with Him in prayer when I first wake up, before going to bed, before each meal, before reading His Word, and before writing one of these messages.  For me, these are the times in which I always pray, and it would feel strange for me to ever miss one of these.  Aside from these prayers, though, there is another type of prayer that is probably familiar to everyone.  We pray these prayers when we get bad news.  We pray these prayers when we start to feel panic.  These are the urgent prayers.

In today’s key passage, we see one of these urgent prayers.  While it is not a long prayer, it is one that cuts to the heart of the matter and expresses David’s need for God’s quick intervention. (Vs. 1)  David asks God to be saved from his enemies (Vs. 2) and from those who might mock him (Vs. 3), referring to God as his help and deliverer. (Vs. 5)  Most of us can probably relate to David’s prayer.  Most of us have probably had those times when we needed God’s immediate help.  Most of us have probably felt that level of panic and fear that David was likely feeling, and have reached out to God to feel His peace.  What is so amazing about David’s prayer is that even in the midst of his distress, he does not forget to give God praise.  Even in the course of begging God for help to save him in a desperate situation, David stops to take the time to worship God for His goodness and His salvation. (Vs. 4)  In our moments of panic, let us all learn from David’s example.  Let us not go to God with our immediate needs, and forget to honor Him with our worship and praise.  Even in the direst of circumstances, we can still find a reason to praise God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Having a Bad Day


Daily Bible Reading – Jeremiah 21, 24, 27; Psalm 118; 1 John 2

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 118

 

We have all had one of those days.  They are the days when nothing seems to work out the way we think it should.  They are the days when the world seems to be against us.  They are the days when we want to just curl up into a ball and hide from everything and everyone.  They are the bad days.  We all have them from time to time, and when one pops up out of nowhere it can hit you like a ton of bricks.  A bad day can make every small incident seem like a major disaster.  A bad day can make every small misunderstanding turn into a relationship-defining argument.   A bad day can just make you feel completely out of sync and alone.

The psalmist who wrote Psalm 118 knew all about having a bad day.  He faced periods of anguish (Vs. 5), and times when he felt completely surrounded. (Vs. 10)  He was pushed back and about to fall (Vs. 13), and had to suffer through God’s discipline. (Vs. 18)  Through it all, we see that he maintains a spirit of praise toward God as he declares, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Vs. 24)

We will all face bad days.  We will all face challenges in this life and will all feel alone or forsaken.  While we cannot always control our circumstances, we can take refuge in the knowledge that God is in control.  Every day, even your worst day, is a day created by God for His purposes.  Everything that happens during that day is part of His design, and can build your strength and your faith.  Every day is an opportunity for us to serve our God and to serve others.  Let us all rejoice and be glad in it.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Are You a Good Person?


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalm 112; John 18

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 112

 

Have you ever wondered whether you are a good person?  If you are anything like me, you probably have.  Most people, if asked directly, will say that they believe they are a good person, even if they have doubts or questions in the back of their minds.  More often than not, the problem with this question lies in perspective.  How one person defines “good” can radically differ from another person’s definition.  Because of this perspective problem, most of us have a difficult time clearly discerning whether we are actually “good”.  Fortunately, in today’s key passage we find a way to answer this question.  To truly find out if we are “good people”, we need only to look from God’s perspective.

In Psalm 112, we see a clear set of guidelines as to how God defines a good person.  According to the psalmist, a good person fears the Lord and delights in His commands. (Vs. 1)  He or she is righteous (Vs. 3), as well as gracious and compassionate. (Vs. 4)  A good person is generous and just (Vs. 5), and has an unshakable faith. (Vs. 6)  Finally, a good person has no fear of bad news because of his trust in the Lord. (Vss. 7-8)

The next time you find yourself wondering whether you are a good person; take a quick look at the characteristics found in Psalm 112.  While we may not always live up to God’s definition of a good person based on our own performance, we can rest in the promise of knowing that we are all made perfect not by our own works but by faith in Jesus Christ.  Secure in that knowledge, we can strive to live up to His standards as our way of thanking Him and demonstrating our love for Him, so that others may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Before We Were Saved


Daily Bible Reading – Isaiah 63,64; Psalm 107; John 2

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 107:1-32

 

Psalm 107 is a psalm of praise, celebrating the Jews’ return from the Babylonian exile.  In the psalm, God is glorified for saving four different types of people.  As I read this today, I was reminded of exactly who I was before I was saved by God’s grace.  If you are anything like me, you will likely identify with each of the four groups of people mentioned in this psalm:

Wandering – Before we were saved, we were wandering.  We walked through this life without purpose or destination.  We were, “hungry and thirsty, and [our] lives ebbed away.” (Vs. 5)

Imprisoned – Before we were saved, we were imprisoned.  We were trapped in the prison of our own sinfulness, and we, “sat in darkness, and the deepest gloom.” (Vs. 10)

Suffering – Before we were saved, we were suffering.  We “became fools through [our] rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of [our] iniquities.” (Vs. 17)

Overwhelmed – Before we were saved, like merchants on ships in the midst of a violent storm, we were overwhelmed.  We “reeled and staggered like drunken men; [we] were at [our] wits’ end.” (Vs. 27)

Whether you have been walking with Christ for years or for days, it is important to be reminded of exactly who you were before you were saved.  When we remember, we can instantly recall how much God has done for us.  Whether you were wandering, imprisoned, suffering, overwhelmed, or all of the above, if you are a follower of Christ then there was a time in your life when you cried out to the Lord, and He delivered you from your distress.  Spend some time today praising Him for saving you.  Then share your story with others to bring glory to God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

When Life Seems Unfair


Daily Bible Reading – Hosea 10-12; Psalm 73; Hebrews 4

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 73

 

At some point in our lives, we have all cried out the familiar phrase, “That is not fair!”  I can remember saying it as a child and I know I have thought it and said it as an adult.  As human beings, we naturally like to believe that things should always work out fairly.  The wicked should be punished immediately, and the righteous should be rewarded immediately.  Anything less just seems unfair.  One of the greatest lessons my parents ever taught me as a child was that life does not always work out in this way.  In this world, sometimes life seems unfair.  Sometimes the people who cheat and lie are the ones who are most successful (as the world defines success).  Sometimes the righteous people who live their lives in obedience to God face hard times.  While it is little consolation to us in the midst of a “life is not fair” moment, this is not a new problem that only affects our generation.  In fact, the fairness of life has been plaguing human beings for thousands of years.

In today’s key passage, the psalmist Asaph struggles with the fairness of life as he “envied the arrogant when [he] saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Vs. 3)  Asaph goes through a laundry list of the ways in which the wicked prosper (Vss. 4-12), and decides that, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.” (Vs. 13)  It was not until Asaph consulted with God that he truly came to understand the problem with his thinking. (Vs. 17)  The issue of fairness is really a matter of perspective.  Apart from God, we only have one perspective – our own.  We see the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer and we believe life is unfair.  As we grow closer to God though, we begin to see things from His perspective.  As we get closer to God, we realize that the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous is only a temporary condition confined to this world.  Ultimately, the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished, and these conditions will be eternal.

When facing a “life is not fair” moment, remember to change your perspective.  Instead of focusing on how unfair the world seems today, focus on how fair our perfect world will be in eternity.   Like Asaph (Vss. 23-28), praise God for His presence in this life, and praise Him for his promises of fairness in eternity.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God


Daily Bible Reading – Ecclesiastes 10-12; Psalm 94; Ephesians 5

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 94:8-15

 

During my junior year of college, I started working in surveillance and security at a large department store.  During the next couple of years, I would sit for hours each day in front of closed circuit television monitors watching the security cameras that were placed throughout the store.  At that time we did not use the small, hidden cameras that are so popular today.  Most of the cameras we had back then were either right out in the open or were enclosed in large black domes on the ceiling.  In addition, signs were placed at all the entrances warning customers that they would be under video surveillance while shopping in the store.  Despite the fact that we warned customers and despite the fact that the cameras were clearly visible, I was always amazed at the things some people did inside the store.  I watched people try to shoplift from the store hundreds of times per year.  I saw customers try to steal cash out of cash registers.  I saw people arguing with and sometimes physically assaulting their spouses.  I saw people doing other things that no one should ever do in public.  Many times, people seemed to act as if no one was watching.  They acted as if no one could see what they were doing, and they acted as if they would never have to face any punishment for their actions.

I think all of us have times when we hope no one is watching, including God.  We all have moments of failure where we hope, if even for a brief moment, that maybe God did not notice.  The author of our key passage today talked about this and reminds us that God is the creator of everything that we see around us.  Since He created the ear, it stands to reason that He can hear all that we say, and since He created the eye, it stands to reason that He can see all that we do. (Vs. 9)  Moreover, he also knows our thoughts. (Vs. 11)  There are three truths that we must never forget about our God.  First, He is omniscient, meaning that He has unlimited knowledge and understanding, and He perceives all things.  Secondly, He is omnipotent, meaning that He has unlimited authority and power.  Finally, He is omnipresent, meaning that He is present everywhere at the same time.  When we understand these truths about God, we can better understand the damaging effects of our own sins and failures.  There is no getting past the fact that God sees us in our lowest moments.  Even when we fool everyone else on this earth, God still knows the truth that lies in our hearts.  Whether it is your best day or your worst day, never believe the lie that no one is watching because God is always watching.  This may sound scary or intimidating at first, but actually, it is wonderful news for us!  Since we know these three truths about God, we know that He is always by our side.  We know that He is always walking with us.  We know that He sees everything we are struggling with and everything we are going through.  We know that He sees what we need, and we know that He will provide it for us.  Praise Him today for His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His omnipresence, and rest in the knowledge that He will never leave you or forsake you.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Eyes are the Window to the Soul


Daily Bible Reading – 1 Kings 4,5; 2 Chronicles 2; Psalm 101; 2 Thessalonians 3

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 101

 

We have all heard the saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and I happen to believe that this statement is true.  I know that when I look into my wife’s eyes or my daughter’s eyes, I feel like I can see straight through to their hearts.  When I want to know how they are feeling, often all it takes is a simple look into their eyes.  When I worked as an investigator, many times during an interrogation I would look into someone’s eyes and I would just know whether they were innocent or guilty.  The eyes truly are a window.  The thing about windows, though, is that they work both ways.  You can look in through a window, but you can also look out.  If you can see someone’s heart through their eyes, then it stands to reason that whatever goes into someone’s eyes will go directly to their heart.  In today’s key passage, David addresses this when he says, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” (Vs. 3)

David wanted to live a blameless life.  To do that, he knew that he needed to avoid temptations to sin, such as looking at wickedness.  (Ironically, one of his greatest sins occurred later in his reign as king when he “set before his eyes a vile thing” and watched Bathsheba bathing, setting off a chain of sin that almost destroyed him.)  In today’s culture, we are literally surrounded by “vile things”.  It seems everywhere we turn, there are potential temptations to sin bombarding our eyes.  These “vile things” can be found in certain movies and television shows, the internet, and even in television commercials.  As followers of Christ, it is important that we protect our eyes from what they can see, but it is even more important that we protect our children’s eyes from what they can see.  Whether we realize it or not, our hearts are affected by what we see.  In order to protect our hearts, let us all resign to set before our eyes no vile thing.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

What God Wants


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Samuel 15,16; Psalm 32; Matthew 25

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 32

 

Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about “wants”.  We think about what we want to eat for dinner.  We think about what our children want for their birthdays or Christmas.  We think about where our spouses want to go on vacation.  A better “want” to consider, however, is what God wants.  The Bible helps us answer this question in many different ways.  We know that He wants us to love Him.  We know that He wants us to put Him first.  In today’s key passage, we find more clues as to what God wants.  Let us look at a few of those “wants” today:

  • God wants us to be cleansed – (Vss. 1-2) – God wants each of us to receive the initial cleansing that comes from the salvation offered through Jesus Christ.  In addition, he wants us to be continually cleansed by Him as we live our lives daily.
  • God wants us to be convicted – (Vss. 3-4) – The Holy Spirit living in us convicts us of sins as they happen.  When we sin, God will convict us and show us that we need to turn back to Him to restore our relationship.  This conviction will not let us rest until we have dealt with our sin.
  • God wants us to confess – (Vss. 5-6) – When we acknowledge our sins to God, He forgives us and cleanses us from our impurities.
  • God wants us to rest in His protection– (Vs. 7) – God wants to be our “hiding place” from all of the troubles of this world.  When we rest in Him, he will shield us from evil.
  • God wants us to rest in His guidance – (Vs. 8) – God wants to instruct us and teach us how to walk in His ways.  He wants us to trust Him to lead us only to what is best for us.
  • God wants us to cooperate – (Vss. 9-11) – Some people in this world are stubborn.  Rather than allowing God to guide them with love, they leave God no other choice but to lead them with “bit and bridle”.  In other words, they force God to lead them using discipline and punishment.  When we fail to acknowledge our sins before God, He may punish us to force us back to Him.  God will use any means necessary to restore our relationship with Him.

As I read today’s passage, I am awestruck by the differences between God and man.  Obviously, human beings are very different from God in many ways, but I believe one of the biggest differences comes in the area of forgiveness.  When humans forgive others, we sometimes do it almost grudgingly.  We know we “should” forgive someone, or we feel like we “need to” forgive someone.  Sometimes we even feel like we “have to” forgive someone.  When we do forgive, we very seldom ever forget.  God, on the other hand, is not like us in this regard.  God never feels like He should forgive, or that He needs to forgive, and he certainly never feels like He has to forgive.  God wants to forgive us.  In addition, when He forgives, He forgets completely that we have sinned.  We do not have this ability on our own, but God does.  He does not keep a record of wrongs.  When God forgives us, we are washed clean in the blood of Christ and are made white as snow, and our relationship to God is completely restored.  We do not have to live with guilt over sin.  We do not have to live in fear of His punishments.  We can find freedom and joy today through the forgiveness He offers us.  The next time you are thinking about “wants” in your life, consider what God wants for you.  Think of this Psalm, and rest in His promises.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Proclaiming the Greatness of God


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 17,18; Psalm 89; 2 Corinthians 3

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 89

In reading Psalm 89 today, I was struck by the first two verses in which the psalmist says, “I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” God had promised to preserve David’s descendants and to make one of them the king of the earth forever.  The psalmist was so overjoyed by this fact that he wanted to tell everyone he knew.  He wanted to sing God’s praises forever.  He wanted to shout from the rooftops about the greatness of God.  He talks about the strength of God in verse 8 when he says, “O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” He talks about God owning everything in verses 11-12 when he says, “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.” He praises God’s character in verse 14 when he says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” He talks about the joy God brings in verses 15-16 when he says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.” The psalmist has found so many reasons to exalt and revere God that he simply cannot hold them all in any longer.  He must proclaim God’s greatness to everyone he knows.

This psalmist was on fire for God because of a promise.  At this point in history, God had simply promised David that someday one of his descendants would rule forever.  As excited as this psalmist was about this promise, he did not even know the whole story that we know today.  He did not know that Jesus Christ would be born from David’s line, but would also be born from God.  He did not know that Christ would live a perfect life and would die for the sins of the world.  He did not know that Jesus would be resurrected and would sit at the right hand of God interceding for us.  He did not know that Christ would reign forever.  Fortunately, we have the benefit of knowing these things.  As excited as the psalmist was, how much more excited should we be?  How much louder should we be shouting from the rooftops?  When we are born again and Christ comes to live inside of us, we are filled with the joy of knowing that these promises God has made are true.  As the Holy Spirit inside of us begins making changes in us, we will find that, like the psalmist, we cannot help but to proclaim the greatness of God.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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