With His Power, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 127.

The best-constructed house will crumble without God. The most heavily guarded city will fall to its enemies if God isn’t invited inside. And a career defined by going in early and staying out late will not succeed if God is not at its center.

No one is smart enough, beautiful enough or wealthy enough to successfully navigate life without God’s help. In fact, an abundance of worldly resources may infuse us with too great a confidence in our own abilities and make us vulnerable to errors in judgment.

During the freshman orientation for the College of Engineering, David began to suspect that university classes were going to be much more demanding than those in high school. His first few weeks confirmed this assumption, and he soon concluded that if he wanted straight As, he was going to have to study—a lot.

At first, David studied seven days a week. But before long he became so fatigued that he was struggling to earn even Bs. At that point he prayed to God for help. God made an unexpected answer clear to David: Don’t study so hard. Get your sleep. And spend 24 hours per week without studying whatsoever.

David struggled with God’s message. How could he attain good grades without those 24 hours of studying? Surely his GPA would plummet. In the end, though, David decided that God was probably a bit wiser than he was. So he gave it a try.

David stopped studying from Saturday at 6:00 p.m. through Sunday at 6:00 p.m. During that period, he devoted himself to attending a worship service, reading Scripture, praying, sleeping, spending time with friends and relaxing. After those weekly breaks, David found that his Sunday night study session was more productive than any other time of the week.

By the time the semester ended, David had reached his goal—a straight 4.0. And he credits that success to obeying God’s call to let him be both his Lord and the center of his desire.

  • Why do you think the writer of Psalm 127 has such confidence that God outranks hard work and expensive resources?
  • Do you think you can enjoy a successful career without working abnormally long hours? Why or why not?

Bible Gateway

Dealing With Pain, Day 7

Today’s reading is drawn from Revelation 21:1-5.

Our tears and pain were never part of God’s original plan for us, nor will they be part of eternity. However, we live in a sort of parenthesis in the timeline of the universe, a “present age” (see Mark 10:30) between the garden (see Genesis 2:8) and the new heaven and new earth (see Revelation 21:1).

At the end of time, God will wipe away every tear (see Revelation 21:4). We will not experience this suffering forever. But during these present times, we see the results of sin’s contamination of the world: death, mourning and pain. We fail and let ourselves and others down. Others do the same. Instead of denying these negative aspects of our present life, we need to accept and deal with them in preparation for the time when God ends all the suffering. The Bible teaches us three keys that can help: forgiveness (see Ephesians 4:32), grief (see James 4:9) and healing (see Psalm 30:2). We must arm ourselves with these three things. They will help us grow, recover and move past the difficult times. The good news is that the pain is not the end of the story. God will give us current healing and future paradise. Our job is to be involved in the journey with him.

Bible Gateway

Day By Day By Grace

From e-Sword Study BibleJune 22
Permissible Promises Made to God
I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psa_18:1-3)
The scriptures are quite clear. The work of God in our lives depends upon His promises to us, not our promises to Him. However, this does not mean that we are forbidden to express our love and devotion to God through promises made to Him. In this rich testimony from the heart of David, he makes two significant promises to the Lord. “I will love You, O LORD . . . I will call upon the LORD.” As we examine what accompanies these promises, we will see the kind of promises that are permissible to make to God.
Loving God is the essence of our relationship with the Lord. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mat_22:37). Our love for the Lord is in response to His great love for us. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1Jn_4:19). Long ago, the Lord had promised that He would be available to work in the heart of His people, if they were to love Him properly. “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deu_30:6). The context of David’s promises to love God indicates that He understood this promise from the Lord. “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.” God was the one David was trusting in to give him the strength that was needed to walk in a loving relationship with the Lord.
As we grow in awareness of the love of God, we learn to call upon Him to deliver us in times of trouble. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” David’s promise to cry out to God in the midst of difficulties was based upon the Lord’s praiseworthy character. David had called upon the Lord many times before, and He had delivered him. David had come to know the Lord (to experience Him) as his mighty protector. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.”
As we noted previously, in Israel’s promises to obey the law of God, they were depending upon themselves. In David’s promises to love God and to call upon Him in times of trouble, he was depending upon the character and capacities of God!
Dear loving and rescuing Lord, my love for You is truly a result of Your work of love in my heart! Likewise, my cries to You for help are based upon Your many faithful rescues in times past! You are my God, my strength, in whom I will trust!