Life is not always joyous and happy. Sometimes we are called to live through situations that are painful. They are the dark times of our lives. They are times we would rather forget and would not wish even on our enemies. I have found that I can try to fight against these times anyway possible. I can pray that God take them away wondering why God has fallen silent, or let me down. I can be angry or bitter. I can shake my fist at the darkness, waiting and praying that it all ends soon. I find that fighting against those times only leaves me exhausted. Instead, I am learning to embrace the darkness. Continue reading “Getting Through It”
To the leader: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
2They utter lies to each other;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
4those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail; our lips are our own—who is our master?”
5“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
6The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
7You, O Lord, will protect us;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
8On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among humankind.
Maybe you can identify with David. He looked around at the way things were and felt like no one was faithful. All he could see were those who were bent toward evil. He saw those that used words to flatter and who had “a double heart” when they spoke. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/28/12 – Psalm 12”
To the leader. Of David.
1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me, “Flee like a bird to the mountains;
2 for look, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string, to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.
5 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence.
6 On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur; a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
Sometimes storms come our way. The Psalms are a wonderful place to go for prayer when it seems like the world is crushing us. Many of the Psalms begin from a time or place of trouble. David knew what it was like to be pursued. He knew what it was like to be under attack.
Since David’s confidence was in God he didn’t worry even when his enemies were surrounding him. He didn’t understand why some would tell him to run away when his refuge was in God. He knew that God was still in control. He knew that God loved righteous deeds and was with the upright. Because of his confidence in God, he was able to face difficult situations calmly and in faith. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/27/12 – Psalm 11”
I was reading a section from Urban T. Holmes, III A History of Christian Spirituality and something caught my eye. As Holmes was discussion Richard Baxter and his classic work The Reformed Pastor he had this comment, "He is more rigid than Ignatius ever was, however. We must not be too hard on Baxter. He wanted to make things simple, which usually gets us in trouble because we end up being moralistic and pietistic. (Pg 130)"
I immediately recognized the reality of this. When I try to make my faith simple, it ends up being legalistic. It is much easier to "not swear" than it is to "build others up with what I say" (Ephesians. 4:29 ). It is much simpler saying, "Give 10%" than it is to give generously and make all that we have available to how God wants to use it. It is much easier to say "don’t do this," or "don’t do that," than it is to show compassion to those around me.
Yet, I want a simple faith. I want the black and white. I want the do and don’t list. I want the road map to heaven, but that is not what I’m given. Instead I’m given a still small voice deep within that calls me to love even when I don’t feel like it. I’m given a whisper (Is. 30:21) telling me which way is the right way.
I’ve discovered that true faith is a difficult faith. It is a faith that drives me to my knees and calls me to quiet my life long enough to hear. It is a faith of knocking, seeking, asking and not giving up.