Blooms and Scripture 11

Wildflowers 3

Wildflowers 3

Here are some planted wildflowers in the side yard (if you plant them, are they still wildflowers?)

Wildflowers 2

Wildflowers 2

Actually, this is the second year of the flowers. I planted them last year where the ground was bare due to a new drain field installation. Then I noticed they were coming back, so I left them alone. Glad I did.

Wildflowers 1

Wildflowers 1

“I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High” Psalms 7:17 ESV

Blooms and Scripture 1

The Lone Sunflower

The Lone Sunflower

Going a  couple weeks with no post deserves a few to get going again. Things have been blooming wonderfully, so I’ll post a few “blooms and Scripture”.

A few days of Psalms 25 – one of my favorites!

Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed , let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed : let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” Pslams 25:1-3

Praying and Pondering Go Well Together

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Praying can lead to pondering. And, pondering can lead to praying. They go well together and the Psalms often combine the two.

There are several good synonyms used to define ponder (and I’ll use various ones): meditate, consider, deliberate, contemplate, and muse. The longer definition of ponder that appeals to me is “To weigh in the mind, with thoroughness and care.” It’s not just a quick thought and then move on – the thoroughness and care are critical.

David gives a good example of praying and pondering in Psalm 143. “Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.” (v1-2). David prays for mercy, and then considers that on his own, he isn’t righteous before God.

In verses 3 and 4, he ponders to the point of “Woe is me!”

“For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.” (v3-4)

            Then his contemplation turns in the right direction:

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah” (v5-6)

And, David finishes the Psalm with combinations of praying and pondering – acknowledging how much he needs God’s help and mercy, and giving the reasons he is asking for that help and mercy.  David concludes that all will be well because he is God’s servant.

Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge! Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.”(v7-12)

It is good for us to ponder long on the goodness and greatness of God, and meditate on what He has done for us. The more we thoroughly and carefully ponder those things, the deeper our prayer life will be.

Pursue Wisdom

English: The Wisdom of Solomon, by James Jacqu...

The Wisdom of Solomon

This is part of the ChristianWriters.com blog chain, with the June theme of “Pursuit”. Please check out the list to the right for other blogs during the month.

Sharon and I were checking out the furniture before the auction. As we walked through the aisles, she noticed a beautiful oak chest-of-drawers. She called me over to see it and let me know she loved it. Of course, since she loved it, I did too – so, we decided to bid on it and determined what our maximum bid could be.

About an hour into the auction, they took the chest to the front of the room. Sharon squeezed my arm and whispered, “There it is!”

The bidding started and we let a couple of rounds go by before we jumped in. The bids were lower and slower than we expected and were still much below our planned price. I made a bid that was countered by a slightly higher one. We looked at each other, and since we were still well within our limit, I raised the bid.

We waited excitedly as the seconds ticked by with no other response – then, really got excited when we heard “sold”. The chest was ours for half the cost we thought it would be!

We relaxed and settled back triumphantly to watch more of the auction. The helpers at the front picked up a chest and walked away with it. Then, two others picked up “our” chest and moved it to the center. The auctioneer started with “now, we have this beautiful oak chest – what am I bid?”

I stood up and started to shout, “Wait, we just bought that one!”, but quickly deduced the mistake was ours. We had not been paying attention through most of the auction, and now realized “our” oak chest had been in the waiting area where the items coming up next were set.

We hadn’t even noticed the chest that really was now ours. I had to go walk through the aisles of sold stuff and search for our number. I found a plain pine chest of drawers – probably worth what we paid for it, but we had no desire to take it home. We left it there on consignment to be sold at the next auction.

The results of the waylaid process were:

  • The pine chest sold at the next auction, but when they took the seller’s fee out, we lost money.
  • The oak chest sold for about twice what we said we could afford to pay for it, so our plan wasn’t realistic from the beginning.
  • We learned the lesson that we need to be sure what we’re bidding on before we jump in.

Our pursuit of the chest had gone astray, and it was obvious a pursuit of wisdom would have served us better.

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom…” Proverbs 4:7 NKJV

We spend much of our lives pursuing knowledge – through school, workshops, reading, and training at work or elsewhere. That’s not a bad thing, because knowledge is necessary for what we need and want to do.

The Bible has several passages that emphasize the importance of knowledge. But, as critical as it is, knowledge isn’t an end in itself. As the verse above states, we should take knowledge and move beyond it to wisdom – wisdom is to be our principal pursuit.

It takes wisdom to understand that we need knowledge, and to determine what knowledge we need. It takes wisdom to understand how to use knowledge. A great example of that is Ephesians 4:15 where Paul encourages us to speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth is knowledge. Speaking it in love is wisdom.

It is wise to understand that having more wisdom would be helpful. (As I get older, I am getting wiser, if only because I can see how much more wisdom I need). Like King Solomon, who showed that God had already given him some wisdom – he had enough to know he needed to ask for more.

Where does wisdom come from? God does use situations (like auctions) to help us learn wisdom. But, the principal place for us to pursue wisdom is in God’s Word, for it is wisdom. Getting wisdom, as stated in the Proverbs verse above, is learning, understanding and obeying God’s Word.

The auction experience did make Sharon and me wiser (at a cost of money and embarrassment). But, a better way to pursue wisdom isn’t through experience. King David wrote in Psalm 119:98-100, that God, through His commandments, had made him wiser than his enemies. Meditating on God’s testimonies and obeying God’s precepts gave him more understanding than his teachers or his elders.

Then in that same passage, we are given instructions on how we should be guided, not just in our pursuit of wisdom, but in all our pursuits here on earth:

Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” Psalms 119:105

Pursue wisdom by the light of God’s Word.

10 New Year’s Resolutions from the Psalms

English: Scroll of the Psalms

Scroll of the Psalms

I usually post once a week, but thought I’d add this one since it deals with the New Year:         

            As many people do at the New Year, I was thinking about resolutions. I realized that many of the Psalms contain “I will (or shall)” or “I will (or shall) not”. That sounded like resolutions to me, so here is a list of 10 New Year’s resolutions from The Psalms.

 Psalms 4:8 – I will lie down, both in peace and in sleep. For You alone, Jehovah, make me dwell in safety.

 Psalms 5:3 – My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Jehovah; in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.

 Psalms 18:2 – Jehovah is my strength, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; I will trust in Him; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.

 Psalms 26:1 – Judge me, O Jehovah; for I have walked in my truthfulness. I have trusted also in Jehovah; I shall not slide.

 Psalms 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul, and moan within me? Hope in God; for I shall praise Him for the salvation of His face.

 Psalms 44:6 – For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

Psalms 56:4 – In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.

Psalms 62:6 – He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my strong tower; I shall not be shaken.

Psalms 119:33 – Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Psalms 119:34 – Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your Law; yea, I shall observe it with all my heart.

A Psalm for the Weary

Dear Lord, sometimes I feel so tired.

In my fatigue, my faith dwindles.

In my weariness, my passions sleep.

In my daily busy-ness I tell myself I am serving You,

Yet at the end of the day I’m not sure whether I did.

But then You give me a word, or a thought, or a verse, or a song, or a sight –

 From those around me whom I love or those around me whom I don’t even know.

You give me an opportunity to recognize Your Holy presence.

And I remember that I am Yours and You are my God – The One I’m trying to serve –

The God Who does not tire.

The God Who truly wants the best for me.

The God Who will carry me and give me all the strength I need to serve Him.

In this my faith is strengthened and my passions awake!

I will praise You, and worship You, Oh, merciful and gracious Lord of all!