Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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May 30 - Evening

"I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing."

- Psalms 34:1-9

Avoid Foolish Mistakes by Focusing on the Lord Instead of Yourself

Beginning after the superscript, Psalm 34 follows the acrostic organization for each verse. The superscript (or, title) associates this psalm with events in David’s life from 1 Samuel 21:10-15 when David found himself feigning insanity in front of the Philistine King Achish.

Achish was the king of Gath who’s official title was “Abimelech” (meaning “my father is king”) like “Pharaoh” was the title of Egyptian kings. In fact, Abraham and Isaac use the title “Abimelech” in Genesis 20 and Genesis 26 refer to the leader of the Philistines.

Since the subject matter of this title does not specifically match the topics detailed in the individual acrostic verses it is hard to imagine this superscript being added years later. It would seem David himself wrote and titled this Psalm based on his personal experience in Gath before Abimelech Achish, the king of Gath.

The first nine verses of this psalm build like this:

34:1 – David declares his intention to praise the Lord in these words and at all times. Avarakha, or “Let me bless,” begins the acrostic with the first Hebrew letter ‘aleph.

34:2 – David’s glory is not in himself, his skill, his kingdom, his wealth, or his military power. No, because David’s glory, or “boasting”, is in the Lord. David turns away from a self-centered subject to glorify and boast in the Lord. David’s purpose in writing is to assist others, possibly other people who are self-centered and self-promoting boasters, to look away from themselves in order to see someone who is truly worthy of promoting. The one who is worthy of promotion and praise is the Lord.

34:3 – Here others are directly invited to join David in his boasting by “magnifying” or “making great” the Lord. Of course, God’s character will not change, but man’s awareness of the Lord’s great essence will come into sharper focus for them. A greater awareness of the Lord results in a greater faith. And, greater faith produces greater obedience.

34:4 – David recounts personal experience of the Lord’s deliverance in his own life.

34:5 – David recounts the historical examples of others who looked to the Great God and were delighted with the results. This most likely would include many of the Old Testament examples we are also familiar with that had preceded David and his times.

34:6 – David guarantees that when a humble person turns to God instead of exalting themselves the Lord will listen. Instead of boasting in our own plans we should seek the Lord and promote his ways.

34:7 – One of the methods and one of the reasons for the deliverance of the believer is the presence of the Angel of the Lord (the divine messenger, who sometimes is clearly a manifestation of the Second Member of the Trinity in the Old Testament). The Angel of the Lord is often mentioned in the biblical accounts such as when Abraham sent his servant Eliezer into Aram to find Isaac’s wife (Gen. 24:7), or when the Angel of the Lord led Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 23:20-23).  Those who honor this “messenger,” the Angel of the Lord or the Second Member of the Trinity, will “be set free.”(John 8:32; Romans 8:2; Luke 4:17-21).

34:8 – David encourages us, his readers and fellow worshippers, to personally experience the Lord in our own lives and join him and those before him in agreeing that the Lord is Good.
Tapeinos (Gr) – Humble (Eng) – tapeinos is a Greek word that means “low lying,” and “humble.” Tapeinos means “humble in spirit” in Matthew 11:29 and 2 Corinthians 16:1; “of low degree” in Luke 1:52; “of low estate” in Romans 12:16; and in 2 Corinthians 7:6 Tapeinos refers to “cast down” of “lowly.”
Do I spend more time seeking my own glory and my own purpose than I do serving God’s glory and seeking his purpose? My life will glorify the Lord and serve his plans.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Relaxation and refreshing


Hearts of servants

The Pool of Siloam
Details on a map of 2 Kings 25 when Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 586 BC and King Zedekiah fled

Someone to Quote

“Odd, the way the less the Bible is read, the more it is translated.”
– C.S. Lewis

Something to Ponder

On February 8, 356 Athanasius goes into exile for the third time since the Council of Nicea in 325. Athanasius was the defender of the eternal existence of Christ and the deity of Jesus, but because the Arians (who taught Jesus was created by God) were in political power, Athanasius was out of favor. Arianism was a heresy condemned at the council of Nicea in 325 had made a comeback and was sweeping the Roman Empire in 356 AD. Athanasius would be exiled two more times before he died. (Details 1, 2, 3)

Here’s a Fact

The Letter of Clement (or, First Clement) was written around 95 AD from Rome by Clement, the bishop of Rome. In this document written to the church in Corinth Clement makes reference to three New Testament letters available to the churches and seen as authoritative: Romans, 1 Corinthians and Hebrews.  So by 95 AD the churches possessed and recognized as scripture these three books that we still have today.


"For as churning cream produces butter and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”
- Proverbs 30:33

Coach’s Corner

The level of our desire to accomplish a mission, is proportional to the increased amount of time we spend working on it and the decreased amount of time we spend having meetings to talk about it.

Hosea 12
New International Version (NIV)
Ephraim feeds on the wind;     he pursues the east wind all day     and multiplies lies and violence. He makes a treaty with Assyria     and sends olive oil to Egypt.

The Lord has a charge to bring against Judah;     he will punish Jacob according to his ways     and repay him according to his deeds.

In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;     as a man he struggled with God.

He struggled with the angel and overcame him;     he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel     and talked with him there—

the Lord God Almighty,     the Lord is his name!

But you must return to your God;     maintain love and justice,     and wait for your God always.

The merchant uses dishonest scales     and loves to defraud.

Ephraim boasts,     “I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me     any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God     ever since you came out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again,     as in the days of your appointed festivals.
I spoke to the prophets,     gave them many visions     and told parables through them.”
Is Gilead wicked?     Its people are worthless! Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?     Their altars will be like piles of stones     on a plowed field.
Jacob fled to the country of Aram;     Israel served to get a wife,     and to pay for her he tended sheep.
The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,     by a prophet he cared for him.
But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;     his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed     and will repay him for his contempt.
Psalm 119:44-88
New International Version (NIV)
I will always obey your law,     for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom,     for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings     and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands     because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love,     that I may meditate on your decrees.
ז Zayin
Remember your word to your servant,     for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:     Your promise preserves my life.
The arrogant mock me unmercifully,     but I do not turn from your law.
I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,     and I find comfort in them.
Indignation grips me because of the wicked,     who have forsaken your law.
Your decrees are the theme of my song     wherever I lodge.
In the night, Lord, I remember your name,     that I may keep your law.
This has been my practice:     I obey your precepts.
ח Heth
You are my portion, Lord;     I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;     be gracious to me according to your promise.
I have considered my ways     and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay     to obey your commands.
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,     I will not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to give you thanks     for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,     to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, Lord;     teach me your decrees.
ט Teth
Do good to your servant     according to your word, Lord.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment,     for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,     but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;     teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,     I keep your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,     but I delight in your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted     so that I might learn your decrees.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me     than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
י Yodh
Your hands made me and formed me;     give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,     for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,     and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,     according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,     for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;     but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me,     those who understand your statutes.
May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,     that I may not be put to shame.
כ Kaph
My soul faints with longing for your salvation,     but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise;     I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,     I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait?     When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pits to trap me,     contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy;     help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth,     but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your unfailing love preserve my life,     that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

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