As the sun melts the snow…

Thoughts on Psalm 9

All my heart praises you; my joy knows you are it’s source, my fear is converted to trust when I pause and focus on your promise of provision; worry dissipates in the warmth of your sun rise. How does my discouragement praise you? I lay it before you and it melts like the snow under the warm sun. You have always been there for me; you have saved me countless times from the enemy’s clutches and from my own folly. Thank you. I rejoice and let my heart rise in gladness as the sun rises this morning showing the snow dotted garden.

Insecurity and doubt are turned away from my doorstep because you guard my home, I can see their emptiness and clumsiness as they depart from your presence. You alone are the one who announces the validity of my life and you have called me valued. Thank you.

Under your rule prejudice and harmfulness are eliminated from my heart. There is nothing in me that seeks destruction and the promotion of my cause at the cost of others. You are worthy to determine the merit and the truth of my case.

In you is relief from the pressure of my circumstance, my days are held in your heart. I know you, you will never abandon me. All my heart praises you. Amen.

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A beauty tip

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips.

photo-on-9-7-16-at-8-06-amRecently a discoloration has developed on my lower lip. I should have it looked at by a dermotologist, but I haven’t yet. Believe it or not (hehe), I am self-conscious about it. I attempt to hide the spot by always wearing lipstick. Otherwise, I’m thinking you are looking at the spot on my lip and not at me. Wearing lipstick covers an embarrassing blemish and with my flaw hidden, I can take my focus off of me and enjoy being with you.

Does the Lord’s praise on our lips do the same thing? Does the Lord’s praise cover our flaws, so that we don’t have to attempt to cover them ourselves? hmmm. Does the Lord’s praise free us to consider the other’s interests, to attend to their words, their person? Does the Lord’s praise allow our beauty to shine? hmmm.

sin and Praise

Good Saturday morning. We are prone to sin, we sometimes wander into it unaware. That why we need a prophylactic prayer, “Oh God of my salvation, deliver me from bloodshed” Psalm 51. Then you know what happens? Our mouths are full of praise. God is great and powerful and we are humbled and amazed. Take a minute and reflect on this great wonder. Debby

MM 11/8/14 sin and Praise from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

Making room for rest (Sabbath)

Making room for Sabbath

Sabbath, a day of rest; modeled by God in the creation account, commanded by God on Mt. Sinai and explained by Jesus as he walked with his disciples. Honoring the Sabbath is not just a cessation of activity. This might rest your physical body, but Sabbath is intended to refresh your whole self – body, mind and soul. How can we enter into the rest that re-engages us with God and God’s ways?

1. Sabbath is bracketed by thanksgiving and praise. Begin your day by recognizing God’s constant love. Even before you rise from your bed announce to yourself, “This day is God’s gift of love to me.” Spend time telling God and each other about God’s goodness. Recall God’s wondrous works; stand in awe of God’s creation, be humbled by God’s work of salvation on your behalf, rejoice that God’s work continues to transform you into whom God created you to be. Singing is a great way for the joy of the Lord to be experienced. Raise your voice in praise through the day.

Psalm 92:1-5 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!

2. Sabbath reminds us of the end of the story (part one). God’s plan is for all evil to cease. It may seem as if the wicked have won the day. Worn down by both global and personal injustices in our world, it is easy to get discouraged and lose hope. This is another reason we need Sabbath rest. As we ponder God’s works and listen to God’s words, we are reoriented to the truth: God’s enemies shall perish. Evil will end. God’s righteousness will prevail. Remembering this give us courage to face the day and strength to fight the good fight.

Ps 92:6-11 The dullard cannot know, the stupid cannot understand this: though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever, but you, O Lord, are on high forever. For your enemies, O Lord, for your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

3. Sabbath reminds us of the end of the story (part two). Evil will perish, but God’s children will flourish. Life will continue to grow within us. Age will not diminish our beauty and fruitfulness. We are forever planted in God’s house.

Ps 92:12- 15 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Our Sabbath day ends with recounting the many ways God’s faithfulness has been our rock and our salvation. We can sleep in peace, having been refreshed by God’s oil of gladness and truth.

Oh sing him a song that is new, play loudly with all your skill. Psalm 33:1

 

A new song? Solomon taught that there is nothing new under the sun, so I guess we have to take what is old and say it in new ways, with our own voice. St. Paul knew the words he shared were from God and carried God’s living power. (1 Thess 2:13) Oh, Lord, grant us the same confidence and let us be as empty a vessel as can be. Pour your old, true words and power into the shape of this vessel. Let them take the unique form that is ours by your grace and send them out as a living power. Amen

Play loudly with all your skill?  I must play my instrument with great enthusiasm and soulfulness. My song of praise is sung with my pen. Others might sing, draw, parent, practice their profession, but whatever form it takes, we are to belt it out! 

David praised God with his voice and his harp. These were his instruments, what are yours? Mine are words. To me God says, ‘Write without care, abandon yourself to expressing your praise. Use everything you have and are to tell of my Goodness.” Yes! Come Holy Spirit, fashion a new song within us and let us sing it loudly. Amen.