Happy Thanksgiving!!

This year we asked the Staff at Central what they were thankful for…here’s a little glimpse into the hearts of your Staff…
Alisa

I am thankful for the kind hearted people of Central Christian Church. And for coffee.

Alissa

I am thankful for the “8-15” God put in my life. They are all people I never thought I would have anything in common with and now they are some of my closest friends. Now to get them to JESUS!

Andrew

I’m thankful for the way I feel supported and loved by my church family.

I’m thankful that God is in control and works all things to good.

Bev

I am thankful for my whole family, especially my husband, kids and their kids.

I am also thankful for the Count team and their faithfulness.

Christina

I’m thankful that God gently prepares us for each coming season of life.

I’m thankful for the family of God who pray together, encourage each other, comfort one another, and lean into God as one.

Cyndy

I am thankful for my community group who is there to encourage, to challenge and to laugh and cry with.

I am thankful for the times when my family can all be together and sit around the table to share a meal and talk and laugh and have a great time!

Debbie

I am thankful that for the mornings when I head out to drop my daughter Alli off at school…I can look up at the beautifully painted sky and tell her that we know the Artist and He loves us!

I am thankful for the smiling faces that greet me every morning when I get to work.

I am thankful for a husband who will wash the dishes after dinner!

Evelyn

To this day I still stand amazed that God has provided this work place for me. After 13 years I still love to be here with the most amazing people…God’s people. That is what I am very thankful for. He has blessed me with the most amazing job to help and serve and I love to be here every day! Thank you LORD!!

Gerry

I am thankful for a warm home to live in…

I am thankful to spend time with my two sons on Thanksgiving

I am thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning!

Jim

I am thankful for the opportunity Central provides for my family and I to worship and serve, a home that allows us to use our gifts for His service.

John

…for the gifts given by God – for His Son (my Savior and Lord) and the life I now have

…for the wonderful gift of my wife and the love she has for her Lord and Savior

Mark

I am thankful for my family, they have been a great help this past year.

Matt

What am I thankful for? Debt paid off, fantastic staff, great leaders, and an outstanding Central family. Folks inviting their 8-15. Dozens of rose bushes. Speaking of family…time together with my amazing wife and incredible sons. Just a few things.

Myron

I am thankful for a beautiful, loving wife and two great kids who love the Lord. I am also thankful for so many of God’s blessings and His faithfulness to supply all my needs throughout my life.

Ricky

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving… (1 Tim. 4:4 ESV)

I am thankful for the gift of life and new life

I am thankful for my beautiful wife and baby

I am thankful that God is always at work in my life and in the lives of the people around me

I am thankful for food and drink and good books!

I am thankful for friends that like to have fun and enjoy life

I am thankful for belonging to a church that relentlessly strives to honor Christ

I am thankful that God continues to reveal more and more of who He is as I study His Word

Sheryl

I am thankful for the technology that allows me to stay in touch with my family, especially during the holidays.

I am thankful for my friends and my church who have become my family.

I am thankful for hot coffee and warm fires…

Don’t let another moment go by without acknowledging what you’re thankful for! We have a BIG God, who has done…and will do…BIG things!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

July 22 – OT Reading

Psalm 111-118

Psalm 111

The Lord Praised for His Goodness.

111 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonders to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

 

Psalm 112

Prosperity of the One Who Fears the Lord.

112 Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. Light arises in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous. It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever.

He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries. He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor.

10 The wicked will see it and be vexed, He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked will perish.

 

Psalm 113

The Lord Exalts the Humble.

113 Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, Praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord From this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth? He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the needy from the ash heap, To make them sit with princes, With the princes of His people. He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 114

God’s Deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

114 When Israel went forth from Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became His sanctuary, Israel, His dominion.

The sea looked and fled; The Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, The hills, like lambs. What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, before the Lord, Before the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of water.

 

Psalm 115

Heathen Idols Contrasted with the Lord.

115 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. 12 The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. 13 He will bless those who fear the Lord, The small together with the great. 14 May the Lord give you increase, You and your children. 15 May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.

16 The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. 17 The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor do any who go down into silence; 18 But as for us, we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 116

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death.

116 I love the Lord, because He hears My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I beseech You, save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord In the land of the living. 10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” 11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord. 14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people. 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. 16 O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. 17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord. 18 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 117

A Psalm of Praise.

117 Praise the Lord, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 118

Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Saving Goodness.

118 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Oh let Israel say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Oh let the house of Aaron say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Oh let those who fear the Lord say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place. The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord Than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord Than to trust in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me; In the name of the Lord I will surely cut them off. 11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me; In the name of the Lord I will surely cut them off. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were extinguished as a fire of thorns; In the name of the Lord I will surely cut them off. 13 You pushed me violently so that I was falling, But the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 17 I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the Lord. 18 The Lord has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; The righteous will enter through it. 21 I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; We have blessed you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 25 – OT Reading

Psalm 89/96/100-101/105/132

Psalm 89

The Lord’s Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

89 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.” 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.

5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord, 7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. 15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. 17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 22 “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 24 “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. 25 “I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. 26 “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29 “So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven.

30 “If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, 31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. 33 “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 34 “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 36 “His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. 37 “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah.

38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust. 40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have not made him stand in battle. 44 You have made his splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah.

46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men! 48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.

49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

 

Psalm 96

A Call to Worship the Lord the Righteous Judge.

96 Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. 3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; Bring an offering and come into His courts. 9 Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; 12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

 

Psalm 100

All Men Exhorted to Praise God.

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

100 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

 

Psalm 101

The Psalmist’s Profession of Uprightness.

A Psalm of David.

101 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. 5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. 7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.

 

Psalm 105

The Lord’s Wonderful Works in Behalf of Israel.

105 Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. 3 Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. 4 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. 5 Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, 6 O seed of Abraham, His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! 7 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.

8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” 12 When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in it. 13 And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes: 15 “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

16 And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; 19 Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the Lord tested him. 20 The king sent and released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions, 22 To imprison his princes at will, That he might teach his elders wisdom. 23 Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than their adversaries.

25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To deal craftily with His servants. 26 He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen. 27 They performed His wondrous acts among them, And miracles in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His words. 29 He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs Even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies And gnats in all their territory. 32 He gave them hail for rain, And flaming fire in their land. 33 He struck down their vines also and their fig trees, And shattered the trees of their territory. 34 He spoke, and locusts came, And young locusts, even without number, 35 And ate up all vegetation in their land, And ate up the fruit of their ground. 36 He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, The first fruits of all their vigor.

37 Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, For the dread of them had fallen upon them. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to illumine by night. 40 They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. 42 For He remembered His holy word With Abraham His servant; 43 And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. 44 He gave them also the lands of the nations, That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor, 45 So that they might keep His statutes And observe His laws, Praise the Lord!

 

Psalm 132

Prayer for the Lord’s Blessing upon the Sanctuary.

A Song of Ascents.

132 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 2 How he swore to the Lord And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 3 “Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar. 7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. 8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy.

10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed. 11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 12 “If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 “I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. 16 “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. 17 “There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. 18 “His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.”

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 24 – OT Reading

Psalm 1-2/15/22-24/47/68

 

Psalm 1

BOOK 1

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

 

Psalm 2

The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed.

Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”

He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

 

Psalm 15

Description of a Citizen of Zion.

A Psalm of David.

15 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

 

Psalm 22

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.

For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.

22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. 2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 8 “Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. 24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. 28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

 

Psalm 23

The Lord, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Psalm 24

The King of Glory Entering Zion.

A Psalm of David.

24 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face—even Jacob. Selah.

7 Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! 8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.

 

Psalm 47

God the King of the Earth.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

47 O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.

God has ascended with a shout, The Lord, with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; Sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm. God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne. 9 The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham, For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted.

 

Psalm 68

The God of Sinai and of the Sanctuary.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A Song.

68 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, And let those who hate Him flee before Him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God. 3 But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God; Yes, let them rejoice with gladness. 4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him.

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. 6 God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

7 O God, when You went forth before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness, Selah. 8 The earth quaked; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel. 9 You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched. 10 Your creatures settled in it; You provided in Your goodness for the poor, O God.

11 The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host: 12 “Kings of armies flee, they flee, And she who remains at home will divide the spoil!” 13 When you lie down among the sheepfolds, You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver, And its pinions with glistening gold. 14 When the Almighty scattered the kings there, It was snowing in Zalmon.

15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan. 16 Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks, At the mountain which God has desired for His abode? Surely the Lord will dwell there forever. 17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness. 18 You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah. 20 God is to us a God of deliverances; And to God the Lord belong escapes from death. 21 Surely God will shatter the head of His enemies, The hairy crown of him who goes on in his guilty deeds. 22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan. I will bring them back from the depths of the sea; 23 That your foot may shatter them in blood, The tongue of your dogs may have its portion from your enemies.”

24 They have seen Your procession, O God, The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary. 25 The singers went on, the musicians after them, In the midst of the maidens beating tambourines. 26 Bless God in the congregations, Even the Lord, you who are of the fountain of Israel. 27 There is Benjamin, the youngest, ruling them, The princes of Judah in their throng, The princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28 Your God has commanded your strength; Show Yourself strong, O God, who have acted on our behalf. 29 Because of Your temple at Jerusalem Kings will bring gifts to You. 30 Rebuke the beasts in the reeds, The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples, Trampling under foot the pieces of silver; He has scattered the peoples who delight in war. 31 Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.

32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, Sing praises to the Lord, Selah. 33 To Him who rides upon the highest heavens, which are from ancient times; Behold, He speaks forth with His voice, a mighty voice. 34 Ascribe strength to God; His majesty is over Israel And His strength is in the skies. 35 O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 23 – OT Reading

2 Samuel 5:11-25

11 Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David. 12 And David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

13 Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

War with the Philistines

17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold.18 Now the Philistines came and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 19 Then David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place Baal-perazim. 21 They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men carried them away.

22 Now the Philistines came up once again and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim.23 When David inquired of the Lord, He said, “You shall not go directly up; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. 24 It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the Lord will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” 25 Then David did so, just as the Lord had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

 

2 Samuel 6:1-23

Peril in Moving the Ark

Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim. 3 They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. 4 So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark. 5 Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God. David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9 So David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10 And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.11 Thus the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

The Ark Is Brought to Jerusalem

12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod.15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.

16 Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

17 So they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offering, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. 19 Further, he distributed to all the people, to all the multitude of Israel, both to men and women, a cake of bread and one of dates and one of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed each to his house.

20 But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.” 23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

 

1 Chronicles 13

Peril in Transporting the Ark

13 Then David consulted with the captains of the thousands and the hundreds, even with every leader. 2 David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is from the Lord our God, let us send everywhere to our kinsmen who remain in all the land of Israel, also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their cities with pasture lands, that they may meet with us; 3 and let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.” Then all the assembly said that they would do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6 David and all Israel went up to Baalah,that is, to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, the Lord who is enthroned above the cherubim, where His name is called. They carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, even with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets.

9 When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the oxen nearly upset it10 The anger of the Lord burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. 11 Then David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzza; and he called that place Perez-uzza to this day. 12 David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God home to me?” 13 So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14 Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the Lord blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.

 

1 Chronicles 14

David’s Family Enlarged

14 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees, masons and carpenters, to build a house for him. And David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel.

Then David took more wives at Jerusalem, and David became the father of more sons and daughters. These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.

Philistines Defeated

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David; and David heard of it and went out against them. Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10 David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? And will You give them into my hand?” Then the Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will give them into your hand.” 11 So they came up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there; and David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore they named that place Baal-perazim. 12 They abandoned their gods there; so David gave the order and they were burned with fire.

13 The Philistines made yet another raid in the valley. 14 David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. 15 It shall be when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” 16 David did just as God had commanded him, and they struck down the army of the Philistines from Gibeon even as far as Gezer. 17 Then the fame of David went out into all the lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him on all the nations.

 

1 Chronicles 15

Plans to Move the Ark to Jerusalem

15 Now David built houses for himself in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place which he had prepared for it. 4 David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and 120 of his relatives; 6 of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, and 220 of his relatives; 7 of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and 130 of his relatives; 8 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, and 200 of his relatives; 9 of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, and 80 of his relatives; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, and 112 of his relatives.

11 Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab, 12 and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” 14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.

16 Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, 18 and with them their relatives of the second rank, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan were appointed to sound aloud cymbals of bronze;20 and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps tuned to alamoth; 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith. 22 Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer, the priests, blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were gatekeepers for the ark.

25 So it was David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing with the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.

29 It happened when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and celebrating; and she despised him in her heart.

 

1 Chronicles 16

A Tent for the Ark

16 And they brought in the ark of God and placed it inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. He distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread and a portion of meat and a raisin cake.

4 He appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, even to celebrate and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel: 5 Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, with musical instruments, harps, lyres; also Asaph played loud-sounding cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests blew trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Then on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to the Lord.

Psalm of Thanksgiving

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 9 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. 10 Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. 11 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. 12 Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth, 13 O seed of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! 14 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 15 Remember His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, 16 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 17 He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 18 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, As the portion of your inheritance.” 19 When they were only a few in number, Very few, and strangers in it, 20 And they wandered about from nation to nation, And from one kingdom to another people, 21 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, 22 “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” 23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. 24 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. 25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. 27 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place. 28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the Lord in holy array. 30 Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” 32 Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. 33 Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; For He is coming to judge the earth. 34 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 35 Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise.” 36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting.

Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord.

Worship before the Ark

37 So he left Asaph and his relatives there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required; 38 and Obed-edom with his 68 relatives; Obed-edom, also the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah as gatekeepers. 39 He left Zadok the priest and his relatives the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place which was at Gibeon, 40 to offer burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of burnt offering continually morning and evening, even according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which He commanded Israel. 41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because His lovingkindness is everlasting. 42 And with them were Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those who should sound aloud, and with instruments for the songs of God, and the sons of Jeduthun for the gate.

43 Then all the people departed each to his house, and David returned to bless his household.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Give Thanks To The Lord

A Short Thanksgiving Devotional by Ricky Hemme

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)

Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, people from all around the U.S. gather together with family and friends to share a meal, and reflect upon God’s provision and loving kindness. It is the one time of year, where we slow down and take a good look at our lives, and remember all the ways that God has richly blessed us.  This holiday is a stunning 392 years old, but this practice of annual thanksgiving is not unique to America.

A Meal of Thanksgiving in the Bible

The people of the Bible had their own annual meal of Thanksgiving. Every year in the month of Nisan, Israelites traveled with friends and family to Jerusalem to worship God and share a meal. This feast of Thanksgiving is called the Passover. The Passover feast commemorated God’s faithfulness over the years and highlighted in particular His act of freeing them from slavery in Egypt. Without God’s hand, they would never be a nation, and most of all, without God’s provision of atonement they would never be forgiven of sin. God’s people were spared the judgment which came upon the land of Egypt only through the substitutionary death of a perfect lamb. There is no doubt this annual feast was a time of serious reflection.

As families from around the country made their journey to Jerusalem, it was tradition to sing songs on the road. Many of these songs are recorded in your Bible in the book of Psalms. Some start with the small caption, “A Song of Ascent.” These songs prepared the hearts of the people for the feast, and they were gladly sung by friends and family on the road up to Jerusalem. No matter from what direction you came, North or South, Jerusalem was an ascent. Hint: “A Song of Ascent”

Take a Moment to Reflect

This year, I encourage you to reflect upon some of these Psalms in preparation for your Thanksgiving meal. Most of these Psalms can be found between Psalm 119 and 136. Like the Israelites, prepare your heart by looking back at God’s faithfulness and loving-kindness over the years. Most of all reflect upon his provision of atonement. God demonstrated his love for you by sending his Son into this world to die as your Passover Lamb. When you trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, God’s wrath passes over you, so that instead of judgment, you are received as a beloved child. Give thanks this Thanksgiving. God is worthy of your praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)