Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: Psalms

Empty Schemes

An exercise in futility.
The blueprints for human empires, built on the strength of the flesh.
God laughs, in fact. That’s what the Psalmist says. Because He of all People knows how futile it is for creation to lay designs apart from the Creator.

Again the same two-day-old question haunts me though– “…The people imagine vain things.” (Psalm 2)

Who are the people?

Empty Schemes.
My plans, without God.

But “Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as your possession.” Psalm 2:8, (Amplified)

To Be Ignored

So, I slip past familiar words I’ve read a hundred times, quoted more. This fitting start to the hymnal of the old world–

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful…”

Like a grade school teacher I ask the right questions, wait for the answers. (myself also the pupil.)

The scornful? Probably scorners. Skeptics. Profane men that divorce God from His creation, make the truth about life a lie, set themselves above the law of the universe, claim progress but at the same time destroy meaning by destroying origin and destiny… Yeah, don’t mind them.
Ungodly, same thing.

You skipped one.
Did I?

Pray tell, who are the sinners?
These others thrown in with those whose companionship, counsel, and cowardice I should avoid?

How about me.

I am a sinner.
And insomuch, my counsels to myself should be ignored.

I take counsel from, pleasure in, strength of,
gain wisdom through, live life by,

the benevolent law.

Strong to Save [When God Goes to War] Part II

You know the story isn’t over.
It could be. I mean, wouldn’t it be enough if He swooped in as the Hero of every rescue mission, and picked up broken pieces again, and took them home to heal?
That’s already more than we deserve.

But that’s not the end of the story. Or the chapter.

He is the Hero of every rescue mission. And there’s a reason His exploits come first…

But keep reading till the end of the tale.

He saves the afflicted, simultaneously putting the adversary in his place.
And then!–

He lights a candle. A little flame of light atop a stick of wax strung out.
Fresh home from the smoke and dust of battle, He shares His life.
He puts in the soul a fire, out of Himself, a part of Himself, and with that fire comes all the power that is His. Power to live. Power to overcome. The same power that just sent hills and hoodlums scurrying.

And watch the servant. Watch the flame suddenly catch on, as if he was all oil inside. Watch him fly into the darkness, like an arrow himself. Burning as he goes, consumed, but . . . not consumed.

Watch him run right through the midst of the garrison of darkness, setting the place ablaze. Watch his enemies come to their senses, pick themselves up to follow hard in the trail of smoke. Watch him get to the end– the dead end. And just when the pursuers think they’ll have vengeance at last, watch him leap. Watch him sail over what should have been his death sentence. While his enemies remain, confined by their own fortifications.

Watch him stop on the far side, catch his breath, raise one hand to heaven and say:

“As for God, His way is perfect:
the word of the Lord is tried:
He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.
For who is God, save the Lord?. . .

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet. . .
He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. . .

Thy right hand hath holden me up,
And thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou has enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them:. . .
I have wounded them that they were not able to rise:
they are fallen under my feet.

For Thou has girded me with strength unto the battle. . .”

(Ps. 18:30-39, emphasis mine.)

How can it logically be said that even with unlimited access to unlimited power, we must accept the prospect of limited progress, and perpetual setbacks?

I don’t get that.

What I do get, is that when I am His, then I am strong.
And under no other circumstances.

Strong to Save [When God Goes to War] Part I

I have no tolerance for the idea that defeat must be regarded as at least occasionally inevitable. Absolutely none.

As if every third day or so the angels trade sides for an hour and evil somehow becomes omnipotent. Really?

I think it would be good if we all made it a habit to regularly review Psalm 18. To me it’s the ultimate drama of faltering servant, and faithful God. No wonder it’s one of my favorites…

But I guess you realize it requires more than the simple existence of Omnipotent God to keep me from falling… Well, herein lies that secret too. In the first four words of the chapter. The spark that heralds a storm of Divinity.–

“I will love Thee…”

I Will. My little part to play. So simple, so absolutely necessary. Whole sermon right here…
Love. Because love will move my heart, my head, and my hands. The way work won’t…
Thee. Because love is actually inevitable. You were wired for it. It’s not if, it’s who. And only this Master has life to give away…

In other words, I’m Yours. Head, heart, and whole.

And then do you see what happens?
Hear a few verses later when David bleeds out this distress of sorrows and death–

The servant cries, and the whole earth reels in the thunder from his chariot wheels.
Hills and rills run out of the way, because He is wroth.
Breath of life and creative Word come out of mouth and nose as smoke and fire.
His chariot is alive. An angel with wind for his wings.
He arrives at His war room –a secret pavilion carved out of darkness– in the midst of the earthquake.
Walks in under escort of raining fire and ice.

He stands in the midst of His council of war, utters words that cut atmospheres. More thunder…
And His speech gets the whole host moving.

Next thing you know, “his arrows,” the very best of His fighting force, they shoot out from the place, wreak havoc on the enemy.
Seemingly out of nowhere.
And when the scattering seems complete, He sends lightnings after them.

Then all at once the agenda, the fortifications, the vulnerabilities of the enemy are laid wide open.
And He calmly walks in and picks up His servant, and carries him out.

“With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful;
with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure;
and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.” Ps. 18:25, 26

I’m not making it up. That’s what the Book says.

I have no tolerance for the idea that defeat must be regarded as at least occasionally inevitable. Absolutely none.

Perhaps I must be regarded as at least occasionally (or much more often) failing to call for help, or surrendering my arms voluntarily…

(to be continued…)

The Anointed


I love that word.
David says they’re the strong ones, and the free… (Ps. 28:7, 8)
The kings and queens, and priests… Royal. Privileged.

I personally can’t get over the fact that they’ve been touched, prayed over, blessed by God Himself.

The rabbit trail I took through Strong’s landed me in a familiar place, quite possibly the single most memorized chapter in scripture.

But familiar words took on unfamiliar meaning as I saw in them the God that is everything, increasingly (the everything that has no end) to me.

I know the words in english. But if Strong’s is correct, (my soul believes it is) then those words are deeper than our contemporary use of them, by far.

I read them, speak them, love them. Eyes flit back and forth between the open page, and the Strong’s app. And my heart sings something like this–

The LORD is my Shepherd;
And He? He is absolutely everything I need.
His home is my home. 
He leads me (literally: “to run with a sparkle”) towards peaceful waters.
He returns my soul to joy…
He walks right with me in the path of righteousness, 
because that’s the kind of Person He is
And even when I walk through this deep abyss–
This deep gorge where death lives and reigns,
I fear nothing. Absolutely nothing.
 Because God is here too. And He never leaves.
Because of Him, because of His comfort and support,
I thrive even in the presence of my enemies.
He anoints my head with oil,
while my joy overflows

But not for a throne. Not in this verse.
This one is a relatively rare word, used 12 times, and only translated this way once.
Go look it up.
The reference is to ashes… Ashes, and fat. And “acceptance”…

He prepares me for sacrifice,
And all the while, my joy overflows.

Surely… Surely, this is the best life. 

Strength is Song

Oh Lord our God, little children praise you perfectly,
And so would we. 
And so would we.

Some songs keep singing long after the baton is back in its sleeve.

Jared Westbrook
I awake early to two simultaneous trains of thought, perhaps leftover from the night’s dreams…

In one, my heart strains after more perfect service, and my lips silent form the morning’s plea.
In the other, the lyrics to my all-time favorite choral anthem run over and over; warm, fill.

I roll out of bed.

My thoughts merge on the 8th Psalm. I play the words of the incredulous poet over in my head.

“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings has thou ordained…”

What’s the word?
Neato (the iPad) comes into service. I memorized the 8th Psalm as a boy, but perhaps it was a different version.

“…Hast thou ordained strength.”

Hey, were did my praise word go?
I switch to Strongs.

The word is Strength. The word is also Praise.

Same word.
Same thing?
I squint at the screen, thinking, not seeing. My finger dances at the edge of discovery.

Strength and song go together.

“The LORD is my strength and song…”
“Give unto the LORD glory and strength.”

Wait… Give Him strength? Make that praise.

“Give unto the LORD…glory and strength.”
“Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing…”
“Sing aloud unto God our strength…”
“Thou art the glory of their strength.”
“For the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song”

I lean back in the futon, satisfied.

Praise is strength. Song is strength.

It “stills the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps. 8)
That’s perfect service.

Both trains of thought are satisfied.
To praise Him perfectly is to serve Him perfectly.

Distinguished is…

In God’s economy, distinct is distinguished.  
Same word.
“But know that the Lord hath set apart6395 him that is godly for Himself…” Psalm 4:3
6395 palah paw-law’  –  a primitive root; 
to distinguish (literally or figuratively): 
put a difference, show marvelous
–Strongs, emphasis added