Morning Devotions: Psalm 119

 

Rhythm of the Waves

God has given us rhythm in nature and in his Word.

This summer my husband and I have been reading from Psalm 119 for morning devotions. It is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. The verses have a poetic rhythm that is just partially revealed in the English translation. In Hebrew one letter of the alphabet marks each section. Verses one through eight each begin with aleph. Verses nine through sixteen begin with bet, and so on through the alphabet.

Psalm 119 is a tutorial on the word of God—arranged in a manner that encourages memorization.

Ron Hirschhorn, a member of our church, has written a devotional book, Psalm 119: The Supremacy of God’s Word. The devotions cover 22 days. Each day focuses on one eight-verse section. Hirschhorn reflects on the meaning and application for that section.

On day 17 the title of the devotion is “10 Reminders to Keep Pressing On”. Here are the verses for the day (129 -136).

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise,

and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts,

Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes,

My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

The last first verse stirred my thoughts about the chaos in our country. Hirschhorn directs the reader to press on to have a merciful heart for people that ignore God’s laws. We must care.

We have enjoyed the devotional book. It was easy to do together in the morning, and it encouraged discussion.

Linking with After my CoffeeWords with WinterSunday StillnessMake My Saturday Sweet,  Weekend WhispersGrace & Truth and Booknificent Thursday


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Gardens of Hope

Phlox

During the past week I returned to Detroit. (The first 12 years of my life I lived in Detroit.) I was shocked to drive though a community with abandoned and burned out houses. And yet there is hope and a passion for life here.

I visited Brightmoor and I was treated to a walking tour of the community gardens. Amid abandoned homes the gardens are a vibrant sign of hope. As I talked with people that work on the gardens, I learned a little more. I tasted the salad herb, purslane, and ground cherries.

One family was putting in a rain garden in their front yard. The plants and flowers have deep roots that can absorb a lot of water from saturated soil, preventing overflow in the sewage system. The people of Brightmoor are enthusiastic about protecting and restoring the neighborhood. Perseverence. Passion. Hope.

I had much to think about on my way home. It was a nice break in driving to  stop at a farm market. I bought some blueberries, peaches and tomatoes. (Michigan is a great place to get blueberries!)

At home I have flowers, berry bushes, herbs and a few vegetables—and weeds. We have had a lot of rain this year which has been great for my plants and also for the weeds. When I go out to work on my garden patches I lose track of time. As I work I have time to sort out my thoughts. I have been thinking about gardens.

We have a deep place in our heart that receives refreshment from a garden. God has created us that way.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. Genesis 2: 8 -9a

Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still enjoy the refreshment of one. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Take a walk at a botanical garden. It provides a great opportunity to learn about plants. When I visit a city on vacation I look for their botanical garden. Chicago, Phoenix AZ and Albuquerque NM have wonderful gardens.
  2. Spend a morning at a local farmer’s market, seeing all the produce. Sometimes they have flowers, too. Talk with the farmers. You never know what you might learn.
  3. Plan a garden for next year.

Pink PhloxLinking with Thought Provoking ThursdayA Little R & R,  Wildcrafting WednesdayWords with Winter, Roses of Inspiration,  Sunday Stillness,  Friendship Friday and Grace & Truth

 

Rocks and Waves

Recently I saw a tee shirt online with this message: Just a Michigan girl in an Illinois world. I feel that way. Michigan is home to me even though I have lived in Illinois for many years.

We were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a week ago. We had projects that we were working on, but we found some time to spend along the coast of Lake Superior.

Of the great lakes, Lake Superior is the majestic one—in my opinion. The coastline is rugged.

Superior Coast

Many colorful rocks show up on the beaches, thrown up from the deep by the waves. Some days the waves are light, but on other days the waves thunder as they crash on the beach.

Superior Shore:rocks

Since childhood I have enjoyed looking at the rocks. I still remember showing a rock to my uncle. He exclaimed, “That’s an agate. You found an agate.”

Agates come in a variety of forms and colors. Bands of color mark these stones. At one point in time minerals entered pockets in porous rocks and became fused there. When the rocks are wet it is easiest to see the bands of color.

Lake Superior Agate
Lake Superior Agate

I can spend a couple hours walking along the shore of Lake Superior, with the sound of waves making a powerful but soothing rhythm. In the process of looking for agates I lose myself, absorbed with beauty that God has created in nature.

A quote from Henry David Thoreau resonates with me: Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.
Source: Journal entry, March 13, 1842

I forget the latest news. I am away from television, my computer and the phone. I am away from the voices in our culture. I am thankful for this time to be restored. I am thankful for our Creator.

Mightier than the thunder of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty!
Psalm 93: 4

Linking with InspireMeMonday,  Wordless Wednesday,  Sunday Stillness, the Weekend Brew,  Grace and Truth and Friendship Friday