Daily Word

Psalm 17

Read Psalm 17 – Marvelous lovingkindness, unfailing love, steadfast loving-kindness, the wonders of your great love… these are the words that appear in different translations on 17:7 “Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.” (That was from my NLT) Bible commentator, David Guzik notes, “Many of us ask for or only expect God’s moderate lovingkindness. We make our prayers, our faith, and our expectations small. David shows us a pattern to expect and ask from God marvelous lovingkindness.”

I am feeling very convicted by this and will be putting the matter to prayer today. Jesus has shown me that he does not answer prayers ‘just a little’; no, he answers prayers in big, undeniable ways! I am wondering where my limits have come from because I need BIG things. I need his full and marvelous lovingkindness to carry me through this life – how about you?

David has the hope of heaven on his heart when he closes this beautiful psalm in :15, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” That alone is a statement of faith far beyond the common man. David did not have Pauls words, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” Galatians 3:27 David had the kind of faith that simply knew.

Isn’t it so true, that the trials and hardships of this life grow dim against the backdrop of heaven and the hope that is ours in Christ? It’s been said – don’t tell God how big your troubles are – tell your troubles how big your GOD is!

Daily Word

Psalm 16

Read Psalm 16 – Read about pleasure and joy. Do you ever think about eternity? It is that moment when we escape this world and discover what true life really is. It is that moment when time stops, when we see Jesus face to face, when we look upon every earthly trial with true perspective and know the value of what we once thought of as suffering. Oh, Beloved, the best is yet to come, yet here on earth is our only chance to shine for Christ upon those who do not know him, whose eternal destiny might be destruction, but for our impact.

David makes the very most of his days on earth beginning in verse one – asking the LORD to keep him safe and be his refuge. David tells God, “You are my Master. Every good thing I have comes from you.” :2 He speaks of the godly on earth, his true heros, those he is pleased to be with. And he speaks of those who chase after other gods, their troubles multiply. (:3-4) Have you seen how life does not make sense to those who chase after other gods? Be it money, power, spirituality, they seem so on top until trouble comes.

Verse :5 is priceless! It is the one I will be holding on to today because it reminds me that the LORD is with me now and the best is yet to come! Which verse did the Holy Spirit speak to you through? I would love it if you shared.

Daily Word

Psalm 9

Read Psalm 9 – I had been walking with Christ for just a few weeks when my crew was reassigned one more flight at the end of a long day. The passengers had been waiting for hours as a plane was repaired and flown down from our headquarters 3 states away.  There was no catering on the aircraft,  not so much as a paper cup for tap water.

Upon learning this my colleague asked, “Are you Christian? ”  I said yes.   She grabbed me by the hands and said we were going to pray about this and proceeded to lift our catering delima up to Jesus.

Our competitors soon  came steaming in with snacks and cases of drinks.   We ended up with more than enough. Our inconvenienced passengers were filled with gratitude instead of attitude!

That was the day I learned how much Jesus cares about the little things as much as the big.   Nothing is too hard for him and He never seems to bless ‘just a little’.

There’s a women’s event I wanted to go to tomorrow, but I was scheduled to fly.  The trade box was full and no one seemed to be picking up.   I asked a few of my Sisters to pray for me, remembering what Jesus did way back when. Sure enough, I got the day off.

I’m Psalm 9, David recounts the wonderful deeds of God in answer to his prayers. I pray this sparks your own memories of answered prayers,big and small. Our faith grows when we remember the Lord’s faithfulness.

Daily Word

Psalm 6

Read Psalm 6 – Early in my bible studies I realized that nearly every character is flawed with sin. I really wanted a hero I could look up to, yet most were a mess like, well, me. The LORD calls David a man after His own heart, but his sin is clearly recorded and on display in the bible. The LORD has an extraordinary relationship with him anyway.

We don’t know why David is being chastised in our Psalm, just that he is. As earthly fathers discipline their children, so does our Heavenly Father, and David is crying out to him.

Like yesterday, David’s plea is centered on the LORD’S unfailing, steadfast love. He doesn’t claim to deserve it or justify himself.

He displays his suffering eloquently (:6-7). We do this a bit too…. Wallow for a moment, but don’t stay there. As David shifts gears in :8, from wallow to rescue he finds mercy.

Beloved, God’s Word says we will encounter trials of various kinds and that we are to consider them pure joy because they are developing our perseverance! (See James 1 for more on this) May Psalm 6 draw your heart close to Jesus, our Rescuer.

Daily Word

Psalm 2

Read Psalm 2 – God’s Word is living and active.  This Psalm was written by King David to celebrate the coronation of an Israelite king, and at the same time, to celebrate Jesus when he steps in to rule the nations.  It is the first Messianic Psalm, meaning it refers to the coming Messiah who we know to be Jesus.  

As you read :1-3, could you feel the rattling of our times?  And :4-6 reassures us as the One enthroned in heaven laughs… He laughs like a dad might laugh when his toddler challenges him to an arm wrestle.  His plans will not be rattled by their best efforts.

Jesus is so clearly spoken of in :7-12.  Verse :7 can also be found in Acts 13 as the Good News was fulfilled in Jesus.  

Marvel at the LORD today, Beloved, His plans are yes and amen!  Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (:12)

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 27

Read Deuteronomy 27 – Nothing fancy, just the facts –
First, the altar was to be nothing fancy. The Israelites were to build an altar to the LORD with large, natural stones. They were not to cut them, but they were to plaster them. Picture it – this humble altar dressed in plaster would not distract with proud craftsmanship as so many churches do. One would not get lost with thoughts of the builder and admiration for the structure. One would focus on the purity of the LORD they were standing before.
Second, they were to write all the commands the LORD had given them on the white stones, just the facts and nothing more. When I need to learn something, I read it, then I write it down. The act of writing solidifies the words in me as it would have for these leaders of Israel. And seeing these commandments written boldly on the white stones would draw generations to come to the seriousness of them.
Next we have instructions for half the tribes to go on one mountain top, Gerizim, and the other half to stand on Mount Ebal. Those on Gerizim were to call out the blessings of the LORD. Those on Mount Ebal were to call out the curses of the LORD. This setting creates a natural amphitheater, and hearing the spoken commands in this manner must have been so profound that those in attendance would never forget. Plus, after each blessing/curse, the people were to call out, “Amen”. Amen means “so be it”; the people were to commit to honor these commandments with their verbal agreement.
Before I close, I would like to offer the reminder that believers today are not under the law as these ancient people were. They were required to keep the law perfectly. We are blessed because of our standing in Jesus Christ. The curse we deserve was laid upon him. There will be consequences for our sin, but the condemnation we deserve was paid in full by Jesus. Hallelujah and amen!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 21

Read Deuteronomy 21 – My oh my, am I ever glad I did not live in the ancient world! Order was established for unsolved murders. The nearest town would have to make every effort to solve the crime, but if it remained unsolvable, they were to make atonement publically and before the LORD.
The LORD put protective standards in place for women who were taken in war as brides. This may have riled your feminist feathers, yet God’s standards actually gave rights to women who would otherwise be disregarded. Before the marriage could be consummated, the woman was to have her head shaved, her nails trimmed, her clothing removed and a month to mourn her parents. This was a reset period. It was both humbling and healing for a woman to move past her past and a time for the man to be sure he wanted to marry her and that it was not a fleeting decision based on her appearance. At the end of the month, he could marry her or set her free, without selling her or treating her brutally because that is what the LORD commanded. Sometimes break-ups stir vengeful feelings, but the man was not permitted to further dishonor the woman… Beloved, I hope you are able to see past our times as you look into these ancient ones and see the LORD’s compassion and protection.
Verses :15-17 had me thinking about Leah and Rachel, Jacob’s wives whom we are first introduced to in Genesis 29. Things can get rather messy with more than one wife, and the LORD gave commands to protect both parties with established practices for inheritance.
God gave serious instructions for the parents of a rebellious son – one would hope the mere fact of this ordinance was enough to keep any son from rebellion. (:18-21)
Our chapter concludes with instructions when capital punishment was rendered by hanging the guilty on a tree. Here we see a balance of justice and mercy. To hang the guilty on a tree was justice; to remove and bury him showed mercy and dignity for the land itself. Paul expands on this in Galatians 3:13-14 (in the New Testament) showing how Jesus became this atonement for us, taking on the curse we deserve for our sin. Beloved, because of Jesus we are redeemed from the curse of the law – and that is a giant Hallelujah to close on today!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 19

Read Deuteronomy 19 – Refuge and justice – the LORD established a system of justice, allowing for accidents, with cities of refuge.   

The thing that stands out to me about these cities is that one had to take personal responsibility for the death of another, even if it happened by accident without any malice.  Scripture gives the example of two going out to chop wood and the axe head falls off and kills one. (:5)  Though that was an accident, the survivor would then run to a city of refuge, tell the elders, and live within the city of refuge, protected from revenge by the dead person’s family.  

The LORD also knew that some would seek this protection in an unworthy manner, after killing someone deliberately, then seeking refuge.  In that instance the elders of the murderers hometown were to send agents to retrieve him, so that he could be put to death. (:12)

There was a system in place for false accusations, and I wonder how we got away from such a thing.  In our modern system of justice, anyone can sue anyone with no repercussions should the charges be found false.  In God’s system, the false accuser would receive the punishment intended for the accused. (:19) 

God’s justice serves the community by action and reputation.  Things were dealt with in a very present time frame, and the community would learn what happens when evil is done and be afraid to do such things. (:20).

It is incredible to me that the LORD holds no false hope about humanity.  We are sinners and a system of justice is necessary.  He gave us Jesus, sending him to pay our ransom, to be justice for us so we could be redeemed children, co-heirs with Jesus. (See Romans 8:17)

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 15

Read Deuteronomy 15 – Just imagine a world where everyone got a clean slate every seven years. That is the world God ordained for Israel. Have you ever lent money to someone who couldn’t repay? It hangs over one’s head – whether you play the part of borrower or lender. And one could argue that it’s not fair, but when God says to cancel a debt, don’t you suppose he will honor your faithfulness far beyond the amount? Proverbs 19:17 assures, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD – and he will repay you!”
This went for personal debt as well as for slaves. A person could sell himself/herself as a slave, but in the 7th year they were released from service with provisions. This was like a commemorative act from when the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt (:13-15).
However, the slave had the option of remaining in the masters household, as things were good, there was love for your family and he/she felt well taken care of. In such case, that slave would be marked with an awl piercing of the earlobe, and this was a bond for life(:16-17). This is much like we experience when we give our life to Jesus as LORD and Savior.
And the LORD required the firstborn of all the animals be dedicated to him, unless it was lame or blemished, in which case it could be used for food. One would never sacrifice an animal with a defect. We see this illustrated in Genesis with Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, Cain gave halfheartedly to the LORD with his crops, while Abel gave the best portions from his flocks. Abel’s gift was accepted, but Cain’s was not. I know this is a strange concept to us today, but remember that a day would come when Jesus would be the perfect sacrifice for all times. These blood sacrifices were preparing hearts for the ultimate atonement of Jesus Christ.
Beloved, one could read Deuteronomy and be perplexed by the seemingly strange requests. My hope is that you are forming the notion that Jesus is on every page and the LORD has something special just for you in every chapter.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 12

Read Deuteronomy 12 – Wasn’t that a lovely break we took in Psalm 40 when I last wrote?  May you always be mindful of when your heart needs to pause from the ‘should’s’ of life.  The Lord truly cares about your heart above all else.  Okay, shall we get back on course with our chapter?  

The Israelites are given some preparation instructions for worship.  Step one is to clean house (:2-3).  The Lord commands that all the places of worship created by the previous inhabitants be utterly destroyed.  He is protecting them from being led astray.

The Lord assures them that He will select the place where they are to offer sacrifices, and grants permission for them to kill and eat as needed apart from an act of worship. This is a freedom, a liberty the Lord is expressly granting them, with the only warning to ensure there is no blood (:15,16,20-25).

They are commanded to provide for the Levite; that is the tribe set aside as priests. (:12,18-19).

Our chapter ends like it began, instructing the Israelites to:  “take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I also may do the same.’ “ :30  The Lord HATES the abominable things these nations did to serve their gods.  They even burned their children alive as human sacrifices to their gods. (:31)

I pray you do not get lost in these instructions to the Israelites about things that may seem far removed from Christian life today.  Blood sacrifices are no longer required as Jesus shed his blood as our once and for all sacrifice.  And we are still not to dabble in occult practices, even under the guise of curiosity, lest we be led astray. Remember, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8  He desires a life of joyful worship from us, as he did for our ancient brothers and sisters.  “And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all that you undertake.” 18b.