Verses from Psalm 86: 1-5, 8, 12-13, New International Version, with my thoughts:
1. Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Am I poor and needy? Maybe not financially since any American is rich compared to most people in other parts of the world. But I am spiritually poor when my faith is small and I get discouraged. I’m needy because I am a broken person living in a broken world and both body and soul can be wounded and/or knocked off balance.
2. Guard my life, for I am faithful to You; save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God. The key to receiving God’s help is for me to faithfully seek Him instead of other answers and to trust His power and care. I will have no other gods besides the living God, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. I will be faithful to You, Lord.
3. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. I will be persistent and patient in prayer.
4. Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You. I will trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). (In Your presence is fullness of joy—from Psalm 16:11.)
5. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. Thank You, Lord, that You abound in love to me as I call on You.
8. Among the gods, there is none like You, Lord; no deeds can compare with Yours. For example, what other god could cause a dead stick to bud, blossom, and bear almonds as You did with Aaron’s staff?
12-13. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. 13 For great is Your love toward me. You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Yes, I will glorify Your name forever and praise You with all my heart, Lord, for great is Your love for me!
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God is the giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. They come from Him (Proverbs 2:6). I need to tune my ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding, cry out in prayer for insight and ask for understanding. I’ll seek and search for them as the treasures that they are (Proverbs 2:2-4). That’s how I’ll prepare my heart to receive God’s Word, His communication to me. I’ll understand what it means to fear the Lord and will gain knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:5).
Then the wicked one won’t have a chance to snatch away what is sown in my heart. Nor will my heart become stony, preventing my roots from growing deep in love and truth. Likewise weeds of worldly cares and riches won’t have opportunity to crowd out knowledge of God and His ways, which would make me unfruitful in His kingdom. (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23)
Dear Father, giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, grant me these things that I may learn to fear You and be fruitful in Your kingdom. Amen.
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An article in my daily devotional booklet made me think about the purposes God has for my life. I used to spend most of my time (even as a Christ-follower) trying to run from difficulties, get people-approval, and make life comfortable and happy for me. But now I recognize that as the world’s way of life, not God’s way. His way is to love Him with all I am, keep His kingdom first, and love others—especially those who belong to His family. I think about the following verses (quoted from the New Living Translation):
Galatians 2:20: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
From 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “…You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price….”
Since God bought me with such a high price, and now I belong to Him, I need to spend the remaining moments (or if God permits, years) of my life loving and serving God and bringing glory to Him.
Luke 8:11, 15, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. …15 [T]he ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
I want to be “good ground,” so when Jesus plants seeds from God’s Word in my heart., I will humbly receive them (James 1:21). Jesus gives me living water—His Word and His Spirit—for watering the plants. As they start to grow. I can nurture them with the plant food of faith that results in obedience. (James 2:17, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”) I will diligently practice applying God’s Word to my life. I need to pull out weeds like anger, bitterness, jealousy, regret, strife, pride, haughtiness, and anything else that interferes with nourishing my soul.
Then these plants in my heart can mature and produce Holy Spirit fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)
In Deuteronomy 4:26-28, God warns Israel (through Moses) that if they break His covenant with them, He will scatter them among the nations, and only a few of them will survive. But then Moses tells them in verses 29 and 31 of that chapter, “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. …For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”
What a wonderful promise from You, O merciful Father. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23) Faithful Father, You won’t abandon me either (Hebrews 13:5). And You won’t forget the promises You have made to us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen.
Isaiah 56:4 “For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those …who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.”
Psalm 62:8 “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.
For example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)
“But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 8 for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible).
What are some spiritual exercises? I thought of the following possibilities:
1. Running to God. Running with patience the race of life set before me.
2. Resistance exercise Resist temptation.
3. Weight lifting Lift worries and cares to God and exercise trust muscle. Concentrate on the good and true things of Philippians 4:8
4. Push-ups When I sin/stumble, push up with confession and repentance
5. Crunches Forgiving others and humbling myself to ask forgiveness of others
6. Endurance training Set my mind and keep it set on things above where Christ is. Keep my eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. Take every thought captive to Jesus
7. Pull-ups –Scripture memory
8. Sword-practice Study and apply God’s Word.
9. Stretches –Praise and thanksgiving
10. Swimming through thoughts to take hold of truth
Dear Lord, please help me be diligent to do these things so I will grow more and more like Jesus. Amen.