Welcome to the Weekly Digest!
Below you will find resources to help you on your journey through the Book of Psalms. We've provided you with a reading plan for the upcoming week, journaling prompts, a weekly Spotify playlist, and ideas for prayer. Be sure to check in every week to see what we have for you next as we continue to enrich our journey through the Psalms.
Reading Plan May 8th - May 14th
Psalms 126-130. Read and reflect on Psalm 136 in preparation for Sunday, May 8th's teaching. You can download the reading guide for the entire Psalms series here.
Scripture memorization is an important discipline to introduce to our lives as a way to actively hide God's word in our heart. It allows us to not only internalize the text, but to share that truth with others more readily.
Memory Verses for May: Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
* A quick note on journaling: if you're new to this practice, our journey through the book of Psalms will be a great way to get started. The most important step to forming this discipline in your life is to write anything and write often. Journaling is an incredible way to slow down, digest the content of a text, let your brain internalize thoughts that may come up, and keep a record for future reflection on what God was speaking to you during your reading. Journaling can take many forms such as written prayers, bullet points, stream of consciousness, or even poetry. Try some different methods and find the one that works best for you.
Journal Prompts / Discussion Questions from Today's Teaching
We talked about how our culture lifts up and glorifies the "self" and how easily that can creep into our prayer life. Take a moment to examine your prayer life. Who typically gets the "credit" if God answered my prayers?
The book Counterfeit gods defines an idol as "anything that becomes more fundamental than God for my happiness, meaning in life and identity." If this is true, what people/things can you see as competing for first place in those three areas?
Read 1 John 4:18 and Nehemiah 1:11. Would you say you fear God? Why or why not?. How did the "two lion" illustration impact your understanding of God's character and nature?
Journal Prompts / Discussion Questions for This Week's Reading
In Psalm 126, we see how God has restored His people from the tears and weeping of captivity and brought them into a place of great joy and laughter in the sight of His presence and the amazing works of His hands.
The Psalmist compares this process of being restored to that of a farmer diligently going through the hard work and pain of sowing seeds and then waiting expectantly for the harvest to appear. This comparison shows us that in light of God being the only one who can bring the harvest in our lives, we have been given a responsibility in this process to continue sowing seeds of trust and faith in God as we wait expectantly for His promise of restoration to bring a great harvest of joy and closer fellowship in His presence.
When have you found yourself in seasons of much weeping and tears?
How did you respond in those moments? How did you respond to God?
What is God’s purpose in the pain you face in life? How can you respond in future moments of trials by embracing God in this process?
Read James 1:2-8 for further study
The repeating message we find in Psalm 127 is centered around how we depend upon God in the work He has entrusted us with. The Psalmist shows us throughout the passage that all the effort we put into our toil is “in vain” without having a complete reliance and trust in God to make things happen.
Read Psalm 127:2; think through how you handle the work God has given you on a daily basis. Reflect on whether the actions in the tasks you do reflect a trust in yourself and your own capability or a trust and reliance on God and His control over the outcome?
In verse 2, what are the different internal effects of someone who is trusting themselves in their toil compared to someone who trusts God?
How can you take steps to actively trust God in the daily tasks or work He’s given to you?
For Parents; in verses 3-6 of Psalm 127, the Psalmist stresses the blessing that children are and the importance of raising them up in Godly ways.
How do your daily moments with your kids and your actions towards them reflect the importance of this mission to raise them up in God’s ways?
How are you depending upon and trusting in God during this process of raising your children?
In verse 1, the Psalmist makes a declaration that; “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!”
This “fear of the Lord” spoken of here is a deep reverence and respect for God as Creator coming from his creation. At the end of verse 1, we see the words; “who walk in his ways!”
These words imply that having a “fear of the Lord” is more than just a feeling one has towards God but also a living a life of obedience in God’s ways.
How does your life reflect the connection of having a reverence towards God while also living obediently unto Him out of that respect for Him?
These “blessings” the Psalmist speaks of throughout the passage are seen to be fruits of obedience. The variety of different areas we see here in Psalm 128 where these fruits can be present in our lives are a manifestation of the work God does to transform our hearts to resemble His heart while also filling us with a wisdom that can only come from Him.
How have you seen the fruit of obedience appear in your life? How can you see the difference in the relationships God has surrounded you with?
In this passage, we can see Israel’s testimony of their affliction and God’s faithfulness to deliver them even amid their hardship.
What are some times in your life where you have been “afflicted” whether by personal choices or external circumstances?
On the other end, what are some moments you’ve witnessed God’s hand at work delivering you from your hardships and trials?
How does this view of God’s faithfulness displayed in your past change your view of God in your current circumstance? How does this view of God change the view of your circumstances and your response to them?
In Psalm 130, the Psalmist shares the viewpoint of standing in pits of darkness, covered overwhelmed by the shame and the guilt of our sin while still crying out to the Lord for help.
When your circumstances are marked by sin and your heart is filled with the shame and guilt because of it, what’s your view of God and His feelings towards you in these moments?
In verses 3, we see in our human perspective of reality, there is no reason we deserve for God to hear our cries for help amid our sin. Then, verse 4 offers us an encouragement that the only confident hope we have for God hearing us is the truth of His heart of forgiveness towards us.
How does believing the truth of God’s heart for you and focusing upon His goodness instead of your failure change how you encounter God in moments of sin?
Reflect and journal on the view of God you gain from Psalm 130 and how this view brings a strong hope for redemption to your life?
I give thanks to you, O Lord. I have experienced your goodness and know it is working in me; I have experienced your love and know that it is changing me. Thank you, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer. Amen.