Psalms and More: The Lord is Coming

Psalms and More: The Lord is Coming - Weekly Devotional and Digital Art Journaling following the Common Lectionary - New post on Sunday at BibleCraftsandActivities.comI’ll be sharing a Psalms and More study during 2016 based upon A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. I’ve owned this book for many years and it has always been my go to resource for both encouragement and challenge as I seek to minister to others. It follows the Common Lectionary with additional readings through the week.

You are invited to join me on the journey both here and in our Facebook group. Please share your responses and how God encourages and challenges you each week.

If you would like your own copy of the book, visit ChristianBook.com.

Our theme for this first Sunday of the new church year: The Lord is Coming.

If he is coming, then I need to make room for him in my heart and in my life. I chose these words from the hymn Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates by George Weissel for my journal page:

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple set apart
From earthly use for heaven’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

I found the open hand picture to accompany these words of prayer, “We offer our lives as home to you and ask for grace and strength to live as your faithful, joyful children always.”

The scripture I added to the page continues the prayer, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4 ESV.

Open the doors of your heart. The Lord is coming!

Creative Bible Study – Psalm 123

Psalm 123 Digital Faith ArtCreative

This digital page was created with My Digital Studio and Stampin’ Up!’s On the God Digital Kit.  You can download the printable page here.

Commentary

Verse 1 – “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!”

What do we need to do to change our perspective in the midst of difficult circumstances? We need to know where to look. Looking upward and not inward allows us to keep our troubles in context.

Verse 2 – “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.”

In the Hebrew culture, a servant waited for the slightest motion of his master’s hand to direct him. That hand was also a source of supply, protection, correction, and reward. The Psalmist knows to look to God with an expectant attitude. He knew that God is always in control and his life rested in God’s hand.

Verse 3 – “Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.”

The writer waits expectantly and prayerfully. He pleads for God’s mercy. His heart is hurting from the words raining down on him. Sometimes words of contempt can roll right off, but sometimes they sink in and fill us to overflowing with hurt

Verse 4 – “Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.”

Application challenge from Ken Castor:
http://jesusfollower.typepad.com/my_weblog/2013/08/study-guide-psalm-123.html
This psalm ends rather abruptly. Following this psalm as an example, try praying right now without wrapping-it-all-up in a neat package. Let your “amen” sit awkwardly. Practice a hanging-prayer in order to trust God with the depths of your heart and then to leave it in His hands.

Images

Lift up my eyes, enthroned in the heavens, hand of the master, covered by scorn and contempt

Hymns and Songs

Psalm 123 NKJV Scripture Song “Unto You I Lift Up My Eyes”

Exalted One

Creative Bible Study – Psalm 122

Psalm122-001Creative

This week’s page was created using My Digital Studio and various stamps and some background paper from Stampin’ Up! I found the castle image and the hymn page for We’re Marching to Zion online and changed the color to dark brown.  I then set the opacity setting to about 60% to achieve the affect I wanted.

You can download the printable here.

Commentary

Verse 1 – “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”

The city of Jerusalem and the temple itself were visible reminders of God’s presence and covenant.

Verses 3-4 – “Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.”

As pilgrims traveling together to the same place and for the same purpose, the people become bound (or knit) together finding fellowship with one another. This became a bonding experience for individual families, for tribes, and the Israelites as a whole people.

Verses 6-7 – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! ‘May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!’”

This peace benefits the individual inhabitants but also the city itself. This peaceful state glorifies God while benefiting his people. The well-being of places that are centers for the worship and work of God in the world should be a matter of prayer.

Verse 8 – “For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, ‘Peace be within you!’”

The Hebrew word shalom is rich in meaning. According to Strong’s Concordance: Shalom means completeness, safety and soundness in body, welfare, health, prosperity, peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendships among people, covenant relationship between man and God.

Verse 9 – “For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

While the Psalm addresses the strength and security of the city, we look up to the founder of the city and consider the might and splendor of God. The Psalmist realizes that the history of Jerusalem is bound up with the activity of God and reflects the character of God. This verse is echoed in Hebrews 12:22-24 which draws our eyes to “the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering.”

Images

City of Jerusalem, traveling pilgrims, 12 tribes, standing within the gates, secure walls and towers, thrones of the house of David

Hymns and Songs

My Heart Was Glad to Hear the Welcome Sound

I Was Glad (Psalm 122)

Let Us Go