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  • When in Distress (Psalm 86:1~17) May 26, 2018
    Views 1 Update May 26, 2018 Speakers John Smyser

    1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
    2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you.
    3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
    4 Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
    5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
    6 Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.
    7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
    8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
    9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
    10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
    11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
    12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
    13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
    14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a band of ruthless men seeks my life-- men without regard for you.
    15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
    16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.
    17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

     

     

    Reflection

    Poor and Needy (86:1–7)

    God does not disregard the cries of the poor and needy. His people can turn to Him for help when they are threatened and in distress. Those who are faithful to God and trust in Him can be reassured that when they cry out to Him, He will answer their earnest prayers. He is merciful and abounding in love. He listens to the cries of His people, and He will guard and save them. God’s goodness and steadfast love are comforting to us in times of distress because we know that our Father knows everything about us and cares for us. Those who continually seek His face will never fail to experience His grace and love.

     

    When has God answered you in your time of distress? How can we also help others to turn to Him when they feel poor and needy?

     

    None like You (86:8–17)

    There is no one like our God. He does marvelous deeds and is the only One worthy of great praise. God has delivered His people from the depths. The psalmist therefore urges them to learn the ways of the Lord, walk in His truth, fear His name, and glorify Him. Ruthless enemies may try to attack without regard for the LORD, but God is compassionate and gracious. He gives strength to His servants and saves His people from their foes. He will fight for them against the threat of evil and help and comfort them. Though we may experience difficult seasons in our lives, they give us an opportunity to experience His power and grace. When we go through difficult times, it reminds us to rely on God’s faithfulness and to praise Him for all that He has done for us.

     

    How have you relied on the Lord during difficult seasons of life? What did you learn during those times?

     

    A letter to God 

    Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that there is none like You. Nothing can compare to the great deeds You have done in my life. May I praise You and glorify Your name forever. In Your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • Salvation and Peace (Psalm 85:1~13) May 25, 2018
    Views 4 Update May 25, 2018 Speakers Sam Koh

    1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
    2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah
    3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
    4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
    5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
    6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
    7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
    8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints-- but let them not return to folly.
    9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
    10 Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
    11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.
    12 The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.
    13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

     

     

    Reflection

    Thanksgiving for His Grace (85:1–7)

    In the past, God showed favor to His people and forgave them of their sins. But they are facing His fierce anger and wrath because they have continued to sin against Him. In this community lament, the people ask the LORD to grant them His sovereign grace once again and to put away His displeasure toward them. They ask Him to show them His unfailing love and to grant them His salvation. The steadfast love of God gives hope to those who struggle against sin. We are never too far to receive His grace. Those who repent and turn back to God will experience the joy of His grace and the power of His forgiveness.

     

    When has God shown you His favor and love? What areas of your life still need more of His forgiveness and grace?

     

    Walking in Righteousness (85:8–13)

    Salvation and peace are gifts that the LORD gives to those who fear Him. To experience these gifts, however, they must abandon their sinful behavior. The salvation of God is driven by His steadfast love and faithfulness and is grounded in His truth. Through His salvation, God makes us righteous and grants us peace. In all this, we see that the LORD is faithful to sow good seeds so that His people will yield a good harvest. God desires His people to walk in righteousness and to bear good fruit. As we walk in obedience to His ways, may we produce good fruit and reflect His righteousness everywhere we go.

     

    What good fruit are you producing in your life? How can you walk in greater righteousness so that you will bear even more fruit for His kingdom?

     

    A letter to God 

    Dear God, thank you for the gift of salvation and peace in my life. Help me to walk in greater righteousness so that I may bear more fruit for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • God’s Dwelling Place (Psalm 84:1~12) May 24, 2018
    Views 6 Update May 24, 2018 Speakers Sam Koh

    1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
    2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
    3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
    4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah
    5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
    6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
    7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
    8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah
    9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
    10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
    11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
    12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

     

     

    Reflection

    Blessed to Dwell (84:1–7)

    In this psalm, the author declares his longing to dwell in God’s presence. It is important to know that dwelling somewhere is very different from visiting somewhere. Visiting indicates a brief stay, while dwelling conjures up images of making oneself at home. In Old Testament times, God’s presence was found at the temple, in the Most Holy Place. The psalmist is therefore expressing his desire to return to the temple of the LORD so that he may be near God. For today’s believer, dwelling in God’s presence has less to do with physical proximity and more to do with a continual state of fellowship with God and His people. While Old Testament saints made physical pilgrimages to a physical temple, we make a spiritual pilgrimage toward God as we seek ever-increasing intimacy with Him.

     

    In what ways have you experienced God’s presence? What can you do to draw nearer to Him today?

     

    Sun and Shield (84:8–12)

    The psalmist wants to make a pilgrimage to the temple because he yearns to be in the presence of God. He knows what a blessing it is to praise Him in the house of the LORD. The psalmist says that he would rather live a single day as a doorkeeper in God’s temple than be like the wicked. He trusts that God is both his protector and provider, and he praises Him for it, extolling the LORD as his sun and shield. Similarly, when we put our trust in God, we will experience Him as the light that drives out darkness and the shield that keeps us from harm.

     

    How have you experienced God has your protector and provider? Take some time to reflect on His work in your life and thank Him for it.

     

    A letter to God 

    Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings that accompany being in Your presence. Help me to remember that You are the source of all the good I experience, and help me to draw near to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • In God’s Hands (Psalm 83:1~18) May 23, 2018
    Views 12 Update May 23, 2018 Speakers Sam Koh

    1 O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.
    2 See how your enemies are astir, how your foes rear their heads.
    3 With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
    4 "Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more."
    5 With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you-
    6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
    7 Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
    8 Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Selah
    9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
    10 who perished at Endor and became like refuse on the ground.
    11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
    12 who said, "Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God."
    13 Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.
    14 s fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
    15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.
    16 Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD.
    17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.
    18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD-- that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

     

     

    Reflection

    Covenant Protector (83:1–8)

    In this psalm, we see that Israel is facing great danger and threats from other nations. To make matters worse, some of these nations are close relatives of Israel! All is certainly not lost, however. Israel’s enemies may be conspiring against them, but Israel is allied with the Almighty God. Notice how the psalmist, Asaph, refers to these enemies as God’s enemies. Israel’s covenantal relationship with God means that any assault on them is an assault on Him. Thus, Asaph cries out to God and asks Him to come to their aid. As children of God, we also have the assurance that God will help us when we are under attack. Our enemies will have to reckon not only with us but with our covenant God.

     

    Reflect on the blessings that you know are yours because of your covenant relationship with God. What does it mean to you that God is your protector?

     

    Retribution or Repentance? (83:9–18)

    Asaph cries out to God for justice, asking Him to punish their enemies as He did to Israel’s enemies in the past. Asaph uses vivid imagery, asking God to sweep these nations away like tumbleweed and consume them like a fire. Yet Asaph’s goal is not simply to seek the destruction their enemies. Ultimately, he wants the shame of their downfall to bring them to seek the LORD and acknowledge that He is God. Asaph’s request highlights the tension of Israel’s call to be a holy nation that at times required them to engage in conflict. As believers, we may feel a similar tension when responding to people who despise and persecute us. But we must be careful to approach such situations prayerfully and ask God to reveal our true motives so that they can align with His.

     

    Is there someone with whom you are experiencing conflict? Spend time in prayer and ask God to reveal His desire in the matter.

     

    A letter to God 

    Heavenly Father, I pray for those with whom I have been in conflict. Regardless of what they might have said or done, help me to respond in a way that reflects You and points others toward You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.

  • The Perfect Justice of God (Psalm 82:1~8) May 22, 2018
    Views 7 Update May 22, 2018 Speakers Sam Koh

    1 God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the "gods":
    2 "How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
    3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
    4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
    5 "They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
    6 "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.'
    7 But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler."
    8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

     

     

    Reflection

    Indifferent to Injustice (82:1–4)

    In this psalm, God judges the corrupt leaders of Israel, sarcastically referred to as “gods.” They have betrayed the cause of the weak, fatherless, poor, and oppressed by defending the unjust and showing partiality to the wicked. The leaders have been arrogant and selfish, desiring the praises of man rather than serving the people. They are not exempt from the consequences of their indifference. Although it appears that the powerful continue to wreak havoc on the innocent and powerless, it is clear that God cares about the marginalized and that He will not allow evil to prevail against them. God has promised that one day, He will render His perfect judgment on those who do evil against the defenseless.

     

    Take some time today to pray for those in authority. How can you pray for them so that they will lead with the fear and love of the Lord?

     

    The Judge of the Earth (82:5–8)

    The so-called “gods” are ignorant and devoid of any understanding of God’s justice. This is ironic because the leaders claim to be serving God as His children, and yet they have no idea about God’s true intentions concerning the subject of justice. As a result, God has promised to call them to account and pass judgment over them. God is the ultimate Judge and Ruler, and all others are subject to Him. There is no power, be it physical or spiritual, that is capable of preventing His perfect will from coming to completion. We are called to remember and trust in the sovereignty of God, even during times of hardship and seeming hopelessness, knowing that He will bring about justice throughout the earth.

     

    How do your leaders reflect the justice of God? How do you feel knowing that God is the ultimate Judge of the world?

     

    A letter to God 

    God over all creation, help me to trust in Your sovereignty even when the world seems grim. Help me to trust in the fact that You are working out all things according to Your good purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

    * All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.