July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

PSALM 90-95

Focus Verse: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm 90:1-2

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
Psalm 91:1-4

 

God calls us to live IN Him. He is our dwelling place. We are to abide in Him, as Jesus calls us in John 15. And when we abide in Him, He becomes our protection. Just as the house in which we live protects us from the elements outside, so God protects those who live in Him from the elements outside.

 

He protects us from the elements outside of His will for our lives and keeps us on His path…and even better than that, He uses the elements outside of His will to further His will and grow us more like Him. As we are told in Romans 8:28, “God makes all things work together for good for those who love God.” This means that when you are abiding in Him, there is nothing that you or anyone else can do to throw you off of His perfect plan for your life.

 

Let’s not miss interpret this though. Nowhere in either of these verses does God promise that you’re not going to go through junk. In order to be delivered from the snare of the trappers, there’s an insinuation that you are either caught by the snare of the trapper or that you’re in the midst of a place where you could be caught. Either scenario doesn’t exactly support any sort of sunshine and rainbows theology…that when you follow Jesus, He removes all hardships.

 

What God does promise to those who abide in Him though is His eternal presence. He will always be there in every situation, and when you are in the middle of receiving the worst blows this life has to offer, He will be the walls holding you together. He will be absorbing those blows with you. He will give you an eternal perspective to look forward to – to give you hope and a future.

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June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017

PSALM 86-89

Focus Verse: What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?
Psalm 89:48

 

One man. Jesus Christ. And because of the victory that Jesus won over death and hell, we too can avoid the sting of both when we put our trust in Him.

 

Easiest. Devotion. EVER.

June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

PSALM 80-85

Focus Verse: Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Psalm 85:10

 

I love this verse. I love it even more because of the context of the chapter. This chapter is all about the forgiveness of God. How God’s wrath will be turned away and all of our sins will be covered.

 

The context is so vital to this verse. Do you see it? Where did lovingkindness and truth meet? Where do righteousness and peace kiss? AT THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST!

 

The cross of Christ is the perfect plan of God coming together. It is perfect justice and perfect mercy, it is perfect wrath and perfect grace, it is perfect anger and perfect love.

 

There is no forgiveness of sin without the cross; not just because the cross is necessary, but because God cannot remain true to His attributes without it! If God forgives all our sins without the cross, then He isn’t just. He allows the wicked to get away with their wickedness and allows the poor and weak to be marginalized without penalty. If God pours out all of His wrath on us (something He has ever right to do), but doesn’t make a way for us to get back to Him, then there is a point where His love for us runs out.

 

The cross looks foolish to those who don’t see God’s plan (Check out 1 Corinthians 1). It looks like weakness from a God who is supposed to be all-powerful. But God showed His power in the fact that He humbled Himself and came down to our level. He showed His power in the fact that He endured the cross, all the while forgiving the very ones who put Him there.

 

THAT is the kind of Savior to fall in love with. THAT is the kind of love worth singing about.

 

OH what a Savior! OH what a God!

June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017

PSALM 78-79

Focus Verse: For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments
Psalm 78:5-7

 

Parents, don’t miss discipling your children. Don’t get so busy in ministry that you miss ministering to your family. If you miss this, you miss everything!

 

And kids, don’t think that you’ve dodged the bullet here. Minister to your parents. Maybe that means being open to their instruction to you. Maybe your parents aren’t believers yet – serve them with the love of Christ! On top of that, you need to be getting ready to minister to your kids!

 

Don’t miss that sneaky command in there, “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born”. That means your kids, kids!

 

This is the general command of discipleship. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Discipleship MUST multiply. Which means part of your discipling needs to be empowering those you’re discipling to disciple others.

 

Apply this to you family, like this passage does, and you are teaching your kids who will teach their kids who will teach their kids…and we just keep going on and on and on.

 

Your family is the most important ministry you will ever have. Never lose sight of that.

June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

PSALM 74-77

Focus Verse: Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:13

 

God’s way isn’t just right. His way isn’t just what’s best for us. His way isn’t just better than our way. God’s way is HOLY because He is holy. Interesting translation point here, the Hebrew root used here for ‘holy’ is qodesh, but the actual Hebrew word used here is baqqōdeš, which is commonly translated as “holy place” or “in the sanctuary”.

 

Isn’t that an interesting translation? God’s way is in His holy place. God’s way is in His sanctuary. God’s way is in His temple.

 

So let’s mash some verses together (while remaining exegetically responsible of course). 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 6:19 tells us that our hope is an anchor of our soul, one that holds us within the veil. The veil was what separated the rest of the temple from the holy of holies. So our anchor holds within the holiness of God. I listened to a sermon by Mark Batterson just this morning (isn’t God timing great!) about how the technique the writer of Hebrews is talking about here doesn’t have as much to do with stopping a ship from moving as it does navigating a ship through treacherous waters. If that’s the case, then our navigating anchor holds within God’s holiness.

 

So let’s land this plane. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit the minute you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So inside of you there is THE SOURCE of holiness – the Holy Spirit! Inside of this temple is also the way of God…God’s will. The will of God is not a mystical path that you need to find! It’s not some ‘fountain of youth’ or other hidden treasure that God keeps burying somewhere else to keep you searching forever. The will of God is INSIDE of you!

 

His way is completely perfect. His way is completely holy. And his way is completely attainable. As long as you are following the Holy Spirit, God’s way is INSIDE of you. How can you know whether or not you’re following the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Are you listening to Him and willing to do what He asks of you? Then you’re in it! Let His will carry you.

June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

PSALM 70-74

Focus Verse: Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
Psalm 73:17

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:25-28

 

Psalm 73 is one of those Bible verses that you read and wonder whether or not God really meant to put it in the Bible. Kind of like a lot of the book of Ecclesiastes. I read some of those passages thinking, “Does God realize how bad this sounds for Him? This is terrible PR!” But God isn’t worried about His reputation, so we shouldn’t be worried about defending it. He will do that if and when He sees fit…and eventually, every knee will pay Him the honor due His name.

 

I think one of the keys to this is found in this chapter of Psalms. The writer spends the first part of the chapter debating whether or not it’s even worth it to be good. So many bad people prosper doing wicked things and never seem to get punished for it, so what’s the point in trying to behave morally?

 

Then everything changes in verse 17, and this is where everything changes for us as well. The writer takes his eyes off of the wicked people and things going on around them and puts them on God. Once he steps foot into God’s presence, his perspective starts to change. Just merely stepping into the presence of God opens his eyes to everything that God is – and perhaps more importantly, everything he is not.

 

He continues in the last stanza of the psalm about how he now sees that God is everything that he needs, that he wants nothing other than God. He sees now that even if everything else falls away, God will always be there for those who trust in Him. He realizes that if he goes all in for God, that God will go all in for him and there is nothing else in this world that can top that.

 

So what’s your perspective today? Do you need to step into God’s presence and change that perspective? It’s not going to happen reading a book or listening to another sermon…GOD’S PRESENCE is the game changer. Hit His presence and you’ll see what God doesn’t need to worry about His reputation or PR.

 

It’s all in His presence!

June 25, 2017

June 25, 2017

PSALM 66-69

Focus Verse: A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
Psalm 68:5-6

 

This is a great description of who God is. And you know what really sticks out to me in this description? God never leaves anyone out. Everyone is included in the kingdom of God. God searches for and finds the lonely, the ones no one else includes. I’m not talking about the cool, hipster, lone wolfs (God does love hipsters too though). I’m talking about the ugly, the rejected, the mocked, the scorned.

 

Maybe you would put yourself in that category. You go to church, school, work, everywhere it would seem, and sit by yourself. No one asks how you’re doing, except the person at the grocery store, but you know they don’t really care. God makes a home for you.

 

And how can we be ultra-sure of that? Because His own Son didn’t come to earth as one of the cool kids. Jesus didn’t hang with his parents in the palace, He wasn’t born among kings and princes. He was born in a filthy manger with animals. Isaiah 53 tells us that there was nothing in Jesus’ appearance that would make Him attractive…He was ugly. Jesus became ugly and unpopular here on earth so that we could be made beautiful and popular in heaven. He came to make a home for the lonely, to be a Father to the fatherless and to bring justice for the widows.

 

Now here’s the thing for us: if this is WHO God is…then this is also who we are called to be! This means that when you go to church, when you go to school, when you go to work, it is part of who you are to make sure that no one is left out. Does this mean you have to talk to some awkward people? Yes. Does this mean that you have to get uncomfortable? Yes.

 

There was no one who Jesus wouldn’t talk to. There is no one whom Jesus doesn’t include in His salvation. Therefore, there is no one who should have to walk through this life alone. Do your part today to make a home for the lonely. Include them. Bring them into your group of friends. You just might find yourself becoming more and more like Christ!