Tag Results For :: "Psalms"




Away

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.

— Psalm 55:6, The Message

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Sometimes, I still picture this: Sitting out on Mission Peninsula, surrounded by the greens and blues of northern Michigan, where the cool clear day and a glass of iced tea brought a moment’s respite from real life—the place where I actually live.

The thing about being away is that you don’t belong there. It’s great while it lasts. But it doesn’t last.

So, instead I think I’ll aim to live here:

I call to God;
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
are lined up against me.

— Psalm 55:16, The Message

Lord, I’m looking to You today, waiting on Your help and direction, drawing close to Your promises and peace. Show me the way ahead in the midst of this day’s surroundings—in Christ, I pray.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.

— Psalm 55:22, The Message



Oak Trees Dancing

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Go where the best prayers take you. — Frederick Buechner

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God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”
Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.
God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

— Psalm 29:9-11, The Message

It’s the water dropping from the live oak trees, the small gems shining. It’s the clouds lifting across the charged air currents, the long winds sweeping. It’s the summer light in darkness, the warm solstice at dawn, the calendar page on time.

Above, beyond, and within, He rules.

Lord, magnificent Creator, Father of us all, Your grace is no small thing. Thank You for every good and perfect gift your love brings! Enlarge my heart to receive Your strength, respond to Your peace, and recognize Your glory — in Christ, I pray.



Real Wealth, Rich Simplicity

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.
— Psalm 119:65-72, The Message
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A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. — 1 Timothy 6:7a, The Message

What current activity or opportunity might be distracting you from enjoying this kind of simplicity in your life? When you see unmet needs for leadership and/or service around you—in your job or community, at home, school, or church, among your friends, family, and co-workers—do you want to respond and try to meet the need according to a list of “shoulds” instead of focusing on what God has specifically called you to do?

What goes? What stays? What needs adding?

Our natural inclination when we’re under pressure is to turn away from God’s peace. Notice the symptoms: Anxiety, upset, worry, irritability, comparisons, anger, and resentment. “Lord, don’t you care?” Choosing to wait upon the Lord and trust Him with our concerns isn’t easy or automatic. We can choose to turn toward Life as we seek Christ’s help and direction, wherever we find ourselves.

What comes to mind as you ask God for discernment about distractions in your life today?



Not Taking Any of This Day for Granted

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.

— John R. W. Stott

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We pondered your love-in-action, God,
waiting in your temple:
Your name, God, evokes a train
of Hallelujahs wherever
It is spoken, near and far;
your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action.

Be glad, Zion Mountain;
Dance, Judah’s daughters!
He does what he said he’d do!

Circle Zion, take her measure,
count her fortress peaks,
Gaze long at her sloping bulwark,
climb her citadel heights—
Then you can tell the next generation
detail by detail the story of God,
Our God forever,
who guides us till the end of time.

— Psalm 48:9-14, The Message

Doves cooing outside our bedroom window is a commonplace occurrence this time of year. Still, I can go for hours at a time without hearing them, simply because I’m not listening.

It’s only when I stop focusing on other things and turn my attention in the birds’ direction that I realize their sweet songs have been there all along.

Lord, how easy it is to tune out Your love and grace as my attention turns away from You toward my thoughts, concerns, and surroundings. I want to look and listen more often for You; I’m not taking any of this day for granted. Open my ears to your music and fill my heart with Your songs — in Christ, I pray.



Breathing Room

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.

— C. S. Lewis

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God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

— Psalm 60:1-5, The Message

This morning wasn’t yesterday, or even the day before. Each waking up time seems to have a ready-made agenda by the time my eyes open about where to look, whom to listen to, what to focus on. Am I willing to begin all over again? Whose invitation at the start of this day’s journey will I accept?

One thing is clear: The mountain I start climbing from the moment my eyes and ears open can only be scaled in single steps, one foot after another, with each day’s journey enough by itself, all the way to the top. There is no other way to get where I’m going.

Lord, help me begin all over again each day in the space of Your breathing room. I confess my tendency to focus on the past, to choose today’s itinerary based on previous experience, to set a predetermined schedule about how far I’ll travel in the next twenty-four hours. Guard and keep me on your path as I climb as far and as long as You decide, day by day—in Christ, I pray.



Heart’s Desire

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , ,

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God answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach,
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans.

When you win, we plan to raise the roof
and lead the parade with our banners.
May all your wishes come true!

That clinches it—help’s coming,
an answer’s on the way,
everything’s going to work out.

See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we’re making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.

— Psalm 20:1-8, The Message

Help’s coming. An answer’s on the way. Everything’s going to work out.

Even when I can’t see it.

Lord, at moments like this, when I don’t know what will happen next and can’t tell how You’ll work everything together for something good, I’m trusting Your plans and purposes. Thank you in advance for what’s next. My heart, my desires, my life, are in Your hands. Accomplish what You will — in Christ, I pray.



A Prayer for Abigail

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

— Jim Elliot

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God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

— Psalm 119:33-40, The Message

Abigail had an amazing moment last night when she was the first graduate to enter the auditorium, both hands waving. As she wheeled across the stage at the Frank Erwin Center in downtown Austin, the highlights of her life’s journey filled my heart. Through it all, God has strengthened and sustained this remarkable young woman. Her life portrays a shining picture of His beauty and grace.

Lord, bless all of us who rely on Your strength in our weakness. Smooth the path ahead as we travel the road You lead us on. Thank you for the life, the hope, and the peace you alone give. May Your joy be ours—in Christ, we pray.   

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Today’s Dairy Free/Gluten Free Recipe: Tea and Cookies

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

— Psalm 34:1-8, The Message

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Delicious Dairy Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Combine these dry ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl:

2 1/2 c. *blanched* almond meal flour (Honeyville brand is especially good–available online direct from the company or through amazon.com)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine all the liquid ingredients in a bowl:

1/2 c. grapeseed oil

1/2 c. agave nectar

1 Tb. pure vanilla extract

- Stir liquid mixture into dry mixture with a spoon.

- Blend thoroughly into this mixture:

1 c. coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I use 365 brand Dark Chocolate Mini Chunks available at Whole Foods Market)

- Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate dough for about 20-30 minutes.

- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper.

- Using 1 heaping tablespoon for each cookie, place the dough onto the sheets two inches apart.

- Press down each cookie with the palm of your hand to flatten.

- Bake for 7-10 minutes — cookies should be lightly golden.

- Allow cookies to cool for 20-30 minutes on baking sheets.

- Serve with your favorite tea.

(adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam)



Every Moment

May 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Use all your skill to put me together;
I wait to see your finished product.

Psalm 25:21, MSG

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Sometimes I forget: Right now, and in every moment, God is making me.

Lord, as you stitch and mend me, piece by piece, lead me to recognize and receive your love in every moment — in Christ, I pray.

 

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
― Frederick Buechner



OK It’s Friday

May 18th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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I love that sundown on Friday marks the traditional Sabbath time, Lord.

Time to refrain, reset, and refresh. Take a deep breath and dive into Your love.

As I honor/spend time with You, will I see something new?

May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant.
 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
    for your law is my delight.

— Psalm 119: 76-77, NIV