Meditation on Psalm 28

Psalm 28

1To you, O LORD, I call;

I utter Your holy name with expectation and fear.

my rock, be not deaf to me,

You are the only One on whom I can stand.  PLEASE hear me.

lest, if you be silent to me,

I become like those who go down to the pit.

Our conversations -made possible through Your Son – are what set me apart from this world.

 

2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,

I cry for mercy…I beg for undeserved grace in my time of need.

when I cry to you for help,

When You are all I have…

when I lift up my hands

toward your most holy sanctuary.

When You are all I want…I surrender.

 

3Do not drag me off with the wicked,

with the workers of evil,

Those who get what they deserve,

who speak peace with their neighbors

while evil is in their hearts.

Those who speak counterfeit words to contradict the fullness of their hearts.

 

4 Give to them according to their work

and according to the evil of their deeds;

Let Your justice reign.

give to them according to the work of their hands;

render them their due reward.

Grant what they desire and deserve.

 

5Because they do not regard the works of the LORD

or the work of his hands,

They don’t acknowledge all You’ve done and all You do.  They give You no glory for creation.

They give You no thought as they go about their fleeting days.

he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Destruction is coming.

 

6Blessed be the LORD!

You are content in Your own holiness and pleased to offer grace.  Worthy of Praise!

For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

You promised You would never leave me!  You promised to answer when I call!

 

7The LORD is my strength and my shield;

When I am weak, Your power sustains and protects me.

in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

Some trust in fame and fortune and safety and self.

I trust in You alone.  You alone are my solution and Savior.

my heart exults,

Everything in me leaps for triumphant joy!

and with my song I give thanks to him.

I will sing a new song…a humble heart and grateful lips are my offering.

 

8The LORD is the strength of his people;

Without Almighty God, we can accomplish nothing.

he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

We can run to You because You are our place of safety.

 

9Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!

Continue to rescue Your children and assign to us Your priceless inheritance!

Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Lead us, guide us, protect us, carry us always for eternity.

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Buying Up the Season

No matter who you are or what defines you or whatever is your estate, you are in a season. You have come from a season and you are going to a season. Be it the President of the United States to the needy, hungry and homeless one on the street, there is no differential–each person is in a season. I would call that common ground. Wouldn’t you?

It’s in the common ground things of life that God’s Word speaks and is illumined. He inspired it to be so.  His Word touches whomever will listen to it and simply be willing to be impacted by the light of Christ.  I’ve heard some say that His Word means nothing to them and He means nothing to them.  Even this one, this lost sheep, is in a season.

Seasons define us, mark us, change us, fill us, empty us. Seasons are the circumstances of the day–the weather and events and characters that set the current stage of our lives. Some seasons are like a day at the beach–warm, salty wind blowing in our face, sounds of waves crashing and children playing, a plethora of joy, contentment and happiness. Some seasons are like a lonely walk in the desert–hot sand on our blistered feet, sounds of the wind and nothing else, an empty and lonely place that chills our hearts at night.

It is with these thoughts and this spirit that I came upon this verse two days before we filed for bankruptcy in March 2009. It had been a hard season, ending in a tragic failure for us.  This verse spoke to my heart, for it was as if I were the one needing to be awoken from a very, bad dream…

Therefore He says, ‘Awake O sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.  Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people) making the most of the time (buying up opportunity), because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:14-16 Amplified

So as I meditate once again on this verse and look back over what for me was the last season of my life and not the present one, I am beginning to pull out the meaning of the phrases from the original language.  I want to see if there are any treasures to be had and of course there are!

Beginning with the first word, Therefore, we know that these are verses that point back to the verses before them. You can read the whole chapter in its entirety here (Ephesians 5 Amplified). Basically the passage is talking about how we walk through our life, what we should choose and what we should not choose.

Then it says it is shameful to even mention what some people in the darkness practice in secret. We, by our own behavior, shine a light on them to expose, reprove and convict them. When deeds are exposed and rendered apparent and shown manifestly by the light, they are known.

So picture this…you are in a dark cave without any glimpse of light to be seen.  Your mind is completely confused.  You cannot move from the spot in which you sit, as you shiver in fear.  Not knowing if you are awake or asleep, you have frightening thoughts and in every way you are confused.  There is nothing you can do about your estate. For you are stuck.  There is not one thing you can do to make a change in your circumstances.  For even crying out for help is too cognizant a thought to form into words in such a muddled mind-set.

Then Jesus comes and shines His light upon you, illuminating your darkness.  Not only that, but He speaks to you!  He bids you to waken and rouse from the place you have gone to lie down and sleep. He says, as he once said to Lazarus, “Rise again!  Stand up, you corpse, you dead one, and see!  Behold and perceive.  It is your choice. Then walk around, live, and follow Me as your Companion.  Let us take the most exact and straight path.  You must tread down underfoot this place from which you are walking. Let me set you free.”

He continues to speak, “Walk not as the conceited one, the unclear fool. No!  Walk thoughtfully, discreetly, wisely with skill. For you must ransom, rescue from loss and buy up this appointed season. It is time! From dawn to dusk, you must live redeeming this time, knowing and being aware of the wicked, degenerate, hurtful age in which you live. I am with you, equipping you to live wisely. Shining My light in your darkness. Now walk and illumine the path for others. Tell them I am the light.”

I remember the night, Jesus did this for me.  It was a dark night, alone in dorm room. My choices had led me down the wrong path.  I was in the darkest day of my life. Though I did not know it, as I bowed face down on the floor and coherent of nothing save my pain and sorrow, Jesus shone His light upon me.  He illumined my path.  He taught me a better way.  He showed me a better way to circumspectly walk about every gentle day.

Does that mean I have not needed His light since?  Oh, now that is far from reality.  Reality is that I need my Companion’s (Jesus’) light every moment of every day. Sometimes, I have not chosen to walk in that light. Did He walk away from me or abandon me?  No.  He waited and shed His light abroad on the path, so that I would know how to find my way back to Him. And the important part? It was and is my choice. Daily.

And dear friend?  It is your choice. Daily.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I cannot think of a better weekend breakfast offering than muffins. They are truly my weakness. In the afternoon, they make a good snack, too. You can take this recipe and substitue plain yogurt for the heavy cream and sour cream for a lighter recipe.

3 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T. poppy seeds
10 T. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sour cream
1 T. lemon zest
3 T. lemon juice
1 c. powdered sugar

Blend together in a large bowl flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Make a well in the center and add butter, eggs, heavy cream and sour cream. Blend all together thoroughly. The dough will be sticky.

In a large or two small, greased muffin pans, fill each cup to the top with dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

In a small bowl blend lemon juice and powdered sugar until the consistency is the way you like it (add more lemon juice if it is too thick). After pulling the muffins from the oven, ice them generously. Let slightly cool and enjoy!

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Heart Prompt #22

“In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:4-5 NIV

One of the things I love best about Christmas is the awe and wonder Christmas lights produce in my children, or any children really. To hear them gasp. To hear them ooooh and ahhh. To hear them exclaim I found them! I found them!

Make time over the next couple of weeks to look at Christmas lights with some kids. Let their amazement be contagious. Take in the beauty of the colors. Let them remind you of the awe and wonder of our Light, Jesus Christ, who shines bright in the darkest of nights–for us all.

 

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Heart Prompt #16

How appropriate that the Light of the World’s birth is celebrated by decorating our homes and yards with light. Offer to drive a homebound person to see the holiday decorations and lights around your city or neighborhood. Even some seniors who are active don’t go out in the evening because of problems with night vision. This is a great thing to do as a husband and wife especially if the elderly person needs help getting in and out of the car.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  Matthew 4:16 

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Heart Prompt #8

Today set aside an hour to make cookies and pray, as you bake them, for your neighbors, co-workers or friends.

Here are cookie recipes from the old site, What Would Martha Cook?: Christmas Cookie Recipes. (I will add them to this site after this time of preparation is over, as I still have over 150 recipes that need to be transferred.)

Then put a 6-12 in a ziploc bag and a note saying, “I prayed for you this morning. May the Light of Christ shine in your heart this day.”

“…the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

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Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes

When my dear, high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Lewis, went on vacation earlier in the year, she had these wonderful, light and fluffy pancakes in California.  I never thought I would like ricotta cheese in pancakes.  But OH!  They are very wonderful.

1 c. ricotta cheese
1/4 c. milk
3 large eggs, separated
2 T. sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 T. grated lemon zest
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cream of tartar
4 c. mixed berries
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. canola oil
4 T. powdered sugar

Place the ricotta in a large bowl and add milk, egg yolks, and sugar–whisk together until blended. Add flour, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold until just blended.

In a separate bowl, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the beaten whites into the ricotta mixture just until blended.

In a bowl, combine the berries and lemon juice and stir gently to blend. Set aside.

On medium high heat, put 1 T. oil on a large cast iron skillet (add other tablespoons as the pan dries). For each pancake, pour 1/3 cup batter onto the hot surface. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pancakes and the bottoms are lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Carefully turn and cook until the other sides are lightly browned, 2-3 minutes longer. Makes 12 pancakes.

Dust the warm pancakes generously with confectioners’ sugar to taste. Serve the pancakes with the berries on the side. From Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthful Cooking. Found this recipe on Erin Cooks, which looks like a fun cooking website!

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A Candle Never Burned

A candle never burned

gives no light,

shares no fragrance,

radiates no warmth,

lights no dark corner,

guides no lost wanderer

Remains straight,

tall,

unspent,

uncaring,

beautiful,

except for the layers of dust

collected from  years

of uninvolvement

There is safety, preservation,

in collecting dust,

but no brilliance,

no shared ray of hope…

Oh, Lord, make me a candle

burning brightly,

if only for a brief time

May I light someone’s way,

cheer someone’s soul,

spread the sweet fragrance of You

until at last,

smoldering wick flickers and dies,

sending a wisp of smoke, like a spirit,

soaring heavenward,

Where light of candle is never needed

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