Psalm 28:7 — Meditation on A Mantra for Strength

Psalm 28:7 — A Mantra for Strength
The Lord is my strength and shield,
My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Stay with me. This meditation may wander like a Garrison Keeler monologue.

Although I had hung up the phone, I could still hear the student weeping as she told me about the guilt she was feeling. She was torn between school and duty as a caregiver for her aging mother. That led me back to thoughts of a co-worker, a professor. Her new promotion threatened to sap all her vital energy.  They were two strong women. They were two women in need of strength.

Strength and rest. Those were the words that came to mind early the next day. Strength and rest. What could I possibly say to either of the women in need of strength. Unable to shake the thought I picked up an old Bible.  My concordance pointed me to familiar verses about strength and rest. Among them were the familiar  verses of Matthew 11: 28 and Psalm 28:7.

Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I thought of the strength of Jesus. He knew how to rest himself in God. If only one could find a way to rest in Him. Surely one could find renewal in the scriptures on rest and strength.

Surrounded by this book and that on meditation and prayer I thought of the ancient practice of reciting the mantra. In the West we are so suspicious of the ways of the East we may lose touch with its wisdom. Did not the pilgrim recite a thousand times and more “the sinner’s prayer” as a mantra?

Looking again at Psalm 28:7  I saw before me a mantra of comfort and strength. One could simply recite the first line affirming the strength of the Lord, and repeat the second line affirming one’s trust. Breathe in strength, breathe out trust. In-out, in-out.

The Lord is my strength and shield,
My heart trusts in [You], and [You] help me.

prayer

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Studies in Ephesians — Ephesians 6:18-20 & 21 – 23

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 6:18-20 & 21-23

A – S – K – I – N
See also: Rms 8:26; Ps 145:9; Heb. 13:1; I Tim. 2:1-2; John 17:15, 20-21; I Peter 4:7; I Thess. 5:17; Psalm 109:17

Alert – v. 18 – Ever watch a child that is looking for gifts at Christmas time. We should be so alert spiritually.

Spirit – v. 18 – We are to pray in-Spirit. To some that seems like a mystery that cannot be fathomed. It should not be so mysterious. We pray in-Spirit when we pray in the name of Jesus. We pray in-Spirit when we pray that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Known – v. 19 – Paul ask that prayers be made to spread the Gospel. That is a one-size-fits-all prayer. Try it.

Inclusive – v. 18 – Pray on all occasions, pray with all kinds of prayers and requests, and pray for all the saints. Our prayers should be comprehensive.

Nerve – v. 20 – Paul asks that they pray that he remain bold. Courage is said to be about doing even when we are not feeling courageous. Pray for others to be bold to share God’s love, and pray that we be bold to share God’s love.

Exemplary Story: As we review the closing verses of the book of Ephesians we find Paul speaking of a servant whom he will send with a personal report. Then he closes in prayer: (vs. 23-24) “Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus with an undying love.”

Jesus

Being Still — An Old Challenge for a New Day — Exodus 14:14

English: Johnson Bible College chapel

English: Johnson Bible College chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Still — An Old Challenge for a New Day – Exodus 14:14

Big.  The little college I attended in Tennessee has grown big.  It is so big that it has become a university with three campuses – one in Tennessee, one in Florida, and one online.

I was recently invited to a regional rally for Johnson University on a Friday night.  Anyone who knows the history of the campus would expect that there would be stories galore at an assembly of the alumni of the school.  This night did not disappoint.

Among the alumni present was one Mary Beth, the daughter of a prominent professor of the school and a class president.  Her class was 1975 or 1976.  I do not recall the precise year, since I was among the  underclassmen.

Mary Beth held forth with a story about prayer.  As class president she was tapped by the administration to spearhead a prayer vigil for the school.  It was not uncommon to have prayer vigils then.  Some were conducted in small groups, and others were round the clock vigils stretching on for several days.  I could recall how we would scramble to get a decent time, but don’t let me get started.

Mary Beth was charged with the responsibility of praying for the debt retirement for two new dormitories during a Fall prayer vigil.  Prayer was the opportunity to step back, be still, and let God do the work of God.  Mary Beth recounted that the answer followed in the early Spring.   The debt was retired, the construction cost of the dorms was paid in full.

The prowess of my memory is a matter of debate.  Some of my female friends may declare I have a short memory, and some students may argue the opposite; but I regress.

This recollection dates from about 1976.  I was seated in the back of Alumni Memorial Chapel listening to Dr. Floyd Clark.  As he led the singing he interjected his challenge, “Stop.  Listen.  Can you hear them? I can hear the angels.  Can you?”  We were then to go on singing one round and another of the chorus he had chosen with the expectation that we would hear angelic voices.

White coral bells upon a slender stalk,

Lilies of the valley deck the garden walk.

Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring.

That will only happen when the angels sing.”

I cannot say that I did hear angels singing other than the angelic voices of the congregation.  In the men’s dorm, Brown Hall, I could not find anyone who heard celestial angels that night.  Nonetheless, the message was important.  There are times when you must be still.  In stillness you let God do the work of God.

I cannot say whether the students of the big university have yet come to understand the lesson.  It was a lesson Moses knew time and again.  Exodus 14:14 says, “the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Let the Leaders Pray — A Meditation for Church Leaders for 2013

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let the Leaders Pray – A Meditation for Leaders for the New Year, 2013

Let the leaders pray. That is my hope for the New Year, 2013.

I Timothy 2:1 says, ”I urge, then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and for all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

P-R-A-Y

Petitions (Requests) – Pray for someone in particular. God knows by name those in need of prayer. You should name those for whom you pray and name their need. Pray.

Requirements (Prayers) – Pray for everyone. We all need our daily bread, and we need to pray for our daily bread. Pray.

Affirmations (Intercession) – Pray for those who cannot and those who will not pray as an intercessor. In your prayers you can affirm those things that others need. Likewise in you prayer you can affirm before the Father those very things that others cannot or will not pray for themselves. Pray.

Yes (Thanksgivings) — Pray for the glory of God with a Yes. You have reason to give thanks to God for your own blessings and those of others. Pray.

Exemplary Story: An attractive young woman returned to her college campus to tell about her experience as a runner-up for “American Idol.” We were excited to hear what she had to say. During her presentation she said something to her teachers and classmates I still remember. “When you are praying, did you ask God to bless all the little children? I want to tell you, I am one of those little children. You prayed for me.” After that sermon I am quite pleased to pray, “Bless all the little children.”

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 10

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Lesson 10

Daniel 10:10-14, 18-19

See also: I Peter 3:7; Eph. 6:12; Rms. 1:13 & 15:30; I John 4:4

H-E-A-R-D

Heavenly messenger v. 5-7 An angelic message comes for Daniel.

Earnest Prayer v. 2-3 Daniel conducted a 21 day fast.  It likely was a bread-and-water fast.  His answer was delayed.

Adversary v. 13a We are reminded that enemy forces may be preventing us from getting the answers to our prayers that we seek.

Relief v. 13b Michael tagged Gabriel, and Gabriel was able to reach Daniel with his answer.  Here we have a cosmic tag-team wrestling match.

Directives of God v. 14, 20-21 Specific directives are to be given to Daniel, but first he must be told that God heard his prayer the very hour he prayed.

Exemplary story:   A child was frightened by loud claps of thunder.  She asked her mother, “Why does it thunder?”  Her mother answered, “When you hear it thunder just think of the angels.  Imagine that angels are bowling in heaven when it thunders.”  When we contemplate the unseen forces that surround our world, we must keep our faith in God.