Psalm 128-A Pilgrim Song
1-2 All you who fear God, how blessed you are!
how happily you walk on his smooth straight road!
You worked hard and deserve all you've got coming.Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness!
3-4 Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,your household lush as a vineyard,The children around your tableas fresh and promising as young olive shoots.Stand in awe of God's Yes.Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!
5-6 Enjoy the good life in Jerusalemevery day of your life.And enjoy your grandchildren.Peace to Israel!
How can anyone say that the way is smooth and straight? Isn't Christianity so hard it is painful? No my friend, being a Christian is easy- being an unrepentant sinner is hard.
HH Farmer- go against the grain of the universe and you will get splinters.
J.H. Newman (paraphrase): "If I want to travel north and all the roads are cut to the east, of course I will complain of the roads. I will find nothing but obstacles;I will have to surmount walls, and cross rivers- never finding the end- only failure. So it is with all who seek happiness for their own end- the signposts to Zion are well marked- but we ignore them and stubbornly bushwack our own way. Of course we will meet thwartings, and disappointments, and failure- then we get mad at God for making it so hard- religion is an inconvenience only to those who are going against the compass-."
The above Psalm is just one of the many ways I have experienced the pouring out of mercy by the Holy Spirit this Christmas season. John Calvin used to press his congregation to pursue deeper happiness- seeking the pleasure that goes beyond the world's standard of ease, honor, and great wealth.
So this morning I am reveling in God's great YES. The last few days I have been able to see how blessed I am. The wife He has given me- the children of joy that light my heart with life- the beautiful friends who love me- my extended family who pray faithfully. For one whole week I have been able to retreat from the contrary winds of the pilgrim life and soak in the peace and warmth of God's riches- this is a blessing of Christmas.
My friends- I am calling out to all- right now in your heart see that Christ is right here- He is right there- He has NEVER forsaken you- and He holds no grudge for our ignoring Him- look deep inside and say to Him right now- 'THANK-YOU- Lord, help me sip the wine of your sweet gift this Christmas'.
The gift is not because we are good- I am a great sinner-the gift is because HE IS GOOD.
At that very moment of that prayer, He begins to pull out the splinters and salve your hurting heart. And you will SEE His provision all around you.
JOY, which was the small publicity of the pagan,
is the GIGANTIC SECRET of the ChristianG.K. Chesterton
Hug those who are with you and bask in the riches of His love- MERRY CHRISTMAS!
And let's all walk on that smooth well-worn path of blessing- all the way to Zion!