Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 27’

Remembering Psalm 27 on 9/11

September 11, 2015
Photo of 9-11 Memorial of Public Park in New Providence, NJ

Photo of 9-11 Memorial of Public Park in New Providence, NJ

On September 11, 2015, many Americans reflect on the world-altering events occurring fourteen years ago. Many people still recall where they were and remember the circumstances surrounding their hearing about the terrorist attacks. Without question, the events of 9/11 have been seared into the memory of the general population of the nation like no other occurrence. I recall muddling through that protracted day in a haze of disbelief. Later that evening I remember attending a prayer service at my church. During an intense time of praying, I recall reciting Psalm 27 which I had learned by heart as a teenager. Today that particular psalm continues to comfort and encourage us in times that disturb and distress the nation and the world:

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.

Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Here is an arrangement of Psalm 27:1-4 Christian Praise Lyrics offered by Esther Mui.

My portion forever

March 1, 2014

Psalm 73--25The Verse of the Day for March 1, 2014 is found in Psalm 73:25-26:

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.

The New Living Testament renders the passage in this way:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

Along with the Psalmist, I also declare that “God is the strength of my heart,” in that verse 26 of Psalm 73 became the inspiration for the following scripture memory song:

God Is the Strength of My Heart

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

And my portion, my portion, and my portion for evermore.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places.

He’s the lifter, the lifter, He’s the lifter up of my head.

In thinking about the passage from Psalm 73, I also recall the opening verses of Psalm 27, my favorite psalm which I committed to memory as a youngster.

Psalm 27:1-3

 1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

We also find another reference to “my heart “and “my flesh” in Psalm 16:8-10

8I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Throughout the Psalms we find references that reveal that God will strengthen our hearts. Psalm 27 ends with this reminder:

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Psalm 31:24 tells us:

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 84:2 makes known

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God

Josh Bayne captures the heart of the Psalm 73:25-26 in the song “My Portion Forever”:

The classic Don Moen composition “God is the Strength of My Heart” reinforces the message in a special way:

 

Psalm 59:16: Taking refuge

February 3, 2014

Psalm 59--16

In reflecting upon The Verse of the Day for February 3, 2014, other verses that speak of God as a source of refuge also come to mind. I recall that my Psalm 27, my favorite, also mentions that “In the time of trouble shall he hide me. In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me. He shall set me up, upon a rock.” The Psalmist further explains that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1) and declares that “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” (Psalm 62:7).

Psalm 118:8-9, which some believe to be located in the center of the Bible, also express a profound truth:

It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. (Amplified Bible)

The times in which we live seem to be especially challenging, as the pressures of life abound in the midst of what the Bible speaks of as “perilous times” or times that are difficult to deal with. The lyrics to “This Too Shall Pass” express what seems to be transpiring in our lives every day:

In the middle of the turbulence surrounding us,

These trying times are so hard to endure

In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour

Hold fast your heart and be assured

From time to time, we may lose focus and become anxious regarding our circumstances that ever seem to fluctuate. During times of uncertainty when our feet seem to slip and we are about to lose our grip, we can turn our thoughts toward the promises of God, assured that just as He has been with us through the stormy trials of the past, so He will be with us now. Along with the Psalmist, we take comfort in knowing that God is our refuge.

I also recall lyrics to another original song:

I Will Deliver You

I will deliver you from the snare of the fowler.

As a bird escapes from the cage, so I will release you from captivity.

I will lift you up, out of the hand of your fiercest enemy.

I will draw you to myself and hide you under the safety of my wing.

I will deliver you from the raging deep waters.

The sea shall not overwhelm you, but I will bring you through the storms in peace.

I will lift you up, and bear you up on the wings of an eagle.

I will provide for you and hide you in my secret dwelling place.

These lyrics bring to mind a song of great comfort “You are my hiding place” offered by Selah”:

The Verse of the Day and other passages from the Book of Psalms remind us that God, our refuge, is a very present help in the time of trouble.

“Have no fear”: A word for the day

July 19, 2013

1 John 4 18

This morning as I began my day, I noted the “Verse of the Day” taken from Isaiah 41:10 in the King James Version:

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

This particular verse reminds us  that as believers we are not to fear. The comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear.

Isaiah 41:13 also provides great encouragement with this reminder.

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

When we encounter stressful situations that cause us to respond in fear, we are encouraged to seek the strength to overcome any obstacle that attempts to block our path to success.  Psalm 27, my favorite psalm which I committed to memory as a youngster back in the middle of the 20th Century, still offers great encouragement today.

Psalm 27

1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

In the midst of the perilous times in which we live, we cannot deny that fear seems to abound. We all recognize that fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits.

Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

In 1 John 4:18 we find the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free, as this poem indicates:

Self-imposed Prison

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you

 from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

– Rick Warren

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves torment. But he who fears

has not been made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

 

This self-imposed prison, not made with bars of steel,

Nor formed with bricks, yet each subtly constructed wall

Restricts the mind, scars the soul and cripples the will

And impounds us to a state of constant free fall.

Held captive by past mistakes that seek to instill

Fear: this deadly acronym binds, confines the heart,

So disguised as “false evidence appearing real”

Keeps us from being all God intends us to be.

But Christ, our sovereign Lord, pardoned each life sentence,

Commuted penalties, declaring not guilty.

With his blood, having blotted out every offense,

Displayed undying love: key to set captives free.

Pure freedom to serve awaits those with ears to hear,

For perfected love destroys all walls built by fear.

 

The acronym used in the poem is a common one for fear as “false evidence appearing real.”  Last year I was introduced to another acronym for fear by Victoria Dunn: “forgetting everything already realized.” That concept inspired another poem containing yet another acronym, as well as another based on the antidote to fear: Love ( Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time).

Have No Fear: Remember Love

With gratitude to Victoria Lynn Dunn

 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear:

because fear involves torment. He who fears

has not been made perfect in love

I John 4:18

 

Forgetting Everything Already Realized,

Everything God performs He does with excellence.

Already set before us is every promise.

Realized with each sunrise this eternal truth:

Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time.

Only believe, knowing love energizes faith.

Victory is ours each time we trust God and believe,

Ever mindful that perfect love casts out all fear.

God cannot love us more and will not love us any less.

May we never forget but always remember:

Despite the storms and fiery trials, we will not fear,

Knowing nothing can separate us from God’s love.

The Verse of the Day is just a reminder for believers to put on our “no fear gear,” as we walk in the love of God which casts out all fear.

As we reflect upon Psalm 27 and other passages related to having no fear, here is a musical reminder composed by  Andraé Crouch and Michael Omartian;  this version of Psalm 27:1 features vocal soloist El DeBarge.

Nine for Twelve on 9-4-12

September 4, 2012

Isaiah 62 with its 12 verses comprises the theme for the New Year: “Twelve for Twelve in 2012.”

At the beginning of the New Year, I posted a blog in Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe based on my theme and scriptural focal point for 2012. In this case, I had selected Isaiah 62, a passage that most providentially contains twelve verses. In studying the chapter, I decided to write a series of poems, as I personalized each of the twelve verses, calling the collection “Twelve for Twelve for 2012.” Here is the link to the first installment, published in two parts, inspired by Isaiah 62:1: “One for Twelve”:

And so the series continues with the ninth installment “Nine for Twelve,” a personalized poetic rendering of Isaiah 62:9, posted on September 4, 2012 (9-4-12).  Here is the verse from the New Living Testament:

You raised the grain, and you will eat it,
    praising the Lord.
Within the courtyards of the Temple,
    you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”

 Nine for Twelve

 Isaiah 62:9

Eat the bountiful harvest, for you raised the grain.

Go forth abounding in great peace, praising the Lord. 

What I did before, know that I will do again.    

I will renew your strength according to my Word. 

Know that I desire that your seed should remain, 

That you should endure and lay hold of your reward.    

Within the courts of the Temple, my dwelling place,   

You yourselves will enjoy the wine that you have pressed.   

I will reveal my love to all those who seek my face.        

Cast your care upon the Lord, do not be distressed. 

I delight to dwell with those in the secret place: 

Here you know that no greater love can be expressed.  

The references to “abounding in great peace,” and “Cast your care upon the Lord,” bring to mind the song “He is Our Peace,” so melodiously performed by the Maranatha Singers:                                             

The line “What I did before, know that I will do again” brings to mind the gospel song “He’ll do it again” sung by Shirley Caesar:

As I reflected upon this passage, I also happened to think about Psalm 27, my all-time favorite psalm that I committed to memory when I was in during my junior high school days back in the 1950s.  God promises to reveal His love “to all those who seek His face.”  The Psalmist declares “When You said, “Seek my face,” my heart said unto You, “Your face, Lord, will I seek.” Since first committing Psalm 27 to memory, my heart’s desire continues to be that of a “seeker of God’s heart,” so tenderly and powerfully expressed in this song by Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, and Steve Green:               

Psalm 27 continues to minister to me each time I recite it, as it did 11 years ago on September 11, 2001 when I incorporated the entire psalm into my prayer for America following the tragic events of that unforgettable day. Here is a version of Psalm 27 by Donnie McClurkin: