Posts tagged ‘Psalm’

July 12, 2013

843 Acres: Something from Nothing by a Word

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 16-17 (text | audio, 4:51 min)
Ps 148 (text | audio, 1:13 min)
Highlighted: Ps 148:5 

Something from Nothing: Although Christians may disagree about how God went about creating the world, they generally agree that He went about creating it: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” [1]. As Creator, the one triune God—that is, God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit—is the origin of all creation: “For from him and through him and to him are all things” [2].

Command & Creation: The great mystery of creation is how something came from nothing. According to Genesis, God brought forth creation by speaking. Similarly, the Psalmist writes, “He commanded and they were created” [3]. Likewise, Paul writes that God “calls into being that which does not exist” [4]. God’s speech is so powerful that, when He speaks into nothingness, He brings forth its obedience and something comes from nothing: “The worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” [5].

Moment by Moment: Not only does God’s word bring forth life, it also holds all of creation together moment by moment: Christ “upholds all things by the word of his power” [6]. The only thing, therefore, that keeps our bodies and souls daily from slipping into nothingness is His mighty command, “Exist!” [7]

Ownership Inferred: Since God is the Creator and Sustainer of creation, He is also the Owner of it. The Bible infers ownership from creation: “The sea is His, for it was He who made it” [8], “The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours; the world and all it contains, you have founded them” [9].

Prayer: Lord, We may be owners of things in relation to one another, but we own nothing in relation to you; we are tenants of your estate. All of our income–not just our tithes– and possessions belong to you [10]. Indeed, even our bodies and souls are yours and, since we are the clay and you are the potter, you have the right to mold us as you please [11]. Yet, we confess that, when it comes to “our” expenditures and resources, we often set about achieving our own purposes. We have exceeded the scope of our stewardship. Forgive us, and cause us to see everything we own as that which belongs to you. Make us faithful stewards of your creation. Amen.

 ___________________

 M’Cheyne Weekend Texts (our reading plan)

Sat, Jul 13: Jos 18-19 (text | audio, 10:07 min) & Ps 149-150 (text | audio, 1:27 min)
Sun, Jul 14: Jos 20-21 (text | audio, 7:14 min) & Acts 1 (text | audio, 3:57 min)

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Genesis 1:1 NASB | [2] Romans 11:36 NASB | [3] Psalm 148:5 NASB | [4] Romans 4:17 NASB | [5] Hebrews 11:3 | [6] Hebrews 1:3 NASB | [7] See Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 104:29, 30; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Isaiah 45:9. | [8] Psalm 95:5 NASB | [9] Psalm 89:11 NASB | [10] 1 Chronicles 29:14 (David said, “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.” NASB) | [11] Romans 9:20-21 (“The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay …?” NASB)

Tags: ,
July 11, 2013

843 Acres: Throwback Thursday: Tozer: The Justice of God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 14-15 (text | audio, 8:09 min)
Ps 146-147 (text | audio, 2:50 min)
Highlighted: Ps 146:5, 7 

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob … who executes justice for the oppressed. Psalm 146:5, 7

The Knowledge of the Holy (an excerpt) by A.W. Tozer

The Old Testament asserts God’s justice in language clear and full, and as beautiful as may be found anywhere in the literature of mankind. When the destruction of Sodom was announced, Abraham interceded for the righteous within the city, reminding God that he knew He would act like Himself in the human emergency. “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The concept of God held by the psalmists and prophets of Israel was that of an all-powerful ruler, high and lifted up, reigning in equity. “Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” Of the long-awaited Messiah it was prophesied that when He came He should judge the people with righteousness and the poor with judgment.

Holy men of tender compassion, outraged by the inequity of the world’s rulers, prayed, “O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; a God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. Lift up thyself, thou Judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?” And this is to be understood not as a plea for personal vengeance but as a longing to see moral equity prevail in human society.

Such men as David and Daniel acknowledged their own un-righteousness in contrast to the righteousness of God, and as result their penitential prayers gained great power and effectiveness. “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces.” And when the long-withheld judgment of God begins to fall upon the world, John sees the victorious saints standing upon a sea of glass mingled with fire. In their hands they hold harps of God; the song they sing is the song of Moses and the Lamb, and the theme of their song is the divine justice.

“Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou alone art holy: for all nations I shall come  and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

 

Tags: ,
July 10, 2013

843 Acres: The Love of God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 12-13 (text | audio, 7:26 min)
Ps 145 (text | audio, 1:59 min)
Highlighted: Ps 145:14-18

Modern: Modern love is often based on résumés. In Bobos in Paradise, David Brooks writes about the New York Times weddings page a.k.a. the “mergers and acquisitions page” [1]. He says, “When America had a pedigreed elite, the page emphasized noble birth and breeding. But in America today, it’s genius and geniality … you can almost feel the force of the mingling SAT scores. It’s Dartmouth marries Berkeley, MBA weds Ph.D. … The Times emphasizes four things about a person – college degrees, graduate degrees, career path, and parents’ profession–for these are the markers of upscale Americans today” [2].

Bridge: Since God is incomprehensible, as we saw yesterday, we have to use “what we already know as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown” [3]. In other words, for example, when we consider the love of God, we use what we already know–namely, human love–as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown–namely, the love of God. Yet we are still at a loss to define its essence. As Tozer writes, “We do not know, and we may never know, what love is, but we can know how it manifests itself, and that is enough for us here”.

Manifest: How does the love of God manifest itself? Unlike modern love, it does not choose its beloved based on college degrees, graduate degrees, career paths or parents’ profession. Instead, He sets His affection on those who acknowledge their humble and needy state: “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” [4].

Prayer: Lord, We confess that, because you are incomprehensible, we sometimes think that your love is like ours. In Jesus, however, we see how untrue that is. On the cross, he died for sinners [5]. Your love is undeserved. Let us, therefore, be humble and needy. For you uphold us when we fall. You uplift us when we are humble. You satisfy our desires when we open our hands. This is your love. Let us call upon you in truth. Amen.

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] David Brooks. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. Simon & Schuster (2001), p. 14  | [2] Id. | [3] A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy | [4] Psalm 145:14-18 ESV  | [5] See Romans 5:8.

Tags: ,
July 9, 2013

843 Acres: Tweetable Tuesday: The Incomprehensibleness of God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 11 (text | audio, 3:58 min)
Ps 144 (text | audio, 1:50 min)
Highlighted: Ps 144:3-5

Discerning Brokenness

Now we see only a reflection in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know in full. #1Cor13

Tozer: “What is God like?” If by that question we mean, “What is God like in Himself?” there is no answer.

Imagining Redemption

Tozer: If we mean, “What has God disclosed ab Himself that the reverent reason can comprehend?” there is an answer both full & satisfying.

Tozer: While the essential nature of God is incomprehensible, He in love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself.

O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath, a passing shadow. Ps144

Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! Ps144

Prayings ACTS

Lord, we are made in your incomprehensible image, yearning to know what cannot be known, as deep calls to deep. #adoration

Lord, we confess that our hearts are full of sinful temptation, seeking to replace you on the throne with ourselves. #confession

Lord, thank you for awakening our soul to sense its origin and source. For our days may be passing, but we yearn for eternity. #thanks

Lord, in Jesus, you have bowed your heavens from on high. Let us rest in your mystery & lay hold of your incomprehensibility. #supplication

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Tags: ,
July 8, 2013

843 Acres: Arguing with God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 10 (text | audio, 7:45 min)
Ps 142-143 (text | audio, 2:30 min)
Highlighted: Ps 143 

Court: The law emphasizes reasoning. A legal brief is a memorandum written to a court to establish a party’s argument. Although it has various sections, the longest section—by far—is the arguments section. After stating the relief requested from the court for the client, the lawyer spends pages and pages arguing why that is the appropriate relief—citing favorable case law, reasonable inferences based on economics and public policy, etc.

God: When David comes before God to request something, he comes as a lawyer before a court. He does not just tell God what he wants; he makes an argument why he should get it. In Psalm 143, for example, David wants three things: (1) to be heard: “Lord, hear my prayer”, (2) to be protected: “Rescue me from my enemies, Lord”, and (3) to be loved: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love”. David does not, however, stop there. He makes an argument. Yet his argument is not based on his own personal righteousness because he knows that he is not righteous: “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you”. Instead, he appeals to the righteousness of God: “ … in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief”, and the commitment of God to honor His own name: “For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life”.

Prayer: Lord, It does not take much effort for us to tell you what we want—quite often, we awake with thoughts of our desires on our mind. Yet to tell you why we want those things often gives us pause, as we consider what promises you made upon which we can stand and what our motives are in seeking those things. And when we give you reasons for showing your favor to us, let us not plead for what we deserve based on our own righteousness—for that would be fatal. Instead, let us appeal to your righteousness—for you have promised to make your name great and to make us your own. Amen.

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Tags: ,
July 5, 2013

843 Acres: Immigrants Make NYC the Capital of the World

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 7 (text | audio, 5:20 min)
Ps 137-138 (text | audio, 2:05 min)
Highlighted: Ps 137:1, 4 

Immigrants: “How exactly did New York become the ‘capital of the world’?” ask Daniel Bell and Avner de-Shalit in The Spirit of Cities. “There are several reasons, but the key factor is that the city has succeeded in attracting a continuous stream of talented and ambitious immigrants from other parts of the country and the world at large”. Although changes in the immigration policy in the 1920s limited new immigration, the flood of immigrants resumed in the 1990s, when a million foreigners came to New York. “The 2000 census,” write Bell and de-Shalit, “shows that today, 40 percent of the city’s inhabitants are foreign born (most likely an understatement that doesn’t count illegal immigrants)”.

Heritage: Our heritage as Christians includes two significant periods of time during which the people of God were immigrants in a foreign land—the Exodus and the Exile. Before the Exodus, the Hebrews were in Egypt for about four hundred years and, when they came out, the Lord said to them, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” [1]. Hundreds of years later, they were once again away from home. During this Exile, which lasted about 70 years, they longed for Jerusalem: “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion … How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” [2]

Opportunity: In New York, we are surrounded by immigrants; they are our grocers, our dry cleaners, our lawyers and our neighbors. How can we show hospitality to them? Some of us get involved with organizations like Restore NYC, which rescues victims of sex trafficking, who many times are vulnerable immigrants. Others do  “club” with Young Life Manhattan, where many children of immigrants find new friends and community. What other groups show hospitality in NYC? How can we personally contribute to their efforts? What about in other cities?

Prayer: Lord, We know that, although we were once alienated from you, we have been brought near by the blood of Christ [3]. In other words, we were immigrants before you made us children through your hospitality to us in Christ. Therefore, fill us so that we may, in turn, show hospitality to others. Give us a vision for our city, which has great opportunity to be a light on a hill to the world. Amen.

 

M’Cheyne Weekend Texts (our reading plan)

Saturday, July 6: Jos 8 (text | audio, 6:13 min) & Ps 139 (text | audio, 2:20 min)
Sunday, July 7: Jos 9 (text | audio, 3:55 min) & Ps 140-141 (text | audio, 2:31 min)

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Exodus 22:21 ESV | [2] Psalm 137:1, 4 ESV | [3] See Ephesians 2:12-13

Tags: ,
July 4, 2013

843 Acres: Throwback Thursday: Washington’s First Inaugural Address M’Cheyne

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 6:6-27 (text | audio, 5:28 min)
Ps 135-136 (text | audio, 4:38 min)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Address by George Washington

April 30, 1789

In 1789, New York City was the capital of the United States [1]. Washington’s inaugural ceremony took place on the balcony of Federal Hall, the first U.S. Capitol and the site where the 1st U.S. Congress met.

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.

In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Washington, D.C., has been the capital since 1800.

Tags: ,
July 3, 2013

843 Acres: On Sharing Our Neighbors’ Microbes

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 5-6:5 (text | audio, 3:13 min)
Ps 132-134 (text | audio, 2:25 min)
Highlighted: Ps 133:1

Microbes: A new variety of ecologists is cropping up, reports the New York Times [1]. Instead of venturing outdoors to observe nature’s biodiversity, they’re exploring the great indoors—the world of clothing fibers, dog hair and skin flakes. “When you train as an ecologist,” says Dr. Noah Fierer, “you imagine yourself tromping around in the forest. You don’t imagine yourself swabbing a toilet seat.” Since we’re an indoor species, however, the home environment isn’t humdrum. “For a lot of the general public,” he continues, “they don’t care what’s in the soil. People care more about what’s on their pillowcase.” (Spoiler alert: What’s on your pillowcase is pretty similar to what’s on your toilet seat; both surfaces regularly come in contact with exposed skin.)

Density: Given the population density of cities, those of us who live in urban jungles frequently and unintentionally share our “microbial roommates” with each other. Manhattan, with 66,940 people per square mile, is the most densely populated county in the nation [2]. It’s so dense that, if the entire world’s population (6.9 billion people) lived at the same density level as New York, we could all fit within the borders of Texas [3]. Into these realities, perhaps the Psalmist’s words uniquely hit us: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!”  Unity of spirit? Yes. But microbes?

Plagues: Two plagues swept through the Roman Empire between 165-270 AD and, as a result, about 25-35% of its population was wiped out. Although no one knew how to stop the plagues, everyone knew they spread by contact. People fled cities. Family members abandoned sick relatives. Christians, however, stayed. At the height of the second plague, Dionysius wrote that Christians “were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead” [4].

Prayer: Lord, you say that it is “good” and “pleasant” when we live together in unity. Yet unity often comes at a cost. Most of us don’t want to share microbes, much less the plague. In relationship, however, we can sacrifice ourselves, knowing that, in Christ, nothing can separate us from your love. Therefore, let us fearlessly love the dirty, unclean and sick. For we were once the dirty, unclean and sick, until you washed us in your love. Amen.

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Peter Andrey Smith. “Mapping the Great Indoors.” The New York Times. May 27, 2013. | [2] Wikipedia. “Demographics of New York City.” | [3] Per Square Mile. “If the World’s Population Lived Like …” August 8, 2012. | [4] Rodney Stark. “Epidemics, Networks, and the Rise of Christianity.” January 2011.

Tags: ,
July 2, 2013

843 Acres: Tweetable Tuesday: What Do We Do About Our Guilt?

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 4 (text | audio, 3:43 min)
Ps 129-131 (text | audio, 1:58 min)

Discerning Brokenness

New Age therapeutic culture of well-being does not require obedience or faith & certainly not feelings of guilt. http://nyti.ms/14ES5Ja

The state in which we find ourselves is sinful, quite independent of guilt. #FranzKafka

In guilt, we fall short of the rules & feel bad about what we do. In shame, we fall short of the vision & feel bad about who we are.

Imagining Redemption

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! With you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. Ps130

We pray our feelings, not just pray about them. We process them in His presence and in light of who He is and who we are. @timkellernyc

O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love and with him is plentiful redemption. Psalm130

Praying ACTS

Lord, we praise you for you did not stand far from our guilt and shame. Through Jesus, you got in the pit of despair with us. #adoration

Lord, we confess that we rightly have feelings of guilt because we have sinned and feelings of shame because we are sinners. #confession

Lord, thank you for giving us feelings of guilt & shame so that we see our need for you & then offering us redemption in Christ. #thanks

Lord, when we feel self-blame, lift our heads to the cross. Remind us that we will be in glory with you in the age to come. #supplication

Tags: ,
July 1, 2013

843 Acres: New York: The City of Ambition

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Jos 3 (text | audio, 3:00 min)
Ps 126-128 (text | audio, 1:55 min)

Ambition: New York, as Rudolph Giuliani says, is “the capital of the world now and forever” [1]. Its greatness, however, has come at a substantial cost. In The Spirit of Cities, Daniel Bell and Avner de-Shalit write, “Its rise to economic prominence was accompanied by severe injustices, such as slavery and callous exploitation of the working class. Moreover, the byproducts of the city’s success—alienation, loneliness, high crime rates, and shortsighted hubris …—have spawned a rich literature on the ills of urban life. The dark side of ambition, in other words, is an extreme form of an individualism that is almost unique among great cities” [2]. Is it possible, though, to have ambition without a dark side?

Significance: Our ambition is driven by our longing for significance. As Ernest Becker says, “What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance. Man wants to know that his life has somehow counted” [3]. Trying to gain significance through culture, he argues, is problematic: “What men have done is to shift the fear of death onto the higher level of cultural perpetuity; and this very triumph ushers in an ominous new problem. Since men must now hold for dear life onto the self-transcending meanings of the society in which they live, onto the immortality symbols which guarantee them indefinite duration of some kind, a new kind of instability and anxiety are created. And this anxiety is precisely what spills over into the affairs of men.”

Rest: There is, however, an alternative. In Christ, our ambition connects to the immortal and transcendent. Christ’s resurrection, Paul says, gives meaning to our work [4]. When we know that God is working sovereignly in our lives, a peaceful rest, not an anxious toil, guides our ambition. As Solomon sings, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain … It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” [5].

Prayer: Lord, We confess what Becker acknowledges: “Man’s impossible hopes and dreams have heaped evil in the world.” In our pursuit of significance apart from you, we have abused one another and hurt ourselves. Forgive us and show us how the gospel transforms our ambition. For we long to work in peace, not anxiety, and to live and die with significance. Amen.

 

 ___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ____________________________________

Footnotes

[1] Daniel A. Bell and Avner de-Shalit. The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age.  | [2] Id. | [3] Ernest Becker. Escape from Evil. (Wiki has an insightful write up about his life and views: here.) | [4] See 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV. See also 843 Acres. “Reader’s Choice: His Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Work.” August 20, 2012. | [5] Psalm 127:1, 2 ESV

Tags: ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 154 other followers