When to Give God Praise

Thursday September 16, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 134

Now praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who stand in the Lord’s house at night!

Psalm 134:1

Reflection: Every moment is a good moment to give praise to the LORD. When the sun beams down warmth and light upon the earth and all is well in the day, God deserves praise and glory. When there is peace and safety as far as the eye can see, He must be given due credit for His goodness. But what about in the darkness of night, when the servants of the LORD have been charged with standing watch for Him? What about during those times of uncertainty in the shadows? Can we still give Him praise? The psalmist urges us that just as day is a time of worship, so is the night all the more. For this is the time to be reminded of His mercy and grace, to declare what we know of His faithfulness and righteouness to be true. As His servants, as we continuously toil for His Namesake, we must also give Him praise.

Where are you now? Are you resting in comfort, leisurely soaking in the blessing of a new day? Or is this time a hastily carved out gem that you’ve set aside with God in the midst of a hectic schedule? When it is easy to praise the LORD, do give Him praise, for we must give Him credit for His blessings in abundance. If it is difficult to raise your hands to Him, do give the LORD praise still, since He deserves worship from the ones He continues to keep and to strengthen. He deserves faithfulness for the faithfulness He will continually prove to you. Every moment is the right moment to praise the LORD.

Prayer: Loving God, I give You praise today. I give You praise for Your grace and mercy upon me, for Your abounding love and for Your everlasting joy. I give You praise becuase You are sovereign, You are omniscient, and You are righteous. I give You praise because You are the only One deserving of it for all You have done for Your people. Forgive me, LORD, for those times when I have failed to give You credit for Your great works. Please help me to be mindful that every blessing I’ve received and continue to receive is because of You and Your goodness to give it. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): 1 Peter 1; Jeremiah 31-32; Psalm 134

In Christian Fellowship

Wednesday September 15, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is when brothers can live together!

Psalm 133:1

Reflection: Christian fellowship is wonderful gift to behold. It is unlike any type of fellowship that can be found on earth, for it is a blessing that only God Himself can orchestrate. This fellowship is good, reflecting the desire of God to pour out His love upon a Family of people who revere Him as their King. Fellowship is a rich and fragrant blessing, like that of anointing oil, marking every joyful soul who is in communion with Christ and His people. It is an indicator of belonging and an assurance of purpose. It is a good and perfect gift that has been given from above.

Christian fellowship is pleasant, to be enjoyed by God’s people as they worship, grow in faith, and serve the LORD together. Some good things which God gives are granted through hardship or trial in order to strengthen and fortify one’s faith. These good things are challenging to endure. But God also grants blessings like Christian fellowship, which strengthens one’s faith in a different way. It is like the dew which rests on Mt. Hermon, settling gently upon leaves and branches outstretched for rain. Fellowship is life-giving and nourishing. It is a welcomed respite that refreshes a soul wearied from working in the world.

Christian fellowship is crucial for every believer. The LORD in His Wisdom created people not to dwell in solitude, but to live together in unity with other followers of Christ. Relationships centered around Christ are the deepest, most meaningful, and most life-giving relationships that can be experienced because they are given by God and blessed by Him. Fellowship is much more than simply being together. It includes living a daily walk of faith as a Family of believers. Living with the LORD involves living with His people. How good and pleasant it is to share in this fellowship!

Prayer: Loving God, thank You for being such a loving Father. Thank You for bringing me into Your Family and granting wonderful fellowship with Your people. Thank You for love, joy, faith, and purposeful service to You from within the Body. Thank You for not leaving me alone, but for being with me and providing an eternal Family to be loved by and to love. Please help me to continue loving others in the Body as You command. Help me to encourage my brothers and sisters, and train me to support and encourage them well. Thank You, Lord for Your Family. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): James 5; Jeremiah 29-30; Psalm 133

If the Lord Desires

Tuesday September 14, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 132

“This is my resting place for ever and ever;
    here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.”

Psalm 132:14

Reflection:

Psalm 132 recalls David’s earnest desire to establish a temple for the LORD in Jerusalem, that the LORD would have the honor due His name. David had vowed that he would not rest until he found a place where God’s temple could be built, for God had done so much for Israel and David was moved within himself to do something to lift up the name of the LORD in the Promised Land.

Yet, David is gently reminded that God will dwell in the Promised Land and will reign there not because of David’s efforts, but because God desires it. And not only that, God promises David that his family line will be established forever, a clear prophecy pointing to Jesus of Nazareth, descendant of David, and God in human flesh. Certainly, David had genuine desires to glorify God. Yet, it is God’s desires that are to be sought, and His desires will be accomplished because He is God.

There may be wonderful things that we want to do for the LORD because we realize just how wonderful He has been to us. Psalm 132 reminds us to seek what God desires from us and to also entrust God to accomplish it for us, in us, and through us that He may receive the glory and that we may experience the glory of God in our lives.

Prayer: Gracious God, I cannot thank You enough for all You have done for me. I want to serve You and to give You thanks. Please show me the way to do so. Help me to do what You desire, that You may receive the glory in what I do. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): James 4; Jeremiah 27-28; Psalm 132

Childlike Faith

Monday September 13, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 131

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a little weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child.

Psalm 131:2

Reflection: To be like a child in the arms of our Heavenly Father is to be still in contentment. It is to wait for and expect the nourishment of daily food and the comfort of His warmth and safety. It is to be unconcerned with the surounding environment, but to be satisfied in the nearness of the LORD. It is to be wrapped tightly in His arms. It is to be able to cry out to Him in pain or in need knowing that He will hear and respond in His love. To be like a little child before God is to be trusting of Him. It is to be utterly dependent upon Him and all He will provide. It is to be excited at the discovery of each new truth that the LORD reveals, and to have a hunger to know more about Him. It is to be delighted about going forth to places unknown with Him, to enjoy the journey of faith that is traveled by following in His footsteps. It is to act confidently in the knowledge of His strength.

How difficult it is to be like a little child, when our hearts have become hardened by the experiences of the world and our pride in accomplishing temporal feats has filled us so much that we have no room for the Holy Spirit. Empty us LORD, of the things we think we know, that we might be filled with true wisdom and truth. Let us be weak, trusting, dependent upon You and You alone, as is a little child.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we give You thanks and praise for Your goodness and mercy upon us, for we are a fallen people who are in need of Your Salvation. Renew us, LORD, restore us to the people You desire for us to be. Make us new creations by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we would live in childlike faith in You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): James 3; Jeremiah 25-26; Psalm 131

Sunday Message: The Right Thing to Do with Our Rights

September 12, 2021

Today’s Reading: Acts 16:34-40

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

Acts 16:37

Sermon Main Idea: The Church prioritizes Christian obedience over civic privileges.

Text Notes:

  • Paul and Silas assert their rights to protect the believers. (v35-39)
  • Paul and Silas encourage the believers before continuing on in their mission. (v40)

Prayer: Father God, please help me to obey You, to lay down my rights in order to do right by You. Open my heart and my mind that I may heed Your Spirit’s leading. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): James 2; Jeremiah 23-24; Psalm 130

The LORD’s Rescue

Saturday September 11, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 129

The Lord is righteous; He has cut the ropes of the wicked.

Psalm 129:4

Reflection: What a declaration the psalmist makes, that the LORD in His righteousness has severed the ability of the wicked to hold power over His people. Through Jesus, God has exhibted power over sin and death.

The LORD’s power overwhelms earthly power. Throughout history, Israel endured oppression from nations bigger and stronger than them. Yet, their indestructibility through every period of captivity or suffering was a testament of God’s Presence which saves. No earthly power could come against them. Even against the fiercest kings and warriors, the LORD’s people were preserved. No force would hold them bound forever, for God in His righteousness would set them free. The LORD’s power overwhelms all other forces. The Enemy has no bearings on the people of God. Through Jesus, the LORD has claimed victory over him. Satan is a defeated foe with nothing that can bind man or woman to himself against their will. See how the psalmist describes the pain that Israel has endured. The plowmen have plowed over their backs, brought them low and torn through their bodies. They have tried to tie them up, bind them and leave them helpless. But they have not prevailed in body or spirit, for God has been good to set his people free.

Nations and people may boast of great accomplishments and achievements. They may note marvelous advances in technology or lists of significant victories against other nations. But the people of God from the beginning have spoken of their survival, which is a precious blessing to proclaim. The LORD has brought His rescue time and time again, ensuring their safety by His faithfulness. What greater thing is their to boast about than of receiving the undeserved favor of the God of the universe?

Prayer: Sovereign LORD, thank You for being my Rescue and my Refuge. Thank You for freeing me from the chains of sin and death, and for allowing me to serve You. Thank You for the reminder of Your salvation which brings joy, comfort, and hope. Thank You for the reminder of it which prompts me to live in thenkfulness to You and assures me of Your abounding love. Help me to live in constant thanks to You, LORD. I pray all this in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): James 1; Jeremiah 21-22; Psalm 129

True Happiness

Friday September 10, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 128

How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!

Psalm 128:1

Reflection: The pursuit of happiness that leads to happiness is the pursuit that seeks to find the LORD. In Him is not only the gift of happiness, but of everlasting joy. In all other things, happiness is but a fleeting moment of pure contentment, only a second of bliss which soon dies and is replaced with the desire for it again. The world goes around and around in circles chasing after the fleeting feeling of happiness in things that do not last. But the one who seeks the LORD and desires to live a life for Him is given perpetual contentment that does not go away, but grows with every step that is taken nearer to God. How happy is this person! No longer do they pursue relentlessly to find happiness, unsure of if they will ever see it again. Instead the follower of God through His Son relishes true bliss freely, assured that no circumstance can take it away. This good cheer has not been earned, but has been given freely and generously by the LORD Who blesses richly and continually.

In the darkness, in the difficulty, the resolve to continue following after God brings true and continual happiness. Those who walk in his ways have chosen to walk the path of joy. Those who yield to His Will yield to the assurance of comfort and contentment in his safety. Those Who fear God need not fear anyone or anything else. As you go about your day today, go forth in the eternal happiness which is found in the ways of the LORD our God.

Prayer: Everlasting Father, what joy You bring at the thought of all that You are and all that You do. Your holiness is marvelous and Your mercy is boundless. Your love is generous, and You give it so freely. You keep us safe in Your care and surround us with Your peace and Presence. You are the great Blessor, Who blesses out of richness in grace. Thank You LORD, for bringing true contentment, for bringing true hope and sure salvation. I am grateful to behold You and to be reminded of Your goodness. Please accept my offering of thanks and praise to You. In Jesus’ holy Name I pray, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Philemon 1:1-25; Jeremiah 19-20; Psalm 128

Building What Lasts

Thursday September 9, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.

Psalm 127:1

Reflection: Men and women can toil with all of their best efforts around something, but unless the LORD brings it to fruition by His Will, their labor is in vain. This speaks to our own frailty as people. We may toil day and night, we may consume ourselves with how our actions affect outcomes, we may even try to rely completely on our own abilities. But this is all vanity when we neglect the LORD’s influence over every situation: that He is sovereign over it. People can only build what will one day either turn to dust or become forgotten history. But the work that God accomplishes is everlasting. By His power, He builds what matters.

Why, then, do we work if the LORD is the One Who brings all lasting work to fruition? It is becuase He has commanded us to do so. Our God directs us to act and speak on His behalf, to spread His Gospel of Truth, and to labor for the sake of His Kingdom. But none of what we do for Him can be fruitful if we go forth into the world without Him. Even as we act in obedience to the LORD, we are completely dependent on His power to bear everlasting fruit.

Do not stop working as a servant of God! It is His desire for You to be a part of His plan on earth. But do not persevere for the cause of Christ in your own strength. All that you will do for Him will only be fruitful as you rely on His power and might. Stay strong in the LORD as you do the work that honors Him and He will make use of it for His glory.

Prayer: Almighty God, You are strong and powerful beyond compare. All the work on earth which glorifies You can be credited to Your strength and Your goodness. Thank You for Your grace to include us in Your Will. We know that You do not need any of us to accomplish it, but choose to bring us into Your work anyway. Please help me to honor You in all that You call me to do. Teach me to rely increasingly on Your power and might, that I would not act in my own strength but instead learn to rest in Your power. I pray all of these things in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Titus 3; Jeremiah 17-18; Psalm 127

Sowing in Tears

Wednesday September 8, 2021

Today’s Reading: Psalm 126

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:5

Reflection: By the LORD’s almighty Hand, even seeds of faith sown in tears can reap a bountiful harvest. God’s people do not remain frozen in despair or grief, but continue to work as they weep. They are assured that their labor will not be brought forth to Him in vain, but will instead be used for the furtherance of His Heavenly Kingdom. What a humble privilege to know that even tears shed out of grief, weariness, or frustration can be used for God’s deserving glory.

When the Man of Sorrows performed His splendid Work on the Cross, He did not accomplish it without enduring excruciating pain, loneliness, and scorn. It was with much blood and tears that the Son of God bore the burden of sin at Calvary. And yet, it was becuase of His willingness to continue in suffering unto death that His glory was fully revealed and His love for us was fully known. In tears and in blood He saved us, and in tears and blood He paid our debt. How much, then, should we expect to bear as we follow after our Savior and Lord?

Hear the LORD’s promise of joy today: though you may sow seeds of the Gospel amidst much suffering, your time of difficulty will be but for a moment. There will be more to your story as God’s beloved should you continue on in faith for His Namesake. Do not expect the journey on earth with Jesus to be easy or convenient. Expect it to be difficult as you follow His lead. But also expect it to be fruitful in ways that are everlasting. Be courageous to sow even in tears knowing that a bountiful harvest will one day be reaped in joy.

Prayer: Loving God, I remember how Your Son Jesus, in humility, endured the Cross for my sake. I remember that He finished His Work at Calvary in obedience to You, even in tears and much suffering. I remember that He never promised His followers a walk of faith that would be easy, but guaranteed a journey that would be difficult. I remember also, LORD, that He promised to be with us during all of it. Thank You for the privilege it is to sow seeds of the knowledge of Your Gospel Truth. Thank You for granting me the strength to do what You command. You are so good, Father. I give You praise in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Titus 2; Jeremiah 15-16; Psalm 126

Be A Servant

Tuesday September 7, 2021

Today’s Reading: Titus 1:1-4

Paul, a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness…

Titus 1:1

Reflection: A servant of God is called to work under Christ’s authority. The Apostle Paul describes himself as a bondservant, or slave, of Jesus. This title brings to mind a relationship between a master and a servant – one where the master has complete authority over the servant. It is important to understand that the role Paul implies is not an unjust relationship where Christ rules over unwilling captives. Paul demonstrates the glad surrender that every Christian gives to Jesus the King. The lowly role of the servant is a duty that Christ’s people are happy to assume. And in understanding the unmatched Power and Glory of Jesus, this role seems an appropriate and privileged one to fulfill. This is part of the blessed bond which grows between us and our Savior. We become willing to obey all that He asks of us. We grow in the desire to follow Him fully.

As those who serve God, our work always involves faith and truth: faith in Him that would reach and grow in others, and Gospel Truth that develops godliness within every reached soul. Paul understood that His unique role in Christ’s Ministry was as a teacher of the the faith. All are called into different capacities of service, but contribute to this same work of Christ. If you are unsure you are a living as a servant of Jesus, examine how your endeavors contribute to sharing faith and exposing His Truth. Reflect on your motive: is all that you do indeed because of your faith in Christ and the Truth you know about Him as Lord and Savior? Far above all things that you could ever be in your life is the humble role of a servant of Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the reminder of the privilege it is to serve You. Thank You for the great blessing it is to work under your unmatched Authority. I praise You Lord, for You do not need me to fulfill Your Will, and yet You choose to use me as an instrument in a small part of Your Plan. Please help me to live as a servant that pleases You in all I do. Teach me to live a life that exemplifies surrender and glad obedience. The life that You’ve designed for me is the life that I want to live with You. I pray all of these in Your Precious and Holy Name, AMEN.

Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Bible, studytools.com): Titus 1; Jeremiah 13-14; Psalm 125