Monthly Archives: October 2016

My Delight is the Lord, October 31

Thankful for a Reason

October 31, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Psalm 107

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (v. 1). Who’s going to argue with that? But think about this; if you do give thanks to the Lord, why are you doing it? Is it because the Bible says to do it (here, and countless other places)? Or, are you doing it because you are thankful? Have you ever heard or seen (or experienced) a parent telling their child to say “Thank you” for some kindness or nice act done for them? If the child says it, why are they saying it? True, it’s important for them to be taught–and for them to learn–the habit and practice of gratitude. That’s appropriate for young children. But isn’t a part of the maturing process to actually become thankful people–not just ones who say thank you? So, because they’ve come to identify and recognize all the good things God has done, they cannot help but give thanks. The key isn’t just learning to say it, it’s learning to see just how good God really is. Here, these people had wandered, hungered, fainted, cried out, and God delivered them (vv. 4-6). So, “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love!” (v. 8).

Questions to Ponder:

  • Whom does God satisfy and fill? (v. 9)
  • Why did God difficulty to come to His people? (v. 12)
  • What refrain is repeated in vv. 6, 13, 19?
  • What refrain is repeated in vv. 8, 15, 21, 31?

My Delight is the Lord, October 30

Promise

October 30, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105

We are familiar with the biblical account of how Abraham’s descendants went down into Egypt and then brought them out again four centuries later to give them the land He had promised to the man from Ur. The question is, “Why?”. Why was God so good to these people in particular? Why did He protect and provide for them? There was but one reason, and it had nothing to do with any measure of worthiness on the their part. Instead, it had everything to do with His promise (see vv. 7-11). The message for us is that there is nothing more certain than God’s promise. Nothing! He intends for us to base our life, our future, our hope, our eternal destiny upon His promise (see 2 Pet. 1:3-11, noting the foundational “precious and very great promises”). This is why this Psalm begins with a call to make known his deeds among the peoples (v. 1). These deeds prove the incontestable reliability of His promises.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How are Abraham’s descendants described prior to going to Egypt? (vv. 12-13)
  • To whom did God say this? (v. 15)
  • How is Joseph’s prison time in Egypt described? (v. 18)
  • Why did the Egyptians hate the people of Israel? (v. 25)

My Delight is the Lord, October 29

Attitude is It

October 29, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 5:1-16

It’s often said, to the point of cliche, that it’s not having money that’s the problem, but it’s your attitude toward it that matters. And, that’s true. Ananias and Sapphira illustrate this point. The problem was not that they were wealthy enough to own disposable property, many others did as well (see Acts 4:34). Their problem was wanting people to think they were more generous than they were. Their actions suggested they gave all the proceeds from their sale, but they did not. That they held on to their money shows that their money had a hold on them. The same basic act was for Barnabas and others a deed of gracious benevolence and for these two a deceit toward God. So, yes, attitude is what matters. 

Questions to Ponder:

  • To whom had Ananias and Sapphira lied? (v. 3)
  • Was what the early church practiced (4:34-35) communism? (v. 4)
  • To whom had Ananias and Sapphira lied? (v. 4)
  • What contributed to the growth of the early church? (vv. 14-15)

My Delight is the Lord, October 28

By What Power?

October 28, Friday: God’s Story (1)

Scripture Reading: Acts 4

Peter makes a critical connection for us. Having been asked by the religious authorities following the healing of a man 40-years-old and lame since birth, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”, he said it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (vv. 7, 10). He then proceeded to say, for there is salvation in no one else, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12). The power/name that heals the lame is the same power/name that saves the lost. The power that can do the former can certainly do the latter. And so, indeed, this is this name upon which we call to be saved (Acts 2:21). And this miracle (among others) proves it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What annoyed the Sadducees? (v. 2)
  • What did the rulers perceive about Peter and John? (v. 13)
  • What did the rulers confess about what had happened? (v. 16)
  • For what did the apostles pray in response to being threatened? (v. 29)

My Delight is the Lord, October 27

Take a Stand

October 27, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Daniel 1:1-21

“When in Rome…,” right? Well, perhaps, but perhaps not. Daniel was in Babylon, not Rome. He along with other youths “without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom” (v. 4) had been forcibly removed from their homeland by the invading Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar had taken what he considered the very best of the population to come and serve him. To that end, these Hebrews needed to be “Babylonian-ized” during a three-year training process which included changing diets. This is where Daniel refused. He would not eat the prescribed food, no doubt as it violated dietary restrictions of the Law of Moses. He wasn’t just being belligerent. Going along to get along may have it’s place but it’s never ok to violate God’s will.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What were the Hebrew names of Daniel’s three friends? (vv. 6-7)
  • How did Daniel answer the eunuch’s objection to his request? (v. 12)
  • What special skills did God give Daniel? (v. 17)
  • How advanced was Daniel in wisdom and understanding? (v. 20)

My Delight is the Lord, October 26

No Heaven on Earth

October 26, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:63-23:25

If nothing else, surely we learn from Jesus’ trial that in this world good does not always prevail, truth doesn’t always win out, and purely innocent people do suffer horribly. I would hope that leaves a knot in the pit of our stomachs (at the very least). This horribleness is as much a part of the world we occupy as anything. And, truly, if this can happen to, not just a supremely good person, but the perfectly sinless Son of God, then, yes, it could happen to anyone. What God wants from us is goodness, kindness, honor, and justice. But this world lies in the power of the evil one who steals, kills, and destroys (1 Jn. 5:19; John 10:10). This world can be a mean old place, and we’ll never make a heaven on earth. But whatever we might have to face here, don’t forget what God has in store, “praise and glory and honor” (1 Pet. 1:7).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is the significance of “when day came”? (22:66)
  • Of what crime did they believe to be guilty? (22:70-71)
  • Why did they change the accusations? (23:2)
  • Why did Jesus say nothing to Herod? (23:9)

My Delight is the Lord, October 25

Restore Us, O God

October 25, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Psalm 80

It’s not unusual for God’s children to want God to do what we know He is capable of doing. We know His power, wisdom, knowledge, and mercy are all limitless. We can relate to the cry, “stir up your might and come to save us!” (v. 2). This Psalm goes on three times to repeat the appeal, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (vv. 3, 7, 19). Will He? That remains to be seen. While the Psalm is correct to recognize that only through God can salvation come, it also bears out a flaw; not God’s but ours. And its not really our mistake, but it’s a deficiency of being human. Our expectation of God’s action is based on our limited understanding. There is nothing wrong with what this Psalm says and what we want from God, as a matter of fact it is right. All the while, though, we must remember that just because we want it, and know only God can give it, doesn’t mean He must do it.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who is Joseph? (v. 1)
  • With what is God angry? (v. 4)
  • What is the food and drink mentioned in v. 5?
  • Israel is described as what in v. 8?

My Delight is the Lord, October 24

My Song

October 24, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12:1-6

I have a multi-tool in my desk. It’s supposed to do 14 different functions. I actually have only used it for 2 or 3. It is more ingenious than it is functional. Sometimes a tool, or a person, can try to do so much that nothing ends up being done well. On the other hand we can fail to identify all capabilities that may be present. Some functions can be overlooked. When it comes to God, the latter is the problem, not the former. He does all things well. But we likely don’t see all that God is able to do for us. “For the Lord is my strength, and my song, and he has become my salvation” (v. 2). God is my strength, my song, and my salvation. We give the first and last of these good attention, but what about that middle one–God is my song? Every person’s life is singing a song. It’s what moves, drives, directs, and encourages us. It’s what puts the wind under our wings. What song am I singing?

Questions to Ponder:

  • What is absent since I trust God? (v. 2)
  • What does it mean for God to be my song? (v. 2)
  • What thought does v. 3 bring to your mind?
  • What three things should be done relative to God? (v. 4)

My Delight is the Lord, October 23

Creation Information

October 23, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104

If we allow Scripture to inform us about creation (both the act and its outcome) only from Genesis 1-2, we are greatly disadvantaged. It would be like thinking the only place we learn about Jesus’ teaching or the subjects of faith, love, and the resurrection is from the Gospels, Hebrews 11, 1 Corinthians 13, and 15. Psalm 104 is all about the Creator and His creation. It’s even more comprehensive than the initial two chapters of Scripture in that it goes beyond the world’s first week and acknowledges the ongoing and ever-present Creator/creation relationship. It touches on the angels’ roles relative to the created order (vv. 3-4, see also Heb. 1:7) and that singular occasion when God radically altered the original created arrangement–the flood (vv. 6-9). The object of God’s creative act relishes in the “good things” He supplies. But, when withheld, it’s dismay, death, and dust (vv. 27-29). “May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works” (v. 31).

Questions to Ponder:

  • With what does God clothe Himself? (vv. 1-2)
  • How does Hebrews 1:7 apply v. 4?
  • From where do young lions seek their food? (v. 21)
  • What is Leviathan? (v. 26)

My Delight is the Lord, October 22

Attention to Jesus

October 22, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: Acts 3

Peter wanted to know why the multitude was staring at him and John (v. 12). Well, an amazing thing had just been done and everyone knew it. This well known, ever-present, congenitally lame man was remarkably doing what no one had ever seen him do–walking, leaping, and praising God (v. 8). What is more, it all happened as a result of what Peter and John had said. These witnesses were “utterly astounded” (v. 11). Don’t miss what happened next. The apostles had what everyone seems to want–the people’s attention. Think of it; advertisers, hucksters, celebrities, politicians, retailers, power brokers, etc., etc. all want the same thing–the attention of the masses. Peter and John had it and here’s what they did with it; diverted it from themselves and directed it toward Jesus, His death and resurrection (vv. 11-16). Given our self-idolizing culture, that seems nearly as miraculous as the miracle. But really, that’s what we should all be about always–directing attention to Jesus.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did Peter and John go to the temple? (v. 1)
  • What filled the people who saw the lame man walk? (v. 10)
  • How is Jesus described in vv. 14-15?
  • What did Peter say these people must do? (v. 19)