Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 62-65 and Matthew 6

Psalm 62 – “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken” (62:1-2).

“O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (62:8).

“Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life” (62:10).

Psalm 63 – “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you; My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” (63:1).

“Your unfailing love is better than life itself: how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer” (63:3-4).

“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth” (63:8-9).

Psalm 64 – “O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats” (64:1).

“They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. ‘Who will ever notice?’ they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, ‘We have devised the perfect plan!’ Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows” (64:5-7).

Psalm 65 – “What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all” (65:1-3).

“You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength” (65:5-6).

“From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile” (65:8-9).

“You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest” (65:10-11).

Matthew 6 – Beware of displaying your piety before others—look for your rewards from God, not from the esteem of other men.  Give alms in private. Pray in your own room with the door shut. Don’t “heap up empty phrases” (6:7) like the Gentiles. Interesting here that the bad example is NOT Pharisee or scribe but the Gentile.

Pray simply—the Our Father in its most classic form is given. Sometimes it is sweet to change the words just a little: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (6:9-13).

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive your sins” (6:14).  When you fast, do it privately.

Do not store up earthly treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6:21).  “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” (6:22-23). Beautiful translation (New Living Translation).

How one “sees” is perhaps the most important thing in growing in faith. “Seeing is believing” is a saying that has a simple meaning and a profound one as well – in my experience.

You cannot serve two masters—God and money (6:24). “Do not worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear” (6:25). “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them” (6:26). “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are” (6:28). Again he compares what the Gentiles or “unbelievers” do—they “strive for all these things” (6:32). “[S]trive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to your as well” (6:33). Do not worry about tomorrow. “Today’s trouble is enough for today” (6:34).

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