Monthly Archives: June 2016

My Delight is the Lord, June 30

Do I Know How to Pray?

June 30, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Sometimes I wonder if I really know what prayer is all about. It’s not that I don’t know the details of how it works. It’s not that I don’t do it or am unaware of the extreme privilege and honor of approaching the throne of grace, It’s just that when I encounter prayer at its best, its most fervent, its most sincere, I’m left to wonder if I have come close to that. Take Hannah for instance. She said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord” (v. 15). And get this, she had no idea anyone was watching her as she prayed, but Eli was. After observing her, he was convinced she was drunk. He saw her lips moved, but no words were spoken (vv. 12-13). Her fervor was visibly evident, though misidentified. How easily our prayers can fall into routine and habit. You know what? I don’t think one can pour out their soul in anything like a routine way. I have a ways to go.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who was Peninnah and what was she like? (vv. 2, 6)
  • What does it mean that the Lord remembered Hannah? (v. 19)
  • What exactly was “the house of the Lord” at Shiloh? (v. 24)
  • What similarities are there between Abraham and Hannah and their sons?

My Delight is the Lord, June 29

Well Prepared

June 29, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:1-42

Jesus selected from among His followers twelve men to serve in the very specific role of apostles. He sent them out after instructing them. They knew where they were to go, to whom they were to go, and in what manner (in the sense of attitude, outlook, and disposition) they were to go. He even bestowed empowering authority on them so they could cast out demons and heal disease and sickness. They lacked nothing to be able to accomplish what Jesus sent them to do. Though not apostles, we too are called by Jesus to His service. We are to pray, do good, help ones in need, teach, worship, love, be compassionate and merciful, forgive, and on and on. He has equipped us for our tasks as well. He has “granted usĀ  all things that pertain to life and godliness” and His word makes us “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16). If there is ever failure in doing God’s will, it’s no fault of His.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is an apostle?
  • Where were the apostles forbidden to go? (v. 5)
  • Was Jesus sending the 12 on an easy, safe mission? (v. 16)
  • What did Jesus tell them to anticipate? (vv. 24-25)

My Delight is the Lord, June 28

Raised Up With Christ

June 28, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1-17

Don’t miss this: “If then you have been raised up with Christ…” (v. 1). Knowing what that means is pretty critical, right? If we don’t, then what’s the point of even reading further? It’s always a plus when Scripture explicitly answers our queries. Just 12 verses previous the idea is first introduced when the text says “you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him [Jesus] from the dead” (2:12). That’s it isn’t it? The first part of this verse says this is all happening when were are “buried with him in baptism.” If this is true then, the passage continues, we are to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (v. 1). But what if it’s not true? Our spiritual pursuit is futile because only when God has raised us up with Christ are we even able to have genuine spiritual life.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the significance of Jesus being seated at God’s right hand? (v. 1)
  • What does it mean that our lives are “hidden” with Christ in God? (v. 3)
  • Where else do we find the idea of our being in “the image of its creator”? (v. 10)
  • What is the standard of our forgiving others? (v. 13)

My Delight is the Lord, June 27

It’s Really Big

June 27, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Psalm 19

The vastness of the universe is the basis of one argument for the existence of intelligent life beyond earth. If there is no other life out there, it is suggested, then that sure is an awful lot of wasted space. No doubt, the universe is far more expansive than we can begin to comprehend. Its size defies our capacity to grasp. So, what is all of that out there for? It’s a declaration of God’s glory (v. 1). Yes, that is a lot of space out there to us, but not to Him. It reminds us how much bigger and greater and majestic and powerful (and on and on) that God is than us. That “wasted space” is telling us something, and it’s not that there is other life out there. It’s telling us that God, who spoke it all into existence, in an instant, out of nothing, is more glorious than you can even begin to imagine.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is creation “saying” about God? (v. 2)
  • What is the corresponding mate to the creation as a revelation of God? (v. 7)
  • What four things does God’s word accomplish for us? (vv. 7-8)
  • Of what does the writer not want to be guilty? (vv. 12-13)

My Delight is the Lord, June 26

Premature Conclusions

June 26, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 66

Troubles, sorrows, heartaches and hardships are an undeniable fact of life. What is very much a matter of great question is what they mean. Some say it means that you’ve done wrong and it’s God’s punishment of you. Others say it means that God really doesn’t love you, or that if He does, then He’s not powerful enough to do anything about. In short these folks want to say that it means there is no God. The problem here is people assigning meaning without having all the information. God’s own word affirms that He allows for these scenarios in the lives of His children (v. 12). And–this is a big “and”–from these He brings us “out to a place of abundance.” This sometimes troubling and challenging life is far from all that God has int mind for His own. Incomplete data renders faulty conclusions.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What do God’s enemies do before His great power? (v. 3)
  • Why should the rebellious not exalt themselves? (v. 7)
  • How is silver tried? (v. 10)
  • When does God not listen to men? (v. 18)

My Delight is the Lord, June 25

Worth Fighting For

June 25, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-25

It’s hard to think about there being a time when Jerusalem was not the city of God’s people. Many folks don’t realize that it wasn’t until David captured the city from the Jebusites that he made it his capital. One might have guessed that it had happened long ago when Joshua led in the conquest of Canaan, but no. What may seem to have always been, was not. Jerusalem had to be fought for. The Jebusites, as one might expect, resisted David’s efforts, but the great king prevailed. He is responsible for launching the beloved city on it’s long and storied religious history. Jerusalem, like most every other worthwhile endeavor, goal, or achievement, had to be fought for. The most valued and precious achievements, accomplishments, or attainments will come with a struggle. Don’t expect your faith, your family, your marriage, your church home, or anything of true and lasting value to come without some kind of fight.

Questions to Ponder:

  • From what city did David originally reign? (v. 1)
  • What statement of God’s did the people quote? (v. 2)
  • What did the Philistines do when they heard that David had been anointed king? (v. 17)
  • What did David do before fighting the Philistines? (v. 19)

My Delight is the Lord, June 24

Better But Not Easy

June 24, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 31:1-2 Samuel 1:16

Better does not mean easy. Neither does it mean pleasant. Without a doubt or argument, David was a far superior king than Saul. He was a better fighter (that had been established long before and led to much of David’s trouble from Saul), he was a better administrator, organizer, and leader. He was exemplary in his relationship with God. It’s safe to say that Israel would have never advanced as it did without David as its king. Still, the transition from Saul to David was not easy, nor pleasant. It was violent, unsettling, mournful, and far from smooth. But, if the better was to ever be enjoyed, this transition was necessary. So, here’s a question, what motivates our decisions and actions more; what is better (best) or what is easiest and most pleasant? Are we, as we highly prize ease and comfort, unwittingly keeping from ourselves what is truly best?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Saul ask his armor bearer to kill him? (31:4)
  • What did the Philistines do with the bodies of Saul and his sons? (31:8-10)
  • What of Saul’s did the Amalekite bring to David? (1:10)
  • Why did David have the Amalekite executed? (1:14)

My Delight is the Lord, June 23

God Works Through People

June 23, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Ruth 3-4

God is all-powerful, right? He can make happen whatever He chooses to, right? Both of these are true, unquestionably. But not only does the Bible affirm this reality to us, it also shows us that almighty God works with and by and through the activities of men. Naomi, for instance, plotted and planned and strategized and coached. The outcome of which was that the boy (Boaz) got the girl (Ruth)–or maybe it was the other way around. Anyway, did God need Naomi to make this happen? No. Does the fact that God did use Naomi and Boaz and Ruth in any way detract from His final and ultimate power and authority? No, again. It’s through biblical events and accounts, as found in Ruth, that our knowledge and comprehension of the incomprehensible God, is refined and clarified.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What was Naomi advising Ruth to do? (3:3-4)
  • What did Ruth ask Boaz to do? (3:9)
  • How was the deal sealed? (4:7-8)
  • What was Ruth’s relationship to David? (4:21-22)

My Delight is the Lord, June 22

Can’t Hide Jesus

June 22, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-37

Even Jesus sought solitude for Himself. He left His homeland (the only time in His adult life He did so), went into a house “and did not want anyone to know” (v. 24). The pressures and expectations on Him had to have been unimaginable. But alas, “he could not be hidden” (v. 24). Do you remember Jesus taught that as His followers we should not be hidden either (see Matt. 5:14-15). Jesus, just acting like Himself, gave away His identity. So too it should be with us. Just living the way Jesus teaches us to live should betray our identity as His disciples as well. The only way such could be hidden is if we quit doing what He said to do–then we have another, quite serious, problem. No, it should be obvious, as obvious as, well, a light shining in darkness.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the significance of this miracle? (vv. 24-30)
  • How might Jesus’ statement be construed as rude or harsh? (v. 27)
  • Why would the translation of Ephphatha be provided? (v. 34)
  • What was the reaction to this miracle? (v. 37)

My Delight is the Lord, June 21

Don’t Fall Short

June 21, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 19:1-18; 20:22-26

So much of the rhetoric and chatter that one hears today about self improvement, fulfillment, and personal development centers around ideas of being true to one’s self, identifying and pursuing one’s dreams, to aggressively resist others’ expectations and culture’s stereotypes of what you “should” be and do. Certainly there is validity and wisdom in such lines of thinking. But just because we discard and reject outmoded, controlling, and defeatist ways of thinking, does not necessarily mean that we are pursuing the greatest, ultimate good. We should also beware of embracing ideals, that though they may seem new and fresh, they fall short of the very best. Note the simple statement, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (19:2). Any trajectory for our life that falls short of aiming at being like God, no matter how much better it might otherwise be than other possibilities, is ultimate failure.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean that God is holy? (19:2)
  • What is the ultimate intention behind offerings and sacrifices? (19:5)
  • What was God’s threat if the people failed to obey? (20:22)
  • For what reason did God separate His people? (20:2