The Day After Easter

Yesterday we remembered and celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most important event in history. On Easter Sunday we are encouraged by the sacrifice of Jesus that paid for our sins, and reminded of what His sacrifice means for us as believers. Do not let Easter be the only day we remind ourselves of the importance of Christ. Remind yourself daily of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and let it affect every part of your life. We have been renewed and redeemed by a loving father and brought back into His presence to experience His goodness. Let this fill you with joy every morning and fill you peace as you go to sleep each night. You have been bought by the blood of Jesus.

Never Forget

Psalm 9:13-20

       Be gracious to me, O Lord!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah


Isaiah 56:5

I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.


Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"



Never Forget

This psalm moves suddenly from thanksgiving to a cry for help amid suffering. Life is like that. But David grabs hold of a truth that keeps him from sinking. The core sin is to forget that God is God and that we are not. And this is justice—those who forget God will be forgotten, but those who remember God will be remembered forever (Isaiah 56:5). Christians know of one who remembered God yet was completely forsaken (Matthew 27:46). But because Jesus died in our place, we can be even surer than David that God will always be there for us.

Prayer: Lord, so many of my problems stem from not remembering you. I forget your wisdom and so I worry. I forget your grace and so I get complacent. I forget your mercy and so I get resentful of others. Help me remember who you are every moment of the day. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Thanks

Psalm 9:1-12

       I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.




Thanks

This psalm helps us toward the spiritual health of a thankful heart. We must discern God’s “wonderful deeds” in our lives, a phrase that can refer to dramatic miracles like the parting of the Red Sea. However, we must also learn to see the more subtle ways God comforts us just when we were ready to give up, or brings the right friend or book or line of thinking into our lives just when we needed it. Recognize and tell of God’s daily, wonderful deeds, and you will have a note of grateful joy as the background music to your life.

Prayer: O Lord, you never forsake the troubled and the afflicted. When I think of your innumerable mercies to me, small and large, I can only cry. . . . What thanks I owe you, and what love! Help me to see the ways you support and guide me every day, so that I will always find new reasons to thank you. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Wonderful Care

Psalm 8

       O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!


Hebrews 2:5-9

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere, 
"What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet."
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.


Wonderful Care

The universe reveals God’s glory. Aren’t humans just specks of dust in this vastness? Physically, yes; yet we fill the mind of God (verse 4). The astonishment of the psalmist should be ours: Why should God care about us? Because he has made us in his image and given us the world he created to care for as his agents. Living with care for the land, sea, and air and all who live there, and doing justice for every human being stamped with his image, brings God glory. As a human race we are not doing this very well! But Jesus has come, and eventually the world will be under his feet (verse 6; Hebrews 2:5–9) and then everything will be made right.

Prayer: Majestic God, how is it possible that we fill your mind? You love and care for us so much you were willing to become a weak infant and vulnerable child, all in order to save us. Now help me, in all my daily interactions, to treat every person I meet as a being infinitely precious in your sight. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

The Self-Defeat of Evil

Psalm 7:12-17

       If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow;
13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.



The Self-Defeat of Evil

Because we live in a broken world, much injustice will go unpunished until the final day of judgment. However, most of the time, God’s justice works itself out within the fabric of history. Evil carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. Not only is it a bore—leading to dissatisfaction and emptiness (verse 14)—but it recoils on itself. You fall into the pit you have dug for others. Haters are hated, deceivers are deceived, gossips are gossiped about. Remember this until you are not intimidated, discouraged, or tempted by the wrongdoing you see around you.

Prayer: Lord, I admit that some of my resentment of those who wrong me is tinged with envy. They live as they choose, and they seem happier than I am. But that is an illusion. Evil is like cancer cells—they grow, but only toward collapse and destruction. Help me see that clearly, so I can forgive them and not be tempted by them. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

God on High

Psalm 7:6-11

       Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
over it return on high.
8 The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
10 My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.


John 12:32

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."



God on High

David has not done the things of which he is accused (verse 8). He wants God to take his throne on high (verse 7) and right all wrongs. He rightly leaves retribution to God, who alone has the wisdom to know what people deserve as well as the power and right to give it to them. So should we. But how can we be sure that we will survive Judgment Day? Christians know that before the Lord is lifted up on a throne to judge, first he will be lifted up on a cross to atone for sin (John 12:32). So on the final day a joy-filled, redeemed people will assemble at his feet (verse 7).

Prayer: Righteous Lord, I have many who falsely accuse me. Defend me from them! But I also know my sin, and my heart rightly accuses me. I rest in Jesus’s atoning death for me. “Be Thou my Shield and hiding Place, that, sheltered by Thy side, I may my fierce accuser face, and tell him Thou hast died (John Newton)!” Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Smear Campaign

Psalm 7:1-5

       O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.



Smear Campaign

How do we deal with gossip and slander and the loss of our reputation? David shows us straightaway. He doesn’t say, “I will take refuge in God,” but rather shows that he already has, that he is already safe. How can he feel that way before he knows whether the smear campaign will be thwarted? The answer: if we trust in God’s wisdom and will, then we have peace regardless of the immediate outcome. It is only God’s opinion of us that counts, and that will prevail.

Prayer: Lord, some criticisms are terribly unfair. My deepest comfort is knowing that you see all things and will in the end set all things right. So I will not desperately defend myself or strike out at my accusers and insinuators. You know the truth, and that suffices for me. I leave this all in your hands. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Waiting is Hard

Psalm 6

       O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.


Hebrew 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,



Waiting is Hard

“How long, O Lord, how long?” is the cry of someone who has walked with more pain and sickness than he thought he could ever bear. God hears the prayers of the faltering because of his “unfailing love” (the Hebrew chesedh, the steadfast love of a covenant God who cares for us not because we are perfect but because he is) (verse 4). Though David scarcely has the heart to pray, his tears are not in vain. He gets an “answering touch” (verses 8–9)—an assurance that God is listening even though he hasn’t done anything about the circumstances—yet (verse 10). God walks with us, and helps us to “run with perseverance the race” (Hebrews 12:1).

Prayer: “Thy promise is my only plea—with this I venture nigh. Thou callest burdened souls to Thee, and such, O Lord, am I (John Newton).” I know that your love is unfailing even if I don’t feel it. But I ask that in your grace you touch me and give me a sense of your presence at my side. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Praying For Protection

Psalm 5:7-12

      But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.


John 2:20-21

The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21But he was speaking about the temple of his body.



Praying for Protection

David’s psalms often speak of enemies. Ancient kings were always in danger of people trying to kill them. We may have fewer enemies intent on physical violence, but there are many forces in the world that can ruin us economically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We must do what David did. He asks God to spread his protection over him. He is sure God will do this because he looks toward his temple, the place where sins are atoned for. Christians do the same when they remember the One who claimed to be the final temple (John 2:20–21), the ultimate sacrifice, and the conclusive proof of God’s great love for us.

Prayer: Righteous Lord, I ask for protection from all the hostile forces around me. But when I get indignant about evil in others, I remember my own sin, and that I can come near you only by your grace. How I need to hate wrongdoing and yet not become angry and begin to feel superior to others! Keep me safe, but keep me humbled. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Pouring Out Our Heart

Psalm 5:1-6

      Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.


Exodus 6:7

I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.



Pouring Out Our Heart

Many of the psalms begin with desperate “laments”— cries for help from deep within. This is uncensored prayer, straight from the heart. Even when we have no words to express our anguish, we can lay our requests before God. He expects us to come to him for refuge from our grief, fear, and pain and not to dull those emotions with amusements and distractions that promise, but can never deliver, blessing. We are to have confidence that he is the God who told Moses that he would faithfully commit himself in love to us, in grace, despite our sins and flaws (Exodus 6:7).

Prayer: All-knowing Lord, you see what is in my heart. All-powerful Lord, I don’t have the power to accomplish what needs to be done, so I spread out my requests before you. All-wise Lord, I know you hear and will act—but I know also I must wait on your wise timing, and so I will. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Joy Apart From Circumstances

Psalm 4

     Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!"
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.



Joy Apart from Circumstances

How can we have peaceful sleep at night (verse 8) and joy—even when others are prospering and we are not (verse 7)? Consider whether you have a divided heart—making success or relationships into idols—and repent (verse 2). Consider whether you have a bitter heart—and forgive (verse 4). Finally, in prayer, seek God’s face, a sense of his presence and his love on your heart (verse 6). Then we can know we are safe in God, come what may.

Prayer: Lord, other “gods” compete with you for the allegiance of my heart. I nurse resentment toward people who have wronged me, and sometimes toward you. It is these things that keep me from knowing the joy of your presence and the peace of your protection. Help me remove them and fill my heart with your joy. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Peace Amid Danger

Psalm 3

    O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
"There is no salvation for him in God." Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!



Peace Amid Danger

David’s son Absalom was trying to kill him. The seeds of that family dysfunction are David’s own fault. He had wanted Absalom’s love so much he never corrected him, even when Absalom murdered one of his brothers. Now David is fleeing to save his own life. In this prayer he realizes that neither a son’s love nor popular acclaim can serve as a person’s worth or security. David relocates his glory and hope to God and finds peace despite danger. God is the only one who sustains you, whether an army is pursuing you or you are at home in your own bed. God sustains every breath you take.

Prayer: Lord and Savior, I am facing so many troubles, some of my own making. But I can hold my head up because I am your child and servant. So be my shield—protect me. And be my glory—give me confidence that you are with me and will bring me through this. Help me! Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.

Refuge in God

Psalm 2:5-12

   Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 "As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.



Refuge in God

God’s response to human pride and power is to install his “son” on Zion. This points beyond Israel’s king to Jesus, God’s true Son. One day he will put everything right; but he will do this by going first to Zion—to Jerusalem—to die for our sins. To “kiss his son” is to rest in and live for him. If we do this, we have assurance that no matter what happens to us, ultimately everything will be all right. If we don’t live for him, we end up fighting God himself. So “there is no refuge from him—only in him (Derek Kidner)."

Prayer: Lord, your answer to the chaos and strife of the world is your Son, Jesus Christ. He will eventually break brokenness, kill death, destroy destruction, and swallow every sorrow. Teach me how to take refuge in you—in your forgiveness through Jesus, in your wise will, and in my assured, glorious future. Amen.


*Excerpt from The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller

Blessings.