I started the Billy Graham Words of Wisdom Bible Reading Plan. It is 31 days of reading Psalms and Proverbs. Reading Psalms is supposed to help your relationship with the Creator while reading Proverbs is supposed to help your relationships with others.
I read an article the other day that said Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with God and with others. I agree with that. There are various interpretations of different parts of the Bible and certainly the history of the Church but overall I believe it is meant to be a guide for how to get along with God and get along with your fellow brothers and sisters of every background or belief. They say when the Rapture does occur, it will be very surprising because it will be people of all different walks of life from all over the planet. This is very interesting to me.
So today, I read a quick devotional when I got up and it seemed to be written perfectly for me lately. The devotional was about Luke 10: 38-42. The passage is about Mary who chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus to learn more about life and his teachings. Her sister is going all about the room being a perfect host and a bit of a busy-body constantly working while Mary has slowed down, paused and decided that the better choice is to stop and listen and learn.
I left my job 3 weeks ago. I was a super, super busy bee up till 3 weeks ago, constantly going going going until my spirit was gone, gone, gone. I had worked steady for 29 years. I felt inside like a walking zombie. I had worked in healthcare HR during the pandemic too and in factories prior and was just drained. I needed to slow down and recharge.
It admittedly was a crazy decision I suppose to others to leave. I know this sounds kooky but I met a woman online that claimed to be a prophet and she told me to refocus my life along with some other very relevant and personal things. So I refocused or am trying to rather than be the perfect career woman. Now I spend 1/3 of my day job searching, 1/3 taking care of the home and myself, and 1/3 in Bible study and learning. I don’t know where this will take me but I feel much better about my life at this point. My family’s probably wondering, “What in the world?!” Oh well.
My husband is like the sister. He is wondering why I spend so much time on these Psalms readings or why I read my little devotional every morning. I figure I need to trust in God that something good will come my way and in the meantime, I can spend some time on my relationship to the readings and such. It kinda calms me too and I am not full of anxiety.
Here are the Psalms 26-30 that I read today and Proverbs 6. Here are the items that stood out to me while reading and sorta my stream of consciousness thoughts.
Psalm 26 “Neither will I go in with dissemblers.”
Ok, so at first, I really thought this word dissemblers was like disassemblers like the author was saying don’t tear stuff down like your little sister’s lego castle she spent all day building. Not gonna lie, I was kinda imagining Emmett from Lego Story.
But no, a dissembler is not like Shiva the destroyer….it’s more like “someone that gives a false or phony appearance” according to Webster online. So maybe it means more like someone that wears costumes or perhaps wears tons of makeup to hide their true authentic self.
Ok, I love makeup. I feel a little bit attacked by this statement…not gonna lie, lol. Maybe it’s her. Maybe it’s Maybelline. In my case, yes, it’s definitely Maybelline….lots of Maybelline.
This is controversial but I really feel like some of the saddest folks out there wear more makeup. That’s controversial I know and I just outed myself as a sad, sad person..so sad. It’s like slapping a fresh coat of paint on a dilapidated house and hoping someone will want to buy or see value in it. Ouch. That’s harsh. Ok, I only say that because as I have become older and less visible to others in public settings, I literally have to fight the urge not to cake on the make-up stuff or the lotions or the eye creams, etc. etc. Women in their 40s spend a ton of money on these “fixers.” It’s so hard to age.
I don’t know about you but makeup has become my norm. Without it I feel weirdly unlovable. (I know, cue the sad violin music. I sound pathetic at this point.) I seriously cannot go outside in public without at least mascara on. How did I get to this?? I honestly don’t know. It’s a bit addictive, really. So I guess this passage is a reminder to wear less makeup and look more natural.
This is a hard one for me. It really is.
Psalm 26 “Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house.”
We are renting because the cost of homes is so high now but we have landed in a rental home that is the most beautiful home I have ever had the good fortune to live in. I don’t know how it happened. Fate. Destiny. God.
We literally had 2 pictures on the internet and said okay. We were desperate after 3 months of searching and losing 500 dollars in down-payments that fell through. This one popped up and we jumped at it. Then we moved and as we were driving the U-haul up with the pickup truck behind, my husband and I were talking on the walkie talkies about our worry that we got hugely “catfished” and what if it is all moldy or smelly?
Then we turned a corner and Lake Willoughby, this glacier lake nearby in all its beauty and majesty opened up to our view and my jaw literally dropped. 6 miles further we got to the house and my jaw dropped again.
It was perfect beyond anything I could ever imagine. It was like God had made a table for me, a secret place. We’re very happy renting this home just as I imagine one would be happy inhabiting the house of the Lord. It is the same feeling and I suppose the house of the Lord is this great big galaxy with all its wonders and treasures and magical people, places, and things. If this is the good place, I wonder what the rest of outer space looks like?
Psalm 27 “The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”
In the movie Bullet Train, the protagonist is relentlessly followed by assassins on a train. He sees a self-help guru and uses her instructions throughout the movie and firmly believes in good things and that the Universe will somehow work things out for greater good in the end.
Oddly enough, it does. When the whole train crashes off the tracks and all sorts of major disaster strikes, the guy is oddly enough able to survive every ordeal including a moment where he is flying through the air in the crash only to be saved by a giant super cute Japanese stuffed animal thingy my daughter would have loved to have in her room growing up.
“The Lord is the strength of my life”
You can say what you want about this being hokey hulla baloo. But if you notice very carefully, many of the mentions in the Bible of God being a shield use the number 7 which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit and also there is Psalm 144 that talks about God as a shield too. 144,000 is believed to be the number of folks that will be raptured into heaven at the end of days. God rested on the 7th day and that is supposedly why the number 7 for the Sabbath is special.
This passage also kinda reminds me of the Lion King. There is this moment when the little lion is trying to roar at the bad guys and they don’t take him seriously at all until Mufasa steps up quietly behind him and the bad guys that were mocking earlier gulp, look suddenly scared, and scamper off. I don’t know why but these kinda passages always remind me of that.
Psalm 27 “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”
Gah. This statement right here brings tears to my eyes.
How real is that?
How many kids out there going through this, getting kicked outta the home or kicked outta the family network? They got no one to lean on. They feel alone in the world and they can turn to all sorts of vices. Most do. But a few, start talking to God in their heads and he becomes like their imaginary friend but maybe he’s real or maybe he’s not. They don’t really know but it just comforts them to talk to him.
This makes me cry. Realest statement in the whole Psalms I’ve read yet.
Psalms 27 “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”
Last year, I worked in a nursing facility. It was during the pandemic and we had a couple of times that the facility would lock down and quarantine. We had four or five runs of Covid. It got kinda weird at those times. You still went to work. You still did your normal routine but there were extra tasks and extra precautions and everyone was stressed and on edge.
I just remember 3 times a day, I’d agreed to spray down the hallways with disinfectant for the housekeeping staff. I’d put on my PPE and get the disinfectant sprayer. I’d stand outside the shut doors for the ward with the Covid patients in it. I’d take a slight breath, open the door and and then shut it behind me. Then, I’d turn to go down the hall both ways spraying disinfectant everywhere. The residents were in their rooms. They had to stay there to stop the spread. The nurses and LNAs would bring their trays of food to their rooms and this went on for a 3 or 4 weeks at a time. We’d be clear for 2 months or so and then Covid would surge again through the building.
It was pretty rough to watch the med team and residents go through that. Courage is when an ordinary day becomes extraordinary though you don’t really realize it except in hindsight, you just do what has to be done.
During that time, we still had ministers and priests come into the building too. It was good to see them and it made the days go better.
Psalm 28 “Save thy people and bless their inheritance, feed them also, and lift them up forever.”
Years ago, I planted a garden in the backyard. At the start of the season, we planted the usual plants: tomatoes, pepper, corn, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, etc. We did a little prayer at dinner time. Every night, our family has a tradition of going around the table and asking 1 thing that day that you were grateful for (I think I saw that on Oprah or something). Anyway, I said I was grateful for the garden and we agreed that if we had a good produce or harvest, we’d share it with the local homeless shelter.
That year, the cucumbers were huge!! I am not kidding or making this up or hopefully not sounding completely nuts but we had so many cucumbers, it was insane how many. We must have had dang near 100 cucumbers or 150. It was just a little patch of garden. They climbed over the neighbor’s fence and kept going. We had so many we could not eat them at all so we were giving them away at work, to our neighbors, to our homeless shelter, to the women’s shelter, etc. etc. It was crazy! I’ve never had a season of gardening like that ever, not before nor since then.
Like the loaves and fish at the mount, or the widow’s oil jars for Elijah, it was just overflowing with so much food.
Psalm 29 “Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.”
This is hard to do. I’d like to say that if I was at an award ceremony or something I would say a note of thanks, but this is unbelievably hard to do cause so many folks are watching and judging. You don’t really see it done much honestly anymore. And the naysayers are sooooooo dang loud and super opinionated.
I recently joined another online writing site. I posted only 3 Christian articles that were short and sweet and innocuous to most. Like, I imagined hardly anybody would really get offended.
The next day, I got a bunch of super negative articles sent to my inbox as recommended reading on doubting religion and all the harm and bad things religion does in the world. Ugh, it was uncomfortable and I felt unwanted as a writer on the site.
Psalm 30 “thou hast healed me.”
I read an article recently. It was someone in the local newspaper lampooning another person for saying they prayed and their kid got supernaturally healed by God. The writer said it is dangerous to put out this message that it makes spirituality sound like it supersedes science and medicine and that the kid was really saved by doctors and nurses and not by empty prayers. They said it was dangerous and irresponsible for the mother to spread this message to others that just by praying they can heal their kids of terrible afflictions.
I don’t know about that. I mean, I see both points. But what really is the harm in prayer when your kid is really, really gravely sick? And what parent wouldn’t try everything they could to help their kid down on their luck?
But I can see how it can lead to problems when people solely rely on prayers rather than medicine and proper care.
Psalm 30 “Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.”
I have heard this verse so many times. I did not know it came from a Psalm. It’s kinda a comforting verse to the reader, implying that grief and sadness are only temporary and eventually every sad thing we face turns to a happy result down the road. I’m not sure happy is the right word for what follows grief….maybe more like acceptance and contentment which I guess would be the definition of joy.
Proverbs 6 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise.”
Weird. I really didn’t think Proverbs would talk about ants.
Oh, and what is this new word “sluggard?” I can use this in my vocabulary. It means a lazy person. So when my kid doesn’t help with dishes after dinner or take out the recycling, I can call him a sluggard? Ok, just kidding, I won’t. But still, this is an interesting word and makes me think of slimey slugs. You, sluggard, you.
My first reaction to this passage beyond the word fascination is that this reminds me of the story of the ant and the grasshopper:
“One warm, sunny day, a grasshopper was bounding through the fields. He was happy, and sang a song as he jumped. As he got tired, he decided to lay down on a warm rock in the sunshine and watch the clouds.”One warm, sunny day, a grasshopper was bounding through the fields. He was happy, and sang a song as he jumped. As he got tired, he decided to lay down on a warm rock in the sunshine and watch the clouds.
Just then, an ant passed by, working very hard to carry an ear of corn to his nest. The grasshopper was so enjoying his day that he called out to the ant, “Hey! Why are you working so hard? It’s a beautiful day! Come enjoy the sunshine with me!”
The ant called back, “We need to store food for the winter. In not so many days, it will be cold, and we will be hungry.”
The grasshopper thought that was silly. “Why, there’s plenty of food!” he cried. He went back to lazing in the sunshine. The ant shook his head, and went back to work.
The next day, it was again sunny and the grasshopper decided to visit the riverside. He bounded from leaf to leaf over the crisp cool water, not a care in the world. Once again, he saw the ant pass by. This time, the ant was carrying a large leaf. The grasshopper called out again, “Hello friend! Why are you working so hard again today? Come sit in the shade and enjoy the sound of the river!”
Once again, the ant refused. “These pretty days are not so many, Grasshopper. Soon, the cold will come. We must be ready.” The ant returned to his work.
On the third day, when the grasshopper awoke, the sun was not shining. It was not warm. Winter had come overnight, and the ground was frozen and covered with snow. The grasshopper shivered. And as he looked for food to eat, he found nothing.
He walked for hours through the snow, searching for food and shelter. As he walked, he passed the ant’s nest. Inside, he saw ants warm and happy, and sharing a delicious looking meal. It was then that he understood that the ant was right all along – not all days are sunny.
The ant turned then and saw the grasshopper freezing and hungry. He felt pity for the poor grasshopper. “Come, friend,” he called. “There is room here, and there is food. I’ve saved enough for many seasons. Come in and eat.”
And so the grasshopper was welcomed into the ant’s home, and the ant’s preparations kept the ant, his family, and the grasshopper warm and fed the whole winter long.” (Aesop’s Fables)
Proverbs 6 “A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with froward mouth.”
Ok…what is with these words? I gotta get a dictionary beside me to read this stuff. Ok, froward…..it means…..a person who is difficult to deal with. It means someone that is grumpy and contrary.
Oh, I am so gonna use this word on my husband.
But true, right? Anger and grumpiness causes all sorts of unhappiness and strife at work, at home, in the public sphere, everywhere. Nothing worse than having to hang out with a grump.
You could say, “It’s a beautiful morning!” They’d say, “I hate mornings!”
You say, “Would you like me to make you breakfast?” They’d say, “I’m not touching your cooking!”
Starting to get a little miffed, you say, “Ok, well I’m off to do some work in the other room.” They’d say, “What! You don’t want to spend time with me? I see how you are!”
Exasperated, you say, “Ok, well what would you like to do together?” To which they reply, “Why do we have to do anything? I’d rather you not waste our money.”
And it goes on and on and life-drainingly painstakingly on and on…..
Proverbs 6 “These 6 things doth the Lord hate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that diviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that soweth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
This last one is interesting to me. I have never seen it put so succinctly. This is exactly what a person should not be I guess. Ok, how do I score on these 6?
Proud look – oh crude, ok maybe I do this. (+1)
Lying tongue – nah, not really except when I don’t want to say how much I spent at Walmart on that new blouse?
Hands that shed innocent blood – no, I don’t do that.
A heart that diviseth wicked imaginations – sometimes I guess (+1)
feet that run to mischief – ok, yeah, I do that… (+1)
false witness – nah, I don’t do that.
he that soweth discord among brethren – ah crud (+1)
Ah crap, I do 4 out of 7 of these. I’m so screwed.
So that’s Psalms 26-30 and Proverbs 6 for today. Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments if you read the Psalms too and took other items as more important or if you have any objections to these comments. Thanks and have a good day.
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