Old Testament In a Year: August 20 – Psalms 87, 88

Psalms 87, 88
Focus Verse: But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. – Psalm 88:13

There will be times in life when nothing seems to work right for you. Instead of everything falling together, everything will seem to be falling apart.

It may seem like you are forsaken and forgotten by God, but you are not. Though it may seem like He doesn’t hear, continue to cry out to Him. Though He may not answer right away, keep praying to Him. Don’t allow disappointment, trouble, or pain to silence you. The fact that you are still alive is proof that God still has a plan for you and an interest in you.

Old Testament In a Year: August 19 – Psalms 73, 85

Psalms 73, 85
Focus Verse: But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. – Psalm 73:28

Nearness to God is our good. It is good for us to be near the One who created us, to be near the One who loves us the most and the best, to be near the One who will never leave or forsake us, and to be near the One who is a safe shelter in storms and a solid rock amid sinking sand.

We should not only draw near to God because doing so is good for us, but we should also draw near to Him so that others will come to know about His goodness.

The more we experience God, the better we will be able to relate Him to others. The closer we are to God, the closer we can bring others to Him. May one of our prayers be that of the popular hymn:

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee / Even though it be a cross that raiseth me / Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.

Old Testament In a Year: August 18 – Psalms 48, 49, 50

Psalms 48, 49, 50
Focus Verse: That this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. – Psalm 48:14

The God who created the world, delivered the Israelites, performed miracles, and executed countless other great acts is your God for ever and ever. He will always be true to you, always remain faithful to you; and hopefully, you will remain faithful to Him.

He will guide you forever, even unto death. This means that His love, goodness, grace, guidance, and mercy will continue even after you depart this world. It will extend in the land beyond the grave.

Old Testament In a Year: August 17 – Psalms 45, 46, 47

Psalms 45, 46, 47
Focus Verse: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Present is defined as a person or thing “existing or occurring now.” This means that God is your refuge NOW. He is your strength NOW. He is a help NOW.

When in trouble, David wants us to know that God exists to help us in that moment. He is not a past help or a future help, but a present help.

He was not only available to help us when we were previously in trouble. He will not only be available to help us when we are in trouble at some time to come. God is available to help us right now, right here, today.

Old Testament In a Year: August 16 – 1 Chronicles 16; Psalms 42, 44

1 Chronicles 16; Psalms 42, 44
Focus Verse: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. – Psalm 42:11

With all the hardships and problems that we go through and that others go through in life, it is easy for our souls to be cast down. With the unrelenting darkness that seems to permeate everything, it’s easy for our minds to be in turmoil and our hearts to be conflicted.

Sometimes, it seems like we cry more than we smile. There is more sadness in our lives than there is joy; more uncertainty, less assurance; more fear, less faith; more pressure, less peace.

We are familiar with stories in the Bible where God worked miracles for His people. He showed Joseph favor. He parted the Red Sea and brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. He gave David victory and gave Solomon wisdom. He gave Ruth a family and an inheritance. He gave Esther courage.

God always seemed to hear the prayers of figures in the Bible. He always seemed to be at work in their lives. He always seemed to be near to deliver them when they were in distress. He always seemed to work everything out for their good. But when it comes to our lives, God seems distant. We pray, but don’t get an answer. We call, but receive no response.

This doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work in your life. He is.

Hold on and hope in Him. He will finish the work He began. He will work everything out for your good.

Old Testament In a Year: August 10 – Psalms 149, 150

Psalms 149, 150
Focus Verse: Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! – Psalm 150:4

The idea in this passage is that everything and everybody should praise the Lord. They should praise Him wherever they are (sanctuary, mighty heavens, etc.). They should praise Him for whatever He’s done (mighty deeds, excellent greatness, etc.). And they should praise Him with whatever they have (trumpet sound, lute, harp, tambourine, dance, etc.).

Praising the Lord is not limited to when we go to church and watch the choir sing.

Praise is a way of life. Praise should be what we do regardless of where we are or what we have or don’t have.

We don’t have to be musically inclined to praise the Lord either. God has given each one of us different talents and gifts, and we can praise Him with those, whether it be writing or athletics or arts or missions. Whatever, wherever, whoever – let’s praise the Lord.

Old Testament In a Year: August 9 – Psalms 147, 148

Psalms 147, 148
Focus Verse: But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. – Psalm 147:11

Even though we know from Scripture that God looks at the heart, we still often place focus on our external appearances.

How we look. What we wear. The kind of car we drive. Where we live. How many likes, connects, fans, friends, and follows our social pages have. How many degrees we have. Who we appear with in public.

But God does not delight in the things that we delight in. He does not delight in the person who has strength and wealth, higher education and good health, elevated social status and hundreds of possessions.

God delights in the person who fears, loves, and respects Him. He takes pleasure in the person who hopes in Him. It is not the physical, material, and financial stuff we acquire in life that gets God’s attention. While that is all that other people may see; God sees past that and takes notice of that which is invisible to the human eye.

It is still the heart that grabs God’s attention; the soul that delights Him; and the mind that moves Him.

Old Testament In a Year: August 8 – Psalms 136, 146

Psalms 136, 146
Focus Verse: It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever. – Psalm 136:23

When we were a wreck and a mess, when our lives were broken and seemed worthless, when we had fallen and failed, when we were cut off from God and His goodness, when we were in the lowest of places, God thought of us. He did not forget us. He remembered us. He sent His Son to reunite us to Himself.

A New Testament Scripture says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He didn’t wait for us to become perfect. He didn’t wait for us to get our life together. He didn’t wait for us to move from our low estate to our high estate. God met us right where we were.

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of love; an unforgettable demonstration of God’s steadfast and everlasting love. Through His love, God works wonder out of our wrecks. He shows mercy in the middle of our messes. He transforms broken into beautiful and gives worth to that which seems worthless. Amid our falls and failures, God remains faithful. From the lowest depths, He lifts us to the highest heights.

His love for us is forever.

Old Testament In a Year: August 7 – Psalms 133, 134, 135

Psalms 133, 134, 135
Focus Verse: Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord. – Psalm 135:1

This passage doesn’t ask if we want to praise the Lord. It doesn’t suggest that we praise the Lord. It commands us to praise the Lord.

Whether we’re feeling happy or sad, good or bad, going through difficulty or having the time of our life, we are expected to praise the Lord. Why? Because He is good. Because His name is pleasant.

The Lord is great and above all else. He does whatever He pleases, and all that He pleases is good. He performs miracles and His name endures forever. And even if we weren’t sure about any of this other stuff, we are sure about the good that God has done in our lives. We are certain about the work that He has done in our hearts. Therefore, He deserves to be praised.