Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 145’

 

 

It was almost time for Mom and Dad to say good-bye and leave five-year old me—by myself—to spend the night at the hospital.

Yes, there was a pretty, friendly nurse who promised careful attention. But, of course, a strange bed in strange surroundings with strangers in charge, left me feeling very uncomfortable—in addition to the tonsillectomy-induced sore throat.

The thought occurred to me, I should have brought my special blanket. Its soft, pink familiarity would surely make me feel better.

When I expressed my wish out loud, Dad said he’d go home and get it.  (It wasn’t far.)  Mom stayed until he returned.

Dad’s response surprised me. I thought he’d say, “Don’t worry. You’ll be fine without it.”

But Dad understood this was hard for me, and did what he could to ease my discomfort.

Nonetheless, it took a long time to fall asleep that night. But holding my security blanket close and rubbing my fingers against the satin trim did provide sweet comfort.

 

 

Perhaps as a child, you too owned a special blanket or stuffed animal that provided a sense of calm well-being at bedtime. However, part of the maturing process is letting go of such things, right?

No, in actuality, it’s just the source of security that changes as we grow up. Everyone seeks comfort in something, perhaps:

  • A settled career that provides a comfortable income
  • Meaningful and stable relationships
  • Good health, enhanced by careful eating habits and exercise
  • Physical safety, procured through security systems, guard dogs, etc.

 

 

But all of these examples offer only external security. And no matter how protected a person might feel today, we all know how quickly circumstances can change. Ask the one whose company downsized during the recession, the one whose spouse suddenly wanted “space,” the one who received life-altering news from his doctor, or the one whose computer files were hacked.

What we need is internal security. And that can only be found in God.

At the first sign of distress we can call out to him, asking him to draw especially close (Psalm 145:18).

 

 

And when difficult situations linger, we can meditate on God’s wonderful works, as King David did in his psalm of praise, #145. He suggests we:

  • Buoy our faith by remembering God’s miracles (vs. 4-6)
  • Affirm all the benefits and support he’s supplied (vs. 5-6)
  • Keep our minds focused on his glorious attributes (vs, 7-9, 11, 20)
  • Review God’s promises—such as those listed in verses 13-16
  • Remind ourselves that all his actions are absolutely perfect (v. 17)

 

 

Each uplifting thought offers soothing comfort. And strand after strand weaves a virtual security blanket for our souls–a blanket under which we can rest secure.

 

“The Lord’s beloved rests securely on him.

He shields him all day long,

And he rests on his shoulders.”

–Deuteronomy 33:12 CSB

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

We praise You, Father, for the comfort, peace, and security you provide. You alone are able to make us dwell in safety and serenity, where no lasting harm can penetrate. Thank you for your abundant goodness to care for us as we trust in you.     

(Psalm 4:8, 91:4; Romans 11:38; Nahum 1:7)

 

 

(Photo credits: http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.pexels.com; http://www.pxhere.com; http://www.dailyverses.net (2); http://www.recreation.gov.)

 

Is there a particular scripture you turn to for comfort?  Please share in the comment section below.

Read Full Post »

 

psalms-145-17

 

Nine times in Psalm 145, David used the word, “all” to describe the totality of God’s attributes and their far-reaching impact. These attributes fall into two sets, as follows.

The Lord is:

  1. Good to all (v. 9a),
  2. Compassionate on all he has made (v. 9b),
  3. Faithful to all his promises (v. 13c), and
  4. Loving toward all he has made (v. 13d).

In addition he:

  1. Upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down (v. 14),
  2. Is righteous in all his ways (v. 17a),
  3. Is near to all who call upon him in truth (v. 18a), and
  4. Watches over all who love him (v. 20a).

 

e180aa434ecb48099d3b581d3fdcd943

 

How glorious to consider that all these general statements apply individually also—to you and me.

With a bit of effort, these truths can be turned into personal praise:

 

My heart sings for joy, Father.

You are so good to me (v. 9a)—blessings abound.

Even at this moment I revel in your gently falling rain,

The sound of Steve puttering in the kitchen

(Thank you for a husband who likes to cook!),

And three year-old Elena* on the floor,

Writing a story about making pancakes with Mommy.

Your goodness is on display, even in small moments.

IMG_0730

 

I praise you for your compassion (v. 9b),

Expressed through a doctor who, just last Saturday,

Offered consult on a weekend,

And even checked in on Monday morning.

Your compassion is evident in the kindness of strangers as well.

Just today a driver graciously gave me

the right-of-way on a narrow street,

Bestowing respect, favor, and a smile.

1464630280235

How thankful I am for your many promises in scripture (v. 13c)–

Over 2,300 statements of hope and encouragement–

Promises sometimes fulfilled in amazing and creative ways–

Classic promises like Romans 8:28 and 1 Peter 5:7,

Realized as Steve and I moved to different communities

And embarked upon new chapters of our lives.

Personal promises, like Ruth 2:11-12 and John 13:7—

Surprisingly well-suited to the moment.

b3e39ee809ae0e119a52171b6506ca2b

 

I praise you for your loving nature (v. 13d),

Your attentiveness and favor expressed through

The cheer of bird song in the morning,

The grace and friendliness of people at church,

The inspiration of your Word,

The redemption from hurtful experiences of the past,

The peace of mind and joy of the Spirit

You infuse into each day.

e1ac576275a077a299fe3423e01a9c93

 

And thank you for the sweet comfort of your presence (v. 18a)

That fills me with delight.

How precious are those times when

I sense your nearness,

When praise songs and scripture

Bring tears that clear my eyes

For the sight of you in your grace

And make the vision of your favor more precious (1).

c497a3ccd0c1e18b744233df5f307b43

 

Every day I want to praise you (v. 2).

You are pure goodness,

Manifested in infinite power,

Giving the light of truth, wisdom, and discernment.

Your glorious majesty reigns supreme over all creation.

And most amazing of all:

Everything you are, you offer to your children.

You are always seeking to manifest yourself to us.

4d9b2ec605f560e6c0c6c8622aea0651

Words fail to praise you adequately.

But, oh, how I yearn to do so!

 

*Our granddaughter

(1) based on a Charles Spurgeon quote

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.dailyverses.net; http://www.pinterest.com; Nancy Ruegg; http://www.strongtowns.org; http://www.pinterest.com (4).

 

Read Full Post »

fall-foliage-2

Several weeks ago, in a post entitled, “Autumn Blaze,” I wrote about the glorious colors of fall foliage. The title was borrowed from a line of poetry by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885): “The land is lit with autumn blaze.”

As most of you know, Steve and I lived in Florida for forty years. We retired in June to Ohio, so we could be near two of our three children and their families. In many ways our transition has been a homecoming because both of us grew up in the Midwest.

One of the things we missed most while living in the south was “autumn blaze.”  All through last summer I waited expectantly for October and the display of God’s rich tapestry among the trees.

But those of you who live in four-season states know only too well: the blaze is quickly snuffed out by northerly winds and chilly temperatures. By mid-November, many trees have already been stripped of every leaf.

And now those bare, bleak branches stand pitifully exposed, reaching uselessly toward the sun for warmth. The splendorous color is gone; dingy gray-brown bark is all we see. The trees stand lifeless. Hopeless.

If I’m not careful, such sad thoughts will lead me into the doldrums.

A better train of thought to follow? Reasons to appreciate this dormant stage of the trees. For example: When the leaves are gone, I can appreciate the delicate lace work of branches, hidden from view except in winter.   They too demonstrate the creative genius of our God.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

However, when numerous bare trees huddle together on a hillside, the individual branches are indistinguishable. Our younger son and daughter-in-law enjoy a hillside view from their kitchen window–in spring, summer, and early fall, that is. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, the trees were ablaze, dressed in autumn finery.

Now the scene is much different. Look out that window today and you’d be underwhelmed by the great swath of drab dullness. Time to close the curtains.

shen6913

But wait. What if we look at that sad scene and think HOPE. Because we know what’s in store.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn” (Hal Borland).

Winter is a time of rest, recuperation, and preparation. When warmth and light return in the spring, new life will burst forth in all creation. Guaranteed.

Those lifeless branches can remind us of another HOPE. Because we know that the God who brings life to dead trees can redeem any situation. Guaranteed.

“Oh? What basis is there for such grand HOPE?” someone might ask.

  1. We base our HOPE on God’s love.

 Absolutely nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:39). And if he loves us, he will care for us. “With God on our side, how can we lose?” (v. 32, MSG).

HOPE in our loving God is not misguided.

  1. We base our HOPE on God’s character.

I love Psalm 145, the only one called “a psalm of praise,” in which David extols God’s character. Our Lord is great (v.3), gracious, good, and compassionate (vs. 8-9), glorious and mighty (v. 11), righteous and kind (v. 17).

These are not descriptors of a distant god who takes no interest in his creatures. Our God is a hands-on Heavenly Father who demonstrates all these glorious attributes–in our day-to-day lives. The Lord is always watching over us (v. 20).

HOPE in our powerful God is not just wishful thinking.

  1. We base our HOPE in God’s promises.

“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:13).

HOPE in our reliable God is not blind optimism.

Christian HOPE is the trusting expectation that God will keep his Word.

This may sound strange, but let’s look to the bare trees for encouragement. See them as glorious HOPE on display! And let’s live in cheerful expectation of God’s plan, purpose, and blessing for the future.

(Photo credits:  www.staticweb.maine.edu; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org; http://www.terragalleria.com.)

 

 

Read Full Post »

“I can’t remember the last time I felt truly happy.”

“Nobody understands what this situation is like.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve experienced one or more of the emotions behind those statements,  including:  discouragement, self-pity, hopelessness, and fear.

When circumstances seem out of control and problems defy solution, what can we do?

A good place to start:  praise God.

I know.  That seems an odd course of action and counter-intuitive.  But that’s what God instructs us to do (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Now why would that be?

Reason #1:  Praise is a powerful weapon against those emotions listed above. It fosters peace and contentment by taking our minds off our problems and focusing our attention on God.

David shows us the way in Psalm 103.  In verse two he says,  “Forget not all [God’s] benefits.”  Then he lists  a number of them:  forgiveness of all sins, healing of all diseases*,  redemption from the pit, God’s love, compassion, righteousness, and justice (vs. 3-6).

What would your personal list include?  What specific ways has he provided for you, guided and protected you, fulfilled promises to you, and empowered you?

“Praise is the honey of life

which a devout heart extracts

from every bloom of providence and grace.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon

Reasons #2:  Praise invites his presence, and with his presence comes his strength and help.

“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.  the Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:6-7).

I have to be honest here.  There have been times when my praise to God had to be squeezed through gritted teeth.  And the first words of affirmation did not immediately lift me into golden clouds of euphoria.

What I can tell you is this:  Depression, discouragement, self-pity, and hopelessness were kept at bay.  And I felt the presence of God around me, giving me strength to press on.

How has praise brought God’s strength and help into your life?

Reason #3:  Praise lifts our spirits and gives us hope.  When words won’t come, we can turn to the psalms.  Chapter 145 offers one example of eloquent praise:

“God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.  There are no boundaries to his greatness. ..

“God is all mercy and grace–not quick to anger, is rich in love.  God is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace…

“Generous to a fault, you lavish your favor on all creatures.  Everything God does is right–the trademark on all his works is love…

“My mouth is filled with God’s praise” (vs. 3, 8-9, 16-17, 21,  The Message)!

Can you feel the hope, comfort, and strength stirring in the depths of your soul?

Keep praising!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Oh, yes, Lord, may my mouth be filled with your praise, whether I’m celebrating on a mountaintop or plodding through a valley.  Thank you for the delight of the former and your comfort and care through the latter.  I praise you that all things are under your control.  With a grateful heart,  I put my hope and trust in you. 

* All of our diseases are healed:  1) instantly and miraculously, often as the result of prayer, 2) slowly over time, often with extended prayer and medical intervention, or 3) eternally, when we reach heaven.

(photo credits:  www.health.com; http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com.)

Read Full Post »

 

Our God is magnificent; beyond words to describe, right?  There are no boundaries to his greatness, splendor, and righteousness.

Among his glorious attributes are power and wisdom, grace and mercy, goodness and love.

These lofty thoughts and more about the King of the universe are poetically presented in Psalm 145.

Yet there is at least one attribute of God not directly mentioned in this psalm or anywhere else in scripture.  We have to look at the evidence and infer that, yes, our Heavenly Father has…

…a sense of humor!

Consider…

 

Exhibit A:  Creation

 

 

Slipping, sliding otters.  Leaping, somersaulting dolphins. Swinging, scratching monkeys.  They make us laugh–might they not bring great pleasure to God, especially since he made them?

And have you ever seen young gooney birds learning to fly?  Their tumbly landings in particular are hilarious!

 

Exhibit B:  Scripture

Get this:  God spoke through a donkey once to get the attention of a sorcerer named Balaam (Numbers 22, 23).  In case you’re not familiar with the story, I repeat:  The donkey did the talking, speaking the words God gave her (22:19).  Imagine the look on Balaam’s face!  If we had been there, I’m sure we would have been stifling our guffaws.  Might God have been chuckling a bit, too?

In the book of Job, God used the example of an ostrich to help Job understand the Lord’s sovereignty.  As you read this description, visualize the scene as if portrayed in a cartoon.  Give the ostrich a doltish expression to enhance further the humor-factor!

 

 

“The ostrich flaps her wings futilely—all those beautiful feathers, but useless!  She lays her eggs on the hard ground, leaves them there in the dirt, exposed to the weather, not caring that they might get stepped on and cracked or trampled by some wild animal.  She’s negligent with her young, as if they weren’t even hers.  She cares nothing about anything.  She wasn’t created very smart, that’s for sure, wasn’t given her share of good sense.  But when she runs, oh, how she runs, laughing, leaving horse and rider in the dust (Job 39:13-18, The Message).

Proverbs also includes a number of lessons taught with humor.

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful face on an empty head” (Proverbs 11:22).

“Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense” (15:2).

 

 

“The words of a fool start fights; do him a favor and gag him” (18:6).

“Valuables are safe in a wise person’s home; fools put it all out for yard sales (21:20).

“Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces (25:14).

(Again, I chose to quote from The Message because Eugene Peterson gives us fresh insight with contemporary spin on scripture.  And he definitely captures the humor, which has always been in the Bible.  It’s just become hidden under the dust of the centuries and the differences between cultures.)

 

Exhibit C:  Jesus

A number of Jesus’ stories and teachings included humor.  One example is Matthew 23:24.  “You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel,” he said to the religious leaders.  They were so careful about following unimportant rules, yet ignored important issues like humility and kindness.

 

 

Where’s the humor, you ask?  It’s hiding in the translation, from Aramaic to English.  The Aramaic word of gnat is galma; the word for camel is gamla.  Jesus used a play on words!

There are more examples we could enjoy, but that’s enough for one sitting.

And now you may be asking why it matters if God has a sense of humor or not.

The more we know about God, the more we discover to appreciate. The more we appreciate our God, the more we’ll want to be in his company and worship him.

And we are made glad with the joy of his [delightful, cheerful] presence (Psalm 21:6).

 

(art & photo credits:  www.jimkane.wordpress.com; http://www.wikimedia.org; http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.wikimedia.org (2).)

 

Read Full Post »

“Worship the Lord your God and his blessing will be on your food and water” (Exodus 23:25a).

Food and water.  Common, everyday things.  But this verse promises God’s blessing on them.  In other words, even the mundane things of life can put smiles on our faces.

Mundane things like:

  • The graceful dance of tree limbs in a soft breeze
  • The tapping of rain on the roof, while cozied up in bed
  • The spontaneous hug of a child

Such delightful gifts are embarrassingly easy to overlook.  Most of us are much too busy and moving too fast.

So how do we take hold of these subtle blessings and treasure them?  The first five words of the verse give the answer.  It happens when we worship the Lord our God.

I’m not talking about the hour or two we may spend in church sometime on Saturday or Sunday.

Worship means expressing to God his worth—his worth-ship.  And it’s something we can enjoy all day, every day.

Yes, I said “enjoy,” because worship should be celebratory.

One means of celebrating our God is to express appreciation. “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything,” Paul recommended (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

As we begin to notice and appreciate all the delights God has bestowed, we experience a contentment and steadiness of spirit that defies explanation.  And to be contented and steady is a very blessed way to live!

Another means of celebrating our God is to express praise.  Gratitude expresses appreciation for what he’s done in the past, what he’s doing in the present, and what he will do in the future. Praise expresses admiration for who he is and honors him for his glorious attributes.

Attributes like:

  • Creativity, inspiring him to design tree branches that dance and sway in the breeze
  • Loving kindness, expressed with pleasurable gifts like raindrops rapping on the rooftop
  • Comfort, offered through the spontaneous hug of a child

As we begin to praise God for his attributes, we experience a change of perspective.  Our attention moves from personal circumstances to God Almighty.  He is:

  • Glorious in the splendor of his majesty
  • Capable of awesome works
  • Abundant in his goodness and compassionate on all he has made
  • Faithful to all his promises and righteous in all his ways

Interested in more descriptors?  See Psalm 145!

Bottom line:  When worship is an integral part of our lives, joy abounds, because God’s blessing rests upon us in all things!

“Worship the Lord your God and his blessing will be on your food and water” (Exodus 23:25a).

Such a simple exercise to implement;  yet such astounding results.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

(Art & photo credits: http://www.lawlessgallery.com  ; http://www.godwordistruth.wordpress.com ; http://www.lessonsinashell.blogspot.com )

Read Full Post »

Sheila Scorziello

Connecting Faith to Everyday Life

Laurie Klein, Scribe

immerse in God, emerge refreshed

Strength Renewed

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Colleen Scheid

Writing, Acting, Living the Grace of God

Walking Well With God

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Shelly Miller

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Faith Barista

Because some days you need a double-shot of faith.

Wings of the Dawn

even there Your hand will lead me ~ poems and reflections by Heidi Viars

Jennifer Dukes Lee

Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

Holley Gerth

Empowering You To Become All You're Created To Be

Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Healthy Spirituality

Nurturing Hearts Closer to God

Just Wondering

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Jody Lee Collins

Impressions Becoming Expressions

(in)courage

Impressions Becoming Expressions