God Centered Bible – Daily Devotions

February 19, 2018: Blessed Is the One

February 19, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 11-13, Psalm 41, Matthew 18:15-35, Acts 25:13-27 Psalm 41: There are many motivations for generosity: a response to what Christ has done for us, an expression of genuine kindness, and even if somewhat less positively, the motivation of looking good by doing good. Charity is motivated by many wells of desires deep within the human heart. But one such motivation is alluded to here in the first few verses of this psalm: happiness. “Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (41:1). Perhaps you are someone with resources. Perhaps you are someone who has the means and wherewithal to give. In fact, everyone can give something. This is the lesson of Jesus’ story about the “widow’s mite.” What counts is not so much the amount we give as the amount we retain. God is looking for cheerful givers. And to give is “blessed”: more than mere passing happiness, it is…

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February 18, 2018: A New Song

February 18, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 8-10, Psalm 40, Matthew 18:1-14,Acts 25:1-12 Psalm 40: For U2 fans, this psalm is made more latterly renowned by a song they sang named “40”—whose lyrics are modeled on that of this song. But whatever the entrance way that leads you to this psalm, you are blessed if you linger here and learn its lessons! Note how David said he “waited patiently” for the Lord (40:1). What a hard lesson this is for us! Is there some hurt, disappointment, or troubling question that plagues you? Perhaps you do not have the answer because you are not yet ready to understand it. A child cannot grasp the full answers to his questions and must do with either a half-answer or no answer at all from time to time. Similarly, with us, even children of God, our questions sometimes require answers that are beyond the capacity of our brains to…

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February 17, 2018: Smile Again

February 17, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 5-7, Psalm 39, Matthew 17:14-27, Acts 24 Psalm 39: There are few things more provoking than someone acting in wicked foolishness—especially when they seem to get away with it. Perhaps you are facing some trial or trauma, and it is made worse by the “presence of the wicked.” Not only was what happened bad, but there are people who are wickedly misinterpreting what has happened, or they are misusing the situation for their own selfish gains. It is then tempting to speak too hastily and make things worse. And so David put a “guard” on his mouth. Sometimes the right thing to do is just to bite your tongue. Sometimes the right thing to say is to say nothing. Perhaps there is something that is frustrating you. Before you fire off an angry email or text message, put a guard on your mouth. Say nothing, nothing at all. But David…

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February 16, 2018: Make Haste to Help Me

February 16, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 1-4, Psalm 38, Matthew 17:1-13, Acts 23:12-35 Psalm 38:: Sin has real effects. Here David outlines the way his sin has impact, even on his physical state. Perhaps there is some sin that you are toying with in your mind. Surely it isn't that bad. Surely God will forgive me. Surely no one will notice. But here in this psalm, there is remedy against the temptation of sin from a person who has sinned and is suffering terribly because of it. It is sometimes said that there is no one more miserable than a sinning Christian. A person who is not a Christian who sins has a conscience, but they do not have the Holy Spirit within that is grieved by their sin. But a person who is a Christian and who sins is in a miserable situation. One theologian used to remark that God had not made it so…

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February 15, 2018: Take Refuge in Him

February 15, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 38-40, Psalm 37:23-40, Matthew 16:13-28, Acts 23:1-11 Psalm 37:23-40: Having told us to fret not because of the wicked, David now celebrates the path that is open before those who follow the Lord. Perhaps you wonder whether it really is worth it to commit your life to God. Perhaps there is some challenge that you are facing that means that you question whether the cost of following God is too high. Well, David here assures you that "The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way" (37:23). What could be better than having God establish our steps! This does not mean that the follower of God will never make mistakes or never experience trouble. It means that even when the righteous falls, God has him by his hand. "Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand"…

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February 14, 2018: Fret Not!

February 14, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 35-37, Psalm 37:1-22, Matthew 16:1-12, Acts 22 Psalm 37:1-22: When people attack us, a range of emotions rises up within us. One of the most common is to "fret." We worry what will happen to us. We are concerned as to whether we are safe. We fret about the impact on our career, or our family, or our own selves. Over and over again, then, the first half of this psalm that we are considering this morning tells us to "fret not." "Fret not yourself because of evildoers" (37:1). "Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out his evil devices" (37:7). "Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil" (37:8). How are we to avoid such fretting? By instead trusting, committing, being still, and knowing God's plan. "Trust in the Lord, and do good" (37:3). Take a moment now to tell…

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February 13, 2018: The River of His Delights

February 13, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 34, Psalm 36, Matthew 15:21-39, Acts 21:27-40 Psalm 36: Why people act the way they do is a fascinating topic. Why do we act the way we do? It has driven the concerns of psychology, history, sociology, and much else besides. Have you ever wondered why it is that you do certain things or what it is that is really motivating you? Or perhaps you have wondered why it is that people can reject God or act in ways that are plainly-so it appears to us-wrong, even evil? The first part of this psalm describes the morphology of sin. What is really going on? How does someone, made in the image of God, commit barbarity? After all, "Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart" (36:1). There is something called conscience. But "there is no fear of God before his eyes." Without the fear of God as a present,…

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February 12, 2018: Contend

February 12, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 32-33, Psalm 35, Matthew 15:1-20, Acts 21:1-26 Psalm 35: What do you do when you have people who are out to get you? It is hard to go through life without any kind of conflict whatsoever. To some extent, we expect that there will be times when we come across people who don't like us or who are not our best friends. But there is a different level of opposition where there are people-individuals or a group-who are deliberately doing what they can to take you down. When they are twisting your words or plotting behind the scenes to sully your name, your reputation, and even physically hurt you. What do you do then? What is the right response for a Christian in such a situation? In this psalm, David is faced with people who are "contending" against him. They "without cause" "hid a net" for him. They "without cause"…

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February 11, 2018: Radiance in Suffering

February 11, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 30-31, Psalm 34, Matthew 14:22-36, Acts 20:13-38 Psalm 34: The context of this psalm, we are told, is extraordinary. Read the story in 1 Samuel 21:13. Evidently, whatever God's sovereign rescue means, it does not mean something that is in contradiction to David taking initiative-bold, strange initiative-to the extent of pretending to be insane to save his life! We are to cry to God for help, for sure, but also take initiative ourselves. It used to be said: work as if it all depended on you, pray as if it all depended on God. Better to say: work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you to will and act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13). In other words, the fact that you are working is a sign that God is at work in you. Which means, like David does,…

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February 10, 2018: Shout for Joy!

February 10, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 27-29, Psalm 33, Matthew 14:1-21, Acts 20:1-12 Psalm 33: There is something about joy that is "befitting" or suits or goes along with being righteous and "upright." The Psalms tell us to "shout for joy in the Lord, oh you righteous." Because those who trust in God are trusting in God, the source of all joy, it is therefore suitable, befitting, compatible, for such people to be joyful. And therefore we are told to "shout" for joy. So much for only quiet singing! No, we are to shout-hear the volume!-to God in praise! It all comes down to God's "word" (33:4). This word shows God's character as "faithful." It shows that God loves "justice." It shows that the earth is "full of the steadfast love of the Lord." That does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen on the earth. It means that anywhere on the earth we can…

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