THE WAY THROUGH A WICKED WORLD

Psalm 11:1a “In the LORD I put my trust;…”

Just a bit of observation of the world around us, like watching the news, very quickly makes us aware that we live in a morally deteriorating time. It would seem that we are once again experiencing what happened in the OId Testament days of the book of Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. As followers of Christ, what should be our response? Do we know the way through a wicked world?

Although we may sometimes be tempted to either join in with the down hill slide or run from the difficulties, God has called us to maintain a lifestyle that brings glory to Him—this being the chief created purpose of humans. This means we can never face life independent from God, but rather our dependency must be constant. Our reliance on God and His word must be our conscious choice throughout every day—the easy and the difficult. Without this perspective our strength will fail and our lives will deteriorate into turmoil.

What does this dependency on God look like? This Thursday morning we will be digging into that very topic as we study Psalm 11 together. I’ll look forward to seeing you.

HAKUNA MATATA?

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Mark and I just returned from a great trip to LA to visit Ezra and Heather and their three sweet little kids. Such a fun kid’s song frequently sprung to life as our grand kids flew around on their little balance bikes in their backyard — “Hakuna Matata.” “It means no worries for the rest of your days. It's our problem-free philosophy; Hakuna Matata.” Life should be pretty free of worries and problems when you are preschool age. But, as we get older we will face worries and problems; how we deal with such realities of life make all the difference between despair and joy. I love observing contented, well-adjusted toddlers who don’t have a single concern about their lives. Caring, attentive parents care for everything those little people could ever need. In fact we would be appalled to see such a child fretting. In a similar way as loving parents, except in a much more perfect way, God cares for those who trust Him concerning life and eternity. Life is full of difficulties; that is a fact. If we deny that we have problems, or numb ourselves to them, then we complicate the situation and head toward depression. But, if we realize every hard situation presents an opportunity to lean on God, look for His solution and grow in Christ-like character, then we find peace and joy.

As we begin Ladies Bible study this Thursday we will be studying the Psalms again and being encouraged to trust and praise God though all the ups and downs of life. I’m sorry the books didn’t get to you on Sunday. We will be mainly looking at Psalm 2 this week, so you can read that short Psalm through a few times and think about what would best sum up what God is trying to communicate through it.

I'M NOT IN CONTROL, BUT GOD IS

God continually works good things in our lives through the dark days and the bright days.

God continually works good things in our lives through the dark days and the bright days.

A couple of times each year I sense as starting points for the days and months ahead. One of those dates comes around on my birthday and the other on New Years Day. Do you get that fresh start vision at such times, or like many people, do you find yourself sliding in the direction of discouragement, or even depression. Just in the past couple of days I’ve heard well-meaning people in the media repeating New Year’s mantras such as “I’m a winner,” “I can do anything,” and “I’m in control.” Observation of life over the past 71 years convinces me that this kind of self-talk brings great discouragement sooner or later because they are not true of people, only of God. This is what I find to be so encouraging and uplifting in my life! God is in control, He can do anything, and He is a winner.

Recognizing God as my loving heavenly Father who loves me, directs my steps (through His Word) and perfectly cares for me through the hard and easy days of life gives me great peace, joy, and anticipation of the year ahead. I specifically said “hard” days of life because those days trip us up the quickest. But, “hard” days benefit us in countless ways that “easy” days cannot. Particularly, the difficult days should cause us to realize our need to lean hard on God and be dependent on Him, not ourselves, for everything. “Everything” includes all that pertains to our daily life now and forever.

As I have been reading the Bible in the past week, God’s call for us to be humble has really stood out to me. Isn’t this the real answer to living life fully? “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” (Colossians 3:12)

Beginning on January 10th at 9:30 a second study on Psalms will begin. You may pick up your study book in the foyer this coming Sunday morning. Please plan to have the first 3 days of Lesson 1 completed for the 10th. If you would like to be encouraged as the New Year begins, please plan to be part of this great study of Psalms.