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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 9:10’

 

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“This is the best salmon I’ve had in a long time,” commented my husband, Steve, after taking the first bite. He quickly forked another. “How’s your salad?”

“Delicious!” I enthused. “’Love this combination of turkey, feta, and cranberries!”

After a morning of shopping for the granddaughters (birthday gifts and summer clothes), we had stopped at a familiar café for a late lunch. The host graciously seated us in a back corner.

Patrons were leaving; our waiter chatted pleasantly with us, no longer responsible for multiple tables waiting to be served. Soft jazz played in the background, adding more charm to the experience.

Halfway through our meal, a waitress seated herself at the empty table across from us, a caddy of flatware and napkins in tow.  She proceeded to polish the former and wrap sets with the latter.

 

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Clunk-clunk-ka-clunk, the knives, forks, and spoons clattered on the table after each piece received its shine. (Why couldn’t she at least spread out some of the cloth napkins from her caddy to absorb the racket?)

But the clamor wasn’t the worst of it. She had not disinfected the table. And two gentlemen had been sitting there when we first arrived. That tabletop received no more than a precursory wipe. I had to wonder about her hands, too—touching fork tines, spoon bowls, and knife blades as she polished.

If only the host had taken us to another corner. We’d never have witnessed this breach of sanitization-protocol, and our ignorance would have been bliss (unless we got sick, which we didn’t)!

Sometimes ignorance is a good thing.

I, for one, am glad the future is unknown to me, protecting me from worry. In my opinion, we’re better off not knowing everything that will happen next month or next year.

Our lack of knowledge—even about tomorrow–draws us to trust in God more intently. And growing trust allows us to delight in him more fully.

 

 

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Think of a young child holding Dad’s hand while crossing a busy street. He revels in this one-on-one time with his hero, enjoying the security of his small hand in Dad’s big, strong one. He happily chatters on about what color sneakers to purchase when they reach the shoe store.

The boy doesn’t see Dad’s watchful eye on the traffic light, on the car that might turn into the lane where they’re walking, or on the texting teenager–heading straight toward them.

But Dad has the situation under control. All possible mishaps are avoided.

Ignorance is bliss for the little boy. He trusts his father to care for him and protect him, because Dad has proven himself over and over again.

And hasn’t our Heavenly Father repeatedly proved himself to us?

  • He has provided (Psalm 23:1).  All of our needs are met.
  • He has led (Psalm 23:3). God guides us in the way we should go.
  • He has been trustworthy (Psalm 9:10). He never forsakes his own.

 

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We can live in ignorant bliss of the future when we embrace child-like trust in God.

A child knows he is weak and helpless, lacking in knowledge and wisdom. He recognizes his dependence on adults.

In the spiritual realm, that translates to an attitude of humility, receptiveness, and neediness before God.

And the final result of ignorant bliss?  Peace.

 

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(“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,

because he trusts in you.”  –Isaiah 26:3)

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.cookdiary.net; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.quotesgram.com; http://www.bibleverseimages.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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The view out our windows has not been inspiring of late.

Swaths of flat gray clouds hover overhead, sometimes dipping low to drape gauze in the treetops.

 

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Tangles of bare tree branches claw at the sky.

And where flowers swayed in the sunshine last summer, straggly twigs stand forlornly, grieving their former beauty.

But amidst all this gloom and dormancy, God is at work–behind the scenes.

For example:

  1. Many plants require a season of rest.

All summer long perennials labor to create flowers that in turn attract pollinators. They also spend the long, warm days developing seeds, in preparation for the following spring.

Come fall, these plants pour their energy into root growth.

Now, during the quiet winter months of inactivity, they enjoy a much-needed rest.

 

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(One of our hydrangea bushes at rest!)

 

  1. Plants benefit from snow.

The soft covering (with its air pockets between the flakes) insulates plants from the harm of frigid temperatures.

Melting snow in spring provides the extra hydration plants need for the accelerated growth process of the season.

 

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  1. Seeds benefit from snow.

A period of moist, cold weather is essential for some varieties of seeds to germinate in the spring.

 

Winter is not a mistake, a season God forgot to adorn. Winter has purpose.

It’s just that we can’t see what he’s up to.

But come spring? Then we’ll see the benefits of winter in a magnificent display of glorious splendor!

 

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Perhaps you are enduring a season of winter in the circumstances of your life.

It’s not a mistake, God has not forgotten (Psalm 9:10).

This season does have a purpose (Psalm 138:8a), it’s just that you might not be able to see what he’s up to.

 

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Even in the middle of bleak, colorless winter, we are confident that spring will come, aren’t we.

And even in the middle of bleak, colorless circumstances, we can stand confident with the psalmist, because:

 

“You, [God], will restore my life again;

from the depths of the earth

you will again bring me up.

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You will increase my honor

and comfort me once again.

I will praise you with the harp

For your faithfulness.”

–Psalm 71:20b-22a

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(Information about the value of winter for plants came from “4 Reasons to Celebrate Your Garden in Winter” on http://www.houzz.com.)

Photo credits: Nancy Ruegg (3), http://www.wallpapersmela.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.fairfieldpubliclibrary.org.)

 

 

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No, that’s not a typo in the title; I intentionally chose rust. However, that parody on an old hymn actually did result from a typo years ago.

Steve was just a few months into his first pastorate in St. Petersburg, FL. The mean age of the congregation was somewhere in the 70s. When the church secretary typed the opening hymn title for one Sunday’s bulletin, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, she accidentally omitted the “T” in trust.

But there was a whole lot of truth in that typo-title. Many saints of that congregation could testify, even into old age: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).

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And just what might those blessings be? A few possibilities quickly come to mind. When we put our trust in God, we enjoy:

  • Peace of mind (Isaiah 26:3-4)
  • Guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • Help (Isaiah 41:10)
  • Strength (Isaiah 12:2)

But there are many more blessings that come to those who trust in God—some of which are quite surprising. The following is undoubtedly just a partial list:

Intimacy with God–not just acquaintance. The more we exercise trust, the more we recognize his involvement in our lives. With David, we can affirm: “All those who know your mercy, Lord, will count on you for help. For you have never yet forsaken those who trust in you” (Psalm 9:10).

Hope. Praise God for his hope that fills us with all joy and peace as we trust in him (Romans 15:13)! I can’t imagine going to bed at night without hope for tomorrow—much less for eternity.

Joyful Expectation and Quiet Confidence. Our lives are in the hands of an absolutely perfect, all-powerful, loving God. We can count on him to see us through every situation. So with great delight we can say, “I don’t know what God’s up to, but I know it has to be good!”

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Life above the Fray. Like Paul, we can learn to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:12), knowing that God will give us the strength to endure (v. 13). A heart full of trust has no room for worry or stress. (Remind me of that when the challenges pile up, will you?)

Adventure. Think of the adrenalin rush these Bible heroes must have experienced, as they placed their trust in God:

  • Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho—with trumpets and loud shouts!
  • Elijah praying for fire to consume a drenched offering to God, in front of 450 prophets of Baal
  • Nehemiah watching the walls of Jerusalem reconstructed, after the Israelites had been held in Babylonian captivity for seventy years

Are we going to sit on the sidelines of life and miss the miracles, because we’re afraid to trust? Perish the thought!

Influence. The Light of Jesus shines most brightly through those who demonstrate trust in the midst of dark circumstances. People remember those saints who maintain a positive, faith-focused outlook in spite of trials.

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For all these reasons and more, it is indeed sweet to (t)rust in Jesus–to rest secure in the loving, everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father.

 

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I praise you, Lord, with all my heart,

for being a trustworthy God who never fails his children.

How glorious to know

I can trust in your unfailing love!

(Psalm 9:1; 13:5; 52:8)

Photo credits:  www.pinterest.com; http://www.pixgood.com; http://www.masterfile.com.)

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Woman with piggy bank at rainy window

 

“Save for a rainy day,” financial experts advise.  And they’re right.  It is smart to have funds set aside in case of emergency.

But we would also be wise to save up for another kind of rainy day:

  • The day great disappointment shatters our joy
  • The day the doctor begins a consult by saying, “I’m terribly sorry, but…”
  • The day a loved one calls with disturbing news

What could we possibly save up that would help in such circumstances?

Consider: monetary deposits in a bank account insulate us against financial emergencies.

Similarly, we can make faith-statement deposits into our soul-accounts, to insulate us against life’s emergencies.  A healthy soul-account offers peace of mind, confidence, and a sense of well-being.

The most valuable faith statements are those straight from scripture, since the Bible is our source of truth.

Statements such as these are worthy starting points:

  • God is with me, even in the midst of trial.

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10).

  • God is my stronghold in time of trouble, offering help and deliverance.

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.  The Lord helps them and delivers them” (Psalm 37:39-40).

  • He will supply all my needs.

“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

 

Sometimes God makes deposits in our soul-accounts through other reading.  Here are a few examples I’ve collected:

  • “God makes good things out of the hard times.” – Erica Hale
  • “Difficulties are sent to make us grow. Move from complaining to proclaiming what God is doing through the problem. Remind yourself, for every Calvary, there is an Easter.” – Barbara Johnson
  • “When we understand that life is not about us, we learn to overlook the trivial and fix our gaze on the eternal. What is an offense compared to His love? What is a rejection compared to His unconditional acceptance? What is a momentary trial compared to an eternity with Him?” – Emmanuelle Gomez

 

Faith statement deposits also come through experiences, such as:

  • The spontaneous hug of a good friend who knows of our struggles. That’s God’s way of assuring us…

…We are not alone.

  • An answered prayer—and the answer is far beyond what we asked for. That’s God’s way of showing us…

…His love and blessing never fail, even in the midst of difficulty.

  • A transformed spirit through worship.  Worry becomes faith. Fear becomes courage. Depression becomes gladness. That proves…

…The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 4:8).

 

Faith-statements, deposited in our souls even before we have need of them, provide a deep, sweet sense of security.

When difficulties arise, and the time comes to make withdrawals, we can praise God for each truth. Praise will fill our hearts with song and drown out the voices of worry and fear.

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Your faithfulness, O God, is unwavering and unfailing.   Oh, how I want to be faithful to you, especially during difficult circumstances.  You have provided the tools.  I praise you for the deposits your Spirit makes into my soul account, offering solace, perspective, strength, and wisdom.   Help me to avail myself of your gracious provision.  

 

(Photo credit:  www.dailyfinance.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love words. I love the rhythm of syllables, like automaticity or higgledy-piggledy.

I love the precise images words can create: glam-shackle house, iridescent skin, aquamarine waters.

I thought about water

                                                   (Photo credit:  www.flickr.com)

And some words I love for their depth of meaning.

LEARN is just such a word. (Leave it to this former teacher to notice the word LEARN!)

When curious about a word and its nuances of meaning, a good place to begin research is with the dictionary. LEARN means: 1) to gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through study or experience, 2) to fix in the mind, 3) to become informed.

Those definitions certainly describe the LEARNing that is part of the Christian life. God wants us to:

• Gain knowledge of Him and His Word (Psalm 9:10; 119:24)
• Comprehend His ways for us (Psalm 25:4)
• Seek mastery over selfish impulses (Romans 13:14)
• Keep focused on Him (Psalm 141:8)
• Become informed about what pleases Him (Ephesians 5:10).

And God promises blessed dividends as we LEARN, like contentment, joy, and fulfillment in life. But how do we accomplish all this LEARNing?

A bit of research produced the following steps that also form an acronym of L.E.A.R.N.

L = Laws. “I will praise you with an upright heart as I LEARN your righteous laws” (Psalm 119:7). God’s Instruction Manual, the Bible, lays out the way to a rich, satisfying life. A wise person LEARNs all he/she can, because the Author is 100% trustworthy. He will never lead us astray.

Reading the Christmas Story

                                                   (Photo credit:  www.flickr.com)

E = Effort and Experience. “Continue in what you have LEARNed and have become convinced of” (2 Timothy 3:14a). What we learn from God’s Words we put into practice. Yes, it takes effort, but as our experience grows, so will our resolve.

I’m reminded of how I feel before my work-out most days. I hate exercising. But like so many distasteful tasks, getting started is the hardest part. Once I’m into the routine, it’s easier (not easy, just easier!) to keep going. The results of regular exercise are what motivate me: 1) The strength and energy I feel. 2) My back doesn’t give me as much trouble. 3) Moderately-firm flesh trumps flabby!

Exercise

Exercise (Photo credit: sanchom)

You see, I’ve LEARNed that effort (to exercise) leads to experience (the results are worth the effort). The same holds true in the spiritual realm. As I make the effort to apply God’s Word to my life, the experiences prove God’s way is best. And I like the results—the peace, joy, and contentment mentioned earlier.

Am I successful every day to apply God’s truth? No. But I take great encouragement from Philippians 1:6: The God who began this good work in me will keep at it and bring it to completion when Jesus returns.

A = Acclamation. “Blessed are those who have LEARNed to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord” (Psalm 89:15). Practice acclaiming—enthusiastically approving—your God. We can establish several “interludes of gratitude” into our daily routines—even leave notes here and there as reminders. Whatever it takes. According to the verse, great blessing awaits!

R = Righteousness. “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man and he will add to his LEARNing” (Proverbs 9:9). The more we LEARN, the more teachable we become. LEARNing accelerates. It gets easier.

I remember looking at my grandmother with admiration. She seemed perfect to me. How does she do it, I wondered. No doubt it came through years of attention to God’s Word, effort that produced experience, and much acclamation for her God.

Grandmother

Grandmother (Photo credit: Samantha Steele)

N = Notice. “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you…Whatever you have LEARNed or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice” (Philippians 3:17; 4:9).

Paul was not claiming to be a perfect. Back in verse 12 he had made clear, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect.” Paul, too, was LEARNing.

But his life of passionate pursuit after Christ-likeness was a worthy pattern to follow.

Perhaps there is someone in your family, church, or small group that would make a good role model. Look to him/her and LEARN.

And why is all this LEARNing about God’s Word and godly behavior worthwhile?

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). To flourish in my soul, to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, to rest in trust—these are the ends that more than justify the means of LEARNing.

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