Friday, May 25, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 25th

Today's reading it Psalms 43-47

Psalms 43
The final verse in this chapter asks a question and gives the answer for all of us. "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" Psalms 43:5.

So why are you depressed? There may be many good reasons, but there is also a good reason to stop and that is found in God. Here the psalmist says that he is going to continue to praise God and so should we.

Praise the Lord.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 24th

Today's reading is Psalms 38-42

Psalms 38
Where do we go when we have done wrong? When guilt overwhelms us? When our actions have brought disease and suffering into our lives?

The Psalmist makes it clear that he looks to God. It is God who is near those who seek him. The psalmist indicates that his sin deserves God's wrath, but he pleads for God to forgive.

There is no conclusion where the psalmist says that he has been saved and all has been made right. However, those who know God know he will forgive. I can't help but feel that many times after prayers for forgiveness there isn't always or maybe often a huge sense of relief. Sometimes our prayers end like this psalm, with a plead and a hope but no solid answer.

Yet we know God does forgive, and that can bring hope even if we don't feel it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 23

Today's reading is Psalms 33-37

In this wonderful psalm of praise, there is a verse which at times seems not to be true. "The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples" Psalms 33:10. 

There are times which this doesn't seem to be true but look at history. Have any of the tyrants of old remain? What of those who have tried to rule the world, or control great swaths of people? They have all failed. Their time passed. Some have been overthrown, others have died, but all have gone. 

Yes, we could give credit to time and the change of people, but those that look to God praise him for all. No, he might not have shot the gun which brought down a dictator, nor forces people to rise up against a government, but he gives us all the life to do what we do. We also know that he ultimately will weave the dark threads of mankind into his own tapestry to create something beyond belief. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 22nd

Today's reading is Psalms 28-32

Psalms 28
What are we without God?

We are little more than people waiting to die.

The psalmist starts his pray for help with the acknowledgment that without God answering they are no better than those who are waiting to die. This is true. We are all going to die, no matter how young, how rich, how powerful, we are all going to die. If that is all there is then life can be very pointless. The Psalmist says that without God answering then that is all their life is, waiting to die.

However, with God, there is so much more. Yes, we may die and we may die in a way many consider worthless or a waste, but if God is our Lord then we have hope. Hope in this life and in the next.

Yes without God it's hopeless, but we aren't without God. So we can rejoice and praise the Lord.

Monday, May 21, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey - May 21st

Today's reading is Psalms 23- 27

Which 23 psalm applies?

Psalms 23 is probably the most famous psalm in modern times. It is full of beautiful promises and gentle reassurances. It brings comfort during life's most challenging circumstances. It seems to promise peace and tranquility for everyone.

It doesn't.

The sad thing is that many who look to this psalm for comfort are as secure as someone unknowingly passing counterfeit money to an agent of the secret service. They will be confused but will find the money worthless and themselves broke. They will think there will be peace but there will be none.

How can I say this?

The problem is found in the first verse, "The Lord is my shepherd." It is important to understand if this first part isn't true none of the rest is. If the Lord isn't your shepherd, then a person is in a world of trouble. You see the shepherd is the owner, the master, the lord of the sheep. If someone hasn't made God his Lord and Master then the rest of the psalms don't apply.

It could be read:

The Lord isn't my shepherd, I will want.
I will not lie down in green pastures, not be lead by calm waters.
My soul is broken, I will go down paths of unrighteousness for my own sake.
I will be stuck in the valley of death, I will fear, God rod and staff will terrify me.
I will stand alone before my enemies, I will not be blessed, my cup will be empty.
Goodness and mercy shall fell from me and I will be separated from God forever.

Is the Lord your shepherd? Or not?

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Friday, May 18, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 18th

Today's reading is Psalms 18-22

A list to Hope.

"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" These famous words from the cross of Jesus first find themselves here in chapter 22 of Psalms. They have been the cry of many a people throughout time. Times when all hope seemed lost and death seemed inevitable. It feels like a cry of hopelessness, yet we never cry out to those we know cannot help us. This is a cry of desperation and it is a cry of humanity.

If we really look a that the world in all its ugliness then we can easily wonder why God has left us in this mess. It is why some have walked away from God, yet without a God, there is no ugliness, no evil, no wrong, no right, just death. For us to see ugliness there must be a God and we are left either to cry out to him, deny him, or blame him. Jesus in the midst of his greatest suffering cried out to him. What he had known previous to this point was that this was his destiny and his greatest victory. At this point on the cross, he felt alone and cried out to the only one who could make everything right and he did. God didn't at that moment, but a short time later when Jesus gave up his life, the path to complete victory opened.

This chapter continues recounting God's past faithfulness, the psalmist current situation, the promise of praise, then at the end, it shows faith in God.

Perhaps this is a path to recovering faith:
1. Cry out
2. Remember God's character
3. Recount your problems
4. offer praise
5. faith is restored.

Not a promise this will work every time, but I believe it can help.

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Thursday, May 17, 2018

TCN's Biblical Journey May 17th

Today's Reading is Psalms 13-17

Keep holding on.

The Bible I am looking at now has a caption* above chapter 13: "A prayer of distress and faith." It perfectly describes the psalm. There are times in our lives where we probably utter a prayer exactly like this. A prayer that says everything is going wrong, but I am still going to trust God. This is not a pray of defeat though. This is a pray of defiance. It is the prayer of someone who knows that faith in God has greater rewards than anything we can see. Yet it is a prayer for help.

This prayer reminds me of the three Hebrew children who stand before the king and say "God is more than able to save us, but if not we will not bow" (Daniel 3:17-18 my own paraphrase).

There are times when we may feel forgotten and forsaken but we aren't we need to keep trusting even when things don't go right. We don't see the whole story, God does and he will reward us even if it isn't in this life. This faith may not be the defiant kind which stands up to the king, but if it holds on to God in weakness than it will prevail. In fact, it may be the stronger faith, though it looks weaker.

Keep holding on.

Photo by Stijn Swinnen on Unsplash
*Captions are added by the publisher of this Bible to help the reader find or understand the content in a portion of the Bible. They are not a part of the original text but can be useful.