Saturday, January 30, 2021
Saturday, January 23, 2021
The book of Psalms begins with a exhortation to meditate on and love God's Word. It tells us that happy and blessed is the person who does this. The last few Psalms and many of the Psalms in between are filled with praise for the Lord. In between Psalm one and the last Psalm, Psalm 150, is every imaginable circumstance and situation we might experience in our walk through life. These could include trials, difficult losses, sickness, betrayals, and confusion, but also hope, joys, purpose, peace, and God's precious promises. The Psalms depict a whole spectrum of life experiences both difficult and joyful. They also depict God's faithfulness through every step we take in this world.
The Psalms are meant to be prayed, recited, and even sung. Although it is an Old Testament book of the Bible, no other book of the Bible can compare to it as a basis for daily prayer. The New Testament explains and expands on the knowledge we have of our wonderful redemption in Jesus. Yet the book of Psalms has a unique way of processing every possible situation we may face by the truth of God. Having said this, some of the situations the Psalmists talk about, lament, or pray about have a historical setting. Hence, it may be best to have a study Bible explaining the historical context, or use a good devotional on the Psalms alongside your personal reading of the Psalms.
When we walk by faith, depend on God through difficult and joyful experiences, and use His Word as our guide; we end up praising Him. Psalm 150:6 says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." This is because we see how God has blessed us in good times and has helped us grow in our character and in becoming the people He wants us to be in difficult times. So in good times or difficult times, God deserves to be praised. He knows what He is doing in allowing the things He allows, and He is always faithful in what He does.
The Psalms and all of God's Word helps us to see this. It reminds us of God's love, faithfulness, and wisdom. Meditating on God's Word is our Anchor in time of need, and is the secret to a sweet relationship with Him. It is like spiritual living water that nourishes and never dries up.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Psalm 131 is a beautiful Psalm in the Bible which speaks of humbly trusting in the Lord. So often we try to figure out and manage life and it's struggles on our own. We employ and seek out our own devices and solutions to try to solve life's problems and trials. If we do pray to God for answers, we sometimes ask God to solve our problems and heartaches the way we think is best.
Instead, in Psalm 131 the psalmist says, "I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me." We can't understand God's ways. We can not fully understand what He has in mind in the issues and trials of life, but He is so much wiser than us. We can rest in His wisdom. The psalmist goes on to say, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul."
The psalmist has stilled and quieted his soul "like a weaned child with His mother." He is content to just be in and enjoy the presence of the Lord. An unweaned child wants something from the mother. The child wants the mother's milk. The weaned child only wants and desires to be in the presence and company of his mom. He is not looking for what the mother can give him, but he just finds solace and comfort and joy in who the mom is as a person.
So it is with God. We can find joy in His presence alone and in who He is as our loving and faithful God. Psalm 131 tell us, "We can find "hope in the Lord both now and forevermore."
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Christmas of 2020 is past, and we are already a couple weeks into 2021. The year 2020 was difficult in many ways, but I hope you had a blessed Christmas contemplating the true meaning of Christ's coming to this earth. I hope you experienced joy and worship in your heart, as you meditated on these things. More importantly, I hope you are carrying that joy and worshipful spirit into 2021 in spite of recent events in our nation.
During December I read through the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. A couple days before Christmas I read Luke chapter two which tells of Christ's birth and Luke chapter twenty-four which speaks of Christ's resurrection. It was a blessing to do so after reading about Christ's earthly life and death on the cross earlier in the month.
I am so thankful that Jesus came as a baby, that He took on humanity for us. He left His perfect place in Heaven with God to come to this troubled and sinful world for us. Then He lived a perfect life for us, and finally died to pay for our sins. II Corinthians 9:15 says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." It is a gift which is precious, inexpressible, and beyond our understanding. It should fill our hearts with joy and worship and has the capability to carry us through the months ahead in 2021 and beyond.
Year 2021 will have and already has had its own problems and trials. COVID problems, for one thing are not fully conquered. In fact, COVID variants are beginning to materialize. There has also been shocking violence displayed at our nation's capitol. As I have watched this unfold, I have been struck with the reality of the depravity of the human heart without the Lord. We also have other personal issues that we face. For some these issues may include care-giving for a loved one, joblessness, cancer or other serious illnesses, concerns for a loved one who has lost his way, or even homelessness.
Whatever 2021 brings know that the Lord wants to walk with us through life's problems. We need to trust His plans and not rely on our own plans. We need to make Him not only our Savior, but Lord of our life. We need Him in every area of our lives. He wants to give us peace even if there is chaos all around us. He wants to turn confusion into clarity, pointlessness into purpose, and worry into worship.
What a precious gift this precious Savior and Lord is to us who accept Him into our lives. Once again we say, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." Let's walk through 2021 with joy.