I have become estranged from my brothers
And an alien to my mother’s sons.
For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
When I wept in my soul with fasting,
It became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
Those who sit in the gate talk about me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.
(Psalm 69:8-13 NASB)
God protects His children. The obedience He expects is enough to make us the objects of ridicule, reproach, and persecution. If we are His children, if we obey Him, we are under the protection of His great lovingkindness. But we must we willing to trust Him enough to truly be obedient.
Have you ever trusted God enough or been obedient enough to Him to be the object of ridicule, reproach, or persecution. Or have you always been disobedient?
He protects us. We can trust Him.
When we forget this, we become afraid and hopeless when facing ridicule, reproach, or persecution. Or perhaps, if we are not obedient, we feel falsely confident and comfortable. We are called to obedience. We are called to zeal. We are called to faith.
The grace of Jesus is the source of faith, and His lovingkindness is the source of our protection.
Hey everyone, my wife Kacy has recent started blogging about her life as a stay-at-home mom – and probably a million other things. Check it out here.
Osama bin Laden is dead. That’s the big news this morning.
I believe justice has been done. I believe he deserved what he got. I believe this creates closure for a lot of people whose loved ones were murdered by this man.
I also believe that this is not something to celebrate. As a friend of mine pointed out this morning, God says, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11) This morning another wicked man is in hell. His death does nothing to reverse the horrible fate of the 3,000 people he murdered on September 11, 2001.
Only once in history has the death of one man reversed the horrible fate of others. That man was Jesus Christ. He – the Son of God – died on the cross because God loves all the world. Jesus died for you, for me, and for Osama bin Laden.
Let’s be thankful that justice has been served today but be mindful of the fact that, without faith in Christ, we deserve no better fate than bin Laden.
In honor of the season, I thought I’d post of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.
- Favorite Traditional Christmas Song: “O, Holy Night” – Yes, every artist has to record it, and somebody at church has to sing it every year, but there’s a reason for that! The song remains beautiful – one of the best worship songs ever written!
- Favorite Modern Christmas Song: “Born to Die” by Bebo Norman – A beautiful, moving pop song. It captures the truth of the season in a way that’s hard to do in under four minutes.
- Favorite Novelty Christmas Song: “‘Zat You, Santa Claus? by Louis Armstrong – Let’s be honest. This is much closer to how we would actually react if some dude showed up at our houses on Christmas Eve. Plus, the song is just plain fun.
- Favorite Reworking of a Classic Christmas Song: “Jingle Bells” by James Taylor – “Jingle Bells” as blues! Brilliant!
Favorite Christmas Albums:
- Christmas… From the Realms of Glory by Bebo Norman – Songs we know, and some we don’t. Some are done in the Bebo Norman style CCM listeners have to come to know. Most are done in a style much more reminiscent of his indie music: simple instrumentation – acoustic guitar, piano, melodica, hammer dulcimer. It’s a warm, folksy, introspective, beautiful album. Plus, the brave inclusion of Jackson Browne’s “The Rebel Jesus.” Highlights: “Born to Die,” “Come and Worship,” “The Rebel Jesus”
- Christmas by Michael W. Smith – Remember when Michael W. Smith used to be a songwriter? This album is odd for 80s CCM. It’s a high-church, classical Christmas album with a couple of classic Smitty touches, and it’s pretty flippin’ amazing. Of course, he had to to include the radio-friendly “Gloria,” a pop rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Highlights: “First Snowfall,” “All Is Well,” “Gloria”
- Home for Christmas by Amy Grant – I am not, nor have I ever been, an Amy Grant fan, but I love this album. I even went to one of her Christmas concerts years ago. There are a couple of blemishes (“Grown Up Christmas List” and her insistence on singing along with the choir on Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child is Born”), but there are so many classic renditions of so many classic Christmas songs, if you don’t like it, you have no Christmas spirit! Highlights: “Breath of Heaven,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
Christmas album honorable mention: Christmastime by Michael W. Smith, Music of Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman
Worst Christmas Song Ever: “Grown Up Christmas List” – I do not need to defend this choice.