Thirsty Thursday: Fun With Psalms

I don’t always read the footnotes when I’m reading scripture. I mainly read the ESV translation and found that the numerical footnotes contain the most interesting information. I recently found that some of the psalms were acrostics, meaning the first letter of every line was intentional. In these acrostic psalms, each line represents a letter in the Hebrew alphabet. I was inspired to write an acrostic psalm with the English alphabet.

Here is my first attempt:

All praise and honor
Belong to You.
Come hear my meager song.
Done with humble hearts, give
Ear to our praise.
For You alone are our reason to
Get up from our beds and
Head out
Into the world:
Juggling responsibilities,
Keeping temptation far,
Loving the unlovable, and
Moving in Your grace.
No one can do this without You.
Others have tried and failed.
Prosperity comes only from You.
Quality of life given from Your Hand.
Righteousness and honor, You
Show us Your ways.
Teach us how to thrive
Under the weight of Your glory.
Vessels of earth carrying Your love
Watch for You,
extolling
Your love for the world and for
Zion.

Why not take some time this week to create a psalm of your own? It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to rhyme. Just write words of praise to our fantastically awesome God. He would love to hear it!

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Thirsty Thursday: Pink Roses

I am not a gardener. I am not all that great with indoor plants, either. I think my orchid is dead, but I can’t let it go. It was a gift from Hunny! When I saw rose bushes in the Aldi seasonal aisle, I really wanted to get one. But I wanted to be smart about it and wait until they went on sale.

Towards the end of the season, they still weren’t on sale. I love roses and even though I knew it was too late to plant them, I caved and bought two: a pink rose and a yellow rose. I’m not a yellow gal, but I thought it might be nice to try something different for a change.

The miniature rose bush my father gave me for Mother’s Day three years ago is thriving under my minimal care and attention. It had already produced a multitude of tiny velvety red roses. I had a feeling the rose blossoming season was over when I asked Hunny to plant the new additions, but I asked God if He would let the pink rose bush bloom just one flower before fall. Just because He loves me, the rose bush bloomed several pink flowers that filled the air with their perfume.

My dad happened to drop by when one of the flowers bloomed. I wanted him to see how well his present was doing, and I wanted him to see the pink rose. I didn’t want to tell him that I had prayed for God to make it bloom. It felt embarrassing. Shouldn’t I be praying about grander, loftier things? I can’t tell my dad that I asked God for a rose. It’s so stupid! In spite of my embarrassment, I added, “I prayed God would let this one bloom,” after showing him the roses. My dad didn’t laugh at me. He nodded his head and said, “Oh.” He’s a man of few words, in case you were wondering.

A month or so later, a friend came over to visit with her children and a tag-along. After Cupcake took them to see the chickens, I felt like I should say something about the roses, even though I really didn’t want to say anything! I wanted them to see how lovely they were, but I didn’t want to admit to yet another person that my prayers were so goofy. But I did it anyway. “I asked God to make this rose bush bloom, and He did. See how great they look?” My words were bolder than my feelings inside. “Cool!” My friend didn’t laugh at me, either.

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My rose bush is still blooming! This picture is from today!

Mini Roses from My Dad

Today’s picture of the roses from my dad.

Don’t be ashamed to share the small victories in your life. Any and every prayer answered is a beacon of Light. It is additional proof of God’s Love, Existence, and Mercy. We don’t know what other people are praying for and about. They may be praying for healing or salvation for a loved one or transportation or that the clothes they need will go on sale so they can afford them. God really does care about us. He cares about our big and small worries. He wants us to come to Him with everything. Even the things that may seem like nothing to others that may mean everything to us.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you; casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, emphasis mine

Thirsty Thursday: Beyond Death

This is my second year reading through the Bible. I’m not reading it for the second time. I’m not even halfway through the Bible. I’m slowly but surely reading through the Bible while still getting the most out of my reading.

The past several days I’ve been meditating on a phrase from the final verse of Psalm 48:

that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. Psalm 48:14 emphasis mine

He will guide us forever.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Forever is such an interesting word. For me and my finite human brain, the word forever is ethereal and poetic. It is almost like a pretend, made up word. What does forever really mean? What does forever feel like?

There was a reference beside the word forever in the text, so I had to look at what was written about this beautiful phrase. The footnote read: Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death

Beyond death!

Now that really resonates with me. I am no stranger to death. I have had numerous loved ones die. I see death in the changing of the seasons. I also see death in more banal ways such as light bulbs going out and the blackening of my phone’s screen.

God will guide us beyond death! That is exciting. That gives more meaning to our life after this one. It also gives us reassurance that our trust exercises in this life on earth will help us in the next. God will be guiding us through it. No matter what we’re going through in this life or the circumstances we meet in the next, God is leading us. Jesus told us He would always be with us even to the end of the age, and it is even more comforting to know that God is guiding us from this life into the next.

Thirsty Thursday: Forgiven Much

I have two newly pregnant friends. One is married. One is not. I have been sharing as much as I can with both of them, because being pregnant is hard and scary and everyone deserves support. I’ve been through some serious stuff, so I know I have the ability to be a comfort. I message them both with things that are relevant to pregnancy and sent both of them Mother’s Day cards. One is extremely thankful and the other one doesn’t give me the time of day.

Which one would you guess is the thankful one?

It is not the married one.

I am not reaching out to these pregnant ladies for applause or for attention. I do not expect any thanks. I am doing it out of a genuine hope to be helpful and ease the pain of a stressful time. But it brought something to mind.

Jesus was invited to dinner at an important, religious man’s house named Simon. While they were dining, a woman who was known to have a bad reputation, came into the house. She cried so hard at Jesus’ feet that His feet got wet. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissed His feet, and even broke an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on His feet. Simon thought, If Jesus was who people say He is, He would KNOW who this woman is and He would NOT let her touch His feet.

Jesus then told him a story about two people who owed debts. One owed 500 denari and the other owed 50. Neither could pay their debt, so the moneylender decided to cancel their debts. Then Jesus asked him which he thought would love the moneylender more. The religious man answered that he thought it would be the one who had the greater debt.

You have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.Luke 7:43b-47

When I was younger and dumber, I mean, less perceptive, I thought, Oh no! I don’t sin that much, so my love for God isn’t going to be great.

Wow.

I would find it funny if it weren’t so shamefully embarrassing.

I read that we have on average 82,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say all your thoughts for a single day are sinful. Jesus paid the price for 82,000 sins. Let’s say your thoughts are sinful for a week. That’s 574,000 sins that Jesus paid for with His blood. Let’s say your thoughts are continually sinful for a month. 2,542,000 sins covered by Jesus. Let’s go crazy. We’re going to suppose your thoughts are sinful for a full calendar year, 365 days. Jesus wiped away 29,993,000 sins through His death on the cross.

That’s just thoughts, people! I’m not even going into words you say or actions.

I know that I wrestle with my thoughts on a daily basis.

We should not let our socially acceptable sin blind us to the fact that they are sins and that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We all have fallen short. We all have been forgiven much. Don’t let pride get in the way of seeing how good you really aren’t and how great God really is.

Thirsty Thursday: Socially Acceptable Sin

Sexual sin as a whole used to be social taboo in puritanical North America. Unwed mothers used to give their babies up for adoption, leave them on doorsteps of churches, or have their families raise them as a sibling. Marital infidelity was something shameful and if such a behavior were found out, it would cost the adulterer their job or their position or even an election as a political official. Homosexuality was seen as perversion. No one would admit to being homosexual and if they did, a person could be arrested or worse. All manners of sexual sin are socially acceptable today. The only two I can think of that are not socially acceptable are bestiality and incest.

My sin is socially acceptable. No one can see or hear my thoughts. Because of this, I am perceived as a “perfect person.” As a “model citizen” no one is going to point their fingers at me or wave signs of hatred in my face. My doubts and my fears go under the human radar, but blip loudly on God’s.

All sin is unacceptable to God.

ALL sin.

That is why Jesus had to die for us. God cannot associate with sin. So when you’re sitting over there lusting at the girl behind the counter, God sees it. When you think mean things about a family member, God hears it. When you break the laws of the land by surpassing the number on the speed limit sign, He knows. And it hurts Him. Having sex with your boyfriend is practically encouraged in American society, but you are disobeying God and breaking His heart. Only Jesus can wash your sin away.

Jesus has washed my sin away, and I ask for forgiveness when I stumble. I ask for forgiveness when I am not faithful. He is just to forgive me every single time. Have you asked Him to wash your sins away? He can even take your socially acceptable sin.

Thirsty Thursday: Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

These are the words Jesus spoke to His disciples before His arrest, before His crucifixion. How could Jesus be so calm? How could He tell His closest followers to not be afraid or troubled when He knew the horror of what was coming?

Jesus said to him,“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Because Jesus is God’s Son, He knew the BIG picture. He knew He had to die to save the world. In order to save you and me, He would die.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I cannot have a relationship with God without Jesus. You cannot know God without Jesus. Jesus is the only way. We cannot have eternal life without Him. We only have eternal death.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

There’s one catch. You. You have to pray. You have to trust. You have to admit that you are not perfect and you will never be perfect. You have to admit that you do the wrong thing. You sin. I sin. Everyone sins.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and for my sins will save you. Only then can you truly know peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Thirsty Thursday: God’s View of You

Cupcake was playing in her Grandmother’s living room. I was mindlessly sitting there waiting on Hunny.

A little voice floated up to me, “Would you rather be a grown up or a doll?”

I’d rather be a doll.

“Why?” she asked, concern flashing in her giant blue eyes.

Everyone likes to play with a doll. 

“Well, everyone looks at you and they see just a mommy, but when I look at you, I see a princess. When God looks at you, He sees a princess. He sees someone He can use.”

I was unprepared for the wisdom that spilled out of her. Thankfully, Hunny arrived in time for me to hide my tear brimmed eyes.

I don’t know how the world sees you. Maybe you’re just a mommy, just a student, just a co-worker, just a guy, or just a passenger. But you are more than that. You are never “just a -” to God. You are EVERYTHING to Him. Your worth is so high that He sent His Son to die for you. Your worth is beyond measure because God’s love for you is beyond measure.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37, 38 (emphasis mine)

Rest in His love and remember: