The Book of Psalms
The book of Psalms is a devotional worship section of the Bible. It records some of the most intimate prayers and worship songs of Biblical saints. When we read the book of Psalms, it is as though we are stepping into God’s house and reading his private love letters. There is something very sacred about them. They reveal not only the character and yearnings of the sender but also the receiver. Reading these verses, not only gives us encouragement to speak to God with boldness and honesty, but also gives us a glimpse of the magnificence of our God through his communication with these saints.
In Psalms, God is portrayed as omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the creator of all things. He is full of love and has compassion for all he has created. As a ruler, he is just. He has deep concern for the world and listens to the righteous, forgiving those who humbly repent of their sins and turn to him.
By praying the eloquent words of the Psalms, we are able to bare our souls to God in a spirit-led way that brings healing and encouragement, especially in times of personal crisis.
The book reveals that Biblical saints did not just think positive and be happy, when faced with doubt and depression but expressed their honest feelings and confessed their transgressions. In doing so, they brought everything that weighed upon their souls into the light, both their joys and sorrows.
God wants an honest relationship with us, not a false one. He does not value us singing empty words of praise if that is not what we’re really feeling. Although we should praise him at all times, even when full of doubt and disillusionment, we should not pretend to be happy if we are not. In a superficial relationship, people will put on a smile and talk about things which they feel will be acceptable to each other but in an intimate friendship, people will bare their souls to one another. It is clear that the writers of the Psalms, not only bared their souls to God, but were also aware of God’s feelings towards them, which shows us they were trusted friends of God.
By Andrew Meakin http://outreach7.webs.com/
This is the story of Joseph.
Joseph was the son of Jacob who was the son of Issac, who was the son of Abraham who God had made a covenant with that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars.(Genesis 15:4) Joseph was son number 11, Jacob had 12 sons(Genesis 35:23-26). Joseph’s brothers hated him because Jacob favoured Joseph and gave him a coat of many colours. (Genesis 37:3-4).
One night God sent Joseph a dream and in this dream, he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain, when all of a sudden, his sheave arose and stood upright, while his brothers sheaves gathered around his and bowed down to it. The dream showed him he would one day rule over his brothers. So when he woke from that dream, he immediately shared it with excitement with his brothers, who not surprisingly did not share his enthusiasm and they hated him even more. Then he had another dream in which the sun, the moon and 11 stars bowed before him, representing his father and mother and 11 brothers. When he shared this dream, even his father was offended. (Genesis 37:5-10).
So his older brothers went out to feed the flock. Jacob told Joseph to go and see how his brothers were doing. So Joseph went searching for his brothers and finally found them but when they saw him coming from a distance they said “Here comes that dreamer! Let’s throw him into a pit and say a wild animal devoured him, than ripped off his coat of many colours and threw him into a deep pit to die. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” So when he came, they grabbed him, ripped off his coat of many colours and threw him in a pit. (Genesis 37:19-23).
The principal support for the view that the Bible advocates pacifism comes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:39-44, He states:
But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
In addition, in Luke 6:27-35, from Christ’s sermon on the plain:
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. And just as you want men to treat you, treat them in the same way. And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son” (Isaiah 7:13)
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall
be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The
mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon
his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever. . . . ” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For
he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry
ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no
beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he
was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and
carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and
afflicted. ” (Isaiah 53:1-4)
Strength to Love (1963)
Ch. 4 : Love in action, Sct. 3
Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. … The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Keep Moving From This Mountain (1965)
Sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood (196-02-25) – Online text and audio
“The great tragedy of life is that too often we allow the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.”
“We’ve been in the mountain of war. We’ve been in the mountain of violence. We’ve been in the mountain of hatred long enough. It is necessary to move on now, but only by moving out of this mountain can we move to the promised land of justice and brotherhood and the Kingdom of God. It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent.”
Beyond Vietnam (1967)
Speech at Riverside Church in New York City (196-04-04) – Online text and audio
“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”