VIDEO Read Scripture: Psalms

 

Our Read Scripture video on the book of Psalms, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. The book of Psalms has been designed to be the prayer book of God’s people as they wait for the Messiah and his coming kingdom

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God’s Hidden Hand

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

My friend was adopted by a missionary couple from the United States and grew up in Ghana. After his family moved back to the US, he began college but had to drop out. Later, he signed on with the military, which eventually helped him pay for college and took him all over the world. Through it all, God was at work, preparing him for a special role. Today, he writes and edits Christian literature that ministers to an international audience.

His wife also has an interesting story. She failed her chemistry exams during her first year of college due to the strong medication she had to take for epilepsy. After some careful deliberation, she switched from studying science to studying American Sign Language, which had a more manageable workload. Reflecting on that experience, she says, “God was redirecting my life for a greater purpose.” Today, she is making His life-changing Word accessible to the hearing-impaired.

Do you sometimes wonder where God is leading you? Psalm 139:16 acknowledges God’s sovereign hand in our lives: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” We don’t know how God will use the circumstances of our life, but we can rest in the knowledge that God knows everything about us and is directing our footsteps. Though His sovereign hand may seem hidden, He’s never absent.

Dear Lord, help me to trust You even when I don’t understand.

What steps can you take to discern God’s leading or to act on His call for your life?

By Poh Fang Chia 

INSIGHT

David wrote Psalm 139 to worship God, but he also gave us a primer in theology proper—the study of the person of God. He does this by focusing on three of God’s character qualities, what theologians call “attributes.” In verse 1, David points out God’s omniscience—that He is all-knowing: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” He then moves to God’s omnipresence—that God is everywhere present at once: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7). Then the psalmist moves to God’s omnipotence—that there is no limit to His power—which is evidenced in how He forms us: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (v. 13).

For more on Psalm 139, listen to the Discover the Word programs “Search Me” at discovertheword.org/series/search-me-2/.

Bill Crowder

Good Discipline

Hebrews 12:4-11

To gain a deeper understanding of the loving nature of God’s discipline, try to remember your own childhood. Maybe you heard these familiar words from a parent or guardian: “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” Back then, you probably did not appreciate or even believe that sentiment. Nor did you comprehend the true meaning until you became an adult. Discipline is painful for both the recipient and the administrator, but the benefits outweigh the suffering.

Good parents love their children enough to look beyond their immediate comfort and work toward a more beneficial long-term goal—the transformation of foolish, self-centered juveniles into wise, loving adults. The heavenly Father is working in the same way to mature His children. Divine discipline is a necessary part of the process and an expression of His goodness and love.

Although God knows the most effective means of disciplining us, the outcome is influenced by our attitudes and responses. We can choose to submit and be trained by it, or we can rebel and waste the opportunity to grow in Christlikeness. God is always working for our good, but by choosing our own way, we reject His best and grieve His heart.

If you don’t align your thinking with the truth of Scripture, the pain and suffering of divine discipline may produce the sour fruit of a bitter attitude, an angry heart, and a distorted view of God. Instead, trust in His perfect will and choose to be teachable. He will produce the fruit of righteousness in your life.

Brightness of the Glory

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3) 

This verse constitutes one of Scripture’s most magnificent declarations of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us examine the phrase “the brightness of his glory.”

The word for “brightness” is used only this one time in the Bible and means, literally, “out-radiating.” The word picture conveyed is of the energy overflow from the sun. The sun constitutes a tremendous generator of energy, more than adequate to sustain all processes on Earth. However, these energies would be utterly useless for any such noble purpose if they could not somehow be transmitted from sun to Earth. They are transmitted, however, through the remarkable radiant energy known as sunlight, or solar radiation.

It is this figure which the writer is using. As the sun’s rays are to the sun itself, so is Christ to the Godhead. He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). It is He whose “goings forth” have been “everlasting” (Micah 5:2). His glorified countenance is “as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16). The Lord Jesus Christ is the life-giving radiation of the ineffable glory of the eternal One, from whose face one day the very heaven and earth will flee away (Revelation 20:11). “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings [or ‘outspreadings’]” (Malachi 4:2).

And through this One who mediates God to us, we can enter boldly into His presence. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

Make your calling and election sure

2 Peter 1

The second general epistle of Peter was written to warn the churches against the evil influence of certain teachers, erroneous in doctrine and impure in life. The style is earnest and tender, and is peculiarly marked by a solemn grandeur of imagery and diction.

2 Peter 1:2, 3

Grace comes to us through the understanding; we grow in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, and so obtain more grace: hence the importance of earnest thought, and diligent study of the Scriptures.

2 Peter 1:4

Precious faith lays hold on Precious promises, and so raises the soul beyond mere nature into the highest conceivable condition, making it like to God in holiness and virtue. The phrase, “partakers of the divine nature,” is a very remarkable one; we cannot become divine, but we can be “partakers of his holiness.”

2 Peter 1:6, 7

Link these hand in hand as virgins in the dance, or place them one upon another, that like the stones of an arch they may yield mutual support.

2 Peter 1:8-11

You shall enter grace and glory at flood tide, and not as those who are “saved so as by fire.”

2 Peter 1:19

The witness of Scripture is even surer than the voice heard in the mount. How much then ought we to prize it! How well content may we be without visions and revelations.

2 Peter 1:21

We may not regard the Bible as the private word of Moses or Isaiah, but as the revelation of God to all time, most sure and infallible.

 

Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire;

Let us thine influence prove,

Source of the old prophetic fire,

Fountain of light and love.

 

God, through himself, we then shall know,

If thou within us shine;

And sound, with all thy saints below,

The depths of love divine.

 

Where Is the Radiance Now?

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. (1 John 5:10)

I keep looking, but with little success, for a distinguishing radiance in life and testimony among our evangelical Christians.

Instead of an inner witness, too many professing Christians are depending upon logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts. They have no witness of an encounter with God, no awareness of inner change!

I believe that where there is a divine act within the soul, there will be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is its own evidence: it addresses itself directly to the spiritual consciousness.

Thankfully, there are elements that are always the same among men and women who have had a personal meeting with God.

There is the compelling sense of God Himself; of His Person and of His Presence. From there on, the permanent results will be evident in the life and walk of the person touched as long as he or she lives!

 

Gift of Strength; Peace to Bless

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Ps. 29:11

David had just heard the voice of the Lord in a thunderstorm, and had seen His power in the hurricane whose path he had described; and now, in the cool calm after the storm, that overwhelming power by which Heaven and earth are shaken is promised to be the strength of the chosen. He who wings the unerring bolt will give to His redeemed the wings of eagles; He who shakes the earth with His voice will terrify the enemies of His saints, and give His children peace. Why are we weak when we have divine strength to flee to? Why are we troubled when the Lord’s own peace is ours? Jesus, the mighty God, is our strength; let us put Him on and go forth to our service. Jesus, our blessed Lord, is also our peace; let us repose in Him this day, and end our fears. What a blessing to have Him for our strength and peace both now and for ever!

That same God who rides upon the storm in days of tempest will also rule the hurricane of our tribulation, and send us, before long, days of peace. We shall have strength for storms, and songs for fair weather. Let us begin to sing at once unto God our strength and our peace. Away, dark thoughts! Up, faith and hope!

 

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