Saturday, June 30, 2012

Burn My Bridges...And Dance Within the Flames

Lyrics to "Hold Me Close" by Kim Hill

(Love this song. Need these words. Expresses my heart)

I'm ready to stop running, let myself be caught
Stop pretending, let myself be known
I'm ready to stop hiding, let myself be found
Held safe and sound, in Your loving arms

So hold me close in Your arms of mercy
Look inside, show me what You see
Touch my life, and I will stop my searching
And find that place in You, that waits for me

Whatever I held onto, I'm ready to let go
Burn my bridges, and dance within the flames
All of my wrong choices have lead my heart back home
To the love that swallows up my pain

I can see You've been there all along
You've reached into my recklessness
And filled me with Your song

© 1998 Word Music / Integrity's Hosanna! Music / ASCAP / All rights reserved

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rightly Dividing

Copied from Searching For Grace. Click on the cartoon to see it bigger.

Unfortunately, this is just too close to the truth for many Bible teachers.

Escaping from the Spiritual Shallow End

Last year I read a great book by Brian Zahnd entitled Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness. . It was the best book I read in 2011. I have been following Brian's blog and Twitter feed and highy respect his ministry, even though at times I have disagreed with him.

I was intrigued to discover and read this interview of Brian Zahnd by Trevin Wax discussing Brian's theological odyssey, finding that some of his journey parallels my own. Wax says:
...I discovered how interesting his theological pilgrimage has been. One friend said Brian used to preach like Joel Osteen but now sounds more like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I invited Brian to the blog to talk about his journey and how it has affected his congregation.
 Trevin Wax: Brian, you’ve had an interesting theological journey in ministry – from Word of Faith type teaching to a celebration of Christianity’s core teachings throughout history. First, tell us about your ministry at the outset - what you were about as a preacher of God’s Word and the vision you had for your local congregation.
Brian Zahnd: I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in the -60s and -70s but was most influenced by the Jesus Movement. I experienced a rather dramatic conversion when I was 15, and within a couple of years, I was leading a coffeehouse ministry; it was primarily a Christian music venue with an emphasis on evangelism. By the time I was 22, the coffeehouse ministry had become a full-fledged church (Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri).

From my earliest days as a teenage Christian leader, my passion was to call people into a life of following Jesus. That passion has remained consistent over the years. Because the Jesus Movement was closely associated with the charismatic movement, our church took on many of the aspects of charismatic Christianity.

By the late -90s, our church had grown to several thousand, and my primary emphasis in preaching could be described as “faith and victory.” Though I think I can honestly say I eschewed the more egregious forms of “prosperity teaching,” I was certainly identified with the Word of Faith movement. The common thread from the Jesus Movement to the Word of Faith movement (whether I was being influenced by Keith Green or Lester Sumrall) was a deep desire to bring people into a vibrant and authentic Christian experience.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Knees Down, Chin Up!

Read a lovely article today about Chuck Colson's daughter Emily, a single mother with an autistic adult son. Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship, who recently passed away.  In this article Emily Colson shares movingly about her Dad's love for her and her son, Max, and describes Chucks's role as a father and grandfather. What an example! I recommend the entire article to you.

Loved Colson's motto "Knees Down, Chin Up!" I think I will adopt that for myself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Cult to Watch Out For

Here's an important warning from J. Lee Grady on False Prophets, Foreign Charlatans and Global Deception
When I arrived in eastern Europe·a few days ago I learned that Romanian Christians have quite a spiritual battle on their hands. Believers here struggled for years under communism. But now that they are free, they face an equally sinister struggle against cults, New Age teachings and—worst of all—charlatans who claim to be powerful Christian prophets.

One of the most controversial figures in Romania today is Chris Oyakhilome, a Nigerian broadcaster and faith healer who lives in South Africa. Although this smooth-talking preacher has never been to Romania, his influence has grown through his TV programs and books. Meanwhile, some gullible Romanian church leaders have visited his ministry base in Johannesburg and then returned to impart his miracle power to their congregations.

But Oyakhilome’s “power” is questionable—and it is spreading not only in eastern Europe but in many other parts of the world, including the United States....

Much more details at the link.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gratitude and Depression

I think one should be careful about simplistic sounding answers to depression, which can have complicated sources and causes from a mixture of physical, relational, situational and spiritual factors. Nevertheless, it is true that sometimes simple actions can have great effects toward removing dark mental clouds. If emotions can affect actions, then actions can also affect emotions.  I like these suggestions from Brian Croft:
Depression is a dark, complex cloud.  It is a burden that takes time to work through and is usually a snare that those who struggle with it, struggle their entire lives.  While the counseling is being done, while the heart is being examined, while the gospel is being applied, and while the local church care is being extended, what can a depressed person do to fight against the darkness every day....
He then gives two simple suggestions.

1)  Force yourself to verbally acknowledge one thing you are grateful for to someone else.  The common posture for a depressed person is that they see no good in them or the world.  They are the poster child for the glass being half empty.  Yet, Paul tells us in ”everything give thanks” which does not exempt the deep darkness of depression.  If you are struggling with depression, force yourself to honestly and sincerely speak something you are grateful for.  It could be the smallest, simplest thing or person, but make sure you are experiencing gratefulness in your heart for it and someone else hears you speak it.

2)  Force yourself to go and serve someone else.  In my experience in caring for those struggling with depression, it is very natural and easy to sit around, do nothing, and think about how horrible your life is.  Fighting for joy means going against the grain of what you feel like doing, and doing that which would be good for you and others.  The best way to take your eyes off your own struggles, is to go and bless someone else in the midst of theirs.
What do you think?

Reconciled to Reconcile

“Thinking about gospel reconciliation in concentric circles, we are reconciled first to God in Christ, then to one another in covenant community, and third to what God is doing in the renewal of all creation. To put it another way, think of the gospel as a stone landing in a pond. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are the cause of many ripples; they are the epicenter of God’s work in the world. The first ripple is our personal reconciliation to God. The second ripple establishes the body of Christ, as we are reconciled to each other. The third ripple is the missional posture of the church as we mobilize to proclaim the fullness of reconciliation in the gospel. In essence, we are reconciled to reconcile.”

— Matt Chandler The Explicit Gospel
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2012), 144

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

I'm currently reading this book. Hope to have more to say about it later this week.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Need More Bacon

 Forget TULIP - I believe in BACON!

Hat Tip: Near Emmaus

Monday Twitter Gleanings

From my Twitter Feed:
RT : Theres a reason someone you haven't seen for months or even years still crosses your mind. God wants you to pray for them!
RT : “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
Worry does not take away tomorrow's troubles. It takes away today's peace. Trust God. RT 
RT : The Kingdom of Heaven is all upside down...the Deader the Better.
I'm claiming Psalm 92:14 (Now you have to read it to see what I mean) @bg_simmons
RT @_MichaelKelly "Grace and peace." No wonder Paul opens his letters like this. It's the two word summation of the gospel: 
Holiness is not about getting better at keeping divine commandments, but about getting better at enjoying God & pleasing God. 
Holding on to resentment is like grasping a hot coal with intent to hurl it at someone else, but you are the one who gets burned! @bg_simmons 
"You see, sometimes we don’t know that Jesus is all we need until Jesus is all we’ve got." - Wayne Cordeiro

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thus Far and No Further

[8] “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, [9] when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, [10] and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, [11] and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? (Job 38:8-11 ESV)
Saw some heavy surf at the Alabama beach during my vacation this week, as you can see from the picture above. Glad to know God sets a limit on what the ocean can do! Rejoicing in His sovereignty and power!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take and Eat

Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O LORD, God of hosts.

                       (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Worship Your Way Out

How do you get rid of a bad habit or sinful patter in your life? Certainly not by willing it away, or just fighting it directly, From much personal experience, I can assure you that does not work! Sin must be "expulsed" by a higher affection.
"The Puritan preacher Thomas Chalmers, in his sermon the Expulsive Power of a New Affection, said that desires for God and desire for sin cannot coexist in the human heart. They are two opposing 'affections' - one will push out the other. So, he said, "the only way to disposses [the heart] of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one. (See Gal. 5:16-17) You can't just 'stop it,' because the it is always more than behavior. It is always rooted in your affections, in what you love - what you worship. Chalmers points the way forward: we worshiped our way into this mess and, by God's grace, we'll worship our way out."
                     -Mike Wilkerson, Redemption, Page 38

We get in by false worship; we get out by true worship. I like it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Awaiting Heaven's Biscuits

Ten years ago today my grandmother, Norene Yeager Shirley, went to be with the Lord after 93 years on this earth. I'd give anything to be able to go back in time to hug her and tell her I love her. Wish I'd done that more often when I still had the chance. I'd live to just one more time be able to drive up the dirt road to the old farmhouse and see her standing on the porch with open arms welcoming me, with a lemon icebox pie waiting on the table ready to eat.

At the time of her death she was survived by 8 of her 9 children (two of them have since passed on) and by 29 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. The number of her descendents has continued since then to grow exponentially! She left a tremendous inheritance of faith to her family. We all miss her and value her example and legacy.

Keep the biscuits warm in heaven's ovens, Mamma Shirley. We will be expecting a hot meal when we get there.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Spurgeon Prayer

Our Father,
we dare call You by that blessed name,
for we feel the spirit of children.
We love You, we trust You,
and we desire in all things to be obedient to Your will,
and to seek Your honor.
All our dependence is placed on You
since the day when You taught us to believe in Jesus Christ
and now, You are all in all to us,
You are our fullness,
and we lose ourselves and find ourselves completely in You.
We would lie in the very dust before You because of sin;
and yet, at the same time, rejoice in the great Sin-bearer,
that the sin is not imputed to us,
that it is put away by His precious blood,
that we are accepted in the Beloved.
But even this does not content us;
we are crying after the work of the Holy Spirit within,
till Satan shall be bruised under our feet,
and sin shall be utterly destroyed.
This is our soul’s grandest desire,
that Jesus’ name be lifted high,
and His throne be set up among the people,
to the praise of the glory of His grace.

- Charles Spurgeon, 1880

Hat Tip: Trevin Wax

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Just Show Up

"When Christians get to the point they read only Christian books, go only to Christian movies, hang out only with other Christians, eat only Christian cookies, and wear only Christian underwear, it's time for a reality check. That's sick, and it is a sickness unto death.
Once we are set free from the need to defend, protect, and hide, we have the freedom to show up in places where proper Christians don't go fro fear of getting dirty. And it is in our showing up that the authenticity of who we are becomes the 'flavor' that attracts others to the ice cream maker.
So, go do something that isn't religious. Just show up. It's called evangelism."
                        -Steve Brown, Three Free Sins, Page 192

Three Free Sins - Video Intro

This is a video intro to the book Three Free Sins by Steve Brown, which I have been quoting from this past week. Enjoy! the book is worth reading.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kiss My....

"It is the supreme art of the devil that he can make the law out of the gospel. If I can hold onto the distinction between the two, I can say him each and every time that he should kiss my back side."

 ~ Martin Luther

Power of Forgiveness

More good stuff from Steve Brown's Three Free Sins:
"When we finally acknowledge our need for forgiveness and come to God in repentance, we find true power: for we now have nothing to hide or protect, we don't care what people say or think about us, we are willing to speak truth gently, and we are enabled to speak it with tremendous, supernatural power." (Page 45)
"I've found that the greatest need among Christian leaders isn't for more commitment, more religion, and more 'making an impact' for Jesus.  What they need is to be taught that they are seriously sinful and God loves them anyway." (Page 87)
"Jesus set loose power in the world by forgiving a whole lot of people a whole lot of sin when they didn't deserve it and never would. He said that 'sorry was enough.' And now those very people have the power to do the same thing for others who don't deserve it. The essense of the christian faith is forgiveness - unbelievable forgiveness given for screwed-up people to other screwed-up people without any 'kicker.'" (Page 88)
I'm enjoying this book!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bible Club

From Matthew Diffee for The New Yorker,
Hat Tip: Abraham Piper

The Club for Screwed Up People

I'm reading an interesting book by Steve Brown with the provocative title Three Free Sins - God's Not Mad at You. The quote below is from page 42.
"When Luther told his followers to 'sin boldly!' he wasn't encouraging sin. He was encouraging repentance and a bold new trust in the sufficiency of Christ for all sin. Luther once suggested to a man who questioned him about encouraging sin that there was an incredible arrogance in assuming that anything we could ever do would be more sufficient than the blood of God's own Son....

...I don't know why you're shocked. When you joined the church (if you are a Christian), you announced to the world that you were sinful and seriously screwed up. The church, someone has said, is the only club in the world where the only qualification for joining it and staying in it is that one be unqualified. .."
I qualify! What do you think?

Twitter Highlights

Recent highlights from my Twiiter feed:
Don’t say ‘Our Father’ on Sundays and spend the rest of the week acting like an orphan RT 
Jesus is the vine; we the branches. Remember, you aren't feeding the root; the root is feeding you. RT
 Every new day with Jesus is filled with possibility! Anything can happen, even the miraculous RT
"Pain is inevitable. Misery is not." RT  
"Never give up. At your lowest moment, God might be preparing you for the greatest thing you'll ever do." RT  
Lord Jesus, I am blind, be thou my light; ignorant, be thou my wisdom; self-willed, be thou my mind. -- Puritan prayer RT
If life is really tough, God may be preparing you to be one of His toughest soldiers when the battle is fiercest RT
There is a lot of comfort in knowing that Jesus loves messed up people. RT
Satan says you'll never get beyond your past. Jesus says your future is beyond your wildest dreams no matter your past. RT
“Because Jesus never quits working, I can Because Jesus never vacations, I can Because Jesus never sleeps, I can” RT
If you hear the gospel and think "I already know this" then you don't know the gospel. RT 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Benefits to Sound Theology

Drink the Water

I beseech You, merciful God,
to allow me to drink from the stream which flows from your fountain of life.
May I taste the sweet beauty of its waters,
which sprang up from the very depths of your truth.
O Lord,
You are that fountain
from which I desire with all my heart to drink.
Give me, Lord Jesus, this water,
that it may quench the burning spiritual thirst within my soul,
and purify me from all sin.
I know, King of Glory,
that I am asking from You a great gift.
But You give to Your faithful people without counting the cost,
and You promise even greater things in the future.
Indeed, nothing is greater than Yourself,
and You have given Yourself to mankind on the cross.
Therefore, in praying for the waters of life,
I am praying that You, the source of those waters,
will give Yourself to me.
You are my light, my salvation,
my food, my drink, my God.

Columbanus, 600 A.D.

Hat Tip: Trevin Wax

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Old and New

Here's some very clarifying insights from Tim Keller on interpreting the Old Testament from the vantage point of the New Testament. The specific context of the comments is the accusation the Christians "pick and choose" texts to condemn homosexual behavior, but the interpretive concepts apply across the board.
I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?”

It is not that I expect everyone to have the capability of understanding that the whole Bible is about Jesus and God’s plan to redeem his people, but I vainly hope that one day someone will access their common sense (or at least talk to an informed theological advisor) before leveling the charge of inconsistency.
First of all, let’s be clear that it’s not only the Old Testament that has proscriptions about homosexuality. The New Testament has plenty to say about it, as well. Even Jesus says, in his discussion of divorce in Matthew 19:3-12 that the original design of God was for one man and one woman to be united as one flesh, and failing that, (v. 12) persons should abstain from marriage and from sex.

However, let’s get back to considering the larger issue of inconsistency regarding things mentioned in the OT that are no longer practiced by the New Testament people of God. Most Christians don’t know what to say when confronted about this. Here’s a short course on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Already Part of New Order

"..when the Bible says you are a new creation, it means that you have already been made part of that whole new order of things. Jesus is the first of the new creation, and in him you too are a new creation (see 2 Cor. 5:17; cf. 1 Cor. 15:23). In Christ, we are transformed.  Idolators, thieves, liars, sexual perverts, addicts, abusers, and victims - all of us already get new names, new identities, and new hearts with new desires (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Already, he is healing our wounds, covering our shame, and freeing us from the bondage to sin and temptation."

Mike Wilkerson, Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry, page 36

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make Me a Fork in the Road

An interesting quote from one of my personal heroes:
“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

 The Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1978), 83.

Hat Tip: The Good Book Blog

Bold & Humble

Keller on the effect of the gospel making us humble and bold at the same time - good stuff!
“When the gospel ‘comes home’-humbling and affirming you, it turns every believer into a natural evangelist…Evangelism happens because of a) the humility of the gospel. The gospel (unlike religious moralism) produces people who are not disdainful and contemptuous towards those who disagree with them. Also, it happens through b) the affirmation of the gospel. Because of the reality and joy of Christ’s love, we are not as concerned what others think. The gospel brings a gentle boldness.”

“The gospel makes us neither self-confident nor self-disdaining, but both bold and humble at once. To the degree I am still functionally earning my worth through performance (i.e. to the degree I am still functioning in works-righteousness), to that degree I will be either operating out of superiority or inferiority. Why! Because if I am saved by my works, then I can either be confident but not humble (if I am living up) or humble but not confident (if I am not living up). In other words, apart from the gospel, I will be forced to be superior or inferior or to swing back and forth or to be one way with some people and another way with others. I am continually caught between these two ways, because of the nature of my self image.

So the gospel humbles me before anyone, telling me I am a sinner saved only by grace. But it also emboldens me before anyone, telling me I am loved and honored by the only eyes in the universe that really count. So the gospel gives a boldness and a humility that do not “eat each other up” but can increase together.” 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Heralds of Good News Beat Advisors Every Time!

Great illustration by Tim Keller on the difference between the gospel and all other religions.
Now think this out: here is a king and he goes into a battle against an invading army to defend his land. If the king defeats the invading army he sends back to the capital city messengers, very happy envoy. He sends back, “good news-ers” with his report. They come back and they say, “It has been defeated! It’s all been done! Therefore respond with joy and now go about your lives. Conduct your lives in this peace which has been achieved for you.”

But if the invading army breaks through, the king sends back military advisers and says, “Swordsmen over here and marksmen over here and the horsemen over here. We’re going to have to fight for our lives.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that every other religion sends military advisers to people. Every other religion says, “You know, if you want your salvation, you’re going to have to fight for you life.” Every other religion is sending advice, saying, “Here are the rights, here are the rituals, and here are the laws and regulations. Earthen works over here, marksmen over here. Fight for your life.”

Joy or Fear?

We send heralds; we send messengers, not military advisers. Isn’t that clarifying? It doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do about it—my goodness—both messengers and military advisers get an enormous response. However, one is a response of joy, and one is a response of fear. All other religions give advice, and they drive everything you’re doing on fear.

You know what, when you hear the gospel, when you hear a message that it’s all been done for you, that it’s a historical event that’s happened, your salvation is accomplished for you, what do you want to do? You want to obey the Ten Commandments, you want to pray, and you want to please the one who did this for you. If on the other hand, you send military advisers who say, “You’re going to have to live a really, really, good life if you want to get to heaven.” What are you going to do? You’re going to want to pray, you’re going to want to obey the Ten Commandments—it looks the same doesn’t it? [But] for two radically different reasons: one is joy; one is fear. In the end, in the short run, they look alike. But in the long run, one leads to burnout, self-righteousness, guilt and all sorts of problems. Isn’t that fascinating?
Read the rest here.

Tip of the hat to Vitamin Z

Monday, June 4, 2012

Non-Transformative Bible Study

Why are there so many Bible study groups and Bible study programs, but so little Bible study that transforms lives? Jen Wilkin at the The Gospel Coalition has some ideas.
Why, with so many study options available, do many professing Christians remain unschooled and unchanged? Scripture teaches clearly that the living and active Word matures ustransforms usaccomplishes what it intends, increases our wisdom, and bears the fruit of right actions. There is no deficit in the ministry of the Word. If our exposure to it fails to result in transformation, particularly over the course of years, there are surely only two possible reasons why: either our Bible studies lack true converts, or our converts lack true Bible study.

I believe the second reason is more accurate than the first. Much of what passes for Bible study in Christian bookstores and church resource libraries just isn't: while it may educate us on a doctrine or a topic, it does little to further our Bible literacy. And left to our own devices, we pursue a host of unsavory (and un-transformative) self-constructed approaches to "spending time in the Word." 
Read it all at the link.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We All Wear Crowns of Tragic Splendor

This weekend the people of England celebrated the Silver Anniversary (60 Years) of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. She became queen at the age of 25 back in 1953. Below is something that C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter (Letters, 3:343) to a friend at that time about the 1953 coronation, something that has a relevance for all Christians.
You know, over here people did not get that fairy-tale feeling about the coronation. What impressed most who saw it was the fact that the Queen herself appeared to be quite overwhelmed by the sacramental side of it. Hence, in the spectators, a feeling of (one hardly knows how to describe it) — awe — pity — pathos — mystery.
The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be His vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate. As if He said, ‘In my inexorable love I shall lay upon the dust that you are glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.’
Do you see what I mean? One has missed the whole point unless one feels that we have all been crowned and that coronation is somehow, if splendid, a tragic splendor.
Hat Tip: Desiring God

Let the Lion Roar

"The word of God is like a lion. You don't have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let it loose & it will defend itself."

 - C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hearing God: Free Audio Book

ChristianAudio.Com's free audio book of the month is Dallas Willards's Hearing God:
"God spoke to me."
"The Spirit spoke to my heart."
"God revealed the idea to me."

Being close to God means communicating with him--telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but that can also be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear?

The key, says best-selling author Dallas Willard, is to focus not so much on individual actions and decisions as on building our personal relationship with our Creator. In this updated classic, originally published as In Search of Guidance, the author provides rich spiritual insight into how we can hear God's voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with him in the work of his kingdom.
Did I mention that it is FREE?!

Using the Psalms

Love this! Interesting ideas from Dave Bish at the Blue Fish Project - Six Thoughts on the Psalms including some ideas I have never heard before.
Six things I find helpful in navigating the Psalms.

#1 Five books.
There are five books of Psalms, marked out in the structure in most Bible's. There is a rough correspondance in themes between these and the five books of the Pentateuch. You'll find lots about trees and the blessed man in Book 1, as in Genesis. Deliverance in Book 2, like the Exodus. The Sanctuary in Book 3 etc.

#2 Headings matter
Don't skip the bits about David or the Sons of Korah, this sets the context. The Sons of Korah are resurrection men (check the background in Numbers). Don't miss Maskil, Gittith and words like Selah.

#3 Psalms on the lips of Jesus
Before you put a Psalm in your mouth, hear it in the mouth of Jesus. Jesus prays these before and more fully than we ever do. Steve Collier shows how to do this beautifully here: Psalm 22, Psalm 23 and Psalm 24. When you're with David in the Bible its always worth asking, how would Great David's Greater Son pray this Psalm?

#4 Read it like a book
Psalms feels like a song book where we can assume that you can just dip into Number 4 and then number 78 and then number 114. And you can, but the songs are arranged purposefully, not by Title or Theme but as sections of Scripture next to one another. Some of the plot is particularly clear (as above in Psalms 22,23,24).

#5 Let the Psalms speak of Jesus
These are songs of The Blessed Man, set on the Holy Hill whom the world raged against - take refuge in him. Hear the Son cry to his Father. Hear the gospel loud and clear in the Psalms like the NT writers, early church and most Christians until the last couple of centuries have. The second Adam rejoices and exults, and in his death knows what it is to be forsaken and to thirst. Songs of the Exodus and the Sanctuary and of persecution in the wilderness all speak of Jesus. We always need to "hook on" to the bigger story. Let the Bible's story of the Triune LORD, of Jesus the LORD who saves fill the Psalms with meaning.

Iain Campbell: "if Jesus is not the God of the Psalms, I do not know who he is at all." 

#6 Sing
In the end, sing. Join the songs of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Feel liberated to sing, and sing all the more richly as you let the Psalms sit in the context of their book and of the whole sweep of God's story.