A Prayer Primer

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

We don’t pick up on it in the English, but this psalm is an acrostic poem. Each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Admittedly, the acrostic is not perfect. The letter for verse 2 is missing, two letters are skipped, and the last verse is not part of the acrostic at all. However, it is clear that this psalm is anchored in the Hebrew alphabet. It seems the author of this psalm wanted to make it memorable. He wanted it passed down from the priests to the populace, from father to son, and from mother to daughter to aid in worship and prayer for generations to come. In fact, this may explain that very last verse which seems to be tacked on out of left field. It may be true that some later editor of the psalms added that line about redeeming all of Israel out of troubles. However, it seems just as likely to me that the author broke from the acrostic to call attention to the desire for this psalm to not just be personal but to be passed around the nation so that everyone would learn about prayer and meditation from it. And now it is included in the book of Israel’s Psalms and has come to us. We too can learn to pray to God and meditate on God from it. Since it doesn’t match our alphabet, it may be harder for us to remember, but we can learn great things about prayer from it. Keep reading. Keep learning. We’ll talk more about prayer over the next couple of days.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 25.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

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Israel’s Great Failure

Today’s reading is Psalm 24.

Some believe this psalm was written when David had the Ark brought to Jerusalem. Others believe it was when Solomon brought the Ark into the temple. Still others believe it was written much later and simply a memorial of these trips. Honestly, I don’t have a dog in this fight at all. The bigger point that we should see is not about the Ark of the Covenant at all. The bigger point is about the King of glory! And who is the King of glory? Jesus, of course! Certainly, when He was first brought to the temple there were a couple of people who tried to point out the reception He should receive (think Anna and Simeon). And the second time He came to the temple, teachers were astonished. However, when Jesus grew up, He should have been hoisted on the shoulders of the people, brought into the temple this song being sung. When He cleansed the temple of the money changers, He should have been lauded and applauded. He should have been asked, “What else shall we do to serve You, King of Glory?” He should have been praised and worshiped universally. The people should have realized He was actually too big to be housed in that temple. But, instead, the Jews believed they were defending the temple by keeping Jesus out of it. Instead of marching Him up Zion’s hill and letting Him take His rightful place on the throne of God in the Holy of Holies, they marched Him up Golgotha’s hill outside the gate and nailed Him to a cross. He was and is the King of glory, the Lord of hosts, strong and mighty, mighty in battle. And Israel failed. Their hands were defiled with the blood of Jesus. Their hearts were divided against their true King. They did lift up their souls to what was false. They did swear deceitfully. And they did not receive their blessing. But as many as did receive Him and believed in His name were given the right to become children of God and subjects of the one, true King of Glory, Jesus Christ. Which choice have you made?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 24.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

Continue reading “Israel’s Great Failure”

Problems Within

Today’s reading is Acts 6.

Sadly, there seem to be some Christians who do not want their congregation to grow. Why? Because of the Acts 6 principle. You know, the larger the congregation, the bigger the problems. But perhaps that is the wrong way to look at it. In Jerusalem, the congregation grew and so did their problems. Specifically, an ethnicity problem. I am sure the apostles were not purposefully ignoring the Hellenistic widows, but they had a lot on their plate. In fact, they had everything on their plate. Some of it was toppling off. If we are not careful, we will read right through this chapter and miss how revolutionary the solution was. They had to completely change their structure for accomplishing work within the congregation. Perhaps they were able to do this because they hadn’t been doing it for so long that people were married to their methods. Up until this point, the money collected had been laid at the apostles’ feet to distribute as they saw fit. But now, it was going to be laid at someone else’s feet. Someone else was going to be in charge of distributing the funds collected to those who were in need. Seven men were selected to do this work of ministering, literally deaconing. And it worked. The church had been threatening to divide, but instead it multiplied. What had seemed a humongous problem turned into a terrific opportunity. Yes, as congregations grow numerically problems increase. However, they aren’t really problems. They are opportunities. Opportunities to grow spiritually, opportunities to grow maturity, opportunities to relationally. True spiritual growth doesn’t come from ignoring potential obstacles, but from facing them head on and overcoming them. Don’t be afraid of the potential problems coming in your congregation. Attack them, solve them, conquer them, and grow because of it.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 6.

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