Devo 22

“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”

Psalm 119:89

I grew up on the gloriously scenic central coast of California where I also met and married my husband Tom, who was a youth pastor in the quant little beach town of Cayucos at the time.  For one rather large youth event he had procured a popular Christian band from Detroit who made it enthusiastically known how excited they were to play in such a beautiful setting.  “How can anyone in California not believe in God?  In Detroit, it’s easy not to believe in God, but here, it’s just too obvious!”  

I understood his point. California indeed contains unparalleled scenic wonders, from the highest peak to the lowest desert, the biggest, and the tallest, and the oldest trees in the world, rolling grasslands, fertile valleys and of course, it’s extensive and  diverse stretch of coastline.  Yes, God’s handiwork is on clear and concentrated display in this great state.  Detroit might not have access to all those wonders, but according to Romans 1:19,20, Detroit is still without excuse.  

Even in the most populated, polluted, nature-starved place on earth, or the most barren, windswept landscape you can imagine.  Even in Detroit, there are still at least 2 obvious, clearly perceived witnesses to not only God’s existence but His invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature.  Every person on earth from the beginning of time to its end has seen the faithful rising and setting of the sun, or even without eyes, has felt its warmth.  

We, all of us, from Detroit to Dubai, live under the same glory declaring, righteousness proclaiming, knowledge revealing sky.  And from the poorest shepherd boy to the wealthiest king, we like the Psalmist, have known the Imageo Dei.  Who of us can look up at that sky and not ask the God whose image in which we are made, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3,4 

Easy not to believe in God?  According to Romans 1:18,19, it’s only as easy as suppressing the truth by unrighteousness, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”  Yes friend, God has made Himself known (Psalm 9:16).  Now, when was the last time you went outside and looked up at His message to you?

Week 22

Memory Verse: Psalm 119:89

Questions:  What message do the heavens declare?

Reading #1: Psalm 8

Questions:  According to verse 1, which attribute of God’s is set above the heavens?

Reading #2: Psalm 19

Questions:  According to verses 1-3, which 3 things do the heavens declare, proclaim, or reveal?

Reading #3: Psalm 50

Questions:  According to verse 6, which attribute of God’s do the heavens declare?

Reading #4: Psalm 97

Questions:  According to verse 6, which attribute of God’s do the heavens proclaim?

Psalms and Hymns

Psalm 8B “When I view the skies above which your own fingers made, When I see the moon and stars which you in order laid, What is man so frail and weak that you should remember him?  What can be the son of man that you should care for him?”

Psalm 19A “The spacious heavens declare the glory of our God;  The firmament displays His handiwork abroad.”

Praying Under the Same Sky

Qatar, Romania, Russia

Tolle Lege: ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible

I feel hugely privileged to be able to write the following book review of the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible(Crossway, 2018).  It’s only been in my eager hands for a day, but I wanted to share my first impressions.  Before even opening my hard-cover copy, I’m already loving the promising subtitle, “Christ in All of Scripture, Grace for All of Life.”

Thumbing through, I’m excited to see that it’s in the same single-column format as my ESV Journaling Bible.  Once you experience that format it’s really hard to go back to the double-columns.  Of course that difficulty also applies to the ESV translation itself.  That was enough thumbing for me.  I wanted to dig right in.

The introduction makes clear right away what makes this Study Bible different from other Study Bibles.  Editor Bryan Chapell states their twofold goal as being, 

“(1) to enable readers to understand that the whole Bible is a unified message of the gospel of God’s grace culminating in Christ Jesus, and (2) to help believers apply this good news to their everyday lives in a heart-transforming way (vii).”

That statement is exactly why I wanted to get my hands on a copy of this Study Bible in particular.  I’m not a student of Study Bibles.  Even though we have several in the house, the last time I actually regularly studied the notes in one was back as a teenager when I had a copy of the NIV Student Bible.  In fact, a good portion of the doctrinal error from my formative years I can pretty much trace back to those notes.  Praise the Lord for ministries like The Gospel Coalition, Ligonier, Desiring God, and The Proclamation and Charles Simeon Trusts!  Not only did those resources help correct so much of the error I had been exposed to, through them I kept hearing that various authors, pastors, and teachers which I had come to respect had contributed notes to this volume.

So when I turned to page xvii and scanned the list of contributors, it was like walking into a room full of old friends.  Michael Horton, Kathleen Nielson, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Ray and Dane Ortlund, Graeme Goldsworthy, David Helm, Colin Smith, Nancy Guthrie,  Iain Dugoid, Kevin DeYoung, Burk Parsons, Dan Doriani, Vern Poythress… (xvi-xix)  Really?  You’re all here?  I’m imagining myself showing up to the Bible Study I was at tonight, only all my best and most learned friends have shown up too, and we get to study God’s Word together!  So what that none of these contributors know me from Adam?  I know they know Jesus, and have helped me immensely the past few years to see how all of scripture bears witness to Him (vii) and that scripture isn’t the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth of my Student Bible Days, but the amazing revelation of God to man concerning His Son, Jesus Christ and the salvation He grants to all who believe in His Name.  

Oh, and besides not knowing me from Adam, these contributors actually do have a pretty good handle on Adam, himself.  Since the ladies Bible study I’m in was studying Genesis 2 tonight, I took the opportunity to quickly check out the notes for that chapter.  And there was Jesus!  William VanGemeren (a brand new friend :), traces the story of Sabbath through scripture to Jesus Christ Himself, our Sabbath Rest (6).  I had to get to Bible Study, so I couldn’t read more, but that little morsel was enough for me to know what a feast would be awaiting me later on.  I really can’t wait for my next bite!

Although I was provided a free copy of this book through Crossway, I am under no obligation to write a positive review.