Day 189: July 8, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 146
1 Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. 2 I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I live. 3 Do not trust in nobles, in man, who cannot save. 4 When his breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die. 5 Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, 7 executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The Lord frees prisoners. 8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed. The Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. 10 The Lord reigns forever; Zion, your God reigns for all generations. Hallelujah!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Set the Prisoners Free
by Stephen Moore, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

Be sure to click on the new video this week.

Praise for the greatness and the grace of God is the subject of this Psalm. Here the psalmist vowed to praise God all his life, because the One who made everything keeps His word, does what is right, and helps those who are hurting.

That’s all great, but as I continued to reflect on this Psalm, I found myself stuck on the word “prisoner” (v. 7). Probably like me, when you think of a prisoner, what comes to mind is the image of one in prison who has broken our laws.

That was my thinking, until the Lord reminded me of my youngest brother Greg, who just turned 50 this year, and who has been a paraplegic in a wheelchair for the last 30 years. The wheelchair may be his “legs,” but it is also his prison. Greg was in a car accident when he was 19 and traveling the wrong road in life. He has told me many times that had he not ended up in his wheelchair he would have ended up in prison.

Two different prisons, both on the same earth. As time has gone by, Greg has talked of walking again, no longer being captive, but now he knows his walk will probably not occur in his temporal body. Over the last ten years, Greg has gone from self-medicating his situation to Praising the LORD! Actually, Greg is a prolific writer of thank-you notes, and each one contains his Praise to the LORD at least three times.

So, are you curious? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a day, a week, or a month of your life in a wheelchair? What if you knew it wasn’t temporary? Could you Praise the LORD? The LORD sets the prisoners free.

What if your prison isn’t physical? What if you are held captive by your thoughts, or hurt feelings, or by an injustice done to you? Can you Praise the LORD? The LORD sets the prisoners free.

Have you noticed that when you Praise the LORD, fear leaves? God and fear cannot be in the same place at the same time. In this Psalm, this hymn of praise, verse 1 gives us a call to Praise the LORD in the form of an imperative, a word of command. “Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul!” And verse 2 states, “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Praxis

Can you sing this song today? Will you sing this song today? Can you sing Praise to the LORD and be held captive at the same time? This song is written by one of the most prolific hymnists in history, Fanny Crosby. She wrote over 8000 hymns despite being blind since infancy.

Blessed Assurance

‎Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God;
Born of the Spirit, washed in His blood

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

‎Perfect submission, perfect delight
Visions of rapture burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

‎Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.


About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.