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: Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

A couple of years ago, I used this verse for a Sunday Devotional.  I was reminded of this verse again recently and how it is very much still applicable today.

Paul wrote these words finishing up a letter to a group of believers that he cared for very deeply.  He helped to plant the church in Philippi wanted to see and hear that the believers there were growing in their faith.  He wanted them to keep pursuing Christ and to continue the work there.

We as believers have that same calling.  We are to keep pursing Christ and continue the work of sharing the Gospel.  And as we do that, we are to engage life with the filter that this verse   We live in a time when we are bombarded on all sides from things that are not the things in these verses.  We must strive to separate out these things to find the things that are true, that are just, that are pure, that are worthy of praise.

This week, let us make sure that we take time to reflect on those things that honor God, those things that point us to Him.  Let us think on those things so that we can be focused on what it is He has for us to do.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 113

“Hallelujah!
Give praise, servants of Yahweh;
praise the name of Yahweh.
Let the name of Yahweh be praised
both now and forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
let the name of Yahweh be praised.

Yahweh is exalted above all the nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like Yahweh our God—
the One enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the garbage pile
in order to seat them with nobles—
with the nobles of His people.
He gives the childless woman a household,
making her the joyful mother of children.
Hallelujah!” (Psalm 113)

One of the many good things about the psalms is it helps remind and bring us back into meditating and praising the Lord. This psalm is another example of that.  Psalm 113 reminds us of who God is and why we should praise Him.

The Lord is mighty and worthy to be exalted over all others.  He is worthy to be praised for who He is and what He has done.  He gives hope to the hopeless.  He cares for the needy.  He rescues the lost.  He is the Lord.

This week let us remember who God is and what He has done.  And let us give thanks and praise His name for it.

Sunday Devotional: 2 Corinthians 13:11-12

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.”  (2 Corinthians 13:11-12)

Paul in his letters to the various churches he helped to plant and support always loved to finish them with encouragement and love.  Here in one of his letters to the church in Corinth it is again this kind of word that he wanted to send to the congregation.

Paul loved the people in Corinth and wanted to make sure that they were growing in their faith.  He wanted them to be encouraged to keep going in their faith.  He wanted them to be at peace with one another and he wanted them to be in fellowship with God and each other.

The same should be for us as well.  We should be striving to love God and love one another more.  We should be striving to become more mature in our faith and our walk with God.  We should be encouraging one another.  We should be striving for peace and unity at a time with divisiveness is very apparent.

This week, let us encourage one another like Paul encouraged the Corinthians.  Let us be about rejoicing about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  Let us love God and one another more and more.  And let us be about sharing peace that comes through Jesus Christ.

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: Matthew 10:16-23

“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them. You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:16-23)

Jesus spoke these words to the 12 disciples before sending them out on mission to preach the Gospel.  He was letting them know about the dangers and risks that were in front of them.  He was informing them of the harshness that they would face.  He was telling them the truth about how hard the mission would be.  It was not going to be easy but it would be worth it.

The same is true today. We will face hardships and persecution when preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. We will be hated. We will be despised. We will be rejected. Jesus Himself was despised and rejected. We as his followers should not expect less. But Jesus promised us we would never be alone.  He has promised the Holy Spirit with us. And one day He will return.

In the meantime, we are called to share the truth in love. We are to keep sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of hardship and persecution, in the midst of being hated and despised. We are to keep fighting the good fight for the sake of the Gospel.