Reading before church and then going to a great church with great music - all go hand in hand. I'll start with my reading before church. Preparing to go in and meet with the presence of the Living God and to take communion - in honor and remembrance of the true meaning the gospel - good stuff.
The past few days God has been teaching me about my sin of discontentment - and yes - that is a sin. Not that we really like to call it that - but we must start calling a spade a spade - or a sin a sin. Christ died for my sin of discontentment. Oh, my...many areas of discontentment in my life. Being content does not mean that we got complacent. It means we are striving to please God in every thing we do and wherever we are in life - and are satisfied with Who He is for us and in us. It is when we realize that the things we don't have will not make us happy - only Christ will satisfy.
So, I picked out Psalm 61-63 to read, very convicting psalms to read in this area. Here is what I underlined...
61.2 - "Hear my cry...when my heart is faint." As I sat down to read the Word, I really didn't even want to read it. Sin is a heavy burden - and the sin of discontentment has weighed heavy this week.
61.3 - "for you have been my refuge" - my safe place, my place to run and be when I don't feel like doing anything else, when nothing else is safe and right, when emails aren't working, or facebook is down, or there is nothing on tv.
61.8 - "So I will ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day." - Some Phyllis always said to me, even when I don't feel like it - read, pray, worship. Obedience and faithfulness even in trials or times of struggle.
62.5-8 - "My hope is from him, He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not be shaken, On god rests my salvation and my glory, my mighty rock, my refuge is God, Trust in Him at all times, o people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us." - Oh the truth and goodness of that verse. I have come back to it time and time again. He listens to our hearts - He made our hearts - He knows our very longing - even those ones that continue and never seem to go away - He knows even those.
63.1 - "My soul thirsts for Him, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." I was telling someone else today about a lack here in the ville - but God, you will never be my lack. Let me thirst for you - that is a cry and a prayer. Help it to be true of me.
63.3-4 - "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live, in your name I will lift up my hands." - Love that song. Sang it with the college choir at the Summit. But, again - choice and obedience - faithfulness.
63.8 - "My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me." - When there is nothing else...God is right there. Even in the lonely and hopeless times.
I also read in the Valley of Vision - wow, what a book, composed of Puritan prayers...
"Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued, I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it. He must become to me more than vile lust had been, that his sweetness, power, life may be there. Though now I have his graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where thou wilt show thyself fully reconciled and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten the day."
What in the world does it look like (in practical terms) to have Christ live in place of my sin? It is preaching to myself the gospel every day. Oh, God - live in place of my sin. Your death paid that price.
Then, I got to church. We sang "O Great God" by Fernando Ortega and "Hosanna" brought to us by Hillsong. Man - great great songs! :) One of the lines in O Great God says he rules them by His Word. The song is talking about creation and all the things in it - but God also rules me by His Word - and I am thankful He chooses to speak!