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Due to the pandemic and social distancing orders, we are not meeting at least through April. 

March 8, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Deuteronomy 28-29
Audio: Deuteronomy 28-29

Psalm 88 (ESV)

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

Lord, God of my salvation,
    I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
    incline your ear to my cry!

For my soul is full of troubles,
    and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
    like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
    for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
    in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
    and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
    you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
    my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O Lord;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
    Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
    or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
    or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O Lord, cry to you;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
    Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
    I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
    they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
    my companions have become darkness.


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. But I, O Lord, cry to you;
     in the morning my prayer comes before you (Psalm 88:13).

    In The Morning

    Unlike most psalms of lament, this psalm ends without even a hint of hope or optimism. It opens with the psalmist testifying to God (or "reminding" Him), that he cries out to Him day and night because his soul is full of troubles and his life is drawing near to the grave (Psalm 88:1-3).

    But in the midst of crying out to God in anguish over his impending death from illnesses or injuries suffered from his youth, he once again testifies that he cries out to God and mentions praying – this time specifically in the morning. He then continues his lament until an abrupt end as if the impending death the writer mentions happened as he finished Psalm 88:18.

    Mornings are a wonderful time with the Lord for me. I often get up very early and begin my day in the Word of God as part of LLCC's Daily Bible Ministry. 

    Although I have tried to start my day working out, I continue to start with the Word, followed by reflection, prayer and study. While I have enjoyed "quiet time" with God in the mornings before our Daily Bible ministry started in September 2017, the constancy of going through the Bible one chapter at a time each day followed by reflection, prayer and commenting, has radically impacted my soul and life in Christ.

    If I were to describe to people who have never enjoyed the blessing of waking up and centering themselves on the Word and prayer, what comes to mind is wound care. 

    When my mom had surgery to remove a very small melanoma from her scalp, I was the one who would remove the gauze that was packed into her two inch wide wound that went to her skull and replace it with fresh gauze.

    (The large margin of flesh they remove is to ensure any surrounding cells which may turn into melanoma are removed. This certainly has spiritual significance regarding things that may not be sinful but could lead to sin.)

    While it's a graphic illustration, it represents well the wound of sin in our lives, God's surgery (through faith in Christ) to remove the damage and power of it, and the daily wound care He provides through the Word to keep our wound clean (as we are conformed to the image of Christ through sanctification).

    Jesus, speaking to His disciples about God pruning the unfruitful branches in believer's lives, said in John 15:3, "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." 

    Ephesians 5:25-26 says, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word."

    Psalm 51:7 says, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

    Titus 3:5 speaks of Jesus saving us, "not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."

    Regeneration and renewal certainly happens on the day of surgery (when we are born again), but this ongoing work of the Holy Spirit continues through and by the Word of God as He makes us more like Christ.

    Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

    As our minds are renewed by the Holy Spirit's illumination of the Word of God as we read, reflect, and pray each day, our lives will be transformed and we will be able to discern the will of God – what is good, acceptable and perfect.

    This renewal of our minds also happens as we share God's Word with others. 

    Sharing what we are learning allows God to "prepare a meal" for someone from the ingredients we have taken in from our personal time with God. This is important for us to keep in mind because our time in the mornings (or anytime during the day) is not only for our benefit but for the benefit of others! In the process, the things we learn grow deeper and broader than if we kept it to ourselves. And how can we fulfill the Great Commission to go and make disciples if we keep what we learn to (or for) ourselves?

    Just as God's mercies are new every day, His work in us to make us more like Christ is a daily ministry of God to us. He provides the means to clean us at new birth, clean us daily through His Word and prune the unfruitful parts of our lives so that we bear the fruit of the spirit, the fruits of repentance and the fruits of godliness. 

    Clean us, Lord. Cleanse us for your glory. Prune us so we can be fruitful. We are your clay. Mold us and shape us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

    He tends to our wounds
    Making us clean
    Branches he prunes
    So we will be…
    More like Christ


    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "Mercy Upon Mercy" by Richard Sibbes

    "Lord, reveal yourself more and more to us in the face of your Son Jesus Christ. Magnify the power of grace by cherishing the seeds of that grace in the midst of our corruption.

    Bring us to humility by the way you show us our own sin and weakness.

    And since you have taken us into the covenant of grace, you will not cast us away, though our sins grieve your Spirit and remind us how far off we are.

    Since you are so gracious to those who follow you as Lord, help us not to misuse your grace or lose any part of the comfort that is laid up for us in Christ.

    Let the prevailing power of your Spirit be evidence of the truth of grace begun in us, a pledge of final victory for the time when you will be all in all, all yours, for eternity. Amen."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. Thank you for that illustration and encouragement, Scott! 

    ~::~

    This psalm is so sad. Filled with despair and near-hopelessness. If not for the psalmist's crying out to God, I would say he has lost all hope. 

    At the Bible study Brynne, Joyce and I attended yesterday morning, we talked about the parallels between David and Jesus in Psalm 69. So right now I'm especially attuned to any reflection of Jesus I see as we read the psalms. It's not a stretch at all to see in Psalm 88 the terrible suffering and dreadful despair of Jesus Christ — both in the Garden of Gethsemane and later, on the cross.

    I hate how easily I forget to remember every terrible thing our Lord and Savior went through to secure our forgiveness and shield us from God's wrath, the wrath awaiting all whose names are not written in the Book of Life. How He loved us as He made His way to the cross! How He loves us now!

     

  3. Michelle, you are the person who taught me to "always return to the cross," and what an amazing thing that has been for me. 

    I, too, read the Daily Reading in the morning, after a time of prayer, and when I am thanking God for His amazing gift of Jesus Christ, I remember what He went through to save us. I picture the scene, His mother there, and I tell God how incredibly grateful I am.  

    I sort of "recount " the crucifixion as I pray, remembering the abuse Christ suffered even before He carried the cross, and how He was made to climb that hill with it, broken, battered and bruised. And then to be nailed to it with spikes, already in agony. To hang there in the hot sun, suffocating for hours and hours, all the while in indescribable pain. 

    Remembering that each day (after sending tears streaming down my face), renews me in a way. The fact that He could endure that for me, and if He is my strength when I am weak, fills me with gratitude, awe, love, thankfulness, and a deep desire to follow Him and to continue to lay my life down at His feet, and to pray that God will continue to sanctify me. It is the most powerful part of my morning time with God. 

    I just want to say thank you for that amazing gift. Love you! 💜  

    1. Dearest Brynne, I’m so grateful to God for your example to me as well. Your faithfulness to read God’s word every day, and to get caught up when you’ve fallen behind, has changed you — and the things that God has been doing in you have inspired and challenged me.
       

      What you described is exactly what happens when I return to the cross for grace, strength, and just reflection. I see our Savior there, and He looks right at me…picks me out of the crowd of jeerers and mockers…and I am struck to the soul with His love. How could I want anything else but to live for Him all the days of my life? 
       

      I love you, too! 

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