Posts Tagged ‘Selah’

Be still my soul

June 11, 2018

The Book of Psalms provides great comfort and assurance from God, our gracious heavenly Father, who speaks so clearly during the stressful, perilous times in which we live, those times said to be difficult to handle. The Verse of the Day for June 11, 2018 offers this solid reminder:

Psalm 46:10 (New Living Translation):

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

Psalm 46 is among those Psalms using the Hebrew expression Selah serving as a refrain or interlude or reminder to “pause, and calmly think of that!” We note its usage in verses 3, 7, and 11. Here is the entire psalm taken from the Amplified Bible:

1GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,

3Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].

6The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

8Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.

9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.

10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Verse 10 also introduces this original psalm with the first three words of the Psalm 46:10 as its title:

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalms 46:10

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.
Though your cherished dreams seem to have faded and gone
The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,
As I weave the tapestry of eternity.
Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,
Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,
And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:
Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon
When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.
These scenes reveal people whom we thought we could be,
As words of the Psalmist also help us to see,
When this life is over and all is said and done:
Be still and know that I am God.

As we pause and calmly think about that—as we “selah” this Psalm, we also give heed to these words—

Be Still

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still my soul and be at peace.
Rise above your circumstance and rest in me.

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind lyrics to the widely recognized hymn “Be Still My Soul.” Dr. C. Michael Hawn, Distinguished Professor of Church Music, describes Katharina von Schlegel (1697-?), the author, as the leading female hymn writer of 17th Century German pietism, “a movement characterized by faithfulness to Scripture, personal experience and deep emotional expression.”

Jane L. Borthwick (1813-1897), a member of the Free Church of Scotland, translated the lyrics while the melody comes from a symphonic tone poem by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Finlandia, whose serene melody symbolizes hope and resolution of the Finnish people. The paired lyrics with this particular tune found its way to America in the 1930s with the hymnals used in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and the United Methodist Church.

We conclude with “Be Still My Soul” offered as a beautiful medley with “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by contemporary Christian group “Selah”:

My hiding place: The secret place

August 1, 2014

Psalm 119--114

In Psalm 119:114 (KJV) we find the Verse of the Day for August 1, 2014:

Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

The expression “secret place” is used in various places in the in both Old and New Testaments. Most notably, the term occurs in the Book of Psalms where the Hebrew word cether is translated “to hide or be concealed.” The words shelter, covering, or dwelling are frequently used rather than “secret place.” This word is used in Psalm 139:15: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.” The womb of a mother as a child develops is so described.

While the term generally refers to a physical location, it most often expresses a state of an intimate relationship with God. Verse 5 of my favorite Psalm puts it this way in New American Standard Bible:

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; / In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; / He will lift me up on a rock

The website gotquestions.org  points out that the Psalmist is not referring to an actual tabernacle or tent in which he will hide from physical enemies, but he is speaking of the state of peace that God gives in the midst of trials and attacks.

This website also provides a discussion of Psalm 91:1 “which gives us the best illustration of the value of a secret place:” He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (KJV).

“Think of the secret hiding places we enjoyed as children. Imagine being ten years old and finding a secret hiding place under the stairs or in the honeysuckle bushes. You slipped inside, and it felt magical! You felt safe and protected from the world. You imagined that you could live there all the time and no one could find you. Often, you invited your best friend to share it with you, because secret hiding places are better shared with someone you love and trust.”

The term is used in the lyrics of this original song:

Oh, Lord, you are my hiding place:

A refuge from the currents of strife.

You sustain and comfort me by your grace.

Oh, Lord, you are my hiding place.

 

 

Oh, Lord, you are my hiding place:

When the enemy comes in like a flood.

I run to you and seek your face.

You work all things together for my good.

 

 

Oh, Lord, you are my hiding place.

Psalm_32_7

A related verse is found in Psalm 32:7 which is used as an epigraph or introduction to poem describing “the secret place.”

Intimacy

You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me

from trouble; you shall compass me about

with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7

 

Flood my blood with love and remove all fear.

Fulfill this yielded vessel, clothe me and

Bring me closer, nearer than breath or tear.

Share with me the intimacy you planned

For man to cherish and enjoy before

You fashioned earth or gave to man his form.

Whisper divine secrets hidden in store

Within your heart, my shelter from life’s storm.

Fill my ears with words of peace that shall bring

Forth my lifelong song in your melody

That I may vocalize your will and sing

In one accord, in perfect harmony.

More intimate than friend or kin or wife

Is close-knit love God weaves within my life.

Not too long ago, without warning, a series of severe storms swept through the heart of the nation, leaving millions without power in its aftermath. In thinking about “storms,” I recall a number of original poems that focus on that subject. One of the poems contains this short piece:

Protect me

As a child runs to safety in his father’s arms,

So I, too, run to you, “my shelter from life’s storms.”

Lord, I long to dwell with you in the secret place,

My buckler, my shield, deliverer, my fortress,

Strong tower, defender, who responds to my prayer.

For Lord, you are faithful, who will establish me

And protect me and deliver me from evil.

 

Another song written from God’s perspective recognizes that He makes this promise:

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.

 

This entire discussion brings to mind another song of great comfort “You are my hiding place,” offered by Selah:

 

 

Tattooed in the palms of God’s hands

April 22, 2014

Isaiah 49 15-16

Without question, tattooing or body art, as some call it, has becoming increasingly popular in recent years. According to nbcnews.com, studies from the American Academy of Dermatology indicate that 24 percent of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed. Annually Americans spend $1.65 Billion on tattoos, so say statistics.

Among the reasons individuals give for getting tattoos is to honor loved ones, using their name or a verse or some other design as a permanent tribute worn on their bodies. Similarly, in a most unusual manner, God, our Father, not only holds us in the palms of His hands, but the scriptures also reveal that He has tattooed portraits of those whom He loves in the palms of His hands. The Amplified Bible translates Isaiah 49:16 in this manner:

Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.

New Living Translation renders the verse this way:

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.

Although tattooing is extremely popular today, what God has done to honor and express His love for His people is unique. Bishop KC Pillai, converted Hindu and Bible teacher, relates a specific Orientalism, a custom or practice from the Eastern sectors of the world, explaining that tattooing is the oriental way of remembering people expressed in Isaiah 49:16:

If you give a present you may lose it, but if you tattoo something on an individual you will never lose it. Therefore, we always remember you. They tattoo all over the arm [in] different places, but never in the palm. . . . No man can engrave on palms, because the area is tender and the needle is hot and hurts too much. It takes time to look for other tattoos, but here in the hand [there is] no time to look, just as open as your palm.

Every time God “does something with His hand,” those whom He loves come to mind, for He remembers everything about them. The Psalmist asks,

What are human beings, that you think of them; mere mortals, that you care for them? (Psalm 2:8)

In response, God, our Father,  expresses His love and concern for His creation when He engraves our image in the palms of His hands—we are always before Him. Beyond the lyrics of Willie Nelson’s love song, “We are always on His mind.” God tells His beloved just how special we are in a special way.

Selah, in singing the classic hymn “Before the Throne of God above,” makes a reference to Isaiah 49:16 with the line “My name is graven on His hands.”

In the midst of the storms of life: Remember the miracle of the bread

August 21, 2012

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, occurred in August, 2005.

Not too long ago, without warning, a series of severe storms swept through the heart of the nation, leaving millions without power in its aftermath.  In thinking about “Storms” I recall a number of original poems that focus on that subject.  In longer poem “A Prayer to Know the Fullness of Your Grace” is this short piece:

Protect Me

 As a child runs to safety in his father’s arms,

 So I, too, run to you, “my shelter from life’s storms.”

 Lord, I long to dwell with you in the secret place,

 My buckler, my shield, deliverer, my fortress,

 Strong tower, defender, who responds to my prayer.

 For Lord, you are faithful, who will establish me

And protect me and deliver me from evil.

Another related work that references storms is also inspired by Psalm 46:

Be Still and Know

Psalm 46

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams have faded and long since gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.

These scenes will reveal the man I thought I could be,

As words of the Psalmist comfort and remind me,

When this life is over and all is said and done:

Be still and know that I am God.

The accompanying video by Steven Curtis Chapman is likewise inspired by Psalm 46:10:

In thinking about the storms of life, I recall the words of Dr. Aaron Parker, who spoke of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm.  The statement was made following one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, Hurricane Katrina, occurring in 2005. My sister, Cheryl, who lives in Atlanta, sent me the tape series of sermons focusing on storms, by Dr. Parker, her pastor, each of which inspired the following trio of poems:

This Ever-present Truth 

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,

which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths;

Their soul melts because of trouble.

He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet;

so He guides them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:25-26, 29-30

As we navigate through the stages of our lives,

Mild breezes that caress our days are soon transformed

Into wild gales and floods, as one more storm arrives.

Despite this ever-present truth, we are alarmed

And unprepared for life’s torrential winds and rain,

As the raging storm center races toward our shore,

Gathering force and mounting into a hurricane.            

We find ourselves near the eye of the storm once more.

The whirlwind soon passes over and leaves behind

Rising flood waters that would overwhelm the soul,

But through prayer and strong faith we know that we shall find

Courage to endure, though each storm exacts its toll.

God prepares us to go through howling gusts and rain,

With strength between storms, ready to go through again.

 The Prayer Directive: Strength between Storms

 Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,

 continuing steadfastly in prayer;

 Romans 12:12 [NKJV]

 When it seems that we have reached our outer limits

 Of exhausted options and can no longer cope,

 Wrestling with unbelief, our foe that inhibits,

 God’s Word reminds us to keep rejoicing in hope.

 We know that in patience we possess our soul.

 In the midst of life’s pressures, we remain secure,

 Assured that in Christ Jesus, we have been made whole,

 Watching and waiting with renewed strength to endure.

 As stately palm trees, we yield and bend in the wind,

 And pray in the spirit, with requests that never cease.

 As sweet-smelling incense, our fervent prayers ascend

 In greater measure, as our petitions increase.

 Though storms may overwhelm, we are still in God’s care:

 Therefore rejoice, be patient, continue in prayer.

 Walking on the Troubled Waters of Life   

Matthew 14:22-33

In the fourth watch, long before the sun begins to rise,

A tempest attacks my ship with waves that overwhelm.

My vessel seems abandoned with no one at the helm

When a vision of the Savior appears before my eyes:

Jesus comes walking on the troubled waters of life.

As storms of our times bring conflict, confusion and strife.

May I not be fretful, anxious, cowardly like some,

But like Peter say, “Since you are my Lord, bid me come.”

And step out of the boat to walk on the storm-tossed sea.

While battered by fierce waves, tormented and tossed about,

In the time of my distress I cry out, “Lord, save me!”

He then asks, “O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the midst of turbulent times, may I “get a grip”

  And walk hand in hand with the Master back to the ship.

I recall also lyrics related to storms, such as the following 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”: 

Finally, a teaching by Apostle John Tetsola entitled “The Miracle of the Bread” was one of the highlights from Transferring the Mantle, a 3-day conference hosted by Equip U Ministries of Columbus, Ohio. Apostle Tetsola taught on the power of consistency in overcoming adverse situations where there is overwhelming lack of provision during seasons of difficulty, in the midst of the storms of life. He covered a number of accounts whereby Jesus performed a miracle of feeding the multitude with the fishes and the loaves, having an abundance of “leftovers” afterwards. The life changing ministry of the Word inspired this poem which is also the title of his teaching:

The Miracle of the Bread

 For every single problem that you have, 

the answer lies in the miracle of the bread.

Apostle John Tetsola

 

I will trust in the Lord and will not be afraid.

When the storms of life arise and seem to prevail,

When my strength is gone, and I seem destined to fail,

 In these tough times I recall words that Jesus said:

“O you of little faith, tell me, why did you doubt?”

No matter how midnight-black my nights seem to be,

I still access the power of consistency.

Although the world says no way, God will bring me out.

I learn never to elevate facts over truth

But recall past victories and bring them to my mind

When thousands were fed and abundance left behind

From two fishes and five loaves given by a youth.

In times of lack, I will not doubt but have faith instead

And always remember the miracle of the bread.