Psalms 130

Psalms 130

Psalms 130

Aug 5, 2018

Psalm 130

PRAY: Ask the Lord to give you ears to hear from His word and a heart that is moved to action.

READ: Psalm 130

"Just wait a minute!"

How often are we told to wait? And how long must we wait? We wait in the drive-through line. We wait for our kids to put on their shoes. We wait for a doctor's appointment, graduation, a job interview, loan approval, a relationship and a baby. Sometimes we wait a long time.

The psalmist is waiting on the Lord to redeem Israel. It's a long wait. He says his wait for the Lord is "more than watchmen wait for the morning." In the dark of the cool night, the wait for dawn is long. The night is still and time ticks by slowly. It's difficult to stay awake and focused.

What do we do while we wait? Are we anxious and worrying or patient and hopeful?  The psalm points us to hope in God's word and tells us to put our hope in the Lord. In doing so, we will find unfailing love and forgiveness of our sin.

"For all have sinned and have fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23


1.     What are you waiting for?

2.     Are you seeking God and putting your hope in His word during the wait?

MEMORIZE:  "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31


Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths I call to you, Lord!

2 Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help.

3 Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you may be revered.

5 I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word.

6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning more than watchmen for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord.
For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with him is redemption in abundance.

8 And he will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.




Psalms 123

Psalms 123

Psalms 123

July 29, 2018

Psalm 123

PRAY: Ask the Lord to reveal the truth that this psalm is communicating, and how you should apply it. Pray for Him to be glorified through your response.

READ: Psalm 123

This brief passage is one of the 15 psalms labeled as “songs of ascent.” Many scholars believe that these were called “ascent” songs because Jewish pilgrims sang them on the way to Jerusalem to celebrate religious festivals. Jerusalem was surrounded by mountains, so you literally had to ascend to get there. This background actually fits well with Psalm 123, because the author is clearly feeling down from “more than enough” (v. 3-4) of the scorn, contempt, and arrogance of the world. He’s frustrated with this experience, and as he travels toward the Temple in Jerusalem, he lifts his eyes toward the Lord, looking upward and seeking hope.

This is the right response to our trials! You may have had more than enough pain and suffering recently, but in the midst of that, look up to the “one enthroned in heaven” (v. 1). God is your King, your Redeemer, your Provider, your Supplier, your Sustainer, and your Ruler. He alone can satisfy your heart, heal your pain, and give you strength to live in a broken and painful world that still needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The author gives a powerful illustration of how we should look to God for help – the picture of servants looking to the hand of their master or mistress. In those days, a servant would’ve been completely dependent upon his master for his daily needs, so he would’ve been very attentive to the movement of his hand to reach out in provision, grace, and kindness. It reminds me of the way my young kids look to their parents, first thing in the morning, to satisfy their hungry bellies. That’s the number one concern on their minds, and they are extremely attentive to what we are doing – especially if it’s something other than feeding them! The Psalmist looks to God in this way, begging God three times over for “favor” (v. 2-3). “Favor” could also be translated “grace,” and it refers to God’s kindness beyond what we deserve, and to His provision of our needs when we look to Him in faith and prayer.


1.     Are you depending upon the Lord like a servant upon his master? Is your life marked by humility, faith, and prayer?

2.     What other things are you tempted to “lift your eyes to” instead of Jesus?

3.     What contempt, scorn, or other bad experiences from the world can you hand over to the Lord today?


Memorize: “Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor.” Psalm 123:2



Psalm 123

1 I lift my eyes to you, the one enthroned in heaven.

2 Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God
until he shows us favor.

3 Show us favor, Lord, show us favor, for we’ve had more than enough contempt.

4 We’ve had more than enough
scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.




Psalms 111

Psalms 111

Psalms 111

July 22, 2018

Psalm 111

READ: Psalm 111

PRAY: That God may open his Word to us by the power of His Spirit. That we may grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus.  That we may share this joy in all our lives and to those around us.

We all like to be praised, to be told, “well done”, or just “I love you”.  Praise done rightly, is a declaration of something true and beautiful. Psalm 111 is a classic song of praise to God’s eternal, immutable, loving and true attributes.  Sometimes, such songs of praise seem repetitive, perhaps even unnecessary.  After all, does God really “need” us to tell him about who He is?  Of course, He is everlasting, He’s God. However, praise is something that affects both the giver and the recipient of that praise.  Psalm 111 has much to teach us on this question, and challenges us to apply our praise in several specific ways.

First, the truth about the Living God is not something we are to simply hide away in private. The thanks the psalmist gives is one given “in the company of the upright, in the congregation” (v.1). So often we keep these truths inside, timid to share, shout, or sing them publicly.

Secondly, in our culture, often if a church repeats the same songs, or prayers, or words in general we are told, well that’s just ritual, mindless and pointless.  Of course, if it is truly is mindless, then I suppose it could be pointless, but the reason for declaring God’s praise again and again is a simple one, we are a forgetful people.  Time and time again the Bible tells stories of God’s people forgetting who God is and “doing what was righteous in their own eyes.” To understand the purpose of this rhythm of praise, just see how many times in the Bible we are told to “remember”, in word and in action. Psalm 111 emphasizes the importance of remembering (v. 2, 4, 5, 8). It is also the very basis of the Lord’s Supper that we do it in “remembrance”.  Why, because if don’t, we will forget.

Lastly, our happiness, our joy in life, all wisdom and understanding, begin with a thankful heart full of praise to God.  “His praise endures forever” is because who God is cannot be hidden.  In so many ways it is God’s endurance, the eternal nature of His works (v2), His righteousness (v3), His mercy and grace (v4), His promises (v5), and the redemption of his people (v9), that is so incredible and awesome to consider. When we do fall into a state of forgetfulness, God’s promises remain.  Whenever we forsake His people, God’s people remain. 

Yet, to really see the incredible uniqueness of God’s love that “endures forever” we have no further than to compare it to the frailty of our own.  There is a lot a talk in our culture about the bountiful potential of a positive, self-fulfilling human nature.  But it doesn’t take long when looking around to see how many times this journey ends in tragedy.  For me, the words from a song I wrote my daughter when she was born, sums up the thought for me.   


They’ll say, finding yourself, being true to yourself,
Loving yourself, for how special you are
Will make you happy ever after, will make you beautiful 
But I must confess, it’s just not true, it’s not hope to find you’re you.
­­­­­­­­But it’s hope to find you’re His, the one who was cut, but now still lives
With roots so deep creation sprung, right from His mouth, right from His tongue.
And grafted in, we can be our roots placed deep, within his tree.
Now hope is no more a fleeting thing, like when all I had was myself to please.


- Michael Strickland





Psalm 111

1 Hallelujah!
I will praise the Lord with all my heart
in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.

2 The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them.

3 All that he does is splendid and majestic; his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered. The Lord is gracious and compassionate.

5 He has provided food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works by giving them the inheritance of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are truth and justice; all his instructions are trustworthy.

8 They are established forever and ever, enacted in truth and in uprightness.

9 He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever.
His name is holy and awe-inspiring.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his instructions have good insight.
His praise endures forever.




Psalms 110

Psalms 110

Psalms 110

July 22, 2018

Psalm 110

READ: Psalm 110

PRAY: Ask the Lord to help you understand His word properly and apply it to your life as He wills.


Psalm 110 was written by a king (David) but it’s about THE King: Jesus. David was a powerful king and revered by his descendants. But David’s earthly kingdom was just a foreshadowing of the eternal Kingdom to come, which is and will be ruled by the King of Kings. In Acts 2, the Apostle Peter made clear that, “it was not David who ascended into the heavens …” but rather, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:34, 36).

King Jesus will be glorious in victory! But it will not be all smiles, as “He will judge the nations, heaping up corpses; He will crush leaders over the entire world” (Psalm 110:6). Do not misunderstand, it will not go well for Christ’s enemies.

As sinners, our natural human condition is to be an enemy of Christ (Romans 5:10). As King, Jesus demands absolute fealty (allegiance). When we first choose to go around God for fulfillment, we sin and commit treason against the King, becoming His enemy. This is the original plight of all people. We have sinned against the King of the Universe.

But the King who justly punishes sin is also “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” (Exodus 34:6). You see, in Jesus we have not just the King but also our Priest (Psalm 110:4). This is such good news! The writer of Hebrews tells us that because of Jesus’ eternal priesthood, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Amazingly, unlike the Old Testament priests who had to offer animal sacrifices yearly, Jesus offered a sacrifice “once for all time when He offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27).

Here’s the amazing thing. Because of Christ’s priestly ministry, not only are believers in Christ forgiven of their treason against the King, but we are also adopted into His family. Paul says that we are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Let that astound you. For those of us who trust Christ, not only are our sins forgiven, but also the King of the Universe has adopted us and made us royal heirs with Him!

What a gracious and loving father! I love the multifaceted glimpse of God we get from this passage. We see the fierce King punishing His enemies, and at the same time, we see a gracious and merciful priest giving Himself to redeem a people, His church, from the midst of His former enemies. A King this fierce who nonetheless deals so gently with His people is a King we can really trust with every facet of our lives.



1.     How can underemphasizing God’s anger toward sin actually diminish the greatness of His grace and mercy?

2.     In what ways does having a more complete understanding of God and all His attributes actually help you trust Him more?





Psalm 110

1 This is the declaration of the Lord
to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion. Rule over your surrounding enemies.

3 Your people will volunteer
on your day of battle. In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn, the dew of your youth belongs to you.

4 The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “You are a priest forever according to the pattern of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his anger.

6 He will judge the nations, heaping up corpses; he will crush leaders over the entire world.

7 He will drink from the brook by the road; therefore, he will lift up his head.




Psalms 100

Psalms 100

Psalms 100

July 15, 2018

Psalm 100

PRAY: Ask God to strengthen your faith so that you believe the assuring and comforting words of Psalm 100 and praise God with a joyful song.

READ: Psalm 100

Usually when we think about thanksgiving or are challenged to be more thankful, our minds immediately think of physical things we have in front of us. When we teach children to be thankful, we help them create lists of people and things they have been given. While it is important to thank God for his physical blessings, Psalm 100 is pointing our eyes and hearts to something more: our spiritual blessings.  

Turning our hearts of thanksgiving to more than the physical things allows us to be humbled because we are sure of the truths that come with our identity in Christ. While we were still sinners, Christ the Author and Perfecter of life died for the broken: you and me. Death could not conquer Him; He rose from the dead so that you and I can have the hope of eternal life with our Creator. We are washed white as snow in Him.

When we focus our attention on the spiritual blessings that are now ours because of Christ’s death and resurrection, our service is no longer about what we get in return. Verse two talks about serving with gladness. I don’t know about you, but this can be a major stumbling block for me. Whether it be helping with extra activities at work, washing extra loads of laundry, making meals to bring to a church member who is ill, or serving on Sunday mornings, serving is hard (let alone doing it with gladness). Fixing our gratitude to God on His spiritual blessings found in Christ allows us to serve and do it with gladness. If we look to serve and receive physical rewards, eventually resentfulness settles in when we decide we have not been compensated fairly for our service. But when we serve humbly because our hearts are full of thanksgiving for God’s spiritual blessings, we can serve knowing our reward is a character that looks more and more like Christ.

By focusing our thanksgiving onto our spiritual blessings in Christ, we are able to be content in all circumstances. If you have lived more than a few years, you are all too familiar with the trials of this world: heartbreak, suffering, sickness, and the brokenness of humanity. But when our thankfulness isn't just for earthly things that come and go, but more so God’s truths and promises, our souls can find rest and peace when the storms of life rage.  

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, even when the world is in turmoil. Because we know our hope is not in this world and its ever-changing circumstances, we can affirm that the LORD is good and His faithful love endures forever. In the raging storms of sickness or loss, we can give thanks to Him and bless His name. We can be sure of our rock and firm foundation because in Christ we:

  • are children of God (John 1:12) (Romans 8:15)
  • are chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
  • are completely forgiven (Colossians 1:14)
  • are no longer slaves to sin, but free. We are being transformed to into His image (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
  • have our needs met by God (Philippians 4:19)
  • have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • can be sure that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6)
  • have been bought at a price and belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • are loved so dearly that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
  • are free from the victory and sting of death. We are victorious through Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)



1.     Make a list of three spiritual truths that resonate with you. How can you make a joyful noise in service to the Lord because of these truths?

2.     What are some ways you are free from the ever-changing tides of this world because of your identity in Christ?

3.     What are three ways you can have a heart of thanksgiving for your spiritual blessings found in Christ?

GO FURTHER: Read Psalm 107. Consider how many times the Psalmist directs us to the change that happens when we belong to Christ. We are no longer slaves to the circumstances of this world. We are delivered because of His steadfast love.






Psalm 100

1 Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are his—
his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever;
his faithfulness, through all generations.




Psalms 73

Psalms 73

Psalms 73

July 8, 2018

Psalm 73

PRAY: Ask the Lord to open your ears to hear what He has to teach you through this Psalm.

READ: Psalm 73  

If you put two small children in a room to play, it’s not long before you hear the cry of “Mine!”  The human heart was born selfish. There is a part of every heart that none of us wants to admit:  jealousy and covetousness. We fight it, we hide it, but it’s always there. It’s so easy to see in others and so hard to see in ourselves. We are born evaluating the people around us, comparing them to ourselves – their jobs, their possessions, their lifestyle, even their health. Why do they seem to have it all so effortlessly and it’s so hard for me? When I resent someone, what am I really saying to God? “You haven’t provided for me after I’ve given so much.”

Even when we feel truly blessed by God, do we not quickly attribute our personal success (even our health) as reward for “a life well lived”? I’m embarrassed to say I do. But what, then, can we say about the Godly family that tries and fails, whose health is always an issue? Haven’t you watched as their steadfast faith never wavers, their walks with God deepen as they trudge through devastating health issues? As explained in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Or, when it’s you with the problems of life (a difficult child, struggles to pay the mortgage, enduring a job you hate), do you glance over at the people sailing through life with everything going their way – people who are never seen in church, or even boast against God? They seem to have no consequences for an immoral lifestyle. It’s easy to be mad at them, even at God for the injustice of it all! You’re not alone. We all feel it. But it isn’t a modern problem. The Psalmist Asaph described it perfectly in Psalm 73. He captured all the things I feel. “I saw their prosperity … they have no struggles, they are healthy, free from burdens … free of care they go on amassing wealth” (vs. 3-5,12).

I despise my jealous heart. I’m embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know. Dealing with my attitude is the challenge. Asaph discovered the solution. He was wrought with jealousy of those undeserving, “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood.” He had a transforming experience! Faith was reborn in the presence of the Lord. Jealously fell away and was replaced by an understanding of eternal reward. His realization was that the apparent earthly blessings of the unbeliever are nothing compared to the eternal blessings that his relationship with God brought. “Who have I in heaven but you and earth has nothing I desire besides you” (v. 25).

Do you earnestly seek the presence of God with no strings attached? No expectation of some reward for your actions? Kneel before God, “seek His face.” See if the cares of this world aren’t washed away in the presence of God the Creator, Redeemer, and unfailing friend.


1.     Are you sometimes jealous of people with more than you, more success, more possessions, better health? Is it sometimes or often?

2.     If the Psalmist Asaph’s attitude of “earth has nothing I desire besides you” was considered 100% surrendered to God, what percentage would you give yourself?

3.     Do you have a sanctuary – a place where you have been overwhelmed by God? What keeps you from going there? It may be in church but it may be on your knees in the middle of the night. It may be rocking a sobbing child to sleep. It may be soaking in the vastness of God’s incredible creation. God has met you. Where?

Memorize: Psalm 73:28




Psalm 73

1 God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray.

3 For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have an easy time until they die, and their bodies are well fed.

5 They are not in trouble like others; they are not afflicted like most people.

6 Therefore, pride is their necklace, and violence covers them like a garment.

7 Their eyes bulge out from fatness; the imaginations of their hearts run wild.

8 They mock, and they speak maliciously; they arrogantly threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues strut across the earth.

10 Therefore his people turn to them and drink in their overflowing words.

11 The wicked say, “How can God know? Does the Most High know everything?”

12 Look at them—the wicked! They are always at ease, and they increase their wealth.

13 Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?

14 For I am afflicted all day long and punished every morning.

15 If I had decided to say these things aloud, I would have betrayed your people.

16 When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless

17 until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.

18 Indeed, you put them in slippery places; you make them fall into ruin.

19 How suddenly they become a desolation! They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

20 Like one waking from a dream, Lord, when arising, you will despise their image.

21 When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded,

22 I was stupid and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward you.

23 Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory.

25 Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

27 Those far from you will certainly perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all you do.



Psalms 51

Psalms 51

Psalms 51

July 1, 2018

Psalm 51

READ: Psalm 51

PRAY: That God may open His Word to us by the power of His Spirit. That we may grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus. That we may share this joy in all our lives and to those around us.

I have a confession to make. When I was younger, when reading my Bible, I often skipped past the Psalms, because for the most part I thought they were kind of boring. I wanted to read the stories: the history, the gospels, the strange illustrations of the end times. However, as I have grown older, I have realized that a big portion of life is not just the war around us, but the war within. That is the spiritual, emotional, and convicting battle against the very thing that leads us away from God: our own hearts.

Psalm 51 is an incredible example of a song that exposes the heart of a man who had just done the unspeakable and, having been shown his own sinfulness, has to come face-to-face with his need for God. You see, this psalm is King David’s response to God, who through the prophet Nathan, had just demonstrated the fullness of David’s hypocrisy. The story of this song is incredible. David had just slept with one of his soldier’s wives, gotten her pregnant, and had him secretly killed to cover it all up. For a man whom the Bible describes as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), this seems unfathomable. How could God honor, bless, or forgive such a man? The action is all around this story, but the war within was even greater, and laid out on the page before us in this psalm.

It is important to read the whole of this psalm, because it is one of the more gut-wrenching and gritty passages in the Bible, especially when you realize that these are not just flowery words of contrition, but the desperation cries of a man who had no righteousness to stand on and knew it. 

Too often we focus solely on the love of God, His grace, and the good things He does for us. Too little do we take the time to truly look at our own broken hearts, face the Living God and confess, for real. If we are honest, we all know our own sin, but don’t like facing it, especially publically. David wrote this psalm, the song of his undoing, and gave it to the choirmaster to be sung publically. 

One of the things that I have grown to love in our services at City Church is the public confessional prayer we say aloud together before taking the Lord’s Supper. This is not just ritual, it is part of the remembrance of the act of communion. Following the passage on the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul gives an incredible stern warning about coming to the Lord’s Table without a contrite and clean heart as David describes. Paul says in verses 28-32:

Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

The beauty of this moment of confession – of real contrition – lies in the things about God that David cries out for. God does not despise brokenness; instead, He shows mercy. He does not lay out condemnation, but blots and cleans our hearts, and most of all gives us the joy of His salvation. There is no greater treasure. Amen.


1.     What do you need to confess? How can we daily seek the joy of God’s salvation by first seeking a contrite heart?

2.     Is there any sin in your life that you have been hiding or trying to keep in the dark? What’s holding you back from bringing it into the light? Who do you need to confess it to? 


DIVING DEEPER:  There are many great modern songs based on Psalm 51.  Two of my favorites are “Create in me Clean Heart” by Keith Green. Keith’s story is amazing and his biography “No Compromise” is one of my favorite books. A second song is Sojourn Music’s “Only Your Blood” which is based on Isaac Watts’ version of Psalm 51. What other songs of confession are you familiar with? How can singing these renew our focus to God?





Psalm 51

1 Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.

2 Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you—you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge.

5 Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within.

7 Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt.

10 God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.

14 Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God— God of my salvation— and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering.

17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

18 In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.



Psalms 49

Psalms 49

Psalms 49

June 24, 2018

Psalm 49

PRAY: Humblyask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you and build your faith and obedience through this Psalm. 

READ: Psalm 49

We do a lot of funerals at City Church these days. However, there is one thing I’ve never seen at one of them. As the grieving family exits our building and steps into their black limousine, I’ve never seen a U-Haul strapped to the back. Have you? Why? Because everyone knows you can’t take all your stuff or your wealth with you when you die! 

“For when he dies, he will take nothing at all; his wealth will not follow him down” (Psalm 49:17, CSB).

Death is a great equalizer. Both rich and poor people alike will perish and will rise from their graves one day to stand naked before a holy and righteous God. No amount of wealth can save a soul from hell. Oh how foolish and tempting it is to trust in wealth! Psalm 49:6-8 warns us:

“They trust in their wealth and boast of their abundant riches.Yet these cannot redeem a person or pay his ransom to God — since the price of redeeming him is too costly, one should forever stop trying…”.

And yet, how much of life do we waste trying to amass huge bank accounts, Roth IRAs, comfy retirements, and bigger houses by hoarding, cheating, burning the candle at both ends. You can't take any of it with you! What you leave behind, your kids may not want anyway. Or worse, you may leave them too much money, causing them not to have to trust the Lord to provide for them. Ever consider that? 

Consider the two different kinds of people this Psalm describes. (Not necessarily the rich and the poor, but the ransomed and the damned.)

1. The ransomedreject the temptation to trust in wealth and instead trust in God’s ability to ransom them from the grave.

2.The damnedfoolishly trust in their wealth (or good deeds) to give them peace in this life and to save their soul in the next. 

Most people fear the future in some way; especially not having enough money to live on or retire with. The damned foolishly deal with this fear by throwing more money at it. Work harder. Build wealth. Get as much treasure as you can now because you don’t really believe in heavenly riches. 

But the ransomed trust God and trust that riches in heaven are better than anything this world can offer. Remember, if God is willing to pay our ransom from hell, don’t you think He is capable of providing for your needs here on Earth? The truth is that wealth can’t fix our deepest struggles, heal our deepest hurts, alleviate our deepest fears or save us from sin, death, and Satan. But Jesus can … and did! God is asking you one simple question in every area of your life (and death) … “will you trust Me?” 

Look at how the Psalmist expressed his trust in God: “But God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol, for He will take me” (v. 15).

Did you catch that? Redemption! Hope beyond Sheol. In God’s grace, He does not expect us to pay our own ransom. We can’t. God sent Jesus to rescue us by paying our ransom for us through His own precious and innocent blood shed on the cross. His death for ours. His righteousness for our wickedness. His riches for our poverty.


1.    What do your spending habits reveal about what you value most?  What do they reveal about God? About life? Heaven? 

2.    How does God want you to view money differently? 

3.    What do you need to stop spending your money on and what do you need to reinvest your time, money, and effort into? 

MEMORIZE: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9





Psalm 49

1  Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who inhabit the world,

2  both low and high, rich and poor together.

3  My mouth speaks wisdom; my heart’s meditation brings understanding.

4  I turn my ear to a proverb; I explain my riddle with a lyre.

5  Why should I fear in times of trouble? The iniquity of my foes surrounds me.

6  They trust in their wealth and boast of their abundant riches.

7  Yet these cannot redeem a person or pay his ransom to God—

8  since the price of redeeming him is too costly, one should forever stop trying —

9  so that he may live forever and not see the Pit.

10  For one can see that the wise die;
the foolish and stupid also pass away.
Then they leave their wealth to others.

11  Their graves are their permanent homes, their dwellings from generation to generation, though they have named estates after themselves.

12  But despite his assets, mankind will not last; he is like the animals that perish.

13  This is the way of those who are arrogant, and of their followers,
who approve of their words. Selah

14  Like sheep they are headed for Sheol; Death will shepherd them.
The upright will rule over them in the morning, and their form will waste away in Sheol, far from their lofty abode.

15  But God will redeem me from the power of Sheol, for he will take me.Selah

16  Do not be afraid when a person gets rich, when the wealth of his house increases.

17  For when he dies, he will take nothing at all; his wealth will not follow him down.

18  Though he blesses himself during his lifetime— and you are acclaimed when you do well for yourself—

19  he will go to the generation of his fathers; they will never see the light.

20  Mankind, with his assets but without understanding, is like the animals that perish.



Psalms 23

Psalms 23

Psalms 23

June 17, 2018

Psalm 23

READ:  Psalm 23

PRAY:  Ask God to strengthen your faith so that you believe the assuring and comforting words of Psalm 23 and can praise God with confidence.

High above the entrance to my mother’s bedroom rests a framed copy of the 23rd Psalm. In a fancy floral and decorative font are the praise poem’s first sentence: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The remaining words are too small to read due to the height limitation, but you can find this brief-yet-impactful Psalm, written by David, in your Bible and a plethora of other spiritual places. Many Christians have committed it to memory of their own volition or by Sunday school assignment (akin to memorizing Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” when we were in middle and high school).

Also known as “The Shepherd’s Psalm,” David likely wrote Psalm 23 while fleeing from Saul and his Army. In the King James translation of the Bible, one of the most dynamic passages of Psalm 23 reads: 

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” 

What a verbal high-five! Instead of fighting words in his time of trouble, David offers words to sustain our faith. Not to mention he cites God’s “rod” and “staff” as his sources of comfort. Those were tools a shepherd would have used for correction and direction. David knew that he could trust God’s goodness even in His discipline or withholding. My Bible’s preface to the book of Psalms notes that David trusted in God completely: “all that He is, all He has done, and all that He will do.”I kind of view it as an eternal spiritual blanket to comfort us, regardless of our state of mind. Aptly, it concludes with verse 6:  

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


1.    How would memorizing the Psalm 23 strengthen your prayer life and faith walk?

2.    Do you currently rely on the Lord for every provision as outlined in Psalm 23?

Memorize: Psalm 23:4




Psalm 23

1  The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.

2  He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.

3  He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

4  Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger,
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  Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.



Psalms 19

Psalms 19

Psalms 19

June 10, 2018

Psalm 19

READ: Psalm 19

Psalm 19 is a beautiful, critical, and sobering reminder of who our Creator is and what we are not. Ask the Lord to make this more clear for you as you study this Psalm. 

You may be like me and from time to time need to be reminded how little power we actually have. Simply go to the beach and look out. The water meets the horizon and you have played no part in it. The waters teem with creatures humans have yet to discover. The sky is a masterpiece changing from moment to moment, a profound display of grace, power, authority, splendor, mercy, and obedience. Go to the foot of a high mountain and look up. The peaks reach the sky with rocks placed just so, and you have had nothing to do with it. In the middle of rocky terrain, sturdy and beautiful trees grow with no toil from a gardener. Creation everywhere demonstrates God’s mighty hand, splendor, provision, and authority.

What in God’s creation produces a sense of awe in you? How does this created thing display God’s authority, splendor, and provision?

Psalm 19 says the precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up (v.8). My sinful heart often doesn’t take too warmly to these words. Often I want to do life my way rather than obey Jesus. But as a follower of Jesus, I must ask: what does He command? What does He demand of me? 

He commands you and I to die to ourselves everyday by taking up our cross to serve Him. He commands that I forgive, just as He forgives me. Creation obeys His commands. The sun, on His cue, rises and sets, and the stars sparkle for a given time. The clouds form, the wind blows, the leaves change, and flowers bloom at His command. If creation’s obedience to its Maker shows His splendor, how much more does a human’s obedience to their Creator give glory to God?  

When creation is in line with its Maker’s commands, it blooms, flourishes, and is breathtaking. How much more is that true of a person who follows the LORD’s commands? With His commands, He is taking every piece of me that doesn’t look like Jesus and is working moment by moment to make me more like Jesus. He is taking our dry bones and bringing them to life, washing our sin-stained hearts white as snow, renewing our minds to be like that of Christ. How radiant, breathtaking and awe-inspiring is a heart that submits to the Creator. It produces a fear, a holy reverence, about the transformative work of Christ. Psalm 19 calls us to fight our sinful inclinations in pursuit of being more like our Savior. We must take up our Ephesians 6 armor given to us as believers at the moment of our salvation.  


1.    What are three commands God has given to creation that you can see with your eyes? 

2.    What are some commands that God has spoken in His word that you have a hard time submitting to? Why do you have a hard time submitting? 

3.    What are some areas of your life that you can see God working to make you look more like Jesus? How has this made your heart glad or your eyes light up? 

MEMORIZE: Psalm 19:1-2

GO FURTHER: Read Ephesians 6:10-18. 

Instead of just seeing a day as that, a day, let's be challenged to really see creation. Look outside and see our Maker’s mighty display; be reminded that He is over and in every detail. He has all authority and power. He makes galaxies, created the sweet aroma of a brilliant white gardenia, and designed the fuzzy little caterpillar, but in that authority and power He has chosen to have mercy. What is His greatest display of mercy? He has mercy on our sin-stained hearts and has sent Jesus to atone for them. His commands are meant to bring us to life by showing us how to live and pointing us to our only hope in Him. So sometimes it hurts to have our sinful nature put to death, but we can trust that His ways are more desirable than gold; our hearts will be made glad and our eyes will light up when we follow His commands. 


Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.

3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.

4 Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.

5 It is like a bridegroom coming from his home; it rejoices like an athlete running a course.

6 It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.

8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.

9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous.

10 They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb.

11 In addition, your servant is warned by them, and in keeping them there is an abundant reward.

12 Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.

13 Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me.
Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.



Psalms 1

Psalms 1

Psalms 1

June 3, 2018

READ: Psalm 1

PRAY:  Ask God to speak to you through this Psalm and make you like a flourishing tree planted by a river of life. 

This poetic wisdom psalm contrasts two types of people and two destinies. There is the wicked person and the godly person. The wicked will not stand after God’s judgment; they have no anchor in God’s word. But the godly are guarded by the Lord; their path does not end in destruction.

The godly person does not follow the wicked, instead they delight in the Lord’s commands. We could also understand this flowing the other direction, too: Why does the godly person not find wickedness attractive? Because they are satisfied with God and have been formed by His word to have different desires. They are rooted—planted like a tree—in the life-giving fountain of God and His word.

This psalm presents a picture of life as it should be: flourishing, fruitful, and fulfilling. The secret? Delighting in God and His Scripture. As we enter summertime and you see the greenness of growth at every turn, ask yourself: are the trees fulfilling their purpose more than I am? Are they growing and testifying to the goodness of the One who made them? And as we breathe the air those trees produce, are we similarly rooting ourselves in our source of spiritual life? Are we yielding spiritual fruit that testifies to the goodness of the One who made us?

The blessed person is the one who delights in God; may we delight in Him and truly live.



1.    Be honest, do you ‘delight in the Lord’s instruction’ (v. 2)? Why or why not? Have you ever? 

2.    What do you think it looks like for a person to be “like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears fruit…and whose leaf does not wither…” (v. 3)?  

3.    Take some time to examine your life and assess if you are bearing fruit, if you are flourishing even in tough times. If so, praise the Lord for it. If not, ask God to make it so in your soul. 

MEMORIZE: Psalm 1: 1-2


Psalm 1

The Two Ways

1 How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!

2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.