Hope in Your Name

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 52_9
Reading: Psalm 52

LORD God,
help me to always put my trust
in your unfailing love.
You are my help and refuge
in the storms of life.
Bring me through by your grace.
My hope is secure in you.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Betrayal and Trust

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Reading: Psalm 52
For the director of music. A maskil of David.
When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him:
“David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue!
Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying,
“Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name, for your name is good
(NIV).*

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Bridge over the Tay River, Perth, ON

Reflection
Like several of David’s psalms, Psalm 52 comes with a backstory. It’s a story of stunning betrayal. Though he was loyal, David was forced to flee from jealous King Saul. On one occasion, he sought refuge at the tabernacle of the LORD and with Ahimelek the priest. Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd, was present at the tabernacle that day. Acting in good faith, Ahimelech helped David by providing food and a weapon—the sword of Goliath. This innocent act of kindness led directly to Ahimelek’s death. Doeg reported this incident to Saul, who ordered the priests be put to death. Doeg personally killed eighty-five of them. (For a full account of this treachery see 1 Samuel 21-22.)

We live in a fallen world—a world where stunning betrayal is often rewarded. In the political realm or the world of high finance, almost daily we hear accounts of how men and women have cut down those they once considered family and friends. All too often this accusation rings true: You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor.

David discovered that he could trust very few men. He placed his trust in God. When the world turns on you, as it did on David, we can turn to God. Here is the testimony of a wise man: I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

Response: LORD God, help me to always put my trust in your unfailing love. You are my help and refuge in the storms of life. Bring me through by your grace. Amen.

Your Turn: Has someone you trusted let you down? How has that experience damaged or renewed your trust in God?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Do Not Cast Me from Your Presence

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 51_10-11
Reading: Psalm 51:10-19

LORD God,
thank you for the forgiveness you purchased
for me through the shed blood of Jesus your son.
I acknowledge my need
for your cleansing power.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Heart Cleaning

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Reading: Psalm 51:10-19
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar
(NIV).*

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Winter stream — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
I just had my morning shower. Nothing special about that—daily showers are the social norm. But they haven’t always been the norm. Step back a century and the weekly bath was the norm. Step back a thousand years and a bath was an annual event. With this lack of personal hygiene is it any wonder epidemics ran rampant through the medieval population, and diseases like smallpox and the bubonic plague killed millions in Europe?

As a society we have embraced the concept and practice of personal hygiene. But what about spiritual hygiene? Have we embraced that as well? I fear the opposite is true. Are we routinely plunging into the deep end of a cesspool of sin? Do we mistakenly believe there are no consequences? A filthy spirit can be as deadly as bubonic plague. A host of mental, emotional and social problems are a direct result of poor spiritual hygiene. Cleanse your heart and mind and you will walk in spiritual health.

From his own cesspool of sin David cried out: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

I don’t know about you, but daily I need to bathe in Christ’s love and forgiveness. He cleans me up.

Response: LORD God, thank you for the forgiveness you purchased for me through the shed blood of Jesus your son. I acknowledge my need for your cleansing power. Amen.

Your Turn: How is your spiritual hygiene today? How do you keep your spirit clean?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

God’s Fire Starters

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This compact, 137-page volume delivers a powerful punch.Firestarters

“God’s Firestarters” is about ordinary people who were ignited with passion for the Lord, and in turn, they set scores—and in some cases millions of others—on fire with the love and power of the gospel message.

The book is a compilation of twenty short biographies of Christian leaders who had an extraordinary impact on their generation and the world. Each chapter is about five pages long, and covers the highs, lows, and transformative moments of these world-changing pastors, leaders and thinkers.

The book is chronologically organized as it moves through history beginning with Katharina Luther (1499-1552) and ending with the theologian J.I. Packer (1926-2020). Between those dates we find the stories of eighteen other remarkable men and women who overcame enormous obstacles as they lived lives that powerfully impacted the church and the world.

Authors Ed and Janice Hird have done their homework. Each biography is well-written and thoroughly researched with dozens of endnotes.

These are stories that will build your faith and stoke your courage. I highly recommend this book. It’s a real fire-starter in the best way imaginable.

Before the Mountains Were Born

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I will praise the LORD!

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Through the open window — Mackenzie King Estate, Gatineau Park — photo by David Kitz

Reading: Psalm 90:1-6

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word it’s an ideal way to start the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

Walk in the Light

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I will praise the LORD!

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The radiant path forward — photo by David Kitz

Reading: Psalm 89:14-18

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.
They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word it’s an ideal way to start the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

According to Your Unfailing Love

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 51_1
Reading: Psalm 51:1-9

LORD God,
I want to be like David—
quick to acknowledge my sin and repent.
Grant me a soft heart—
a sensitive heart—
a repentant heart in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

A Repentant Heart

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Reading: Psalm 51:1-9
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity
(NIV).*

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January cold — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Psalm 51 is the great repentance psalm. Nothing matches the deep contrition expressed here by David. There can be little doubt David was truly remorseful for what he had done. He says it with words, but according to the Scriptures, his actions which followed also revealed a repentant heart. There is no blame shifting here; David takes full responsibility for his actions. Hear his humble plea: For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

When Saul and Jonathan were slain in battle by the Philistines, David composed this lament. “Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19 NRSV). David might well have sung this lament for himself. Here he was the vaunted King of Israel, the LORD’s anointed, and he had a fellow soldier murdered to cover up the adulterous affair he was having with this loyal soldier’s wife. This was the conduct of David—the man of God! Yes. “How the mighty have fallen!”

The amazing part of this story is not David’s sin or the depths of his depravity. The amazing part is that he repented—earnestly repented. In our day leader after leader has been caught red-handed in unscrupulous practices. But do they repent? Do they come clean and change their ways? Not likely. Most often they continue in denial. Those with absolute power continue to govern ruthlessly. Nathan, the prophet, was fortunate King David heard the voice of God speaking through a human vessel. David was quick to humble himself and repent. How do you respond when confronted with your sin?

Response: LORD God, I want to be like David—quick to acknowledge my sin and repent. Grant me a soft heart—a sensitive heart—a repentant heart in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Your Turn: How do respond when confronted with your sin? How can we maintain a repentant heart before God? What hinders repentance?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.

The Promise of Your Presence

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 50_23
Reading: Psalm 50:16-23

LORD God,
let me never forget your great love for me.
I want to take you with me today
and every day.
I am thankful for the promise of your presence.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.