Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 26-30 and 2 Thessalonians 3

Psalm 26 – “Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. For I am always aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth” (26:2-3).

“I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. I wash my hands to declare my innocence. I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders” (26:5-7).

“I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells” (26:9).

“Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners. Don’t condemn me along with murderers. Their hands are dirty with evil schemes, and they constantly take bribes. But I am not like that; I live with integrity” (26:9-11).

There are parts of the psalms that leave me a little uncomfortable, passages that beg God to separate us from the evil ones or to see us differently as this psalm seems to beg. Something in Jesus’ words to us makes me feel I should identify with them, pray for them, see their shortcomings but love them over all the bad. It’s when I don’t do THAT that I feel I’ve let God down.

Psalm 27 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble” (27:1).

“The one thing I ask of the Lord – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple” (27:4).

This psalm is one of my favorites. It repeats a lot how the Lord has always helped the writer – and me. But the lines here so special to me are in verses 9 and 10: “You have been my help; don’t leave me, don’t abandon me. O God, my savior. My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me” (27:9-10). These lines are especially meaningful to me since I was “kind of abandoned” by my parents. I do not know all the circumstances but I ended up at the age of two in the care of my grandparents even though my parents were alive and living separately but independently. My grandparents took care of me for you, Lord.

“Teach my how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path” (27:11).

“I know that I will live to see the Lord’s goodness in this present life” (27:13). I have already.

Psalm 28 – “I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die” (28:1).

Do not condemn me with the wicked, “with those whose words are friendly, but who have hatred in their hearts” (28:3). Reward and punish people as their deeds deserve.

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (28:7). I TRUST in God to do this, to be my shepherd.

Psalm 29 – “Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength” (29:1).

“The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas; the glorious God thunders, and his voice echoes over the ocean” (29:3). He makes the cedars of Lebanon leap like calves and makes the lightning flash. All things in nature reflect His majesty. He is king over all.

Psalm 30 – “I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health” (30:1-2).

“Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (30:4-5).

Remember the Lord and all He has done in your life. Even though you experience times of emptiness and fears of abandonment, you must remain faithful.

You have “changed my sadness into a joyful dance . . . so I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you” (30:11-12).

2 Thessalonians 3 – He asks for their prayers that the gospel may spread quickly. They should keep away from those who abandon the traditions, and they should not be idle or expect payment from people for the word they are sharing.

They should “never grow tired of doing what is right” (2:13). People who refuse to work or to do what is recommended in this letter should be shunned, “so [they] will feel that [they are] in the wrong; though you are not to regard [them] as [enemies] but as [brothers] in need of correction” (2:15).

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