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June 8, 2018:The Lord Is My Portion

June 08, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 12, Psalm 119:57-64, Luke 2:41-52, Ephesians 4:17-24 Psalm 119:57-64: In some ways life is all about decisions. You cannot be everything. If you do not decide to be something, life will force upon you a something that you may not have wanted. You have to decide—to cut off yourself from various options and potentials in order to be able to embrace other options and potentials. Such is the nature of life: you can’t be every place at every time and in every career and in relationship with every person. You must decide. This psalmist is saying in our section this morning that he has decided for God. He has made the Lord his “portion” (119:57). That is, out of the various options and lifestyles and ways of being, he has decided to follow God. The Lord is the one that he has decided to be his Lord, and he…

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June 7, 2018: A Biblical Way to Deal with an Affliction

June 07, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 11, Psalm 119:49-56, Luke 2:21-40, Ephesians 4:1-16 Psalm 119:49-56: The author of this great, as well as lengthy, psalm is clearly in some sort of difficulty at a personal level. There are various hints of this throughout the psalm, but one of the most pertinent and clear is in this section of the psalm in particular. He has an “affliction” (119:50); there are those who are “deriding” him (119:51); and he is experiencing frustration about the way God’s Word is being treated so that he has “hot indignation” (119:53). Perhaps he is not at home or is displaced, or maybe he feels that way in particular when he senses the brevity of life because of his sickness: he talks of the “house of his sojourning” (119:54). He may be suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia too: “I remember your name in the night, O LORD” (119:55). It is always an encouragement…

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June 6, 2018: May God’s Love Come to You

June 06, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 9-10, Psalm 119:41-48, Luke 2:1-20, Ephesians 3:14-21 Psalm 119:41-48: Indubitably, the thing we most need is: love. And in particular, the love of God. His love, when all other loves fail, does not fail. And so this section of the psalm begins with this earnest cry: “Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord”(119:41). Would you pray that too this morning? Would you ask God to show you his faithful, steadfast love? The consequences of such assurance are great: “Then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me” (119:42). And “I shall walk in a wide space” (119:45)—not hemmed in, narrowed down, confined. But with a space to expand and grow and develop. And “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings” (119:46)—speaking and witnessing opportunities to influence the influential. All comes from this pouring out of God’s love upon the psalmist. Would you then ask…

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June 5, 2018: God Tells the Man Who Cares

June 05, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 8, Psalm 119:33-40, Luke 1:67-80, Ephesians 3:1-13 Psalm 119:33-40: This section of this psalm once again gives the lie to the idea that the desire to keep the law (or God’s Word) in the way it is expressed here or in the Bible is in anyway legalistic. No, instead, the psalmist is ardently praying that God would help him, teach him, lead him, that he might be empowered to follow God’s Word. There is a need for God’s gracious intervention for us to be able to follow God at all. Listen to the number of times that the psalmist here asks God to help him keep God’s law, and the necessity of that before it is possible for him to do what God’s Word says. “Teach me…and I will keep it…” (119:33). “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law…” (119:34). “Lead me…” (119:35). “Incline my heart to…

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June 4, 2018: Enlarge My Heart

June 04, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 6-7, Psalm 119:25-32, Luke 1:57-66, Ephesians 2:11-22 Psalm 119:25-32: What do you do when you don’t feel like studying the Bible? All of us at some point or other find that our feelings do not match our commitments. Worse still, what do you do when you find that you don’t feel like seeking God at all? The doctrine of our day and our time would be to follow your feelings. Anything else is viewed as repression and being disingenuous—or not true to who you really are. In that case, then, the answer would be to not study the Bible if you don’t feel like it, or not to seek God if you don’t feel like it either. But there is a better way, and that is to pray the prayer of this psalm. The psalmist finds that his “soul clings to the dust” (119:25). He finds that his soul…

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June 3: Open My Eyes

June 03, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 4-5, Psalm 119:17-24, Luke 1:39-56, Ephesians 2:1-10 Psalm 119:17-24: One of the primary mistakes that we tend to make when we think of studying God’s Word is to under-emphasize its supernatural quality. That is, we treat the Bible too much as a puzzle to interpret by our own strength, instead of doing the truly hard work of asking God to show us its meaning. There is no replacement for knee work if we are to do Bible work, no alternative but to ask God to speak to us through his Word if we wish to hear what he has to say. Yet so often we go along readily enough through a passage of the Bible as if it is merely a text book or a blog, and not something that is a voice from heaven to us, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The…

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June 2, 2018: How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

June 02, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 2-3, Psalm 119:9-16, Luke 1:26-38, Ephesians 1:15-23 Psalm 119:9-16: The question with which this part of Psalm 119 opens is a question that has troubled young men from time immemorial. It is ever pertinent and important, and sometimes for some people seemingly unattainable. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (119:9). While the psalmist asks this question, let us begin by giving him credit for asking it at all. First of all, it is apparent that he wants to be pure. Do you? If you do, that is a great first step! It is a sign of God’s work in you that you desire to be pure! “Give me clean hands and a pure heart”: is that your request and your desire? If so, be encouraged—even if you feel you have failed recently. It is a sign that God is at work in you: that you want to be…

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June 1, 2018: Eyes Fixed

June 01, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 1, Psalm 119:1-8, Luke 1:1-25, Ephesians 1:1-14 Psalm 119:1-8: We begin a journey through one of the most famous Psalms—as well as the longest chapter—in the Bible. It is well-known for its advocacy for God’s law. This strikes a strange note to many people today because they view law as equivalent to legalism, but the two are not the same. In the Bible, the law or God’s Word or God’s teaching is the place of blessing and fruition and spiritual life. Legalism, on the other hand, is an arrogant, prideful assumption that we can save ourselves. It is a self-salvation project—in essence, the very opposite to what God teaches in his law or in his Word. This psalm, then, associates God’s law with ideas that reveal this connection to the blessing of God in ways that are sometimes surprising and always enlivening. Note that the one who seeks…

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May 26-31, 2018

May 26, 2018:

In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” May 26-31 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for May 26-31, but will pick back up on June 1, 2018.

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May 25, 2018: The Love of God

May 25, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 23-24, Psalm 118, Mark 16, Galatians 6 Psalm 118: The main theme of this psalm is the love of God, but that love is revealed in a specific place. Our tendency is to view God’s love as something generic, not particular, as something non-defined, not as something revealed at a particular point in time. Here, this psalm celebrates the love of God. This love of God is called the “steadfast love”—referencing the covenant faithful love of God, his hesed love. You can see this at the beginning of the psalm (118:1-4), and then at the end of the psalm (118:29), to confirm that this psalm is about the love of God. But in particular this psalm is emphasizing that God’s love endures “forever” and is in particular revealed in a certain place, at a certain time, and in a certain person. Verse 22, one of, if not, the most quoted…

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