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  • In God’s Hands (Psalm 83:1~18) May 23, 2018
    Views 9 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 5 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.

  • Listen to the LORD (Psalm 81:1~16) May 21, 2018
    Views 10 Update May 21, 2018 Speakers Stephen Cha

    1 Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
    2 Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.
    3 Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast;
    4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
    5 He established it as a statute for Joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard a language we did not understand.
    6 He says, "I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.
    7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
    8 "Hear, O my people, and I will warn you-- if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
    9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god.
    10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
    11 "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
    12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
    13 "If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
    14 how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
    15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
    16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

     

     

    Reflection

    Remember and Rejoice (81:1–6)

    The psalmist, Asaph, commands the Israelites to worship the LORD because of who He is and what He has done. They are to worship exuberantly, using the timbrel, harp, and lyre because God is always worthy of the praises of His people. He was faithful in delivering His people from slavery in Egypt, and He continues to be faithful to us today. As God’s children, we are called to praise, treasure, and delight in the Lord above everything else. We reflect the glory of God to the world, and we should know Him and recall His goodness to us daily. Let us rejoice in and praise the God of our salvation, giving thanks each day for all that He has done in our lives.

     

    How has God been faithful to you? Take a moment to praise God for His goodness to you today.

     

    Listen and Repent (81:7–16)

    God heard the cries of the Israelites in their distress and answered them by rescuing them out of Egypt. The people of Israel experienced the love and provision of the living God first hand, but they did not listen to Him, stubbornly insisting on going their own way. God highlights the many blessings Israel forfeited as a result. That God would turn His people over to their own devices demonstrates that His discipline sometimes allows us to reap the consequences of our own follies. Like a loving parent lamenting the failings of an impetuous child, God longs for the Israelites to come to their senses and heed His voice. May we always remember to listen to God, the only One who is able to truly bless and satisfy us.

     

    Have there been times when you refused to listen to God? How can remembering His goodness and faithfulness keep you from straying from Him?

     

    A letter to God 

    Father, thank you for Your faithfulness to me even though I have not always been faithful to You. I confess that only You can satisfy me. Help me to always respond to You with repentance and praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

     

     

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

  • People Will Come (Isaiah 66:15~24) May 20, 2018
    Views 8 Update May 20, 2018 Speakers Stephen Cha

    15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
    16 For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD.
    17 "Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together," declares the LORD.
    18 "And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory.
    19 "I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations--to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.
    20 And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD -on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says the LORD. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels.
    21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites," says the LORD.
    22 "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure.
    23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD.
    24 "And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."

     

     

    Reflection

    All Nations Will See (66:15–24)

    The book of Isaiah concludes with words of judgment and hope. God declares that those who persist in idol worship and continue to dishonor and rebel against Him will meet their end. But God’s glory will be made known and proclaimed throughout the world. He will be worshiped by people from all nations, not just His chosen people, Israel, as many will hear of His greatness and come before Him to offer their worship to Him. God has extended His invitation for salvation to all through His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us share the good news of the Gospel with people from all nations so that they too can receive God’s love and grace.

     

    What nations need more messengers of the Gospel? What can you do to help invite these nations to come the LORD?

     

    A letter to God 

    The Unreached
    The Kapu live in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Missionary activity resulted in winning many to Christ but the church struggles with nominalism. Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in the hearts of the Kapu who do not yet have a personal relationship with Christ.

     

     

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

  • The Heart of Worship (Isaiah 66:1~14) May 19, 2018
    Views 7 Update May 19, 2018 Speakers Stephen Cha

    1 This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
    2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
    3 But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations;
    4 so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me."
    5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame.
    6 Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve.
    7 "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
    8 Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
    9 Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.
    10 "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.
    11 For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance."
    12 For this is what the LORD says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
    13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."
    14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.

     

     

    Reflection

    Empty Ritualism (66:1–6)

    God rebukes the people of Israel for habitually sinning against Him by offering up empty sacrifices. Although they are following the Levitical laws, they ironically do evil in the sight of God and their sacrifices are an abomination to Him because their actions do not align with their hearts. Tragically, God’s people do not answer when called, they do not listen when spoken to, and they insist on going their own way. As a result, God has promised to bring judgment upon them. There is nothing we could bring or create that would add to the glory of the Creator of the universe. Nevertheless, God has given us an opportunity to worship and bring offerings to Him, but we must ensure that we do so with a humble and contrite spirit.

     

    When worship becomes habitual, God is no longer at the center. Pray that as you worship today, the Spirit will grant you a greater understanding of the glory and majesty of God.

     

    A Great Promise (66:7–14)

    The remnant of Israel faces trouble and distress caused by those who hate and exclude them. However, just like a mother giving birth, God will bring a new season of restoration and blessing to His people. Those who love Jerusalem have been mourning for her, but God declares that they will rejoice because He will bring abundance to the city. He will grant them peace that flows like a river and comfort them like a mother comforting her child. When God’s servants witness the restoration of the nation, they will confess that it is God who is at work. For believers who face situations which cause them deep mourning, they can rest assured that God will bring hope and comfort—He is faithful to fulfill His promises.

     

    Are there any situations you are experiencing which cause you to mourn? How does this promise of hope and peace comfort you?

     

    A letter to God 

    Merciful God, You alone are God. Thank you for restoring me through the transformative power of Your Gospel. When I stray from Your ways, help me to be quick to turn back to You and repent, trusting in Your promise to restore. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

     

     

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