One of the reasons why the book of Psalms was written is to give us a Biblical template to express grief, discouragement, complaint, anger and the whole gamut of human emotions. It’s as if God is saying, “Go ahead and tell me your predicament. Your feelings don’t shock me at all. I’m listening and I care.”
Other uses of the book of Psalms include the following:
Prophetic- many Psalms are prophetic in nature. Many descriptions of the Messiah come from the Psalms, like the one where He was to be pierced on the side and that he will not see corruption, i.e., He will be resurrected. Continue reading Why the Psalms are Helpful
Just because you’ve cried in a worship song doesn’t mean you have repented. The emotional rush you get when you see the beauty of nature doesn’t equal repentance either. Ty Simmons says it better:
Here is my confession: I assuage my guilt with beauty. In my struggles with sin, in my struggles with addictions, in my struggles with inclinations of the heart, I have sought out beauty alone to make me feel better. Beauty whispers words into my ear of a greater story and I feel renewed. I do not continue down the narrow path because the beautiful sentence I have just read has atoned for my sin or the music I’ve been listening to brought me to tears. And in all of this, repentance goes undone.
Now some might say I’m establishing a false dichotomy, that Christ can speak through beauty and not in spite of beauty. I will not disagree. But the point I’m trying to make is that appreciation of aesthetics is not repentance. A wonderfully written song may bring about this rush of emotions but if I am not changed by it, I have not experienced God. And that is exactly the burden I place on beauty. I long for beauty to save me and she continually proves an impotent savior.
From my Facebook post on July 14:
I am convinced that most of us have no idea how much the Lord is working silently in the background of our lives. We have no inkling how much He is keeping us, how much he is holding back evil from happening to us and how much grace is exerted to sustain us. If He were to open our eyes so we can see the outworking of His care for us, we will be astounded at the magnitude of His kindness and grace. We will be shocked to find that He is more good than we give Him credit for. And instead of arrogant prayers and misguided declarations of faith, we will just fall down on our knees in awestruck reverence for Jesus. We would want to cry and be silent at the same time. We would want to offer a thousand praises but no appropriate words will come out of our mouths. No human vocabulary could express the million things that our hearts are bursting to say. Not even all the Hallelujahs and the Amens in every language known to man will be enough. Words will literally fail us. Our hearts will just burn with the fire of the Holy Spirit. We will just shake our heads and cry in silence while the grace of God consumes every fiber of our being. In that moment, we get a glimpse of heaven and see the hem of the garment of the King of Kings who is seated on His throne. All our human troubles will melt into insignificance because we will see that in the final analysis, only God matters.
Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.
–Psalm 131:1-2 (HCSB)
God, settle the raging panic of my heart. Help me to trust that you are Sovereign over the twists and turns of my life.
I cried a little bit tonight while reading a chapter of Kevin De Young’s The Good News We Almost Forgot. The book is about the Heidelberg Catechism and the section I was reading was on questions 3, 4 and 5.
3. How do you come to know your misery? Answer: The law of God tells me.
4. What does God’s law require of us? Answer: Full quotation of Matthew 22:37-40; love God with everything you are; love others as you love yourself.
5. Can you live up to all this perfectly? Answer: No, I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.
Continue reading I Need Thee Every Hour
Steve Green’s I CAN SEE.
The story is about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how Jesus met them on the road and expounded the Scriptures to them while they were kept from recognizing him. This story always makes me feel nostalgic and I don’t know why.
Merciful God and Father
Loving us like no other
Hear our prayer, the cry of our hearts
As we come to You
We acknowledge our transgressions
We confess to You our sins
Show us mercy and compassion
Touch our lives with Your healing grace again.
HEALING GRACE, Donnie McClurkin
Worship produces a marveling effect that deeply satisfies our hearts so that we come to a point where we don’t feel the need to sin just to be happy.
Adapted from John Piper
The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.
C.S. Lewis via Jared Wilson’s Gospel Deeps
Amazing insight on the broken prayer in Nehemiah 1: 10:
They are your servants and your people O God. You have set them apart and made a covenant with them. You promised long ago to deliver them, to love them, to take care of them, to be their deliverer whenever they call on your name in their anguish. Now this nation is in ruins. Will you allow them to be oppressed and trampled down by the enemies who don’t even know your name? Will you just stand by and see the destruction of your chosen people? If you will not save them, who will you save? If you don’t show up for them, to whom will you show up Lord? If you don’t show them mercy, then we despair in utter hopelessness.