Psalm Saturday: Psalm One Devotional

Psalm One is one of the best known and most beloved psalms, summarizing the two roads of life people can choose: a) the way of the righteous and b) the way of the wicked. There is a right way and a wrong way. The right way leads us closer to God. The wrong way leads us further and further astray the longer we remain on it.

As we are often reminded viewing the nightly news, there is a Good and an Evil that exists in this world we temporarily call home. The battle between Good and Evil is certainly nothing new. It has existed since the earliest beginnings of time; perhaps even longer. We can choose to follow Good or fall prey to a lifestyle of Evil. 

Psalm One reveals the importance of how we think about God, describing godly living contrasted against the hazards of an ungodly lifestyle. For the original biblical audience, Psalm One serves as a reminder of their hope in the Mosaic Covenant. For you and me, it reflects a picture of two roads. One road produces blessings. The other road results in the bitter fruits of sorrow and destruction.

Psalm One

Living a life of obedience yields blessings, provides good spiritual health, and transforms our character and actions into something that is pleasing to the Lord. Without a healthy root system grounded in the Word, we are as sure to die spiritually as a tree is certain to rot. Following God leads to good things. 

The wicked have no concern for the things of God. They do not live to please the Lord.  Instead, they live to please themselves and satisfy their own passions. They have zero regard for living the spiritual life. A life lived simply to feed our own desires falls short of God’s plan for us. 

Psalm One ends with a warning of a future day of judgement in which the Lord will separate the godly from the ungodly, the righteous from the wicked, and the wheat from the chaff. It offers a stern warning reminding us to live our lives with the knowledge that one day we will be asked to give an account of the road we chose to travel. The road we choose is up to us. 

Psalm One makes it abundantly clear that a life lived trusting in the Lord and in full obedience to all He commands is the more profitable path to take.

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Are you ready to choose the right road?

I pray that you are.

God loves you. He does not wish anyone to perish. He gave His only Son so that we could be restored on a right path leading to a life lived in His presence forever.

Prayer:

Father God, I love you. I thank you for the grace and mercy you have bestowed on me and for giving me a second chance to follow You on the right path. Father, I pray that Your truth would be revealed to others and that they might come to know You as I have come to know You. Thank you for the truth of Your Word and the Wisdom it provides. Thank you for Your Son, through whom I am saved. Amen.

Sons of Korah-Psalm 1

 

God’s Word Speaks

Biblical revelation demonstrates God supernaturally directed the writers of Scripture and He did so without usurping their human intelligence, literary style, or personal feelings. The message of Scripture is complete and coherent and recorded without error. The words of Scripture declare the divine authority and nature that inspired them. Even though all of the original manuscripts were lost, thousands of reliable copies exist.

Divinely inspired and humanly written, the accounts of Scripture are continually being demonstrated as accurate through archaeological study. The Bible does not claim to be an exact chronological record of ancient civilization. It’s purpose is not to prove that there is a God. God exists whether we believe He does or not. Scripture is not an exhaustive rule book for moral and ethical behavior, but rather God’s revelation of Himself, His purpose, His principles, and His plan from the first words of Genesis to the last words of Revelation. Through the Bible, you and I can learn who God is and what godliness looks like through the revelation of His attributes.

Why did God do this? Because of His love for us. 

Attributes are permanent qualities. They constitute what God is. God’s attributes describe his very nature. They are essential and inherent dimensions of who God is and are inseparable from the essence of God. God is immanent and transcendent. Immanence means that God is present and active within his creation and within the human race, even those who do not believe in or obey him. God always was, always is, and always will be. Transcendence indicates that God is not restricted to miracles or any other limitations we try to set on Him, but uses even ordinary unbelievers to accomplish his work. He uses technology, human skill, and learning to actively work within his creation. Other examples of God’s attributes are holiness, love, truth, mercy and faithfulness.

Scripture is the Word of God because it says it is. Since truth is an attribute of God then truth is also an attribute of Scripture. 

2 Timothy 3:16 (a) “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

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God the Father  works through the Holy Spirit to convict the reader or hearer of the Gospel of its truth. The Holy Spirit is the one who shows us the reality of our sin. The Holy Spirit shows us that we must repent and come to a right standing with God. God, through His revelation to us through Jesus Christ, the son, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and the Scripture, works to give us the understanding we need. This is how we accept the Gospel, come to faith, and are reconciled  with God, our creator.

2 Peter 1:21 (ESV) For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

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Perhaps you have read the Bible and found it confusing. I urge you to keep reading. Pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you through His Word.

Here is a Basic Bible Reading Plan to get you started.

Blessings.

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But By the Grace of God

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to minister to the men sheltered at the Union Gospel Mission Dallas on the 4th Friday of every month. Every month, our team of volunteers gladly give of their time, treasure, and talents to give hope to the lost, the last, the least, and the lonely.

The Union Gospel Mission began as a street ministry in 1949 when a group of Christian businessmen took to the streets of Dallas, telling the poor about God’s love for them. Each year, hundreds of men enter UGMD’s long-term, faith-based recovery program.

Each year the Union Gospel Mission provides 127,482+ nights of shelter, cooks 410,738 meals, helps 4500 people, and  serves over 400 veterans. Through the nightly chapel services, hundreds of men come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and receive the gift of eternal salvation throughout the year.

The mission’s discipleship program is designed to help people end their personal struggles with homelessness, first by establishing and nurturing a relationship with Jesus Christ, then by learning the skills necessary to re-enter society and live an independent life. This process includes graduating from the Mission’s Learning Center, obtaining a job and, in the final phase, living in a transitional living facility. Prior to graduation from the program, each disciple must be involved with a local church, have a savings account, hold a job and be living independently. The Discipleship Program is self-paced, and usually takes between eighteen months and two years to complete (UGM, 2018).

Each time we journey down to the shelter, our team is blessed. Ministering to someone else seems to always return with even greater blessing on those sharing the love of Jesus with those in need.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)

There is a lot of talk about how to solve homelessness. I’m not sure we will ever eradicate it from our midst. There is just as much talk about what causes homelessness, including attempts to blame the poor for being poor. At the end of the day, our mission focuses on having a conversation about the One we know who transforms lives. A change of heart and a transformation of the mind must occur, otherwise you can build all the houses you want only to find yourself back at square one. Yes, affordable housing is certainly part of the solution. But so are changes in decision-making, problem solving, and overcoming hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Even so, those living on the marginalized edge can easily fall prey to a freak event of nature or devastating medical issue that they are unable to overcome. When a tornado or hurricane wipes out your home, it’s not a matter of character, but circumstance. If an unexpected onslaught of medical bills override your ability to keep your head above water, it’s not an indictment of your decision-making, but a result of a tidal wave of overpowering events that leave you, and your family, devastated.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Trust me. No one grew up wanting to be homeless.

Sure, there can be other problems. Like our veterans unable to cope with life after war due to PTSD and not having the resources available to them to provide the help they desperately need. Think about it–someone went off to war so we could continue enjoying our freedoms only to return and be without a home. That’s not on them. That’s on us.

And yes, there are many who struggle with addiction and who struggle with issues of character. So do many of us. Yet, we aren’t homeless. Not because we are smarter or stronger, but because our support system is better. And, truthfully, simply because of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

When go down to the shelter, we don’t attempt to solve every problem and we certainly aren’t under any illusion that we will solve homelessness or eliminate the scourge of poverty. The poor, Scripture teaches us, have always been with us.

No, when we go we focus on providing love, hope, and faith to the 300+ men we meet every month at the shelter. We seek to suspend the noise of the world and exchange it for the sounds of worship as we sing songs exalting an almighty, all-powerful God. We strive to feed their souls through sharing the Word of God, reassuring them they are neither forgotten nor forsaken. We attempt to cover them in prayer, ending each service with intentional, one-on-one prayer. Many of the men come forward to express their needs and lay their burdens at God’s feet. Occasionally, the Spirit moves in the hearts of certain men to receive Jesus and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. O, what a glorious moment that is!

Our team of sojourners loves these men and witnessing the work the Lord is doing in their lives. Through it all, we try to be ourselves, genuine and authentic, cherishing every moment that we get to spend sharing the Good News with the men of Union Gospel Mission Dallas. What a privilege! What a joy!

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

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Would you like to know how you can help? Here is a list current needs that UGMD has:

CONSTANT PRAYER! •  Donation truck • Forklift • Commercial washer and dryers • Twin Sheets (flat & fitted), Blankets,  and Plastic Mattress Covers • Flat Screen Computer Monitors • Engine Hoist • Portable Air Conditioner • Laptop Computers • Laser Printers • LCD Projectors/Screens • Mailing Equipment • Medical Scrubs • Bath Towels • Tool Chest/Kits • Household Furnishings •  Clothing Bailer  • Clothing & Shoes—   Men, Women, Children • LARGE PRINT Bibles (New or Used) • Christian DVD’s (Teaching, Stories) • Automobiles, Motorcycles,  Boats, RVs • Lawn Equipment: Mowers, Edgers, and Weed Eaters • Donations for Publishing Book   on UGM’s History • Commercial Generator

FOR KITCHEN:  • Canned Goods (#10 can) •  Colanders • 4” Steam Table Pans •  6” Strainer Pans • 6” Insert Steam Table Pans •  Commercial Food Processer • Commercial Slicer • Commercial Serving Utensils • Blender •  Pot Holders • Food Warmers (to store bulk  of food being cooked)

You can learn more about the work being done at Union Gospel Mission here.

Preach the Gospel

Photos by Terri W. Bantau

References:

Union Gospel Mission (2018). https://www.ugmdallas.org/