Bethany Presbyterian Church Bridgeville, PA Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Devotional: Aug 18 – Aug 23 Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:00:19 +0000 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

August 18, 2014 Psalm 94

Many of the Psalms are structured like this one – a petition or introduction, a lament, an appeal, and closes with an expression of faith that God will act justly and decisively with all righteousness. Such an expression of faith is written in verses 16-19. The Psalmist is seeking protection from wicked evildoers. He cries out – “Who will stand up for me? I am slipping”. We’re not sure how he was slipping – in his faith and belief in the Lord, or slipping into sin, or was his health failing? In His good timing, God helped him in his travail. Blessing the writer with His love and comfort, this gave him support, hope, and gladness. Two questions come to mind. Do we pray honestly to God, telling Him that our feet are slipping? Do we think that God can’t handle that level of honesty from us? The truth is, God already knows our situation, and can’t wait for us to run to Him for confession and healing. Secondly, do we end our prayers with a strong expression of faith and belief that God hears our petitions and will act on our behalf? We may have to be patient with God, but He does hear and He does care. Let’s all pray for the strength to be totally honest with God and for a willing heart to faithfully believe that He hears our prayers and will act according to His will.

August 19, 2014 Psalm 95

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker….Bowing down and kneeling before God demonstrates our humble worship of Him. This attitude reminds us of the penitent tax collector in Jesus’ parable, who would not even look up to heaven in the Temple, but said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus said that he was “justified before God”, and “whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:13-14). A humble attitude in worship prepares us to meet the Lord without any arrogance or self-righteousness, allowing us to focus our mind, heart, and spirit solely on Him and His majesty. All we can offer to God is our broken, contrite, and repentant hearts, and He will not reject us (Psalm 51:17). Our humility before God will keep us from hardening our hearts toward Him, because we’ll always be open to His guidance and wisdom and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Then we can shout joyfully and sing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior! Let’s ask God for a humble spirit so that we can bow and kneel before Him.

August 20, 2014 Psalm 96

How can we praise and honor the Lord God Almighty? We can sing, proclaim the Good News to others, acknowledge His presence and power, worship Him, and bring Him offerings of our time, talent, treasure, and our humble hearts. We can live holy lives pleasing to Him. It is good to praise the Lord; even creation itself praises Him – the sea and everything in it, fields and crops, and the trees of the forest! Like the offering of our thankfulness, praising God redirects the focus of our lives from us to the Lord. And why not? Everything we have and are – our abilities, our possessions, our personality, our knowledge, even our faith, are all gifts from God. He alone is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. When He returns to judge the world with justice, we will be ready to receive Him, because our faith, expressed in acts of praise and holy living, will have prepared us to meet Him! Dear Lord and God, we praise You because of who You are. You alone are worthy of praise, honor, and glory. Help us to live lives pleasing to You, and prepare us to meet You someday. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

August 21, 2014 Psalm 97

The Lord is King! Let the earth rejoice! Let us rejoice! But, dark clouds surround Him. When we think of dark clouds or see dark clouds in the sky, we may conjure up thoughts of rain or a storm or something ominous. The dark clouds mentioned here could refer to the fact that He is holy and therefore unapproachable to the unrepentant and non believer. As believers, we know that we can boldly approach the Lord in prayer and are continually guided by His Holy Spirit. But to the unrepentant, He shows Himself hostile (see 2 Samuel 22:26-27). Then we’re told that “fire goes before Him” (v. 3 NIV), as when He led the Hebrews in the wilderness with a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21b). Hebrews 12:29 tells us that “our God is a devouring fire”, ultimately destroying anything that is worthless and sinful. God’s fire is also described as a refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:2-3), that will purify the Levites, enabling them to offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. Likewise, God’s refining fire purifies a person once he or she believes in and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, transforming them and giving them Holy Spirit sight and understanding. Therefore, let’s not fear the dark clouds surrounding God or the fire that goes before Him, but know that we can approach Him with confidence because we’ve been refined by His grace. Let’s pray that God gives us willing hearts to believe His Word to us and an adventurous spirit to put that belief into holy action for Him.

August 22, 2014 Psalm 98

The Book of Psalms is a book of prayers originally intended to be accompanied by singing and music. What is it about singing and music that enhances our worship experience and energizes our spirits? There are certain hymns that will bring me to tears every time we sing them in church. Does that happen to you? I could pray the lyrics from these hymns dry-eyed, but put these same lyrics to music and I’ll start weeping (even if I’m just listening to the song!). Singing to the Lord just elevates our senses and allows us to give our whole being to Him in worship. Why do we sing in worship? David started the tradition when he introduced music into worship in the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 6:31-32). We sing because we’re inspired and exhorted to do so in many of the Psalms. We sing about His victory, the triumph of good over evil and life over death, through the Messiah. That victory fills us with unspeakable joy and we’re led to sing His praises and shout out about His great deeds to all the earth! We can also sing about His coming to judge the earth, because “He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity” (verse 9b NIV)! Sing to the Lord a new song! Praise the Lord for His blessings upon the Bethany congregation for 200 years, and let’s all sing a new song to Him, proclaiming His unconditional love and righteousness.

August 23, 2014 Psalm 99

The New Living Translation records verse 2 as “The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations.” Then, in verses 5 and 9, we’re encouraged to “Exalt the Lord our God.” We dealt with this word exalt a little in Psalm 57, where David prayed that God would be exalted. In that devotion, we learned that “exalt” means to raise on high, lift up; to raise in status, power, and honor; to praise and glorify. How can we, the congregation of Bethany Presbyterian Church, exalt the Lord our God? We can commit to living according to His Word more closely and be a more powerful witness to the Bridgeville community, the surrounding area, and the world. We can be hilarious givers and trust the Lord to still supply our needs. We can be more diligent about sharing with others the saving grace of God expressed through the atoning and sacrificial death of His Son. We can be more faithful in our church attendance and make that a priority in our busy lives. In other words, we can “trust in Jesus, love like Jesus, grow in Jesus, and bring others to Jesus.” Dear Father God, Help us to break out of our shells and truly exalt You in everything we do, at church and away from church. Help us to be attentive to Your Spirit’s leading and to be able to discern Your will for us, individually and collectively. We thank You and praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Singing a New Song Sun, 17 Aug 2014 04:00:02 +0000 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> 0 Devotional: Aug 11 – Aug 16 Mon, 11 Aug 2014 04:00:45 +0000 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

August 11, 2014 Psalm 88

How did you feel after reading this Psalm? Were you touched by the honesty of the writer as he cries out to God in despair and even questions Him eight times (vv. 10-12, 14)? What can we learn from such a difficult and painfully forthright prayer? The Psalmist acknowledges that the Lord is “the God of my salvation.” He realizes that there is no one else to whom he can talk about his troubles. The writer did not give up praying to the Lord, but continually lifted up his dire situation to God day and night. He understands that it is God who has put him into this situation (vv. 6-7), and this should give him some hope. We can also learn from the writer’s questions to God. He obviously lived a life of praising Him, and telling others about His unfailing love, faithfulness, wonderful deeds, and righteousness. The Psalmist asks God if those who enter the abode of the dead are able to do this. He realizes that, in this life, all we can do is praise the Lord and tell others about Him. Finally, this Psalm teaches us to be completely honest with God. He hears, He listens, He understands. Let’s pray that we will never lose hope, regardless of our circumstances, that we will always trust the Lord to be there for us, and that we will pray without ceasing.

August 12, 2014 Psalm 89

Righteousness and justice. Unfailing love and truth. These words from verse 14 describe the character of our God. We believe He is perfect and holy, and He wants us to be holy, as He is. He is just and fair, and expects us to treat others as we would want to be treated. His love is unconditional, and He wants us to share that love with others. He is eternally truthful, and He expects us to seek His truth in His Word and believe the truth. God’s righteousness, justice, love, and truth are evident in the promise he made with David that one of his heirs would always rule in Israel – “his throne will be as endless as the days of Heaven” (v. 29b). Even when David’s descendants would be disobedient and God would punish them for their sins, He would never stop loving him and would fulfill His promise to him. Jesus Christ was in that same lineage and a descendant of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1), and is the prophesied Messiah (Matthew 1:16). Jesus ushered in a new covenant in His precious blood (not in the blood of animals which could never take away sins), and His kingdom will last forever! We can completely trust Him to save us by believing that He died for us for the forgiveness of our sins (Hebrews 7:25). As God made a covenant with David and has kept that promise to this day, He has also made a covenant with us, in the shed blood of His Son, to forgive those who trust in Him. And we are assured that if we trust in Him, we will never be shamed or dismayed (Isaiah 28:16). Since we’ve been blessed with God’s love, let’s ask Him to help us to be a blessing to everyone whom He puts in our path and tell them about His righteousness, justice, love, and truth.

August 13, 2014 Psalm 90

“I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One” (Revelation 1:8 NLT). Our God is eternal, and that gives Him a unique perspective about our lives and its brevity. To Him, our brief lives of maybe 70 or 80 or more years are but a blinking of His eyes in length when compared with eternity. We seem to spend much of our earthly existence in pain and trouble). But, in spite of our disobedience, God still loves us unconditionally and desires an intimate relationship with us. Since our lives are so brief, we, like Moses, need to pray to God that He “teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Instead of living for ourselves, we should make the most of our gift of life and use our time to know God and serve Him only (Ecclesiastes 12:13 & Micah 6:8). And then we can pray that the Lord shows us His approval and blesses our efforts done in His name, and thank Him for teaching us His wisdom.

August 14, 2014 Psalm 91

This Psalm begins with one of the most precious of God’s promises to us. When we seek shelter in Him, we will find rest. We may face difficulty and danger, but God will walk with us through it all. As we meditate upon these verses, let’s consider some additional passages to help us understand the bold statements made in verses 3-13. In Luke 21:16-18, Jesus says that, as believers, we will face persecution in some form, but He promises that we will be not be harmed spiritually. Romans 8:28 assures us that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose for them. However, verse 35 asks – does He no longer love us if we experience trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, destitution, danger, or death? The wonderful answer is provided in verse 37 – “in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (NIV). God’s deliverance is based upon His will for us. Regardless if we suffer tragedy or harm, His love remains forever and we are assured of eternal life with Him. Dear Lord and God, help us to always seek shelter in You so that we can find rest here and eternal rest with You. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

August 15, 2014 Psalm 92

We likely try to say “thank you” to others as often as possible in our daily lives. Having Christ in our hearts and the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Comforter, we are spiritually guided to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). But, do we tell God “thank you” often enough for all of His blessings in our lives? The Bible gives us many reasons to be thankful to the Lord. In all four Gospels, Jesus gave thanks continually to the Father, as an example for us. We are to thank God as we bring our petitions to Him (Philippians 4:6); as we continue to live in Him (Colossians 2:6-7); in whatever we do (Colossians 3:17). There are many more reasons cited in the Scriptures to be thankful. Being thankful in all circumstances helps us to avoid bitterness and despair when we face rough times. Expressing our continual thankfulness to God reminds us that we are dependent upon Him for everything in our lives. And always giving thanks to the Lord draws us closer to Him and helps us to be more like Him. Do you want to be as strong as the cedars of Lebanon? Then have a perpetual attitude of thankfulness to God! Let’s all thank God for His 200 years of blessings and guidance given to Bethany Presbyterian Church, and let’s all commit to be more and more thankful to him always.

August 16, 2014 Psalm 93

We are continually bombarded with troubling news over the airwaves every day. Catastrophic weather, fires, murders, political and civil unrest and conflict, earthquakes….it never ends. Is God really in control? Verse 2 says that “the world stands firm and cannot be shaken.” Consider these passages – The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths (Psalm 135:6); The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.”…For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24, 27); “ that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:6-7); “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” (Isaiah 46:9-11). Floods and waves of trouble and disaster may come, but our God “is mightier than these!” And He promises that all things work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Therefore, be strong and courageous, as Moses told Joshua (in Deuteronomy 31:6). Rest in the knowledge that the Lord God is in control, and pray for the strength to trust Him always.

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All Peoples, Really? Sun, 10 Aug 2014 04:00:37 +0000 Read the rest]]> August 10, 2014 Service

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Do You Remember the Time…? Sun, 03 Aug 2014 04:00:09 +0000 Read the rest]]> August 3, 2014 Service

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August 2014 Newsletter Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:41:03 +0000 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> 0 Devotional: Jul 28 – Aug 2 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:00:13 +0000 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

July 28, 2014 Psalm 76

Asaph may have written this after God’s miraculous deliverance of Judah from Sennacherib and his Assyrian army         (2 Kings 19:32-36). Verses 5-7 describe a complete and decisive victory by the Lord over His enemy. The Psalmist then acknowledges God’s judgment to “rescue the oppressed” (NLT); “save all the afflicted” (NIV); and “save all the meek” (KJV). The Lord cares for the oppressed, the afflicted, and the meek of the world. We are thus reminded to likewise pray and care for those in need of God’s mercy and love. Then comes verse 10, the Hebrew translation of which is uncertain. A search of several Bible versions reveals two truths in the verse. God uses the defiance of the wicked to demonstrate His glory, in the same way that He hardened Pharaoh’s heart before the Hebrews were allowed to leave Egypt (Exodus 11:9). And He then restrains evil in the world through his patience and longsuffering (Romans 9:22). The Psalmist concludes with an exhortation to draw closer to the Lord by committing our lives to Him in humble obedience and submission to His will. Will you make a holy commitment to Him today? Tell God how awesome He is and praise Him just because of who He is! Thank Him for all that he’s done for Bethany in the last 200 years and for what He’s done in your life!

July 29, 2014 Psalm 77

Have you ever felt as though you had to search for God? At times, has He seemed distant, unapproachable, as though He’s forgotten you? We’ve probably all experienced this at some time in our walk with Him. The Bible tells us that, at all times, we should “be still” and have faith in Him (Psalm 46:10). We’re also told to wait on Him, for He is our only hope (Psalm 62:5). During our times in the spiritual desert, the Psalmist reminds us to remember the Lord’s awesome deeds and mighty works in our lives, deeds and works done for us because of His unfailing love. We need to remember that He does not change (Hebrews 13:8) and He is our Rock (Psalms 19:14 & 92:15)! He has a purpose for His silence, to teach us patience and perseverance, and to build up our faith. Since He does not change and is our Rock, we can continue to rely on Him in prayer and know that He is still there, loving us and guiding us. As the Psalm concludes, we, too, can be confident that God will continue to lead us through the sea of life’s turmoils, along a path only He knew was there. All we have to do is follow Him. Dear Lord and God, help us at Bethany to know that You are always with us in good times and bad. Give us the faith to follow You as You guide us toward a deeper relationship with You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

July 30, 2014 Psalm 78

Longsuffering – a word used in the King James and New King James Versions to describe God’s patience and endurance for the unrepentant and disobedient. This lengthy Psalm recounts God’s longsuffering of His chosen people after Moses led them out of Egypt. The Book of Judges also tells a similar story of the Hebrews’ repeated cycles of disobedience, turning to God, His appointment of a Judge, a season of peace, then back to disobedience again. In both stories, God could have destroyed His people completely, but instead chose to demonstrate His love through His longsuffering (Genesis 8:20-21). Every time we see a rainbow in the sky, we’re reminded that the Lord has promised never to destroy all living things again with a flood (Genesis 9:14-16). Asaph writes that God’s longsuffering is expressed in His mercy and forgiveness, and He remembers that we are mortal. He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14) and a temporary mist (James 4:14). And we are reminded early on in this Psalm to teach our children about God and the lessons He taught in the past – the glorious deeds, wonders, laws, and instructions of God. Why? So that each new generation may “set its hope anew on God” and, like Simon Peter, be able to say to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68 NIV). Thank God for His longsuffering for us, as He lovingly led us to repentance and acceptance of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior.

July 31, 2014 Psalm 79      

Is it alright to question God? Asaph did in verse 5. Abraham did repeatedly in Genesis 18. Jesus did on the cross. It is alright to question God, but not to think that we know better. God’s will for us is “good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2 NIV), and our faith helps us to accept His will for our lives. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (NIV). God’s will was for the nation of Israel to obey Him and worship only Him. However, their disobedience resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, which Asaph laments about in this Psalm. But even though he laments and questions, he still trusts the Lord to do what’s right and just, avenging His enemies and providing salvation for those who love Him. For all of this, we, like Asaph, can offer God our praise and thankfulness! Let’s thank and praise the Lord for His good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives, and ask Him for a stronger faith to be patient and accept that will lovingly.

August 1, 2014 Psalm 80

“You who dwell between the cherubim…” (v.1 NKJV). That’s where God was present in the Tabernacle, on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, between the two gold cherubim (see Exodus 25:22). Think about that for a minute. The Creator of the universe, maker of Heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible, was present on the Ark cover, between the cherubim! When Moses asked Him His name at the burning bush, He responded – “I AM WHO I AM” (or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE). His ways and His mysteries are higher and greater than ours (Job 11:7-9 & Isaiah 55:9). This is the God we worship and to whom we turn when we’re in need. He is the one and only true and living God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39). We pray for the Lord’s favor to be with us, to get us through a trial and guide us along His path. Three times the Psalmist asks God to turn His people toward Him and to make His face to shine upon them (vv. 3, 7, 19). As we turn away from disobedient rebellion against God, He can begin to turn us toward Him. The plea for God to shine His face upon us is a plea for His approval and blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). When we turn toward the Lord and enjoy His approval, we, like the Psalmist, can be assured in His deliverance and protection! Dear Lord, we turn to You and cry out “Abba Father”, for You are our Rock and our Redeemer. Help us to constantly rely on Your love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 2, 2014 Psalm 81

After reading this Psalm, do you wonder about the stubbornness of the human spirit? God heard the cries of anguish from the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, and He saved them. He led them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. He gave them His commandments, the covenants, the priesthood, the Tabernacle, and His promises (Romans 9:4). But they still strayed from Him and worshipped foreign false Gods, which were idols. Even after the Lord gave them stern warnings about the consequences of their disobedience, they continued to reject Him. The desire of God’s heart for His chosen people is expressed in verse 13 – Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! James 1:22b expresses a similar truth. Under the New Covenant, we are also His chosen people through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s desire is the same for us as for the Israelites – don’t just listen to the Word, but do it! We all have a stubborn streak that rears its ugly head at times. We think know better than God; we act apart from His will; we simply disobey Him. In this, our bicentennial year and into the future, let’s resolve to listen to God’s Word and do what it says, let’s follow Him and walk in His paths! Then we can claim His promise that He’ll bless us abundantly! Let’s ask the Lord to give us a steadfast spirit to help us to obey Him more consistently.

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Thirsting for God Sun, 27 Jul 2014 04:00:26 +0000 Read the rest]]> July 27, 2014 Service

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Devotional: Jul 21 – Jul 26 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:00:59 +0000 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and then read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

July 21, 2014 Psalm 70

Have you ever been in urgent need of God’s help, guidance, immediate attention, or deliverance? This prayer utters ten heartfelt petitions to God in only five short verses. “Please God’, “rescue me”, “come quickly”, “help me”, “please hurry”, “O Lord do not delay” are the most desperate pleas recorded here. Our Lord hears our urgency in the same way that He hears our praises and thankfulness – with His love, mercy, and compassion. Even in the midst of his immediate need for God’s help, David asks that all those who search for Him “be filled with joy and gladness in You.” He then prays that those who love God’s salvation “shout, ‘God is great’ “. The KJV says “Let God be magnified”. Will we magnify the Lord to the rest of the world even during our times of trial and testing? In the power of His Spirit within us, we can! We are promised victory because of what Christ has done for us (1 Corinthians 15:57)! Let’s all thank God for His help in our urgent times of need, and trust Him to enable us to be victorious in all circumstances.

July 22, 2014 Psalm 71

God’s love for us began long before our conception in our mothers’ wombs. Knowing that we’d be sinners, Christ died for us anyway (Romans 5:8). He had a plan for our lives long before we were born (Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 2:10). And, before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for those who would eventually believe in Him (John 17:20-26). That love continued as the Lord formed us and watched over us “in utter seclusion” (Psalm 139:13, 15). We are aware of His love for us throughout our lives, even when we suffer hardship, because we are reminded to continue to follow and obey Him (Psalm 119:71). He walks with us always, including the tough times, and then restores and comforts us. God’s ultimate expression of His love for us came when His One and Only Son willingly went to the cross in our place and suffered our punishment, demonstrating His mercy and grace. He alone is worthy of our thanks, praise, worship, and obedience! Dear God our Father, Your unconditional and unending love for us is beyond our understanding. Help us to return that love through our obedience and worship of You and our acts of mercy toward others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

July 23, 2014 Psalm 72

Godly leaders are a blessing to those over whom they rule. Proverbs 29:2 tells us that “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan (NIV). Godly leaders care for the poor and needy, judging them fairly, defending their causes, and rescuing them from oppressive conditions. We, too, as believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, are called to care for the less fortunate and be merciful to them. Jesus said to learn the meaning of “desiring mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). James 1:27a tells us that pure and faultless religion in God’s eyes is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (NIV). In other words, God wants us to sacrifice ourselves in holy service to those in need, showing His mercy and love to them. In this way, we are really serving Him (Matthew 26:40). Let’s ask the Lord to help us not just to do “church work”, but to do the “Kingdom work” of showing mercy to others in need.

July 24, 2014 Psalm 73

Much of this Psalm parallels Jesus’ parable about the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-31. Asaph the Psalmist wonders why the wicked appear to lead such carefree and unencumbered lives. They are proud, speak only evil, boast against Heaven, and enjoy lives of ease. In the parable, the rich man has everything and never reaches out to help Lazarus, a beggar who waits at Lazarus’ gate for scraps from his table. After their deaths, Lazarus enters Heaven, while the rich man goes to Hell. Abraham tells the rich man that by living in luxury but having no mercy, he was now being punished. Asaph writes that he envied the wicked because they don’t have the problems that everyone else has. We, like Asaph, can become bitter and hardened by thinking this way. And we, like him, can find wisdom, understanding, and peace in God’s sanctuary. There, we can worship Him and know we are pleasing Him. There, we can be encouraged by fellow believers in our walk with Him. We can pray to Him and be comforted by His Spirit. We can learn more about Him and His Word and grow in our faith. Then, we can say, as Asaph wrote, that “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” Let’s all ask God to help us to draw closer to Him through worship, fellowship, ministry, and prayer, and resolve to let Him deal with evil.

July 25, 2014 Psalm 74

The Psalmist is likely writing about the fall of Jerusalem, at the hands of the Babylonians, in 586 B.C. He appeals to the Lord, reminding Him that He chose the Hebrews as His “own special possession.” He laments about the destruction of the Sanctuary and the rest of the city, and that God no longer speaks through His prophets. However, it was the Hebrews’ disobedience that led the Lord to vent His wrath against them. The destruction of Jerusalem was prophesied in Jeremiah 9:11-16 & 21:10, and vividly described in Jeremiah 39:1-2, 8. Ironically, the Psalmist asks God to remember His covenant promises to His people, even though the people violated and broke that covenant! The writer concludes with an appeal for the Lord to avenge His enemies, for Him to receive the praise of His people, and to restore their relationship with Him. God’s grace, mercy, and love for the nation of Israel is prophesied in Isaiah 60:10 and Zechariah 10:6, as well as several other passages in the Old Testament. Thankfully, the Lord is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15 NIV). Thank God for being merciful to us (not dealing with us as our sins deserve) and for His grace (giving us His blessings which we don’t deserve).

July 26, 2014 Psalm 75

We are reminded to always be thankful to God for what He has done in the past and what He’s doing now in our lives and in the world. We can’t thank Him enough, but are exhorted to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). We are also reminded that the Lord is near to us. Even the Hebrew name given to Jesus in prophesy, Immanuel, means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). In Christ, God came into this world as a man; not just any man, but as the Son of Man and the Son of God. And then, we are reminded to praise Him and always tell of His wonderful deeds.         1 Peter 2:9a gives us four reasons to praise the Lord – “we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” We are encouraged to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). A lost world needs to hear us declare our thanks our praise to Him, and the truth that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord! Pray for God to put His song of thanks and praise into your heart, so that you draw closer to Him and bring others to the Savior.

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Waiting on God Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:00:12 +0000 Read the rest]]> July 20, 2014 Service

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