Psalm

February 8, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 4) Follow: Life of Obedience

“The call of Jesus is the call to come and die” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: PSALM 73

God Is My Strength and Portion Forever

A Psalm of Asaph.

1 Truly God is good to Israel,

    to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,

    my steps had nearly slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant

    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death;

    their bodies are fat and sleek.

5 They are not in trouble as others are;

    they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;

    violence covers them as a garment.

7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;

    their hearts overflow with follies.

8 They scoff and speak with malice;

    loftily they threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens,

    and their tongue struts through the earth.

10 Therefore his people turn back to them,

    and find no fault in them.

11 And they say, “How can God know?

    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

12 Behold, these are the wicked;

    always at ease, they increase in riches.

13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean

    and washed my hands in innocence.

14 For all the day long I have been stricken

    and rebuked every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”

    I would have betrayed the generation of 

    your children.

16 But when I thought how to understand this,

    it seemed to me a wearisome task,

17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;

    then I discerned their end.

18 Truly you set them in slippery places;

    you make them fall to ruin.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment,

    swept away utterly by terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes,

    O Lord, when you rouse yourself,

    you despise them as phantoms.

21 When my soul was embittered,

    when I was pricked in heart,

22 I was brutish and ignorant;

    I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;

    you hold my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,

    and afterward you will receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

    And there is nothing on earth that I desire

    besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

    but God is the strength of my heart and

    my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall

    perish;

you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful

to you.

28 But for me it is good to be near God;

    I have made the Lord God my refuge,

    that I may tell of all your works.

CONTEXT & COMMENTARY

The psalmist’s description of the elites of his day is almost timeless. They have healthy, sleek bodies; today we might call them the beautiful people (v.4). They have the powerful connections to avoid the burdensome responsibilities most people face (vv.5, 12). They have been what we call fortunate, but they take full credit, feeling superior to all beneath them (vv.6, 8). The root of it all is that they see no need for God.

The first step out of the sinkhole of resentment and envy is worship. The psalmist enters the sanctuary, and in the presence of the true God his sight clears and he begins to get the long-term perspective (vv.16-17).

Keller, Tim. The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms.

Questions

  1. (vv.1-15) How much can I identify with the psalmist’s envy of “the prosperity of the wicked” and that his pursuit of holiness has been “all in vain”?
  2. How does the reality of judgment and eternity bring me back to spiritual clarity?
  3. The power of this psalm is the psalmist’s candid admission of envy and frustration as he tries to live a holy life. Living a life of obedience is hard, and God doesn’t begrudge our complaints, envies and frustrations. He invites us to honestly dialogue with Him. The psalmist models this for us as part of the process to him returning to worship (vv.23-26). Pray an honest prayer to God, and end with worship and commitment.

Prayer

February 1, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord!

  For it is good to sing praises to our God;

    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;

    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.

3 He heals the brokenhearted

    and binds up their wounds.

4 He determines the number of the stars;

    he gives to all of them their names.

5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

    his understanding is beyond measure.

6 The Lord lifts up the humble;

    he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;

    make melody to our God on the lyre!

8 He covers the heavens with clouds;

    he prepares rain for the earth;

    he makes grass grow on the hills.

9 He gives to the beasts their food,

    and to the young ravens that cry.

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,

11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear

    him,

    in those who hope in his steadfast love.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!

    Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;

    he blesses your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders;

    he fills you with the finest of the wheat.

15 He sends out his command to the earth;

    his word runs swiftly.

16 He gives snow like wool;

    he scatters frost like ashes.

17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;

    who can stand before his cold?

18 He sends out his word, and melts them;

    he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

19 He declares his word to Jacob,

    his statutes and rules to Israel.

20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;

    they do not know his rules.

    Praise the Lord!

Questions

  1. Rejoicing and giving thanks are commanded. What does this reveal about the nature of joy and gratitude?
  2. Why is it “good” and “fitting” (Ps 147:1) to praise God?
  3. Write a prayer praising God for who He is and what He has done in my life.

Prayer

January 29, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 51

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your steadfast love;

  according to your abundant mercy

    blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

    and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned

    and done what is evil in your sight,

  so that you may be justified in your words

    and blameless in your judgment.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

  and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins,

    and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from your presence,

    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

    and sinners will return to you.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

    O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your

righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,

    and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would   

    give it;

    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;

    build up the walls of Jerusalem;

19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,

    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Questions

  1. Psalm 51 is a classic model for repentance. What are components of genuine repentance as revealed by this psalm?
  2. Write a personalized version of this psalm for a particular sin in my life.

Prayer

January 27, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 139

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

    you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down

    and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue,

    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

5 You hem me in, behind and before,

    and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

    it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?

    Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,

    and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

    and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

    the night is bright as the day,

    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;

    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

    Wonderful are your works;

    my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,

    when I was being made in secret,

    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

    in your book were written, every one of them,

    the days that were formed for me,

    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

    How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I would count them, they are more than the   

   sand.

   I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!

    O men of blood, depart from me!

20 They speak against you with malicious intent;

    your enemies take your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against

you?

22 I hate them with complete hatred;

    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!

    Try me and know my thoughts!

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

Questions

  1. How does the author David feel about God’s intimate knowledge of him?
  2. How do I feel about the fact that God knows me in the same way?
  3. David’s confidence that God will lead him in the way everlasting (v. 24) enables him to approach God with complete openness (v. 23). How confident am I that God will “lead me in the way everlasting”?   How does this challenge my openness and desire to be known by God?
  4. Write a prayer of gratitude for God’s intimate knowledge of us.

Prayer

January 21, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text:

Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Psalm 119:11, 105

11 I have stored up your word in my heart,

   that I might not sin against you. […]

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path…

Questions

  1. How have I experienced God’s Word to be living and active, discerning and judging my thoughts and intentions?
  2. How have I experienced God’s Word as a lamp that guides my life and helps me avoid sin?

Take time to memorize some of these verses.

Prayer

January 19, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

  nor stands in the way of sinners,

    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree

    planted by streams of water

  that yields its fruit in its season,

    and its leaf does not wither.

  In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so,

    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

Context & Commentary

Depending on context Blessed can mean under God’s blessing, happy or fulfilled, or intrinsically right. All three meanings suit here.

Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 489). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

Chaff is “husk and other materials separated from the kernel of grain during the threshing or winnowing process. It blew away in the wind (Hos. 13:3) or was burned up as worthless (Isa. 5:24; Luke 3:17).”

Brand, C., Draper, C., England, A., Bond, S., Clendenen, E. R., & Butler, T. C. (Eds.). (2003). Chaff. In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 276). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Questions

  1. What can we learn from the fact that the description of the blessed person begins with three things that he does not do?
  2. Contrast the characteristics of a tree vs. chaff. How might these qualities be displayed in people’s lives?
  3. How can I grow in my “delight” in God’s word?

Prayer

January 15, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 11

INTRODUCTION

Part 2) Behold: Knowing God | Knowing God leads to rightly relating with Him

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 103

Of David.

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and all that is within me,

    bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity,

    who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit,

    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness

    and justice for all who are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,

    his acts to the people of Israel.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,

    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 He will not always chide,

    nor will he keep his anger forever.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,

    nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who

fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;

    he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

    and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from

    everlasting 

    to everlasting on those who fear him,

    and his righteousness to children’s children,

18 to those who keep his covenant

    and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the

    heavens,

    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

    you mighty ones who do his word,

    obeying the voice of his word!

21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

    his ministers, who do his will!

22 Bless the Lord, all his works,

    in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Questions

  1. Consider the different reasons we find in this psalm for praising God.
  2. Write my own version of this psalm praising God.

Prayer

 

January 14, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 10

INTRODUCTION

Part 2) Behold: Knowing God | Knowing God leads to rightly relating with Him

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.

    He leads me beside still waters.

3 He restores my soul.

    He leads me in paths of righteousness

    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

    I will fear no evil,

  for you are with me;

    your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

    in the presence of my enemies;

  you anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

    all the days of my life,

  and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.

Context & Commentary

At its heart Psalm 23 is an expression of confidence in the protective care of [God], upon whom the psalmist expresses absolute dependence.

Wilson, Gerald H. NIV Application Commentary: Psalm – Volume 1.

v.4 In the Middle East the shepherd carries only a rod and staff… the shepherd boy spends hours practicing with this club, learning how to throw it with amazing speed and accuracy… The rod was what he relied on to safeguard both himself and his flock in danger. And it was, furthermore, the instrument he used to discipline and correct any wayward sheep that insisted on wandering away.

Keller, Philip. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

v.5 The anointed head speaks of the Lord’s welcome; the overflowing cup his lavish provision. But this goodness and love will continue as long as life lasts.

Carson, DA. New Bible Commentary

Questions

  1. Take some time to reflect on how God has been a Good Shepherd in my life.

Please take some time to commit some of the verses from this chapter to memory.

Prayer

 

January 13, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 9

INTRODUCTION

Part 2) Behold: Knowing God | Knowing God leads to rightly relating with Him

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Psalm 8

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

    You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

    you have established strength because of your foes,

    to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,

    and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

    and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

    you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,

    and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Context & Commentary

v.4 The universe reveals God’s glory. Aren’t humans just specks of dust in this vastness? Physically, yes; yet we fill the mind of God (verse 4). The astonishment of the psalmist should be ours: Why should God care about us?

Timothy Keller, with Kelly Keller. “Philippians 2:5-11” in The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, 12. New York, Viking, 2016.

Questions

  1. Consider the grandeur of the universe and reflect on the majesty of God who created everything.
  2. Reflecting on vv.3-4, what is the relationship between humility and gratitude?
  3. How has God “crowned [me] with glory and honor”? Take some time to give thanks to God.

Please take some time to commit some of the verses from this chapter to memory.

Prayer

 

August 7, 2020

Ps148- 2020-08-07

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: Psalm 148

    1 Praise the Lord!

    Praise the Lord from the heavens;

        praise him in the heights!

    2 Praise him, all his angels;

        praise him, all his hosts!

    3 Praise him, sun and moon,

        praise him, all you shining stars!

    4 Praise him, you highest heavens,

        and you waters above the heavens!

    5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!

        For he commanded and they were created.

    6 And he established them forever and ever;

        he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

    7 Praise the Lord from the earth,

        you great sea creatures and all deeps,

    8 fire and hail, snow and mist,

        stormy wind fulfilling his word!

    9 Mountains and all hills,

        fruit trees and all cedars!

    10 Beasts and all livestock,

        creeping things and flying birds!

    11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,

        princes and all rulers of the earth!

    12 Young men and maidens together,

        old men and children!

    13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,

        for his name alone is exalted;

        his majesty is above earth and heaven.

    14 He has raised up a horn for his people,

        praise for all his saints,

        for the people of Israel who are near to him.

        Praise the Lord!


    God

    [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]

  • Lessons/ Insights

  • Apply and Obey

    [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]

  • Prayer 

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