Foundations Blog

We’re in a new series called “Foundations” which builds off of Jesus’ metaphor in Matt 7: A house built on sand will never be able to stand BUT a house that’s built on the rock will never be able to fall.

09-16-2021 4:22 AM

Practice #2, Day 4 God's Word

09-16-2021 4:22 AM
09-16-2021 4:22 AM

This week, we’re in Practice #2: Grow in God’s Word. Specifically, we’ll spend four days in Psalm 119.

We will enter into God’s presence through His holy Word today. If you can, give yourself 15 minutes to just be with God. Set a timer and put everything else away except for you, your Bible, and the device you’re reading this on.

Let’s start: “God, you are good and you are true. You’ve given me your Word as a gift. Thank you that I can know you. Thank you that I can worship you. Open my mind to your truth as I contemplate your words in Psalm 119. Open my eyes - let me see You.”


Now, let’s read from the NET (New English Translation):

25  I collapse in the dirt. Revive me with your word.

26  I told you about my ways and you answered me. Teach me your statutes.

27  Help me to understand what your precepts mean. Then I can meditate on your marvelous teachings.

28  I collapse from grief. Sustain me by your word.

29  Remove me from the path of deceit. Graciously give me your law.

30  I choose the path of faithfulness; I am committed to your regulations.

31  I hold fast to your rules. O LORD, do not let me be ashamed.

32  I run along the path of your commands, for you enable me to do so.

 

Today, let’s practice a Bible study method where we compare different translations to understand the nuance of what the original author was saying. In verses 25 and 28 of the New English translation, the Psalmist uses the words “collapse” and “revive” (v. 25)/”sustain” (v. 28). 

Using a tool such as BibleGateway.com, look up verses 25 and 28 in four different translations. Write down the synonyms you see for these verbs:

Collapse = 

Revive = 

Sustain = 

Now, rewrite verses 25a and 28a (“a” meaning the first half of the verse) in your own words. What is the Psalmist saying? 

Have you ever felt this way? Have you experienced something so life-sucking, energy-draining, and sorrow-producing that you felt like all of your reserves were gone? What happened? Think about how you felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Did God seem close or distant during that time?

Rewrite verses 25b and 28b in your own words. What is the Psalmist saying?

Remarkably, the Psalmist is pointing to God’s Word as the thirst-quenching remedy to all of his problems. How does this match with your own experience of God’s Word? When you were in that life-sucking, energy-draining, sorrow-producing place, what brought you meaning and joy?

Spend some time in prayer and confession related to the way you view Scripture. Ask God to help you see His Word as a refreshing gift.

As you close, think of someone in your life who is in a dark, discouraging place right now. If you’re able to do so, send them some encouragement (by call, text, or email) which includes Psalm 119:25 and 28. Let them know you’re praying for them to experience revival and refreshment through the power of God’s Word.

09-15-2021 4:47 AM

Practice #2, Day 3 God's Word

09-15-2021 4:47 AM
09-15-2021 4:47 AM

This week, we’re in Practice #2: Grow in God’s Word. Specifically, we’ll spend four days in Psalm 119.

We will enter into God’s presence through His holy Word today. If you can, give yourself 15 minutes to just be with God. Set a timer and put everything else away except for you, your Bible, and the device you’re reading this on.

Let’s start: “God, you are good and you are true. You’ve given me your Word as a gift. Thank you that I can know you. Thank you that I can worship you. Open my mind to your truth as I contemplate your words in Psalm 119. Open my eyes - let me see You.”

 

Now, let’s read from the NET (New English Translation):

17  Be kind to your servant. Then I will live and keep your instructions.

18  Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law.

19  I am a resident foreigner in this land. Do not hide your commands from me.

20  I desperately long to know your regulations at all times.

21  You reprimand arrogant people. Those who stray from your commands are doomed.

22  Spare me shame and humiliation, for I observe your rules.

23  Though rulers plot and slander me, your servant meditates on your statutes.

24  Yes, I find delight in your rules; they give me guidance.

 

Read these verses once more and slowly (and out loud, if possible).

Today, we’ll employ a Bible study technique which involves making observations about the text. Specifically, write down 6-8 observations of what you learn about the Psalmist in verses 17-24. For example, “He views himself as a servant of God” (v. 17). 

Sketch out a description of the Psalmist that you’ve learned in Psalm 119 so far. What does he enjoy? What does he struggle with? How well does he know God? What does he fear? What words would you use to describe him?

Now, compare and contrast this description of the Psalmist with a description of yourself. Do you have similar or different enjoyments? Similar or different struggles? Similar or different levels of intimacy with God? Similar or different fears? What words would you use to describe yourself.

Our calling is not to conform ourselves to this Psalmist, per se, although he provides a godly example for us to follow. Above all else, the Psalmist is preoccupied with the goodness of God’s Word. Spend some time in prayer and confession as you consider how much your affections and behaviors are connected to your passion for God’s Word. Are you preoccupied with God and the truth you learn about Him in Scripture?

As we close, find a piece of paper (or use the Notes app in your phone) to write out verse 18: “Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law.” Pray it for yourself. Ask God to open your eyes either for the first time or the thousandth time to be able to understand and discern the beauty that exists in the words of Scripture. Ask Him to fill you with a longing to spend time with Him. Take this verse with you and use it throughout the day as a prayer of expectation. Pray this for your family, your kids, your friends.

09-14-2021 4:47 AM

Practice #2, Day 2 God's Word

09-14-2021 4:47 AM
09-14-2021 4:47 AM

This week, we’re in Practice #2: Grow in God’s Word. Specifically, we’ll spend four days in Psalm 119.

We will enter into God’s presence through His holy Word today. If you can, give yourself 15 minutes to just be with God. Set a timer and put everything else away except for you, your Bible, and the device you’re reading this on.

Let’s start: “God, you are good and you are true. You’ve given me your Word as a gift. Thank you that I can know you. Thank you that I can worship you. Open my mind to your truth as I contemplate your words in Psalm 119. Open my eyes - let me see You.”


Now, let’s read from the NET (New English Translation):

9 How can a young person maintain a pure life? By guarding it according to your instructions.

10 With all my heart I seek you. Do not allow me to stray from your commands.

11 In my heart I store up your words, so I might not sin against you.

12 You deserve praise, O LORD. Teach me your statutes.

13 With my lips I proclaim all the regulations you have revealed.

14 I rejoice in the lifestyle prescribed by your rules as if they were riches of all kinds.

15 I will meditate on your precepts and focus on your behavior.

16 I find delight in your statutes; I do not forget your instructions.

 

Today, let’s practice a Bible study method known as a word study. We’re going to pick the English word “heart” which we see in verses 10 and 11 (also back in verse 2). The Hebrew term is “leb.”

Blue Letter Bible is a helpful website for word searches. You can go HERE for a definition of the term “leb.” Spend some time reading the possible definitions. Write down what you learn.

How does the definition of “heart” fit with what you previously thought? How does the definition change or alter your original impression of the word?

Based upon your new understanding of the word “heart,” what is the Psalmist saying in verses 10 and 11? What is he exhorting himself to do?

Kat Armstrong, in her book “No More Holding Back,” helpfully writes this: “Even though the word heart appears more than a thousand times in the Bible, it rarely describes just our feelings or one of our internal organs. Instead, many of the authors of Scripture use the term more broadly to mean ‘our truest inner selves’” (86). She goes on to say: “Loving God with all our hearts is not just feeling love toward God or redirecting misguided feelings back to God. It’s about letting our love for him determine how we live” (87).

What the Psalmist is expressing in verses 10 and 11 is an eagerness to live his life in alignment with God’s Word. He doesn’t want to simply feel the right feelings toward God. What he’s really after is to behave in line with truth - to live as a person of godliness and holiness.

So how about you? Does your truest inner self align itself with God’s Word? Is your deepest longing to be conformed in all your ways to God? Spend some time in prayer and confession.

Finally, let’s read from a familiar verse which teaches a similar lesson: 

Deuteronomy 6:4-5

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.

Ask God to make this verse true of you, by the power of His Holy Spirit.

09-13-2021 4:08 AM

Practice #2, Day 1 God's Word

09-13-2021 4:08 AM
09-13-2021 4:08 AM

This week, we’re in Practice #2: Grow in God’s Word. Specifically, we’ll spend four days in Psalm 119. We will enter into God’s presence through His holy Word today. If you can, give yourself 15 minutes to just be with God. Set a timer and put everything else away except for you, your Bible, and the device you’re reading this on.

Let’s start: “God, you are good and you are true. You’ve given me your Word as a gift. Thank you that I can know you. Thank you that I can worship you. Open my mind to your truth as I contemplate your words in Psalm 119. Open my eyes - let me see You.”


Now, let’s read from the NET (New English Translation):1 How blessed are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law of the LORD.

2  How blessed are those who observe his rules, and seek him with all their heart,

3  who, moreover, do no wrong, but follow in his footsteps.

4  You demand that your precepts be carefully kept.

5  If only I were predisposed to keep your statutes.

6  Then I would not be ashamed, if I were focused on all your commands.

7  I will give you sincere thanks, when I learn your just regulations.

8  I will keep your statutes. Do not completely abandon me.


Today, we’ll practice a Bible study method that includes highlighting or underlining certain types of words. Grab a colored marker or pen and underline/highlight all of the verbs that are assigned to humans in this passage. Circle all the verbs that are assigned to God.

Now write them out.*

What difference do you observe in these two categories of verbs? 

How would you describe God’s relationship to humans? 

What we see in these first eight verses is that humanity is called to a posture of surrender - submitting ourselves to the leadership of God. We are not in charge of our lives. Rather, God’s Word claims a place of highest authority. What a relief it is to know that the God of creation is good enough to care for us and guide us! We don’t have to make up the rules. We just need to obey God, observe what He says, and follow His lead.

Choose one of those verbs you underlined/highlighted. How are you doing in that area? Spend some time in prayer and confession. Ask God to help you re-submit yourself to Him and His Word.

Now draw a square around the phrase “How blessed” in verses 1 and 2. Write out what God says leads to blessing. Sit in that for a while. Consider what biblical blessing is, in contrast with what the world describes as “blessed.” Do you have blessing in your life, according to the definition in Psalm 119? If not, why? Spend some time in prayer and confession. Ask God to help you consider His Word as the source of blessing in your life.

Close your time by meditating on the perfection of God. Indeed, it is staggering, isn’t it? Rest in His all-knowing, all-wise ways. 

*Verbs about humans: obey, observe, seek, follow, keep, focus on, give thanks, learn, keep; verbs about God: demand