Category Archives: Psalms

Silence

Not a creature is stirring, not even the church bats.

For many, the silence here could be deafening but for me it is welcomed.  Release time, confirmation and Wednesday Night Live are done for the year.  My secretary doesn’t work on Wednesdays.  My cell phone is on vibrate.  The lights are off (except for the light shining through my office window). And the only potential noise is the church phone or a surprise visitor (both of which may startle me if they happen).  So for the time being I am enjoying the silence (I just wish I could fix this squeaky desk chair then all would be good).

I do have things to accomplish today (and they will get done) but this pastor needs some silence for a while:

[11] And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. [12] And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  (1 Kings 19:11-12 ESV)

[10] “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

Hmmm…God encourages silence, day dreaming and just being still.  I like that. You don’t need to be moving all the time to be doing the work of the Lord.  You don’t need to be talking all the time to be communing with God.  You don’t need to be with people all the time to be productive.  Sometimes it is just about you and God; alone, together and in silence.

But don’t take my word for it, read your Bible.

So…

Silence your phone.
Lock your door.
Hide from the world.
Resist the blinking notification lights on your phone or tablet.
Don’t respond to that text message you just got.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

You have God’s permission.

The pastor -|—

Praying scripture

The following is a prayer based on Psalm 23 that I wrote for a funeral; a prayer I prayed before preaching the message:

O Lord, you are our shepherd, therefore we shall never be in want; for you make us lie down in green pastures, you lead us beside quiet waters and you restore our souls. Thank you, Oh God. We ask now that you may guide us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake; for we want to give you praise and glory.

But during this time of mourning, Oh Lord, it feels as if we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  We ask that you may comfort us with your presence, keep us from fear and protect us from the evil one.

May we feast at your table in complete peace and comfort and security as You anoint us and fill our cups to overflowing.

Oh Lord our God, thank you, for your goodness and love follows us all the days of our lives, and through faith in Jesus Christ we are confident that we will dwell in Your house forever.

Amen.

_______________________________________________________

Don’t get me wrong here.  I am not trying to re-write scripture.  I just enjoy praying through scripture and using scripture to give my prayer a voice…and what better place to do this than in the Psalter.

When my wife and I were freshly grieving our failed adoption I immediately started reading in the book of Psalms.  I found those places where the psalmist was crying out to God; asking how long; wondering where God was at.  I was thankful that the psalmist gave me words to pray as I “borrowed” his words.  I was also thankful for the reminder that God is faithful. The psalmist may have been crying out to God but he usually ended with words of praise for God. I need those words too…so I “borrowed” them as well.

What a great diversity in the book of Psalms. No wonder Martin Luther called the Psalter a “little Bible”.

So…if you need some words for your prayer today…try the book of Psalms. If you don’t needs words right now…go to the Psalms anyway. You will need them eventually.

Praise be to God!

The pastor -|—

Praying

I have been on a roll recently, writing prayers…

Praise be to God!

Maybe this is coming out of the spiritual discipline I have taken on this Lent: Using a prayer journal.  It is amazing what happens when you just let go and not force something out, but just let your spirit pray; talking and listening to God.  I’m still trying to get used to handwriting my prayers in my journal, but I am finding that I am enjoying this more and more.  The hand cramps force me to slow down, and I need that.

The following prayer is one I wrote to be used as the prayer before I preach the sermon on Feb 24th.  In the back of my mind I was thinking about Psalm 27.  I wrote and posted a prayer based on that Psalm the other day.

So let us go to God in prayer as we prepare for worship…

Father in heaven, you are a holy and awesome God.  You are worthy of all praise and worship.  You are faithful and full of grace.  In you there is shelter and life.  In you there is salvation.  May we seek your face in the midst of fear.  May we seek your shelter in the midst of storms.  And may we dwell in your house forever and ever. Through Jesus Christ you have conquered all that would besiege us and promised us a future; you have promised us life through faith in Jesus Christ.  Strengthen our faith in the face of fears and may we always seek you.  Now may the words of my mouth and the mediation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, Oh God, our Rock and Redeemer, Amen.

May God bless your day :)

The pastor -|—

Psalm 27 prayer

Oh Lord, my God, you are my light and my salvation;
of whom shall I fear.
Oh Lord, my God, you are the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid.
When the evil of this world advances against me,
When Satan fires his flaming arrows at me,
When Satan prowls around like a roaring lion,
When people spread falsehoods about me,
I will be confident; for you are with me.

Loving and holy God;
I want to dwell in your house,
I want to gaze upon your beauty,
I want to worship you forever.
Please keep me safe from the evil one.
Please protect my faith from Satan’s onslaughts.
Please watch over my life.

And…
Teach me to follow you better.
Teach me to know your laws better.
Teach me to be more obedient.
Teach me to be more faithful.

I want to give your name glory and honor in my life.

Thank you, loving God, for being my fortress and stronghold.

Amen!

The Pastor -|—

You got to want it

I am working on a confirmation lesson plan about confession and as part of that lesson we are going to be reading Psalm 19.

[Pause here and go read that 15 verse Psalm.  Cue Jeopardy theme...]

Did you read it?  Seriously…did you read Psalm 19 and meditate on it?  I could make life easier for you and just include the text in this post, but part of me is feeling feisty today so no easy way out for you.  I want you to actually open your Bible to read the scripture text.  Online or on your smartphone is fine, just read the text.

O.K…I’m ready to move on…

I read Psalm 19 yesterday and started jotting down some teaching points for the class.  I wrote a couple questions that I want to ask.  I mulled over how the discussion might go.  I started anticipating some questions my students might ask.  But I got stuck on what the psalmist was doing.  Not stuck on how I want to teach this Psalm and the topic of confession, but I got stuck because of what it was saying to ME.

[Scripture has a funny way of doing that sometimes.]

In verses 1 – 6 I hear the psalmist saying how awesome God is.  When you look around you can’t help but see the majesty of God.  You can’t help but see the awesome power of God; written in the sky and in all of creation.  God is so worthy of our worship and praise.  And this I know, but when someone makes you stop and pay attention; it hits you…again.

In verses 7 – 11 I hear the psalmist singing the praises of God for how awesome His Law is.  God’s Law is right and just and perfect and trustworthy and radiant and pure and righteous and sure and…(I’m sure we could go on and on).  God’s Law is precious and worthy to be followed and obeyed.  And this I know, but once again it is being held up before my eyes as I see it anew.

Last but not least, the psalmist confesses his sins in verses 12-13.  And in verse 14 I am captured by these words: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” A statement pointing to the psalmist’s humility before God.

Wow…is this where I am at when I come before God confessing my sins?

If God is not awesome and worthy in your sight what motivation is there to confess anything.  Confession can’t be a checklist item.  It can’t be something done out of coercion.  Confession of sins needs to be a humbling and heartfelt act of worship before a holy and gracious God.  If it is anything less than that we are just fooling ourselves (and definitely not fooling God). Basically…you got to want it.

The power of God’s awesome forgiveness can only be known through a heartfelt sense of our unworthiness and  sinfulness.  Look around.  God is everywhere.  God’s glory is being proclaimed through creation.  Meditate on that. Meditate on the fact that you do not deserve forgiveness, but because of Jesus forgiveness is offered.

Wow…that is amazing! That is Good News!

So…have you read Psalm 19 yet?  Do it.  Confess for your sins.  And know God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior.

The pastor -|—

Praise in 2013

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
[Psalm 150]

Loving and gracious God, we give you thanks and praise as we begin another new year together.  As I look back there have been ups and downs; joys and sorrows; happiness and sadness; but through it all you have been there.  There is much to be thankful for and much to praise you for.  As we begin this new year together may we not stray from your commandments and may we not forget who’s we are.  May we make the most of every moment to glorify your name and take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus. Loving God, all that we have is from you.  May we use what you have given us to bless one another in this new year and beyond.  May you receive all glory, honor, praise and worship.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen!

Happy New Year everyone!

Praise be to God…always and forever!

The pastor -|—

Give thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
[Psalm 136:1-3]

And don’t just give thanks today, but rather every single day of the year.

Why?

for his steadfast love endures forever and ever and ever and ever…

Have a Happy Thanksgiving :)

edh -|—