April 30, 2007
David had a deep longing for God. In Psalm 42 he describes the longing as that of a thirsty deer. Yet,David’s longing was frustrated. He was in exile and couldn’t worship with God’s people at God’s house (42:4). He was discouraged and in despair. But, he refused to stay there.Instead of letting his circumstances rule him, David turned to God in faith. He reminded himself to “hope in God” (5,11). He reminded himself that God would deliver Him. God’s lovingkindness will not fail. He would praise Him again.
Read Psalm 42 today. Ask yourself, do I have this type of passion for God? Am I disturbed when I can’t be with God’s people in God’s house? When I am discouraged, do I turn to God, or to something else?
May give you a thirst that can only be satisfied in Him.
April 27, 2007
In Psalm 38 we find both the personal cost of sin and the solution. We don’t know the specific sin, but we know that David is suffering greatly. He feels the weight of God’s anger (38:2). His health is affected (38:3). He feels isolated even from friends and loved ones (38:11). His enemies are rising up against him (38:12). Make no mistake, there is a cost to sin. It may offer pleasure for a time, but the pain that follows far overshadows any passing pleasure.
But, David also gives a wonderful example of how to hope in God after we have sinned. First, he appeals to God’s mercy. He asks God not to rebuke and chasten Him in anger (38:1). Next, he remembers that his hope is completely in God (38:15). He doesn’t need to fight his opponents, listen to their attacks or defend himself. Instead, he does what all of us must do. He confesses his iniquity (38:18). He doesn’t try to hide it. He takes it to God and asks God to help him and save him (38:22).
How do you handle your sin? Do you simply try to hide it and go on with life? Or, do you follow the example of David and seek God’s mercy and salvation through humble, trusting confession?
Bible Reading: Numbers 3, Psalm 38, Song of Solomon 2, Hebrews 2
April 20, 2007
In 2 Timothy 3 Paul reminds Timothy that the last days will not be pleasant. The last days is a broad term that can (and in this context does) encompass the entire period from Jesus’ first coming to His second coming. Paul makes it clear that things are not going to get better before the return of Jesus. In fact, they will probably get worse. Men will be marked by selfishness, rebellion, hate and treachery. Interestingly, they will make claims to godliness (2 Tim 3:5), but really be lovers of pleasure (3:4). Paul’s description certainly matches life in America today. We should not be surprised by what we see in our culture and unfortunately even in the church, the Bible predicts it.
How it Timothy to respond to this? How are we to respond? First, we are to avoid these men. When men profess to know God, but deny Him by their deeds, we are to avoid them. They are like an infectious disease. Paul is confident that these men will be exposed in time. Second, we are to continue in godliness and the Scripture. It is the Scripture that will bring wisdom, salvation and equip us for every good work. We may suffer and be persecuted, but we will be found faithful if we remain rooted in the Scripture in the midst of a decaying culture and church.
Bible Reading: Leviticus 24, Psalm 31, Ecclesiastes 7, 2 Timothy 3
April 19, 2007
In 2 Timothy 2, Paul continues his instruction to Timothy. One of Timothy’s tasks is to make sure he remembers Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. He is to remind those he preaches and teaches of the resurrection. This is important because some are already spreading lies about it and these lies are upsetting the faith of some. Timothy is to gently but firmly oppose the error that our resurrection has already come. It hasn’t. We will rise when Jesus comes again (1 Corinthians 15:23). The danger of denying or misrepresenting the resurrection is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians 15.
How he opposes this error is critical. He must handle the Bible accurately (2 Timothy 2:15). He must avoid irreverent, foolish talk and quarrels. And he must pursue holiness, gently, faithfully teaching the truth, praying that God will grant people repentance.
There is an important and delicate balance here. We are to oppose error and lies. But, we are not to do it by entering every argument and discussion. Timothy is told to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23). Instead, Timothy, and we, should focus on accurate consistent teaching of God’s Word. We are to focus on patiently teaching God’s word, gently correcting error, and waiting on God to turn peoples’ hearts to the truth.
Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 23, Psalm 30, Ecclesiastes 6, 2 Timothy 2
April 18, 2007
Here is a helpful excerpt from this week’s PeaceMeal, an publication of Peacemaker Ministries.
God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble. James 4:6
When you need to show others their faults, do not talk down to them as though you are faultless and they are inferior to you. Instead, talk with them as though you are standing side by side at the foot of the cross. Acknowledge your present, ongoing need for the Savior. Admit ways that you have wrestled with the same or other sins or weaknesses, and give hope by describing how God has forgiven you and is currently working in you to help you change…When people see this kind of humility and common bond, they will be less inclined to react to correction with pride and defensiveness.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 172.
PeaceMeal is a publication of Peacemaker® Ministries. Copyright 2006. Reprinted with permission. To sign up for this free weekly email publication, go to the Peacemaker Ministries website at http://www.Peacemaker.net.
April 18, 2007
One of Paul’s encouragements to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1 is not to be ashamed of either God’s Word or of Paul. There would be many reasons to be ashamed humanly speaking. The message of the gospel was an offense to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23). Preaching about Jesus frequently led to beatings and imprisonment. As Paul wrote, he sat in prison awaiting death. Yet, he encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed.
The reason Timothy was not to be ashamed is clear. The same reason applies to us. God has acted in our lives. God has acted in grace to save us for His purposes. We are not to be ashamed because the gospel is the message of life. We are not to be ashamed because we know Jesus and we know that He is able to keep our lives until the day of resurrection, when death will be completely abolished. We are not to be ashamed because we know the power, grace and faithfulness of God.
Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 22, Psalm 28-29, Ecclesiastes 5, 2 Timothy 1
April 17, 2007
Consider this quote from Steve Lawson:
Never has the need been greater for the truths of sovereign grace to be firmly established in the church. Her thinking about God desperately needs to be flowing in the right direction. As the church thinks, so she worships; and, as the church worships, so she lives, serves and evangelizes. The church’s right view of God and the outworking of His grace gives shape to everything that is vital and important. The church must recapture her lofty vision of God and, thereby, be anchored to the solid rock of His absolute supremacy in all things. (Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace, 1:23)
This is a strong call for the church to recover the truth that God is the one who saves sinners. He gives us the grace and faith to believe. He gives us new life. He saves and keeps us by His grace. These are the truths that fuel my life and worship. I hope they fuel yours.