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31 December 2014

Mormon Bible Study: Psalm 2 (part 1)

Psalm 2: The Impotence of Those that Fight Against the Lord


Ever since I started studying the Psalms, everything I read seems to be reinforcing the idea that the scriptures bring hope. It's a great feeling, hope. I read the news, and I see the suffering in the world, and sometimes I feel so small. There is so much pain. And I can only do so much, so very little, to ease the pain in my own small circle. But the scriptures bring hope. Hope for healing, for rest, for relief.  Hold fast to His Word, and He will give you hope. It's a beautiful thing.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? ...  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
-Psalm 2:1,9-11





That phrase in the middle, "but we have no promise of grace to sustain us in borrowed trouble," it kind of threw me for a loop. "Don't borrow trouble," is a thing that my mom used to tell me when I was a kid, and I would get bogged down in what-if and worrying over things that hadn't happened yet and that I had no control over. She also sometimes told me, "Don't borrow a wrench," which was about the same thing. As  I pondered, I realized that when I have been locked into my own fears and "borrowed trouble", to the extent that I focus on that fear, I loose the ability to feel the whisperings of the Spirit - I cut myself off from the comfort that would otherwise give me the hope to break out of that cycle. But, every time, as soon as I start focusing on the Lord, the fear takes a backseat or even falls away completely. In essence, when I take my eyes off the Lord to focus on the fear and hurt, I don't let the grace He offers into my heart to heal the hurts. (Grace is about much more than healing sin.)

It was interesting, as I browsed through the Scripture Citation Index, how many of the early Brethren used this chapter to comfort and calm the Saints during the difficult times surrounding Johnston's Army's arrival in Utah. That, like now, was a difficult time, filled with troubles and worries. They said a lot of things like this:



The Lord will never fail us, either!

I have saved a number of graphics about Psalms on my Pinterest board for scripture study. Turns out, several of them come from just one article which one of the girls in the Bible Study group found, and there's some interesting stuff on there. The thing that really caught my eye was one just over halfway down, that counts the times that the various Psalms are quoted in the New Testament, and it turns out that the Psalm 2 is one of the most popular, being quoted seven different times in the Bible. So, off I went to find out where it is quoted. Happily, there are lists of what Psalms are referenced, and where. 

The first one listed is Acts 4:25-26 (bolded portions are the part from the 2nd Psalm).

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.



Men of God then and now use this chapter in some very similar ways: they use it to underline the impotence of those who are trying to fight against the Lord and His plans. A mosquito has a better chance of stopping a stampeding elephant. Even when things look dark, we have every reason to hope in Christ!


Let the wicked world pass on and the inhabitants of the earth rail, and let the wicked imagine a vain thing...


All that, and it's just the first place that the Psalm was quoted. I am really looking forward to digging into the other ways that this Psalm has been used in the Bible.







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11 December 2014

Singing Praises Again




When my daughter was in the hospital, The Lord taught me some beautiful things about getting through hard times. And, as happens in this life, hard times have a way of coming for more than one visit. This time, as I was talking to my sister, Heidelbeere, we were getting a bit bogged down, and I suddenly remembered. It went like this:

"Remember the Jaredites, sloshing around in the bottom of those ships? With the poo and the bees?"


"What a pleasant picture you're painting." She had no idea where I was going with it. I was smiling more already.

"I know, right? Do you remember what they were doing?"

"No."

"Singing praises. The whole time. We need to find something to praise."

So we did. We counted blessings. And I have been continuing to do it off and on all morning. This pretty much sums it up. I love this music anyway, but it's especially moving today.




Gloria. Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

Glory to God in the highest!

 Christ already fixed it. He already fixed it, before our hurt ever happened. And we can benefit from it as soon as we will let Him give us His gift.

I spent some time thinking about forgiveness today. It's hard to forgive others; it's hard to forgive ourselves. But what a gift! He makes it possible. That's why we sing. That's why we shouted for joy!



Here are some of the things I was reminded of today, wandering Pinterest, and thinking about forgiveness.


It's true. Hurting people hurt others - often without really even meaning to do it. Christ's love is the cure. "Mary, did you know?" Her sweet Baby Boy is the reason that forgiveness is meaningful.What a beautiful, healing gift He has given us!

I wrestled with this on and off all day. I've been feeling hurt - and I know that what I'm feeling can't hold a candle to what some of my very favorite people are feeling, and that hurts too. But I kept pinning, kept thinking about forgiveness.

Eventually, I came to this one, and for whatever reason, I clicked through and read the story. I never do that with these inspirational quotes. But I'm glad I did with this one. It's worth reading. I'll wait.




I've done some pretty thoughtless things. Some, not too unlike the thing that's hurting today. The Lord, in His mercy, has been working with me to let go of the blame and guilt I still feel over it... 20 years later... and He took the opportunity to teach me some more today.




 I needed to hear that. I was praying about it, a little later on, and apologizing. Again. "I'm sorry for being dumb-- " The Spirit stopped me. I wasn't supposed to say that. He gave me another word. "I'm sorry for being young." For not knowing what I didn't know before I learned it. And all the sudden, it was clear that I'd been holding myself to an absolutely impossible standard. And it made it easier to extend grace to myself -- and to others. My mistakes are not excusable. But they are human. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I have a new appreciation for the hurt I dealt anyway. But the Lord fixed it. He fixed me, and He fixed the hearts I hurt. He can do it again - He'd like to.





By the end of the day, I was feeling much better. And I'd been able help to do and say things that started to bring healing to the situation that made us look for reasons to sing praises in the first place.



It's not just couples. It's relationships. And it doesn't have to be a hurt that grows out of a fight. But what happens after, that's what defines the future. It's the application of Grace that makes you grow stronger together. And there is absolutely no hurt too big for Christ. His Grace is sufficient. Sufficient for all hurts.

And that is something worth singing praises about!

This one is one of my favorites. Had us dancing all over the kitchen, and singing praises at the top of our lungs. 



Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

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