The Psalms are passionate and expressive, gritty and real. They are an instruction book for prayer and worship and fuel your vocabulary in talking with God.
I find them a comfort, and a relief to my soul. In a recent time of feeling distress over a situation I started to read through the psalms, I saw again and again how the writers were also frequently in distress, but in all of the passages I read, God heard their cries, for example:
“In my distress I cried to the LORD, And He heard me.”
Psalms 120:1 NKJV
This is one of many. I find this part of the mystery of scripture, that I can read it and I find relief and peace and hope. Somehow the writer’s experience is now mine, not that I have seen the answer to my cries, but I have hope that as it was there so shall it be now. That becuase the Lord heard the distress of David’s cry he will hear mine. And so I take it on board and I whisper it to myself, I speak it out reminding myself becuase I so easily forget, I so easily slip into doubt and unbelief and listen to … Read More »
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NASB
A weighty sentence from Paul, and maybe too much to chew in a thought for the day, but this passage has been going around my head for a while. We are co-crucified with Christ. I have to somehow reconcile being dead and that my new life is by faith in the Son of God. It wasn’t a death in my flesh that I suffered, but a death to my old nature so that I can live with a new nature purchased by the blood of Christ.
I try to understand the theory, but the working out in the everyday life is a work in progress.
The more I read it the more freedom I feel I have. I am drawn to its words again and again, I am dead to my life, I no longer live, the life I live is because of faith in Jesus. He loved me and died for me. … Read More »
Paul determined when among the Corinthians to only know Christ and Him crucified.
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 NASB
This passage has often come to mind and I seasonally try the same as Paul but I’m not sure I have the same success as him! The more I think about it the more I see the weight that Paul placed on Christ and Him crucified. He didn’t want to be distracted by other things, he knew that knowing Jesus and the death and resurrection were what would keep him.
It says that he determined, that says to me that he made an effort, he disciplined himself, he took hold of his own will and set it in the direction of Jesus and His death. He isn’t at this point talking about grace, he isn’t saying, well I trust the Lord will do it in me, though he did believe that. He saw his focus on Jesus as his responsibility.
I think part of our understanding is to know what is our responsibility and what is Gods. He is sovereign but we are responsible. We are responsible for what we think about … Read More »
Where I live you can’t help but have to run up hills, and they are not little hills! Everyone has their own technique for getting up them but the only way I can get up them is to put my head down and look at the road in front of me. I keep saying to myself, one more step , every step is a step nearer and before you know it you are at the top of the hill.
Jesus said, “each day has enough troubles of its own. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt 6:34). I employ the same technique on those kind of days as I do on hills. Take one step at a time and before you know it you will be at the top.
Sometimes all we can do is take one step in front of us – to look at the bigger picture or the top of the hill would be too intimidating. What is the mountain that your are facing today? Know that God has grace for your situation, it’s not like God is surprised by what you are facing. There is strength in Him and know that … Read More »
A few months ago a friend posted on Facebook a notice that the church he was running was going to finish. He said that there was no longer a unity of heart that attracted the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The last phrase resonated with me and I have been thinking about it ever since. It is something I long for among Gods people. I hate separateness, I hate disunity, I hate hiddeness and agendas. Something rises up in my heart when I see things like that.
There is a unity of heart that is coming to the people of God , it is forged in brokenness and humility and in honouring one another above ourselves. Paul says this in Romans:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Romans 12:10 ESV
Wherever we are on the journey, let us outdo one another in showing honour, this lays a foundation for there to be a unity of heart that attracts the Holy Spirit. Lord I pray you will give your people grace to honour one another above ourselves so that you would come and pour out your presence among us.
When I was young my mum would say to my brother and I ‘sticks and stone will hurt your bones but names will never hurt you’. It’s a nice saying, but such a load of rubbish, it doesn’t work and it’s not true.
Words are very powerful. They can pierce your heart and if not dealt with can become septic. Yet we seem to underestimate their power. When I look back to creation I see God speaking the world and the cosmos into being, his very words had creative power. We are made in his image, so I think there is no reason why, not to the same degree, that our words won’t have creative power too. In the New Testament there are frequent commands and instruction on how careful we should be with our words, there are a few below:
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.” James 4:11 NIV
“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”James 5:9 NIV
“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4 NIV
They are quite clear, do not grumble, don not … Read More »