Disturbed, Satisfied, and Enough

Why are you crying? C’mon, you can tell me. What’s wrong?

The last click of high school[Day155]*

Photo credit: Chapendra (Creative Commons)

Has anyone ever asked you this, but you couldn’t answer? More than that, you didn’t know the answer?

I can picture myself on the floor by my high school locker, with my best friend, Andre’, patiently trying to figure out what was going on.

Poor boy.
Like he could ever understand a teenage girl. He had no idea what was wrong.

Problem is, sometimes neither did I.

There was so much comfort when I discovered David’s words,

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

David, king of Israel and called a man after God’s own heart, knew what it was like to be down and not fully understand why. Wow! As a confused, hormonal teen, that was music to my ears. Even today, that is so comforting.

Now look back at the beginning of the Psalm (verses 1-2):

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

It all begins with desiring God as a basic necessity for life. Like water to a living thing. Do you remember, as a kid, how you would play and play, not thinking at all about food or drink, when suddenly it’s hits you – you’re starving! And you’re dying of thirst! That’s when drinking from the hose tasted the best (yeah, I know kids aren’t allowed to do that anymore and this blog does not endorse such behavior, blah, blah, blah). But it’s only after being that thirsty that the water tasted best.

I love this song that we sometimes sing in Karis Church, Satisfied in You. It’s one of those songs that I often have to sing as a prayer, because I’m not often in the place where I can say I’m satisfied in God. I want to be. But I’m often not there.

Yesterday, Justin and Trisha Davis posted The Most Important Question on their blog. Please click over and read the whole post, but in case you don’t, here’s the question: “Is Jesus enough?…Is he truly enough or do I desire the things he gives me more than I desire him? If everything else goes away…is Jesus enough?” The post goes on to list specific scenarios. You may find yourself in one or more of them. I did.

So where are you today? Disturbed and downcast? Satisfied and thirsting for God? A little of both?

Will you, with me, live these words from the song?

Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about Your faithfulness.
Let my pain reveal Your glory as my only real rest.
Let my losses show me all I truly have is You. Because all I truly have is You.

I’m linking up with

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Day 6: Rest in the Beauty of Creation

Sometimes rest is found by dwelling on beautiful things. For this Sunday, I want to share some of the gorgeous scenery I used to live in, near, and around.

Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, from Shenandoah Valley:

Photo credit: Hamiltonl at en.wikipedia (Creative Commons)

Fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Photo credit: abi.bhattachan via flickr (Creative Commons)

Why the North Carolina/Virginia/West Virginia mountains are called the Blue Ridge Mountains:

Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties via flickr (Creative Commons)

As I pulled these photos, I was reminded of Psalm 1 and it seems fitting to rest on these words:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

See how that ties in with these beautiful images? The man or woman, whose delight is in the Lord, will be like a tree, yielding fruit in season and not withering, walking uprightly and meditating on the law of God continually.

Rest in this today.

31Days_Rest_thumb ←Click to find links to each day in the series.

I’m only one of 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Stop by to read some other great posts.

I Messed Up (and so did you)

Splash

Photo credit: Yashna M (Creative Commons)

I screwed up. Again.

Not just again, as if I’ve made this same mistake before. Again, meaning I did this last week, yesterday, even mere hours ago.

Sin.

I try to be the good girl and even succeed in making most people think I’ve got it all together. But it’s a lie. Whoops, see, there I go again.

Try as hard as I may, I can’t do it.

Be good.

God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

Psalm 53 lays it out so clearly, doesn’t it? There is none who does good, not even one. Ouch.

Yet,

Isn’t that a comfort? Didn’t you feel a little relief to hear that I screwed up? Again?

Because, here’s a little known secret.

You can’t do good either.

Oh, you knew that already, didn’t you?

But with your sin tucked away so no one will see, you look at me, at your neighbor, at your friend, and think we’ve got it all together. She would never struggle with this sin. He would never screw up like I have.

Wrong-O.

No one does good. All have fallen away.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

The Psalmist cries out for hope in that last verse. And hope comes, in the shape of the God-man, Jesus. One, without sin and secret screw-ups, took on the consequences of our sin.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

So rather than despairing, hope. The salvation David cries out for in the Psalm is come.

—–

I’m linking up with Everyday Awe today:

Psalms

No Time To Grumble

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Photo credit: Cali4beach (Creative Commons)

There’s a tendency in me to grumble and complain. It’s easier for me to see the dark side than the light. The glass is half empty. The penny is tails up.

I’ve been reading through the Pentateuch recently – the first five books of the Bible, containing the Law. Where most of the Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots are found. The Israelites? Yeah, they knew a thing or two about grumbling.

They’re freed from slavery, but Moses brought them to the desert to starve. They’re given food in the desert, but there’s no meat. They find a place to rest, but the water’s bad. God guides them daily with fire or a cloud, but he’s led them out there to die.

The story that really gets me is Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16. This guy, Korah, gets 250 men to rebel against Moses. And God’s like, Oh no, you didn’t. So he warns Moses and Aaron that he’s going to punish the rebels and for everyone to stay clear of them. Then fire comes from heaven and kills Korah and the ground opens up and swallows the rebels and all their possessions. Hello? Get the picture, Israel? Don’t mess with God!

Then Numbers 16:41 – this blows me away, if I didn’t see the seeds of it in myself – “But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron…” The VERY. NEXT. DAY.  This time there was no warning, God just started punishing them with a plague. Moses and Aaron rush out to make atonement for the people, but before the plague is stopped over 14,000 people die.

When I read Psalm 44 in light of the passage in Numbers, two things jump out at me:

1) This psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah. Descendants of the one who began that rebellion.

2) The flow of the psalm makes it appear that maybe they have learned from the past.

So these sons of Korah are obviously undergoing some challenging circumstance. They talk about being rejected and disgraced. They have lost battles against their enemies and been sold into slavery. They say that people laugh at them and scorn them. It’s a rough time.

But they don’t grumble. The psalm is book-ended, beginning and end, with hope. It begins with a reminder of all that God has done in the past, deeds performed in days of old. And it ends with a call for God to come to their rescue and redeem them once again.

If I spend more time remembering all that God has done in the past and asking for him to help with the challenges I face today, I don’t think I’d have time for grumbling. It’s time to start seeing the glass as half full and to recognize that, heads or tails, I found a penny!

~~~
I’m Walking Through the Psalms at Everyday Awe.

When a Friend Betrays You

bread and wine #1

Photo credit: khrawlings (Creative Commons)

Do know the sting of having someone you once trusted turn on you? If so, you can relate to King David. And the son of God, Jesus Christ. They were both betrayed by a friend.

David’s trusted friend and adviser was a man named Ahithophel. Ahithophel was so wise that the Bible says his counsel was considered as if one consulted the word of God. When David’s son, Absalom, revolted and tried to steal the throne, Ahithophel switched sides and began counseling Absalom. That had to hurt, to put it mildly. The story ends badly for everyone, and Ahithophel ended up committing suicide. You can read the full story in 2 Samuel 15-18.

David’s 41st Psalm seems to touch on the pain that Ahithophel caused:

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Similarly, Jesus had a friend he trusted sufficiently enough to handle the financial affairs. When this friend, Judas, betrayed him, it was to sell him out to the people who wanted to kill him. Jesus’ words about Judas echo David’s:

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out.

This song by Michael Card touches on that betrayal.

I’m studying Psalm 41 this week and the ending gets me.

But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

Yes, David asks to be able to repay the one who betrayed him. Which of us wouldn’t want revenge in a similar circumstance? I’m not saying it’s right, but it is a very human response (one we don’t see in the story of Jesus and Judas, by the way). But David first asks God to be gracious to him. We need that grace of God to help us when our own bitter feelings get the best of us.

He ends with praise and blessing on the Lord, the God of Israel. May we all, if or when we are betrayed by a friend, ask God to be gracious to us and bless his name instead of trying to get even.

I’m Walking Through the Psalms at Everyday Awe. Psalm 41 was a toughie. Join me next week for Psalm 42.

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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