Thursday, January 29, 2009

Psalm 89: Apathy or whatever

Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all people! (Psalm 89:47)

Ever feel like your life is futile? ("My life doesn't matter")

Ever get run over by the apathy bug? ("What difference does any of this really make?")

Ever become convinced nothing really matters? ("Who cares!?")

The Psalmist knew what this is like. And worse. He couldn't "find" God:

How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? (Psalm 89:46)

We all come in contact with these thoughts on occasions.

So what do you do to combat them?

Our spiritual fathers and mothers have taught us that one of the ways to combat such enemies is through the consistent practice of disciplines. Regular times and schedules for prayer and scripture, worship and meditation.

Ask God to help you find some anchors to build into your spiritual life on a regular basis. Over the next couple of months we'll be talking about a variety of ways the people of God have found help to stay true, and be formed into the image of Christ.

And good news, listen to the way the Psalmist ends Psalm 89:

Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and amen (v52)

May God rekindle and awaken faith in us in times of doubt and struggle.

Grace & peace

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shaped By Psalm 27

ou're in trouble.

Maybe it's with the boss.

Maybe it's with finances.

Maybe it's with a family member.


But you need help. What are you gonna do?



Throw a fit?

Self medicate?

Try to forget it and hope "it" goes away?

We are shaped by our past decisions to go with what has previously "worked" for us. We all have our "gods" we go to when times are rough; things, habits or thought patterns we turn to and look for deliverance.

It is in times like these that we need to have Scripture tucked away in our brains and in our hearts. Listen to what the Psalmist says:

The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall. (Psalm 27:1-2 NIV)

Did you notice the images that have shaped the writer's response?

God is my light and my salvation.
God is the stronghold of my life.

The Psalmist has been shaped by the truth of who God is. The mind has been trained to think of these pictures and find hope and confidence in them. The heart has been conditioned to go to them in order to recover strength and peace.

What is shaping your life today?

May you turn to God-given resources (Scripture, prayer, Godly friends, God-centered music, times of quiet and contemplation) in order to be shaped by Him.

Grace & peace

Monday, January 26, 2009

Be Careful the god You Choose

You have heard the cliche, "You are what you eat."

But what do you think about, "You are what you worship"?

Listen to Psalm 115:

Our God is in heaven;
he who does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold, made by hands of men...
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them. (vv3-4,8)


The Living God can't be controlled.
False gods can only do what we tell them to do.

Worshiping false gods will lead to our becoming like them.
Worshiping The Living God will lead to our becoming like Him.
(Romans 8:29 tells us God desires for us to be conformed to the likeness of his Son)

We talked about it yesterday. What is shaping you?

We can be shaped by the All-knowing, All-seeing, All-loving, All-powerful, Life-Giving God.


We can become like the mute, dumb, deaf, blind, unresponsive gods of of this world.

Who do you want to become like?

Be careful which gods (or God) you choose.

Grace & peace

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Psalm 22

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Sound familiar? Your mind may go to Jesus on the cross. Those are words he said.

But long before he said them on the cross, the Psalmist penned them, in Psalm 22:1 (along with other words that connect to Jesus' sacrifice):

"All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." (Psalm 22:7-8)

"I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." (Psalm 22:17-18)

"For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help." (Psalm 22:24)

We read this Psalm this morning before the kids took off for school. I read it slowly, quietly.

Then I asked them, "What did you hear?"

One mentioned, "I heard Jesus speaking."

Another said, "I heard sadness and least the part I was thinking about."

Which is an insightful statement. Because those passages are not the very end of the Psalm.

Listen to the way the Psalm ends:

"I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the congregation I will praise you" (22:22)

"The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him..." (22:26)

"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him -
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the LORD.
They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn - for he has done it!" (22:27-31)

As you read those last verses, you get a reminder that God is in control. (Do you think that our Lord, while he was on the cross, quoting the 1st part of the Psalm, was also looking to the last part of the Psalm? I do!)

At Christmastime we sang, "The wrong shall fail, the right prevail" (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

May God encourage your heart today through Christ's determined suffering and sacrifice for you.

May the Holy Spirit empower and equip you to be Christ to those around you.

May you be reminded that those who suffer for and with Christ are victorious today!

Grace & peace