Psalm 51

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 51
Have mercy on me,[a] O God,

    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have you ever really prayed to me like this?
Why not?
Do you think you’re better than David?
Do you think you’re better than anyone?
Which do you think is more important:
a positive self-image, or an accurate self-image?
Do you think David had an accurate self-image?
Do you?
Read this psalm again. Slowly.
Pause for a minute between each couplet to make sure the prayer is yours, and not just David’s.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-24-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Five Parenting Myths I Used to BelieveScott Slayton
Like every difficult thing in the world, the rewards of parenting help me weather the challenges. The hugs, the laughs, the smiles, and the blessing of seeing my kids grow dwarf the sometimes-heartbreaking realities that accompany raising children. To experience the good times, I first had to abandon some ridiculous preconceived notions and myths I believed about parenting.

There are five parenting myths I believed that were harmful and wrongheaded…


If you’re first reaction is to skip this, maybe you shouldn’t…

The Right and Wrong Way To Close Your MindTrevin Wax
Lightstock…look for people who are like-hearted, not necessarily like-minded. The goal is pursuing truth, not uniformity of thought. Thinking requires engagement within a healthy community that shares your convictions as well as interaction with like-hearted people who don’t…


I found a few of these surprising…

The 15 Most Influential Websites of All Time
Alex Fitzpatrick, Lisa Eadicicco & Matt Peckham
The web, or “world wide web” as we used to say, turns 27 years old on December 20. On that date, nearly three decades ago, British engineer and scientist Tim Berners-Lee launched the world’s first website, running on a NeXT computer at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

The website wasn’t much at the time, just a few sentences organized into topic areas that laid out the arguments for the concept. But it established vital first principles still essential to the web as it exists today…

It’s been a wild ride since…

Here’s TIME’s collection of the 15 websites that most influenced the medium, and why…


5 Things Leaders Need to Give UpEd Stetzer
5 Things Leaders Need to Give UpThere’s a great saying that good leaders don’t see people as impediments—they seek to make people partners. But to implement this approach to leadership in daily life, we need to realize that partnering with people means sacrificing for them. Drawing from Brad Waggoner, author and executive vice president at LifeWay, here are five things leaders need to be ready to give up for the people they’re leading…


Books on Tape…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/books-on-tape.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Run Harder

http://i1.go2yd.com/image.php?url=0Guk4Fva0k

“There’s one thing you can do: Keep. Showing. Up.

Approach the throne of grace every day. Multiple times a day.

Show up in the presence of God. Keep coming closer.

Run harder.

You don’t have to possess the right words. God can handle your silence.

You don’t have to understand. God can handle your confusion.

You don’t have to repress your messy emotions. God wants it all.

The enemy’s goal is for you to withdrawal from His presence.
To believe the lie that He’s forsaken you.

He wants you. He loves you.

He doesn’t just love the perfect you,
or “the-proper-way-to-respond-to-this-situation” you.

Just come.

He wants to weep with you, enjoy you, identify with you,
and be with you.

He has not forgotten you. He has not abandoned you…

When circumstances scream otherwise,
believe the truth, beautiful child of God.

Believe, believe, believe that He is for you.”

David Santistevan

Psalm 50

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 50
The Mighty One, God the Lord,

    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.

Our God comes; he does not keep silence;[a]
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.

12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,[b]
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

16 But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
17 For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
18 If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.

19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
21 These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I[c] was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What does this psalm tell you about me?
What does it tell you about you?
Read verse 21 again.
Do you think I’m like you?
Don’t answer that too quickly.
In fact, memorize verse 21 and think about it today.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Psalm 49

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 49
Hear this, all peoples!

    Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
    rich and poor together!
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
    the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.

Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Truly no man can ransom another,
    or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly
    and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever
    and never see the pit.

10 For he sees that even the wise die;
    the fool and the stupid alike must perish
    and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever,[a]
    their dwelling places to all generations,
    though they called lands by their own names.
12 Man in his pomp will not remain;
    he is like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
    yet after them people approve of their boasts.[b]   Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
    death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
    Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
    for he will receive me.   Selah

16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
    when the glory of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him.
18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
    —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never again see light.
20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you find this psalm depressing, or encouraging?
Do you trust in me, or your stuff?
You do have a lot of stuff.
Think about your stuff today as you use it or see it.
How important is it to you?
Would you be willing to give it to me if I asked?
You realize that it’s already mine, right?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Tuesday Picks ~ 10-17-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Bury The Word “Evangelical”Scot McKnight
The one thing I despise about Christianity in the USA is its aligning with a political party. Mainliners have done it; they’re Democrats. Evangelicals have followed suit; they’re Republicans. Politicization is accomplished.

Let the rest of us call ourselves Christians.


The “Decline of Religion”Alan Jacobs
Related image
From C.S. Lewis:

“One way of putting the truth would be that the religion which has declined was not Christianity. It was a vague Theism with a strong and virile ethical code, which, far from standing over against the ‘World’, was absorbed into the whole fabric of English institutions and sentiment and therefore demanded church-going as (at best) a part of loyalty and good manners as (at worst) a proof of respectability. Hence a social pressure, like the withdrawal of the compulsion, did not create a new situation. The new freedom first allowed accurate observations to be made. When no man goes to church except because he seeks Christ the number of actual believers can at last be discovered.”

That’s what we are discovering. The question is whether American churches will have the intellectual and spiritual integrity necessary to recognize and accept how completely they have relied on the social appeal of a “vague Theism” and how little they have spoken to those who go to church because they seek Christ. What’s at stake here is merely life or death.


Saying True Things In Gentle WaysDaryl Dash
Angry
We believe so many things that, frankly, are hard to believe. They not only contradict our culture, but they contradict every culture at some point.

The truth is sometimes hard to believe. How should we react? …

It’s not hard to compromise truth. It’s not hard to be harsh. What’s hard is what we’re called to do: to say true things in gentle ways.


Autumn speaks…
Calvin and Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.

Psalm 48

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 48
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised

    in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
    is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
    the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
    has made himself known as a fortress.

For behold, the kings assembled;
    they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
    they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
    anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered
    the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
    in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
    which God will establish forever.    Selah

We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
    in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God,
    so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11     Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
    because of your judgments!

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
    number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
    go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14     that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
    He will guide us forever.[a]

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you remember what Jesus said about the church?
“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Read it again and put the name of your church in the blanks…

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
    in ________________________!
His _________________, beautiful in elevation,
    is the joy of all the earth,
______________, in the far north,
    the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
    has made himself known as a fortress.

For behold, the kings assembled;
    they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
    they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
    anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered
    the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
    in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in ________________________,
    which God will establish forever.    Selah

We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
    in the midst of ____________________.
10 As your name, O God,
    so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11     Let __________________ be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
    because of your judgments!

12 Walk about _________________, go around her,
    number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
    go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14     that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
    He will guide us forever.[a]

Now, pray for your church and thank God for her.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Monday Picks ~ 10-16-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

How to Develop Authority as a Worship Leader
David Santistevan
Most would prefer to sing, close their eyes, and worship their hearts out…in front of people. The problem with that is it’s not leadership. There needs to be a heart to love, lead, and connect with people in the room. That is why you are a leader. That is why you are on stage…

Many people mistake an authoritative, anointed worship leader as one who just knows how to work a room. Authority is different…


I was helping lead a prayer meeting at my church yesterday evening and one of our elders received this text from Don Tingle, a missionary we know and support:

Please ask the church to be praying for my wife’s family. In the bomb blast in Somalia seven family members were killed, and 11 were injured. One of the injured is a young mother expecting a baby. Thank you.

Bombing In Somalia Kills Hundreds; Death Toll Expected To RiseVanessa Romo
“In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” Aamin Ambulance workers tweeted…

“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy will stop at nothing,” Farmaajo said, adding a plea to come together. “Let’s unite against terror,” he urged.

“Terror won’t win,” he exclaimed in a separate tweet.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack. But Yarisow told NPR he blames the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the attack. He believes this is the “terrorists” striking back against the government because of its renewed offensive against Al-shabab.


Noteworthy…

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsKate Shellnutt
Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill HybelsThe historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position, as well as the only major evangelical megachurch with male-female lead pastors who aren’t married.


I’m looking forward to seeing this film…

‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ Offers a Cautionary Tale for the Instagram AgeSeth Tower Hurd
On the surface, it may not seem like post WWI England has much to say about life in 2017 America. But there are two narratives running side by side in Goodbye Christopher Robin. The first is a more or less straightforward account of how one of the most beloved children’s authors created a timeless world of imagination.

But underneath that is a narrative that pushes the audience to question the price of fame. In a world where dance moms demanding flawless performances dominate reality TV, and “backpack kid” can go from anonymity to starring in a Katy Perry video and appearing on Saturday Night Live in a matter of weeks, it’s good to see a movie that forces you to ask about your contribution to a world where children are pushed into elite sports and extracurricular activities at earlier and earlier ages, often crowding out time for unstructured play.


Epic Backfire…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/ck3/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMTAvWml0cy4yMDE3MTAxNF8xNDQwLmdpZg==
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Psalm 47

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

The book of Psalms is commonly thought of as a collection of the worship music of the Israelites. They were meant to be sung. These are worship songs that God appreciated enough to make sure they were preserved for us. Let’s see if we can find out why…

Psalm 47
Clap your hands, all peoples!

    Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
    a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
    and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
    the pride of Jacob whom he loves.    Selah

God has gone up with a shout,
    the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing praises with a psalm![a]

God reigns over the nations;
    God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
    as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
    he is highly exalted!

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Isn’t this how you start every Monday morning?
Shouldn’t you?
Or maybe, every day of the week?
Seriously, what do you have on your schedule this week?
Does any of it keep you from singing this psalm?
Why should it?
Who’s in charge here? (vs. 8-9)
Hint: It’s not you.


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.