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Old Testament

Psalms

Day 1 & 2

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READ: Psalms 1-6

THINK: What difference does trusting God make in your life? If you're going to influence others for Jesus, they must notice a positive difference between your life and theirs. The book of Psalms opens by emphasizing the distinction that should be apparent between those who trust God and follow His ways and those who reject Him and go their own ways. While the main difference is an inward spiritual transformation, there should also be outward evidence. True followers of Christ can be recognized, in part, by what they do and don't do, the places they go and don't go, and the company they do and don't keep. A person cannot experience God's favor without avoiding things that defy Him or are spiritually harmful to others. Even so, sincere followers of God not only avoid evil, but also build their lives around God's Word, actively and positively pursuing His purposes.

RESPOND: According to Psalm 1, what kind of person is blessed, what does this person desire, and what does he or she do? (See 1:1 and 1:2 notes.) What does it mean to meditate on God's law? (See 1:2 second note.) What benefits and assurances can we have by spending time in God's Word and following His instructions? (See 1:3 note.) How does God respond to those who defy Him? (See 2:1-12 note.) Who is the "Anointed One" mentioned in 2:2, what would He do, and what authority does He have? (See 2:2, 2:7 and 2:8 notes.) In what way is God a shield to His people, and why is it important to remember this? (See 3:3 note.) What kind of people does God answer when they are in distress? (See 4:1-8 and 4:3 notes.) Why is it important to "wait in expectation" (5:3) for God's answers to prayer? (See 5:3 note.) What comfort and confidence can you have when experiencing sincere sorrow and godly discipline? (See 6:1-10 notes.) What attitudes must you maintain during such times? (See 6:2 and 6:4 notes.)

PRAY: Pray that God's Word remains on your mind so you're always thinking of ways to put it into practice. Give God thanks for the benefits of living by His Word. Pray for patience regarding God's work in your life.

ACT: Record two favorite Bible verses on a note card or in some form you'll notice throughout the day. Ponder the verses over and over, considering how they apply in various situations. Look for specific ways to put into practice the instructions, principles or promises of these verses. (Review the "meditation" questions in the 1:2 second note.)


READ: Psalms 7-10

THINK: Have you ever stopped for any length of time to stare at a starry sky? What ran through your mind? Perhaps you were overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe or simply amazed by the wonder of God's creation. It can certainly make us feel small, even insignificant, to consider where we fit into God's plans. And yet, we must never take for granted the honor and responsibility God places on humanity-particularly those who follow Him. In fact, He has entrusted us with care over His creation and favored us with freedom to choose how we will respond to Him. Remember that no matter what's going on around you, God is looking out for you. The One who sustains all creation is able to bring you through any situation and use you to accomplish any purpose He desires.

RESPOND: What should we do and how should we respond when unfairly treated, falsely accused or spiritually attacked? (See 7:1-17 note and 7:1 notes.) What benefits can you experience by keeping a clear conscience and making a sincere effort to keep your heart right with God? (See 7:10 note.) How do you feel when considering the wonders of God's character and creation (8:1-4)? What honor has God given to humans in relation to all creation, and how should we respond (8:5-10)? (See 8:5 note.) Why is it vital to praise the Lord, and for what reasons or things can you praise Him (cf. 9:1-2)? How will God eventually judge the world, and what encouragement can His followers take from this? (See 9:8 note.) What promise and hope do God's people have if they experience need, trouble or hardship? (See 9:18 note.) Why does it sometimes seem that God is far off or uninvolved in times of trouble and injustice? (See 10:1-18 note.) What thoughts and assurances should we hold on to during such times?

PRAY: Ask God to help you keep a clear conscience toward Him. Take time to praise God for the wonders of His creation and the perfection of His character. Give thanks for the hope God gives in times of trouble.

ACT: Throughout the day take particular notice of situations in which tragedy, injustice or wickedness seem to prevail and God may seem distant. Pray for the people involved and ask God to work His purposes through and despite these situations. Pray that His justice will ultimately prevail. Also, notice situations and things in God's creation for which you can praise Him throughout the day. Later, read the article on Praise, p. 690 in the FBSE.


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