Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 1’

Psalm 1: My first psalm

November 19, 2017

Psalm 1 3

The following was published a year ago and is revised and re-posted here:

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day for November 19, 2017, an expression came to mind that I generally associate with this particular passage, and so once again we have the Verse of the Day and the Word or Phrase for the Day Combo.

Here are the opening verses of one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 1: 1-2 (AMP):

[Book One] [The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.] Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.

The First Psalm is especially meaningful to me in that it is the first passage of scripture that I “learned by heart.” We, thus, introduce the “Phrase of the Day.” I recall committing the entire psalm to memory in the mid-fifties, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I vividly remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood in a kind of impromptu Vacation Bible School in her home, which was located behind “Little’s Funeral Parlor.” She told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still “know by heart” to this day.

Here is the entire psalm in the King James Version which I committed to memory:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Recently I came across a discussion of idioms on EnglishStackExchange.com where someone asked if “learn by heart” and “learn by rote” meant the same. In making the distinction between these two expressions, one writer commented that “[to] go over many times is the process of ‘rote learning’; I learned it by heart is the effect it produced or the quality of learning that was acquired.”  Learning by heart means to learn something so well that it can be written or recited without thinking; to memorize something. 

Another writer went on to say: “Learning by heart — which may be somewhat of a dying tradition — means to learn something so deeply that it becomes part of our core: it fills us; it changes us. The difference might be less in technique than in what we do with the acquired information.”

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

In a previous blog post I express my identification with this individual in the following self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

 Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I been truly blessed since I can remember when.

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

In thinking about the phrase “to learn by heart,” I recall another related verse which was the first verse in a set of 25 scripture memory cards that I later committed to memory as well:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV):

11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Today, more than 60 years have passed since I first encountered the First Psalm in all of its beauty and learned it by heart, the Word of God remains deeply implanted within me.

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by the Sons of Korah:

 

 

 

Reflections on Psalm 1

October 21, 2017

Psalm 40--8

The Verse of the Day for October 21, 2017 comes from Psalm 40:8 in the King James Version:

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

In reflecting on this verse, my mind immediately went to the First Psalm, the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory when I was in grade school, more than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood and told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day.

Psalm 40:8 echoes the sentiments expressed in the opening verses of the First Psalm:

Psalm 1:1-2:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

I express my identification with this individual in the following poetic self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

 

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I have been so blessed since you can remember when.

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

Now that I think about it, that experience occurred around the same time as another related experience when I asked if I could “join the church.” In order to become a member of the church, you had to be at least twelve years old.  Shortly after turning twelve, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, I walked down the aisle at Carter Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and shook the minister’s hand, but I recognized, even then, that sometime significant had happened that was more than just a formality.

In the Jewish tradition there is a rite of passage called the bar mitzvah for young men and the bat mitzvah, for young girls. The term literally means “son/daughter of the commandment.” This religious initiation ceremony is conducted for a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and thus eligible to take part in public worship.

Accepting Jesus Christ as my savior and my expressing my desire to “join the Church,” happened about the same time which I feel may have represented a kind of rite of passage similar to the bar mitzvah. Certainly, I did not realize what may have occurred at the time, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts while reflecting on the First Psalm and its significance in my life.

Today’s post concludes with a musical version of this beautiful psalm by the Sons of Korah:

Birthday Reflections: A new Song

June 17, 2017

Each day I try to begin with a time prayer, offering thanks to God for awakening me to see the dawning of a brand a new day. Today, June 17, 2017, by the grace of God, marks my 75th birthday. I now understand to a much greater degree the words of the elderly from my youthful days of growing up in the Church, as they expressed their gratitude to God for being “clothed in their right mind, with a reasonable portion of health and strength.” Oh, yes, I am truly grateful for being blessed with “a healthy body and a sound mind.”

As is so often the case, when waxing reflective, I also wax poetic. In many instances I have composed a new poetic piece on my birthday. In fact, even before identifying the poet coming alive inside me, the first poem I intentionally wrote was an occasional piece entitled “Upon Turning Twenty-one.” Today that tradition continues as I would like to share a birthday medley of poems of celebration: Something old, something new, and something laced with a taste of the blues:

A few months ago, a dear friend, spiritual daughter, fellow writer with a passion for the written and spoken word, Johari Parnell Mitchell introduced me to a new poetic form called the “Golden Shovel.” I was intrigued by the phrase “Golden Shovel” which I recognized as part of the subtitle of a celebrated poem by Gwendolyn Brooks: “We Real Cool—The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel.” Johari shared her excitement with having read a collection of “Golden Shovel” poems by Nikki Grimes, One Last Word. She talks about this fascinating book on her Facebook discussion “The Writing Life.” Her infectious enthusiasm stimulated me with a desire to try out this new form. Before the weekend was over, Johari had given me a copy of the book, and I left with a determination to master this new form which I later found had these stipulations:

The poet is to take a short poem in its entirety or selected lines from a poem by a poet whose work the writer admires. Each word in the line or lines is to serve as the end word in the new poem. The words should be kept in the same order. The topic of the new poem does not have be the same as the poem offering the end words.

In my haste to write in this new form, I selected one of my own pieces, not realizing that it should have been the work of another poet; not that I do not admire my own works, I simply did not think about that. As it turned out, the poem I selected was a Miltonic sonnet composed on my 40th birthday. The “Golden Shovel” I completed used the same end words as end words as well as the same beginning words in the same order, resulting in a kind of “book-end sonnet” of sorts. In any case, I had fun, and I share this work, combining “something old and something new”:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
Proclaim the good news from day to day.
Psalm 96:1-2

I sing in my garden and reap the good,
The bounty of living these forty years.
Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears
That fall, not because of some somber mood
But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.
The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears
Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.
I compose my song, having understood
Lyrics I did not know when I was young,
When life was uncertain, my song unsure.
Now from my green garden I garner truth.
A song of conviction flows from my tongue.
I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,
Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

June 17, 1982

 

I Sing in My Garden a New Song

He has given me a new song to sing,
A hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3

Good, so good, O taste and see the Lord is good.
Years, days of praise in the endless flow of years.
Tears, from joy and pain fill my bottle of tears.
Mood indigo rises to a brand new mood.
Gratitude–Bedrock of life is gratitude.
Ears placed near the lips of God, listening ears.
Nears—Look up for the day of redemption nears.
Understood—understand, then be understood.
Young at heart: while I mature, I am still young.
Unsure—once–Now rooted, no longer unsure.
Truth makes me free. I am free in Christ, the Truth.
Tongue—all my days I praise with more than my tongue.
Endure—victory awaits all who will endure.
Sung–soon and very soon a new song will be sung.

June 17, 2017

The final selection in my birthday medley is a blues sonnet inspired by Psalm 1, the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory back in the day in the mid-fifties as an adolescent. The first Psalm, which I still know by heart, continues to be a source of encouragement and strength:

Talk about a Man
Psalm 1

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I have been so blessed since I can remember when.

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

 

From the depths of my soul, I offer thanks to God for the blessing of knowing Jesus Christ as my savior and having experienced the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. All that I write on my birthday or any day for that matter, indeed, all that I do is an attempt to express to God, my Father, just how grateful I am for all He has done for me. Recently I discovered this song which expresses in part my thoughts today, as David Huff offers “My Song of Praise”:

Psalm 1: Learning by heart

November 19, 2016

Psalm 1--3

In reflecting on the Verse of the Day for November 19, 2016, an expression also came to mind that I generally associate with this particular passage, and so once again we have the Verse of the Day along with the Word or Phrase for the Day Combo.

This familiar passage opens one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 1: 1-2 (NKJV):

[BOOK ONE: Psalms 1—41] [The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly] Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

The First Psalm is especially meaningful to me in that it is the first passage of scripture that I “learned by heart.” We, thus, introduce the “Phrase of the Day.” I recall committing the entire psalm to memory in the mid-fifties, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I vividly remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood in a kind of impromptu Vacation Bible School in her home, which was located behind “Little’s Funeral Parlor.” She told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still “know by heart” to this day.

Here is the entire psalm in the King James Version which I committed to memory:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Recently I came across a discussion of idioms on EnglishStackExchange.com where someone asked if “learn by heart” and “learn by rote” meant the same. In making the distinction between these two expressions, one writer commented that “[to] go over many times is the process of ‘rote learning’; I learned it by heart is the effect it produced or the quality of learning that was acquired.”  Learning by heart means to learn something so well that it can be written or recited without thinking; to memorize something.

Another writer went on to say: “Learning by heart — which may be somewhat of a dying tradition — means to learn something so deeply that it becomes part of our core: it fills us; it changes us. The difference might be less in technique than in what we do with the acquired information.”

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

In a previous blog post I express my identification with this individual in the following poetic self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I been truly blessed since I can remember when.

 

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

In thinking about the phrase “to learn by heart,” I recall another related verse which was the first verse in a set of 25 scripture memory cards that I later committed to memory as well:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV):

11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Today, more than 60 years have passed since I first encountered the First Psalm in all of its beauty and learned it by heart. Indeed, the Word of God remains deeply implanted within me.

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by the Sons of Korah:

Unflappable 2: more in store

May 30, 2016

Psalm 1--3

A couple of days ago, instead of sharing the Verse of the Day, I chose to share the Word for the Day on May 27, 2016  when we looked at the word  “unflappable” and noted how it applied to us. After reviewing my notes and upon further reflection, I have chosen to continue the discussion of this distinctive adjective and other related terms. We, thus, have “Unflappable 2—more in store” on the Word for the Day on May 29, 2016.

Take a look at this definition of the term on  YouTube:

The previous blog entry also mentioned the term “unflappability”, a character trait demonstrated by those who remain composed and having sound judgment at all times, being impossible to fluster. An individual described as being unflappable exemplifies “unflappability”: remaining composed and level-headed at all times, being impossible to fluster.

Other related terms include the adjective “un·flapped,” meaning not upset or confused, unperturbed. Some additional forms include nouns “unflappability” and “unflappableness,” along with the adverb “unflappably.”

Following the initial post on “unflappable,” I reviewed some notes from a previous teaching that I had heard, and I came an acrostic that I had composed in connection with four attributes of spirits of wickedness: Fear, Lust, Anger, and Pride.

Often when these negative emotions are stirred up in situations that believers encounter, we become anything but “unflappable” under circumstances where we should remain confident and assured, unmoved, but we fail to maintain our state of “unflappability.” In such situations we need to respond to the tactics of the adversary of our souls and “unflap” the enemy by moving in the opposite spirit. Although you cannot find the verb “unflap” in the Official Scrabble Dictionary, I am coining the term and using it in a spiritual context.

We “unflap” the enemy by learning to be unflappable. To come out of the cave—those dark caverns of our minds that the enemy constantly seeks to lure us into, we must move in the opposite direction and “FLIP the FLAP.” When we encounter Fear, we move forward in Faith; In situations where Lust abounds, we respond with Love; Where we find “Anger” we walk away “In Peace”; Where Pride seeks to dominate, we counter with a “Pure heart of Humility:

Fear to Faith

Fear is said to be the only thing that defeats the promises of God. In a recent blog entry posted on Friday the thirteen, I commented that expression, “Do not fear” or some variation of “Fear not” occurs 365 times in the Bible, corresponding to a daily memo from God to have no fear. When we encounter the precursors of doubt and worry that too often culminate in fear, recall the comforting exhortation to Philippians 4:6

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

We, of course, recall the acronym for fear: “false evidence appearing real” recognize that evidence is something that is seen Instead of reacting in fear, based on what we see, as believers must learn to act or move out in faith which is defined In Hebrew 11:

Hebrews 11:1, 6

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Lust to Love

In the ongoing spiritual battle that confronts believers every day, we endeavor to walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  Titus 3:3 (NLT) reminds us:

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) offers this reminder of the source of lusts or inordinate affections, excessive inner yearnings that draw us away from God’s heart:

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

In the same way that love is the perfect antidote to fear, in that perfect love casts out all fear, Love also counters Lusts.

Anger to abiding  “In Peace”

In the midst of times of intense pressure and opposition, situations that we encounter may arouse anger within us, but the Psalmist exhorts us:

Psalm 4:4

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah

Psalm 37:8(NLT) repeats this message:

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

How about this statement from Ecclesiastes 7:9 (HCSB):

Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools.

James 1:19 (NIV) offers these words of wisdom:

[Listening and Doing] My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

When we find ourselves in midst of situations that generate anger, we counter anger when we walk “In Peace.” The lines from the spiritual assure us:

We shall walk through the valley in peace;
we shall walk through the valley in peace.

Refrain:
If Jesus himself shall be our leader,
we shall walk through the valley in peace

The first blog entry discussing “unflappable” spoke of maintaining the peace of God in stressful situations whereby believers learn to “Hold Your Peace.” Without question, the peace of God only comes from the God of Peace through His Son, the Prince of Peace.

Pride to “Pure Heart of Humility”:

Pride, the most dangerous of emotions, if left unchecked, can lead to destruction, as indicated in the closing lines of “Dangerous Emotions”:

Each deadly emotion yields deadly consequence.

Pride, described as the most dangerous of them all,

Leads to destruction and goes before a downfall.

In thinking about pride, I recall the first poem that I wrote, long before I recognized my poetic inclination and seriously pursued developing the poet’s craft and art. As a sophomore in college, I enrolled in a poetry appreciation course taught by a well-known poet and teacher who asked the class to write a couplet, and these two lines came to mind:

Beware, Pride locks the heart and keeps the key.

Take care that Pride has not a lock on thee.

Among the seven negative attributes that God hates, “indeed, seven are repulsive to Him” . . .  the first being “A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Those who walk in pride are despised in God’s eyes, but those who walk with a pure heart in humility bring a smile to God’s face: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Proverbs 18:12 tell us:

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.

More than 40 years after the first couplet that I wrote regarding pride, I wrote another two lines with this message:

We know that when we touch the heart of God,

We show that true humility is the key.

As believers each time we “flip the flap” and move in the opposite spirit when confronted by Satan and the forces of evil, we “unflap” the enemy and score a victory: Now thanks be unto Christ who always causes us to triumph in Christ, thus being “unflappable” each time.

To close out our discussion of “unflappable” here is “Tree” by Justin Rizzo, inspired by Psalm 1, the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory and which expresses my ultimate desire and prayer to be like the man so described:

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Psalm 1

March 21, 2016

Jeremiah-17 7-8

The Verse of the Day for March 21, 2016 comes from Jeremiah 17:7-8 in the Holman Standard Bible:

The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.

This passage echoes truths expressed in the First Psalm (KJV), one of my favorite psalms.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

When I think of the First Psalm in the King James Version, I recall the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory. More than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school,” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood and asked us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day.

About seven years ago, Dr. John Tetsola commented about the power of “The First Word,” and his remarks inspired this poem which also makes reference to the First Psalm, the “First Word” for me:

The First Word

When you’re in a difficult situation,
go back to ‘the first word.’ It still works.
Dr. John Tetsola

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.
Just like Samuel, I clearly heard God speak to me:
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

The desire to read and to learn by heart God’s Word:
Planted deep within my soul seeds of destiny.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

Early years of famine and drought God has restored.
My Shepherd ever sets a table before me.
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

From an early age God became my shield and sword,
As the Psalms inflamed a passion for poetry.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

The sound words of the First Psalm could not be ignored:
“Planted by the rivers of waters, like a tree. . .”
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

Striving toward the finish, ever pressing forward,
I now fondly recall glimpses of God’s glory.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord:
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by Kim Hill.

Correspondingly, here is an expression of Jeremiah 17:7-8 set to music:

Psalm 1: Talk about a man

November 19, 2015

Psalm_1-1

Posted a year ago on this date, the following blog entry has been modified and re-posted below:

The Verse of the Day for November 19, 2015 provides a magnificent description of the man of God spoken of in the first two verses of the First Psalm, one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 1: 1-2 (NLT):

[Book one (Psalms 1–41)] [Psalm 1] Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

When I think of the First Psalm, I recall the first passage of scripture that I ever committed to memory. More than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school,” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood in a kind of impromptu Vacation Bible School in her home, which was located behind “Little’s Funeral Parlor.” She told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day.

Here is the entire psalm in the King James Version which I committed to memory:

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

I express my identification with this individual in the following poetic self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

 

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

 

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

 

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

 

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I have been so blessed since I can remember when.

 

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

Now that I think about it, that experience occurred around the same time as another related experience when I asked if I could “join the church.” In order to become a member of the church, you had to be at least twelve years old. Shortly after turning twelve, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, I walked down the aisle at Carter Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and shook the minister’s hand, but I recognized, even then, that sometime significant had happened that was more than just a formality.

In the Jewish tradition there is a rite of passage called the bar mitzvah for young men and the bat mitzvah, for young girls. The term literally means “son/daughter of the commandment.” This religious initiation ceremony is conducted for a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and thus eligible to take part in public worship.

Accepting Jesus Christ as my savior and my expressing my desire to “join the Church,” happened about the same time which I feel may have represented a kind of rite of passage similar to the bar mitzvah; thus have been some of my thoughts while reflecting on the First Psalm and its significance in my life.

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by the Sons of Korah:

 

To find, to know, to do the will of God

October 21, 2015

Psalm 40--8

The Verse of the Day for October 21, 2015 is found in Psalm 40:8 (NLT):

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

Two days ago I posted a blog entry entitled “Take Delight in the Lord” and made reference to Psalm 40:8 in the Amplified Bible:

I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.

In another previous blog entry on today’s Verse of the Day, I offered the following remarks which have been revised and expanded:

The Verse of the Day for October 21, 2015, in the Amplified Bible brings to mind the First Psalm, the first passage of scripture that I ever committed to memory when I was in grade school, more than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood and told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day. Psalm 40:8 brought to mind Psalm 1:1-2 from the King James, the version that I chose to memorize:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Here is a reading of Psalm 1 in Hebrew with English subtitles:

Psalm 1 is set to music in this selection from Kim Hill:

Another related scripture from the Book of Psalms is Psalm 119:11, a special verse that I committed to memory by composing a melody to facilitate memorizing the scripture, the first of a long series of scripture memory songs.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Here is a similar Bible Memory Verse for Kids for Psalm 119:11 by Shannon Linville.

Another related scripture used in the blog “Take delight in the Lord” also comes from Psalm 143:10 in the Amplified Bible:

Teach me to do Your will [so that I may please You],
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Since a child, I have been endeavoring to discover the will of God for my life, as expressed in this poem:

The Will of God

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

Albert Schweitzer

 

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me,

and to finish His work.

John 4:34 [NKJV]

                                                

To unearth at last the world’s most priceless treasure

And gaze upon the splendor of God’s sovereignty

Is to savor joy unspeakable beyond measure:

To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.

To know intimacy beyond the highest degree,

A confident assurance when I acknowledge

And embrace the path, the destiny, prepared for me:

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.

To live life, knowing I am covered by the Blood

Is to walk with no regret, never to lament,

For all decisions work together for the good:

To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.

Guided and protected by the Shepherd’s staff and rod,

I rejoice to find, to know and do the will of God.

Darius Brooks offers a passionate rendition of “Your Will,” one of my favorite songs focusing on the will of God:

Like a tree: Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Psalm 1

March 21, 2015

Jeremiah-17 7-8Originally posted a year ago, the following blog entry is modified and re-posted below:

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 KJV

The Verse of the Day for March 21, 2015 also echoes the truths expressed in the First Psalm, one of my favorite psalms.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

When I think of the First Psalm, I recall the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory. More than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school,” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood and told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day.

About seven years ago, Dr. John Tetsola commented about the absolute power of “The First Word,” and his remarks later inspired this poem which makes reference to the First Psalm, the “First Word” for me:

The First Word                                           

When you’re in a difficult situation,

go back to ‘the first word.’ It still works.

Dr. John Tetsola

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

Just like Samuel, I clearly heard God speak to me:

I still remember the power of “the first word.”

The desire to read and to learn by heart God’s Word:

Planted deep within my soul seeds of destiny.

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

Early years of famine and drought God has restored.

My Shepherd ever sets a table before me.

I still remember the power of “the first word.”

From an early age God became my shield and sword,

As the Psalms inflamed a passion for poetry.

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

The sound words of the First Psalm could not be ignored:

“Planted by the rivers of waters, like a tree. . .”

I still remember the power of “the first word.”

Striving toward the finish, ever pressing forward,

I now fondly recall glimpses of God’s glory.

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord:

I still remember the power of “the first word.”

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by Kim Hill:

Psalm 1: Talk about a man

November 19, 2014

Psalm_1-1

The Verse of the Day for November 19, 2014 provides a magnificent description of the man of God spoken of in the first two verses of in the First Psalm, one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 1: 1-2 (NIV):

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night..

When I think of the First Psalm, I recall the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory. More than 60 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school,” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood in a kind of impromptu Vacation Bible School in her home, which was located behind “Little’s “Funeral Parlor.” She told us to memorize Psalm 1, which I did and still recall by heart to this day.

In the years that have transpired since the first time I recited the passage, I have come to identify with the man so described as “blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” in the Amplified Bible:

I express my identification with this individual in the following poetic self-portrait:

Talk about a Man

Psalm 1

 

Talk about a man that show is blessed—you’re the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—you’re the man.

At first you couldn’t, but now you see God’s master plan.

To study the Word of Life show is your delight.

To study the Word of Life show is your delight.

You’re all the time thinking about it—day and night.

Planted by the rivers of water, your roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, your roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

You have been so blessed since you can remember when.

The Word of God soothes your soul like a healing balm.

You’re the man they talking about in that First Psalm.

Now that I think about it, that experience occurred around the same time as another related experience when I asked if I could “join the church.” In order to become a member of the church, you had to be at least twelve years old. Shortly after turning twelve, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, I walked down the aisle at Carter Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and shook the minister’s hand, but I recognized, even then, that sometime significant had happened that was more than just a formality.

In the Jewish tradition there is a rite of passage called the bar mitzvah for young men and the bat mitzvah, for young girls. The term literally means “son/daughter of the commandment.” This religious initiation ceremony is conducted for a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and thus eligible to take part in public worship.

Accepting Jesus Christ as my savior and my expressing my desire to “join the Church,” happened about the same time which I feel may have represented a kind of rite of passage similar to the bar mitzvah, thus have been some of my thoughts while reflecting on the First Psalm and its significance in my life.

Listen to a musical version of this beautiful psalm offered by Kim Hill.