Category: Psalms

Like a tree planted by streams of water

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water”

Psalm 1 carries such a beautiful picture of the relationship between our ethics and our health and wellbeing. The poet calls us to avoid harmful behaviour but also calls us in a positive sense. Since we are created in God’s image, there is a part of all of us that loves to treat people well. When we spend time reflecting on our own behaviour, and how we can best care for those around us, I suggest that’s us nurturing the image of God in ourselves. It’s just like caring for a garden and can be as beautiful, or as much hard work.

No good tree bears bad fruit

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

Jesus talked about the difference between good and bad people with directness and clarity we don’t often hear repeated. He certainly never claimed we could be perfect. He died, willingly, knowing that was the depth of our need for God’s help. But at the same time, Jesus was very clear about standards of behaviour that we could follow, despite our imperfect ethics. He continually reinforced how critical it was for us to follow those standards, for the sake of others.

Deep calls to deep

“Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls”

I’ve written earlier about the experience of having significant disagreements with God. I’d like to suggest some of those ongoing disagreements might demonstrate we are listening to his image in us. If we are moved by compassion and concern for others, doesn’t that sound like an expression of the fruit of the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Made in the image of God

Being made in the image of God gives us innate value. One of the clear evils of abuse is disrespect for the image of God in people. Rather, God created us as incredibly precious creatures, and to love and cherish a person involves holding high regard for this being God made.

How can we hear God’s voice more clearly?

How can we hear God’s voice more clearly when there is so much noise? Even though Elijah was well-practised in listening to God, he had great difficulty hearing God clearly when he was in the midst of trauma.

If even Elijah struggled to hear clearly, we can take comfort when we struggle. Perhaps that’s one of the no doubt many reasons why we have been gifted with his story. I am confident at least that while it was happening God was already conscious of our current situations. Way back then, he knew.

Respect is part of cherishing someone

One of the beautiful things about Jesus’ engagement with Mary and Martha was his respect for their boundaries after Lazarus died. Even though he was the Son of God, a recognised teacher with a large following, and a man, he still asked for permission to enter into their emotional world. Even though he hadn’t done anything wrong, he listened to and respected the pain his actions had caused. He asked for consent.

What does it mean to cherish someone?

What does it mean to cherish someone? It’s a word that is often used in wedding vows, but it is relevant in all our relationships.

When Paul and Timothy wrote to the Colossians, they praised them for the love they held for all people, and that sense of holding love is like cherishing.

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