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

March 17, 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: Joshua 22-24
Audio: Joshua 22-24

Psalm 97 (ESV)

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
    who make their boast in worthless idols;
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
    and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
    because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He preserves the lives of his saints;
    he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
    and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
    and give thanks to his holy name!

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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Next: Psalm 98

Back: Psalm 96

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. All worshipers of images are put to shame,
        who make their boast in worthless idols (Psalm 97:7)

    Worthless Idols

    When we read about idols in the Bible, we may be prone to think of statues or engraved objects. While these were certainly prevalent, idols are more than images or objects. Throughout the pages of Scripture, idolatry is identified as anything that is worshipped, loved, adored or even things we are preoccupied with other than God Himself. 

    While we are commanded to love others, this love is not to become in idol. Men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) but this is not to become an idol.

    Our love and devotion for God should be so exclusive that nothing in this life, including our closest human relationships, should compare to our uncompromising love for, adoration of, and commitment to the living God. 

    That is why Jesus said in Luke 14:26, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

    The context of this startling teaching from our Lord is in relation to a man who builds a house without first counting the cost and is unable to complete it. Jesus is not commanding us to literally hate our family in order to follow Him. But He is saying compared to our love and devotion to Him, it's as if we hate those we love the most.

    This is why Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24-26, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"

    One of the crosses we will "take up" is in our personal relationships with others. Many will scoff at our faith. Some will make fun of us because we are Christians. Others will hate us because they hate God and prefer the "old us." But unlike the builder who did not count the cost of the build, we must count the cost of following Jesus because there will be a cost and we will be hated. 

    Jesus said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause'" (John 15:18-25).

    One area of our lives that immediately changes upon conversion is the realization that until Jesus Christ became our Lord, we were the god of our lives. Our independence was our idol. We did what we wanted to do. We went where we wanted to go. 

    But with Christ as our Lord, we follow Him and do what He wants us to do and go where He wants us to go. We no longer are independent but are dependent on His leading. This doesn't mean we are robots who only do what we are programmed to do. But it does mean we follow the Bible as the roadmap of our faith to lead us into truth and righteousness and away from sin and spiritual death.

    With Jesus as Lord of our lives, He reveals the areas of our lives which need to go. There are obvious sins which we desire that need to be "put to death" (Romans 8:13), but there are also hidden idols that hinder our affections for God which He will reveal to us through His sanctifying process of confirming us to the image of Christ and not our idols.

    Oh that we would see how worthless our idols are compared to the unsearchable riches of Christ!

    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "My Amen to Your Amen" by Thomas Brooks

    "Lord! Lay whatever burden you will upon me, only let your everlasting arms be under me. Strike, Lord, and do not spare me. I lay down in your will. I have learned to say amen to your amen.

    You have a greater interest in me than I have in myself, and therefore I give myself up to you. I am willing to be at your disposal, and am ready to receive whatever impression you want to stamp upon me.

    Blessed Lord, again and again you have said to me, as once the king of Israel said to the king of Syria, 'I am yours, and all that I have' (1 Kings 20:4). I am yours!

    Your mercy is mine to pardon me.
    Your blood is mine to cleanse me.
    Your merits are mine to justify me.
    Your righteousness is mine to clothe me.
    Your Spirit is mine to lead me.
    Your grace is mine to enrich me.
    And your glory is mine to reward me.

    Therefore my soul cannot help but resign myself to you.

    Lord! Here I am; do with me as seems good in your own eyes. I know the best way to have my own will is to resign myself to your will, and to say amen to your amen."

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

  2. Wow, this was a great reading for me today, as is so often the case. 

    I needed to hear that, and I love your explanations. I find I always ask myself if I'm following these guidelines in my daily life, and of course there are always so many areas to improve upon. 

    I just want to always make sure that I truly am understanding and doing my best to trust and obey. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and the very best. 

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