This Psalm is often quoted in times of great need. But many find it a daily prayer and reminder that God is with us at all times, not just times of desperation. Yesterday we talked about our need for amazing grace. When our need is great, the grace is greater. But often, we forget about God in the every day, small sin realm.
“Grace can't be amazing until your sin is amazing. You've got to get in that place where you can be startled by it, because if you do everything right, you don't deserve it.” Cathleen Falsani, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. Jesus came for the sick, the sinner, and the broken; not for the righteous and whole. He made that clear over and over. He hung out more with the every day, broken, messy people than he did with the religious leaders and “righteous” ones.
We are always looking for better, bigger, more. And usually, this involves meeting some desire of ours. But what if we found “better” not by focusing on ourselves and our own needs, but by focusing on the needs of others? Redemptive transformation is found in replacing ourselves as the central object of focus with something greater.
A wise person once told me the quickest way to change your heart about someone is to pray for them. I have headed that advice ever since, and it is true. If there is a person who I feel has wronged me, or someone I find difficult, I begin to pray diligently for that person and before long, my heart is changed.
This first Psalm stands as a kind of introduction to the rest of the Psalms. Its subject matter is very general and basic, but it presents two ways of life: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The key subject is the centrality of God’s word (law) to the life and fruitfulness of the righteous.
In times of transition or difficulty, God wants to hear your deepest fears, your strongest protests and even your sharpest anger. God can handle it all. God already knows your heart, but it is helpful to confess it with your mouth. This is cleansing to the soul and allows the Holy Spirit to meet you right where you are.
This whole chapter in Romans is about action. It’s about human change in a real, concrete, noticeable way. The Apostle Paul calls us to live a transformed life that actively grows and changes each day. This call on our lives is real and urgent.
Many people will tell you they hate change. But there are undoubtedly places in their lives they would like to improve or get better. We can’t have it both ways. For things to get better in your life, something or someone must change. And let me warn you right now, changing someone else is NOT possible. Only God has that power.
In these verses, the Psalmist prays for us to be wise in listening, seek guidance, and understand scriptures and teachings. And then it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” While “fear” can mean many things, including our typical understanding as being afraid of something. Here the word points more toward reverence, awe, and a state of humility toward God.
In verse 2 above, Paul tells us we have been united with Christ, and we share in the Spirit. Wow. That’s a big statement. We are one with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It seems not too much to ask then, that we be like-minded with Christ. In fact, this is part of the goal of being a Christian, to become fully one with Christ, to take on the heart, mind, and soul of Christ. It is already a gift given to us, but we must work to receive it and live it out in our everyday lives.
I know Easter was yesterday. But the season continues. The resurrection, the new life, is really what our faith is built upon. Without the resurrection, the rest of it really doesn't matter. So I think Easter deserves at least one more day of thought.
Today is Holy Saturday. This is the final day of Holy Week, and the final day of Lent. After his death, Jesus was buried in a new tomb cut into the rock belonging to man named Joseph of Arimathea. He was a member of the Jewish Council and “a good and upright man.” He had opposed those who killed Jesus.
Today is Good Friday. It is odd that we call today “good,” for today we remember the death of Jesus Christ, crucified upon a cross. Yet we also remember the meaning of his death. Through the cross, Jesus defeated sin and its effects.
Today is Maundy Thursday. We remember that on this night Jesus celebrated a Passover unlike any other. While in the Upper Room, Jesus took bread and broke it, saying, “This is my body, given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). He also took a cup of wine, offered it to his disciples and said, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (22:20).
Luke 21:5-38 is an incredibly challenging passage of Scripture. This passage contains what is known to us as the “Little Apocalypse,” where Jesus speaks of the imminent destruction of the temple and signs of the end of the age. Parallels are found in Matthew 10:17-22, Matthew 24, and Mark 13. “Apocalypse,” derived from the Greek word apokálypsis, means “an uncovering” and implies a disclosure or revelation of knowledge.