1) Pray the Psalms

Several years ago, I went to a Pastors’ Conference which had, as its main preacher, Dr. Donald Whitney. Dr, Whitney has become somewhat famous in the last couple of decades for his writings on the spiritual disciplines. At the conference I attended he introduced those attending to the practice of praying through the Psalms. I have been following the schedule he gave us for praying the Psalms ever since. I introduced it to the church several years ago and just this week I encouraged some of our leaders to start in on it again. The plan is simple and if you are interested you can find it here. God included the Psalms to be read, sung, memorized. Many of them are prayers to God and there is nothing but good that can come out of praying them in our daily times with God. Give it a go. I hope that you find it useful.

2) A Strange Encounter

I was walking home from the church to my home on Tuesday and a young lady approached me and said “Don’t feel down. The divine Jesus can save you.”  She handed me a tract that she had written herself. I had been feeling pretty good as I walked home and my first thought was that if she thought I looked down, she should see me when I really am! In any case, the tract encouraged me to go to church here or “especially” here. And then it encouraged me to watch a you tube video claiming to reveal  a secret given to the three children of Fatima in1917. The music in the video is an instrumental rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon, which claims that the world would be a better place without any religion at all. The prophecies in the video were to have occurred before 2010, so we know that it is false (Actually, we would have known it in any case). The tract is quite a mix of opposing theologies, prosperity Gospel and false prophecy. The young lady is not well and that is evident from what she writes in her tract.  It cannot but break your heart. What does one conclude when encountering such things? First of all, I am going to try to look a little more cheerful when I walk anywhere. Secondly, I rejoice that Thistletown Baptist Church, which is between the two churches promoted in the tract, is not referred to in it. Third, there are times when it is right to be very angry. In my years as a pastor I have been in contact with some very strange and needy people who were convinced that they had secret messages from God. No amount of reasoning or Scripture will convince them otherwise. Abuse, neglect, mental illness … Who knows what has happened to people to rob them of living in a state of reality. The mind is a powerful and delicate thing and it is right to be angry at people who have so influenced others that they drive them out of a sane state. How do you help them? How do you convince them that what they are so sure of isn’t real? What a world. And what a mess sin has made of it. And what a glory to be called to minister the Gospel that can even overcome such pain and illness and nonsense.