Thursday, January 25, 2007

change and God's words

Lately, I've been meditating on Psalm 73. I can identify with the psalmist in the struggles they are having, especially at certain times along the way, in the journey. And like other Scripture, there are a number of ways or different experiences we can be going through, and be helped by this psalm.

How do we guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23)? I believe this psalm has something important to say to us, to help us do that. It is worth going over and pondering for awhile. I was trying to memorize certain verses of it, and at least in the process, was mouthing them, over and over again (verses 1-3, 13-17, 21-28). In this practice, I believe God's Word can become more and more our own words, coming from our hearts. But I speak them when my heart may seem far away from what they're saying, or even opposed to it. And as we engage in this, in a prayerful way to God, God can and will change our hearts, and help us live differently, in his love and in his love for ourselves and others.

These words in some ways seem strange to me. But they say something important to us as God's people, that we need to hear, and take to heart:

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

It is good to let a passage from Scripture impact us. And we also need to hold on, by faith, to what we saw more clearly as we were pondering it. We need to remember the truth we are gathering and learning. And seek to apply it, and live it out, more and more, in the rough and tumble reality of living.

What might you share from your thoughts and/or experience about this?


L.L. Barkat said...

Wonderful to see you continuing this thought that you began over on Seedlings. I'll have to add a link to that post!

Mark Goodyear said...

Ted, good thoughts. I needed to read that Psalm today--and be reminded to guard my heart.

That reminds me of my favorite passage in scripture. (OK, I have lots of favorites. But this one is a bit like a mantra sometimes.)

From Philippians 4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We aren't called to guard our hearts and minds in this passage. We are called to rejoice. To be gentle. To remember that God is near. To pray and give thanks. All of those things lead to the peace of God which transcends all understanding.

And that guards my heart.

Anonymous said...

I find the Psalms help me guard my heart best, as well. As I read the Psalms over and over, phrases about who God is and how he cares for the earth and for me seem to stick in my mind. Especially at night, when sometimes I lay fearful trying to go to sleep, these phrases come back to me.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks so much, L.L.!

Ted Gossard said...

Mark, Great passage and point! Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

Charity, That is so good to hear. God's protection and blessing over you, coming through to you from the psalms. Thanks for sharing that!

(I think the psalms have so much more potential in my life, to be used in that way.)