Today’s Reading – Psalm 119 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0710 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalms 119:18)
What a wonderful privelege it is to be able to open up a copy of the Word of God. Our reading this morning in Psalm 119 is all about God’s word. Almost every verse in this Psalm contains a word that is synonomous with the Bible. For instance, in vs. 1 – 6, you will see the words, “law”, “testimonies”, “ways”, “precepts”, “statutes”, “commandments”, and “judgments”. All of these words are references to the Word of God. They all have slightly different meanings, but together they help us to understand what the Word of God is, as well as what it does. This is a wonderful psalm, replete with tremendous truths and promises regarding our relationship with God through the Bible.
My attention this morning was drawn to v. 18, where the psalmists asks the Lord to open his eyes so that he could understand (see) wondrous things from the Word. The Bible does contain a myriad of “wondrous things”, but oftentimes our spiritual eyes are not open enough to receive them. There are certainly many reasons for this, but I believe one of them is the fact that we do not approach the Word of God expectantly, and prayerfully, anticipating a life-changing truth. Our prayer should be the same as the psalmist every time we open up the Bible: “Open thou mine eyes”.
Everything that we need to succeed in this life is contained in the Bible, but we are missing so many principles that would guide, instruct, and protect us simply because we are not looking, because our eyes are closed. Stop approaching the Word each day as a religious ritual, but rather open it, looking for the truth that you will need to help you survive, and even thrive as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ. God has the answers for the problems that you will face today and tomorrow. They are in His Word. Ask Him to help you to see them.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 115 – 118 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0709 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 117:1-2)
Did you ever notice that some of the most powerful messages in the Bible come out of passages of few words. For instance, Peter’s message at Pentecost, which was used of God to lead 3000 people to Christ, was only 25 verses long. The people at our church are hoping that I would learn to preach some of those short sermons. Anyway, Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in all the Bible, but it is certainly not short on truth. This Psalm speaks about two very important doctrines in the Bible: God’s mercy, and God’s truth. It really says it all if you think about it. Through God’s mercy a way was made possible for us to receive the forgiveness of our sins; and it is because of His truth that we could find out about His mercy. What an awesome little passage of Scripture!
Posted in Thoughts from the Psalms by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 103 – 105 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read the “0706 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:10-12)
I have a good friend who is an evangelist, and every time I ask him how he is doing, he always says, “Better than I deserve”. He’s right. He doesn’t deserve to be doing as good as he is doing, but God has been very good to him; and good to me as well. Today’s passage teaches this truth, which is perhaps the most wonderful truth in the entire Bible: that God is merciful to sinners. Of course, I must be clear to point out that this truth only applies to sinners who have received the gift of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a principle in the Bible called sowing and reaping, which basically teaches that we will reap in judgment what we sow in sin. But for the Christian, this principle does not completely apply. Those of us who are the children of God will never reap in judgment what we sowed in sin. The judgment of our sin was reaped by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He suffered for what I sowed. Now, to be sure, there will always be corrective consequences for sin in this life, and perhaps loss of reward in eternity for the disobedient Christian, but we will never get what we truly deserve for our rebellion against God. God is merciful. He has removed our sins. He truly has made them white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) All of our past sins are gone completely, and He will not “impute” any new sins to our account. (Romans 4:8) What a wonderful God we serve! Have you taken time today to thank the Lord for His mercy? Have you told the Lord how much that you appreciate what He did for you on the Cross? Think about it: if you and I received what we deserved we would be burning in the Lake of Fire right now, but our God is merciful to those who come to Him in repentance and faith. Praise His Name!!
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19
Read the “0705 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalms 101:2-3)
Before I get into my main thought for this morning’s devotion, let me point out that in Psalm 101, David uses the phrase “I will”, or “will I” 9 times. These were very bold, and almost cocky assertions on his part, and I am pretty sure that he failed to keep every one of these promises during the course of his life. He was, as we are, human. I am very careful not to make too many promises about what I will or will not do, because I have been known to break a promise or two in my lifetime as well. However, I do believe that it is good to set up some standards and boundaries in our lives based upon the principles that we are taught in the Word; and we should ask the Lord to help us to maintain them.
In vs. 2 & 3 of this psalm, David determines that he will behave himself wisely, and that he will set no wicked thing before his eyes. In the culture that we live in today, we almost have to put blindfolds on in order to fulfill this promise. There are so many “wicked things” for us to look at. Let’s be honest, you absolutely cannot turn on the television without setting some kind of wicked thing before your eyes. Wickedness is blatantly visible in our culture. To be perfectly frank, I am ashamed to say that I have seen some things in our church that should have never entered into my eyes. Things that were condemned just a few years ago are condoned and even promoted today, and it is getting worse every day. It is impossible for us to interact with this culture without allowing wicked images to enter into our eyes, and then ultimately into our hearts. Yet, we must strive to put some blinders on our physical and spiritual eyes that will keep us from beholding sin and thinking about things that could destroy us spiritually.
In Sunday School we sing a song that says:
“O be careful little eyes what you see,
O be careful little eyes what you see,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
O be careful little eyes what you see.”
Christian, please be careful. If you have a television, you will need to block much of the programming, and you will have to turn off many of the commercials. The ads are often worse than the shows themselves. Don’t let your children watch the TV unsupervised. There is just way too much poison coming through that box. The Internet is obviously a huge problem also. And, there are many places, like the movies or the beach, that we will need to avoid if we want to keep our eyes from beholding sin.
Let me say a word to you ladies. Please be careful about what you wear, especially in the summer months. Immodest dress can be a big stumblingblock to many men. Job had to make a “covenant” with his eyes not to look upon a maid. I think if he were living today he would have a tough time keeping that promise.
Obviously, I cannot address every application that could be made from these verses in Psalm 101, but I think you get the idea. I understand that we are living in some desperately wicked times, but don’t get swept away by the culture. Don’t just be content to be a little more conservative than the culture, either. Determine to please God with what you allow yourself to see, and also how you behave.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Reading – Psalm 86 – 89 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0703 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalms 86:5)
This morning’s passage contains a very simple, yet also very profound truth, which is perhaps the greatest truth in all of Scripture. God is good. God is better than good, God is awesome. We sing the song sometimes, “Ain’t God Good”; and He is. It may not be proper English, but it certainly is sound doctrine. Consider the following verses:
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalms 34:8)
“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalms 100:5)
“Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.” (Psalms 135:3)
“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalms 145:9)
“The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 33:11)
“The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)
The Lord is good for an infinite number of reasons, but in the context of Psalm 86, David declares that the Lord is good because He is merciful, and ready to forgive all them that call upon Him. Nearly 30 years ago I heard the gospel preached, and I realized that I was a sinner that needed salvation. I called upon the Lord, and He was merciful to me, and “ready to forgive”. He saved me. You see, I can testify firsthand that the Lord is good. And He hasn’t stopped being good to me. He has never done me wrong one time. Ain’t God good! Can I get a witness?
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” – (Psalm 73:2)
“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” – (Psalm 73:18)
I remember one day years ago when I was working as a youth director at the Christian Bible Baptist Church in South Toms River, I was picking up one of the guys from the youth group during an ice storm. Everything was covered with ice. I watched as this young man very carefully left his house and walked toward my truck. I turned my head for a minute, and when I looked back he was nowhere in sight. I assumed that he went back inside for a moment because he had forgotten something. That’s when I saw a hand stretching up to grab the mirror on the pasenger door of the vehicle. He was holding on to that mirror for dear life. With all of his strength he pulled himself up, and steadied himself to get in the cab. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard in all of my life. The young man could not even stand on his own simply because the ground underneath him was too slippery.
I may be taking too much liberty with this passage, but I can not help but notice that twice in Psalm 73 there is a reference made to slipping. In verse 2 the psalmist says that he had almost slipped because of his envy of the prosperity of wicked people. Then again in verse 18 we see another reference to a slippery place. I got to thinking that God’s people often fall because they tread 0n slippery places. You can make the application here wherever it fits in your life, but a slippery place is a place, person or thing that presents to us a great temptation to sin. Maybe for you it’s the wrong crowd, or it could be sitting home alone on the internet; but it is a place where you can easily fall into sin. If you don’t want to fall, stay away from slippery places.
By the way, did you ever notice that when you fall off your feet, you often have a difficult time getting back up on your own. It is the same when you fall into sin. Don’t be too prideful to call out to someone and ask them for help.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 69 – 72 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1
Read the “0629 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read a another post from this morning’s reading passage – “Who Are You Magnifying?”
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” – (Psalm 71:18)
A few years ago, the verse referenced above would have meant little to me. I would have probably glanced right over it quickly, without giving it much thought. However, the older I get the more I realize that there is still a great deal more that I would like to see accomplished through the ministry the Lord has entrusted me with; yet, I am quickly running out of both the time and energy that I need to do it. You may think based upon what you’ve just read that I am in my 70′s. Though I feel that old at times, I am only in my 50’s. But, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that my time on this earth is very limited.
I want my life to count for something. I want to be used of God to help “shew” my generation the strength and power of God. I need to get busy, and I need to become more proficient at what I am doing so as to make the best use of the time that I have left. I am not all that pleased with what has been accomplished so far in the twenty-seven years that I have been saved, or even in the fifteen years that I have been a pastor. I know that God could have helped a lot more people through a more yielded vessel. But, He is not through with me yet. This morning, I have made a choice to not dwell in the failures (or even the successes) of the past, but instead look to the future. God has given me life today and today I can give that life back to Him, for His use, and for His glory. So can you. What are you living your life for? What are you accomplishing today that will be used of God to make a difference in eternity? The Psalmist’s prayer was to remain here on the earth until he was able to fulfil his ministry of telling everybody about God. That’s a great request and it should be the prayer and goal of each of us who are saved today. Time is running out; your appointment with death is approaching.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – (Ephesians 5:16)
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” – (Hebrews 9:27)
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10
Read the “0628 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Read an earlier post from this passage – “What Are You Thinking About?”
“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” – (Psalm 66:1-2)
Our God is an awesome, and wonderful, and great, and powerful God. The English language really does not contain enough adjectives to describe how glorious our God is. Yet, we who have been saved through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to learn about the greatness of God from His Word, and then communicate our appreciation and admiration to Him first, and then to the people around us. In order to do this, we must first study God. One of the reasons why many Christians hava a tough time praising Him is because they don’t know Him; and there are others who are praising Him, but not according to knowledge. We are commanded to study God through the Scriptures. If the God you serve seems vague or small to you, it is because you do not know Him very well. Open the Bible and read about His awesome power, as well as His infinite wisdom, and loving compassion. He is wonderful. Get to know Him.
Once we know some things about God, we are to sing about Him. These Psalms were all originally songs, and many of them are songs of praise. I sometimes get a kick out of watching the song service at our church. I often see people going through the motions, thoughtlessly and half-heartedly mouthing the words of the hymns. Every once in a while I have to shake myself, and remember what I am singing, and to whom I am doing it. Singing is a form of praise and worship. When we sing the songs of God, we are worshipping Him, and praising Him. If there is one part of our church service that I have really been trying to work on, it is the song service.
Notice also Psalm 66:3:
“Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”
Finally, we are to speak our praise to God, and for God continuously. The Scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to “say so” (Psam 107:2). We have an awful lot to be thankful for; and an awful lot to praise Him for. My preacher in Texas used to say, “if you’re not going to Hell, you ain’t got no problems; and you ought to be shouting.” He is right. I once heard Pastor Charlie Clark say, “Open your big, fat mouth, and praise God.” Perhaps if we started praising the Lord as we ought to, more people would be attracted to our God. Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 51 – 57 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17
Read the “0626 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” (Psalms 55:12-14)
It is not clear exactly what the context is surrounding Psalm 55. Some have claimed that David was referring to Saul; others have suggested that it was his son, Absalom; and still others believe that it could have been Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15) who was David’s counsellor but had turned against him. A man as great as David was, no doubt, had a lot of friends, along with a lot of enemies; and I am sure that he had several friends (and even family members) that turned on him. Nothing is quite as painful as the betrayal of a friend. It hurts deeply. You expect your enemies to treat you badly, but when a friend turns on you, it often takes you completely by surprise.
What can you do today when you are betrayed by a friend:
Pray – This whole Psalm is really a prayer from David regarding the situation. He gave the problem to the Lord. Resist the temptation to talk to people about the betrayers, and instead talk to the Lord. It is OK to “gossip” to the Lord.
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:16-17)
By the way, don’t just pray for the Lord to punish your enemy; pray that God will restore your friendship. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, which includes those enemies who used to be our friends. Pray also for God to show you where you might have failed as a friend yourself. It is very interesting that the person that betrays us often feels justified in their betrayal, and perhaps sometimes they are; not that their betrayal was necessarily right, but perhaps there may have been some underlying reasons, or hurt feelings that may have motivated the betrayal.
Love – You can continue to love and “do good to them which hate you”. This is certainly not easy, but it is the best way to demonstrate the love and grace of our Lord. He loves us, even though we fail Him continually, and even betray Him at times. We may never win back our friends, but we can make it easy for a restoration to take place. Continue to be a friend to those who no longer see you as a friend.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)
I think we all have been on both sides of this equation. I have had people that in my view have betrayed me; but I am also sure that there are people out there that would say that I have betrayed them; and I suppose there is some truth to that. We don’t always get it right, do we? But, we can strive to make things right with the people who are at odds with us.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Today’s Reading – Psalms 32 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8
Read the “0622 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1
The Book of Hebrews admonishes us to grow up in our faith and move beyond the foundational truths of the Christian life. That’s good advice: we cannot stay babies forever. However, it is wonderful to be reminded often about the simple truths of the forgiveness that God offers to all those who are willing to put their faith in Him. In this passage, there is a reminder to all of us who are saved. The verse above simply reminds us of the fact those who have their sins forgiven are a blessed people. To think that an omniscient God, who knows every sinful act of my past as well as every evil thought, would be willing to forgive me, and even look at me and treat as if I had never done or thought any of those horrible things.
It gets even better. Notice verse 2:
“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psalm 32:2)
It is one thing to choose to forgive the acts of the past; but to also forgive ahead of time all of our future transgressions is beyond comprehension. God loves us unconditionally. He says he will not “impute” our sin. The word impute means to assign to or credit to. God says that he will not assign or credit our debts or sins to our account. Why? Because 2000 years ago he laid all of the debt of my sin upon the His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus paid my sin debt for me. What a wonderful thought. Notice h
ow that happened to David:
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
He acknowledged his sin. He did not deny them or hide them. He then confessed them to God and asked the Lord for forgiveness. God could only forgive him because the debt would be paid by Christ. Have you confessed your sin to God, and asked Him for forgiveness? Have you come to the foot of the cross and called upon the name of the Lord for salvation. If you haven’t done so yet, please call upon Him today.
To those of us who have received the forgiveness of God through the remission of our sins, how are we at forgiving each other? God has forgiven everything that I have ever done or will do. What right do I have to withhold forgiveness from others? Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Psalms by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.