Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, October 19. Read Psalm 119:1-3. 1) Who does the Psalmist pronounce as “happy” or “blessed?” 2) What helps them to achieve that state of happiness?
Tuesday, October 20. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-6. 1) Deuteronomy is the record of instructions given to the Israelites before they went into the land of Canaan. 2) What did Moses instruct them to do to be “blessed?”
Wednesday, October 21. Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. 1) Psalm 1 talks about a tree that prospers. Matthew 13 talks about seed that bears fruit. 2) How are they similar? 3) What are the enemies to growth?
Thursday, October 22. Read Psalm 37:18-24. 1) What happens to the “blameless” according to the Psalmist? 2) What kind of person is he describing?
Friday, October 23. Read Psalm 119:9-16. 1) What do you think is the secret to being pure? 2) Why do you think the word of God has such power?
Saturday, October 24. Read Psalm 1:1-6. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, we thank you for this simple yet profound wisdom poem you have left us. And it has said correctly that we are at our peak of happiness when we devote our lives to faithful obedience to you alone. Please help us to keep our focus on that, not being distracted by those who are nothing more than chaff, without wisdom or purpose. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hymn for the Week:
As a Tree Beside the Water
by A. H. Ackley, 1920
As a tree beside the water,
Has the Savior planted me;
All my fruit shall be in season,
I shall live eternally.
I shall not be moved,
I shall not be moved;
Anchored to the Rock of Ages,
I shall not be moved.
Tho’ the tempest rage around me,
Thro’ the storm my Lord I see,
Pointing upward to that haven,
Where my loved ones wait for me. [Chorus]
When by grief my heart is broken,
And the sunshine steals away,
Then His grace, in mercy given,
Changes darkness into day. [Chorus]
When at last I stand before Him,
Oh, what joy it will afford,
Just to see the sinner ransomed,
And behold my sov’reign Lord. [Chorus]
Devotional Article for the Week:
Dancing on the Rim of Mystery
by Lynn Anderson
You were learning to dance on the rim of mystery, looking for depth and peace. Some of your first steps were: 1) slow down, 2) find some solitude and 3) simplify your life.
Keep in touch with all that you are and all that God is, you may need to become more reflective. Scripture reminds us that the really blessed people meditate day and night, and are like trees planted by the river, drinking up nourishment and life. Remember, rich faith doesn’t stop at the surface level.
It is planted in fertile soil and draws life from the deep places. The Psalmist goes on to indicate that those who don’t dig in and go deep get pushed around a lot. They are at the mercy of their environment like “the chaff that the wind drives away.” (see Psalm 1)
The deepest of meaning and vitality are found in the mystery of things, even the smallest and most commonplace. We need eyes that see and ears that hear… because down under the surface, beneath what we have always seen and heard and always expect to see and hear, run deeper meanings and realities waiting to be tapped. Says Samuel Miller,
We need to cast away our precious securities, in order to see what is happening for the first time at a new level, with all the fresh vigor of creation’s first morning… Creation is still a reality, but only when we are able and willing to stand face-to-face with its disturbing mystery. It is a mystery that constitutes the climate for believing and without the mystery any faith is a bore.
Dare to reflect!
Dare to reflect! Settle down beside the drama, the poetry, the mystery of whatever faith we have. Reflect on the tough stuff, too. How do you handle pain, boredom, sickness, tragedy, death, life, birth, and nature? This will wake up your slumbering self at levels that can be reached in no other way. Don’t be afraid to do this! The Christian faith looks further into what life means than most casual observers see at first glance.
So don’t stand back. Come inside the faith. Take that daring leap. Like swimmers in the tide, rather than fighting the forces around us, we need to feel for the current and relax ourselves into its flow. Don’t fight faith. Don’t merely analyze it. Revel in it. In Him! He won’t let you drown.
If you have never had faith, you can learn to believe.
If your faith has gone flat, it can be freshened.
Sure, it may require new habits of thought, new disciplines, new direction. And, of course, it demands a choice that you make and keep on making. But the miracle is not your own ability to be reborn, rather it is the unlimited grace available to you. Hope may be just beyond your first step. Come dance with me on the rim of mystery.
You can believe! Faith can be found — and renewed!