Chapter-a-Day Psalm 52

Treeonmtarbellr And I’m an olive tree, growing green in God’s house. Psalm 52:8a (TM)

A big limb from our Oak tree fell on the roof Saturday afternoon. It scared us half-to-death. The limb must have been damaged in our Winter ice storms and the Spring winds finally snapped it off. Our old Oak tree has seen many Winters, but it’s nothing like an Olive tree. Olive trees live for a long time. They live thousands of years, in fact. It’s a bit mind blowing to wander the Garden of Gethsemane and touch trees that Jesus may have touched, as well.

When David sings that he is an olive tree, the message is clear. He’s well established in God’s presence and he’s not going anywhere. People may say what they will. His enemies may conspire against him. He may have plenty of people plotting his destruction – but his trust is in God. David is the "blessed" one in Psalm 1.

Am I an Olive tree established in God’s house, or am I an old Oak cracking and falling apart in a light Spring wind?

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 51

Shattered God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Psalm 51:10 (TM)

Interesting that Asaph’s Psalm about his reaction to David’s affair with Bathsheba is followed immediately by David’s psalm of repentence after his affair with Bathsheba.

God is a God of new beginnings. He specializes in shaping chaos (even man-made chaos) into new creation. He takes the shattered and fractured pieces of our life and makes something completely new out of them which honor Him.

In David and Bathsheba’s case, his name was Solomon and became one of the greatest kings in history and author of three books of the Bible.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Mc Morr

On the Road Again…

Business_travelI’m in Texas this week (which is a lot warmer than Iowa has been). It’s been an interesting trip because I’ve got two young group members along who are learning the ropes of call coaching this client. It’s their first serious business trip and it is bringing back a lot of memories of my first experiences on the road 14 years ago (man, I’ve been doing this a long time!).

When I started in this business my boss spent a lot of time with me on the road. I learned a lot and there was a benefit to both listening to him and watching him as he interacted with clients. That all stopped about 8-10 years ago for a combinations of reasons. For the past eight years or so I’ve been doing a lot of this on my own.

It struck me as I was driving to the airport this week how the seasons of life change with time. I was the protege’, then I became the haymaker, now I find myself the mentor.

I pray I do it well.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ThinkPanama.

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 50

Dead_sea_scrolls "Time’s up for playing fast and loose with me." Psalm 50:22a (TM)

The Psalms are lyrics to ancient songs. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered back in 1947, these ancient, handwritten copies of the Old Testament revealed that the Psalms originally had liner notes which had been lost through the centuries. In most updated versions of the Bible, the liner notes are now included at top of the Psalm.

If you’re like me, you tend to ignore all the footnotes, headers and ancillary "stuff" in the Bible, but sometimes you’re missing "good stuff".The liner note to Asaph’s psalm today says that it was written by Asaph at the time David’s adultery with Bathsheba. Asaph, like most of Israel, were stunned and angry with David’s actions. Asaph, like all true musicians, picked up his harp and poured out his thoughts and emotions in a song – this song.

Asaph takes up what he believes to be God’s thoughts on the matter. David was playing "fast and loose" with Him, treating His word "like garbage." But even Asaph understands God’s grace, finishing the song with the hope of salavation if David will simply "set foot on The Way."

Maybe you should read the psalm again and think of Asaph’s anger, disappointment and disillusionment at his King’s affair.

The lyrics take on new meaning when you know the context. Liner notes are a good thing.

Photo of Dead Sea Scroll courtesy of Flickr and Southworth Sailor.

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 49

Heath So don’t be impressed with those who get rich
      and pile up fame and fortune.
   They can’t take it with them;
      fame and fortune all get left behind.
   Just when they think they’ve arrived
      and folks praise them because they’ve made good,
   They enter the family burial plot
      where they’ll never see sunshine again
. Psalm 49:16-19 (TM)

We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow. There’s no promise of another day, another hour, another breath.

Choose well.

Creative Common photo courtesy of Flickr and Howie Berlin.

Easter 2008

Easter morning greeted us with a blanket of new snow this past Sunday. Ugh.

Despite the cold and snow, it was a cheerful day as we celebrated the resurrection. Wendy and I served during the 9:30 and 11:00 services at church, and the girls went to the late service with their mom. We then took the girls to the Vander Hart get-together here in Pella where we got to see our newest niece, Sophia. She’s gotten so big since Christmas. What an absolute doll.

Then it was off to Des Moines to have a late Easter dinner with Grandpa Dean and Grandma Jeanne. Jody, Scott and the kids were there so the cousins got to hang out together for a bit. It was a nice afternoon with plenty of great food – like Grandma’s cinnamon rolls and marble fudge cake. Mmmmm.

We finally headed home stuffed and tired in the early evening. It was as Easter should be. God, family, food, and laughter.

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 48

Grandma Then you can tell the next generation detail by detail the story of God, Our God forever, who guides us till the end of time. Psalm 48:13-14 (TM)

My life is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Answered prayers and miraculous provision on a journey over mountain tops as well as through dark valleys. How will my children and grandchildren know about how good God was to me if I don’t tell them?

In the days of the Old Testament, before writing was common and before television sucked every spare moment from us – family stories were told around the campfire. Grandchildren learned their grandparents stories. Children were told about God’s work in their parent’s life. Family became a living word picture of God’s faithfulness which gave faith and hope to the next generations.

So, what’s your story?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and andycarvin.

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 47

KingGod is Lord of godless nations— sovereign, he’s King of the mountain. Psalm 47:8 (TM)

I remember playing King of the Mountain as a kid. Of course, when you live in IOWA mountains are kind of scarce. So, the game usually got relegated to winter when the snowplows made mountains of ice and snow on the corner of the school playground.

The thing about King of the Mountain is that you could always be king for a time, but there was always someone bigger and stronger. There was definitely a higher-archy of third graders in my class who could hold the mountain for a time, but when the sixth-graders came out from recess it was all over. No one was going to stand up to those guys.

It’s sort of the same way on this playground called Earth. Kingdoms rise and fall. Kings stand on their mountains for the length of their recess. But Scripture promises that God will someday hit the playground. Then all bets are off.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Underwater Guy.

Spring Break 2008

St_louis_022 Both girls returned home last night from their Spring Break trips. We all ended up hanging out in the home office upstairs looking at pictures and hearing their stories as they both unpacked, cleaned up and settled back in at home.

Madison went with her choir to New York City. Three busloads of them sang in several venues, went to a couple of Broadway musicals and saw the sites. Her favorite concert was singing at a mission for the homeless. When the choir sang their selection of gospel songs, she said the homeless began to worship passionately and it was the first time many of the kids in the choir realized what they were actually singing. Ground Zero was another moving visit for Madison, though she was surprised at the lack of reaction from some of her peers. We talked last night about 9-11, where we were, what we remember of that day.

Taylor spent the week in the inner-city of St. Louis where they helped a few families clean up and paint their homes. She ended up getting food poisoning (not sure if it was from the Pakistani restaurant or White Castle) and had to make a trip to the hospital for fluids and meds. Other than that little adventure she really enjoyed getting to know the people, especially a couple of folks from Barundi who told her a lot about their home in Africa and their journey to the U.S.

After my travel woes on the road last week, I was happy to spend Spring Break working at home 🙂

Photo: Taylor (in pink shirt) and kids from church help paint a home in St. Louis. Taylor said it was a small, one bedroom home in which the elderly woman had raised her four sons.