Showing posts from June, 2015

A Lifetime Full of Favour

How many times have I quoted Psalm 30:5b to myself or to someone else? “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” writes the psalmist. Sometimes those nights seem excruciatingly long, to the point of never-ending. We like to say that mornings come early, but oftentimes they don’t come soon enough.

But this morning, my mind was engaged by the first part of the verse—the one I never quote!

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.” The alternate reading for the last part of the phrase is “…and his favor is life” but I’m going to go with what the English Standard Version considers the best of the two options.

I was interested in what other passages of Scripture had to say about God’s “anger.” The results of my foray into other verses was, oddly enough, encouraging. Psalm 103:8-14 is a beautiful reminder that while sin brings consequences it also invites grace. “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast …

Voice Over The Waters

I stood on the landing outside of the sanctuary of my church yesterday. There was a lull in the traffic and no one for me to greet. I glanced at the space over the entrance and read the words from Psalm 29:2 written on a banner that has been hanging there since the 1960s.

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.”

This morning my reading was from Psalm 29. I was reminded of the banner but I was also reminded of something else as I read the psalm. Last week I traveled with friends to Alberta, Canada. We spent a wonderful week exploring the beauties of the parks of Jasper and Banff. One of the places we stopped was Athabasca Falls. Psalm 29:3-5 reminded me of those mighty waters, their breathtaking power and beauty.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.”

The …

Bring On the Wave

Last night I finished reading a novel by William Forstchen called, One Second After. While it is a novel, it was written to highlight what might happen if an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) wave hit, in this case, the continental United States. Apparently this is a real threat, according to Newt Gingrich, speaker of the house, who wrote the forward and navy captain, Bill Sanders, who wrote the afterword. The book describes what happened to a small town after the pulse weapon was activated, when nothing electronic would work. Neighbours became enemies in the fight for survival and strangers became friends to stand together for the common good. The true nature of man, however noble he may see himself when times are relatively good, appeared in odd bursts of intertwined sacrifice and selfishness.

Oddly enough the book triggered emotions in me that had nothing to do with EMP waves or any of the events and actions described in its pages. I cried buckets for lost causes, lost dreams, lost peo…

Majestic Earth

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1)

It’s hard to tell this dull, foggy, rainy morning, but yes, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (8:3, 4)

Cats make themselves seem twice their size when faced with an enemy. There are fish that do the same thing. Apes beat their chests and roar. Be impressed, they say. Be warned, they imply.

And then we get to man who doesn’t need an enemy to puff him up—it just seems to happen naturally. We like being “larger than life,” to impress, to be that “big frog” in our little ponds.

The psalmist kind of puts us in our places here. In the light of God’s creation, we are pretty insignificant. In the light of the majesty of God Himself, we don’t even appear on the radar.

And yet, in awe, the psalmist proclaims that despite this, God is “mindful” of us and cares for us.…

Dropping the Burden

I am coming to the end of reading through the Gospels. Though I have read through them countless times, it amazes me that there are always truths that jump off the pages of Scripture that say things they have never said before. That’s the beauty of the Word of God—always fresh and always relevant.

This morning I was reading the account of Jesus’ walk to the hill. The soldiers had beaten the Lord, mocked Him, made him a crown of thorns which they rammed onto His head. Then they gave Him the length of wood that they would use to crucify Him and herded Him through the streets toward Golgotha. Already weakened by the abuse He had suffered, He stumbled and fell.

No doubt the soldiers had a schedule to keep and despite the fun they might have been having by tormenting Jesus, they needed to get the job done. So they recruited someone to help Jesus carry the wood. His name was Simon. “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the c…

Real Kingdom Business

He’d said it several times while He walked the dusty roads of Palestine. The kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom, He told them. But somehow it’s really hard to wrap our minds around anything other than the “here-and-now.” It’s just so, well, immediate.

In John 18, Jesus is standing before Pilate. The Roman governor assumes (thinking in the immediate like everyone else) that he holds in his hands the power of life or death over this rustic Rabbi from the backwater town of Nazareth. How can this man be a threat to Rome? The Jewish authorities want Him killed. Their inability to pronounce a death sentence over Him had them grinding their teeth and tearing out their beards. So they twist the charges a little to make it seem like this Jesus is looking to overthrow the Romans and make Himself king.

Mind you, since the beginning of the Lord’s ministry there were lots of people who embraced Him because they thought that when He spoke of “kingdom,” overthrowing the Romans was exactly what…