Walking Through Psalms: Focus

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Johnny Depp getting a better focus in Sleep Hollow

When my glasses become smudged, I’m forced to read words through a haze.  Many times I’ve taken them off my nose and used my shirt to wipe away the haze; however, it only creates a greater murkiness in which to navigate the letters upon the page.  This is frustrating.  Why doesn’t the shirt work?  Shirts are readily accessible…we wear them, for goodness sake!

Ah…but alas, it never fails, I sit down to “put words to page”-(ancient Greek for keyboard typing)- only to realize my glasses are dirty.   I usually have lens wipes close at hand for such occasions; however sometimes, I reach for one and it’s not there.  Then I remember, I used the last one at the previous sitting.  I had intended to replenish the stack but of course I forgot.

This conundrum creates a dilemma.  Do I get up and get a lens wipe or do I attempt to create my story peering through dirty glasses?  I usually try to do the latter, because the creative juices are flowing, and as a writer, I want to “get it while the getting’s good.” (okay…confession…laziness may play a small part)  Inevitably, I always get up and get the damn lens wipe, as I hate looking through dirty glasses.

I thought about this scenario, as I read Psalms 18:1, “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

In the midst of living life, it’s so easy to forget the source of our strength.  I don’t think that a sin, I just think it’s human nature.  Whenever this happens, we focus on the problem and then laboriously we try to solve the riddle.  The problem then grows, our strength falters and we are forced to acknowledge our weakness.

This can be a good thing, if it causes us to redirect our focus to Jesus.  Doing this will not make the problem go away, but it assures us we are not alone.  It assures us we are connected to a God who loves us, a God who is ever-present, a God who is working on our behalf and a God who is in control.  Dirty lenses can make us aware of our need for God.

To see clearly, our glasses need to be cleaned and cleaned often.

So get up and get the lens wipe.

***

Fear not, little flock;  for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  

(Luke 12:32)

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  

(Psalms 18:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Not on my Deathbed…

Let my sentence come forth from thy presence…  (KJV)

Only you can say
    that I am innocent,
    because only your eyes
    can see the truth. (CEV)

Psalms 17:2

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Death is right around the corner…maybe not the next corner but it’s surely waiting behind one of them.

Last week, I had a “scare.”  You know the ones…those that make you stare death in the face.  Well, I looked at it and chewed on it a bit, and this was one, of the many conclusions, I came to:  If it be true, I would not tell my estranged christian family.

“Why?” you may ask.  “Is it because you don’t want them to worry?”  No.  In a sense they already worry about me.  I wouldn’t tell them because I don’t want them flocking to my bedside to save me from the pits of hell.

You see…my family misunderstands me, my “lifestyle” and most important my relationship with God.

Here’s just a few things they believe to be true…

  • 1.  Satan has blinded my spiritual eyes.
  • 2.  This blindness has caused me choose the wrong path.
  • 3.  All are born sinners, but none can be born gay.
  • 4.  Therefore, I have “chosen” to be gay.
  • 5.  God has given me over to a reprobate mind.
  • 6.  I was never “truly” saved.
  • 7.  I am on my way to hell.
  • 8.  It is their mission to keep me from hell.
  • 9.  They must not associate with me so that I “will feel ashamed and turn back to the truth.”
  • 10.  By believing the preceding nine, they are loving me, the sinner, but hating the sin.

 

In the past, I’ve always felt  the need to “explain” my position.  Countless times I’ve rehearsed my spill; but I’m far…far beyond that, now.  I’ve realized that no amount of reasoning, no amount of “biblical interpretation” and no amount of scientific evidence would ever be enough to change their minds.  For them it’s either black or white, period…  “The bible says it, I believe it and that settles it.”

When facing someone with this mind-set there is no common ground where with to meet, let alone, to plead one’s case.  I’ve already been “righteously judged and righteously sentenced.”  However, after all these years, my knee-jerk reaction is to explain away the preceding ten.  Perhaps I should do just that in another blog, but that’s not the purpose of this one.

From reading Psalms 17, it seems most likely, David found himself in a similar situation. No, he wasn’t gay…(but his relationship with Jonathan did seem quite intimate)…but he too was misunderstood.  Those closest to David, had passed judgement and stood firm in their belief and would not compromise.

So what did David do…did he try to explain or justify his case?  No, not at all; instead he said this to God,  “Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence.”  or as it is interpreted in the Common English Version, “Only you can say that I am innocent, because only your eyes can see the truth.”  He also writes, “You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me…”

David sought rest in his personal relationship with God, and that is what I must do.  No one can really see my truth.  No one truly knows my heart.  I was alone when God visited me in the darkest of all my nights. So, it is He, who will be my vindicator, and my sentence will come from Him.

Knowing this, does temper the pain of rejection, but it doesn’t take it away.  It’s a burden I struggle with daily, it is the cross I’m called to bear.  Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me…” he didn’t say it would be easy.

This passage and other bible verses, serve to bring comfort but they do “fix” the problem. Scripture, taken from here or taken from there, is not meant to be used as a switch to turn off our suffering.  God never gave us his Word to “make it all better.”  He gave us his Word so we wouldn’t have to walk alone.  He gave us his word to walk with us through  the pain and suffering.  He gave us his word for comfort, but not as a “quick fix.” He gave us his word to be Jesus, until the day we are physically in his presence.

In closing, I’d like to add that my “scare” seems to be just that, a scare. I’m not totally out of the woods, but let’s just say, there are very bright glimmers of hope, that all will be well.

When I do face my death, I want no “christian” at the bedside telling me what I need. I’m going to be holding God’s hand and the hand of the woman I love.  I will have no hand for them…not at my death bed.  (If they can’t hold my hand in life…why would I want them to hold it in death?)

Ultimately all will be known…until then we should all keep our judgments to our-self.

My Prayer:

My God, even… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever…because of Jesus, amen.

(Part of the “Walk Through Psalms” series)

Be On The Lookout

Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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Beth, my daughter, looking out over the Shenandoah Valley.

This morning I was reading my little devotional (Jesus Calling) and one sentence seemed to jump off the page and speak to me in a personal way.  It said, “Be on the lookout for what I am doing in your life.”

God used those words to snap me back to attention.  Those words brought immediate conviction into my heart.  I realized I had become apathetic.

Sometimes we forget why we do the things God has called us to do.  It becomes routine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who unknowingly falls into this kind of snare.  It’s easy to stay so busy that we lose sight of God’s presence.

Evidently, King David understood this struggle as he wrote,   “You [God] will show me the path of life.  In your presence is fullness of joy…at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Just to paraphrase in my own words…this is what that scripture says to me…  “Oh God..open my eyes!  Wake me up so I can see what you are doing.  Wake me up!  You are here…in the now… in this very moment!”

My joy is full when I abide in His presence.  When I know my God walks beside me…I at his right hand…my heart becomes so full of Joy that I can’t hide it…it spills over to all those around.  And that…that… dear friends, is why we do God’s work.  My church’s motto sums it up well…  “receive love.  give love. repeat”  But in order to accomplish this, “We need to be on the lookout to what He is doing in our lives.”

My prayer:  Lord, forgive me for being so lackadaisical in my daily routines.  Open my eyes and be my vision.  Help me to abide in Your presence even when I do the mundane, because You are here and You have something for me to learn.  Lord I don’t want to miss it…I want to recognize and hear your voice.  Please help me to be on the lookout for what you are doing in my life.  Thank you, Lord.  In Jesus name…amen.

 (A publication in the series “Walk Through Psalms)

Do you like spooky stuff?  Visit my other blog Creepy Reflections.

Look to the Birds

(A poem for all generations)

“Most of the situations that entangle your mind are not today’s concerns; you have borrowed them from tomorrow.”  __ Sarah Young

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Photo taken at Myrtle Beach SC

Preserve me, oh God:  for in thee do I put my trust.  (Psalms 16:1)

Look To The Birds

Look to the birds, the fowls of the air.

No needs have they, no wants nor care.

Unlike the farmers, that sow and reap,

No gardens to till, and yet they eat.

Our Father in Heaven, hears their call.

He knows their need and feeds them all.

Look to the lilies, their glory behold.

Their beauty surpasses, Solomon’s gold.

The grass of the field, God blankets with green.

It’s here for today, tomorrow unseen.

Surely, Our Lord, who cares for these,

Loves us much more than birds in the trees.

“So take no thought,” Jesus did say,

“What will I eat, or wear this day?”

Your Heavenly Father, your needs doth know

So look to the birds, and the lilies that grow.

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Photo taken at Brookgreen Gardens in SC

 

Behold the fowls of the air:  for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you…?  Therefore take no thought, saying What shall we eat?  Or, what shall we drink?  Or where-withal shall we be clothed?  For your heavenly Father knoweth ye have need of all these things.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  (Matthew 6:26-34)

(This has been a publication in the series “Walk Through Psalms”)

Do you like ghost stories?  Visit my other blog, Creepy Reflections

God Has Something to Say to the Hurting

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Art by Alina Sliwinska

(Psalms 9/Paraphrased as if from God’s point of view) 

This morning, as I read Psalms chapter 9, a message began to form in my mind.  A message, I believe, to be from God.  A message, He wants all the hurting to hear. And so as I pondered over the verses I began to read it as if God, Himself, were talking and this is what He said to me…

“My dear one, you are my child.  Come to me and I will be your place of safety, and I’ll give you strength in this time trouble.  When you come to me, I will never abandon you.  I hear your cries of affliction and abuse.  I have seen how they despise and oppress you.  Far too many times you are overlooked and forgotten. I’ll never forget you and I’ll always surround you with mercy and grace.  Most of all, my dear child, have hope because one day all will be made right.  Soon I will arise from this throne, I will come; and I will deliver you.  Until that day, have hope and know you are loved.”

I hear the voice of God interwoven between the verses of Psalms 9.  He has so much to say to those of us who are hurting.  I take hope in knowing, he see’s every tear that falls from my eyes. He feels every pain from abandonment and every pain from loneliness.

Sometimes that pain leads me to such despair that I think death would be better.  It’s scary how often the pain can lead me there.  All  who have taken their life because those they love, despise who they are, I feel their pain.

 This is not an easy place to be, and when I am there I truly need the place of safety that God offers.  I need His strength.  I need to know;  He doesn’t abandon me.  I need to know I’m not someone He tries to “fit in” during special occasions and holidays.  I need to know I am not overlooked and forgotten. I need His mercy and grace; for without it I can’t go on.  I need to know, one day all will be right.  I need hope.

I must have hope for without it I die.

For everyone who finds themselves in this space, hear, again, what God wants to say to you…

“My dear one, you are my child. Come to me and I will be your place of safety, and I’ll give you strength in this time trouble. When you come to me, I will never abandon you. I hear your cries of affliction and abuse.  I have seen how they despise and oppress you. Far too many times you are overlooked and forgotten. I’ll never forget you and I’ll always surround you with mercy and grace. Most of all, my dear child, have hope because one day, all will be made right. Soon I will arise from this throne.  I will arise;  I will come;  I will deliver you.  Until that day, have hope and know you are loved.”

My Prayer:  Lord, thank you for knowing the hidden of places of my heart.  The places that hide the pain no one else sees.  Thank you for coming  into those places and abiding with me there.  Thank you,  when I’m lonely, I’m not alone;  when I’m overlooked, I’m not forgotten;  when I am despised, I am loved.  Lord, Let these words find place in the heart of someone who is hurting. Let them know they are not alone, and they are loved.  Give them hope, please Lord, I pray.  Amen.

(A publication in the “Walking Through Psalms” series”)

Personal note:  My apologies the for sharing such personal and raw emotions…however, I felt led to do so…

Lord, I Need You

Lord, show me your right way of living,
    and make it easy for me to follow.
People are looking for my weaknesses,
    so show me how you want me to live.

Psalms 5:8

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Dear Lord, here I am and here is my life.

Fill me with a desire to follow you.

Fill me with energy and determination.

Fill me with courage.

Open my eyes that I may see your way.

Direct my steps, O Lord, I pray.

I need you, in my life today.

Amen

Luna and I Pray

Psalms 5:1-2

Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

Luna pray

While spending time with God this morning,

upon my bed, the window open,

my fur ball kitty leaps to my lap

and nestled in Psalms, where my Bible was at.

Captured within her pretty green eyes,

my face, my smile, my prayers, my sighs.

She lifted her paws,  she too to pray

to our King, our Maker, this early morn day.

True Story.

 

Christian Meditation?

Psalms 5:1

BeStillMeditation

I had a healthy fear of meditation.  Growing up Independent Fundamental Christian I was taught to fear many things, one being meditation.  I was taught to believe a transcendental state made the soul vulnerable to demonic possession.  I was also taught it impossible for a “true Christian”  to be demon possessed because their body was sealed with the Holy Spirit of God.  Since only “open” vessels could be filled the “true” Christian need never worry.  However, this knowledge was of little comfort because I carried a secret I dared not share with anyone.  I was gay and being gay meant I could never be a “true” Christian.   This revelation of myself came early in childhood; so the inner torment began its rage well before I reached the ripe old age of 10.  Fast forward 40 years and now I am person who has reconciled her sexual orientation with her faith.  I make no apologies to anyone. Thank God, He has given me peace.

MeditationWithGodInMind

There are tons of verses in God’s Word promoting meditation.  Presently I’m blogging about my journey through the book of Psalms.  Today, as I pause upon chapter 5 verse 1, I read the words of David, the Psalter, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.”

Hallelujah, Christians can meditate!  Not only can we meditate, but such practice brings all kinds of benefits into the Christian life!  Benefits not limited only to the spiritual but to the to the physical as well.  Consider Proverbs 4:20-22,

“My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”

Joyce Meyer says of these verses,

“In these verses, the writer used the words, attend to my words, which is another way of exhorting us to meditate. I love the fact that God not only frequently tells us to meditate—to ponder seriously—His Word, but He frequently promises results. It’s as if God says, “Okay, Joyce, if you meditate, here’s what I’m going to do for you.” In this passage, the promise is life and health. Isn’t that amazing? It’s even a promise that when you contemplate and brood over the Bible, it will affect your physical body.”

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Woman meditating on rock in forest

God’s Word is ALIVE, and knowing this fills my heart with joy and excitement.  We have such power right at our finger tips and many are unaware of this truth.  I know I’ve been guilty.  I so easily forget the magical…mystical gifts God has given to us as his children.  I don’t have to be afraid of these gifts.  I can claim their supernatural power every day of my life if I so desire!  I love II Timothy 1:7 that says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  I no longer have to entertain childhood fears because I know those fears never came from God in the first place.  Jesus Christ has given me freedom!

Joyce Meyer also writes,

(sorry to keep referencing her…but she has had such an impact upon my spiritual life)

“Recently when I meditated on several passages in the Bible, I realized God was showing me that the Word has hidden treasures in it—powerful, life-giving secrets—which God wants to reveal to us. They are there for those who muse, ponder, and contemplate the Word of God.”

And this,

“As you study the Bible and meditate on what God says about you, you will be able to recognize the fears in your life that are holding you back and overcome them by seeing yourself in Christ. Then you will find you have whatever you need to do what you are created to do.”

Woman-meditating

My Prayer:  Jesus, you have made me a wonderful creation.  Thank you for all I am in You! I pray as David did so long ago… “O Lord consider my meditation.”  Please strengthen my faith as I meditate on your words. Help me to be still and to hear your voice.  Help me to become all you have created me to be.  In the powerful name of Jesus, my Lord, Amen.

For more information about Christian meditation check out these links:

Being in Him

Prayer Escapes

The World Community For Christian Meditation

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