My camera is on vacation

January 15th, 2015

Today is the monthly quilt guild meeting.  As I’m doing a lot of the communication stuff for the guild, I sent my camera with a friend to the morning meeting of the guild.   Our guild donated five books to the library, with quilts that go with them.  Someone from the library was going to the morning meeting to receive the donations, and coming with a publicist.  Anyway, with a little luck there will be photos for our Facebook page.  But there’s no picture for a blog post.

Maybe I can rejoin my camera this evening as I head to the evening meeting!

So what is the quilting thing?  Pure satisfaction seeing a project come together in a pleasing way.  Or frustration that things are off kilter.  Or design challenges.  But that deadly sin sloth gets me often.  I could now be trimming and sewing.   Or I could be composing something thoughtful.  But no.  Her I sit, frittering away some time on the computer.   So enough words saying that I have no photos and nothing much to say for myself.

How do you express your creativity?   Where has the impulse to express yourself or find your limits pushed you?

Here’s a flash into the way back machine.  Quentin in the tree house he and his Dad were building.  2008 I think.  But those don’t look like 8 year old teeth.   He’s now taller than I!

Joyful Noise?

January 6th, 2015

Well, great! Now I cannot figure how to make the orientation of the photo right. It’s ok in iPhoto, so the orientation information from the camera is there, but it’s not being read in WordPress. Another leeetle puzzle to work on.

Today I rejoined the Bible study in progress for the year. It was good to be back. Over a three week hiatus our reading was most of the book of Leviticus. I was concerned with the omissions… the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests and the establishment of the Day of Atonement. Those seemed like a serious omission as we slogged through about 20 chapters of Leviticus. We encounter there strict attention to sacrifices, and how they are to be accomplished, where the blood is to go, minute detail. If nothing else, I see that it’s not “the devil” that’s in the details, but that God would have us attend to the details in worship and His work. Now I know that this next week we will get the rest of the book. So we’re not leaving out the important bits, just mixing it up a bit.

Last night I went to practice hand bells. After an hour, I was getting tired, but not like last time we played. That time I took a good week to recover from the strain in my forearm from swinging the heavier bells. We have bigger ones, but I’m working with about as big as I can handle. There are only two of us, and CB who is playing his clarinet. We’ll see how this goes. Simple enough… we’re accompanying him while he plays Amazing Grace. So in this I can make a joyful noise. My singing voice was dubious when I was in my prime, so at this ripe old age, it’s noticably degraded.

Thanks to all who commented on yesterday’s blog. Linda mentioned being assaulted by ads. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Progress on the blog front… Image test.

January 5th, 2015

Time, our lifes are made of hours and minutes. I just spent a LOT of them trying to get so far as to be able to post a photo. What is it?

At quilt guild, in our birth month, we’ve been allowed to draw from a gift basket, and I picked a soft little package. Inside were these tiny paperpieced squares. Each square is 3.5 inches. I’ve not figured out what to do with them, but I keep thinking they are too good to just keep wrapped in tissue in my house. Placemats with a piece or two? One candlemat? A pillow sham? Line them up in sort of a wonky arrangement and make a doll blanket for the grandgirls? Any ideas?

Testing 1, 2, 3

January 2nd, 2015

Test of ability to upload photos from Mother’s computer.  FAIL.

So today is the first Real day of 2015.  Do you have any goals?  I’ll make my first goal to figure out how to import photos into a blogpost.  I have the photo chosen.

The Windows machine is dead.  I know how to do it there.  An apple product?  It seems I need to give the blog’s server permission to write on the Apple.   I have a hint of a clue where to go to find it.  I don’t give up easily long term.  Today it won’t get figured.  And if I cannot figure how to deal with files on the machine the blog will die a horrible death.   It’s on life support.

What goals in your year?   For today?  For January?

As for me I’m too content.  Hard to make goals which would require reorganizing much if I’m pretty happy with the way things are.  I’m sometimes lonely.  But I’m also overstimulated with others around very much.  I’m sometimes over committed.  That’s a balancing act.

Over commitment.  Hmmmmm.    I forgot to print up the copies of the Quilt Guild’s Newsletter and attachments to mail to the folks who receive them by USPS.  It’s Jan 2.  A good day to knock off that task.

Psalm 21

January 27th, 2014

P
salm 21

New King James Version (NKJV)
Joy in the Salvation of the Lord
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

21 The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire,
And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

3 For You meet him with the blessings of goodness;
You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
4 He asked life from You, and You gave it to him—
Length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great in Your salvation;
Honor and majesty You have placed upon him.
6 For You have made him most blessed forever;
You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord,
And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8 Your hand will find all Your enemies;
Your right hand will find those who hate You.
9 You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger;
The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath,
And the fire shall devour them.
10 Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth,
And their descendants from among the sons of men.
11 For they intended evil against You;
They devised a plot which they are not able to perform.
12 Therefore You will make them turn their back;
You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.

13 Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!
We will sing and praise Your power.

For which victory is this written? A beautifully written blogpost “Carried to the Table.” The blogpost includes this piece of art. It explores the relationship of David and Saul’s grandson, Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. It’s a moving story, when Mephibosheth has no expectations but to be killed as a relative of Saul over the succession. David seeks out Mephibosheth from beyond the Jordon, in a land translating “Place of no pasture.” Mephibosheth was lame, dropped fleeing after his father and grandfather were killed in war, and David was crowned. Yet David for love of Jonathan invites Mephibosheth to dine at the king’s table.

The allegory drawn out beautifully in the blogpost is to the grace of Christ in inviting us, undeserving to His table. David’s grace in restoring the lands of Saul to Saul’s crippled grandson, and making part of the royal circle is a small reflection of God’s grace, through incarnation and our invitation to his table. Do yourself a favor and read “Carried to the Table.”

Psalm 20

January 20th, 2014

P
salm 20

Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Prayer for Victory
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

20 The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary,
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings,
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices!Selah

4 May he grant you your heart’s desire,
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your victory,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

6 Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty victories by his right hand.
7 Some boast of chariots, and some of horses;
but we boast of the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall;
but we shall rise and stand upright.

9 Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call.[a]

Footnote:

Psalm 20:9 Gk: Heb give victory, O Lord, let the King answer us when we call

The memory verse from this Psalm would be verse 7, so I’ll try a different translation. The Message non-translation is always, ummmm… interesting?  So here’s the message for verse 7 and 8.

See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we’re making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.

I definitely prefer the language of the Revised Standard Version. Nearly fell out when a friend who had a minor in religion (or maybe a major) said that he’d decided that the attraction of the Bible for him was the beauty of the words, and not so much the message of the Bible.

So what is the message of this Psalm?

Sounds like a song the congregation sings in support of their king.

1 - 3 Asks God to remember “your” sacrifices, but I think it’s David’s or his lineage. God is implored to protect the king, and by extension the kingdom.

4 God, grant your desires
5 and your petitions. We will shout joy on victory, and put up banners.
6 God will grant victory to his annointed (David and his successors)
7 Chariots, horses? Fine, but the first and last word is from God.
8 Please Lord, answer our prayer and give the king victory.

Psalmist aims to establish David’s line as the rightful king, deserving God’s special providence.

Do we feel our government is sanctioned by God, obedient to God’s law? Or are we closer to the relationship of New Testament Palestine under Ceasar when Jesus was born? Is the question even one that can be asked in the world today without raising hackles?

Picture from 2009.   Seems quite a long time ago.  In the hall of congress full of marble and bronze statues of legislative greats.  Do we have any of those today?  Sigh.

A victory Psalm 18

January 15th, 2014

P
salm 18

Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Royal Thanksgiving for Victory
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

18 I love thee, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me,
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me,
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering around him,
his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him
there broke through his clouds
hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare,
at thy rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

16 He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
but the Lord was my stay.
19 He brought me forth into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his ordinances were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from guilt.
24 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 With the loyal thou dost show thyself loyal;
with the blameless man thou dost show thyself blameless;
26 with the pure thou dost show thyself pure;
and with the crooked thou dost show thyself
perverse.
27 For thou dost deliver a humble people;
but the haughty eyes thou dost bring down.
28 Yea, thou dost light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 Yea, by thee I can crush a troop;
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who girded me with strength,
and made my way safe.
33 He made my feet like hinds’ feet,
and set me secure on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation,
and thy right hand supported me,
and thy help[a] made me great.
36 Thou didst give a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For thou didst gird me with strength for the battle;
thou didst make my assailants sink under me.
40 Thou didst make my enemies turn their backs to me,
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save,
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

43 Thou didst deliver me from strife with the peoples;[b]
thou didst make me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart,
and came trembling out of their fastnesses.

46 The Lord lives; and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me;
48 who delivered me from my enemies;
yea, thou didst exalt me above my adversaries;
thou didst deliver me from men of violence.

49 For this I will extol thee, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to thy name.
50 Great triumphs he gives to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants for ever.
Footnotes:

a. Psalm 18:35 Or gentleness
b. Psalm 18:43 Gk Tg: Heb people

__________

With 50 verses this is clearly one of the longer psalms. It’s still less than half the size of 119, but it’s long. David’s Song of Victory.

In BSF today we were talking about answered prayer. Have you ever experienced immediate, startling answered prayer? I have. And the description that another lady gave showed that she had the same reaction I did. It’s so startling, electrifying, and in my case… like everything else, fear inducing! David seems to have some of the same reaction, though he was annointed King, and the battles with Saul, staying honest and fair with Saul, but knowing the succession was not going to Saul’s son, but to David perhaps made him a bit less surprised. Samuel had annointed him. Was it before he fought Goliath? Or was it before he went to war for Saul, but after he’d been in the household of Saul? Anyway, he was not new to the miraculous, all sufficient power of the Lord. So how does he sing his praise and thanks?

He recalls the strength and protection of the Lord, and the dire straits of his flight from Saul, when death “compassed him.” v 1 - 6

He describes the response, the voice of God in terms that sound volcanic, with some storms and coursing sea thrown in extra. v. 7 - 15

And he says God plucked him out of calamity, and set him in a broad plain. He was delivered because God “delighted in me.” v. 16 - 19

Oh and by the way did I mention just how righteous I am? I’m as good as I can be, and God is all about justice. The good are well rewarded, the haughty and crooked find God’s severity. The author of perfect justice v. 20 - 30

And by the way, did I tell you how I was strong, mighty and a warrior to grind enemies to dust? God gave me this victory. They cried for help, there was none. They cried to the Lord, but he heard them not. v. 31 - 42

So I conquered, and having a repution as a great warrior, I have service and obedience of many foreigners. God lives and delivers me from the enemies. v 43 - 48

Praise the living Lord, praised among the nations, showing his annointed, and descendents steadfast love. v 49 - 50

_______

David didn’t stop and celebrate victory until he’d a full and complete victory, laid the ground for years of peace and prosperity for his people. A reminder to me. The leaving of the chains of admistrative responsibility does not absolve me of responsibility. There are still going to be hills to climb, snowbanks to traverse.

Five years ago’s battles.

Psalm 19 (Somehow I skipped 18… coming soon)

January 11th, 2014

P
salm 19 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised, Catholic version.
God’s Glory in Creation and the Law
To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament[a] proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice[b] goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens[c] he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;[d]
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Photo from an evening run to a meeting.

Finally a Psalm which really speaks to me in a multitude of voices. There is the familiar language. Verse 14 is used often as a pastor’s prayer before a sermon, and quite an effective invocation.

Old songs, words often heard resound with an echo of other times other places which make them dear.

Verses 1 - 4 are pure poetry, even after millenia and many translations. My father’s photos are a hoot. He took photos of plants and landscapes, as I do. They are not a record of people seen, events attended, but they are a way of seeing the handiwork of a creative God. I have passels of his 35 mm slides of plants I could easily photograph today. But I also have the record that he was looking at them with wonder as I look at them. After his burial, I finally wept driving into a sunrise in Eastern OK, and realizing that those were precious. Though God may make an infinite number and variety of them, there are a finite number available for me to see and give thanks for. “Day to day pours forth speech… their voice is not heard yet their line goes out through all the earth…” The Creator God is awe inspiring, awesome altogether.

But THERE’s MORE! The sun runs it’s circuit, untiring, like a bridegroom, as love we understand as humans. Love, of his people.

So, as there was that unfortunate incident in the garden, and we’re ever doomed to be separate from God through our sin, He gave Moses a bunch of rules and laws. Rules which bind us to him in daily routines, special ways to eat, to dress, to sacrifice, to live, loving our fellow human creatures as the best image we have of Hif and His love.

And if I ever get too smug, too sure that I’ve got your attributes caught in some box of my making, remind me that I am as grass in the field, here for a day, and then gone.

There is a new covenant. Jesus defeated death. But as for my time on earth, let me be graciously thankful every day of my life.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Number 17 (what are the chances I live long enough to make it to 150?)

January 8th, 2014

P
salm 17

Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
A Prayer of David.

17 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 From thee let my vindication come!
Let thy eyes see the right!

3 If thou triest my heart, if thou visitest me by night,
if thou testest me, thou wilt find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
4 With regard to the works of men, by the word of thy lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to thy paths,
my feet have not slipped.

6 I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God;
incline thy ear to me, hear my words.
7 Wondrously show thy steadfast love,
O savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at thy right hand.

8 Keep me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of thy wings,
9 from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.

13 Arise, O Lord! confront them, overthrow them!
Deliver my life from the wicked by thy sword,
14 from men by thy hand, O Lord,
from men whose portion in life is of the world.
May their belly be filled with what thou hast stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their babes.

15 As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form.

Erin in her blog “No Boring Life Here,” mentioned a set of bible readings designed to take you through the bible in a year chronologically. As in… the psalms of David would be interspersed in the reading of Samuel I and II and Chronicles I to correspond to the events in David’s life. I hoped to find that just to see where the authors of such a reading plan put this psalm. David surely was in scrapes, the most worrisome it seems to me were in his dealings with King Saul, who was wanting to kill David, finding that David had the favor of the people, and God. Accession battles in the middle ages, through the readings on the Crusades, were perilous times for the king’s family, and for the nation (tribe) as a whole.

David was no less threatened when Absolom lead a revolt, aiming to install himself on the throne. Anyway, it would seem clear that this psalm is written as a plea for God’s protection. One bit that draws my attention is the last verse. “As for me I shall behold thy face..” Beholding the face of the living God is not something I’d be asking for! Moses was “irradiated.” And that was just God’s passing, not showing His face. Or so I recall. Verse 14 seems to ask God to take out not only his enemies, but their children as well. Paraphrased, “Deliver my life from men whose portion (desire) is of the world.” They consider wealth and power to be the end all and be all, God. I know your Word, honor your Law and keep you ever in my heart, and at the forefront of my mind. David’s life was bloody and in the world’s terms victorious. But God wouldn’t let him build the temple, because there was too much blood on his hands. Even so, I can only marvel at the relationship David has with the God of Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Joshua. Such an incredible history… story of God’s intervention in history. How can mere mortals deserve such care. Yet David calls for, even demands attention. Is it my weak faith that makes me unable to do likewise? I plead now and again. But I make no demands. Perhaps this would be a good time to try to bargain? Hmmmm….

What’s a miktam? This psalm is an example

November 13th, 2013

P
salm 16

The Message (MSG)
A David Song

16 1-2 Keep me safe, O God,
I’ve run for dear life to you.
I say to God, “Be my Lord!”
Without you, nothing makes sense.

3 And these God-chosen lives all around—
what splendid friends they make!

4 Don’t just go shopping for a god.
Gods are not for sale.
I swear I’ll never treat god-names
like brand-names.

5-6 My choice is you, God, first and only.
And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
And then you made me your heir!

7-8 The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake
is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I’ll stick with God;
I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.

9-10 I’m happy from the inside out,
and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
that’s not my destination!

11 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I’m on the right way.

The Message’s translation/paraphrase is always a little jarring, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it, but it’s a nice wake up.

Here’s a link to two other translations. I thought it interesting that the reference to the heart in verse 9 or 10, here shown as “inside out,” in Hebrew translates specifically to the kidneys! I for one am always glad to have happy kidneys.

Ok, now the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) treatment.

Read… who’s here, how’s God described?

David praises his Master
Warns against idol shopping
David praises the people who recognize God as first,
describes his happiness in God’s care,
and speaks of immortality, or at least avoiding the pit, Sh’ol.

Reflect… What does the passage teach about God, about people, about me?

David’s contentment can be a justification for theology promising material reward, which would be a misreading. David is obviously in a content spot in his life when he wrote this psalm, perhaps just after his annointing, or as he’s winning battles.

David makes God heart present both in his conscious, daylight thoughts but also finds Him in dreams. David, a man, a king, not a god, is the chosen and beloved of God.

God’s rewards may be material, may be joy, but they are real rewards.

Respond… Pray about applying the passage to your life.

Father, You know me well. You know what idols of “certainty” and “self will” I chase. Help me to be obedient, to quickly follow as you lead. Help me to keep fighting the battle of the bulge, and be disciplined in it. Let me quit futzing and worrying about the checking account. Keep me thankful. Make me obedient. Obedience, chastity and poverty… vows needful in following Christ. I pray in His name, amen.

God’s Bounty… Trini mobile fruit stand