“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34 is one of the acrostic psalms, using successive Hebrew letters to begin each new line. The very form itself says we need help to remember the goodness of God in our life. This Psalm tells us our thanksgiving can be “all times,” “boasting in God,” and though our thanksgiving may be personal and individual, it is meant for “exalting together.” What are you thanking God about these days? Who is exalting God together with you? – We give thanks to You, O God!
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” The content and attitude of our hearts are revealed through what comes out of our mouth both in words and songs. What are you talking about these days? What are you singing about? How does this reflect your heart? Lord, so much noise and so many words each day; let my mouth be filled with talk and songs about You.
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” The word, “refuge,” is defined as “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” The Psalmist say, God will be that for his people. What pursuers, dangers, or troubles are you facing in your life right now? What would it take to change your troubles into joy? What would it take to get you to sing? What would you sing? Cause me to rejoice and sing O Lord, as you provide safety and shelter in my life. Amen.
“O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” This Psalm is the text of many songs of praise both historically and in our contemporary worship. God has created all things and rules over all. Yet God has created humans and invited them to help God care for and guide it towards God’s purposes and desires for thriving life. How would your life change if you believed both these things when you woke up each morning? “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
“Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” Sometimes it is easy to talk about godly character in some theoretical way, disconnected from what we live in our body. “Self-control” is the embodiment of bringing the body under the discipline of heart and mind. Why is it tempting to have an intellectual faith separated from the body? Why is our body and what we do with it important to our faith and ministry? Spirit of God, only through your power may I live a holy and honorable life. Empower me.
“If she loses one coin, does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” Most commonly I’ve heard this parable preached as an example of how we as Christians should behave. Though this may be true, let us pause to reflect that the parable is really about God, who, like the woman, carefully and thoroughly searches for her prized possession. You and I are God’s prized ones. Too what extent has God sought you/us? What are the full implications of a God who cherishes us so? Thank you loving me so O God!
“…the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how…” “Stay busy, work hard, and success will come,” so claims some leadership gurus. What a contrast to the farmer who is active in planting/harvest, but waits dependently on the mysterious growing work of God, while he himself sleeps and wakes each day. Do I focus too much on my success in matters in which I have no control? How do I wait with
dependence and patience like the farmer? Where do I need to trust that God will grow the seed? God of mysterious growth, grow your kingdom. Amen.
|“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Salvation involves “washing,” “rebirth,” and “renewal,” Christian leaders live with the wonderful truth that both in their own lives and in the lives of those we lead change and transformation is possible. Where do I see God’s renewal in my life these days? Who may I think is beyond hope, that God might transform this New Year? – Save us Lord Jesus: wash, rebirth, renew us by the power of the Holy Spirit this year. Amen|
|MERRY CHRISTMAS! “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son…He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” Jesus, born, growing, living, loving, dying, trusting in his Father; this is how God speaks. This is how he reveals who he is to those whom he loves. Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts; that we may know You perfectly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.|
|“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” The most amazing thing in the entire world is that God wants to be with us. Despite all the mess we’ve made, despite all our sin, despite our continued failings and moves away from his grace, he still wants to be with us. Do I want to be with people like God does? What moves me toward and away from God and people? Thank you for loving us, thank you for being with us Lord Jesus.|