Reading the Scriptures Together: Week of April 29, 2018

Reading the Scriptures Together is a weekly post that is intended to serve as an extension of our Sunday Sermons. This reading plan is a compliment to the sermon, Psalm 16: Our Refuge and Our Joy, Now and Forever. 

Monday: Psalm 16

Take time to read the Psalm that we considered on Sunday. The notes from the message are available on our website. As you read pay close attention to the many things David says God is for him: God is his refuge, his good, his portion, his inheritance, his counselor, his protector, his joy and his everlasting pleasure. Then, consider your own heart: Do you see God as your good and as the one who fully satisfies or are you searching for other things that can give you joy? Whose opinion do you value the most, where do you go for advice, is the Lord your counselor? Do you trust Him to be your refuge and your place of safety or do you run to other people or things for shelter? As you finish, pray and ask God to help you rely on him to be all of these things for you.

Tuesday: Philippians 3

In Psalm 16 David expresses that God is his ultimate good and that to have Him is to have everything he needs for satisfaction and joy. In many ways Paul expresses the same thing in Philippians 3. Paul has been changed by Jesus and believes that knowing Him is more valuable than anything else. Because knowing Christ is his ultimate aim, everything else seems worthless in comparison. As you read consider your own affections and desires: How much do you value knowing Christ? Who or what do you look to for satisfaction and joy? What do you have planned this week that shows that learning about Christ and pursuing Him is your priority?

Wednesday: Psalm 73

For many of us there will be times when we are tempted to think that faithfully following God is futile. As we look around we see people who live without any acknowledgement of God and yet seem to have everything they want and are fully satisfied; at the same time we’re struggling to put one foot in front of the other. This is the story of Asaph in Psalm 73. In verses 2-15 he describes people who reject God and yet seem to be prospering. As he sees their ways of life and their apparent blessings he concludes that his pursuit of God is a waste of time. However, in verse 17 there is a transition: Asaph goes into the sanctuary of God and is reminded of the big picture. He is reminded that in eternity those who oppose God will be judged and those who have followed God will be blessed forever. The final part of the Psalm is a song of praise as Asaph (like David in Psalm 16) declares that God is all he needs and that God is his everlasting joy. As you read the Psalm consider this: Are you ever tempted to think that those without God are better off than you and that somehow God has failed you? Ask God to open your eyes in the same way He opened the eyes of Asaph so you can see things as they really are.

Thursday: Acts 2

Acts 2 marks an important transition in the story of the people of God. In Acts 1 Jesus ascends from earth and returns to Heaven to be with the Father. As He leaves He tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Just days later, on the day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast) the Spirit comes to those who believe and reveals Himself through the gift of tongues (everyone was miraculously able to hear the teaching of the Apostles in their original language). After the coming of the Spirit Peter speaks to the crowd and in his message he quotes Psalm 16 (verses 25-28) and explains that Psalm 16 is a Psalm of Jesus – it is about him (Acts 2:29-36). As we said on Sunday, this is very good news for us: the fact that Psalm 16 has been fulfilled in Jesus is the guarantee that Psalm 16 can also be true for us. Because Jesus did not remain in the grave we too have the hope of eternal life. Because Jesus entered eternal joy, we too can enter the joy of God for eternity. (For more on how Psalm 16 applies to Jesus and also to us, go back to the message from Sunday and listen starting around minute 36).

Friday: Acts 13:13-52

Just as in Acts 2 Peter quotes Psalm 16 and applies it to Jesus, now in Acts 13 we have Paul quoting Psalm 16 and applying it to Jesus (Acts 13:34-39). Once again, this is good news for us. The hope of Psalm 16 is available to us because of the work of Jesus. Because Jesus did not see corruption, we too can escape corruption. Because Jesus lives and is experiencing the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore, the same can be true of us – if we trust in Him. As you consider the hope of Psalm 16, take time to thank Jesus for making all of this possible.

Saturday: Psalm 19

Read Psalm 19 in preparation for our service on Sunday. As you read ask yourself these questions: What does this Psalm teach us about God? What does this Psalm teach us about ourselves? Also, take time to write down questions that you have about the Psalm, then come on Sunday and listen for answers to those questions.

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