Thanks to all who were part of creating the “Our Journey 2020” insert (Nov. 2016). The board of directors has been listening to churches and has responded with this piece. My prayer is that the CRC will go forward in unity and love.
In John 17 we hear Jesus praying for us (followers who believe without seeing him), and he asks that we may be one as he and his Father are one. He also asks that we may share the kind of love they share between them. In each case he adds the phrase “I in them and you in me.” In that phrase rests the empowerment to be and do just that. In Colossians Paul speaks of it as the mystery now revealed among the Gentiles, which is “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”
If there have been disappointments or hurts in the past, let them be just that--in the past. As we focus on Jesus, our hope of glory, may the barriers of “us and them” crumble as we yield to the spirit of love and unity for which Jesus not only prayed but makes possible.
—Blanche Vander Bent
Grand Rapids, Mich.
A splendid issue! The editorial “A Little Wisdom” . . . very helpful.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Peace for the Persecuted
Thank you for the informative and much needed article by Kevin den Dulk (“Peace for the Persecuted”), especially for directing our attention to the plight of our persecuted sisters and brothers around the world.
Persecution of believers is a consequence of spiritual warfare. Den Dulk is on target in asking us to pray for and with the persecuted and to address shalom. Prayer is the most important activity in our battle with the forces of darkness.
Most persecuted believers pray for peace in the shape of the cross. That is why Peter and John (and believers today) find joy in their trials for the sake of those who need to hear the good news about Christ.
—Dave Stravers, Mission India
A big thank you for the article “A Memoir in Psalms.” A dear friend lost his mother and two brothers in one year. He told me that Psalm 77 gave him much comfort. I’m eager to discuss your article with him.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
I appreciated your memoir of Psalms. I too have memorized many psalms (including six of your list) and other portions of Scripture, both OT and NT. Some other psalms I have memorized are 8, 46, 91, 96 and 148.
What I have discovered is that my understanding of a passage is so much richer when I memorize it. I discover phrases and ideas I had missed when I simply read it.
I often recite Scripture on my early morning walk or if I happen to be awake in the middle of the night. A type A person, I had always been very impatient if I had to wait for anyone for any reason. Now I use that time to recite Scripture passages to myself.
Sioux Center, Iowa
Thank you for inviting us to respond to the article “A Memoir in Psalms.”
Dust storms blew long and strong over the plains of Kansas in the early 1900s. My paternal grandfather contracted dust pneumonia, from which he later died. On his deathbed in his farmhouse, he sang the Dutch version of Psalm 42: “As the hart longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”
I was probably 5 or 6 at the time and I remember when, after his funeral a few days later, the adults met in his and Grandma’s living room. My young sisters and girl cousins crept into the kitchen, where we saw the pies that were waiting to be served. To our consternation, we saw that the meringue on the lemon pies had become covered with dust while the relatives were attending the funeral!
—Trudy Vander Veen
Our favorite Psalm is 46, verse 10: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations" (“A Memoir in Psalms”). When our son died, this was our comfort.
—Henry & Grace Kamp
Tinley Park, Ill.
Psalm 119 is one of the psalms that speak about David's love and dedication to the Law of his creator (“A Memoir in Psalms”). He realized that God gave us his laws for our own well-being. A way of life that brings stability and peace.
I realize that it is not fashionable, nor politically correct anymore, in many Protestant churches, to say that we have to keep the law, but we see the devastating effects of lawlessness in our society.
—Jan J. Berg
God does not screw up when he creates us (“God’s Dropped Stitches”). However, he can and does turn what looks like a mistake into something good. Jim was our director when we were on the mission field. Because of what he went through as a child, he did not want our child to go through the same frustrations and encouraged us to seek professional help. He gave us hope for a better future. We praise God for putting Jim in our lives at the time when it was needed most.
Bible Stories You’ve Never Heard Of
Bryant Russ writes, “Accepting these ‘broader stories’ means admitting that the Bible isn’t primarily God’s letter to you . . .” (“Bible Stories You’ve Never Heard Of”). What does this mean for some of the “promises” given to specific people in the Bible? One example would be Jeremiah 29:12: “‘I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to give you hope and a future.’” This promise was obviously given to the Israelites who were in captivity. But many people like to quote and believe this verse is a personal promise from God to themselves today. Can we accept such promises for our own personal promise?
Suttons Bay, Mich.
Where Was God?
I am so sorry for what the author experienced (“Where Was God?”). I’m especially disappointed that the Christian counselors she saw were of no help. I pray that the author will find better therapists going forward who will help her to find peace and comfort.
We need our parents to protect us from those who would harm us, but instead sometimes because of sin we need someone to protect us from our parents. I am not sure we will ever find answers to our questions in this life, but I hope God will lead the author to a place of rest.