Comments are off for this post

{August 2, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

ROOTED: Encountering God Through Psalms

By Rhonda Stock

Blessed. The first word of the first chapter of the book of Psalms in the King James Version. Blessed. The Amplified Version defines blessed as “fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God.”

Psalm 1 is really a summary of all the Psalms that will follow. It boils the entire book down to its essence. The great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote, “It is the psalmist’s purpose to teach the way to blessedness and to warn of the sure destruction of sinners” (The Treasury of David, updated by Roy H. Clarke,1997). The Psalms teach us the steps we must take to be “favored by God,” and warn us of the paths we must avoid. The Psalms essentially give us a blueprint for following Jesus and deepening our faith.

Blessed. What does it mean for a Jesus-follower to be “blessed”? According to Psalm 1, we are blessed when we “do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” We are blessed when we “delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.”

Blessed. We as Jesus-followers are blessed when we root ourselves in the Word of God and use that Word as our guide through life. Yes, we have friends who do not follow Jesus, but we do not rely on them for counsel because their perspective is not grounded in the Word. We do not participate in their ungodly activities. We love them and we cherish their friendship, but we also stand apart. We are different—not superior, but different. As Spurgeon writes, each of us is a “blood-washed sinner, made alive by the Holy Spirit and renewed in heart.” By standing apart from our friends who don’t follow Jesus, we tell them, “I serve a God who has cleansed me and set me free. What He did for me, He can do for you, too!”

Blessed. As Jesus-followers, we often fret over what the “will of God” is. What does God want from us? Are we doing what God wants us to do? How can we know for sure? This Psalm makes it simple: delight in the law of the Lord (“His precepts and teachings,” according to the Amplified version). Take joy in His Word. Meditate (to ponder) on His Word regularly, “day and night.” Write out a Psalm and stick it on the visor of your car; read it when you are at a stoplight. Post it next to your computer at work and on your refrigerator at home. Think about it. Ask God, “What are you saying to me in these words?”

Be blessed.

 

{sunday 8.2.20}

Read Psalm 22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Do you have a favorite Psalm? Perhaps you love Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” arguably the most famous Psalm of all time. Maybe you like portions of Psalm 119, the longest Psalm of all. Pick a Psalm to meditate on this week (a good place to start might be Psalm 1). Read it in different translations (the free YouVersion Bible app offers many different translations). Write or type it so that you may keep it with you to glance at throughout the day. Let it be the last thing you read at night so that it is on your mind as you drift off to sleep.

Did you know Jesus quoted Psalms when He was dying on the Cross? Matthew 27:46, At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” This is from Psalm 22:1. Read the entire Psalm and ponder how it relates to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Especially notice the final verses of the Psalm; a song that begins as a lament ends in a cry of victory!

 

{bible reading plan: acts of the apostles}

By Rhonda Stock

The Journey online videos have been discontinued at this time. Check out this great overview of Psalms from our friends at The Bible Reading Project!

{monday 8.3.20}

Read Psalm 1

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Psalm 1:3 tells us that when we “delight in the law of the Lord” (vs. 2), we “are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” I like the idea that we are planted on the riverbank. God chose us and carefully placed us in the exact place He wanted us. We didn’t just happen to land on a riverbank one day and take root like some wild seed the wind had blown in. God chose us and nurtured us. We are part of His plan. Celebrate that God chose you, with all your imperfections and doubts. He has a plan and a purpose for you, and is cultivating you so that you will bring forth good fruit.

 

{tuesday 8.4.20}

Read Psalm 2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The world is a crazy place right now. Psalm 2:1 seems apt today: Why are the nations so angry? The Amplified Version phrases it this way: "Why are the nations in an uproar [in turmoil against God…i.e. a confusion of voices]”. It is easy for us to lose our way in all this confusion and turmoil. Which expert should we listen to? Which medical study is more reliable? Who is the better candidate in this election year? But the Psalm ends with this: But what joy for all who take refuge in him! Turn to God. Let Him be your strength and your refuge. Take time to shut out the world and find comfort in His Word and in prayer. Strengthen yourself. The world may fall apart, but God will shelter you.

 

{wednesday 8.5.20}

Read Psalm 3

Observe, Reflect, Apply: King David wrote this Psalm when he was running for his life from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15). Absalom wanted the throne. Somehow he managed to turn the people against David, and David was forced to flee the palace and hide in the wilderness outside of Jerusalem. The situation looked hopeless. David was in anguish, but he knew God was still in control. In Psalm 3:3, David says the Lord is “a shield around me”. Charles Spurgeon describes this “shield” as a “buckler that gives complete protection, a shield above, beneath, around, without, and within…at the same moment, He speaks peace to the inner tempest.” Let God be your shield today. Allow Him to surround you with His love and protection. Rest in His peace. 

 

{thursday 8.6.20}

Read Psalm 4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Do you ever struggle to fall asleep at night? You toss, you turn, you keep thinking of that memo the boss sent out and you wonder what it might mean…you haven’t heard from the doctor yet about that test last week; it might be cancer…you remember that you forgot to put money on your kid’s lunch account and hope you can get it done in the morning so the kid won’t starve…oh, and you better get gas on the way to work, which will make you late, but not as late as if you ran out of gas…It can be hard to turn off our brains. We try to count sheep, but even the sheep are wearing running shoes and carrying brief cases. Next time this happens, try meditating on Psalm 4:8. Think about what it means to rest in Him, to relax in the peace only He can give. Charles Spurgeon, in his book The Treasury of David, writes, “Now I know that my God and Father will hear when I call in Jesus’ name and when I look to Him for acceptance for Jesus’ sake! Lord, my heart is fixed, Jesus is my hope and righteousness. The Lord will hear when I call. I will lay down in peace and sleep securely in Jesus, accepted in the Beloved. This is the rest where the Lord causes the weary to rest. This is the refreshing.” You are loved. You are accepted. You are His. Rest.

 

{friday 8.7.20}

Read Psalm 5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: When we think of a shield, we tend to think of the kind of defensive weapons shown in movies such as Lord of the Rings. In Bible times, however, a shield could also be something much larger, a device that almost surrounded a warrior and was almost the full length of his body. That is the kind of shield mentioned in Psalm 5:12. When we take refuge in Jesus, He surrounds us with His favor. God’s favor can take many forms. It might be physical protection—who knows how many car accidents we have avoided without knowing, simply because God’s favor surrounded us? It might be spiritual protection from the forces of darkness that come against us. Whatever form it takes, God’s favor and blessing surround us because we live in obedience to Him.

 

{community discussion questions}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as a Journey Community group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters on your journey.

  • Can you name a takeaway or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

 

© 2020 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

Sign
up
to receive our future emails.

 


Comments are closed.