Tag Archives: Good News

The Feed

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I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13 (NRSVCE)

Wendy and I typically spend the start of our day together. We meet over coffee, a blueberry-spinach smoothie (mine is sweet; Wendy’s is sour), and a perusal of the day’s top stories. We have a couple of media outlets that are our go-to, and occasionally we rabbit trail to others. On weekdays it may only be for a few minutes that we sit together, read, and discuss current events. Saturday mornings we typically enjoy a long and more leisurely breakfast together as we read and discuss. It has been many years since we watched the news on television with any regularity.

In recent years I have made a couple of observations. First, whenever I happen into a room where a news or sports network is playing I am amazed at how jarring it is for me. The sheer volume and motion of visual information scrolling below, above, and on the side of the screen feels like sensory bombardment. Voices are loud, and often there are multiple voices vying for attention with the volume of their voice. Certain subjects are discussed ceaselessly and the discussions are repeated over and over and over again. I wonder how many times the words COVID, coronavirus, or virus are mentioned in a typical hour on any of the news networks.

My other observation is that if I regularly want news that is good, encouraging, inspiring and uplifting I must look for it. There are precious few news outlets who make it a point to find and pass along good news.

In the lyrics of today’s psalm, David has plenty of bad news that he is exorcising through song. Enemies are assailing him, he is surrounded on all sides, and the threat of war is real. There’s not a lot of good news. Then in verses 4 and 5 David makes a very conscious shift…

He turns to God with his request.

He seeks after being in God’s presence.

He makes a conscious effort to find God’s beauty.

“Come,” he says of his heart, “seek [God’s] face!”

By the last stanza of the song David is confident that he “will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” But it didn’t just happen. He went looking for it.

I find it fascinating that news being broadcast is called “a feed.” I meditated on that in the quiet this morning. I am fed the news. Writers choose the perspective with which they see the facts. Editors decide which stories get fed to us and which stories get completely ignored. Senior editors decide the larger story they people to be fed with what is seen, heard, and read in their feed.

I have come to understand that my mental diet is as important to my health and well-being as my physical diet. When I mindlessly feed at the trough of any news source, I end up wondering if there is anything good, positive, or optimistic in this crazy world.

There is. Every day God’s goodness is evident in the land of the living:

It’s there. But I’ve learned that I have to consciously choose to turn away from the never-ending, 24/7/365, voluminous, bombarding stream of sickness, death, war, violence, protest, anger, rage, tragedy, greed, and corruption that I am being fed.

I have to choose to feed my heart and mind a regular diet of something that is good for me.

Want to Read More?

Click on the image, or click here, to be taken to a simple, visual index of all the posts in this series from the book of Psalms.

There is also a list of recent chapter-a-day series indexed by book.

About This Post

These chapter-a-day posts began in 2006. It’s a very simple concept. I endeavor each weekday to read one chapter from the Bible. I then blog about my thoughts, insights, and feelings about the content of that chapter. Everyone is welcome to share this post, like this post, or add your own thoughts in a comment. Thank you to those who have become faithful, regular or occasional readers along the journey along with your encouragement.

In 2019 I began creating posts for each book, with an indexed list of all the chapters for that book. You can find the indexed list by clicking on this link.

Prior to that, I kept a cataloged index of all posts on one page. You can access that page by clicking on this link.

You can also access my audio and video messages, as well.

tomvanderwell@gmail.com @tomvanderwell

Good News, Bad News, Encouragement, Call

photo by Spyros Papaspyropoulos via Flickr
photo by Spyros Papaspyropoulos via Flickr

Nevertheless, I have this against you….
Revelation 2:20 (NIV)

I am thirty three years into this faith journey as a follower of Jesus. I’ve come a long way. Jesus led me where I had no desire or expectation of going. I like to think that I’ve gained some wisdom. My faith is deeper and more resonant than ever. Nevertheless, I have a long way to go. I still have blind spots. The deeper my faith penetrates my mind, my soul, and my life, the more sludge it finds which must be dealt with. It is a process which will not end in this lifetime.

As I read John’s letters to the seven churches to whom the Book of Revelation was addressed, I notice a distinct pattern throughout the letters (granted, there a few noticeable exceptions to the pattern).

There is good news:

I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

Then there is bad news:

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

There is an encouragement:

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations

There is a call to listen:

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Today, I’m thinking about the never ending process of spiritual maturity. The good news is that I’ve come a long way and have persevered in my faith journey for many years. The bad news is that there are still dark and sinful intentions, thoughts, words, actions which I must acknowledge, confess, repent from and actively seek to change. I am constantly encouraged by the hope that awaits if and when I finish this journey. I can’t afford not to be keep my eyes and ears open to what Holy Spirit is trying to say to me.

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Chapter-a-Day Hosea 13

46 is the earliest (nearly) complete manuscrip...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
    I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
    Where, O grave, is your destruction?”
Hosea 13:14 (NIV)

One of the cool things about God’s Message is that no matter how many times you wander through it and no matter how well you think you know it, you always stumble upon something new.

I read this verse of prophetic judgment from Hosea this morning, and it struck me that it was reminiscent of a verse from Paul’s letter to those following Jesus in the city of Corinth. So, I did a little exploration. Sure enough, in the Greek translation of the original Hebrew  version of Hosea (which Paul would have studied and read) this verse would have read:

O death, where is your punishment?
O grave, where is your sting?

So, I flipped over to Paul’s letter and read:

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul actually quoted two prophetic texts. The first line was from the prophet Isaiah, and the second two lines was our verse from today’s chapter. What I found really inspiring this morning is that the words from the prophet Hosea were harbingers of doom. There was no hope in them in the context of Hosea’s message. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, they become words of hope and assurance to those who follow. This very verse is a word picture of God’s story. The assurance of doom and death is transformed into the assurance of hope and life.

God so loved you and me that He sent His only Son Jesus, so that those who believe will not experience the doom in the words of Hosea’s prophecy, but the life, hope and assurance that – with the same words – Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians.