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In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. (Psa. 71:1–6 NRSV)
The first six verses of Psalm 71 remind me of Job. The psalmist is apparently in some kind of trouble. “Rescue me,” he says, “from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.” It’s a plea for God to intervene and save, even as the psalmist confesses hope and trust in God. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, the psalmist won’t let go of God. Even as his enemies bear down on him, the psalmist continues to take refuge in the fortress that is his God.
What do we do in hard times? It’s in the hard times of life that we really show our colors. Do we, like the psalmist continue to hang on to God? Do we continue to put our faith and hope in God, even as the world around us seems to be caving in? Perhaps you know someone who has faith like the psalmist. Such people never seem to get a break, still they do not let go of their rock. How can we learn from their models of faith? How can we, like the psalmist choose to hang on to God even in worst circumstances?
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psa. 19:1–14 NRSV)
Psalm 19 is one of my favorite psalms. The psalmist recognizes all the ways that God shows up – even in the seemingly most mundane… Where does the psalmist see God? He sees God show up in every corner of the universe. God appears in the rhythm of day and night. He’s there in the cycle of seasons. In all places, wherever there is created order and even chaos, God appears.
The psalmist also sees God in the words of Scripture and in the lives of those who try to live faithfully by the word of God. God is in every act of faith and in every prayer for strength, protection and acceptance.
Where do you notice God in your life? My guess is, if you pay attention, you’ll find Him in places you never expected.
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:41–45 NRSV) Continue reading Mark 10:41-45
But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:15–16 NRSV) Continue reading Luke 5:15-16
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4:7 NRSV) Continue reading John 4:7
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psa 139:1–12 NRSV)
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you. Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works. (Psa 73:21–28 NRSV)
I thought about starting my own website for quite some time before finally deciding to do so. At first I was hesitant. I felt like a website would aid me in my work as a pastor, but knew the last thing the internet needed was another opinion or commentary on current events. The more I thought about it, though, the more I thought a website would be beneficial. Here are my reasons why: Continue reading Why Start a Website?