Tag Archives: Psalms

Finding Jesus in the Old Testament

Any serious study of the Bible includes some basics of Bible prophecy. There are, of course, the prophecies that Jesus:

For me, the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament through the fulfillment of prophecy is sufficient proof of the Bible’s authenticity and Jesus’ authority as King and God. One of the things I love about God is how He frequently shows me new connections when I read His Word, in answer to a prayer I said many years ago (which you can read about here). Truly all of the Old Testament scriptures are about Jesus and His relationship to His people.

Last Monday I was in a Bible Study Fellowship seminar titled “Personal Quiet Time” given by our wonderful Substitute Teaching Leader Ginger. We learned a great method for reading God’s Word and listening for what He has to say to you in the passage you’ve read.

In the middle of this seminar, as we were each practicing a method of personal quiet time we had just learned, God revealed an Old Testament – New Testament connection to me in a most awesome way.

First of all, He worked ahead of time to make what He wanted to teach me possible for me to see. For some reason I went to the seminar without either my Bible or my phone (which has a Bible app on it). I left both in the room my group was to meet in after the seminar. As I entered the seminar I sat in the front row next to my friend and fellow Group Leader Gina. When it came time for us to open our Bibles to read the passage Ginger asked us to consider, Gina loaned me her study Bible and she used her iPad Bible app. If I’d had the Bible I bring to BSF (and had left in the room) what happened next would not have been possible because that Bible doesn’t have a concordance.

As part of this exercise, we read Mark 1:35-45, which begins, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” As I read this, I was reminded of another verse that I have long felt was a call to me to not sleep in so late but rather to get up early to spend quiet time with God, as Jesus did in the Luke passage. I knew the text of the verse, but not what chapter and verse it was. Using the concordance in Gina’s Bible I found that the verse was Isaiah 50:4, which says, “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” I was sure the Lord was trying to tell me that I had ignored His prompting to get up earlier long enough.

But then my eyes fell upon the next verses in the Isaiah passage that describe Jesus’ obedience and endurance in going to the cross, as well as His unwavering trust in His Father:

The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Isaiah 50:5-8 (NIV).

Suddenly I knew that it wasn’t about what time I get up, but whether I desire to know Jesus more and spend time with Him in my otherwise busy day. I realized it was okay that I am not a very early riser even if Jesus was. He had to be to beat the crowds and have any time alone with His Father; I have other options. Then, to confirm what I had heard from Him, the Lord spoke again through Ginger. As we finished the exercise and discussed what we had learned from the passage, Ginger pointed out to the group, as an example of developing personal quiet time habits, that I had found a creative way to spend time with God, and that is by doing my BSF lessons while I eat my lunch at work.

What a blessing! I learned new prophetic connections and received wonderful encouragement, all because I made the time to arrive early for this one-hour seminar. And because God is good.

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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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The Snare Is Broken – A Poem

This short poem is inspired by Psalm 124, which is also rather short but full of hope.

The Snare Is Broken

My soul
entangled in the snare
of the evil one
hopeless and dying
struggling to be free
my struggles tightened the snare
entangled me more

The Lord
broke the snare
clearing the way
for me to escape
clinging to His side
my greatest hope is Christ alone
I am set free and alive
forevermore

This poem is shared today at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.

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Worthy to Be Praised – A Psalm of Sorts

When I consider the immensity of my sins
I can scarcely bear the weight of shame
Yet You bore it all, not only mine
but the sins of the whole world
You are worthy to be praised

When I consider the greatness of Your miracles
I can scarcely comprehend the wonder
of all that You have done, not only for me
but for all of Your beloved creation
You are worthy to be praised

When I consider the beauty of Your sacrifice
I can barely grasp the majesty of Your love
Yet deep in my heart I know
Your grace is not only for the world, but for me
You are worthy to be praised

When I consider who I am
When I consider who You are
I am convinced
You are worthy to be praised

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Divine Appointments – A Triolet

I’m at a conference with some great colleagues and it’s been a long busy day. There was a dinner planned with a bunch of people, some of whom I know well and some I don’t know at all. I was thinking about skipping it and just going to get a quick bite with one friend and then back to my room early. But my friend and I decided to go after all. I’m so glad I did because I had a great time and had a wonderful conversation with someone I otherwise might not have gotten to know so well. I discovered that she is a Christian and we talked about this blog, divine appointments, and many other things. That conversation inspired this poem.

Divine Appointments

Divine appointments God does orchestrate
Chance meetings are never coincidence
He designs the tapestry while we wait
Divine appointments God does orchestrate

We plead to know why but He is not late
Of this crazy life we try to make sense
Divine appointments God does orchestrate
Chance meetings are never coincidence

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

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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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Why I Share the Gospel

The word Gospel means Good News. I love to share the Good News that God loves us. And yet I’ve been asked why I am compelled to share this Good News with those who don’t believe. Why can’t I just leave them alone to believe whatever they choose?

The easy answer is that in scripture God commands us to share the Gospel. Jesus told His disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV). For many Christians this is all the reason they need.

Another reason for sharing the Gospel is because we want our loved ones to spend eternity in heaven. I wrote about this reason in a previous post titled The Hardest Thing. For many Christians this is the primary reason.

But as I’ve pondered this week why I personally share the love of Jesus, I realized it goes much deeper than that. The other night I was reading in one of my devotionals before bed and was reminded of a passage in Jeremiah that illustrates the reason why I desire to share the Gospel with others. This passage is from Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NIV):

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

This passage is very similar to Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV), which says:

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

The reason I share the Gospel is because having a relationship with Jesus Christ has made me like a tree planted by streams of water.

I used to be a huge worrier and every little difficulty in life would throw me for a loop. Life was hard and I was more like a bush in the wastelands. There were times when things seemed good, but it never seemed to last and the smallest challenge would seem insurmountable.

But now, with Christ in my life, I can face the challenges of each day. From an objective perspective my life hasn’t gotten that much easier, but my ability to weather the storms that come my way is much different. When I experience a time of drought, I have a source of living water to sustain me.

I’ve known people who have gone through some of the most difficult challenges anyone can imagine, but because they know Jesus they have had the strength to endure and even prosper in spirit. I have a friend who lost her 6-year-old son to a sudden illness and then lost her husband to a brain tumor almost a year to the day later. For many, this type of loss would have been devastating. Yet because of her faith and the strength of her Savior Jesus, she was able to move on and focus on caring for her two other children.

I’ve known other people who are not Christians who struggle with every little challenge that comes their way and who are completely sidelined by bigger trials. They seem to have no anchor in the storms of life. Their focus remains on every bad thing that happens. They do okay when good things happen, but their happiness is short-lived. Having been like them at one point in my life, I feel compassion for their plight.

Which is why I want the peace and love of Jesus for others; it’s why I share the Gospel. The promise of eternity in heaven is one thing, but God’s promise of spiritual peace in spite of the circumstances of this life is so much more tangible and useful for those who need it.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – A Poem

This morning as I was getting ready for work the song All Fall Down by MercyMe was playing on my iPod. I paused my iPod towards the end of this song for my prayer time and picked up my book of Psalms for Prayer to read the next psalm, which happened to be Psalm 139. I had to smile when I got to verse 14 because it is one of the lines in the song I had just been listening to. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I decided to write a short psalm of my own based on this verse and to also share the song by MercyMe. Because it is Tuesday, I will be sharing this later today for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will praise You, O Lord
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made

You are the Creator of my soul
my mind, my talents and strengths

You knew me before I was
and had a plan for all my days

Take my strengths, O Lord
and use them to Your glory

You are the Creator of all that I am
Your ways are too wonderful for me to understand

Take my weaknesses, O Lord, my God
and show Your might and power to overcome

I am fearfully and wonderfully made
to You belongs all my praise

 

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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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