Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lenten Readings for Evening

Psalm 42, 43

I read two Psalms like this and wonder, truly wonder, if the Psalmist lives in my head!!! And I suppose that is most probably the glory of the Scripture God has left for us.  It is FOR US.  He wrote it to reveal WHO HE IS to us for our benefit of learning to live in relationship with God and others, for the possibility of being able to know God as well as our little minds allow, in order to love Him as fully as our little hearts will let us.

This Psalm.. the waffling between mourning and hope is truly where I live...

My tears have been my food day and night (42:3)... where is your God? (42:10)... my soul is cast down (42:5)... why must I walk around mournfully? (43:2)


HOPE IN GOD! (42:5, 11; 43:5)

Back and forth and then, the pinnacle... Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD!  For I shall praise him, my help and my God. (42: 11; 43:5)

Sometime we have to remember there is hope even when our spirit is unsettled.  Don't argue with the hope.  It will always...always be there, somewhere. 

Philippians 4: 10-20

Paul really knows how to go to the heart of things, doesn't he?  One of the most famous verses and oft-quoted verses in the Bible is in this passage:

"I can do all things through him ~ Christ ~ who strengthens me". (13)

People love to say this to other people to encourage them to keep going, or to try something new that might seem impossible, or just because they don't know what else to say.  But I wonder how many people in quoting this actually have read the verses surrounding it. 

"For I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have plenty.  I know what it is to have little. In ANY AND ALL circumstances, I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need." (11-12)

The "can do" attitude Paul describes in verse 13 has little to do with doing the impossible, but more to do with living in your circumstances and being content where you are.  Hey, it might mean doing more, but for me at least, I haven't LEARNED (and Paul uses that word twice to describe the process of being content) what it truly means to be content with little or much. 

I want to know contentment and I hazard a guess to say that some of the trying circumstances I have experienced in my life have been the process for me of learning contentment.  Granted, I am a slow learner.  But maybe, just maybe, there is a purpose to the hard things.  Paul certainly experienced his share of tough stuff... jail, beatings, hunger, homelessness, a thorn in the flesh, and on and on... and here he says "I have learned the secret"...

Oh God I pray someday I will be able to say that!

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