Well to start off this new year, I decided to start a new devotional book. I really want to try to be more consistent about reading it everyday because last year I started a devotional book in January and quit reading it around March. I don’t want to do that this year! I picked up Calvin’s Heart Aflame which is a daily reading from Calvin’s Commentary on Psalms. First of all, I love the title. It really grabbed my attention. Hey, I want a heart aflame! I also really like the forward by Sinclair Ferguson because he starts off by admitting that Calvin’s name is not usually the first name that pops into one’s mind when looking for some light, inspirational material to jumpstart your day. His writings are very deep and theological and require lots of mulling over and contemplation. However, the way the excerpts are edited (still using Calvin’s exact words for the most part) makes for a very appropriate way to start the day. Included in each daily entry is just enough Calvin to get the day going. He starts in Psalm one and goes all the way to the end of the book. Right now I am on day 13 (yay I am actually keeping up to date!) and we will have spent yesterday, today, and tomorrow on Psalm 8.
What has me so excited about completing this book is what Ferguson said: “…in these pages you will find the Spirit-inspired biblical anatomy of the Psalms and the hands of an outstanding physician and surgeon of the spirit. Reading them (the Psalms) on a daily basis can hardly fail to bring you spiritual health and strength.” That is what I want this year. At the end of 2012, I want to be closer to the Lord than I was at the beginning of the year, and I am hoping that reading the Psalms everyday along with Calvin’s corresponding commentary will do just that. I feel quite confident that they will, so I am pretty excited to see how the Lord will use this book and the Psalms in my life over the course of this year. I don’t see how it would be even possible for me to not have changed by the end of the year. I think that will be pretty impossible!
Some of my favorite things Calvin has said so far have been:
“…let us in circumstances of distress, have ever before our eyes the providence of God, to whom it belongs to settle the affairs of the world, and to bring order out of confusion.” (on Psalm 1)
“God principally proves his faithfulness in this, that he does not forsake the work of his own hands, but continually defends those whom he has once received into his favour.” (on Psalm 2)
“Christ collects the dispersed remnants of his people from all quarters and keeps them joined together by the sacred bond of faith, so that not one corner only, but the whole world, is subjected to his authority.” (on Psalm 2)
“Those only can be truly and perfectly happy who are interested in the favour of God, and they ought to live as strangers and pilgrims in the world, in order through hope and patience to obtain, in due time, a better life.” (on Psalm 4).
This last one has been my favorite quotation so far. It makes me think of Van Morrison‘s song “Astral Weeks”: “I’m nothing but a stranger in this world; I’ve got a home on high”. This world is NOT our home! We are waiting for pearly gates and streets of gold and the everlasting presence of our heavenly Father who will wipe away tears from ALL faces. This world is not all there is! It gets SO much better!!!
Just reading the Psalms themselves does the heart and soul a world of good. But I am so excited about finding out what Calvin has to say about all of them, since he described the Psalms as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul” and that “every experience, every emotion, all the heights and depths, all the joys and sorrows, all the mysteries of human life, are here (in the Psalms).”
Until next time 🙂