Digging in Deeper: Psalm 103:1-2

“My soul, bless the Lord, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. My soul, bless the Lord, and do not forget all his benefits.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you were in one of those moods where you were so glad you didn’t think anything could bring you down? Whatever life threw your way, you were ready to tackle it with a smile on you face. Everywhere you looked were more reasons to be happy. Sometimes, being around someone like that too long can drive us crazy, but it’s nice to feel that way at least every once in a while. It’s good to be filled with praise. Being filled with praise, though, should be more than just an occasional thing if you are a follower of Jesus. As David reminds us here, there are so many reasons to be filled with praise for the Lord that it should be a feature of our lives, not an exception. Let’s look at what he has to say.

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Digging in Deeper: Jeremiah 29:12-13

“You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Finding God is easy when times are good. But what about when times are hard? That’s often another matter entirely. Perhaps we get so tied up in our circumstances that we don’t ever even bother to look up. But most people instinctively reach up when things are hard. This starts to show itself from the first moment an infant reaches up to his mom and dad to pick him up when he’s crying. That is a response that has to be programmed out of us by life and experience. Yet God wants to be found. He wants to help. He desires to be desired. The prophet Jeremiah once reminded the people of Israel of this truth. The way he said it is both comforting and hard. Let’s explore why and what it might mean for us.

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Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:28-31

“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’ God also said, ‘Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth – everything having the breath of life in it – I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When you start watching a particular television series, it sometimes takes a few episodes for the worldview of the writers to come out. In the first few episodes they are spending all their time introducing and establishing the main characters. They are revealing which characters are the protagonists and which are the antagonists. They are clarifying the various problems the characters are going to be facing together. And while you might get glimpses of the writers’ worldview in the midst of all of that, it is often difficult to tell which is the worldview they are promoting, and which are the worldviews they are simply presenting. This is all especially true for a traditional series that will run for 23 episodes. But as our television culture continues to shift in the direction of limited series of 8-13 episodes with higher production values (consider, for example, every single Disney+ original series), questions of worldview are being clarified much earlier. And so, as I recently watched the third episode of 1883, a major piece of its worldview was revealed, and I can’t help but to comment on it. I know we talked about the series earlier this week, but let’s come back to the series again this morning in more detail.

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Morning Musing: Psalm 131:1-2

“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How are you feeling these days? If you’re like most people, the answer to that is probably not as good as you’d like. You’re overburdened and under-resourced. You feel like you have the weight of the world pressing down on you and there’s no one to help you hold it. You’re stressed out and just wish you could rest, but there’s no end in sight to the busyness. Where can you find some relief? Take some comfort this morning in knowing you’re not alone in any of this. The ancient Israelites experienced it too and prayed about it when they went to worship. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: 2 Corinthians 5:1

“For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Covid doesn’t care. I don’t think I can count the number of times I have thought or said those words over the last 20 months. The reasons for them have changed a bit over time, but the sentiment is true. Early on in this unfolding chaos, people were taking every precaution they could, but one little slip of exposure could so easily prove to be devastating. And while older and immunocompromised individuals certainly faired the worst, Covid just didn’t seem to care whether you were healthy or not. Perfectly healthy people in the prime of their life got it and died, while folks who “should” have been taken without a struggle weren’t even slowed down by it. Covid just doesn’t care. Well, another person who had no business dying was lost this week. This time it was a friend.

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