If you’re like me, you find yourself in seasons when you can’t take the news anymore. Not surprising since the business model of most cable news outlets is to gin up outrage to capture your eyes. Stop warring with news reports and find peace in a place that soothes the heart. I offer you five reasons to meditate on the Psalms.

1. As an aid to worship. Worship isn’t just a place, a service, or music. It is acknowledging God and His intervention in human affairs. “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name! The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace” (29:2,11). “Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness” (150:2).

2. When life is not going well. Julie Andrews sang about roses, kittens, and mittens, favorite things to remember when the dog bites and the bee stings. But when light thoughts cannot lift the weight of life, the Psalms helps you cast your burden on the One who loves you. “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” (120:2). “Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You” (56:1,3).

3. If you like poetry. Ancient Hebrew poetry uses parallelism, meaning lines are linked to affirm or oppose each other. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (51:2-3). “He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked” (146:9). “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (37:21).

4. When nature inspires you. Psalm 8 speaks of babies, the moon, and stars. It reflects on God’s care for humans and human care for animals. It closes with, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” In another place, “The God of glory thunders, the Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful” (29:3-4).

5. To know who Jesus is: “He said to Me, You are my Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance” (2:7-8). “My God, my God why have You forsaken me? All who see me sneer at Me. They pierced My hands and My feet. They divide My garments among them” (22:1,7,16,18).

Another way to enjoy the Psalms is through the work of modern hymn writers like Keith and Kristen Getty. (Lookup Psalm 24 on YouTube for a Celtic rhythm.) Either way, let the Psalms refresh your soul. Whatever is lovely, whatever worthy of praise, dwell on these things.


For a while, Hurricane Florence was larger than the states of North and South Carolina combined. I was amazed at the geostationary satellite images from 22,000 miles above the equator. I was pained at the local images of flooding and destruction that satellites cannot capture. Different perspectives, different responses.

In 1990, Bette Midler recorded the song, “From a Distance.” The lyrics explain “from a distance the world looks blue and green. From a distance there is harmony. From a distance we all have enough and no one is in need and there are no guns, no bombs and no disease. God is watching us from a distance.” So, if we back off far enough we won’t see problems anymore because after all, that’s what God does? That’s one perspective, I suppose.

Maybe time lends perspective. We can learn from the past, and with time we might make more sense of it. But C. S. Lewis opined that God would have people “concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the present – either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” He warns against dwelling on the past, and temptations focused on the future: fear, greed, and lust.

So, distance and time are not reliable ways to reset your perspective. I’m thinking of another song, recorded by Amy Grant at age 18. “She’s got her Father’s eyes; eyes that find the good in things when good is not around; eyes that find the source of help when help just can’t be found; eyes full of compassion seeing every pain, knowing what you’re going through and feeling it the same.”

God doesn’t watch from a distance. He became flesh and dwelled among us. The widow burying her only son and the distressed and dispirited people He saw with compassion. A rich young man captivated by his possessions, He saw with love. His dead friend Lazarus and the city of Jerusalem filled His eyes with wet grief, even though He is the Resurrection and Peace, their only Hope. (John 1:14, Luke 7:13, Matt. 9:36, Mark 10:21, John 11:35, Luke 19:41)

You need a fresh perspective not filtered by your own memories and biases. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman says, “Odd as it may seem I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self who does my living is like a stranger to me.” But you are not limited by that. In Christ, you are a new creation and you have His mind to appraise things the way He does (2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Cor. 2:16). His indwelling Spirit means you have your Father’s eyes, a clear and eternal perspective.

God Alone

“Washington monument hailed as obelisk to Moloch.  Gathering planned this Sunday.”  If that were a real headline, the idolatry would be easy to spot.  Yet modern idolatry is a thing, and can be rather subtle.

Take politics.  In certain quarters, the ideal is free healthcare, free college education, and universal basic income.  In this system, utilities and transportation systems become public resources, and the economy is planned by elites while corporations are panned as evil.  Others can debate the pros and cons of such.  My point is that this system looks to government as a kind of god.

Nietzsche declared that modern man had killed God, so only manmade systems remain. In response Francis Schaeffer explained, “A person can erect some sort of structure in which he lives, shutting himself up in that frame and not looking beyond it.  It can sound high and noble, such as talking in an idealistic way about the greatest good for the greatest number.”  Idealism and noble words are no substitute for self-evident truths.

Our Founders said that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, and government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.  In other words, the government answers to the people, and the people answer to God.  Yet the 20th C. brought a stunning shift toward secularism, which removes God and reverses the others so that people answer to the government.  This makes the state an idol with godlike powers to decide issues of morality, freedom, and human value.

Nations can be deceived by subtle idolatry, and so can individuals.  The early church father Origen said, “What each one honors before all else, what before all things he admires and loves, this for him is God.”  Billy Graham preached, “We worship ourselves, the things we’ve created and made with our hands.  Materialism!  All of these have become gods.  Sex is a goddess.  These are the modern gods.”  John Stonestreet alliterates the idols of our day as “sex, self, state, science, and stuff.”

The Bible gives reasons to worship God.   He is good.  He accomplishes his purposes in the affairs of men and nations.  He is eternal.  He judges with compassion.  It also warns of idols:  “Those who make them will be like them.” (Psa. 135:1-18).  Worship changes you, and everyone worships something or someone.  Joshua sounds the clarion call of the ages.  “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve!” (Josh. 24:15).

St. Augustine famously said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”  He who is revealed as one God in three Persons has formed you for Himself.  As you worship Him with your life, He molds you into the image of the Son, fills you with His Spirit.  Find your rest as you worship God alone.

Burdened Community

The Loneliness Epidemic is upon us. It is the rotten fruit of rugged individualism, the prison food of digital isolation, the sour stew of broken relationships.  “Psychology Today” reports that in the last 50 years, loneliness has doubled in the U.S.

There is an answer for that Epidemic, and it’s not the CDC in Atlanta. It’s you.  It’s community.

The late John McCain was a little less lonely in that Vietnamese prison camp than he might have been. They bound his arms with ropes as a form of torture.  One guard surreptitiously loosened the ropes during his shift.  Later, on Christmas Day, that guard drew a cross in the dirt with his foot. McCain understood that a fellow believer had taken a risk to relieve his burden.  McCain did the same when he refused early release so another POW could go home.

Creating a loving community involves risk and sacrifice. The early church (Acts 2, 4) understood that.  They sold their possessions to provide for those in need.  Their crisis was persecution, but everybody has one – it’s the human condition.

Puerto Rico seemed a tropical paradise before Hurricane Maria. The devastation was so complete that counting the dead and rescuing the living was nigh impossible.  In “Christianity Today,” Pastor Gadiel Rios explained that God “used these trying times to refocus the spiritual mindset of congregations everywhere, reshaping our understanding of the Christian life as it was intended to be: saved people living in true community, loving God, loving their spiritual brothers and sisters, and loving the lost souls.  A few days after the hurricane, local congregations started to meet.  A sense of shared community kicked in, and everyone started to look for opportunities to serve the most pressing needs.”

They rediscovered the building blocks of community. The Bible says it this way:  “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).  Does this not reflect Jesus words, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)?  In his essay “Luggage of Life,” F. W. Boreham explains, “He only invited them that He might offer His yoke and burden.  Here is something worth thinking about. Christ gives rest to the heart by giving burdens to the shoulders.”  To carry each other’s luggage “is the law of Christ, the law of the cross, a sacrificial law.”

Loneliness and tragedy call for love. If you are like Jesus, you sacrifice your time or treasure for others, and find tangible ways to love those whose burdens are heavy.  “While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10).  Don’t wait for community to find you; create it yourself by following the law of Christ: love your neighbors by bearing their burdens.

Makes Sense

Have you heard about the conspiracy theory called QAnon, or The Storm?  Its adherents are developing it to explain politics and current events.

QAnon is quite speculative, and many observers call it baseless.  It enfolds many previous conspiracy theories into one.  It includes places (Babylon, Area 51, Charlottesville) and presidents (Washington, Clinton, Trump).  It links people (Putin, Zuckerberg, Princess Diana) and movements (French Revolution, Antifa, MAGA).  It tries to make sense of the world.

Everyone has a way of interpreting the world around us.  Your judgments, preferences, and views are framed by life’s ultimate questions.  Ravi Zacharias identifies these as: Where did I come from? What is life’s meaning? How do I define right from wrong?  What happens when I die?  These confront every religion and philosophy.  Here are a few coherent responses that touch on the worldview of orthodox (traditional, Biblical) Christianity.

Origin: The Bible says God created humans in his image to rule over the other creatures (Gen. 1:26).  From this, we know that humans have a value that no other creatures have.  You know intuitively that killing a child on a playground is different than killing a rat in a lab, despite protestations of animal rights activists.  It is when humans are devalued that injustice, racism, and genocide happen.

Meaning:  We are meant for another place.  The Bible says we have eternity in our hearts, and citizenship in heaven (Ecc. 3:11, Phil. 3:20).  Recently deceased Charles Krauthammer, a skeptic, wrote, “You’ve got to explain the existence of the universe.  Why can there be anything, and how can there be consciousness?”  When your foundation is eternity, life’s questions and woes are less daunting.  Without eternity, you are dust in the wind.

Morality:  Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about that city’s violence.  “I am asking that we not shy away from discussions about the importance of family and faith helping to develop character, self-respect, a value system, and a moral compass so kids know right from wrong.”  When each does what is right in his own eyes, people and communities are hurt.  To be fully human is to love God and neighbor, which Jesus says are the foundation of God’s law (Matt. 22:37-40).

Destiny:  You are accountable to the Creator, who wants you to share eternity with Him.  Yet you must be made whole since all are sin sick.  God the Son “bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).  By faith in Christ, you can live like there is a better tomorrow, forever.

To some, Christianity is no more plausible than the latest conspiracy theory.  But its answers make sense of the world as we experience it, and that draws you to the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul.