Calvin on the Book of Psalms

Calvin on the Book of Psalms

John Calvin, the sixteenth century pastor-theologian in Geneva, known most often for his theological treatise, The Institutes for the Christian Religion, should equally be remembered for his commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. As I finish an overview of the book of Psalms at my church, consider how Calvin introduced his commentary on this penetrating part of Scripture: The wearied and resplendid riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded.   I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.   The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to...
Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 6:9-10

Preparing for Sunday – Matthew 6:9-10

Carefully Think Read Matthew 6:9-15. Recall last week’s message; what are we praying for when we ask for God’s name to be hallowed? What does it mean to “hallow” God’s name? Who is being asked to “hallow” God’s name? What is God’s kingdom and when is it “coming?” How is God’s will done in heaven? What are we praying when we ask for it to be done on earth? Prayerfully Meditate In light of Sunday’s opening message on prayer, how have you sought to incorporate it into your own prayer life? When you come to church this Sunday, think carefully about each movement of our time together. What is being emphasized in each part? How coudl this help you as you pray throughout the service? If God is sovereign, why do we pray for His will to be done? Which phrase within this prayer needs more focused attention in your own prayer time? Intentionally Act How will you specifically incorporate the first three phrases of the prayer in Matthew 6:9-10 into your regular time of prayer? Who will you pray for in this way? About what issues will you incorporate these themes as you pray? On at least three occasions this week, open your Bible to this passage and use it as a guide for your time of prayer. How does it help? What is most challenging in doing it? Use this model prayer in 6:9-13 in praying for our worship service this Sunday. Pray for those who do not know Christ and will be present in our service – that their hearts will be opened to God’s greateness,...
Praying for Sunday’s Sermon Preparation

Praying for Sunday’s Sermon Preparation

Praying for the pastor who will preach each Sunday is something many Christians eagerly do each week. We realize that the task of teaching Scripture is a difficult one. Ensuring Scriptural accuracy, adequately serving a wide variety of people ethnically, in gender, generationally, socially, etc., all in one gathering is a daunting task. Doing it every week of the year, sometimes multiple times a week, makes the task even more challenging. Not only are the physical elements of preaching daunting, the spiritual challenges are even more pressing. To think in the terms Paul used, when we preach, we are either an aroma of life producing life, or death producing death: eternity is at stake each time we preach (2 Corinthians 2:14-17; 1 Timothy 4:15, 16). Above all the external challenges, the effectiveness of preaching is ultimately a work God must do in our hearts. That’s what makes praying for the preacher and the work of preaching so essential. And again, many Christians are so faithful to pray for their pastors each week as they preach. Preparation Prayer Teams For a number of years I have been honored, encouraged by, and helped by a group of people who have committed themselves to pray for me each week in respect to my preaching. But this group of people have not merely prayed in general for me and my preaching on Sunday, they have taken it a step further and have been to committed to pray for me long before Sunday. I’ve been blessed to have a team of people who commit to pray for me on the days and during the...
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