Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reflections on the Psalms (Psalm 42)

One of the more popular or memorable lines in the psalm is:

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

Many of us have heard these words both spoken and sung.  But do we stop to reflect on the metaphor?  Living things need water to live, plain and simple.  In fact somewhere around 60% of your body is water!  We can not go without water for to long or we will die.  As we go without water we become more and more thirsty for it and will go to greater lengths to get it.

Is your relationship that way with God?  Do you live as though you need God in order to live?  What about the times when you go without speaking to God or spending time with Him?  Do you yearn for God more or do you fall farther away.

We need to be reminded that God is the creator and sustainer of all life that exists.  Without God we are nothing.  God yearns for a authentic relationship with us and wants us to yearn for the same with Him.  This is why fasting can be such a powerful spiritual discipline, because it reminds us of our true needs for survival and in turn reminds us of our true need for a Savior.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Reflection on the Psalms (Psalm 41)

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak 
the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. 
The Lord protects and preserves them 
they are counted among the blessed in the land 
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. 
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed 
and restores them from their bed of illness."

When we think of something weak our mind often goes to the physical.  We think of weak muscles, an image of a puny person or weak people we may know.  What about our weakness in resisting temptation and fleeing from evil?  Gods word says that in our weakness He is made strong.  Its through our weakness that Gods strength is often manifested in awesome ways.  We are also told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bare.  We are promised protection and sustenance when we rely on God and allow Him to use our weakness for his glory.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reflections on the Psalms (Psalm 38)

"My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.

I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.

I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes."

If you have ever wondered if sin, guilt and shame can affect your body in a harmful way here is a perfect example.  When we sin we are filled with feelings of guilt and shame.  This is a natural response to turning from God. I have experienced this as a father with my young children.  There have been things that i didn't teach hem were wrong but that already knew were wrong.  I have seen them become shameful of their sin and try to hide the evidence.  

As adults we do the same thing, we just become better at it.  We become experts at hiding our sin from others but that doesn't mean that God can't see it.  And when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and we realize we can't hide it from God we end up making a choice.  We repent from our sin, we run in shame, we stand in defiance, or we turn to denial.  I believe that when we let sin fester in our lives it can become like wound that won't go away and heal.  We can literally feel physical pain and our health can deteriorate.  Our response to our sin should always be to run back to God in repentance, reconciliation and restoration of the relationship.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reflections on the Psalms (Psalm 37)

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret it leads only to evil.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.

But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.
But all sinners will be destroyed; 
there will be no future for the wicked.

Growing up I watched many cartoons which were soaked with violence.  One of my favorite shows was called G.I Joe.  My brothers and I would play with the action figures for hours on end.  We also loved the original Star Wars movies which were filled with violence.  I played football, I enjoyed learning how to wrestle and box, i played countless games of paintball, I got in my own share of fist fights.  Reading texts like these in the Bible and listening to Jesus own words has made me personally re-evaluate many of these things and topics such as war, national defense, control and the like.

I was watching a short video the other day where two characters were one the screen.  One character was portraying God and another as a regular guy.  The guy was talking about how he gets so angry and God was talking to him about how God created the emotion of anger but the man was misusing it.  It reminded me of the story of Cane and Abel back in Genesis when Cane gets angry.  At that point he had a choice to make as to how he would respond to the emotion.  God wants us to use the emotion of anger for good, God wants us to be angry at the misuse of power in the word.

However, most people take this as an excuse to fight for their own personal cause.  They also forget that our call is to love and forgive one another and not to return evil for evil.  Martin Luther King once said "the ends are pre-existant in the means."  In other words you can't do something evil like kill someone to save another life and ay what you did was good.  You cannot erase the evil action by justifying it through a desired outcome.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Reflections on the Psalms (Psalm 40)

"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire
but my ears you have opened
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did notrequire.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come
it is written about me in the scroll.

I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.

You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay."

What does God require of us?  What does He want out of our relationship with Him?  He is not interested in our feeble offerings, He is not a God that wants to be appeased.  Rather He is a God who wants a living active relationship.

I am reminded of Micah 6:8 which says:
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."

God calls us to justice, mercy and humility.  Do you think of yourself as poor and needy, or do you think of yourself as well of not in need of much.  Have you satisfied all your needs and moved on to only worrying about your wants?  If so how can you leave room for God in your life?