January 28th, 2016
This is another piece in my series about The Psalms. I just can't stop myself!
This Psalm is true worship. And I just finished "Teaching Kids Authentic Worship" by Kathleen Chapman. It gives beautiful insight into this rather cryptic idea of "worship" that is often discussed -- but less often understood.
First, she says, worship is about God. Only God. Nothing else. There are no "me's" or "I's" in worship. Only God. You spend time naming God, praising God, revealing in God's greatness. Yet you never mention yourself or your needs or your plans.
Chapman's main idea is that true worship creates a relationship with God that goes above and beyond anything we could imagine.
The Psalmist understood this at a level few of us in this world today can understand.
Yet we can catch glimpses. And in those glimpses, we see the glory.
May we all spend more time reveling in that beautiful power.
Psalm 149 (EXB)
Praise the Lord!
Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing his praise in the meeting of his people.
Let the Israelites be happy because of God, their Maker.
Let the people of Jerusalem rejoice because of their King.
They should praise him with dancing.
They should sing praises to him with tambourines and harps.
The Lord is pleased with his people;
he saves the humble.
Let those who worship him rejoice in his glory.
Let them sing for joy even in bed!
Let them shout his praise with their two-edged swords in their hands.
They will punish the nations
and defeat the people.
They will put those kings in chains
and those important men in iron bands.
They will punish them as God has written.
God is honored by ·all who worship him.
Praise the Lord!
My mother really wanted us to have the law within our hearts. I remember the warm light in the yellow bedroom where we memorized verses that live before our bodies rested.
As I grew older, those words would resurface, sometimes when I was sad... Or scared... Or lonely... Or incredibly happy.
These days I am teaching some of those same words to my daughter. And together we are learning new words to hold within our hearts. With each word that I store deep down inside my soul, I get bigger and bigger glimpses into what a true delight it is to do God's will.
And it is a delight. And my soul yearns to know and see more. May today bring you time to store some words within you.
And please take note! The adorable Bible used in this piece is made by Deborah over at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MiniatureBookstore?ref=s2-header-shopname. Please check out her page! Her books are adorable.
Psalm 40 (NRSV)
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Happy are those who make
the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O Lordmy God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.[b]
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
Then I said, “Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.[c]
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe forever.
For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.
I posted this piece earlier -- a Christmas present for my mother. Yet is is also a part of my series on the The Psalms, so I wanted to include it here.
This Psalm is so beautiful. Right now, it is my favorite. Every single word is so full of life and meaning. Every time I read these words, new ideas are revealed.
I think that is what draws me to the Psalms. Each line is so big. So fulfilling. So new.
And so tonight as I lay down to meditate on these words, I pray that these words will bring new joy and love to you, that you may sleep in peace.
Psalm 63: 1-8 (CEV)
You are my God. I worship you.
In my heart, I long for you,
as I would long for a stream
in a scorching desert.
I have seen your power
and your glory
in the place of worship.
Your love means more
than life to me,
and I praise you.
As long as I live,
I will pray to you.
I will sing joyful praises
and be filled with excitement
like a guest at a banquet.
I think about you
before I go to sleep,
and my thoughts turn to you
during the night.
You have helped me,
and I sing happy songs
in the shadow of your wings.
I stay close to you,
and your powerful arm
Although I have already posted one or two others, this piece is truly the first Psalm I ever made, based on Psalm 1. I learned the King James version of this Psalm, and so I have adapted it on the piece, but the original is below.
The hard parts ("ungodly shall perish" and such) of the Psalms were always difficult for me to handle and pray, but recently I read that these parts should be read as a cry for justice. A voice pleading for the evil to be overcome. And there is evil in the world. And so now I enjoy many of those "harder parts", understanding them as a prayer for Love -- the beautiful love of Christ -- to win.
Psalm 1 (KJV)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Lift Up Thine Eyes
Some days are heavy, and our spirits need more than our bodies can give. On those days, in particular, we remember to look up. And while looking, we find.
This is another piece in my series about The Psalms, based on Psalm 121, one of my favorites.
Psalm 121: KJV
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
A dollmaker in a little town with lots of flowers and birds.