Friday, April 1, 2016

Restore Us

Scripture: Psalm 80

Focus Verse “Restore us, O Lord Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” Ps. 80:19 (NIV)

               This psalm names Asaph as the author. In the ‘song’, the words of our focus verse appear three times, in verses 3, 7, and 19. These words are a plea for God to restore His people.

               The writer believes God has been angry at the nation Israel. The Lord has not honored their prayers. The people have grieved the state of their country. Neighboring nations have laughed at the people. Israel’s enemies mocked them.

               Asaph reminds the Lord that He brought the nation out of bondage in Egypt and allowed them to remove other peoples from the land.   At the time of Asaph’s writing, God has thrown open the protective gates to the nation and permitted anyone to pass through and partake of the fruits of Israel.

               The writer pleads with God to return to them and to watch over them. When He speaks, the people perish. Asaph refers to the Messiah in verse 17. He then asks God to revive them and promises the people will call on Him.

               Our 21st Century world needs to pray for God to look down on us and guide us through these messy times. Our nation needs to look to the Lord, call out His name, and ask for His mercy. It is the only way we can be restored as a nation.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Our Strength uk

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”  Psalm 84:5 (NIV)

               Blessed: When God blesses us, He smiles on us.

Strength: We sing the chorus, “The joy of the LORD is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Nehemiah prefaces this thought with the simple words, “Do not grieve.” When we become sad, we lose strength. This loss can also happen when we get angry. We become susceptible to all kinds of physical, emotional, and mental conditions.

               “Set their hearts” Those who progress in this world get their goal in their sights and work to achieve that goal. As followers of Christ, we asked Jesus into our hearts and daily strive to live for Him.

               “pilgrimage” Our lives with Christ are individual journeys. Like a pilgrimage, our walk with the Lord leads us to a very special destination—heaven to live with Him.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Peace in the Face of Confrontation

Scripture : John 18 1-11 

Peter’s Thoughts:

               After the Teacher prayed, we departed the upper room and walked to the Mount of Olives. Someone permitted him to have entry into the garden called Gethsemane. He had met with us there several times.

               The moon was full; it lit up garden as if it were daylight. A detachment of soldiers, at least 200 of them, armed with lanterns, torches, and clubs, appeared and arrested him. I got scared; I wielded my sword and took off a soldier’s ear. Jesus replaced it. He appeared calm as he faced this crowd of men. Was the Master ready to die?

               When we study the last week of Jesus’ life, we begin to realize some very basic facts about the people involved. I learned several new facts during Lent 2016.

               During Lent, I did a lot of reading and studying. I learned the practice observing Lent evolved from a few days to the 40 days we practice today. I also have a more informed point of view about Pilate. I should have posted something every day instead of sticking to my three-a-week schedule. I still have half of the book I used for my Lenten devotional book to post. I believe I will save these other ‘days’ for a time when I run dry of topics.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...