June 25th, 2017

The Living Dead

Ephesians 2:1-3

(ESV)

Made Alive in Christ

2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

The Immeasurable Greatness of His Power Toward Us Who Believe

June 18th, 2017

Ephesians 1:15-23

(ESV)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

What Do We Really Need?

June 11th, 2017

Ephesians 1:15-23

(ESV)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Is He Your Doppelganger?

June 4th, 2017

Ephesians 1:3-14

(ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

What a God! What a Salvation! What a Guarantee!

May 28th, 2017

Ephesians 1:3-14

(ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Hope Found in God’s Election

May 21st, 2017

Ephesians 1:3-11

(ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Paul Brings Hope to the Ephesians

May 14th, 2017

Ephesians 1:1-14

(ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Hallelujah!

April 30th, 2017

Psalm 146

(ESV)

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

1  Praise the Lord!
    Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7     who executes justice for the oppressed,
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Helping Your Children Become Enthralled with God

April 23rd, 2017

Great Is the Lord

A Song of Praise. Of David.

1  I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Life and Hope

April 16th, 2016

Psalm 16:8-11

(ESV)

I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Royal Humility: Triumph and Tragedy

April 9th, 2017

Matthew 21:1-11

(ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

1  Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

The Pain of a Displaced Life

March 26th, 2017

Psalm 137

(ESV)

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.

7 Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
    “tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

Unflinching Care & Attention

March 19th, 2017

Psalm 121

(ESV)

My Help Comes from the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

The Longest Prayer in the Bible

March 12th, 2017

Psalm 119

(ESV)

Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Aleph

 1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
    who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
    who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
    but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
    when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
    do not utterly forsake me!

Beth

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
    all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

Gimel

17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
    that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
    wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
    hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
    who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt,
    for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
    your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

Daleth

25 My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
    teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
    and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
    let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
    when you enlarge my heart!

He

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!

Waw

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
    your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
    for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
    forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
    for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
    and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
    which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
    and I will meditate on your statutes.

Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant,
    in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.
51 The insolent utterly deride me,
    but I do not turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old,
    I take comfort, O Lord.
53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
    who forsake your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
    in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
    and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me,
    that I have kept your precepts.

Heth

57 The Lord is my portion;
    I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart;
    be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think on my ways,
    I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay
    to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
    I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you,
    because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
    of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
    teach me your statutes!

Teth

65 You have dealt well with your servant,
    O Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good;
    teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,
    but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me
    than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yodh

73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
    give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
    because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
    according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
    for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
    because they have wronged me with falsehood;
    as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
    that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
    that I may not be put to shame!

Kaph

81 My soul longs for your salvation;
    I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise;
    I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
    yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?
    When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
    they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure;
    they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth,
    but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life,
    that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89 Forever, O Lord, your word
    is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
    you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
    for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
    for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
    but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
    but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Mem

97 Oh how I love your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
    for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
    for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
    in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
    for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
    to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
    give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
    and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
    but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
    but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
    for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
    forever, to the end.

Samekh

113 I hate the double-minded,
    but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
    I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
    and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
    and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
    for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
    therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
    and I am afraid of your judgments.

Ayin

121 I have done what is just and right;
    do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant a pledge of good;
    let not the insolent oppress me.
123 My eyes long for your salvation
    and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
    and teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding,
    that I may know your testimonies!
126 It is time for the Lord to act,
    for your law has been broken.
127 Therefore I love your commandments
    above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
    I hate every false way.

Pe

129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
    therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it imparts understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from man's oppression,
    that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
    and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
    because people do not keep your law.

Tsadhe

137 Righteous are you, O Lord,
    and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
    and in all faithfulness.
139 My zeal consumes me,
    because my foes forget your words.
140 Your promise is well tried,
    and your servant loves it.
141 I am small and despised,
    yet I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever,
    and your law is true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out,
    but your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
    give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
    I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me,
    that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
    I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
    that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
    O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
    they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
    and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
    that you have founded them forever.

Resh

153 Look on my affliction and deliver me,
    for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
    give me life according to your promise!
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord;
    give me life according to your rules.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
    but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
    because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts!
    Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth,
    and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Sin and Shin

161 Princes persecute me without cause,
    but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
    like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
    but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
    nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
    and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies;
    I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies,
    for all my ways are before you.

Taw

169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
    give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you;
    deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
    for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word,
    for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
    and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you,
    and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.

What More Could We Want?

March 5th, 2017

Psalm 118

(ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees;
    they went out like a fire among thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.

14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation
    are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16     the right hand of the Lord exalts,
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”

17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord!
    O Lord, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
    up to the horns of the altar!

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let All the Peoples Praise You

February 26th, 2017

Psalm 67

(ESV)

Make Your Face Shine upon Us

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

67 May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!

6 The earth has yielded its increase;
    God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Is That REALLY in the Bible?

February 19th, 2017

Psalm 109

(ESV)

Help Me, O Lord My God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

109 Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
    speaking against me with lying tongues.
3 They encircle me with words of hate,
    and attack me without cause.
4 In return for my love they accuse me,
    but I give myself to prayer.
5 So they reward me evil for good,
    and hatred for my love.

6 Appoint a wicked man against him;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
    let his prayer be counted as sin!
8 May his days be few;
    may another take his office!
9 May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow!
10 May his children wander about and beg,
    seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11 May the creditor seize all that he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
    nor any to pity his fatherless children!
13 May his posterity be cut off;
    may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
    and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
    that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!

16 For he did not remember to show kindness,
    but pursued the poor and needy
    and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
17 He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
    He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
    may it soak into his body like water,
    like oil into his bones!
19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
    like a belt that he puts on every day!
20 May this be the reward of my accusers from theLord,
    of those who speak evil against my life!

21 But you, O God my Lord,
    deal on my behalf for your name's sake;
    because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is stricken within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow at evening;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting;
    my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they wag their heads.

26 Help me, O Lord my God!
    Save me according to your steadfast love!
27 Let them know that this is your hand;
    you, O Lord, have done it!
28 Let them curse, but you will bless!
    They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
    may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
    I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
    to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

The God of Faithfulness

February 12th, 2017

Psalm 107

(ESV)

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

107 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

17 Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

33 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Man’s Rebellion is Stubborn – God’s Love is Infinitely More Powerful

February 5th, 2017

Psalm 106

(ESV)

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
    or declare all his praise?
Blessed are they who observe justice,
    who do righteousness at all times!

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
    help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
    that I may glory with your inheritance.

Both we and our fathers have sinned;
    we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
    did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
    but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name's sake,
    that he might make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
    and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
So he saved them from the hand of the foe
    and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
And the waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them was left.
Then they believed his words;
    they sang his praise.

But they soon forgot his works;
    they did not wait for his counsel.
But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
    and put God to the test in the desert;
he gave them what they asked,
    but sent a wasting disease among them.

When men in the camp were jealous of Moses
    and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
    and covered the company of Abiram.
Fire also broke out in their company;
    the flame burned up the wicked.

They made a calf in Horeb
    and worshiped a metal image.
They exchanged the glory of God
    for the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God, their Savior,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
wondrous works in the land of Ham,
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
Therefore he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
    to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Then they despised the pleasant land,
    having no faith in his promise.
They murmured in their tents,
    and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
and would make their offspring fall among the nations,
    scattering them among the lands.

Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
    and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was stayed.
And that was counted to him as righteousness
    from generation to generation forever.

They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
    and it went ill with Moses on their account,
for they made his spirit bitter,
    and he spoke rashly with his lips.

They did not destroy the peoples,
    as the Lord commanded them,
but they mixed with the nations
    and learned to do as they did.
They served their idols,
    which became a snare to them.
They sacrificed their sons
    and their daughters to the demons;
they poured out innocent blood,
    the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
    and the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they became unclean by their acts,
    and played the whore in their deeds.

Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
    and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations,
    so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them,
    and they were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them,
    but they were rebellious in their purposes
    and were brought low through their iniquity.

Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
    when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant,
    and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied
    by all those who held them captive.

Save us, O Lord our God,
    and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
    Praise the Lord!