Tag Archives: psalm

Changing Desires: Psalm 37

Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-485577

I’ve heard, read, and taken a lot of hope from these verses over the years, but this summer is the first time I really started to understand what it would look like to truly RECEIVE the desires of my heart. Especially if the desires of my heart weren’t…exactly…what I thought…the desires of my heart….were.

God knows what I truly want even more than I do.

God knows me better than I know myself.

That’s hard to admit.

I want to believe I know myself. I want to believe I am in control of myself. I want to believe that at 31 I am the kind of person who is fully comfortable in her own skin, and then I stop to think…do I really know myself?

I say something like “I would never  do that, say that, be that.” And then this thing called life happens. Emotion happens. And I do that. I say that. I am that. And I wonder…what got into me? How could I have done those things when I thought I would never, ever do it? What got into me? But it wasn’t necessarily what got into me, but something that was already there just waiting to come out under the right circumstance. A ‘me’ that I didn’t know at all.

Because even though I think I know myself, I don’t. So what I think I want, what I think is best for me, really may not be in my best interest at all. God knows what I truly desire even before I understand it and what will make me soul happy. Really, truly deep down soul happy. But until I truly start communing with God on a regular basis and developing our relationship so that I am SICK in love with HIM our two understandings will not match up. WHEN THEY DO, that’s when he will give me the desires of my heart—because the desires of my heart will BE in LINE with WHO HE IS.

This hit me like a two by four falling from the sky while I was having my much needed alone introvert refreshes in Slovakia.

I was outside watching the Slovak and Americans play Ultimate Frisbee and they were laughing and high fiving and calling out to each other in English and Slovak, communicating in ways that overcame language barriers and reached down into a deeper connection. That connection that people make when they realize that eternity can’t separate the because they are bonded by an agape love that surpasses anything we can comprehend here on Earth. I was sitting on a bench, watching this unfold and God showed me that my heart desires had changed on a soul level. What I though I always wanted, wasn’t what I wanted any longer.

His desires for me became my desires for me.

Now these are my heart desires, so as much as I love ya’ll I’m not going into detail on this blog, but this moment was powerful. I knew that God was showing me something important, but also that timing wasn’t quite right yet, because the rest of the psalm is clear too–

Desires are not granted like wishes from a genie. You must WAIT, BE STILL, and TRUST in the Lord.

Because delighting ourselves in the Lord, interestingly, becomes one of the desires of our heart the longer we do it! And we fulfill this promise just by obeying his commands. And to me…well, that’s pretty cool.

Forgetting our Fears Psalm 24-26

My niece is very profound. The other day she was talking to her mom and spouted some profound theology.

“So Mom, I was thinking about what you read about people wanting to stay in darkness and I thought why would they want to do that? Then I thought about how when you first wake up and the light hurts your eyes. I think they are scared to go because it hurts a little. We have to help them see that the light is better after you get used to it.”

Bailey is only six years old, but she understands human nature better than some people who have PhDs in psychology. In the end it all boils down to giving in to our fears or overcoming them with righteous and divine guidance

The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. For He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 24:1

There is a reason why the most common command in the Bible is “FEAR NOT”. We often allow our fears to keep us from becoming our GENUINE selves.

Guard my life and rescue me, do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. Psalm 25:20

Unfortunately tough we may forget form time to time, life isn’t about us. We live in a narcissistic, self-promoting society, but that’s not who we are made to be and it’s amazing how many of our fears would melt into obscurity if we would deny ourselves and focus on what we were truly created to become.

My feet stand on level ground, in the great congregation I will praise the LORD. Psalm 26:2

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Preparing our Own Tables: My Journey through Psalms (23)

Our pastor did a sermon on Psalm 23 a few weeks ago and he said something that I’ve been really turning over in my mind ever since.

“The hallmark of the human race is that we prepare a table for ourselves.”

There is truth in that comment, more than I’d like to admit, but even more than truth there is a valuable lesson.

Psalm 23 is familiar–especially if you grew up in church. So familiar you may even take it for granted, roll your eyes a little and say ‘oh that one. Its for little kids to say in Sunday school or at bed time. It’s not for me. I’m learning about Levitical law now because I’m a grown up.”

I have nothing against Levitical law, but there is definitely more to Psalm 23 than a bedtime prayer. Like when you grow up and realize “Ring Around the Rosies” is actually about Bubonic Plague. There is MORE to it. Words are Powerful, so God’s WORD will ALWAYS have something more to say.

And here is where my insight begins.

Psalm 23 has awesome verbage.

He MAKES me…
He LEADS me…

He REFRESHES my…

He GUIDES me…

I am not meant to do the hard work here. The only action verb really attribute to me is “walk”, “not fear” and “dwell”–far less controlling than the action on the part of the Lord.

You PREPARE…

You ANOINT…

We want so badly to be in control of our own lives. To what end? For comfort? For protection?

How ironic. We want control for the same things relinquishing control to God will give us.

And if you think about it. I mean truly think about it. Who is better equipped to prepare a table before your enemies anyway? The creator of the universe…or you?

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Hearing God’s Voice? Psalm 19

 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. – Psalm 19:3-4

I love the word yet. It’s such a little word and YET it contains such power. It turns a sentence on its head and a person’s thoughts around in a single moment. And that moment can be either beautiful or terrifying. In this case, I find yet to contain hope.

Even though you can’t hear it, doesn’t mean it isn’t speaking to you. A flower, a mountain, a stream–all these have voices. They speak in different ways. A wheelbarrow. A balloon. A baby. It’s probably why I’ve always admired those who can’t hear. They communicate on levels that are sometimes more profound than we can with simple words alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I love words, but there is so. Much. More. And people often forget just how much more and so they think God doesn’t speak to them because they can’t HEAR him.

YET just because He doesn’t use words doesn’t mean he doesn’t speak…His voice travels to our hearts, minds and spirits of we can just be open long enough to hear it. Most of the time it isn’t that He has stopped speaking, but that we don’t listen or hear what is right in front of us.

It reminds me a lot of teaching the Imagist movement to my students. William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound said so much with so little, but students will say every time ‘what if he didn’t mean anything by this? What if it really is just a red wheelbarrow and teachers just you know add all that other stuff to make it complicated?’ What if indeed, but you miss the point little grasshoppers. It’s not about teachers adding stuff, but about what’s already there. The voice that you can’t hear is every bit as important as the one you do. It speaks, if you’ll just listen.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matt 26:41)

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Healthy Respect: my journey through Psalms (9)

Psalm 9
Sometimes the world worries me. I read the news, I listen to political debates, and I shudder to think what will happen next. What could happen next? How far can we really fall as a nation? As a people?
And then I read something like Psalm 9. Verse 15 states that the nations fall into the pit they have dug. And sure enough, many of the problems in our world are a direct result of problems we created ourselves. We fall into the pit of our own iniquities. Instead of trying to right a wrong, we try to look out for the bottom line, or material productiveness. We don’t ask how can I make things better, we ask how can I profit from this. It is a direct result of this narcissism that has led to an unraveling of our egotistical minds.
When the psalmist declares in the end ‘strike them with terror, Lord; let the nations know they are only mortal’. I close my eyes and breathe deep. That is a terrible price the nations must pay to learn that we are not gods, but a part of the creation. And every time an earthquake, tsunami, or other natural disaster occurs striking down millions, we are reminded of our mortality–not that it is God striking fear into the world, but it is a stark reminder that we do not control everything ergo we should stop pretending that we can or even that we should.
A healthy respect for the world, for God and for each other is the only way we will ever really achieve any kind of peace on earth. And unfortunately, many are unwilling to do even one of these three things, let alone all three.
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Questions to ponder:
1) Do I have a healthy respect for the world, its guidelines and rules and my role in it?
2) Do I give thanks to God regularly for his presence, wisdom, guidance, and protection in the world?
3) Do I have a healthy respect for ALL people in the world and their roles in it?