If you are wondering how to talk to God when you fail, if you want to know what true humility and surrender look like, and if you want to move from guilty to forgiven to renewal, then read Psalm 51.
As one of seven penitential psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143), Psalm 51 demonstrates the essence of true penitence. Here David pours out his heart to God in honesty and earnestness. Conscious of his sin, he shows us the way to forgiveness and true communion with God. His prayer is direct and straightforward. His conversation with God is a picture of intense humility and deep trust. David looks for and finds the transformation that he needs and wants.
The insecure soul will have a hard time telling others about God. The soul that has been healed will have a hard time being quiet.
An Honest Cry: Sermons from the Psalms in Honor of Prentice A. Meador Jr., will be available January 31 from Leafwood publishers. http://tinyurl.com/yjs7a8h
I envisioned this collection more than a year ago when I repeatedly heard from ministers who had been so powerfully impacted by Prentice. Model, friend, mentor, teacher and more, Prentice touched, and helped to shape, the ministries of so many. The preachers who have contributed to this volume represent a far greater number of partners in ministry who would have gladly accepted the opportunity to honor Prentice.
An Honest Cry is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend, who has reached the goal of his life. The title captures both the heart of his preaching style and the emotion of the book of Psalms.
Prentice had a broad range of interests. But his love for preaching was always at the top. This is why a book of sermons is such a fitting tribute. The idea became clear to me on the day that hundreds of his family and friends gathered to celebrate his life. So many ministers were sharing how Prentice had impacted their preaching that a collection of sermons from some of them seemed to be an appropriate way to honor his life. Psalms was always close to the heart of this man of God. In fact, it was one of the last classes he taught in his role as professor at Lipscomb University.
Providentially, Prentice joins the list of contributors with a sermon he wrote on Psalm 150 that I discovered while this volume was being produced.
Here is the Table of Contents:
Foreword: Randy Lowry
Introduction: Bob Chisholm
Preaching from the Psalms: Dave Bland
A Man of God
God’s Change Agent – Mark Meador
Hallelujah – Word of Praise (Psalm 150) – Prentice A. Meador Jr.
From One Generation to Another (Psalm 71) – Royce Money
Psalms in Context
Living at the Seams (Psalm 89) – Jack Reese
Singing About the Lord’s Ways (Psalm 138) – Gary Holloway
Psalms of God’s Presence
Who Is My God? (Psalm 27) – Landon Saunders
Full of God or Running on Empty? (Psalm 115) – Bob Chisholm
Psalms of Distress and Hardship
Entrusting God With Our Hatreds (Psalm 137) – Mike Cope
The ‘Piñata’ Syndrome (Psalm 17) – Chris Seidman
How Long, O Lord? (Psalm 13) – David Rubio
When All You Can Say Is “Why?” (Psalm 22) – Scott Sager
Psalms of Sorrow and Change
Create in Me a Pure Heart (Psalm 51) – Tom A. Jones
A Song for Sinners (Psalm 32) – Collin Packer
Psalms of Human Frailty
Lord, Give My Life Meaning (Psalm 90) – Harold Hazelip
What’s the Use? (Psalm 73) – Jim Martin
Psalms of Trust and Unity
The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) – Lynn Anderson
Worth the Trip (Psalm 133) – Rick Atchley
How to Handle Bad News (Psalm 112) – Jennings Davis
Psalms of Joy and Peace
Coming Home, Laughing (Psalm 126) – Ken Durham
God’s Divine Care (Psalm 34) – John York
All Is Calm (Psalm 122) – Tim Spivey
In his book, Peaceful living in a Stressful World, Ron Hutchcraft describes five moments scattered throughout our day. Some are exciting. Some are restful. Some are stressful while others are rather dull. But all of them present us with a choice. Who will rule that moment?
Psalm 119:18 — “When I awake, I am still with you.”
Proverbs 3:6 — “In all you ways acknowledge him.”
Ecclesiastes 9:12 — “Men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”
Matthew 14:23 — “He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”
Psalm 63:6 — “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”
There is absolutely no need to run after time to catch it. it does not run away from us, it runs towards us. Whether you are intent on the next minute coming your way, or whether you are completely unaware of it, it will come your way. The future, whatever you do about it, will become the present, and so there is no need to try to jump out of the present into the future. … the mistake we often make with our inner life is to imagine that if we hurry we will be in our future sooner … Yet that is what prevents us from being completely in the present moment, which I dare say is the only moment in which we can be, because even if we imagine that we are ahead of time or ahead of ourselves, we are not. The only thing is that we are in a hurry.
— Beginning to Pray (page 82)
“It will come your way.”
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Numbering my days requires pacing, building boundaries, fully utilizing, learning to say “no” to good things so I can say “yes” to better things. And all of this requires careful thought, which slows me down, which helps me to see and hear, which makes me much more capable and ready, which takes me closer to that much needed “heart of wisdom.”
In my office I have a hand-carved book stand designed to hold an open book. For several years I have had a Bible on that stand open to Psalm 116.
I keep it on a shelf with several items that represent significant moments in my life: small souvenirs from important trips, pictures of special people, gifts from my children. I have a cup from Dresden, Germany, a bullet from a friend’s unsuccessful suicide attempt, an animal carving from Ghana, West Africa, and a few other items that pull me back to those moments in my history that I do not want to forget.
But in the center of this shelf is the open Bible. I keep it open to Psalm 116 because this Psalm led me through a very difficult time in my life.
One morning during this difficult time, I was reading in the Psalms, trying to regain my spiritual focus and my sense of purpose. I usually read with a pen in my hand, marking repeated words and themes, and I noticed in chapter 116, three themes that seemed to be woven together throughout the psalm. I spent quite a bit of time reading, marking, thinking, and praying about these themes. Eventually I assembled them into three lists and wrote them in my journal. Here is almost word-for-word what I wrote that morning:
Psalm 116 Describes — 1st The Human Plight
“Death Entangled Me” (Vs. 3)
“The Grave Came Upon Me” (Vs. 3)
“Overcome By Trouble And Sorrow” (Vs. 3)
“In Great Need” (Vs. 6)
“Death” (Vs. 8)
“Eyes . . . Tears . . . Feet . . . Stumbling” (Vs. 8)
“Greatly Afflicted” (Vs. 10)
“In Dismay” (Vs. 11)
“My Chains” (Vs. 16)
Psalm 116 Describes — 2nd The Personal Rescue
“He Heard My Voice; He Heard My Cry” (Vs. 1)
“He Turned His Ear To Me” (Vs. 2)
“The Lord Protects” (Vs. 6)
“He Saved Me” (Vs. 6)
“The Lord Has Been Good To You” (Vs. 7)
“You, O Lord, Have Delivered My Soul” (Vs. 8)
“His Goodness To Me” (Vs. 12)
“You Have Freed Me” (Vs. 16)
Psalm 116 Describes — 3rd The Only Valid Response
“I Love The Lord” (Vs. 1)
“I Will Call On Him As Long As I Live” (Vs. 2)
“Be At Rest” (Vs. 7)
“Walk Before The Lord In The Land Of The Living” (Vs. 9)
“I Will Lift Up The Cup Of Salvation” (Vs. 13)
“Call On The Name Of The Lord” (Vs. 13)
“I Will Fulfill My Vows To The Lord In The Presence Of His People” (Vs. 14, 18)
“I Am Your Servant” (Vs. 16)
“I Will Sacrifice A Thank Offering” (Vs. 17)
“Praise The Lord” (Vs. 19)
Psalm 116 helped me to turn the corner because it opened my eyes to the coming rescue and led me to gratitude. Gratitude helped me see through the pain of uncertainty. And now I keep the Bible on the book stand as my constant reminder of the power of gratitude.