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An Exercise to Bring You Peace & Help You Make Progress

It’s famously used in times of fear, and often recited in order to comfort, but interacting deeply with Psalm 91 can bring about other benefits as well. This fresh approach can be especially useful for reducing anxiety…and provides a terrific opportunity to interact with Scripture in a growth-producing manner.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips: 

Instead of reading straight through Psalm 91…

*Search for all of God’s promises in it

*Using specialty Bible highlighters, use one color to highlight the verses spoken in first person (v. 1-2); another color for the verses spoken to another party (v. 3-13), and a third color for the verses spoken by God (v. 14-16)

*Rewrite verses 3-13 replacing “you” and “your” with “I” “me” or “my”

*Find out how you’re called to prepare for the Lord to soothe you in times of angst (v. 1, 2, 9, 14, 15)

*Explore Philippians 4 alongside Psalm 91:2, maybe even writing out Psalm 91:2 as a heading for Philippians 4 in your Bible or journal

*Find all the Names and attributes of God located in this one Psalm

*Illustrate all the rich imagery in Psalm 91

*Read 3-4 different Bible translations and consider memorizing your favorite one. Or merge several translations together to make your own amplified version

*Make a list of all the reasons Psalm 91 gives you to thank and praise God

*Every day turn Psalm 91 into a prayer for someone different and see how many days you end up praying it

*Document the ways your life is changed by engaging actively with this Scripture

Great peace have those who love your law! (Psalm 119:165)

The Hunger Cries of Today’s Christian Teens

Think parents don’t have much influence? Think again. In a recent poll of active Christian teens, the majority of them communicated the following:

  • When they see their parents reading their Bibles, they are more apt to read theirs
  • They ask their parents questions about the Bible far more than they ask friends or teachers

In addition…

  • They want politicians and leaders to read the Bible
  • They believe reading the Bible makes them feel closer to God and gives them hope
  • When they see people out in public with their Bibles, they feel happy to know a believer was around them; it strengthens them; and they like that the sacred still matters to some people

Finally…

  • Christian teens struggle to find time to read God’s Word because they’re so busy; but they wish there was time to read it more
  • As you might expect, the next generation often uses technology to look up and read Scripture

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

  1. Encourage youth to listen to an audio Bible when they don’t have time to sit and read. Model this for them as well. Some good times for this may be while applying makeup, putting away dishes, riding in the car, etc. Ask your weary students if you may quietly read Scripture over them until they fall asleep. Or read passages out loud when they are upset or confused. (Nehemiah 8:8)
  2. Don’t totally replace your print Bibles with digital copies because kids who follow Jesus need to see adults pouring over a Bible. (2 Tim. 3:14-15)
  3. Pray for and help busy young people find creative ways to prioritize spending time hearing from God through His Word. Encourage them to schedule this important activity into their agendas or phone calendars until it becomes second nature to them. (Romans 10:17)
  4. You know teens are always looking at those devices, so why not share with them via text, email, or social media what you are reading in your Bible right now? And even though they are a product of the technological age, who doesn’t love to receive something special in the mail? Why don’t you write a verse on a card and put it in the mail to a special teen right now?  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Bible Censorship: It’s a thing and you might be doing it

In his book, “Uncensored, Daring to Embrace the Entire Bible,” Brian Cosby reveals the damaging influence the world has had on Christian understanding of the Word of God, and the improvements you can make in your beliefs so that you will not be guilty of censoring Scripture for personal comfort. Consider these statements:

“This book has tried to expose our tendency to censor the offensive and difficult portions of Scripture, and to demonstrate why such censorship leads to an unhealthy, unbalanced, and unfruitful faith.”

Either we embrace biblical Christianity – both the good and the offensive – or we invent another religion based on our experiences and feelings. The issue is that our fear of man often outshines our fear of God.”

“These are difficult worlds to hear, especially with our postmodern ears.”

“When we censor the full character of God, we soften His justice, elevate man, and devalue our need for the cross.”

All of His attributes should shift our thinking so that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds according to the truth of Scripture.” (Rom. 12:2)

There are truths in the Bible that seem to shake me to the core, but it beckons my trust and confidence in a God who is using His Word to take me to His intended destination.”

“If every word and doctrine has a holy significance in the Bible, and God uses His Word to grow us as His people, then even the difficult and offensive portions are there for a reason.”

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

  1. If you think you might be avoiding the hard parts of the bible in the areas of God’s attributes, creation, sin, suffering, hell, modern churches, and parenting, then be sure to check out this book, especially part two where Cosby covers this “art of censorship.”
  2. If you have already boldly approached the harsh parts of the Bible, but aren’t sure whether you’ve censored them or not, Cosby suggests “when we come to a Scripture passage that is offensive, we should pray and ask, ‘God, why have You inspired this text? What are you trying to teach Your church? How does this humble me and glorify Christ?’”

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)        

A Place to Go when You Feel like You’re Drowning

David knew what it felt like to be drowning in his circumstances, barely keeping his head out of the water, gasping for air, and crying out for help. Thinking you might be able to relate, he shares his feelings and prayers with you in Psalm 69:

The Description

“The waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.” (v. 1, 2)

The Prayer

“I pray to You, O Lord. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink. Do not let the flood waters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. Come near and rescue me, redeem me.” (v. 13, 14, 15, 16).

Thinking you might want to know what you can do while you wait for God’s rescue, the Psalmist offers you his example in Psalm 77:

Your Role (where to put your thoughts and focus)

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds. You are the God who performs miracles. The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw You and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen.” (v. 11, 12, 14, 16, 19)

His Rescue

“He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (Ps. 23: 2,3)

Keeping Room Tips:

Instead of turning to Google for all the answers to your problems, start first with God’s Word where He provides the most accurate and transparent description of your situation (though it may be convicting), along with the most long-term and satisfactory solutions (though they may seem unexpected).

Could you be “the righteous?” (What it takes)

The book of Proverbs is known for its straightforward sayings and its 31 chapters that make it easy to read one chapter a day. It’s a great book for a Christian to learn how a Christian is supposed to behave. But have you ever felt a little uncomfortable with how many Proverbs speak of “the righteous” and “the wicked,” leaving you to wonder to which category you belong?

For example, “the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” (Prov. 10:11). Maybe you are pretty sure “violence doesn’t overwhelm your mouth,” but at the same time you aren’t very confident that your words could be compared to a “fountain of life.” To console yourself, you might tell yourself you can try your best to be righteous.

But that won’t work. You cannot accomplish righteousness on your own no matter how hard you try. Rather, you can receive His righteousness through your faith in Him. That will make you righteous and then enable you to act like it. (Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 1:11; 3:9)

But practically speaking, how does that work?

Keeping Room Tips:   

Since Jesus is Righteousness, you can think of Jesus every time you read about “the Righteous” in Proverbs. In fact, you can substitute His Name each time: The mouth of “Jesus” is a fountain of life (10:11), the lips of “Jesus” nourish many (10:21), the plans of “Jesus” are just (12:5), etc.

Since Jesus is Righteousness and Righteousness lives in your heart, you can trust that you have the power of Righteousness available to you and you can ask Him to help you to use it. 

Since you have fallen short in allowing Righteousness to freely flow through and out of you, you can take the Proverbs about righteousness and turn them into confessions. For instance, “forgive my lack of righteousness in giving without sparing,” (21:26) “forgive my lack of righteousness in being bold as a lion,” (28:1) “forgive my lack of righteousness in caring about justice for the poor,” (29:7) etc.

Since Jesus is Righteousness and Righteousness is a prevailing theme in Proverbs, you have a fresh new way to see Jesus in the Old Testament. The more you see Jesus, the more you can change to become like Him.

What does the Bible say about Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an attitude. (Lev. 7:12)

Thanksgiving is the way of living for children of God and is found in the community of people who turn back to the Lord. (Is. 51:3; Eph. 5:1-4)

Thanksgiving is a way to approach God. (Ps. 95:2; 100:4)

Thanksgiving is a committed, effort-filled sacrifice you offer to the Lord. (Lev. 7:11-15; Ps. 116:17)

Thanksgiving can be expressed as a written piece or as a song, put to music and directed as a special action. (1 Chron. 16:7; Neh. 12:8, 27, 46; Jer. 30:19)

Thanksgiving can be found in partnership with fellowship…with prayer…with praising the Lord…and with Holy Communion. (Lev. 7:11-15; Ezra 3:11; Neh. 11:17; 1 Cor. 10:16; Eph. 1:15; Phil. 4:6; 2 Thess. 1:3)

Thanksgiving enhances your fellowship with Jesus and with others. (1 Cor. 1:4-9; 14-22)

Thanksgiving is a response in conversation…is spoken so that others can understand and feel thankful and encouraged…and is meant to reach many. (Neh. 12:24; 1 Cor. 14:13-17; 2 Cor. 4:15)

Thanksgiving brings glory to God and magnifies Him. (Ps. 69:30)

Thanksgiving is the way to feel when you see the grace of God at work in others. (1 Cor. 4:1)

Thanksgiving is the way to feel when you benefit from others’ generosity. (2 Cor. 9:11)

Thanksgiving is the way to feel when you are amazed at where God has brought you in your journey. (2 Sam. 7:18)

Thanksgiving overflows out of you when you are grounded in Christ. (Col. 2:6-7)

Thanksgiving is a way you bless God. (Rev. 7:12)

Keeping Room Tips:

How can you more closely align your Thanksgiving festivities with the Bible this year? Print the above list and see which Biblical acts of Thanksgiving you might enjoy thinking about as you celebrate the holiday. Share and discuss this list with your family over the Thanksgiving meal. Commit to a lifestyle of Thanksgiving year round.