Christianity 201

July 5, 2017

When the Flood Waters Run High

Just two months ago, we introduced you to the website Dust off the Bible, which contains news, reviews, quizzes and a daily devotional. We thought we’d give you another opportunity to explore this excellent website. Click the title below to read this at source. (Often the passages are covered by two writers, which is the case today.)

Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Psalm 69:7-18]-June 28, 2017

Psalm 69:7-18

69:7 It is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face.

69:8 I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother’s children.

69:9 It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.

69:10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, they insulted me for doing so.

69:11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.

69:12 I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.

69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. With your faithful help

69:14 rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

69:15 Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

69:16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

69:17 Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress–make haste to answer me.

69:18 Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies.


Much like yesterday’s reading, this passage calls for the Christian to stand up for the name of Christ. This however, is a prayer that God would give strength to those who are enduring persecution and mocking for the sake of following after God. We cannot live this Christian life alone and we are not meant to. Jesus is always there to give us peace and strength, especially when are facing hard times.

The Psalmist here is recognizing that yes, there has been some very hard times for being a follower of Christ. He names how family no longer cares for him, the people around him gossip, even those who are at the lowest form of the social ladder, are making fun of him. The sacrifice to follow after Christ is great and costly. Yet, there is no cry about frustration and bitterness. There is a cry for strength and a means of being sustained as he goes through this.

Whenever we are mocked and questioned about our faith, let us remember that Jesus Christ endured the greatest form of mockery in spreading the Gospel. He was beaten, humiliated, spit upon, mocked and killed. Our strength comes from the one who has endured it all and we can rest assured that He will answer us during times of persecution and hardships. He gives strength to the weary, peace to the anxious heart and joy to the sad.


Sometimes, the storms are what make us seek God the most. They are times where we need to seek something outside of ourselves and our surroundings. We need a supernatural event. While we should encourage others to call on God daily, know that it’s normal to call on the Lord more in our times of need. In fact, this is what King David often did and that is why so many Psalms are written from a place of despair. However, there is no need to despair. God is listening to us already. He is listening before we even speak.

If you are in a place of need at this moment, go find a quiet place and pray the words of King David;

With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress–make haste to answer me.

Draw near to me, redeem me.

 

 

May 9, 2014

Your Own Understanding

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:46 pm
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Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;

Today’s key verse may seem a little tame for a blog that specializes in digging deep, but the nature of scripture is such that the simple things are often the most profound. Earlier this week, I got thinking about what it means to “lean on your own understanding.”

First, here are how several translations interpret this phrase:

  • your own insight (AMP)
  • your own intelligence (CEB)
  • your own judgment (CEV)
  • your own knowledge (ERV)
  • what you think you know (GNT)
  • yourself (LB)
  • your own ideas and inventions (The Voice)

As I consider my own life, and the worries and anxieties that often beset me, I can think of other phrases that belong here:

  • the part of the story you can see
  • the advice of well meaning friends
  • past history with regard to this situation
  • what a negative attitude is saying to you
  • thinking that God isn’t pleased with you
  • someone else’s experience
  • an assessment that is not fully informed
  • a view that doesn’t see all the possibilities

It’s that last one that I think is most significant. If scripture teaches us anything, it teaches us that “eye has not seen,” “his ways are higher than ours,” and he is able to answer us “in ways that we do not know.”  The incarnation itself is something beyond any human to invent. If you read the scriptures, you find yourself saying, “You can’t make this stuff up!”

The verse I alluded to last in the preceding paragraph is in many ways so similar and is worthy of a similar translation test:

NIV Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

The last phrase(s) can be:

  • you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand) (AMP)
  • you haven’t known (CEB)
  • of which you are unaware (CJB*)
  • you don’t know and can’t find out (CEV)
  • You have never heard these things before (ERV)
  • you know nothing about (GNT)
  • which thou knowest not (KJV)
  • great things and inaccessible things that you have not known (LEB*)
  • some remarkable secrets (LB)
  • marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own (Message)
  • hidden things that you have not known (NRSV)
  • great and mysterious things which you still do not know about (NET)

I know this will seem repetitive to some of you, but are you seeing the pattern here? Should this not increase our faith? Doesn’t this become a game-changer for our prayer life? How about, “Call to me and I will tell you…”

  • things that you won’t be able to process
  • things that will stretch your faith
  • things that go beyond your imagination
  • things that no one has ever considered possible
  • things that will leave you totally awed

That’s the God we serve. If only we could see that and believe that and put that before us in every minute of the day.


*CJB and LEB are being used here for the first time today, and refer to Complete Jewish Bible and Lexham English Bible. More info available at Bible Gateway.


 

Here’s a song that reminds us of the wealth of resources The Father has at his disposal. For a devotional based on this song, I’m a Child of the King, visit this link at Daily Encouragement.