“The Great ‘Hallelujah Psalms’ of the Bible”

HallelujahIf you’re in the Dallas area you’ll want to get it on your calendar … 6 weeks studying the great “Hallelujah Psalms of Scripture” in Truth Seekers class at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, TX. Begins Sunday, May 12 and runs through Sunday, June 16. The study will be led by “your’s truly” The place? The Heritage Room, after the early service (10:45 a.m. or thereabouts). Great fellowship, tasty refreshments, and soul-building Bible study!

Human frailty on divine steroids

Philippians 4{13There’s a saying that has become popularized especially because of the professional athletic culture today (and tragically, because of the use and abuse of “performance enhancing drugs”) … When something is unusually powerful it is described as “…on steroids.” Well, at the risk of misuse and misapplication of the figure of speech, I read a passage this morning that I was tempted to label “human frailty on divine steroids!” Put another way (and probably a better way) the passage describes “divine empowerment in the face of human weakness!”

In the passage, Apostle Paul describes his own life filled with challenges, and that of other Christians, this way…

“We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us! We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed! … We who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh! ” (From 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 ESV)!

There it is… Humanity (redeemed humanity) with all its challenges… persecution, rejection, criticism, pressure, problems, setbacks, suffering… and we could go on! Life in a fallen world – life in a Christ-rejecting world – life in this human flesh of ours (i.e. “jars of clay”)! But at the same time, divinely empowered, so that the life of Jesus may be manifest in or mortal flesh!

From the Apostle Paul, all the way to the weakest of us who follow Jesus… It possible to live “divinely empowered human lives” (and in spite of the negative associations, “human frailty on divine steroids!” It led Apostle Paul to declare from persecution and poverty in prison, “I can do all things though Him who strengthens [empowers] me!” (Philippians 4:13)

“Pain to Praise” – “Not Bitter… Better!”

Pain to PraiseI’ve watched it over the years… Some of the most powerful expressions of praise follow the severest trials and greatest tests of faith that people face!

Psalm 66 expresses the phenomena well…

“Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name! Give to Him glorious praise! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’ … Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man!

“Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried… We went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what” He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!” (From Psalm 66 ESV)

How can I express it? People like that don’t come out of their trials bitter – they come out better! They come out with a song of high praise to God upon their lips and hearts that are pure and clean! Oh Lord, may it always be like that with me!

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