Psalms 42 and 43 share a common theme and repeated refrain offering hope for the broken hearted. These psalms provide a helpful introduction to the second book of Psalms (42-72). While many of the psalms in the second book were written by David, a worship leader wrote these two psalms reflecting David’s prayers when enemies threatened his life. Psalms 42 and 43 are lament psalms. They are songs from and for the downhearted. Lament psalms begin with a note of despair but end in expectant faith and a song of praise. Like the psalmist, our experiences may lead us to despair but our God is greater than anything this world has to offer.
It is easy to say we ought to, “love one another,” but not always so easy to do. You cannot believe in Jesus without loving others. John wrote 1 John to build up the early followers of Jesus not beat them up. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ does not cause one to enter into spiritual life with Jesus but it is the evidence of a life that has been transferred from darkness into light. John is very clear in 1 John 3:11-24 that the one who remains unloving remains in death. Life in Christ is evidenced by a love for others. The love from Christ will always move toward action.
The holiday excitement is building as we get closer to Christmas. For over two thousand years the world has acknowledged and celebrated the birth of a little boy from Nazareth. Hundreds of years before His birth, the prophets told of a messiah who would come who would provide salvation for the people of God. This baby was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. The simplicity and humility of Jesus’ birth reminds us of the simplicity and humility required of those who choose to follow Him by faith. Mary and Joseph and all who were a part of the story recorded in Matthew 1 and Luke 2 remind us to simply, humbly trust Jesus this Christmas season by receiving His gift of love and sharing in His work today.
“All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” These words from Paul will serve to encourage Timothy as he faces opposition inside and outside the church. Timothy knew his mentor, Paul, was going to die soon in the Roman prison. Suffering was not new to Timothy. He watched Paul suffer at the hands of ungodly men many times (Acts 13-14). Paul directed Timothy’s focus to the scriptures. Throughout history it is normal for all who follow Jesus to experience persecution. In America today, we live in a time with many freedoms to express our faith. Now is a great time to trust the Scripture as the source and final authority of saving truth. Like Paul and Timothy, we can be convinced through being informed of saving faith in Jesus Christ. You and I can live out our faith in the face of conflict with the world around us.