Psalm 46

summer-psalms-web1In a section in her book Calm My Anxious Heart entitled, “Martin Luther’s Favorite Psalm,” Linda Dillow writes,

The Song of Holy Confident, Psalm 46, carries an important message for our hearts:  No matter what storm sweeps across our lives, we can hide in the secure refuge of His presence.  Throughout the centuries, many (including me) have loved this strong word of encouragement.  Martin Luther’s name is often associated with the book of Romans and justification by faith, but Luther also loved the Psalms and taught them for years.  During the difficult and dark days of the Reformation, when Luther became discouraged, he would turn to his colleague Philipp Melanchthon and say, “My friend, let’s go sing the forty-sixth!”  The promises of this psalm so lifted Luther’s spirit that he wrote a majestic hymn around its message, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Linda Dillow, Calm My Anxious Heart

A Mighty Fortress of a God performed by The Roger Wagner Chorale

Psalm 42


As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  Psalm 42:1-2

deerO God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.  I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Psalm 40


He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Psalm 40:3

Below is a kinetic typology video (an animation technique combing movement and text to express or emphasize an idea) made to go with Toby Mac’s Psalm 40.

Psalm 31

summer-psalms-web1But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”  My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.  Psalm 31:14-15

Of all the statements of faith in Scripture, this is one of the most profound:  “My times are in your hand.”  David’s situation is desperate.  In the previous verses in Psalm 31, he describes his extreme physical and emotional distress due to the attacks against him.

David was in a horrible place, yet he yielded his agenda to God.  He left the timing for when he would be delivered from his enemies up to God.  David opened his hands, opened his heart, and gave his agenda over to God.  He stretched out his hands to God and said, “Your timing, God, not mine.”

Oh, that we would join David in saying, “But as for me, I trust in you, O LORD.  I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hand.  I bow my times of waiting.  I worship you.”  Do you see?  Do you understand?  The Holy One receives these sweet words as worship.  This worship is private, beautiful, and a fragrant offering to the Father.

  Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, Linda Dillow

Reconciliation vs. Forgiveness

undividedOn June 9, I preached on the subject of reconciliation from 2 Samuel 14.  This raised a number of questions, especially related to the concept of forgiveness.  Let me try to explain further the concept of reconciliation to answer many of the questions I received.

Reconciliation is the process of restoring a broken relationship.  It is made up of three parts:

  1. the offer of a renewed relationship and the willingness to forgive any wrongs;
  2. the confession and forgiveness of sin; and
  3. the re-establishment of relationship.

Let’s look at how God handles reconciliation with us.  As humans our relationship with God is broken because of our sin.  The first thing God did in response to our broken relationship is he sent his Son as a sacrificial offering to pay for our sins.  Through Jesus, God is saying to each of us, “I love you and want to overcome this estrangement in our relationship.  I am willing to fully and freely forgive you for all that you have done, adopt you into my family and remember your sins no more.”  As I said in the sermon, God takes the initiative by making the offer of salvation, and he offers full and complete restoration of the relationship – not half-hearted reconciliation.

The second thing necessary for reconciliation with God is we have to acknowledge our sin and confess them to the Lord so that he can forgive them.  When forgiveness occurs, we experience the final step when our relationship with God is re-established.

The question is, how does reconciliation work in human relationships?  This is slightly different because as humans we are not usually completely innocent in our relationships.  However, the basic principles are the same.

If you are estranged from your ex-spouse, for example, “Step 1” in the process is to take the initiative to overcome the estrangement.  You might write a note to him or her that says, “I know that for a long time there has been a rift in our relationship.  Some of it is because of my actions; some of it is because of yours.  I want you to know that I am sorry for any ways that I have hurt you.  And I am willing to forgive you for the ways that you have hurt me.  I want us to be able to be friends.”  To make such an offer is to take the initiative to offer true reconciliation.

If, however, your ex-spouse thinks that he or she has done nothing wrong, reconciliation cannot happen.  If the ex-spouse is unwilling to admit he or she sinned against you then the relationship will continue to be estranged.  At that point the only choice is to wait for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction.  But regardless of whether “Step 2” in the process of reconciliation happens, the point of the sermon is that we need to follow God’s example and take the first step.  Even if we have offered before and been refused, we should be willing, as the Lord leads, to make the offer of reconciliation again (Step 1) just like God offers non-believers reconciliation even though his offer is regularly rejected.

Hopefully this will help clear up any misconceptions from the sermon.  I was mostly talking about “Step One” in the process of reconciliation, not the following steps.  The offer of reconciliation (Step 1) is not contingent on someone acknowledging their sin and asking for forgiveness (Step 2).

This is clear from the story in Luke 15 of the prodigal son.  The father runs to the son “while he is still a long way off.”  In other words, before the father knows what the son is going to say to him when they are reunited, the father runs towards his son.  The running is “Step 1” – it is an offer of reconciliation.  I am sure that if instead of apologizing the son simply asked for more money the father would have said, “No more money until we deal with your sin.”  Without knowing what the boy is going to say, the father runs to him.  In do so, the father takes the initiative to have their relationship completely and totally restored.



Psalm 23

summer-psalms-web1It has been said that what the nightingale is among birds, that is this divine ode among the Psalms, for it has sung sweetly in the ear of many a mourner in his night of weeping, and has bidden him hope for a morning of joy.  I will venture to compare it also to the lark, which sings as it mounts, and mounts as it sings, until it is out of sight, and even then is not out of hearing.  Note the last words of the Psalm – “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever;” these are celestial notes, more fitted for the eternal mansions than for these dwelling places below the clouds.  Oh that we may enter into the spirit of Psalm as we read it, and then we shall experience the days of heaven upon the earth!

“The Treasury of David, Volume 1 Psalms 1-87”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Below is a link to Lumin8, Calvary’s children’s choir, singing this “nightingale” of the Psalms.

Psalm 23

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973,1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Psalm 19

We hope that you are continuing with us through the second week of reading through the Psalms.

Below is a beautiful trumpet and organ performance of Benedetto Marcello’s “Psalm XVIII: The Heavens Declare the Glory of God,” which confusingly is really Psalm 19.

All is well,

Maranatha Week

Maranatha EntranceJim is going to be the speaker at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference Center in Muskegon for part of the first week, June 22-29.

We would love to have you come out and join us.

The services are free and open to the public.

Jim will be speaking:

  • Wednesday evening, June 26 at 7pm
  • Thursday morning, June 27 at 10.45am
  • Friday morning, June 28 at 10.45am
  • Friday evening, June 28 at 6.45pm

Jim is sharing the week with Don Sweeting who serves as the president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.  Prior to his position at RTS-Orlando, he served as Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Colorado.  I know that you would also really enjoy learning from Dr. Sweeting.

All is well,