Sunday Devotional: Psalm 40

“I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

How happy is the man
who has put his trust in the Lord
and has not turned to the proud
or to those who run after lies!
Lord my God, You have done many things—
Your wonderful works and Your plans for us;
none can compare with You.
If I were to report and speak of them,
they are more than can be told.

You do not delight in sacrifice and offering;
You open my ears to listen.
You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering.
Then I said, “See, I have come;
it is written about me in the volume of the scroll.
I delight to do Your will, my God;
Your instruction lives within me.”

I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
see, I do not keep my mouth closed—
as You know, Lord.
I did not hide Your righteousness in my heart;
I spoke about Your faithfulness and salvation;
I did not conceal Your constant love and truth
from the great assembly.

Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your constant love and truth will always guard me.
For troubles without number have surrounded me;
my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my courage leaves me.
Lord, be pleased to deliver me;
hurry to help me, Lord.

Let those who seek to take my life
be disgraced and confounded.
Let those who wish me harm
be driven back and humiliated.
Let those who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
be horrified because of their shame.

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
let those who love Your salvation continually say,
“The Lord is great!”
I am afflicted and needy;
the Lord thinks of me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
my God, do not delay.”  (Psalm 40)

In the midst of such suffering and pain that we are experiencing during these troubled times, it is important to remember that this is nothing new.  The world has dealt with tremendous pain and sorrow because of this being a fallen world.  David knew of this pain during his life.  Yet he trusted in the Lord to help deliver him.

David knew that that Lord was trustworthy.  He knew that the Lord would bring hope and salvation.  So he waited for the Lord to deliver.  Waiting is hard especially when the hurt is so great.  Yet we are called to wait on the Lord and put our trust in Him.  The good thing is that trust is not unfulfilled.  God is faithful.

This week, let us hope and trust in the Lord, even in the roughest and toughest of circumstances.  Let us wait on Him and trust He will deliver.

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Sunday Devotional: Psalm 107:1-9

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim
that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe
and has gathered them from the lands—
from the east and the west,
from the north and the south.

Some wandered in the desolate wilderness,
finding no way to a city where they could live.
They were hungry and thirsty;
their spirits failed within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He rescued them from their distress.
He led them by the right path
to go to a city where they could live.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
For He has satisfied the thirsty
and filled the hungry with good things.”  (Psalm 107:1-9)

The first part of this psalm reminds me of a praise and worship song that I love. We are to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because His love endures forever. He loves us so much and cares for us. He is faithful always.

The writer of this psalm speaks to God’s love and faithfulness throughout this psalm.  Just in these few verses we see that to be true.  The people were wandering and alone and cried out to the Lord.  They were hungry and thirsty.  They were tired and alone.  The Lord heard them and led them out and brought them home.  He took care of them.

The Lord does the same for those who love and follow Him  He hears us when we call out to Him.  He will lead us out of despair and into hope.  So this week let’s us give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love that endures forever.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 107:23-32

“Others went to sea in ships,
conducting trade on the vast waters.
They saw the Lord’s works,
His wonderful works in the deep.
He spoke and raised a tempest
that stirred up the waves of the sea.
Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths,
their courage melting away in anguish,
they reeled and staggered like drunken men,
and all their skill was useless.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a murmur,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
and praise Him in the council of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)

We all have storms we have to deal with in our lives.  They come both literally and figuratively.  We’ve seen in recent days and weeks dealing with storms such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma.  We also see it in our lives figuratively when the troubles and hardships that come our way.  Throughout it all, God is still there in the midst.  He is still in control.

Like the Psalmist writes here in Psalm 107, God is right there to hear us when we call out to him in the midst of the storm.  He knows what we’re going through.  He is able to guide us “to the harbor”.  Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of the storm to feel his presence but He is there.  If we call out to Him, He will hear us.

This week, let us pray for those that are in the midst of storms both literally and figuratively.  And let us give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness and His love.  Let us give thanks that He does hear us and that He will calm the storm and will guide us to the harbor.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 27

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
Though an army deploys against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
still I am confident.

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter
in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock.
Then my head will be high
above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about You,
“You are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me;
do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me.

Because of my adversaries,
show me Your way, Lord,
and lead me on a level path.
Do not give me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing violence.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:1-14)

This is one of David’s well known psalms that he wrote. In this psalm, David speaks not only to the struggles that he faced but the hope that he held in the Lord. Though there may be armies surrounding, he was not moved. Though there were struggles inside of him, he continued to hope and believe. He knew God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness. He had experienced it firsthand. And he believed and trusted that God would continue to be faithful and good.

Though we may be going through our own hard times and troubles, let us be like David.  Let us wait on the Lord, let us trust in His work.  Let us never give up doing good and following Him.

Sunday Devotional: Zechariah 7:8-10

“The word of the Lord came to Zechariah:  “The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.”  (Zechariah 7:8-10)

Zechariah was a prophet of the Lord.  He was given the task of sharing the words of the Lord to the people after their return from exile in Babylon.  Some of these words are in the passage here.  The Lord wanted the people to remember these things.  To be fair in their decisions.  To have love and compassion for one another.  To not be oppressive to those hurting or those in need.  And to not plot evil against one another.

These words, written down thousands of years ago, still hold true today.  God still wants those that love and worship Him to do these things.  He wants us to “make fair decisions”.  He wants us to “show faithful love and compassion to one another.”  He wants us to “not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor” and to “not plot evil” in our hearts towards one another.

We see today much anger and hurt and sin around us.  There was much anger and hurt and sin in Zechariah’s day.  But just as God called the people in Zechariah’s day to this standard of fairness, compassion, love, grace and mercy, we are called to do the same.  So this week let us not be about anger and hate and division.  But let us be about fairness and love and compassion and hope.  And we are able to have those things because of Jesus Christ.

Sunday Devotional: Luke 15:1-7

“All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to Him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!”

So He told them this parable:  “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders,  and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’  I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.” (Luke 15:1-7)

This was the first of three parables Jesus shared to the crowds after hearing the Pharisees and scribes complaining.  This one dealt with a shepherd who had lost a sheep.  He had the 99 out in the open field safe and sound but one was missing.  The shepherd went and searched for it and eventually found it.  When he did, he brought it home.  Not only that, he called all his friends and neighbors to let them know what had happened.  The shepherd was joyous that all 100 were back in the open field again.

There is that same kind of joy that happens when one sinner repents and follows Jesus.  There is great celebration that takes place.  One was lost but now is found.  We should celebrate like that when we hear such great news.  We should be sharing that good news so that others who are lost can be found.  This week let us share that joy and share that good news of salvation to a world that needs it.