Read the Bible | August 4th
God Is My Strength and Portion Forever
A Psalm of Asaph.
 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works. (ESV)
Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause
A Maskil of Asaph.
 O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
 Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
 Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their own signs for signs.
 They were like those who swing axes
in a forest of trees.
 And all its carved wood
they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
 They set your sanctuary on fire;
they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it down to the ground.
 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
 We do not see our signs;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is none among us who knows how long.
 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!
 Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
 You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
 You split open springs and brooks;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
 Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
 Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs,
and a foolish people reviles your name.
 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
 Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
 Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
 Arise, O God, defend your cause;
remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
 Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually! (ESV)
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!  Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,  and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)