“Since God is sovereign and has good purposes, hardships are opportunities. They must be.”–Ed Welch
Great explanation by Ed in “Hardships and Opportunities” including the truth that hardships never come without hope for God’s children.
I love the Psalms, don’t you? We spent several years going through the entire Psalter on Wednesday evenings and it was so enriching to my heart. The Psalms teach us so much about God but they also teach us so much about how to feel. . . feel about the truth, about blessings, about sorrows, about disappointment, about victory! I appreciate how one pastor has drawn this out for us all below.
From Pastor John Piper’s sermon, “Songs that Shape the Heart and Mind” (May 25, 2008):
If you read the Psalms only for doctrine, you’re not reading them for what they are. They are psalms, songs, poetry. They’re musical, and the reason human beings express truth with music and poetry is to awaken and express emotions that fit the truth.
One of the reasons the Psalms are deeply loved by so many Christians is that they give expression to an amazing array of emotions. Listen to this list of emotions I pulled together:
- Loneliness: “I am lonely and afflicted” (Psalms 25:16).
- Love: “I love you, O Lord, my strength” (Psalms 18:1).
- Awe: “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalms 33:8).
- Sorrow: “My life is spent with sorrow” (Psalms 31:10).
- Regret: “I am sorry for my sin” (Psalms 38:18).
- Contrition: “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalms 51:17).
- Discouragement and turmoil: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me” (Psalms 42:5)?
- Shame: “Shame has covered my face” (Psalms 44:15).
- Exultation: “In your salvation how greatly he exults” (Psalms 21:1).
- Marveling: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalms 118:23).
- Delight: “His delight is in the law of the Lord” (Psalms 1:2).
- Joy: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalms 4:7).
- Gladness: “I will be glad and exult in you” (Psalms 9:2).
- Fear: “Serve the Lord with fear” (Psalms 2:11).
- Anger: “Be angry, and do not sin” (Psalms 4:4).
- Peace: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep” (Psalms 4:8).
- Grief: “My eye wastes away because of grief” (Psalms 6:7).
- Desire: “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted” (Psalms 10:17).
- Hope: “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psalms 33:22).
- Brokenheartedness: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalms 34:18).
- Gratitude: “I will thank you in the great congregation” (Psalms 35:18).
- Zeal: “Zeal for your house has consumed me” (Psalms 69:9).
- Pain: “I am afflicted and in pain” (Psalms 69:29).
- Confidence: “Though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Psalms 27:3).
More explicitly than all the other books in the Bible, the Psalms are designed to awaken and shape our emotions in line with the instruction they give. What happens when you read and sing the Psalms the way they are intended to be read and sung is that your emotions and your mind are shaped by these psalms.
Visit and bookmark this site today–a rich resource for parents.
Here’s a sample from Luma Simms in “Raising Gospel-Centered Children“
When Jesus instructs us to go out and make disciples of all nations, that includes our children—our closest disciples. Of course, discipleship should not end in the home, but our families are our most naturally-authentic relationships. Everyday, the gospel compels us to ask: How are we discipling our children? More importantly, how should we be discipling them? There is a tendency (sometimes unknowingly) for parents to fall into child-centered discipleship. This could happen for many reasons, even from a well-meaning desire to see our children become Christians. However, what we may fail to grasp is that we should be applying the gospel daily even to the relationships with our children. They don’t need something else; they need the same thing we all need—they need Jesus.
If we stop to consider the motivations of our hearts—what is driving us as parents—we can gain important insight into the discipleship of our children. The driver behind gospel-centered discipleship is the glory of Christ. The driver behind child-centered discipleship is the glory of our children, and by extension, our own glory. In order to understand my own motives, I’ve learned to ask myself: Do I want my children to know God, to rest in the person and work of Christ, to have their many, many sins washed in the blood of the Lamb, and to eternally glorify Him? Or rather do I want my children to be “good,” to scrupulously avoid sin and follow biblical injunctions, to avoid bad consequences in this life? Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive, but where does Christ ask us to put our emphasis? My answers to these questions revealed some very selfish desires. I have lived with fear and anxiety over my children’s sins, and I’ve come to realize what was in my heart. I was not offended by their sins for the sake of God’s reputation, nor was I offended because sin is rebellion and an affront to the person of Christ himself. No, I feared sin in my children’s lives because I cared more about all the earthly consequences of sin. For example, a little over eight years ago, I grabbed hold of Deuteronomy 6 and started rattling it like a sword in a battle cry for homeschooling. I had convinced myself that this was the only type of schooling capable of producing godly children. At the heart of my child-centered thinking, was the belief that I, as a parent—not Christ, as our Lord—must do everything to protect my children from the world and sin.
By pure grace, almost two years ago, I was convicted that I had valued my children’s well-being more than I had valued Jesus. I trembled at the realization that the comfort and safety (even the spiritual safety) of my children, had become more important to me than the person of Christ. . . .
Our church is watching the Frontline Mission DVD series “Dispatches from the Front!” My life if being impacted with every episode. I’d recommend these to anyone who wants to learn how the Gospel is advancing in the world! As you watch remember God has put you where you are right now to reach lost souls who are lost in darkness. Here’s the episode four trailer