Monthly Archives: April 2010

Numbers 7; Psalms 42, 43; Song of Songs 5; Hebrews 5

In the car, listening to an intermission discussion between radio hosts. The topic is peace. One said that when given two paintings, the first of a serene lake and the other of a turbulent nature with a bird calmed on a branch, it was the latter that best portrayed peace.

The psalmist here paints his picture with language that groans: my tears have been my food; my bones suffer mortal agony; my foes taunt me. His soul is downcast and he goes about in mourning. Oppressed. And I think of this bird on a branch in a turbulent nature …

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. Psalm 42:7 (NIV)

And I see peace.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Peace. And the pursuit of it.

A prayer to the God of my life. When my soul is downcast within me, I will still remember you. As I pour out my soul with shouts for joy and of thanksgiving, I will yet praise you–my Savior, my God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 6, Song of Solomon 4, Psalm 40 & 41, Hebrews 4

Have you ever had that awkward sense of feeling slightly off kilter and not knowing why? Being uncomfortable in your own skin and not knowing what it is that is bothering you so much? Almost like there is something about yourself you don’t know?

There is an ancient Greek saying, know thyself… that encourages us to reflectively search our own hearts; to discover our inner thoughts, the source of our emotions, feelings and fears. It’s great advice, but can it really be done?

The prophet Jeremiah almost makes the task of knowing ourselves seem impossible as he makes this painfully accurate observation, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”  The statement is followed by this question, “…Who can know it?”

On the one hand, the Greeks are giving good advice, know thyself, and on the other hand, the Bible reveals the difficulty of the task and warns us of what we are sure to uncover – it’s not a pretty sight.

In a sense, maybe we know ourselves well enough to know we don’t really want to know ourselves! Maybe we are quite comfortable covered in fig leaves?

Part of me wants to know “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, while part of me runs for cover – exposure is a frightening proposition, even self-exposure.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

I’ve read that passage four or five times now and the more I read it the faster my heart seems to race… I feel it penetrate the darkness of my own heart, like a searchlight that has finally found its target. I’m caught and there is nowhere to hide regardless of how hard I try, or how fast I run.

The heart can be known; in fact it is known by God. I too can know my own heart, by choosing to “expose” myself to God’s Word and allowing it to do it’s penetrating work. Or I can hide, but I can’t hide forever, one day I will give account.

God’s Word is far from being simply ink printed on pages. It is alive, powerful and penetrating – soaking in it can be a painful process, but it is always freeing. We can know the truth about ourselves and we can know who God really is. That truth that has the power to set us free.

He died so we could be free… not afraid.

paul

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Numbers 5, Psalm 39, Song of Songs 3, Hebrews 3

Then the Lord said to Moses, Give these instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people – men or women- betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. Number 5:5-6

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will curb my tongue when the ungodly are around me. But as I stood there in silence not even speaking of good things the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point  My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn igniting a fire of words. Psalm 39:1-3

One night as I lay in bed. I yearned deeply for my lover, but he did not come. So I said to myself. “I will get up now and roam the city, searching for him in all its streets and squares. But my search was in vain. Song of Songs 3:1-2

You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called today, so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13

I am a middle child. When I was little I used to provoke my older brother until  he hit me, then I assumed the innocent tearful face. He would be punished and I would be comforted. This attention seeking behavior quickly ended when my grandmother alerted my parents to my schemes.

My need for attention lives on. Like the woman in Songs of Songs I am apt to leave home in search of that which eludes me. I could stay home where I don’t see anyone or refrain from speaking while I’m out, but neither of these strategies is practical.

My daily dip into God’s pool of knowledge, keeps me forewarned of trouble. Without the Lord’s wisdom, I can only imagine what kinds of mischief I would be getting into right now.

Long ago a man named Paul said,

Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from this life that is dominated by sin? Romans 7:24

Every day sin lures me dangerously close to the precipice. I am saved by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Without Christ, I would still be in a state of unconscious ignorance, satisfying my basic instincts to the detriment of my soul. I thank God daily for rescuing me from myself and the sin that longs to master me.

yicareggie

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Numbers 4, Psalm 38, Song of Songs 2, Hebrews 2

I listen in on David’s heart song:

“My iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too many for me.”

“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

“Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me!  Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

Psalm 38: 4, 15, 21-22

Fast forward 1,000 years and that salvation,
the beloved of Israel, that all humanity was waiting for,
has a name…

JESUS

for he will save his people from their sins.*

Fast forward another 2,000+ years and find me…
I’ve messed things up royally. again. because of my foolishness.
I groan. My heart is in tumult.  I cry,

“Lord, all my longing, all my sighing is not hidden from you.
I’m broken.  I wait for You.  My heart throbs.
My strength fails, the light of my eyes is gone.”

I definitely should have paid closer attention.

“…he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”*

Now, I look.  I see that great salvation, I see Him.  Jesus, my help, my salvation.
I listen and I hear.

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”*

Oh Lord, I am coming… stumbly, humbly.
Help me to remember; to see You.
I long to be with You, to love you,
to see your face and hear your voice;
for Your voice IS sweet, and Your face IS lovely.

amy in peru

* 1. Matt.1:21 * 2. Heb.2:18, * 3. Song of Solomon 2:10

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Numbers 3; Psalm 37; Song of Solomon 1; Hebrews 1

Scripture

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.  And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”
~Psalm 37: 39-40

Observation

This week I was in meetings for work and was unavailable most of the week to respond and deal with issues that continue to occur with all of my oncology studies.  Not always, but sometimes urgent issues will occur that require my attention and it’s difficult for me to address them immediately.  This week one of those situations occurred.  I called one of my team members, who was not tied up in the meetings that I was attending, to see if she could handle the issue for me.  She said that she was already working on it.  She said, “I’ve got your back”.  I was so grateful!  As I read Psalm 37, I was reminded of what my coworker said to me earlier in the week and was reminded that “the Lord has got my back!”

Application

Not only do I need to know that the Lord has “got my back” I also need to trust that He’s “got my back”.  As my coworker was “already working on it”, I need to trust that the Lord also is working on the plans that He has for me and I need not worry for my life.  He is my “strength in the time of trouble”.  He can help and deliver me; deliver me from the wicked; save me!  He can do all these tremendous and amazing things and all I have to do is trust Him.  But just as I had to check in with my coworker to make sure the issue was being handled, I often worry that the Lord will not do what He has promised and forget that He is able to handle anything!  I just need to remember and trust that the Lord of this universe who is more capable than anyone, has “got my back”.  There is no need to worry!

Prayer

Lord,
You are not only able, but You are working behind the scenes to help and deliver me.  Help me to trust even when it may seem that you are not “working on it”.  Your Word is true and You are faithful.  I know that “You’ve got my back!”

kathleenathome

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Filed under M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms