August 27, 2015

Psalms 23-27 -

God, my shepherd, I don’t need a thing...true to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.  Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I am not afraid when you walk at my side, your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure... you revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessings.  Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.  I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life ....    
                    
My head is high, God, held high: I’m looking to you God; No hangdog sulking for me.  I’ve thrown in my lot with you; You won’t embarrass me, will you? Or let my enemies get the best of me?  Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways.  Take me by the hand; lead me down the path of truth.  You are my Savior, aren’t you?... 

God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected.  Sends them in the right direction.  He gives the rejects his hand, & leads them step by step.  From now on every road you travel will take you to God.  Follow the Covenant signs.  Read the charted directions....  

My question: What are God-worshippers like?  Your answer; Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye.  They settle down in a promising place; their kid’s inherit a prosperous farm.  God-friendship is for God-worshippers; they are the ones he confides in.  If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.  

Look at me and help me!  I’m all alone and in big trouble.... Use your skill to put me together; I want to see your finished product.

Life, space, zest- that’s God.  So with him on my side, I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing...When besieged, I’m calm as a baby.  When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool.  I’m asking God for one thing; only one thing;  to live with Him in His house my whole life long...that is the only quiet secure place in a noisy world.  The perfect getaway far from the buzz of traffic.  

God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down.  I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof!  Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God....

Point me down your highway God; direct me along a well-lighted street.  

Stay with God!  Take heart. Don’t quit.  I’ll say it again:  Stay with God.

I & II Thessalonians
The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to every action and thought through the day... 

The Christian faith has always been characterized by a strong and focused sense of future...For Christians, the 2nd coming of Jesus is the most important thing to know and believe about the future...

The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope.  For if the future is dominated by the coming again of Jesus, there is little room left on the screen for projecting our anxieties and fantasies.  It takes the clutter out of our lives.  We are far more free to respond spontaneously to the freedom of God....

Paul’s two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else,...prod us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus.

I Thessalonians 1
Paul, together with Silas and Timothy, send greetings.  God’s amazing grace be with you!  God’s robust peace!  

Every time we think of you we thank God for you.  Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love and your patience of hope in following the Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father.  

It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special.  When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words.  Something happened to you.  The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.... 

Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!  --taking the trouble with joy, the joy with the trouble... the news of your faith in God is out.  We don’t even have to say anything anymore --- you’re the message!!!