Monday, June 16, 2014

what are humans Psalm 8

The Psalms brim with human attempts to define God. This book has been handed down from generations so long ago, in no small part, because it help us understand who God is, who we are, and what God is up to for real in this world broken by sin and death.   The Psalms often start out with a person speaking at the very end of human language. And other times they start out with the truth of human need and brokenness heard as someone calls out to God.

Psalm 8 starts out with awe,

1 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
It's one thing to consider the wonders of God. But it's completely different to think about that same God coming to die for you and me. We aren't perfect people or ever close to perfect.
For centuries we've look on and wondered why God cares about us. And here's the great mystery of our Faith. This great question shows up in the middle of Psalm 8.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Over the past year I've spent more time in the book of Psalms than any other book. It's there, right about the center of any Bible—this book of 150 prayers and songs. Often when I sit with people in the Hospital who will be there for a while I encourage them to talk to God. If they are struggling to know how to start I point them to the Psalms. It's okay to borrow a language of prayer if you know that it will help you learn how to connect to God. It's okay to start with prayers trusted for generations when you have something big to say and you just don't know where to start.

The way I see it is there are 150 Psalms and not every one is going to fit you right now. Some Psalms are words of praise like Psalm 8 that we read today and others are Psalms of grief and lament like Psalm 88 that call out into darkness wondering out loud if God's real and even cares about our pain. 150 prayers and songs.

The Psalms are inspired and inspiring words. These are 150 prayers and songs written to God. And anytime you don't have a prayer language of your own to speak to God it's okay to turn to the Psalms and borrow somebody else's. These are soul level communication between one person—a human—seeking an encounter with another being who is so wonderfully different than any human being you or I have ever met on this planet.

Peace and thanks for reading, John

Thursday, June 5, 2014

living rivers John 7:37-39

Jesus made some huge promises to his followers.
Anyone who is thirsty could come to him and drink. (John 7:37)
Out of the hearts of believers would flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

Jesus used everyday images to explain God's activity in our world. And one of the images Jesus chose was water. Everybody in the world knows water. For people in Israel 2000 years ago fresh water was key to survival. For us today knowing Jesus, the source of living water is key to our thriving too.

Jesus talked about people coming and drinking deep from him. He was talking about finding refreshment for tired souls. Probably the biggest single joy Christians know is the peace and freedom that comes from walking with Jesus in all circumstances. As a Christian you walk with him as you hear stories and teachings. You drink in His word and His presence. Walking with Jesus doesn't make your life perfect or make you perfect—rather it means you are walking with the one who can give you peace for your soul.

Jesus says to drink deep and find peace for the deepest places in your soul. Drink deep of the cross. Drink deep of the forgiveness and new life bought for you at the cost of Jesus' death. Drink deep of hope that sets you free to live a new life. Drink deep of the living water and walk with Jesus day after day.

Jesus is making a way for the Holy Spirit to move on the inside. Each time we hear Jesus call us to love one another it's the Holy Spirt who translates that call into action. Each time we hear Jesus tell us to leave our idols behind so that God and our neighbors and our families can be first in our lives it's the Holy Spirt who does the heavy lifting inside of us. Each time you are confront by God in your selfishness or your self-deceit it's the Holy Spirit at work deep inside you.

Jesus echoes Isaiah invitation to hurting people

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
Jesus says a river of living water flows from the heart of believers. Pay especial attention to the distinction that Jesus makes—He's talking about living water flowing from the heart of believers.

May the life giving Word of God flowing into your life and through your heart into the world.  May the Spirit move you into a life of joy and peace.  AMEN.
Peace and thanks for reading, John