My Help Comes from the Lord

David Bast

Read: Psalm 121 The LORD will . . . keep your life. (v. 7) I thought of this psalm years ago when traveling in Bhutan, a small, beautiful country in the Himalayas. From the road that wound through Bhutan’s steep valleys, I could see countless Buddhist prayer flags dotting the hilltops all around. Something like that sight greeted the psalmist as well. In ancient Israel, the high places were where the pagan shrines were located. Thus the question: “From where …

I Am for Peace

David Bast

Read: Psalm 120 I am for peace, but . . . they are for war! (v. 7) “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” When was the first time you heard that? Probably many years ago, on a playground somewhere. Well, it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now—especially now, when hurtful words can be tweeted from a phone or posted online. Slander and accusations are like sharp arrows or glowing coals (v. …

Songs of Ascents

David Bast

Read: Psalm 84 My soul longs . . . for the courts of the LORD. (v. 2) Psalms 120-134 are titled the “Songs of Ascents.” This collection of psalms was composed for worshipers on their way to the temple in Jerusalem. These psalms were climbing songs, travel songs sung by Jewish pilgrims as they walked up the road toward Mount Zion. Jewish worship in the Old Testament was seasonal, not weekly. Public worship took place at the temple in Jerusalem …

Nothin’ But the Truth

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:15-18 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. (v. 16) For me, one of the hardest parts about parenting is dealing with lying. I want my children to feel that I trust them, that if they tell me something I will believe them. I don’t want to communicate to them that I doubt what they tell me, but sometimes I know they are not telling the truth. When this happens, I try to …

Keep the Conversation Going

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:13-15 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (v. 13) For many years now, my college roommate and I have been getting together once a week for bagels and coffee. We spend a little over an hour talking about what’s happening in our lives. There have been times when our gatherings have been filled with the struggles we’re facing or the grief we’re experiencing. Other times we laugh together at …