215.) Proverbs 5

February 26, 2010

Mae West:  “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

Proverbs 5 (New Living Translation)

Avoid Immoral Women

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter

After repeated denials that he was involved in an extramarital relationship, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards confirmed that he indeed did have an affair with  Rielle Hunter, while his wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer.  And another lie:  he denied that Hunter’s baby girl was his child; she is.

_________________________

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2 Then you will show discernment,
and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

_________________________

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky

On January 26, 1998, President Clinton claimed “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” in a nationally televised White House news conference.  But he had.

_________________________

7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
8 Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
9 If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”

15 Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.

_________________________

Dr. and Mrs. Billy Graham

“I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we’ve had in the mountains together. We’ve rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven.”

– Billy Graham, June 14, 2007, the day Ruth died

_________________________

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

_________________________

Tiger Woods

“The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior.  I was unfaithful.  I had affairs.  I cheated.  What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.”

Tiger Woods apologized to the world and returned to therapy.

_________________________

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

_________________________

Music:

George Jones sings the poignant song  “Choices.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

Mae West.   http://symonsez.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/maewest.jpg

John Edwards.   http://www.celebitchy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/john-edwards-header.jpg

Bill Clinton.    http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1998/1101980202_400.jpg

Billy Graham.    http://thescroogereport.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/grahams-2003.jpg

Tiger Woods.    http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.dose.ca/celebrity/Tiger+Woods+Apologizes+Refuses+Comment+Marriage/2587005/2587055.bin?size=dose462


214.) Proverbs 4

February 25, 2010

Proverbs 4 (New Living Translation)

A Father’s Wise Advice

1 My children, listen when your father corrects you.
Pay attention and learn good judgment,
2 for I am giving you good guidance.
Don’t turn away from my instructions.
3 For I, too, was once my father’s son,
tenderly loved as my mother’s only child.

My father, Jasper Riskedahl, will turn 95 next month.  He has been a wonderful teacher of biblical truth and a gracious model of the godly life to me.

4 My father taught me,
“Take my words to heart.
Follow my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”

_________________________

Music:

The Mormon Tabernacle choir sings “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  1. Faith of our fathers, living still,
    In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
    Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!
    Refrain:
    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death.
  2. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
    To win all nations unto thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    We all shall then be truly free.
  3. Faith of our fathers, we will love
    Both friend and foe in all our strife;
    And preach thee, too, as love knows how
    By kindly words and virtuous life.

–Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863

_________________________

10 My child, listen to me and do as I say,
and you will have a long, good life.
11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways
and lead you in straight paths.

12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13
Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
Guard them, for they are the key to life.

14 Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
16 For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day.
They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble.
17 They eat the food of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence!

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Philippians 2:15-16 (New International Version)

You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.

_________________________

19 But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
and healing to their whole body.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

_________________________

Mount St. Helens

Proverbs 4:25-27 —

Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

Prospects for climbing Mount St. Helens were not encouraging.  Rain was falling in torrents and the mountain we had come so far to climb couldn’t even be seen.  Hoping that the weather would improve by morning, we pitched our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags.

When morning arrived, the weather, although somewhat improved, was far from ideal.  Clouds still hid the mountain and a fine drizzle of rain was falling.  We showed little enthusiasm as we strapped on our crampons and roped up for the climb.

Five hours later, our previous lack of enthusiasm had turned to gloom.  The rain was still falling, visibility was poor, and the snow slope was becoming increasingly steep.

Another hour of dogged perseverance, however, brought us above the clouds and into dazzling sunshine.  Wave upon wave of fleece appeared to cover the universe, with the summits of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier the only visible land masses.  The discomfort which we had suffered seemed a small price to pay for the magnificent sight spread before us.

How often in the spiritual realm are mountaintop experiences preceded by periods of discouragement?  Indeed, the spiritual mountaintop experiences are often the direct result of persevering in the face of discouraging circumstances—of taking one’s stand in the face of ridicule; of staying unruffled when unfairly criticized; or of remaining steadfast in prayer for a loved one who does not recognize God’s claim upon his life.  Only those who toil to the summit will see the view!  Only those who bear the cross will receive the blessing!

–Dr. Onas Cudley Scandrette, in Stones of Remembrance

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

Proverbs 4:18-19.    http://k53.pbase.com/v3/89/415789/2/51688760.favproverbs41819.jpg

boy running.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/1bc4c-jackson_running.jpg

shining stars.    http://redemptionstory.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/night_sky_large_02.jpg

heart and tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/hearttree.jpg

Mount St. Helens.    http://images.reserve123.com/product/8708-2.jpg


213.) Proverbs 3

February 24, 2010

calligraphy by Timothy Botts

Proverbs 3 (New Living Translation)

Trusting in the Lord

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

“The Sure Path”  Proverbs 3:5-6 “VerseVisions” by Mark Lawrence

7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

___________________________

Music:

In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike:  “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.”

Daniel Towner was at that meeting.  He wrote the words down and gave them to his friend John H. Sammis, who put them to verse.  Then Towner wrote the music, and soon the hymn “Trust and Obey” became a favorite.

Here it is sung by Sierra Hull; she accompanies herself on the mandolin.

___________________________

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,

Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
22
for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
23
They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.
_________________________

Reflections on common sense:

“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”
–Robert Green Ingersoll

“Common sense is very uncommon.”
–Horace Greeley

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
–Thomas Alva Edison

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”
–William James

_________________________

24 You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.

_________________________

2 Corinthians 8:14 (New International Version)

At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.

_________________________

28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

_________________________

Ephesians 4:32 (Amplified Bible)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted) . . .

_________________________

29 Don’t plot harm against your neighbor,
for those who live nearby trust you.
30 Don’t pick a fight without reason,
when no one has done you harm.

31 Don’t envy violent people
or copy their ways.
32 Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.

33 The Lord curses the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the upright.

34 The Lord mocks the mockers
but is gracious to the humble.

_________________________

Philippians 2:3 (New International Version)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

_________________________

35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools are put to shame!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

Botts.    http://www.prestoimages.net/graphics03/5592_pd73498full.jpg

Lawrence.    http://ih2.redbubble.net/work.2007261.3.flat,550×550,075,f.jpg

silos.    http://rblog.thebowmans.us/Images/Scriptures/Proverbs/Proverbs3_9_10.jpg

Old Faithful.    http://www.nationalparklover.com/images/wyoming-montana/Yellowstone/old_faithful254.jpg

common sense.     http://pix.motivatedphotos.com/2009/3/17/633728666779953310-commonsensenotsocommon.jpg

heart.     http://media.photobucket.com/image/tender%20heart/rainbowshine61/d0b8605cc0a8fbfe3841b9b574d3236f.jpg

humility.    http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj75/gcelliot/Myspace%20Pics/Humility.jpg


212.) Proverbs 2

February 23, 2010

Proverbs 2 (New Living Translation)

The Benefits of Wisdom

1 My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.

_________________________

Matthew 13:44 (New International Version)

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

_________________________

5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

_________________________

James 1:5 (Amplified Bible)

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

_________________________

7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.

12 Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.
13 These men turn from the right way
to walk down dark paths.
14 They take pleasure in doing wrong,
and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
15 Their actions are crooked,
and their ways are wrong.

_________________________

The right enemies help more than the wrong friends.

–from The Sayings of Chairman Moishe, by Moishe Rosen

_________________________

16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,
from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband
and ignores the covenant she made before God.
18 Entering her house leads to death;
it is the road to the grave.
19 The man who visits her is doomed.
He will never reach the paths of life.

20 Follow the steps of good men instead,
and stay on the paths of the righteous.

_________________________

What “good men” and women have inspired you to “stay on the paths of righteousness”?  Perhaps relatives come immediately to mind, or pastors, or teachers, or co-workers, or neighbors, or camp leaders, or . . . (you get the drift!).   Why not write one of them a letter today — thanking him or her for being a godly influence in your life?

_________________________

21 For only the godly will live in the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it.
22 But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the treacherous will be uprooted.

_________________________

from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

In fact, the righteous must leave the earth as well as the wicked; but the earth is a very different thing to them. To the wicked it is all the heaven they ever shall have; to the righteous it is the place of preparation for heaven. And is it all one to us, whether we share with the wicked in the miseries of their latter end, or share those everlasting joys that shall crown believers?

_________________________

Music:

Oh, to be godly and to live with integrity!  To stay on the path of righteousness!  To love the Lord with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and in so doing prepare for Heaven!  Jars of Clay sings “Two Hands.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

benefits.    http://www.afm.ars.usda.gov/hrd/eNeo/images/big-benefits.gif

Geocaching app.    http://braddog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/geocaching.jpg

Show me your friends . . .     http://ariselifeskills.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/friendspredictyourfutureposter1.jpg

pen and paper.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3432/3223920178_85c26133df.jpg


211.) Proverbs 1

February 22, 2010

proverb: (noun) a short, pithy sentence that conveys a general truth, condensing common experience into memorable form

Proverbs 1 (New Living Translation)

The Purpose of Proverbs

1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

King Solomon. Third king of Israel. Son of the great King David. The wisest man who ever lived.

2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.

5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

_________________________

Music:

“We Choose the Fear of the Lord”  sung here by the Maranatha Singers.

_________________________

A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom

A father teaching his son how to kayak.  Photo by Susan Sayour.

8 My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.

10 My child, if sinners entice you,
turn your back on them!
11 They may say, “Come and join us.
Let’s hide and kill someone!
Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave;
let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13 Think of the great things we’ll get!
We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take.
14 Come, throw in your lot with us;
we’ll all share the loot.”

15 My child, don’t go along with them!
Stay far away from their paths.
16 They rush to commit evil deeds.
They hurry to commit murder.
17 If a bird sees a trap being set,
it knows to stay away.

_________________________

from Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael

Proverbs 1:17 — Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

When God is speaking to a soul, the devil always tries to spread a net to entangle him.  Have you ever heard a message and found yourself thinking, “Yes, that is just the word for him.  It fits him exactly.  I hope he takes it to heart.”  If you have, then you know one of Satan’s favorite nets.  He tries to make us think of somebody else, and pass the message on to him instead of taking it for ourselves.

But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.  If you see the net, pray this prayer:  “Lord, open my ears to hear what Thou wilt say to me.  Make me sincere, and give me grace to obey.”

And then, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5).

_________________________

18 But these people set an ambush for themselves;
they are trying to get themselves killed.
19 Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money;
it robs them of life.

Wisdom Shouts in the Streets

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street . . . “

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets.
She cries out in the public square.
21 She calls to the crowds along the main street,
to those gathered in front of the city gate:

_________________________

This is the first time that Wisdom,  personified as a woman  (in Greek, “Sophia”),  speaks in the book of Proverbs.  We will hear from her again in chapters 8 and 9.  This seems to me to be a metaphor only; orthodox Christianity does not condone worship of the goddess Sophia.  Scripture teaches that God alone is true and holy Wisdom.

Romans 11:33 (New International Version)

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!

1 Timothy 1:17 (New King James Version)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

_________________________

22 “How long, you simpletons,
will you insist on being simpleminded?
How long will you mockers relish your mocking?
How long will you fools hate knowledge?
23 Come and listen to my counsel.
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise.

24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come.
I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.
25 You ignored my advice
and rejected the correction I offered.
26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble!
I will mock you when disaster overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone,
and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer.
Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.
29 For they hated knowledge
and chose not to fear the Lord.
30 They rejected my advice
and paid no attention when I corrected them.
31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way,
choking on their own schemes.
32 For simpletons turn away from me—to death.
Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”

_________________________

Psalm 112:1, 7, 8 (New International Version)

Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.

He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

proverbs.    http://www.instantdisplay.co.uk/st_proverbs.jpg

King Solomon.     http://api.ning.com/files/CHEym1kkr-YmEgUruMEwdTsmvkM*DCr30RIcYq*p5HNeRbM-zLi0sJsoZ6OEP88KoqWo6JUlIz02yMthithZs3zQ13e-I5Pu/King_Solomon.jpg

Sayour.    http://z.about.com/d/paddling/1/0/h/3/-/-/0_Intro.JPG

sparrow caught in a net.      http://meggangould.net/blog/mnt/w0605/d02/s02/a0002vtd/www/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/forsgren_Sparrow.jpg

wisdom calling in the street.    http://www.tlchrist.info/wisdom.jpg


209.) Psalms 23 and 24

February 18, 2010

Psalm 23 (New King James Version)

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

_________________________

Music:

“The Lord’s My Shepherd” sung by Libera, an all-boy vocal group directed by Robert Prizeman from the parish of St. Philip’s, Norbury, South London.

_________________________


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1

–from Daily Readings from Luther’s Writings
by Martin Luther, ed. by Barbara Owen

In this passage you hear that you lost sheep cannot find your way to the Shepherd yourself but can only roam around in the wilderness.  If Christ, your Shepherd, did not seek you and bring you back, you would simply have to fall prey to the wolf.

But now he comes, seeks, and finds you.  He takes you into His flock, that is, into Christendom, through the Word and Sacrament.  He gives His life for you, keeps you always on the right path, so that you may not fall into error.  You hear nothing at all about your powers, good works, and merits—unless you would say that it is strength, good works, and merit when you run around in the wilderness and are defenseless and lost.

No, Christ alone is active here, merits things, manifests His power; He seeks, carries, and directs you.  He earns life for you through His death.  He alone is strong and keeps you from perishing, from being snatched out of His hand.

And for all of this you can do nothing at all but only lend your ears, hear, and with thanksgiving receive the inexpressible treasure.  Learn to know well the voice of your Shepherd, follow Him and avoid the voice of the stranger.

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The Lord is my shepherd — that’s RELATIONSHIP!

.

I shall not be in want — that’s SUPPLY!

.

He makes me lie down in green pastures — that’s REST!

.

He leads me beside quiet waters — that’s REFRESHMENT!

.

He restores my soul — that’s HEALING!

.

He leads me in paths of righteousness — that’s GUIDANCE!

.

for his name’s sake — that’s PURPOSE!

.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death — that’s TESTING!

.

I will fear no evil — that’s PROTECTION!

.

for you are with me — that’s FAITHFULNESS!

.

your rod and your staff, they comfort me — that’s DISCIPLINE!

.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies — that’s HOPE!

.

You anoint my head with oil — that’s CONSECRATION!

.

My cup overflows — that’s ABUNDANCE!

.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life — that’s BLESSING!

.

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord — that’s SECURITY!

.

forever — that’s ETERNITY!

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Psalm 24 (New King James Version)

A Psalm of David.

1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Because God created the natural—invented it out of his love and artistry—it demands our reverence.
–C. S. Lewis

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3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

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Music:

The contemporary worship song  “Give us clean hands”  builds on the thoughts of verses 3 – 6.  Chris Tomlin sings.

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The Eastern Gate, also known as the Golden Gate or the Gate of Mercy, in the eastern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  In Jewish tradition, this is the gate through which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem.

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  Selah

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New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Images courtesy of:

Psalm 23 baby.    http://rlv.zcache.com/23rd_psalm_kids_bodysuit_tshirt-p235521799760657530stvj_400.jpg

Jesus picking up a lamb.    http://www.jp2trainingcenter.com/jesus_lamb_up.jpg

father with daughter.     http://secondadventchristian.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/bigstockphoto_father_and_daughter_250481.jpg

fruit salad.    http://seasonedfork.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/fruit-salad.jpg

green grass.    http://www.seekerstrove.com/i/email-art/psalm23/a_004.jpg

quiet waters.    http://www.consideration.org/black/images/James-Glacier-015.jpg

path of righteousness.    http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/right-path.jpg

one way.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3111/2554384497_464aaae98b.jpg?v=0

ambulance.    http://todaysseniorsnetwork.com/Hospital,%20Ambulance,%20Emergency%20Room.jpg

lighthouse in France.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/2094884933_e5f8bcce3f.jpg

skydiving.     http://s3.amazonaws.com/hgl/assets/5823/sky-diving2_blog.jpg

right way-wrong way.    http://itorganization2017.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/student_discipline_head_photo.jpg

dinner table.    http://peggyparks.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/dinnerpartyetiquette1.jpg

Holy Spirit dove.     http://cornishevangelist.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/ruach-the-holy-spirit-descends-like-a-dove-upon-yehshua.jpg

overflow.     http://www.mindthebeginner.net/wp-content/uploads/overflow.jpg

footprints in the sand.    http://www.magic-city-news.com/artman2/uploads/1/14_Blessing.JPG

infinity sign.    http://karpus.files.wordpress.com/2006/06/infinity-sign.jpg

golf, sea, sky.    http://www.seatoskygolf.ca/images/social_image.jpg

Eastern Gate in Jerusalem.     http://yeshuaforyou.com/images/eastern%20gate.jpg


208.) Psalms 21 and 22

February 17, 2010

Psalm 21 (English Standard Version)

The King Rejoices in the LORD’s Strength

1O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2You have given him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Selah

3For you meet him with rich blessings;
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4He asked life of you; you gave it to him,
length of days forever and ever.
5His glory is great through your salvation;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

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“Now may He that bore the crown of thorns bring us to his bliss.”

–from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a fourteenth century Arthurian romance

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7For the king trusts in the LORD,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9You will make them as a blazing oven
when you appear.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.

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Psalm 22 (English Standard Version)

“The Christ of Saint John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali, 1951 (Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

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Mark 15:34 (New International Version)

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

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Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

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Matthew 27:41-43 (New International Version)

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him. “

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9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
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Psalm 22:9-10  (Today’s English Version)

It was you who brought me safely through birth,
and when I was a baby, you kept me safe.
I have relied on you since the day I was born,
and you have always been my God.

“But when such love exists between a poor pioneer woman and her plain, ordinary children, what must it not be when it rises to Divinity . . .  The love of mother and child can be only an infinitesimal part of that other love; yet, small and imperfect as it is, it still carries a breath of the Divine omnipotence . . .  If you, pioneer mothers, have not seen the Glory of the Lord, then no preacher of the gospel will ever be able to show it to you!”
–from Giants in the Earth, by O. E. Rolvaag

The itinerant pastor in Giants in the Earth, seeks to bring comfort and healing to the troubled immigrant woman, Beret.  In his sermon in Per Hansa’s sod house, he draws an analogy between the love of the pioneer mother for her children and the love of God for his people.  God is a spirit, so the only reason for a masculine pronoun for him is that the neuter seems inappropriate in our ignorance of spirit being.  But if, as I believe we may assume, both the masculine and feminine are present in the nature of God who created us, we may truly use the analogy of the father-care and the mother-love which he extends to us.  Troubled as the love of Beret is for her children, “it still carries a breath of the Divine Omnipotence.”  Other of her faculties have left her as her personality fragments, but the love for her child is there, anxious and enduring.  The pastor senses the God-origin of that love.  “If you, pioneer mothers, have not seen the glory of the Lord, then no preacher of the gospel will ever be able to show it to you.”

Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm, one of those in which we hear the voice of the Son in the agony of his crucifixion pleading for the presence and rescue of the Father.  “It was you,” he prays, “who brought me safely through birth”—in a manger at the end of a dreary journey.  “And when I was a baby, you kept me safe”—from the soldiers of Herod and on the long journey to Egypt.  Love followed him—the love of God and his human father, Joseph; the love of God and his human mother, Mary.  There was the fullness of the love of God, beyond our ability to fully comprehend, and the beauty of the most admirable of human love from Mary and the no-doubt-amazed Joseph, trying to understand what his marriage to Mary had brought into his life.

“I have relied on you since the day I was born, and you have always been my God,” the psalmist says.  That reliance and constancy give to life the experience of love that can make of it a great experience, whether we refer to the love and care of a devoted mother such as Mary was, or to the “steadfast love of the Lord.”  His constancy surpasses even hers.  In that love, we experience the support and nourishment that leads us to victory in an unsteady and often frightening world.

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11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,

and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

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John 19:28 (New Living Translation)

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”

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you lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—

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John 20:25 (New American Standard Bible)

So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

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17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;
18
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

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Matthew 27:35 (New International Reader’s Version)

When they had nailed him to the cross, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

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19But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!

21Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

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Colossians 3:16 (Amplified Bible)

Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.

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23You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

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Music:

From Handel’s Messiah — “Behold the Lamb of God”  performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

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25From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

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John 19:30 (Contemporary English Version)

After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

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English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

Psalm 21:13.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps21-13v.jpg

Dali.    http://2churchmice.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/christ_of_saint_john_of_the_cross.jpg

clock.    http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/17500/17508/300_17508_md.gif

Giants in the Earth. http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n58/n294962.jpg

Jesus on the cross:  I thirst.     http://wheat4paradise.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/i-thirst2.jpg

nail-scarred hands.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tLPpH-a_EEE/SmczAZ7FE3I/AAAAAAAAE6E/qOpIM5Ec5AM/s320/Nail+Scarred+Hands.jpg

casting lots for Jesus’ clothing.    http://www.thevictor.org/story/97221901.jpg

“It is finished.”     http://searchingforgrace.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/it_is_finished.jpg