I’m about to begin, if the Lord is willing, four years of graduate level education as I study at a Theological College. I’ve moved across the country and away from almost all my friends and family. It’s certainly a daunting time for me and also quite stressful. I definitely don’t feel prepared to pick up my Hebrew and Greek, or memorize the Heidelberg Catechism. I thought I would be one of the older people in my class but it turns out that at 25 I might be the youngest (there’s one student I haven’t met yet). The other students are married, some have one or two children, and are in a different place in life. Even though they’ve also moved and had to leave friends behind, they also took a support group with them. I’m somewhat envious of their situation.
There’s also a bit of excitement as I look forward to digging deep into God’s word. Each day at school the focus will now be on how to better understand, interpret, and apply God’s word to my own life and the lives of others. What a prospect!
Tonight is convocation, I’ve been asked to help usher and seat people. It’s a good opportunity for me to meet new people, something which I would rather not do but at the same time want and need to do. Then we have our new student orientation day on Monday, followed by a BBQ. Finally on Tuesday regular classes begin. So it will be an exciting, daunting, and whirlwind of a weekend! And as I’m about to begin a new journey I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 121, a psalm traditional used by travelers on their way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
“Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.”
― Irenaeus of Lyons
Lord God, we live in an age when sexuality is trivialized and when covenants are broken routinely. We are bombarded with cultural insensitivity for the sacredness of life and what was once considered perverted is now common place and accepted. Please help me increase my sensitivity to the Truth of Your commandments and show me where I need to amend my attitudes and my actions. Forgive me my failures in this area and strengthen me to live a chaste life. Work within me by your Holy Spirit so that I would be able to resist the temptations of the world, my flesh, and the devil. I pray that you will not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions. Wash away the memory of past sins from my mind, erase the feelings of guilt and shame for they have been nailed to the cross along with all my sins. Please think of me according to Your mercy and for Your goodness sake, O LORD, free me from the bondage of my passions and enable me to master my inclinations. When I am tempted, may I rely on you; When I fall, may I find restoration by your grace. Heal me of past hurts and the impact of erroneous instruction and guide my relationships in purity, fidelity and love. Grant a renewed and faithful obedience to Your word, and work within me by Your Holy Spirit , so that I may keep Your commands all the days of my life. In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, who with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, lives and reigns forever. Amen.
Depression is always a daily battle. Depressed folk have been described as “master thespians” who know how to put on masks for their friends and family. It’s certainly true for me, not to say I’m always fake or putting on an act but on a bad day I can normally still act like nothing is wrong or bothering me. It’s when I can’t put on the mask, when my friends or family can tell that I’m having a bad day – that’s when I’m losing the battle.
I hate burdening people with my problems, making them have to think about what I’m going through or experiencing. And yet it sometimes is the best way to process my thoughts and realize that I do matter to people. Then I walk away feeling terrible for sharing.
I want to help others through their struggles and weaknesses whether it’s a mental, physical, or spiritual health problem. I can’t stand the thought of someone else suffering silently, of not feeling loved or not feeling that they matter. Yet it’s so hard to accept the same. I don’t feel worthy of compassion or love or kindness. So hard to be on the flip side of this exchange, it takes an incredible amount of courage for a depressed person to come out and say they feel dead inside or hate themselves. And no wonder, what a shot to our pride to do such a thing! To help someone in need can make me feel good and useful, but to admit to someone else – it’s like I think if I don’t let other’s know then it might not be how I truly feel.
Psalm 38:1-11 (Esv)
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
7 For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
9 O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.