Thursday, June 5, 2008

lessons from the Psalms: the battle-field of the human heart

How do we turn a cave into a tunnel? How can faith win the battle against unbelief, on a day dark with despondancy, worry or fear? How will we learn to declare, when despair threatens to snuff out every last ray of light:

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:36).

The lesson of Jesus' life and the lesson of the Psalms is this: every cave that you're in—wandering along, feeling the rocks, stumbling, stepping, bumping your head—every cave that you are in is a tunnel that opens into glory. It opens into a day like today in Heaven, with the sun shining, and the grass green, and the waters flowing—as long as you don’t sit down in the cave and blow out the candle of faith.*
I want to tell you about two sermon series being preached at the moment in two great churches. Both are on the Psalms and how they address the struggles, thoughts and feelings of the human heart.

I'll be downloading them. Partly because I'm writing a seminar on this topic. Partly because it fascinates me. Partly because my heart is as dark, and my mind and emotions as unruly as yours.

Here they are:

Psalms: Thinking and Feeling with God by John Piper
topics: songs that shape the heart and mind; spiritual depression in the psalms; to be continued ...

Psalms from Covenant Life Church, where Josh Harris is the senior pastor
topics: the lonely / addicted / depressed / guilty / suffering / bitter / aging; to be continued ...

And while we're at it, check out this 20 year old series by John Piper, still well worth the listening:

Battling unbelief by John Piper
topics: battling unbelief at Bethlehem; battling the unbelief of anxiety / misplaced shame / regret / covetousness / lust / envy / bitterness / impatience / despondancy / a haughty spirit

* John Piper's Battling the Unbelief of Despondency

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