Category Archives: Psalms

End of the Story – An Object Poem

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting at the Bar today was to write a poem inspired by someTHING — to write about the sensory and memory perceptions from an object old or new. A particular object immediately came to mind, and I tried to come up with something less obvious for me, but once an idea takes hold in my mind there’s no point in fighting it. So here’s my object poem about my favorite copy of the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.

End of the Story

It holds only
half the story
but the better half
the ending
where peace and joy
reign with the King

Soft red leather
feels like velvet
in my cool hands
smooth as a feather

Parchment thin pages
slide through my fingers
and tiny words require
removal of my glasses
evoking a feeling of
closeness to the Word

And powerful
that’s how it makes me feel
And sad, and grateful

So many memories
of tucking it into
my purse or suitcase
heading to Vegas,
Hawaii, or Salt Lake City

Salt Lake stands out
reading next to my seatmate
heading off on his first
required mission trip
reading a book of his own
That led to quite the
interesting discussion

On my bedside table
a vision of comfort
a source of wisdom
a reminder that I am able
to know my Savior
like a best friend

Now I have a new memory
whenever I gaze
at my favorite little book
and see the tattered spine
chewed by a curious kitten
in his wild and crazy days

And though it is the
end of the Story
its story has not
come to an end
just because of a few
kitten nibbles

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Tears – A Poem

Tears of sorrow, anger
drench my soul
course without end
eroding pain, anguish

Where once only aching
occupied my heart
now is a deep empty ravine
carved by a river of tears

Tears of forgiveness
water my soul’s riverbed
allowing flowers of love
to flourish and grow

Peace arises in my heart
held aloft by God’s promises
the fragrance of sweet alyssum
blossoms of my soul

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 (NIV).

Shared today at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night. Head on over for some more great poetry and join the celebration of the 2-year anniversary of dVerse.

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Where My Love Comes From

I’ve been listening to Third Day’s new album Miracle for a while now. I have to confess that I don’t like this album as much as Move or Revelation, but a number of the songs have really started to grow on me.

One song that I am really starting to love is Your Love Is Like a River.

This life can be hard and we suffer hurt and darkness from every side. We are hard pressed to remain standing through it all. We need love, light, and stability just to survive. God’s love is like a river that never stops flowing if we let it. His love is like a fire that keeps the darkness at bay. His love is like a rock that is a firm and stable foundation for every day.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV).

What this world needs is God’s love and they will know that love if we, His people, let that love flow from our hearts. We must always remember that He is the source of our love. This song reminds me where my love comes from.

Another thing I love about this song is the underlying message of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The river is like the Father ever flowing throughout eternity; the fire is like the Holy Spirit who lights our way; and the rock is like the Son who provides a firm foundation for our faith.

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Escape from the Fowler’s Snare

The other day I was reading Psalm 124 during my morning prayer time. As often happens when I’m reading Psalms or other Old Testament books, I saw Jesus in this short Psalm, specifically in the last two verses:

7Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:7-8 (NKJV).

Each of us is ensnared by our sinful nature just as a bird becomes trapped in the fowler’s snare. We cannot free ourselves from this snare no matter how hard we try. To struggle alone attempting to free ourselves only causes damage. Our situation is hopeless.

But in verse 7 we find hope. This verse says, “The snare is broken.” This sentence is written in classic passive voice where there actor of the sentence is not named. But verse 8 tells us who the actor is. It is the Lord who is our help.

The snare of our soul is broken by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and by His blood “we have escaped.”

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The Music of the Psalms

I love when contemporary Christian artists put the words of a Psalm to music. Many of them were, after all, written as songs. Then when I am reading through a Psalm I can hear it sung in my head and the words of promise and praise rest more firmly in my heart. This happened the other day when I was reading the second half of Psalm 119 and I could hear Jeremy Camp singing Revive Me from his album Carried Me: The Worship Project. I decided I wanted to share it today. I hope it blesses your soul as much as it does mine.

 

Psalm 119 (NKJV) (with lyrics italicized)

153 Consider my affliction and deliver me,

For I do not forget Your law.

154 Plead my cause and redeem me;

Revive me according to Your word.

155 Salvation is far from the wicked

For they do not seek Your statutes.

156 Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord;

Revive me according to Your judgments.

157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies,

Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.

158 I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,

Because they do not keep Your word.

159 Consider how I love Your precepts;

Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.

160 The entirety of Your word is truth,

And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

 

161 Princes persecute me without a cause,

But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

162 I rejoice at Your word

As one who finds great treasure.

163 I hate and abhor lying,

But I love Your law.

164 Seven times a day I praise You,

Because of Your righteous judgments.

165 Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

166 Lord, I hope for Your salvation,

And I do Your commandments.

167 My soul keeps Your testimonies,

And I love them exceedingly.

168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,

For all my ways are before You.

 

169 Let my cry come before You, O Lord;

Give me understanding according to Your word.

170 Let my supplication come before You;

Deliver me according to Your word

171 My lips shall utter praise,

For You teach me Your statutes.

172 My tongue shall speak of Your word,

For all Your commandments are righteousness.

173 Let Your hand become my help,

For I have chosen Your precepts.

174 I long for Your salvation, O Lord,

And Your law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;

And let Your judgments help me.

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

Seek Your servant,

For I do not forget Your commandments.

 

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I Will Praise You – A Psalm

I was reading Psalm 111 this morning which says, “I will praise You with my whole heart.” I was inspired to write this psalm of praise.

I Will Praise You

I will praise You with my broken heart
In Your goodness and mercy You heal me
I will praise You in the raging storm
Your mighty right hand will calm the winds

I will praise You when the flowers bloom
Their beauty a witness of Your glory
I will praise You while the sun shines bright
Pointing to You as my eternal Light

The works of Your creation testify
You alone are worthy of praise

Created in Your image we have the power
to create, but only from what You
have already made

Guide us, O Lord, to use our creative power
for good and not for evil
that the whole earth would glorify You in praise

I will praise You
Praise the Lord

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A Voice for the Voiceless

One of my favorite verses in the New Testament is James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In Biblical times, orphans and widows were the voiceless victims of society. Unless someone spoke up for them and looked after them, they had no recourse for their helpless plight.

God has always been concerned about the voiceless and needy. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV). He calls His people to do the same.

There have long been those who would take advantage of the voiceless, who seek to crush the orphan and the widow. The Psalmist reminds us of what such people do:

They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
Psalm 94:6-7 (NIV).

In our society today there are many who defend the cause of the widow and the orphan. Our laws protect these citizens who historically have been voiceless. Our churches have risen up to provide food and clothing to those in need. We have a long way to go to reach the point when the cause of all has been defended, but we have as a people heeded this call of our God and do our best.

Still, there is another voiceless segment of our society that does not enjoy the protection of our laws. There are even some groups within the church who do not defend their cause. They need someone to be their voice, to defend their right to live.

Today’s voiceless are the unborn who have no legal right to life. Even though an unborn child has her own heartbeat, her own internal organs, and can even have a different blood type than her mother, she has not been given the legal right to live if her mother decides to have an abortion before she is born.

I understand the right of a pregnant mother to choose. As I mentioned in a recent post, I used to be strongly pro-choice. I also understand that there are circumstances when the rights of a pregnant woman to not have to carry the child of her rapist to term or to not have to carry a child to term when her health is at risk might outweigh the right of the unborn child to life. The decision of whether to have an abortion is not an easy one, and it shouldn’t be. It is a balancing of the rights of two individuals who are connected by a bond the human mind cannot fully understand.

What bothers me about the pro-choice stance is that it claims that there is only one person with rights to be considered. I agree that a pregnant woman has and should have rights, but those who are zealously pro-choice cannot pretend that they have not made a moral decision that her rights are greater than that of her unborn child. Her child is not just a lump of tissue, like a cancerous tumor, that should have no rights and can simply be discarded without consequence.

Each unborn child is a voiceless human being. God has called us to defend their cause. If we are going to make a choice, let’s be honest about what that choice is.

Note: I wasn’t going to write this post. My post about abortion last week was going to be my first and last. I’d said my peace and thought I was done. But then I kept seeing cartoon posts on Facebook suggesting that if Mitt Romney were elected we would be setting back the rights of women by 50 years because of his pro-life beliefs. I was particularly surprised because a number of these posts were by friends who are Christians. I couldn’t seem to set aside my frustration that anyone would reduce this difficult topic to a one-liner cartoon. It is an issue that deserves more.

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Psalm 93 – A Prayer for Sandy Survivors

Watching the news of the devastation hurricane Sandy caused on the east coast is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine living through a natural disaster of that magnitude. It makes me thankful I live in the Pacific Northwest where the only natural disaster we worry about that could cause anywhere near as much damage as Sandy has is a volcano erupting, and those don’t happen very often.

As I read the next Psalm at the beginning of my prayer time this morning, I was amazed at how perfect this Psalm is as a prayer for those on the east coast facing the massive clean-up effort. It is a reminder that although the sea rose up and caused massive damage, God still reigns and will provide the strength needed to continue on. May the Lord be strength and comfort for those in need.

Psalm 93

1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.

5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.

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A Psalm of Lament and Thanksgiving

I love the Psalms because they are both prayers and songs. As I’ve been reading one each morning during my prayer time, I find that a Psalm of my own – a Psalm of both lamentation and praise – is forming in my mind. So I thought I’d write it down and post it here for Thankful Thursday.

A Psalm of Lament and Thanksgiving

Oh Lord, my God, how long
will You stand by as cancer
strikes those I love,
as pain and sadness
are all around me

How long must we endure
this broken world
sometimes wondering
where You are,
where is Your promised refuge

Tears fall upon my pillow
as I long for salvation,
for healing and no pain
in the lives of my loved ones
my friends, my family
Your children

Still I praise You, Oh Lord
I trust in Your promises
clinging to faith and hope
found only in You
I lift to Your throne
Your children in need

Your faithfulness endures
beyond what I can see
with eyes blinded by pain
Still I know, I believe
Your grace and mercy
are more than this world needs

May Your name be exalted
Your grace be embraced
Your love be never-ending
Your peace from me radiate
So that those in need
will know You and praise You
forever and ever

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There You Are, Jesus!

For the past 3 months I’ve been reading through Psalms one at a time at the beginning of my morning prayer time. I’m up to Psalm 65 today. As I came to verse 7 of this beautiful Psalm I paused and reread it, then thought to myself, “There You are, Jesus!”

I love finding Jesus in the Old Testament and seeing how the Old and New Testaments are so intimately connected. Here is Psalm 65:7 in the New King James Version that I was reading:

You who still the noise of the seas,
The noise of their waves,
And the tumult of the peoples.

This verse reminded me of the story of Jesus in the boat with His disciples as recorded in Matthew 8:

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

What kind of a man, indeed. Psalm 65 answers this question. He is the Living God, the God of our salvation.

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