Psalm 2 – Our Place of Refuge

Full Reading:

“The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
                                                                   for his wrath is quickly kindled.                                                                 
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Psalm 2, ESV

“When my time comes, I don’t want to meet God as a stranger.”

…we have to wholeheartedly love God so much that it makes our relationships with other people seem like hatred. That’s the level of devotion and love that our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to do! We need to ask ourselves: “Do I love God this much? Does my life look like this?”

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1, NIV

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1, NIV

When I read this passage I am immediately taken back a couple years ago when I commuted to school from my home town on a cold December evening. I remember that rainy evening so vividly because I remember rounding near a particular bus shelter that I happened to pass by frequently as I drove to and from school near Saint Catharines, Ontario. An elderly woman sat inside with a large purse, a thin parka, and a one-size-fits-all umbrella. As I slowly came to a stop at the light, I spotted a young man who hadn’t even the sense to wear proper winter attire running into the shelter completely drenched. I remember the smile the woman gave that man, who returned it just before they both boarded a bus going opposite to where I was heading. I remember specifically the woman’s immediate reaction as she offered to give the man shelter from the rain as they slowly clambered onto the shuttle.

It is one of my fonder memories while commuting back and forth from college because I had previously been talking with a friend from class who was curious about my faith and why I believed that a man who lived two thousand years ago had risen back to life. He wasn’t so much interested in the How, but the Why behind the act on the cross. “In one sentence, can you describe why that man [Christ] needed to die if your God is powerful enough to do it on His own?” He asked.

At the time, I couldn’t think of a way to describe Christ’s role. But when I saw the woman’s merciful show of love at the bus stop, I not only had an answer but I also got an illustration to describe it: Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was perfectly adequate. Like the woman’s umbrella, Jesus’ work was the one-size-fits-all solution–God’s ONLY solution–to the problem of Sin. He is our comfort, our joy, our saviour, and our refuge.

This is what I am reminded of when I read this beautiful Psalm!

I think it is safe to say that the writer of Psalm 2 is King David, as Paul quoted this Psalm in Acts 4:25 and had credited it to King David. We can trust in Paul’s inspired testimony that it is so, but it is also evident in the author’s knowledge of foreign courts. He may even hint at an intimate knowledge of Judah’s own nobility. When I read this Psalm I imagine where in David’s life this Psalm took place. It is difficult to trace it, but I can imagine him on his wilderness wanderings alongside his most loyal men. The first couple of days were probably the toughest, having to acclimatize to a life on the run, forcing him and his men to wander from settlement to settlement and meeting many shrewd men with varying levels of moral rightness. He knows their immorality. David knows conspiracy against God very well.

As a Christian, I find that I can relate to these Gentile rulers. I sometimes catch myself thinking “I would probably have an easier life if I was not a Christian” or “I want to be a better Christian, but I don’t want to give away [insert temptation]”. We can see this same line of thinking in the Gentile kings. The Gentiles plotted against the Lord; they moaned against God, they raged against Him, and they took counsel with one another hoping that God didn’t see them! They even wished to cast away the bonds of debt that they owed God: They wanted to unshackle themselves from Him and live out lives dictated solely by themselves at the helm. They hated God.

The Bible teaches that humanity was created to be ruled. Whether we choose God or sin to rule us is up to us. When we have hearts of stone, hearts centered on fleshly or sinful desires, it becomes hardened against God. It becomes harder and harder to choose God over ourselves. We begin to choose what we want rather than what God wants. And without that Godly, objective standard in our lives we tend to live out a life devoid of all peace (Romans 8:5-8). Between ourselves and God, we can only love one of the two.

Christ himself has taught in Luke 14:26 that we cannot become His disciples without hating our own family! This teaching is placed in the passage right after Jesus had taught the parable of the great banquet (where the biggest theme is to not waste our lives by refusing to take hold of the gift of salvation). The teaching in Luke 14:26 comes right before Jesus talking about the man who built a tower only to leave it partially built. It’s not that Jesus wants us to hate our parents, but unlike the man who only partially built the tower and unlike the people who refused to join the generous man’s banquet, we have to wholeheartedly love God so much that it makes our relationships with other people seem like hatred. 

That’s the level of devotion and love that our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to do! We need to ask ourselves: “Do I love God this much? Does my life look like this?” We have to give Him our all; our entire being is a requirement of worship.

Now, the Gentile kings loved themselves more. And although they might have not known the one true God, they still bore witness to creation. They should have been aware that an objective morale standard existed. And they even had the Israelites who, even though they did a poor job, were supposed to be an example as God’s chosen people. It was not just the physical evidence of creation that was made plain for us to perceive, but all of God’s invisible qualities which include His divine nature as well. Righteousness and holiness are a part of His divine nature. Therefore, we are all without excuse (Romans 1:20).

Because they were without excuse and because all their actions were self-centered, their hearts held hatred towards God. They relied on incomplete knowledge. They believed that by their own power they could get true peace. But the bible indicates otherwise.

King David calls their actions futile. In fact, God laughs at our attempts to attain refuge in ourselves. He doesn’t do this in spite of our actions, but because of their futility. We simply can’t achieve peace by ourselves. The punishment for rebellion is death. But David refers back to the past (Joshua 21:13) when he says “refuge”. He points back to cities that allowed asylum to those who were fleeing from charges such as murder, manslaughter, theft, and debts like slavery. Or at the very least these cities gave runaways and cast-outs the right of fair trial. These cities (Hebron, Shechem, Golan, Ramor, etc.) were called “Cities of Refuge”.

““The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.” 2 Samuel 22:1-3, NIV

“Therefore, worship the Lord, and only the Lord. Remember that only by the Creator’s authority can we find peace, rest, and refuge — we can’t get it from anything creation.”

Because David associates God with these cities (as it was God who decreed that these cities existed), It is from this knowledge we can then acknowledge that God is the sole source of refuge and not men. We must remember who truly holds this world in His possession, and who truly has the authority before the Father to appeal to our sins.

Though we fear and tremble under His awesome power and authority, we are happy knowing that we can trust in God as our city of refuge. Only in Him can we, people who are guilty of sins equal to that of murder, achieve true rest and asylum from the punishment of sin.

A false image that plenty of Christians perceive of God is that He is God waiting to punish us for every sin. And yes, sin does deserve punishment, but He is a God who eagerly waits to forgive us out of love and grace.

After reading over this psalm, I’m immediately held captive by the love that God has for us. The one who holds the sole answer to sin, the one who has the authority to forgive, has offered us His arms as refuge! Who are we to refuse that great gift? The most obvious response to this gift is a life fully devoted, fully trusting, and fully submitted God. 

 Practical Lessons

1. Don’t find security and counsel in earthly things – they won’t help us.

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It is okay to use earthly things for God, but do not let them use us. Every natural thing that God provides for us is meant to be enjoyed, as God has provided them to us as a form of rest. However it is easy to be tempted to take advantage of these wonderful gifts, so we must take care to use them and not let them use us. We must equally be careful when taking moral cues from our brothers and sisters. We are sojourners. We are aliens in the world that God has placed us in. We have to remember that we don’t truly own this land and the possessions that we have: We are merely passing through. Although we experience a temporary rest that is given to us by God, take action. Feel comfortable, but not too comfortable because the comfort we now feel is dwarfed by the ultimate comfort given to us when we’re with God.

Therefore, worship the Lord, and only the Lord. Remember that only by the Creator’s authority can we find peace, rest, and refuge — we can’t get it from anything creation.

2. In our ministry with non-believers (and even with believers who follow a false doctrine) we have to remember to love them.

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This becomes increasingly hard as they seem like they are persecuting us when in fact they are persecuting Jesus. Sometimes we get defensive it it almost always comes off as self-righteous, hypocritical, and closed-minded. Even though we may articulate our arguments very well, but we don’t look very good in the outset. We have to remember that it is people that we are ministering to. Yes, we must love God with our entire being, but we must also love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

3. Remember that the principle blessing of heaven is to partake in God’s presence.

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I was raised with very hard, very harsh teachings, and very strict parents who guided me, who instilled in me a fear of God that I don’t plan on losing. This fire and brimstone style of teaching isn’t bad, but I am reminded by countless wise individuals that fear is only the starting point of our faith, and love is its ultimate end. We have to want to run into God’s arms out of love first, and fear second. Without love, there is no relationship. As a teacher of mine has once said, “When my time comes, I don’t want to meet God as a stranger.” We have to be diligent and make an effort in loving. As I have learned in my time in reading Proverbs, knowledge comes from fear and reverence of the Lord — But devotion and faith is rooted in love.

I pray that I am ever in love with the Lord and forever in awe of His awesome power!

Take care, and I will be praying for you too.

Memory Verse:

“[Therefore] Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling…Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Psalm 2:11 and 12b

Psalm 1 – The Blessed Way

Memory Verse:

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord 

and on his law he meditates day and night. – Psalms 1:1-2

“The bible calls on us to lean on and delight in the promises of salvation that God gave us, with righteousness as an indicator of our faith.”

“The important thing here is that our joys and successes and our paths combine and are aligned to the person of Christ, not the person who is wicked.”

It is easy to feel slighted when we see the people in our class or in our work place sail ahead as we feel confined to the moral standard that we, as Christians, are called to uphold. It is easy to blame or hate God because we sometimes feel that we don’t get to experience some of the “highs” that non-Christians get to experience.

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We get advantages just by conforming to the morality and changing trends of society, so how can the word of God be practical and rewarding for us when it recognizes for us a defined “right” and “wrong”?

It is hard to feel blessed sometimes, which I think is what the author is trying to hint at. And yet, the writer of this beautiful psalm, the psalmist, paints us two clear pictures: He shows us what a wicked person, a sinner, looks like as well as what a blessed man, a person who is “right”, looks like. Not just superficially, but internally as well.

This passage points to a black and white. An unfortunate article of trivia about today’s society is that we are so eager to say that there is in fact a gray area in between “right” and “wrong”, but the bible tirelessly draws a clear divide. I think that because we have such a hard time coming to terms with the morality of our very actions, we try to come up with more and more ways to justify them.

The psalmist tells us that wicked men are–but aren’t limited to–scoffers. This is someone that the book of Proverbs describes as a person whose heart is hardened, whose arrogance and pride derive from themselves and not from God…Someone who is, without apology, against the truth that the revelation from God provides.

But we don’t want to be like that, we want to be the “Blessed man”. The psalmist characterizes the “Blessed man” in four ways:

  1. “The Blessed man walks not in the counsel of the wicked”

As we said before, people who’re on the side of God–a being set apart from the world–should also set themselves apart from the world. Specifically to this line of thought, the psalmist advises us not to get advice from those that we know aren’t morally right with God. This means that we shouldn’t believe or become attracted to the immoral experiences and false success that those around us seem to attain so easily. We have to remember that all those things come at a very steep price.

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  1. The Blessed man “stands not in the way of sinners”

What this means is that we don’t follow the paths that sinners tread. A good way to gauge this is to see whether or not our lives are similar to that of a wicked person’s. Because it’s easy to associate wicked people with success, one may ask, “So should I be unsuccessful if I don’t want to be ‘wicked?’” Not at all! God wants us to be successful. Being successful is one of the ways that we can share His message. And besides, someone who may be financially well-off might not have a healthy private life.

The important thing here is that our joys and successes and our paths combine and are aligned to the person of Christ, not the person who is wicked.

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  1. The Blessed man doesn’t sit in the “seat of the scoffers”

In this clause, “sit” can also mean “to be surrounded by” or “join”. In either case, the message here is that in order for us to know we aren’t associated with the wicked, we have to not associate our hearts with the wicked. This is a problem passage for many Christians because they often cite Matthew 28:19 in reminding us that it is imperative for us to spread the message to “all the nations”, scoffers included. This is true, but the psalmist isn’t pointing to a physical seat, but an inward seat. This, we know is true, as we’ve all at  one point have been led astray (Isaiah 53:6). We can proximate ourselves as close as we want to those that scoff at the face of God–of course for the purposes of planting in them the seed of truth; It is also hard to love someone if you’re not near them–just as long as our hearts dwell in the promises that God gave us, and not in them.

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  1. The Blessed man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night”

I wrote about this in an earlier post, but the gist of this sentence is that we not only have to read diligently, but we also have to want to. This is probably one of the harder step for some Christians (and by all means, all of these distinctions are hard!), but it is still a muscle that we need to work out in order to lighten the load.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16

But the questions still stand: “Where is our just rewards for being righteous? What is my reward for being a good servant?”

The bible answers this – The blessings that God gives us aren’t rewards. There is no amount of “good” that we do that can pay for the effects that even the smallest grain of sin can have on our hearts and souls. Imagine you’re at court because you’re charged for breaking the law: You don’t become innocent by listing off all the good things you’ve done in your life – You still violated the law! The only way we can become innocent is if we are both forgiven and if the charges against us are paid for. And because of this, we trust that God “watches over the way of the righteous” and brings to ruin the way of the wicked. God isn’t capricious like the gods that the surrounding nations of King David’s time. The one true God judges fairly and with reason.

So, the bible doesn’t call on us to see righteousness as a way in which we can escape the bondage of sins by ourselves. If we tried to, then we’d fail. The bible calls on us to lean on and delight in the promises of salvation that God gave us, with righteousness as an indicator of our faith. The psalmist calls us to be happy, and we now know what for: We all are undeserving of grace (that is the very nature of grace!) and yet are given grace upon grace. What a thing to have!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV

So I challenge you this day to think to yourself: “Do I believe in the morals and trends of society? Is the path that I am taking similar to that of the wicked? Is my heart in God or the temptations that my heart is attracted to? Am I spending as much as I can on God’s word?”

These aren’t all of the questions we need to be asking ourselves, but if we start asking these four basic questions then the fruits of the Spirit will definitely follow through.

Take care, and I will be praying for you.

The Truth Will Set You Free: The Importance of Devo’s

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”1 Timothy 4:7-10 NIV

“So a life of devotion is our response to help the Spirit do His work in us, to strengthen us and make our bodies ready for God at the end of our lives.”

“It is my conviction that reading from the bible solely to glean flowery language–and we can all agree that the bible is filled with beautiful language!–is a wasted opportunity. Devotion to God and God alone should both start and end in scripture for the purposes of drinking from His streams of life.”

Have you ever felt disconnected from God? Have you ever found yourself realizing that you knew so very little of the God that you worship? Is your worship or private meditation becoming more and more boring by the day, shrinking from the godly standard that you know it should be? Or worse, have you ever found yourself thinking that you haven’t been learning as much as you’d used to while sitting on the church pew? These are just a couple of the problems any Christian goes through during their walk as a disciple. Spirituality is cyclical. We so often experience “spiritual highs” at church camp, at conferences, or at church – and it is so easy to find ourselves dipping throughout the week.

This is normal. The early Christians experienced this as well! But why do we read so much of their zeal, their readiness for worshipping the one true God? Well, friend, even Paul had to remind them to be zealous (Romans 12:11), and sometimes their zeal was based on false teaching, or was spent worshiping for the wrong reasons (Romans 10:2). They’d thought they knew what truth was and because of bad interpretation. And because they’d  falsely assumed what the truth was, they were rebuked and then edified.

A way in which we can avoid these troughs in our spirituality is committing our lives in devotion to God, routinely gleaning from His truth so that our worship, prayers, and faith can be optimized and used effectively! This is important no matter how spiritually mature we are.

So Why do A Devo?

So before I teach you how to commit a life to devotion I’d like to explain why the bible, specifically the New Testament Epistles (letters), advocate for the idea of Devo’s. I will do that by first explaining two key words: One is a word that occurs frequently in the letters, Godliness, and the other word is doctrinal – though the specific word is not very common in the epistles, the very concept is core to Christian belief and is a major theme throughout the letters. And that second word is Sanctification.

But what is Sanctification? We hear it sometimes in scriptures and in sermons, but what is its meaning to us in our salvation?

At baptism, a change happened in us, both personal and spiritual. Intimate and revelatory. The bible doesn’t say just how–and perhaps we weren’t meant to–but the Holy Spirit changed the orientation of our hearts and souls with its indwelling. The bible said that before this, we had a heart of stone (Ezekiel 36:26), a heart so solidified and calcified by the corruption of sin that it became harder and harder for us to fall away from it: But we were given a heart of flesh. A heart tender to the grace of God, a heart re-oriented to Him and his mercies, weakened to His breath of new life.

This act of new creation, however, is not Sanctification! It is called the doctrine of Regeneration, but what comes after it is just as beautiful. Sanctification happens at the same time as Regeneration and lasts throughout our lives. It is the Holy Spirit’s work in us that empowers us to become more and more like God, which is godliness.

If you can imagine Regeneration–the spiritual change the Spirit’s effects have on our soul–as a doctor’s surgery, then Sanctification is the time the body’s spent in recovery from the operation. And when we go through dips in our spirituality, it is sort of like interrupting our body’s rest by going out to party. It’s not that the Spirit doesn’t stop working during these low spiritual points in our lives – we just don’t let Him.

So a life of devotion is our response to help the Spirit do His work in us, to strengthen us and make our bodies ready for God at the end of our lives. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he’d said that he’d given us a helper that’d never leave us (John 14:16). In this, I find profound joy.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31

Now, I don’t want to get into the specifics of the passages that I want to give you that pertain to Sanctification and Godliness (1 Thessalonians 5:27; 1 Timothy 2:1-6; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:3-11; Titus 1:1; and finally in 2 Peter 1:3-7) but they all have the those key words as recurring words/ideas. You can take the chance to do the study yourselves.

What strikes me, however, is that in all these passages Paul associates the diligent reading of scriptures (both public and private) with Godliness. A part of the reason why Paul is so spiritually tuned is because he is so transfixed in scripture. If we can access this level (although not very easy!) of spirituality then we’ll find less and less problems in the trenches of our spirituality. But to do this we have to become studious like Paul. After all, the truth will set us free (John 8:32)!

So what does a life of devotion looks like?

By most practisers, devotional life is that of prayer, reading, or reflection. I contend that it is all of these things. Devotionals to many Christians is meant to be a short snippet of a bible study, sometimes meant to be a time to uplift and “feel good”. Based on what our scripture has said we should make the most out of our time in the Word, gleaning as much as we can to hopefully learn as much as we can of the Father’s ultimate plan. From this we can and should be joyful and have the same “feel good” experience. It is my conviction that reading from the bible solely to glean flowery language–and we can all agree that the bible is filled with beautiful language!–is a wasted opportunity. Devotion to God and God alone should both start and end in scripture for the purposes of drinking from His streams of life.

With that said, it is also easy to think of your personal devotional life as a time that we must devote to scripture. And by all means we should, but forcing ourselves through a book can be a serious detriment to our spirituality. It becomes a chore, which can sometimes affect the effectiveness of our studies, as well as the consistency in which we do them. I myself have felt exhausted at several points of my devotional time and turned what were supposed to be breaks into sabbaticals!

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16

1. Start with the Bible!

A “Devo” is essentially a pre-planned block of time (could be anywhere from several minutes to an hour) spent dwelling in the presence of God. Some Christians use this time for prayer, and others spend it observing the work God has done in their lives. A great starting place for any biblical study. It is easy to be tempted to think that prayer alone or meditation alone is enough, but we can’t do it without a biblical base. Figure out a schedule, a plan, a routine. Ask yourself how much time you’re able and willing to spend. Foresee challenges you might face (like laziness, and optimal times of the day when you’re most awake) and work your way around it with careful thinking.

Even use the buddy system! Keep yourself accountable to God by sharing the experience with a friend or two. You both can keep each other active and punctual.

Work with a translation that’s readable to your comprehension level and figure out what books you want to read and in what order. I recommend using Bible Apps because they are easy to use while on the go. They’re designed for this purpose!

2. Begin and end the Devo with prayer.

A lot of the things we do we can accomplish adequately by ourselves. But, I’ve found that we have more success and effectiveness when we pray for it.

Pray for spiritual growth and for memorizing and understanding scripture. And pray again when you’re done! After all, God alone has power to make your efforts a success.

3. Optional: Read a solid companion to the bible.

Part of the devotional process is learning of the Word on your own terms, but it is also helpful to see another person’s opinion. When you don’t have someone to bounce ideas from, it is useful to have a second opinion. These can come in either Sermon or Commentary form.

Commentaries are easier to find than sermons. When I’m short of time and only have maybe half an hour to an hour of free time, I almost always use Bible Handbooks or Study Bibles. They are useful because they all conveniently contain maps, commentaries and useful trivia.

I personally like to use the Zondervan NIV Study Bible written by F.F. Bruce, who never ceases to amaze me with his writing. The newest editions of that study bible are also useful and wonderful to have. If not that, I would strongly recommend the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, which is an excellent book even to have sitting on your desk.

In the realm of Bible handbooks I love to use Halley’s Bible Handbook, which is great even in more serious studies. But if you don’t mind spending a little more on extra-biblical literature then I would strongly recommend purchasing one of these two sets:

a) The Baker Set, which contains the Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary, Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, and the Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary;

b) The New Bible set, which contains the New Bible Commentary and New Bible Dictionary.

For the beginner, these two sets are all one needs to get started in their bible studies.

Sermons are a good replacement for commentaries as well because they are so full of practical illustrations for us to glean from in our studies. However, their quality of depends on the actual preacher. I personally like to follow two of these talented authors:

a) While I disagree with a bit of his theology, John Piper is excellent. He maintains a doctrine of inerrancy (Believes that the Bible is 100% the Word of God) and it reflects in his writings and teachings.

b) I also recommend “Thru the Bible” by Dr. J. Vernon McGee for the same reasons. He does a fair job at going over scripture section-by-section and translates it to the reader in easy-to-read form.

Some sources to avoid are some of the older works from classical writers, such as Charles Spurgeon and Matthew Henry. Some of their theologies are good reference material to have in any library, but they are both dated.

These are all sources that I personally love using for quick devotional studies.

4. Think about how the text relates to you.

It is easy to miss the concept of parable, and even miracles, so it is important to try to relate certain things in the bible as closely to our lives as we can. Of course, not everything in the bible is to be made an applicational lesson (which is where we can use the commentaries to help discern our bible with), but it is essential that we try to close the historical gap between present time and both the Old and New Testaments. Doing this can help us relate to the characters and to understand the author’s intended meaning that he wants us to read.

5. Think about how you can apply the text into your own life.

After understanding what the text means, and its closest equivalent to our lives, then comes the point in which we can put our knowledge to good use. Spend as much time as you need on reflection, as this is arguably the most important part of applying knowledge into practice.

6. Make it fun!

Devotional time isn’t a chore, it isn’t homework, and it isn’t a burden. It is something that we should have fun doing. Remember, these are just tips and guidelines for you to work with: You can customize these rules around your schedule and interests. We are all made different – I personally love to read, so I don’t at all mind reading in my study for an hour. Some of my peers on the other hand like to read on-the-go, whether their studies take them to the park or café. You can have Devo in the morning, afternoon, evening – whenever you have the time. You can even space it out throughout the day. In short, make it work around your freedom and interests. I have a friend who, after reading her bible at home, would run on a treadmill while reflecting what she’d read. I even know of another person in my church who listens to an audio bible as he’s driving to and from work! But above all, make sure to commit time to the Devo as it is what keeps us spiritually strong and grounded in faith.

Take care, and I will be praying for you.