Psalms

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Introduction: Do you enjoy praising God? It is one of my favorite activities! I think back to when I've been with a large number of people who are singing praises to God. What joy! Then there are the times when I've enjoyed some great victory or success, and it feels good to praise God for the victory. What about the other times in life, when things are not going well and you feel discouraged? You need help. Do you reach out to God then? The book of Psalms contains the praises of people to God. And it contains requests to God for help in difficult times. In this sense Psalms is different than the other books of the Bible. Most Bible books are a series of stories. Some contain instructions or warnings. Psalms largely reflects what God's people are saying to Him under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Let's dive into the study of this unique book of the Bible!...

Do you have trouble meditating? Trouble concentrating during prayer? I do. My mind reminds me of a squirrel, jumping all around to different topics. If I say to myself, "I'm going to start praying on a certain subject, all of a sudden I find myself thinking about something else. Thankfully, writing these lessons focuses my mind on spiritual issues. Contemplating God's words fixes my attention. Apparently, a lot of God's children are just like me. One major purpose of the Psalms is to be a prayer book. Reading the words of the Psalms focuses the mind on the subject of the prayer in that psalms. To help us focus, the Psalms cover many subjects of prayer. This week we are studying prayer during troubling times. Let's dive into the Psalms and learn more about focusing our mind!...

What does it mean, as a practical matter, to believe in a sovereign God? What would your world view and your actions be like if you truly believed in an all powerful, living God? First, you would believe what He says. If God says He created everything, and you see things (for example yourself) that you cannot adequately explain, then you should believe Him. If God says that as Creator He has a plan for better living, then we should not only believe, we should follow His plan. If God says that His rules are important for the continued existence of humans, and that He will bring judgment on those who rebel against Him, we should believe Him and try to obey and not rebel. All of these points are made in our study of the Psalms this week. Let's dive in and learn more!...

Two stories frame our study this week. The one involved a church member who was certain that God would heal her of cancer. At some point she was shocked to realize that she was going to die. I could see the great disappointment in her eyes. It has been decades, but I still recall her reaction before she died. The other story comes from a famous preacher. I heard him say that he prays for a good parking space - and he gets a good space. Why would one faithful lady die while another is rewarded with good parking - a trifling matter? Let's plunge into our study of Psalms and learn more!...

How would you feel if most people opposed Christianity and thought it to be a dangerous teaching? Because the readers of these studies are located all over the world, some know exactly what that feels like. But those of us in the United States have no idea. When I was young and living in Michigan, most people claimed to be Christians. Of course, there were a few rebels. But no one claimed that Christianity was harmful, it merely got in the way of having "a good time." That is changing. An ever growing number of Americans no longer believe the Bible, instead they believe that its teachings are toxic to human relationships. Even within the church many argue that people have been harmed by the way some Christians share the truth. What is the actual complaint about sharing from those who claim to be God's people? That the truth is being shared without apology? Or that those sharing are inartful? Our Psalms this week discuss living for God in a hostile environment. Let's jump into our study of the Bible!...

What would you call a human theory that sounds reasonable but is not based on the Bible? What would you call a human theory that conflicts with the Bible? Idol worship in the Bible is a human creating an image and then worshiping it. Would it be reasonable to believe that accepting certain human ideas and arguments can be idol worship? Is worshiping an idea as sinful as worshiping an image? Our study this week is about evil, injustice, and oppression. Many of the modern beliefs about evil, injustice, and oppression are not based on the teachings of the Bible and some of them conflict with the Bible. Let's explore this more by diving once again into our study of the Psalms!...

Have you ever wished that the police were around to give some speeder a ticket? How about a ticket for someone who failed to stop at a stop sign? On the other hand, when the police stop you are you hoping for mercy? Isn't that the way it is in life generally? We see others sin and we want justice. This is especially true when the rich and powerful sin, and it is a major sin! But when it is our sin we want mercy. Our study in Psalms this week is about mercy. Not simply mercy for ordinary sins, but mercy for a rich and powerful man committing some of the most serious sins. Let's plunge into Psalms and learn more about the full picture of God's love and mercy!...

"Remember the thief on the cross!" In the debate over what righteousness by faith means, the experience of that thief gives us confidence that our works will not save us. Have you ever heard a Christian who argues the importance of right living say, "Remember the thief on the cross?" If you think about this, that thief is a powerful lesson about how our life can be if we ignore the teachings of the Bible on right living. That thief ended life on earth with the most embarrassing and painful death. Let's jump into our study of the Psalms to learn more about how life is better if we follow God's rules!...