SSMT: verse #7

April showers bring May flowers… oh how I hope we get some April showers! Since it’s April first, it’s time to post my next Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse. I’m still moving through Psalm 103, so it’s no surprise that today’s verse is:

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. ~ Psalm 103:6

Super short. I’ll go deeper with this one before it’s time to post the next, until then, please be sure to watch Beth’s message to the Siestas today. It was a word from the Lord that I needed and I’m sure it will bless you as well.

Deeper w/ Psalm 103:5

Continuing in Psalm 103, we are following David as he counts the “benefits” of walking with God. It is suggested that perhaps David had recovered from an illness when he wrote this Psalm. During an illness, his food (if allowed any) would have been bland and unsatisfying. His youth was restored and he was able to enjoy food again. We also know from David’s story that there was a period of time when he was on the run, and very likely went without food and was quite weak. So, he would very likely be appreciative of good food and renewed strength.

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~ Psalm 103:5 (KJV)

This could also be a general acknowledgement of being satisfied in the Lord. Recently I purchased a shirt that says, “Do more of what makes you happy”. When I saw this shirt, I didn’t see it as a declaration of focusing only on my personal happiness at the cost of everything else. However, someone remarked to me (at the sight of said shirt) that God doesn’t want us to pursue happiness. Which was rather deflating of my happiness-level at seeing the shirt. Clearly God’s goal is to further His kingdom, but couldn’t serving the Lord bring happiness? Isn’t that why it is called the “joy of the Lord”? Didn’t the Creator give us the ability to feel happy? It has often been my experience that those who begrudge others’ happiness are simply trying to make themselves feel better (by dragging down) about their lack thereof.

Personally, I saw the shirt as a reminder that we often become bogged down with so many things we think we must do and we miss out on the little joys of life. We don’t make time for smiling and laughter. We somehow feel “noble” for being a “happiness martyr”. Our lives become “to-do” lists and general busyness, that if we’re honest, probably aren’t always in line with God’s will. Hugging my kids makes me happy. Spending time with my husband makes me happy. Shouldn’t we do more of those things? Aren’t they honoring to the Lord? And yet, they make me happy. Imagine that.

Maybe we feel guilty for enjoying the “good things” in life. Or maybe others try to make us feel guilty. I mean, there will always be suffering in this world, does that mean God doesn’t want us to take vacations, smell the roses, take a nap, read a good book, play a board game, go for a walk, enjoy a tasty meal…etc? King David obviously didn’t feel that way. He praised God for the “good things”. In fact, he went so far as to say that God satisfies him with good things. Satisfaction often brings a feeling of happiness. When we read about David, we know that he danced before the Lord, something that brought him criticism, but which I fully believe pleased God and made David happy.

I wonder if someone came along when David was singing this Psalm and said, “you should give that tasty food to the poor because your happiness is not God’s priority.” There will always be “boo birds”. I would prefer to see that shirt in a positive light rather than seeing only the potential dangers of doing more things that make you happy. You see, we know God gives blessings. We know He delights in blessing His children, and does He do so to make them miserable? No, He knows they will experience happiness. If you’re a parent, it isn’t difficult to understand the joy you feel when your child smiles. Does this mean that all of life should be smiles? No, that would be impossible in this fallen world. Can people distort the pursuit of happiness into something that is quite selfish and self-serving? Absolutely. Does this make happiness the root of all evil? Heavens no.

David chose to praise God for the good things bestowed upon him. He recognized where these things came from, and he was thankful. Was David’s life all “good”? No way. He had plenty to cry about, but when joy, goodness… and yes, I’ll say it, happiness presented themselves, he embraced them with open arms.

Well, that’s Psalm 103:5. Tomorrow I’ll welcome April by posting my next Siesta memory verse. Until then, may you delight in the Lord and His many benefits.

SSMT: verse #6

Howdy Hey, it’s March 15th! That means it’s time for SSMT verse #6! Be sure to read Melanie Toup’s post on the LPM blog today. We chose the same verse as our first verse of the year. Too fun! It’s really cool that this is her seventh year participating with the Siestas.

Ok, so now on to my sixth verse of the year. I think this may be my favorite one so far, but that’s probably only because I’m really focusing on living free from dieting. You’ll see what I mean when you read the verse below.

I hopped online and posted my verse over at LPM. It’s really pretty neat to be joining all of these women in memorizing scripture. It’s like we’re unified in a way without ever knowing one another. Anyway, this is supposed to be a short post, so without further ado, here’s my verse #6:

“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” ~ Psalm 103:5 (KJV)

I think I could write up an entire sermon on this… I guess I’ll save that for my “deeper with” post later.

Blessings to my fellow Siestas! Praying that we won’t just “eat the seed” of God’s Word, but will allow God to sow it into our lives and reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Also, it appears that LPM now has an SSMT app. Check it out 🙂

Deeper w/ Psalm 103:4

As we continue through Psalm 103, it’s important to keep in mind that David began this Psalm with praise and has now begun to recount the benefits of walking with God.

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; ~Psalm 103:4 (KJV)

I cannot see the word redeem without thinking about the song, Redeemed, by Big Daddy Weave. Yes, God redeems us from the pit of despair (couldn’t resist the Princess Bride reference). Check out the Amplified Bible version of this verse:

“Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies,and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;” ~Psalm 103:4 (AMP)

Have you been corrupted by the world? Yes, we all have. And yet, He redeems, avenges, purchases, delivers us from destruction, corruption, graves, ditches… the pits. His redemption isn’t just setting us free, which in and of itself is priceless. No, He repairs what was broken… He restores what was lost… He brings beauty from ashes. That destruction no longer defines us because it has been transformed to our benefit. I simply love the commentary from The Treasury of David, for this section:

“By purchase and by power the Lord redeems us from the spiritual death into which we had fallen, and from the eternal death which would have been its consequence… Glory be to our great Substitute, who delivered us from going down into the pit, by giving himself to be our ransom. Redemption will ever constitute one of the sweetest notes in the believer’s grateful song.”

Which brings us to the second half of the verse. I love how the AMP version says, “beautifies, dignifies, and crowns”. Picture that with me for a moment. Visualize something stained and ugly being beautified. Now picture something undignified being restored to dignity. What about being crowned… that’s royalty. We are His children and as such, He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercy. Talk about a benefit we do not deserve apart from him! Check out this quote, also from The Treasury of David:

“Our Lord does nothing by halves, he will not stay his hand till he has gone to the uttermost with his people. Cleansing, healing, redemption, are not enough, he must make them kings and crown them, and the crown must be far more precious than if it were made of corruptible things, such as silver and gold; it is studded with gems of grace and lined with the velvet of lovingkindness; it is decked with the jewels of mercy, but made soft for the head to wear by a lining of tenderness.”

Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine if people still talked like that today? It is so expressive, visual, and fraught with feeling. I can picture it, can you?

The 1599 Geneva Bible is more to the point in it’s footnote summary of this verse. It says, “For before that we have remission of our sins, we are as dead men in the grave.” I don’t know about you, but I’m really thankful not to be spiritually “dead in the grave”. You may be thinking, how is this different from the verse before where David says God forgives all our sins. Well, redemption is different because it takes that forgiveness to the next level. It takes it all the way to restoration. Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul”. Yes… redemption moves to beautify, dignify, and crown.

Our next verse will arrive on March 15th. If you’re interested in joining the Siesta Scripture Memory Team, please do jump in.

 

SSMT: verse #5

Oh my goodness, I know February is a short month, but could it be March already?! I’ve been 40 for almost a week now. I think I’ve come to grips with saying it, but more than that, I’m applying positive words. As you know, I’m going through a journey of “letting go” and the truly beneficial part is where I cling to The Way, The Truth, and the Life. I guess it’s sort of like “leave and cleave” in a sense. I’m letting go of the former things… the negative things… the old, destructive mindsets and behaviors… and I’m clinging to the Truth of God… who I am in Christ… words that uplift and edify. So, instead of saying, “I am old”… I’m saying, “I am youthful“…”I am fearfully and wonderfully made“… “I am made new“… “I am beautiful“.

Beth’s message of encouragement to the Siestas this month is one of leaning on Jesus to memorize these verses. She says to make it personal. She also points out that we do have the capacity to remember things… although often it is the negative that we store up in our minds. I find that when God says something to me more than once, especially in a short time frame, I really need to listen. He just spoke to me about our propensity to focus on the negative the other day. We are far more likely to memorize something hateful someone has said to us or about us, than we are to bask in God’s “lovingkindness and tender mercies”. Which brings me to the fifth verse I’ll be memorizing this year:

“Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” ~ Psalms 103:4 (KJV)

Bless the LORD indeed! I’m really enjoying the journey through this Psalm. I will write more on this particular passage in the coming two weeks, but for now, let’s just meditate on it. I hope you’re joining me in scripture memorization. You can jump in with the Siestas if you like. I’m benefitting from the accountability (my verse is comment # 62).

Blessings!

Deeper with Psalm 103:2-3

Sometimes we cling to a single verse and make far more of it than we should. Other times, we ignore small passages with a big message. My hope with this series of posts is find a happy medium which allows for swings in either direction as the Lord allows.

Today we’ll be taking a deeper look at Psalm 103:2-3:

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” (KJV)

We begin verse 2 in the same manner as the first verse. It’s definitely a reminder that praise should be a priority where our communication with God is concerned. It is also a reminder that sometimes we might have to place ourselves in a position of worship despite how we may feel at the moment. If you need a refresher of the conclusion we reached about this first portion, you can pop on over to the post about verse one. Before I move on though, I’d like to give you a quote from The Treasury of David regarding the beginning of this verse:

“…thus he shews us that we have need, again and again, to bestir ourselves when we are about to worship God, for it would be shameful to offer him anything less than the utmost our souls can render. These first verses are a tuning of the harp, a screwing up of the loosened strings that not a note may fail in the sacred harmony.”

Beautiful.

I’m going to move on to the part which says, “and forget not all his benefits”. This phrase is another reason I think David was struggling to praise in the midst of shaken faith. I don’t know what he was going through at the time, but it’s like he’s making a case in support of trusting God with the issue. David had plenty of trials during his lifetime, and no doubt, he benefitted greatly from his relationship with God (he defeated Goliath, he escaped the wrath of Saul, he became king…etc).

Still, sometimes it is so easy to forget the benefit we’ve had of walking with God. Take Peter for instance. He asks Jesus if he can walk on water too. Jesus tells him to step out of the boat, but the minute the waves start to churn, what happens. Peter begins to sink. He forgets the benefit of “walking with” Jesus. With Jesus, he can walk on water. In his own power, he is subject to the laws of nature. I love this quote from The Treasury of David:

“Memory is very treacherous about the best things; by a strange perversity, engendered by the fall, it treasures up the refuse of the past and permits priceless treasures to lie neglected, it is tenacious of grievances and holds benefits all too loosely.”

It’s so true. We tend to remember far more easily the negative. We would do well to remember the benefits of being a child of the King. It is when we remember who we are in Christ that we will behave accordingly. In order to further get his mind set on the right things, David begins to list some of these benefits. He begins with probably the most important benefit, forgiveness.

“who forgiveth all thine iniquities;” (KJV)

The 1599 Geneva Bible calls the remission of sin “the beginning and chiefest of all benefits”. Without forgiveness, we are lost. Our sin marks us. This one benefit alone should cause us to worship freely. It should elicit a gratitude like nothing else. With this forgiveness, He removes the barrier, the separation brought by sin. We are able to come before His throne. It’s easy to forget this benefit because it is one we cannot lose. He graciously gives it. It is always there. So we become comfortable with it, and unfortunately run the risk of losing our appreciation of His ultimate sacrifice.

The final portion of these passages is one that can bring forth controversy. People cling to these words like a promise to always have healing from earthly disease. The fact is, when you are healed, He is the one doing the healing. He may use doctors, or medicines, or even mud, but it is He who brings the healing. David was likely referring to his personal “diseases” that were healed (or healing). The word can also be translated “grievous” which could refer to anything traumatic, painful, agonizing, bad…etc. The word grievous is derived from the noun, “grief”. And I think we can all relate to grief in one form or another.ji

It is obvious that God has the capacity to heal not only our physical pain, but our emotional and spiritual wounds as well. Another passage says, “by his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Those who study the scriptures agree that these “stripes” or “wounds” refer to the crucifixion. If we jump over to the new testament, we can see the healing isn’t a physical healing, but rather a spiritual restoration… a redemption. This doesn’t discount that God does heal physically, but it shows that His priority is redemption for the sinner. Check out the context and cross references here for more insight.

Verse number four is coming up, but in the meantime, let’s begin to take stock of “all his benefits.” We would do well to forget them not.

SSMT: verse #4

I kind of got a little distracted by life this past week. It was a very busy week, and on top of that, the Husband was out of town. So, I didn’t think one bit about this blog… or the SSMT group. This morning, I wake up and think, “what’s today?!” I realize it’s the 16th, which means I’m a day late posting my verse. Sigh.

Thankfully, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). I’m out here now, ready to post my next verse. It’s super simple and in keeping with my commitment to memorize Psalm 103 this year.

“who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” ~Psalm 103:3 (KJV)

And, as I looked this up again to type it here, I just realized that I put the NIV version in the comments of the LPM blog post, but labeled it as KJV. Oh good heavens. I hope you’ll “forgiveth” me. I have a parallel Bible and I must have been looking at the wrong side of the page when I typed it up. I knew it didn’t sound “thee and thou” enough. The above is correct though.

Looks like I’m already getting some practice at meditating on that first portion of the verse. Praise God for His forgiveness!

I do still plan to dissect verse 2, and hope to have those posts completed sometime this week… which is scheduled to be busy as well.

Be sure to read Sherry McClure’s word for verse #4 (link above). I’m sure you’ll be blessed.

SSMT: Verse #3

Can you believe it is already February? No, neither can I. Beth’s blog post this morning was encouraging on many fronts. Please pop on over there and read it. I think my favorite part was:

This I promise you: God’s objective for you and me in 2015 is not for us to memorize 24 verses. It’s for us to draw nearer and nearer to Him, love Him more, know Him more, trust Him more, and believe Him more. To let His Word go down deep where He wants it. To invite it fervently and proactively to abide in us and bring vivacious life to us. To meditate on His words and to prize them more than our daily bread. Job said it this way: “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.” (Job 23:12b) That’s what these 24 verses are about.

It’s no secret the journey I’m currently on. Oh to treasure God’s Words more than my portion of food! Food is moving more and more into the background of my mind. And yes, I would definitely say that I treasure God’s Word more than food, but I fear that my actions would tell a different story. While, Job 23:12b won’t be on my memory list this time, it might show up as one of the 24.

I’ve already posted my verse on the LPM blog (#406), so now I’m adding it here.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” ~ Psalm 103:2 (KJV)

I hope you have a marvelous Super Bowl Sunday… and an even better February.

Deeper w/ Psalm 103:1

Since I’ve committed to memorizing Psalm 103 as part of the Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year, I’ve decided to meditate and study the verses. Even though each one is quite short, they pack a lot of information in a tiny span of words. I think often times, we, in the 21st century, tend to overlook the power of words. So, before I post my SSMT verse 3 in a few days, I would like to share a bit about verse 2 (which is actually verse 1 of Psalm 103). For starters, Psalm 103 was written by David. This praise-filled king with the complicated life wrote:

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. ~ Psalm 103:1

As I do when I study scripture, I looked up this verse in multiple versions. The NIV says “Praise the LORD”. The ASV says, “Bless Jehovah”. And then there’s the AMP which says:

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! ~ Psalm 103:1 (AMP)

I also have a soft spot for “old time religion” and the frank nature with which people spoke of the LORD and His sovereignty (unlike much of today where many people fear absolute truth or speaking truth). The 1599 Geneva Bible renders the interpretation like this: “My soul, [a]praise thou the Lord, and all that is within me, praise his holy Name.” This version also includes the following “notes” about the verse:

1 He provoketh all to praise the Lord, which hath pardoned his sins, delivered him from destruction and given him sufficient of all good things.

a. Psalm 103:1He wakeneth his dullness to praise God, showing that both understanding and affections, mind and heart are too little to set forth his praise.

The word translated as “bless” and “praise” also renders the meaning “to kneel”, “kneel down” (Strong’s). This might suggest a physical state of humility on David’s part as he “abundantly” blesses God “as an act of adoration” with gratulation and thanksgiving (Strong’s). As though that simple word, “bless” weren’t enough to express his physically overwhelmed state, he goes on to say “and all that is within me”. I’m not saying David felt this way, but maybe, at the beginning of his Psalm, he wasn’t “feeling” what his body physically expressed (kneeling). It’s almost as though he commanded his mind/emotions/spirit to take this position of praise, not because God needs our praise, but because we need to praise him.

All of us have “gone through the motions” and need someone to “wakeneth” our “dullness” (per those 1599 believers). It is not uncommon for David to call upon the LORD to change his heart… to soften it. In context, it appears this might be a struggle even though he doesn’t say it outright. What I can take from verse 1 is the need to place myself (my soul) in a physical position to worship Jehovah “the existing one” (Strongs), but when my heart is hardened, or cold, or hurt… my inmost being needs to kneel and submit to God’s sovereignty, if for no other reason than that His name is Holy, sacred, set-apart (Strongs)… He is LORD.

Continue to Psalm 103:2-3

SSMT: Verse #2

Ok, so my first verse was super short, but my attention span has been pretty much the same… short. I would make it through the first half of the verse and then totally blank on the last half. “Come on brain, let’s get it together now.”

Well, a lot has happened since that last verse was penned into my awesome SSMT spiral (did I mention I love my spiral?). We took the family to Walt Disney World. I dreamed of taking my spiral into Magic Kingdom with me so I could have its picture taken with Mickey. Who knows why I thought that would be so cool, but I did. Maybe a shout out to all my Siestas that I’m thinking about them even on vacation. Then I realized I didn’t have a pocket large enough to hold it (got the big one) while I rode Space Mountain. The last thing I needed was to lose my awesome spiral to the inky depths of that dark coaster ride. Besides, I could practice the verse in my head right?

“So teach us to number our days…” Oh snap, what’s the last half again?? Right, “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” I find it quite curious that I don’t have issue remembering to “number my days” as much as I do applying my “heart unto wisdom”. I’ll keep working on it… the memorization and the application.

Today we get to add our mid-month verse to the mix. I’ve tried to “be open” to the right verse. I hoped God would just smack me over the head with one. There were several that I liked, but none of them seemed right. Yesterday I reached a point where I actually flipped through my Bible to see what would jump out at me. There it was, Psalm 103. There are 22 verses in this chapter, and since I have 23 remaining verse slots to fill, this actually works quite well. I figure this Psalm of praise is a fantastic way to apply my heart unto wisdom. What could possibly be more wise than to praise the “Ancient of Days”?

So, for verse #2 I will recite Psalm 103:1. It’s super short, and actually the words of a praise song. This will give me a great excuse to sing in the shower.

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. ~ Psalm 103: 1 (KJV)

 

I posted my verse this morning while waiting for my hot rollers to cool. You can check my Twitter feed for the glamour shot. I was comment #418… with no errors this time around (yeah, I’m doin’ a little dance). Want to join the Siestas? Jump right in!