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Thanks for visiting our website! This month’s picture is of a seminar in Guatemala at Ezell Clinic, December 2018. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Seminar in Guatemala

Ministry and mission work is a team effort -- Jan and I have shared the task of ministry and mission work for over 50 years! (We traveled together to preaching appointments during the year before we were married.) Countless people have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob" or "Hermano Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. One of my favorite breakfasts is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of rich Colombian coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and to help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature as disciples of Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!


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Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

It’s Sunday Again: I will worship

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

The last twelve psalms of Book II (Psalms 61-72) deserve to be better known than they are in the contemporary church. A personalized reading of the psalm instills in me the desire to worship God with all of my being, committed to praise.

Hear me, O God, listen to my prayer; I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against every enemy. Let me dwell in your house forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! You, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me a heritage among those who fear your name. Prolong my life; may my influence endure to all generations! As a son of royalty, may I reign forever with my God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over me! I will ever sing praises to your name, I will do what I say I will do to bring you glory and honor day after day.

“Dear Heavenly Father, hear us as we call to you. When we are faint and weak, nurture us and protect us, be our refuge and strong tower. We want to know your protection and presence eternally as we walk in the paths of faith. Bless us with the needs of this world, but even more we ask the spiritual blessing of your protecting love and faithfulness. We praise and honor you; we ask your help and forgiveness as we seek to live out in faith our commitment. Today, we worshipfully come into your presence by faith with total adoration and praise, declaring your supremacy, majesty, and splendor, praying In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Progress on the “Psalms Project”

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Yesterday I was able to post another set of devotionals in the “Psalms Project.” For those who may not be tracking this project, I am writing a “Short Guide to Reading the Psalms Devotionally.” For each psalm, the project includes a brief comment, a reading guide that provides insights and outlining ideas, and a prayer based on the psalm.
Book IV (Psalms 90-106) is now available: Psalms Project: Book IV.
You may access all of the psalms currently available at the Psalms Project: Index.

A Short Guide to Reading the Psalms Devotionally

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

At the start of 2013, for several days I published entries from my current writing project: A Short Guide to Reading the Psalms Devotionally. My goal is to write at least one devotional guide each day–and to stay ahead of those who began the new year reading a psalm each day. [It is always a good time to begin a Bible reading plan.] The guide provides background, context, outline or organization, and reading or devotional hints, along with a prayer for each psalm.

I do not have plans to include these entries in future blogs, but they are available on the website. Check out the link in the right column, or you may check them out and bookmark: A Short Guide to Reading the Psalms Devotionally.

Psalm 4

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

This psalm continues a series of short psalms that call upon God to deliver, expressing confidence in God’s willingness to act.

Reading: Psalm 4:1-8
If the psalmist’s plaintiff cry seems too directional in demanding that God act, the first verse can be understood as a request. “May God answer, may God give me relief, may God be merciful and hear my prayer.” God honors godly people and sets them apart for his own possession. Therefore, the psalmist is confident that God will act. Such confidence comes from heart-searching and silence before God, commitment and sacrifice and trust. Such joyful confidence surpasses the joy of the greatest blessings of this earth.
Therefore, the psalmist affirms that he can sleep at night despite the difficulties of life. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Heavenly Father, we want to know that you hear and that you respond to our cries. We want to know your mercy and love. Give the ability to see deep within ourselves and silently wait before you. Thank you for your protection. We rejoice in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalm 3

Friday, January 4th, 2013

The next twelve psalms (3-14) generally belong to the category of psalms of deliverance and praise. The NIV Study Bible notes suggest a 5+1+5+1 pattern. Psalms 3-7 are followed by Psalm 8, a creation psalm which declares the glory of God. Psalm 8 is also recognized as a Messianic psalm with a clear reference to Christ as the one through whom God’s glory ultimately comes to human beings. Five more psalms or prayers of deliverance and praise (9-13) are followed by Psalm 14, a description of the folly of humanity when God’s glory is refused.

Reading: Psalm 3:1-8
It is no small thing to pray with confidence. In this psalm, David finds assurance in God in the face of enemies. The psalm likely refers to David’s flight during the rebellion of Absalom. God is a shield who gives his people glory. (Note how this foreshadows Psalm 8 which caps the subsection.) God answers the cries of his children. The Psalmist rests in peace in his dependence on God. God delivers because God desires to bless his creation.
May we today pray with confidence about whatever difficulties and challenges we confront. God is on his throne, orchestrating the affairs of this world, listening to our prayers, protecting his children, guiding and directing into his glory. Deliverance comes from God, in God’s ways and in God’s time.

Dear God, this day I want to know the confidence reflected in this psalm. Teach me to depend on you, to accept your glory as you bring it into my life, and to await your deliverance from the difficulties I experience. I declare that you are my God, in all of your splendor and majesty. Show me the way and help me walk in it faithfully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalm 2

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

The first book of the Psalms (1-41) is framed by blessings (1:1, 2:13, 40:4, 41:1). In addition to the “blessed is the man….” of Psalm 1, one finds “blessed are all who take refuge in him,” “blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,” and “blessed is he who has regard for the weak.” These four psalms encourage us to contemplate the truth that God blesses those who seek righteousness, those who depend on God and trust in him, and those who are concerned about the weak.
Psalm 2 is a royal psalm, perhaps used at coronations of kings of the Davidic lineage. Its focus is on God’s covenantal protection and power for those leaders who faithfully do God’s will. Earthly powers cannot stand against those who have God on their side. The outstanding application of the psalm is to Christ the King (2:6,11).

Reading: Psalm 2:1-13
Regardless of the how powerful the forces of evil that surround us may seem, they are powerless against those God has chosen (anointed). God’s supreme omnipotence only laughs at the meager efforts of those who would attempt to stand against him. Further, God empowers his covenant children against all opponents. The Psalmist anticipates that the ultimate expression of God’s covenant love will be that his Son will provide deliverance and protection for all his sons. That is, the Anointed Messiah will provide salvation for God’s children. Indeed, blessed are those who seek and find and enjoy refuge in Christ.

Dear God, help me this day to be a faithful covenant person, confidently capable of overcoming the opposing forces in this world through my dependence on and refuge in Christ. Help me by faith to see further than the events of this day. Empower me as I seek to extend the kingdom to the ends of the earth. Thank you for revealing Christ as King of my life, may I live in faithful allegiance. Thank you for giving us access to your throne through Christ, as we pray in his name, Amen.

Introduction to the Psalms: Psalm 1

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

The purpose of the division of the Psalms into five books (1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150) is not clear. The divisions may be based on the use of the names of God, traditional collections, or other factors. Recent studies have suggested the possibility of thoughtful structures, often chiastic (as in the NIV Study Bible, 2002).
The first book is framed by “blessing” psalms (1-2, 40-41) which may also be categorized as wisdom psalms. Wisdom psalms use contrast to describe the godly life in the kingdom of God. The first book contains psalms of praise, descriptions of the folly of human efforts apart from God’s wisdom, and instruction in dependence on God.

Reading: Psalm 1:1-6
Psalm 1 contrasts the godly man who is blessed (verses 1-3) and the wicked who cannot stand against God’s judgment (verses 4-6). A godly person avoids interactions with the wicked, sinners, and mockers. Psalm 1 foreshadows Paul’s reminder that bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). We become like those we spend time around. Spending time with the word of the Lord becomes a delight to those who seek God’s presence. We become like what we think about. Mediating in God’s word and will continually strengthens the godly life, putting down deep roots and bringing fruitfulness, perseverance, and prosperity.
The wicked do not have strong foundations and are blown by the winds of life. The wicked will not endure judgment, and have no desire to spend time with the righteous.
God supports, strengthens, and guards the righteous.

Heavenly Father, may this day be a day of growth in righteousness. Help me avoid evil, walk away from temptation, and seek that which is best. Thank you for your word and its power in my life. Make me strong and solid, fruitful and consistent. May the things I attempt to your glory prosper, not for me but for you. Thank you for the promise of your continual care. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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