Greetings, November!

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Father God, thank You Lord for another new month. Thank You Lord for all the ways You worked in us and through us in October. Lord God, I ask that You will help us to have an even greater desire to live holy for You this month. Lord, this life is not easy! Culture is continuously bombarding us with distractions to keep us from holy living. Lord,  continue to transform our minds and hearts so that we may seek You first and best.

Lord God, as the days get shorter here in the North may we use this time to reflect and meditate on how Your light penetrates darkness. Lord, make us sensitive this month to our Brothers and Sisters who are being persecuted for their faith. Lord God, may those of us who are in positions to worship freely and who have financial resources, may we steward these gifts well. To whom much is given, much is required.

Lord God, good theology always moves from the head to heart to hand. Lord God, may we be hearers of the Word, who value the Word, and act accordingly to do Your Word. Lord, may we strive to obey You more this month than last.

Lord, for those who live in the United States, November is a time to celebrate Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Regardless of one’s political party, may we never forget the men, women and their families who have given and sacrificed so much. Lord God, only the Good News of Jesus Christ will rid this world of its hatred. Lord, work on the hearts of both believers and unbelievers. Stir believers to live authentic lives and stir unbelievers for their need for You. Lord God, may we value people because You value You people. Lord, You are still in the people using business and may we be used by You to be a light in darkness, to comfort, heal and to love. Lord, help us when we need to point out sin and error to do so with grace and mercy. Lord God, I ask that You make us sensitive to the people around us who are already fretting the upcoming holidays, may we be warm, caring and inviting to them.

Lord God, prepare us for this month and this month for us. Lord God, I ask that for anyone who is like me who looks back on vain regrets and past mistakes to free themselves and let it go. As Warren Wiersbe says, “let the past be a rudder to spur you forward and not an anchor weighing you down.” Thank You Holy Trinity that You are in this place. Thank You for being with this precious reader; right here, right now. Thank You Lord for this reader and their time. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Psalm 100

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1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

(Psalm 100 ESV, emphasis mine)

I just read Psalm 100 in my God time and I am grieved by the lack of number definition in English. Like I said yesterday in “I Hate You”, in every other language, number is clearly defined. I am growing in my sensitivity of the singular and plural imperatives (commands) in the Psalms.

In Psalm 100 all the words that I have bolded are second person plural imperatives. This means: “y’all make a joyful noise…y’all serve…y’all come…y’all know…y’all enter…y’all give thanks…y’all bless His Name!”

This is a communal Psalm. It is not an individual Psalm of praise to our Most High God. It is the cry of my heart that we will all read this Psalm and make a joyful noise to the Lord together! I know that I repeatedly tell my mom and Nathan they cannot sing; however, I KNOW the Lord wants to hear them and I KNOW that the Lord wants to hear y’all as well. So, let us lift our voices, let us serve Him, coming into His presence. I am so thankful that we are NOT alone on this journey! I am so thankful that God has given us Himself and each other! Love and blessings to you dear reader, thank you for your time!

Father, thank You for the gift of Yourself. Thank You that we are able to enter into Your presence individually and corporately. Thank You Jesus that You are our great High Priest and that it is in Your Name that we are able to come before the Father in the power of the Spirit. Triune God, make us sensitive to what is “you” and what is “you all”! Make us sensitive that when we fish for people, we are to cast a LARGE net, not just fish for person. Lord, You have wired us for community and You have wired us to long for You personally. Help us to be a people whose vertical relationship with You overflows in the way we horizontally love and live with others.  Thank You Lord that your steadfast love (hesed) endures forever! In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

 

 

I Hate “You”!

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I seriously HATE the English word “you” and all its ambiguity! It is hard enough figuring out the context of someone saying, “Hey you!” is it to an individual or to the group? For me, this context is even harder to discern in writing. I do not believe we were created to think predominantly in terms of a singular “you.”

Every language that I am aware of (other than English) has a plural you. I am not suggesting we should return to using, “thee,” “thou,” “thine,” etc; however, if this were not an issue we would not have regions of the USA that say, “y’all,” “all y’all,”  “yous guys,” “yuns,” “you all” etc.

Eight years ago when I was serious about learning Spanish, I decided the best way to learn was to read the Bible. I was stunned when I read Jeremiah 29: 11-13 and that “I know the plans I have for you”  was ustedes which is a plural “you.” While God certainly knows the plans He has for us as individuals, this passage’s original audience, intent and meaning was to Israel, the plural remnant. [Pastors who insist on preaching this out of context, could at the very least focus on the plural rather than the individual.] This was a defining moment for me and the Lord started me on a quest to learn about the Bible in its original form.

This is both an OT and NT frustration for me. A few months ago I was reading Philippians 1 and I was amazed by how many times the  “you” and “your” Paul was addressing was plural (vv. 3-10; 19-30). Most who read this blog are not wired like this (myself included). We think of “you” first as being singular/individual rather than plural.

The Psalms are rife with plurals. One of my MOST favorite Psalms and verses that I quote when I am excited is “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8). Both taste and see are plural imperatives meaning that all of David’s audience is commanded to taste and see the Lord’s goodness!  In verses 13-14 it switches, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” are singular (ESV, emphasis mine). David is now addressing the individual.

We truly need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and discernment when it comes to reading the Bible! Whenever you read the word “you” I would love if you would take a moment to find out if the “you” is plural or singular. Then, I would love for you to dig in further and learn if the “you” is addressing Israel, an individual and/or the church. This small three letter word has serious theological implications and consequences. I have suggested that English Bible translators make a footnote when a “you” is plural. At the least it would inform the reader how the “you” was meant in the original text.

The singular and plural is a tension that God has created us to live with. The sooner we realize this, the better off we will be as Christians both individually and corporately!

I look forward to reading any and all comments and feedback from Y’ALL!

Father God, You care about individuals and You care about Your Bride as a whole. Lord, help those who are in a more individual culture to read the Bible with community in mind. For those in a pluralistic culture, help them read the Bible knowing that You do ascribe worth to individuals and that You have created each person uniquely with their own set of gift(s) to glorify You and build up Your Body. Lord, help us to be a people who is truly known for our love. Lord, help us to discern “you.” Help us to know what is for Israel, for individuals and for the church. Lord, thank You for this individual reader and thank You for this blogging community as a whole. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Greetings, October!

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Father God, thank You for the dawning of a new month. Lord, may we draw closer to You in this new month. Lord, I pray for this reader to dig deeper into Your Word. Lord, may we be a people who do not collect facts and information about You, but people a people who truly live for You, putting Your Word into practice. Lord God, this life is not easy. Fill this reader with strength, courage and a desire to endure and persevere.

Lord, teach those of us who struggle with time management to seek Your will and way, rather than doing things on our own. Lord, for those of us who need to learn to have healthy boundaries, may we start employing them today. Lord, may we be a people who seek Your peace in all areas of life: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, financial.

Lord, for those who are like myself and prone to complain, may we look around and see all that we have to be thankful for. Lord, help us to be a people who seek the positive and not the negative. Help us, help me to be less critical of those who are close to me. Lord, help me to extend grace and mercy, as You have extended grace and mercy to me.

Lord, thank You for the gift of this reader. Thank You for the time they spend reading this blog. There are SO many things begging for our attention today, may Your Person, Word, and Character be what we chase and seek most, not just in this new month, but always. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Wasted Time

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For the past 10 days I have pondered how I would write this entry; I have decided that I am just going to say it. On Friday September 20, 2019, I am flying back to the Keystone State permanently. While I will be glad to return to my home state of Pennsylvania, I am deeply grieved to leave my mom here in Florida.

For the past three months I have stolen and wasted precious quality time with my mom. Instead of enjoying the time we had together, I have been sad, angry and bitter. I have been mean and inconsolable. I stole and wasted time by giving into negative emotions rather than being thankful. I have hurt my mom beyond measure and that is a pain I pray lessens with time.

If there is one thing in life that I hate it is to hurt and disappoint people, especially my mom. I can be a really angry and nasty person (seriously folks, I can be a raging lunatic at times) and when I come to my senses and see how much I hurt my mom, it breaks my heart. If I were ever asked to cry on command, all I would have to do is think of my mom’s face when I hurt her and that would humble me.

I keep telling myself we never know how much time we will have with our loved ones in this life. I am praying that the Lord will redeem the time that I have left with my mom. I am praying that He will heal our hearts. I am sad that my mom is sad that Nathan and I are leaving. I know that she will be fine. She has an excellent group of friends who love her and she loves them. Praise God, my mom is in good health. I assure y’all if something were to change, I would be on the first plane out of Harrisburg, PA to get to my mom.

I have no idea who or if anyone will read this blog post, but if you are reading, tell the people you care about that you love them. Enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones. Be present and be patient. I fail all of these daily. Thankfully, each day is a new opportunity to do better than the day before.

Mom, if you are reading this, I LOVE YOU! I am beyond sorry for the time I wasted with you. I am sorry for the hurt that I have caused you and the emotions that I stole from you. I am sorry this experience did not go the way we envisioned and planned. I am so sorry for all the times that I made you feel like you were not enough. Mom, we are as close as we are because we are a relationship tried by fire. I look forward to the day when we can look back on this and say together, that God was with us, even here. Again, Mom, I love you and I am sorry.

Father God, thank You for this reader. Lord, may this reader not delay in spending quality time with those they love. May we not lose sight of what matters. Thank You Father for new mercies and new opportunities. Help us to make wise use of the time that You have given to us. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Hello, September!

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Father God, thank You for this new month. Thank You for new opportunities. Lord God, may we not give into fear of calamity. May we trust in You and in Your plan. Thank You Lord that You hold it all, even when we do not understand.

Lord God, for those who are hurting, I pray that You will comfort them. Lord, for those who are rejoicing may they do so in a manner that pleases and glorifies You! Thank You Father for the gift of community. Thank You for the gift of friendship. Lord, may we be good stewards of ALL that You have entrusted to us. Lord, without You, we have nothing and are nothing. Thank You Father for Your grace and mercy. Teach us how to love, teach us to serve without asking anything in return.

Lord, I know many Bible Studies are resuming. May the content that is taught bring people closer to You. May they come to know and love You more! Thank You Father for knowing Your people collectively and individually! Teach us Lord, mold us Lord to be more like Yourself. Father, thank You for this reader! Grow their heart to love and live for You. Thank You Holy Trinity for ALL that You have done, are doing and will do for us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

The Shortest Psalm

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117:1-2 ESV)

I love this Psalm! I love how this Psalm is a call for Jews and Gentiles to praise the Lord! I love how great in this verse is a Hebrew word which means more than large or superior. “In Hebrew the word has the sense of someone or something having prevailed over something else because of his or its superior qualities” (J. Boice, Psalms Volume 3, p. 952). Here the word great means prevailing.

For example in Genesis 17:11 As long as Moses’s hands were raised, the Israelites were winning (prevailing) over the Amalekites. Also Genesis 7:18 and Psalm 65:3 are examples of great meaning prevail. “The point is that when this word is used of the love of God for his people, it also has the thought of God’s love prevailing over any obstacles or enemies” (Boice, p. 953).

Another word in this Psalm that speaks to me is that faithfulness here means amen. This could be translated truth. Amen can mean firm and unshakable. Jesus is quoted using this same word with “Truly, truly.” God alone is truly unshakable! As Boice says, “Strictly speaking, in this verse it is the faithfulness of God that endures forever and the love of God that prevails” (p. 954). The Lord’s love prevails because He does not lie nor change His mind. He can be trusted. Amen!

“Can you say, “I have found that God’s love is indeed great and prevails and that his truth endures forever. Amen.”? If so, you will say as the psalm does, “Praise the Lord.”” (Boice, p. 954).

Father God, may we praise You together and individually. Lord, thank You that Your love and faithfulness prevail regardless of what we think, see or feel. Lord God, thank You that You are Just. Thank You that You are faithful and true! Lord, may we praise You even when it is hard and inconvenient. May we never forget that You are in control. May we never forget that who You are and what You stand for and require does not change, even when society does. Bless this reader with the peace of Your presence. May they call on You today, may they praise You today. Lord, may we never forget that our chief purpose in life is to glorify You! May we live out the mission of this Psalm for all nations and peoples to know and praise You! Thank You Holy Trinity for the gift of salvation. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.