Monthly Archives: November 2014

Waiting for our Redemption

Our work in praying the Psalms is somehow to bring the stylized, disciplined speech of the Psalms together with the raw, ragged, mostly formless experience in our lives.  ~Walter Brueggemann, Praying the Psalms

This year I have read several books about praying the psalms and have attempted to practice doing so.  This pilgrimage included the unexpected adventure of even memorizing some of them.  In doing so, I have received the gift of having verses of these poems stored in my heart ready to be prayed and even applied during those raw and ragged moments of life.

As I begin to reflect on the pilgrimage of advent, Psalm 111:9 is at the forefront of my ponderings:

He sent redemption to his people;                                                                                                                                                                                    he has commanded his covenant forever.                                                                                                        Holy and awesome is his name!

Despite its original intent of describing the deliverance of God’s people from Israel and being read during the Passover celebrations, I cannot help but consider it a foreshadowing of what we experience as we celebrate the birth of our redeemer!  Indeed God’s own Son became flesh and dwelt among us giving his people a new covenant of grace. 

While waiting expectantly for the coming of our new born King, may you and I form an advent experience praise, for indeed holy and awesome is his name!    


Psalm 136 invites us to give thanks by confessing that God is good and by witnessing to the ways that he is God of gods and Lord of lords.  Our confession and our witness are welcome reminders of God’s activity in the story of our lives.  Throughout Israel’s history, God showed up as Creator, Liberator, Savior…a forever Friend who loves at all times.

Forever is a promise of hope.  Forever promises that God’s love has no end.  The Psalmist knew God wasn’t finished writing their story.  Likewise, God hasn’t finished writing the story of how deeply he cares for you and for me.  May we remember the promise of forever during this week of giving thanks.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.  ~Psalm 136:26

Composed and Quieted

O Lord, my heart is not proud,

nor my eyes haughty;

Nor do involve myself in great matters,

Or in things too difficult for me.

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;

Like a weaned child rests against his mother,

My soul is like a weaned child within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord

From this time forth and forever.

~Psalm 131 (NASB)

This is the Psalm I memorized after the 23rd Psalm.  It is short and sweet but with words that compose and quiet my soul as I offer them up to God as my prayer.  The Scriptures confirm over and over again that pride and presuppositions of the heart have no place in God’s kingdom.  Ultimately, God graciously invites you and I to wean ourselves of self-seeking childish ways in order to serve others as his Son did.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”  ~John 4:34 (ESV)

May you and I be composed and quieted by hope in the Lord who is totally involved in things too difficult for us.

The Lord Is Your Keeper

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

    From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

    he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;

    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;

    he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep

    your going out and your coming in

    from this time forth and forevermore.

~Psalm 121

From my home surrounded by “quiet oak” trees, I take time each morning to lift up my eyes to the hills that are part  of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  And as I do, I think of these words from Psalm 121.  Amazing words of the Lord’s care, protection and grace that have filled the hearts of God’s people with confidence for generations.  The Lord’s help isn’t with you and I one day and gone the next.  It keeps us safe from evil 24/7…day and night…in all our comings and goings.  May you and I lift up our eyes, each new day, to the Lord who is our keeper.

A Compass

The Psalms often serve as my compass.  They invite me to gauge which direction I am spiritually pointing and stir within me as many questions as answers.  Reflect with me on the following verse.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;  let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.  ~Psalm 107:43

It seems to me that if I want to be wise, I need to attend to certain things.  What are the “these things” the Psalmist is talking about?  As I read and reread the entire Psalm, I notice that there is a verse repeated 4 times. 

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  ~Psalm 107: 8,15, 21, 31

Could it be that the thing you and I most need to attend to is thanking the Lord for his steadfast love and all his wondrous works? 

Each of us must answer that question in our own hearts.  For me, giving thanks never fails to reorient my spiritual, emotional and physical life toward the One who supplies our every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). 

In the weeks ahead, may considering the Lord’s steadfast love and his wondrous works with thanksgiving encompass my life and yours.