Does what matters to God, matter to you? I ask myself this as I read the Bible. Cause truth be told, we read it or hear it and sometimes it feels like it goes one ear and out another. Or if you're like me, with some of that OT (Old Testament), it goes over my head.
But for about a little over 3 months your girl was deep in the book of Psalms. I wanted to know what God was saying through the Psalms.
I've decided, I want to be a (good) student of God's word. Meaning not just read the Bible, but study it. I want to understand what I am reading so I can better apply it, instead of rushing through to check "Bible reading" off my to-do list.
Understanding the Word of God and applying it to your life will bring you far greater satisfaction than simply checking off a box.
In my intentionality with the Psalms, I made note of the historical context and literary context and intentional repetitions or patterns. I discovered a lot of neat things and also picked up on some life tips. Let's start with the fun facts.
The book of Psalms...
- is found in the OT as a part of the Wisdom & Poetry books.
- is divided into five seperate sections to imitate the five-fold division of the Torah (the Law).
- is the longest book of the Bible with a total of 150 chapters.
- is a collection of poems and songs used in Christian and Jewish worship.
- was compiled over a period of approximately 1000 years by over 5 different authors.
- has the shortest chapter of the entire Bible, Psalm 117 (just 2 verses long).
- has the longest chapter of the entire Bible, Psalm 119 (totaling 176 verses)
- .is in the middle of the Bible, with Psalm 118:8 marking the very center of the Bible, stating:
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."
Psalms is packed with life mantras, life lessons - if you will. Things we have to get through our heads and plant in our hearts in order that we might live life and live it to the fullest. So, lets check some of those out...
6 Life Tips From The Psalms
1. Your Mornings Matter
You’re either a morning person or you’re not. That’s what we’re told all our lives, right? You settle with the category you fall under and that’s that. Or is it?
The psalmists continually utter the importance of seeking God first thing in the morning, some expressing it with deep desire and excitement. We are to set our mind on Him, asking that he direct our path and allowing His praises to be on our lips from the start. Don't begin your day without first meeting with your Creator, rather make the sacrifice and give God your mornings.
(More on mornings: Psalms 5:3, 17:15, 46:5, 57:7-9, 59:16-19, 88:13, 90:14, 92:1-2, 108:1-3, 113:2-3, 119:147)
2. You Should Worship
No really, you should. Good day? Worship. Bad day? Worship. Mediocre, meh-kind-of-day? Worship.
The very air in your lungs is enough of a reason to worship the One who made you. Don’t allow your circumstances, the people around you or the enemy to rob you of your worship. So sing it out, friend! Dance like the psalmist, King David, did if you have to!
(More on worship: Psalms 9:1-2, 13:6, 21:13, 29:1-2, 30:1, 30:11-12, 33:1-3, 34:1, 42:11, 47:5-7, 52:9, 59:17, 66:1-2, 95:6-7, 96:2, 100, 111:1, 135:1-3, 146:1, 147:1, 148-150)
3. Your Life Is Fleeting
YOLO! It’s true. Technically, you do only live once here on earth. And it’s not for long. I mean, not to get morbid here, but we all aren’t getting any younger! So with this life you will live, let me ask you two questions:
How will you live the one life you've been given to live? Will you simply exist or will you thrive?
Who will have your complete allegience? God, the very one who is forever and magnificent, yet takes the time to think of you and know everything about you? Or will you live chasing the approval of mankind - fleeting, imperfect, selfish mankind.
(More on our fleeting lives: Psalms 39:4-11, 78:39, 89:47, 90:9-12, 102:3-11 )
4. You should remember
Always remember the faithfulness and goodness of God in your life*. I strongly believe that when we stop to reflect on those things, our faith is stirred and strengthened. Of course, the enemy would rather us sit in our negativity and ungratefulness, but friend, just start recalling the loyalty of God and before you know it, you'll stand amazed.
*CRAZY, cool thing I learned in the Psalms about recalling the faithfulness of God in our lives and in the lives of our families are the Songs of Ascent, found in Psalms 120 - 134. These specific Psalms are a collection of songs, almost like hymns, sung by pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem for the customary Jewish festivals - which also were commanded by God as a way for the Israelites remembering the Exodus. ISN'T THAT AWESOME!?
Talk about the original ultimate road-trip (probably hiking trip in their case) playlist! ;)
(More on remembering: Psalms 22:27, 42:6, 45:17, 78:35, 105:5)
5. You can feel it
Talk about an emotional book of the Bible. I mean, you’ve got kings, priests, and others alike penning their very thoughts, frustrations, highs, lows, pleas, praises, confessions and wonder all in one book. The lesson here is the importance of understanding that it's okay to feel what you feel.* It's okay to express emotion. God wants you to call out to him with whatever burdens you or excites you. You don't have to come to him in a perfect, well put together manner.
(More on emotions: Psalms 7:9-11, Psalm 22, Psalm 28, Psalm 31, Psalm 51)
*Disclaimer: Friend, you feel those real, raw emotions - negative or positive. That’s okay. But don’t you dare crown them as Ruler of your life. Jesus is Lord, not the hurt feelings, not the loneliness, not the sadness, not the anger, not the frustration, not pride. Don’t get lost in the negative emotions, allowing them to blur your vision or lead to unwise choices.
6. You Should Keep Reading
The one book we can keep reading, keep desiring, all the days of our lives and it will always speak to us and encourage us and never get old. Yet it sits on a night stand or in a book shelf collecting dust. What a waste. Am I right?
Let's pick it up, let's read it, let's desire it, let's rightfully allow it to have authority in our lives. Want to care about what God cares about? You got to start by learning more about him through the reading of his word.
(More on reading God's Word: Psalm 12:6, 18:30, 19:7, 25:4-5, 33:4, and read the entire chapter of Psalm 119. You'll be glad you did.)
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With the Psalms crossed off my list, I'm now in the New Testament, specifically in James. I'll be releasing a Bible reading guide on it titled 7 Days With James later this month. And it's absolutely free to anyone and everyone that wants to read through the book of James with me. OVER 65 PEOPLE have expressed interest and are signed up to receive it. Want to join us? Comment your name and I'll add you to the list.
For now, lets keep the Psalms discussion going...
- Have you read the Psalms before?
- Which is your favorite?
- Are you wanting to read James with us?
Let me know and thanks for reading, friend!
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