Saturday, June 30, 2012


I have struggled with Psalm 53 all week.  I always try to read ahead on my Psalms, make notes and them come back and write later. And I have done that, but I have re-read Psalm 53 about 10 times.  The opening line stopped me.  "Fools say in their hearts, There’s no God.
    They are corrupt and do horrible deeds;        not one of them does anything good."

At first glance, it chills me to the bone.  It is only a fool who doesn't believe in God?  No one who doesn't believe in God can do good?

I've read several blogs lately (of course now I can't find the links.  UGH!) that have balked at the idea that only Christians can truly love.  Since God is love, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc cannot love truly, fully.  Or so the notion goes.  The authors I have read lately talk about parents who loved them but never knew God.  And reading their words, I had to agree.

Or, I had to think of my own crisis of faith.  Or about the youth I talked to this week (not from KUMC) who was in the middle of her own crisis.  Does that mean they will never know love.  That they will always be corrupt and do horrible things.  That they will never do good.  Those are hard pills for me to swallow.

But then I re-read the passage.  Fools say in their hearts "There is no God."  Is that different than saying it in your mind?  More, if Goodness and love is of God, can others do or know it.  Maybe we are talking about a higher Good, a higher Love, a higher Truth.

Love is available to all of us.  I think there are many good people who don't know God like I do.  And there are many people who know God much better than I do.  Maybe we are all working through life to truly understand, feel, know, God's abiding, unending, amazing love, grace, and mercy. Maybe we are all trying to reach to do Good, know Love, and find Truth.  And we have to settle for goodness, love, and truth.  

I think love is available to all--for God is available to all.  Whether they know it or not.  My prayer continues to be that I can live in such a way that people will know God.  Love him.  See him.  May I always shine His light, so that all will come to know his name.

Blessings and love--
Pastor Emily 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Psalm 51 is one of the most well known Psalms.  We use it in Lent every year.  It is said to have been written out of the anguish of David being confronted with his sins.  (see Samuel 12 and before to hear that story).

But it reminds each of us that God is who makes us clean.  Who can forgive even the worst in us.  What in you needs to be forgiven today?  What needs to be brought to the light and dealt with?  What do you need to forgive yourself for?

God forgave David, and he forgives you.  Let this Psalm, and this song be your prayer today!


Pastor Emily

Thursday, June 28, 2012


We are the wealthiest country maybe ever.  We are afforded things that no one else in history has had.  And yet, there are still those who go to bed hungry.  I thought about that a lot in these psalms.

49:7, "Wealth? It can't save a single person!  It can't pay a life's ranson-price to God!"

50:3, "Our God is coming, he won't keep silent"

Yet, we keep silent.  We keep still.

What can we do in our abundance to help those in need?  Where can we be in mission--in our community? In our world?  In our homes?  Who needs what you have today?

Who do you need to be helping?  God won't keep silent--will you?


Pastor Emily

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


So, these Psalms remind me of PRAISE! 

47:1-- "Clap your hands all you people!  Shout joyfully to God with a joyous shout!"

48:9 "We dwell on your faithful love, God in Your temple!"

So, lets praise!  With loud singing and dancing!

Or maybe more quietly....

Just find a way to praise!

Pastor Emily

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Catch Up...

So, late Saturday night, I found out that I would be in Bilouxi, MS with the youth this week.  We left Sunday at 11.  Which meant about 12 hours to pack and write my SoS posts!  So if the next couple are hurried, please understand!

Psalm 46 is powerful!  "God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.  That's why we won't be afraid when the world falls apart!"

Is your world falling apart?  Is someone else's you know?  Who in your life needs to hear this verse?  Maybe you can send it to them in a card.  Leave it on their desk.  Email them.  Put it on their facebook wall.  Maybe you need it as a postit note on your desk.....

Lord--be our strength, our rock, our salvation.  Let us not be afraid, but rely on You.  Take away all our fears.  Bless us.  In Jesus' name we pray!  Amen

Pastor Emily

(46:10) "That's ENOUGH!  Now know that I am God!"  Amen!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Verse

I still remember the day.  I had told my pastor, my family, and a few friends that I felt called and was going to follow it.  But now I had to go talk to my DS for the first time.  I had to tell someone I didn't know I was called.  He could tell me yes or no.  He could start me in the process or stall me.  I had heard things about this man.  He was a force to be reckoned with.  A large man with a large voice who God had used for a large ministry.  I was young and nervous. 

I drove to Canton UMC and was about 30 minutes early.  He had other appointments, and I walked around the church.  We had just started a youth group, so I went and looked at the youth area.  They at some point had taken the ceiling tiles and had the students decorate them.  I looked up and there it was:

"Lord, send me your truth and your light and they shall guide my paths" (Psalm 43:3--Emily Case translation).

Suddenly I was calm.  Those words have been my prayer through the whole process. I can remember days in seminary when I was ready to quit.  And those words got me through.  What will they get you through?  Where can God's truth and light guide you?  What can you do because God is guiding you?

Blessings Pastor Emily

(PS does 44:6 talk about gun control--or at least sword control?  Ha!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Deep Calls to Deep

Psalm 41 is a powerful testament to healing.  It asks for, demands, believes fully in healing.

I love praying for the sick and visiting the hospitals.  Not as much as Wallace, but I love it.  There is power in those prayers and in those rooms.  But honestly, I choose my words wisely.  I want to claim healing, but I don't ever want someone to be dissappointed in God because the healing didn't come.  I don't want to claim that God WILL heal, when I really mean God CAN heal.  Maybe its just as much that I don't want someone to think I'm not powerful in my prayers.  Maybe I'm afraid my prayers will be lacking if healing doesn't come.

So, I gulp extra hard when it says, in verse 3, "The lord will strengthen them whenthey are lying in bed, sick.  You will completely transformt eh place where they lie ill."

I don't understand healing, but I thought Psalm 41 answered so many of my questions, "Just like the deep that craves the streams of water, my whole being craves you!" (42:1) "Hope in God! Because I will again give3 him thanks, my saving presence and my God!" (vs. 5) "Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all your massive waves surged over me!" (vs.7).

Why do I worry so much!  Let God do it!  Hope in God.  Let God heal.  Let bad things happen--God is still there!  The deep calls to deep and God is there.  Let his mercy and healing run over you like the water.  Where ever you are hurting, let God heal you.  I believe it.  God is so good!

Pastor Emily


I really liked Psalm 39. 

"I promised i would watch my steps so as not to sin with my tongue" (39:1) I work on that a lot!  "Promised to keep my mouth shut as long as the wicked were in my presence.  So I was completely quiet, silent.  I kept my peace but it did no good!  My pain got worse.  My heart got hot inside me; while stewing over it, the fire burned."

There is a time to speak.  Sometimes that fire inside means you need to stand up. Speak out.  I try so hard to hold my tongue.  But sometimes it comes out.  I blame my mama!  She is really good at holding her tongue--UNTIL. Sometimes God needs us to get to "until".  Where do you need to stand up?  Stick out?  Speak up?
But then we get to Psalm 40.

"You don't relish sacrifices or offerings" (40:6)

I loved those verses!  "Your instruction is deep within me!" (verse 7)

Sometimes I think I have to do big things for God to love me.  But I don't!  God loves me period.  More, by studying his Word, his words are deep within me.  Its a lovely picture.

What hit you this day?

Pastor Emily


I can't believe this!  I thought I had this post done, and that I was only one day behind, but somehow I was two days behind.

These words got me, from Psalm 38:3-4, "There's nothing in my body that isn't broken because of your rage.  There's no health in my bones because of my sin.  My wrong doings are taller than I am.  They are like a weight that's too heavy for me."

I am sorry folks.  I'm not used to being this behind or forgetful. Do you have those days?  When everything you do seems wrong? 

To me, it helps me give more grace to those who are struggling. To those I get frustrated at.  We are all human.  We all struggle to "Turn away form Evil and do good!" (37:22).

I am thankful for you, and hope you will extend me grace!  I will keep trying to be better.  Its good to know that some days we are all imperfect.  Its better to know that God loves us anyway.

God loves you--no matter how badly you messed up (or how behind you get!)

God--Forgive us.  Help us to forgive.  There are no more words.  In Your name we Pray--Amen.

Blessings--Pastor EMily

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Sometime in this study, we're going to need to discuss how people viewed salvation before Jesus.  Psalm 35:3b fascinated me with that question.

But, these two Psalms really got me fired up today. 

35:17, "How long my Lord, will you watch this happen?  Rescue me from their attacks; resuce my precious life from these predatory lions!"

34:3 "The words of their mouths are evil and dishonest they have stopped being wise and stopped doing good"

As Christian women, we are often told to be good.  To be sweet.  To be kind.  Now, most of the time those are virtues are wonderful and important.  But sometimes, like the song, we have to kick a little.  How long will we let children be hungry and yet let farmers dump milk out to keep prices up?  How long will we let children "age out" of the foster care system after being bounced around for 10-15 years?  How long will we let injustice and oppression continue? 
I often wonder if our culture of "sweetness" in Christianity has stopped us from doing good.  Every time I find myself telling a little girl, "you always have to be sweet", I grimace.  I am thankful to God to have a voice that can shout out injustice.  A conscious that won't let things keep happening. 

Sometimes justice comes on national or global scales, but other times its at home!  What injustice are you facing?  What situation in your life needs to be stopped now?  How long are you going to let someone hurt you without standing up for yourself and for God?

Lord--Give us the courage to act.  To stand up for your righteousness.  Empower us to do better.  To be more.  To shout with your power and break the chains that bind us.  In Jesus' name we pray!  Amen!

Pastor Emily

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too Much!

Today is one of the days when I wish I had 3 hours to write about everything in these Psalms!  (But you probably wouldn't have 3 hours to read them! HA!)

Psalm 33--
I was interested in the talk of Nationalism and Kings in this Psalm.  Verse 12 talks about "The nation whose GOd is the LORD, the people that God has chosen as his possession is truly happy".  I wonder how that works.  As Americans we talk a lot about the wonderful times in the past when we were a Christian Nation.  But we weren't founded that way and further we aren't the "chosen ones".  How does this work if God hasn't chosen us?

But then I get to verse 16--"Kings aren't saved by the strength of their armies; warriors aren't delivered by how much power they have". Then in verse 20, "We put our hope in the Lord!  He is our help and our shield!"

Oh, how lovely that is!  I get it--its not about if we are "chosen" or a Christian nation, its about letting God be in control.  God is the victor--not the guns or bombs.  Not the military--its God.  What would our lives be like if we let God have the power instead of taking it for ourselves?

Then Psalm 34.....

I see SEVERAL songs in this one!!  I also love Verse 8, "Taste and see how good the Lord is!" 

But this is the verse that stopped me in my tracks, "Do you love life; do you relish the chance to enjoy good things?"

Ouch.  I am a planner.  Always thinking about what is coming next.  I don't always live in the moment.  Today that's my goal.  To live for now.  To soak up the sun.  To enjoy the love.  I am going to relish the chance to enjoy good things!!!

Pastor Emily

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The more we read these Psalms, the more interested I have become in looking at the author's notion of shame.  Often (31:1) the Psalmist will say, "Let me never be put to shame."  Or in 32:1, he talks about someone being happy who is forgiven (their shame is gone.)

Shame is still a motivating factor in the Middle East.  Women are put to death when they shame their family.  Sons are thrown out of the family for bringing shame. It is a constant fear. 
But I'm not so sure its as big of a deal in our society anymore.  We watched TV shows where people put themselves to shame on purpose.  Everyone has their price, and shame seems to be fairly cheap in our society.  So, we might be put to shame for the moment, but its fleeting.  Not something to get worked up about.  Not something deep or lasting. 

So, can we relate?  How do we relate to concepts in the Psalms that don't translate to our lives today?  How do we deal with the analogies that seem foreign?  If all scripture is God breathed and matters to our faith life--how do we take concepts that are tough to understand?

Pastor Emily

Monday, June 18, 2012


Psalm 30 was powerful for me today!!!

"His anger only lasts for a second, but his favor lasts a life time.  Weeping may stay all night, but by morning, JOY!" (30:5)

"You cahnged my mourning into dancing.  You took off my funeral clothes and dressed me up in joy!" (30:10)

First, Its ok to be angry.  As women, too often we believe that we can't be angry.  That anger is a bad thing.  Something we should NEVER do.  But even God is angry.  Its how we respond to our anger that is the sin.  Not the feeling.  And more, everyone cries.  Everyone.  Don't believe them if they say they don't.  Weeping happens.

But Joy, joy is different!  Joy can happen in the midst of anger or weeping.  Becuase its not a feeling--its a choice!  We choose to have God's joy in our lives.  How does joy work in your life?  How do you live a life of joy?  How is Jesus changing your morning to joy to dancing?

Jesus--let us live into your joy!  Let us live lives of joy and love.  No matter the circumstances, let us live into your joy!  In your name we pray! Amen!

Pastor Emily

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Safety in the Lord

We live in a world that is often unsafe.  We use all means to protect ourselves. Locks.  Doors.  Walls.  Even weapons.  And yet we still don't feel safe.  We wash our hands with antibacterial soap and we lysol our doors.  We walk women to their cars and we ask our daughters to be careful what they wear so no harm will befall them.

We are scared.  These Psalms 27 and 28 reminded me that the only safety we have is in God.  For "God is our fortress protecting our lives.  What shall we fear?" (27:1)

That "Even if my father and mother left me all alone, the Lord would take me in." (27:10)

that we can find "Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord!"  (27:14)

That "The Lord is my strength and my shield.  My heart trusts him.  I was helped, my heart rejoiced, and I thank him with my song.  The lord is his people's strength; he is a fortress of protection for his anointed one". (28:7-8).

I want to find trust and sanctuary in God. I want to find refuge and protection.  That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be cautious in this world.  But it does mean, that we must put our trust, hope and safety in God.  We can only be safe in his arms.

What a beautiful reminder of God's love and provision.  Feel insecure?   Rest in the arms that hold the world.

Pastor Emily

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Psalm 25:21, "Let integrity and virtue guard me, because I hope in you".

That line makes me stop.  Integrity and virtue guard us from many things.  Not from everything. Being good doesn't make our lives necessarily easy. But, there is much peace and joy that comes from living a good life.  From being honest and true and loving.  From finding joy and not cheating and making good choices in love and family and life.  Sometimes those are the only guards we have from the evil.  I love that line, and it might be a line I pray in the future, especially when I have to make tough choices to follow God despite all obstacles.  

But then the first few lines of Psalm 26 stopped me.

"Establish justice for me, Lord, because I have walked with integrity.  I've trusted in the Lord without wavering.  Examine me Lord, put me to the test!  Purify my mind and my heart".

I often pray that.  God, make things right  for me. I'm doing what you asked.  God, make my way easy, I'm following you.  I've trusted you!  You can put me to the test--I've passed them all.  Make me clean.

I love the way these Psalms seem are so real.  Authentic.  Yes Lord, this is who I am and what I feel.  God, I've done the best I can.  Take my sacrifice.  Fix me.  Love me.  Cleanse me.

I'm feeling so empowered.  How about you?  What has reading these Psalms done for you?

Pastor Emily 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Mountains and A Valley

Technically Psalm 22 was to be read yesterday.  But I wanted to talk about these three Psalms together.  There is so much to say! 

Read these three Psalms again.  This time read them as a Valley between Two Mountains.  Psalms 22 and 24 are so majestic.  God triumphs. God reigns.  God is mighty and soverign.  And our beloved Psalm 23.  It is the valley.  The valley of the shadow of death.

These three Psalms are said to be prophetic.  To talk about Christ's death and resurrection.  Read Psalm 22, the words of Christ on the cross.  Then there is Psalm 23, when he is dead and buried.  Its the Psalm we use to bury our own dead.  Then Psalm 24 when we call "the Mighty Gates" to "lift up your heads" talks about the resurrection.

Re-read those Psalms with that in mind.  Do you read them differently?  Does it change how you see it?

Pastor Emily

God's Enemies

OH NO!!!  My post didn't post as scheduled!  Chalk it up to AC tiredness!  Apologies. Here is what should have been!  Blessings! Emily

Psalm 21 is great.  I was so richly blessed by the words of blessings and joy and encouragement.

And then I came to verse 8.

"Your hand will catch all your enemies.  Your right hand will catch all who hate you."

Huh?  God has enemies?  That took me by suprise.  And then I thought of Christ.  The words, "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." resounded in my head.  Jesus really did have enemies.  God really does have people who hate him and do bad things to him and his people.  And yet, we were told to love our enemies.  To pray for those who are doing evil to us.

We live in a world that is rife with evil.  Hate engulfs us sometimes.  And yes, there are many days I find myself on my knees praying for those who have wronged me.  It sometimes is the most holy time of my day.  I am thankful so often that Christ set this example for me.  When I can love despite the hate.  When I can find peace and joy and God in the midst of struggle, I know that God triumphs over all.  I know that Love can find root even in the rockiest soil.  Praise God that I'm not the only one with enemies!

Lord--I love you.  May I see with your eyes of love and peace and forgiveness.  May those who have wronged me feel your love and peace so they might live new lives of joy and happiness in your spirit.  May I, ever your child grow in your favor and be bestowed with all your blessings! In your precious name I pray, Amen.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Did you catch Psalm 19 contains the prayer I pray every time before I preach.  One of the pastors from my childhood always used the words and they have stuck with me.  They really calm my nerves and center me as I get ready to preach.  I often pray the words as I prepare for sermons, blogs, and bible studies as well!  “May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart (all our hearts together) be acceptable in thy sight.  O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!”

The opening verse of Psalm 20 hit me today.  David begins by praying for others.  In “churchy” words we call this intercessory prayer—praying for someone else!  Who are you praying for?  Who has prayed for you? Why do you pray for others?  There is certainly power in prayer—and I spend much time praying for others.  I was thankful for new words to pray for others.  Who was the last person you prayed for?  How did that work out?

Powerful God—Thank you for giving us the words to pray.  Thank you for giving us the words to pray for the people we love.  Love them.  Bless them.  Protect them.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Pastor Emily

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Rock

For the next few days I am attending Annual Conference in Athens.  Its like a huge family reunion.  It’s a time where pastors and lay leaders get together to pray, worship, and make decisions.  I come every year excited to see the people I love and serve with, and its one of the times I feel the power of God in so many new ways.  These are the people I go to when I have no other answers.  They laugh with me, cry with me and love me.  This is the church that protects, supports and loves me.

Remembering that, these two Psalms really spoke to me about a God who supports and protects. 

17:8, “Hide me in the protection of your wings.”
18:2:  “The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer.”
18:18: “They came to me the very day of my distress, but the Lord was my support!”

Who supports you?  Where do you go when you are down or sad or scared?  Who is your rock and fortress?

I have grown up understanding how to pray when times get tough.  Learning how to find Christian friends.  Having an amazing supportive family. But not everyone is as blessed!  How do you use God as your rock and your support?  How would you tell a new Christian how to lean on God?

O Lord, my Rock.  Thank you for your protection and support.  Thank you for being my everything.  Please bless our time in Athens.  Show us how to reach out in your name.  Amen.

Pastor Emily

Monday, June 11, 2012


So, anyone who has been in a Bible Study I've lead, or to a worship service I've preached/planned, or just generally hung out with me knows that I love to ask questions.  Today's Psalms perplexed me.  Maybe you can help me.

Here are my questions.

1) Psalm 15:1-2, 4b,
"Who can live in Your tent, Lord? Who can dwell on your holy mountain?
The person who lives with integrity, does what is right, and speaks the truth sincerely.....
someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts..."

So, that means NO ONE can live in God's tent?  Huh?

2) Psalm 16:5
"You Lord are my possession, my cup"
Huh?  How can God be MY possession?  Does that mean I can own God?  What is the Psalmist trying to say?

3) Psalm 16:7
"I will bless the Lord who advises me"  So, I won't bless the Lord who doesn't advise me?

Thanks for help with my questions!  Do you have any?  Maybe we can help each other!

Pastor Emily!

(PS.  I really really really love Psalm 16.  It might be one of my new favorite "go tos!"  Which has been your favorite so far?)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lamenting in Joy

She looked up at me through her tears.  They had been fighting for so long, and there were no answers.  They had fought the cancer and the heart troubles and the emphysema.  They had fought through the financial crisis' and the disability and the disappointing children and the pregnant teenage grandchildren.  And yet, here she was, in a battle that she couldn't win.  She was ready for the death, but somehow it didn't come, just more pain.  She was trying to let go and God and her body were still holding on..  "Where is God," she asked?  "How long will hear my cries and turn his ears.

We pulled out Psalm 13 and I read it again and again and again.  "How long will you forget my Lord?  Forever?  How long will you hide your face?"

"Look at me!  Answer me, Lord, my God! Restore sight to my eyes!"

"But I have trusted in your faithful love!  My heart will rejoice in your salvation.  Yes! I will sing to the Lord, because he has been good to me."

"Why do you love this one so much?"  I asked her again and again.

When she had enough strength to answer, she finally said, "Because its how I feel.  I feel forgotten, but know that God has been good to me. I need both."

She lay her head down and asked me to read them again.  More slowly.  And we sang.  How Great Thou Art. Pass Me Not.  Amazing Grace.  As the Deer.  I stayed for an hour, squeezed her hand and left.  I wish I could tell you she died quickly or peacefully.  But she died gasping for air days later.  I'm just thankful that when her time on this Earth and the lessons she taught me.  Especially about Psalm 13.  About feeling forgotten and loved at once.  I feel that way sometimes too.  Forgotten and loved and forgiven and rejoicing and lamenting. God is good, even when this world isn't!

Pastor Emily

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Face of God

Oh, I needed these Psalms today!  Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning I was afflicted with such an awful stomach flu, I called my MOM!  I can't remember the last time I called my Mom almost in tears.  It was that bad.  Although the "flu" was gone in 24 hours, my strength still isn't what it was on Tuesday Afternoon!  I needed these reminders.

I loved 11:7b "Those whose heart is right will see God's face".  When was the last time you saw God's face?  I saw it this week in VBS.  In the Powerade my mom brought me and the Aleve that finally broke my fever.  I saw God's face in the peace that came after praying with someone before a surgery and in the kids running to hug me.  I saw his face in snacks and in tweets and in Psalms and in youth dancing.  It was a powerful week.  But I'm not sure until I read that verse that I stopped to ask myself the question. I think I might have missed God's face in the heap of sickness and sadness and lethargy.

I also saw God's face here.  In the sunbeams streaming through the clouds.

Then Psalm 12 began with a bang.  "Help Lord, because the godly are all gone, the faithful have completely disappeared from the human race."  Now, after VBS, I wasn't really feeling a lament, but then I got to verse 5.  "But the Lord says, 'Because the poor are oppressed, because of the groans of the needy, I'm now standing up, I will provide the help they are gasping for."

OH!  How beautiful.  That's what our call is!  To rise up and provide the help!  That's what we did this week!  What a lovely reminder!

What a wonderful week!  For more VBS pictures go to  There are lots posted!  What a great week!

Blessings to you!
Pastor Emily

Dearest Lord--Thank you for the reminders that you are here.  That you are love.  That your face is beautiful.  Thank you for the blessings that only you give.  Please let me be your blessing in this world!
In Jesus Name we pray!  Amen

Friday, June 8, 2012


Psalms 9 and 10 are an acrostic poem.  An acrostic goes through each letter of the alphabet to start each stanza.  It also seems as if they are one hymn instead of two. 

I love so many of the verses (9:13-14, 18, 10:1, 4, 12, etc), but I thought today I would write my own acrostic Psalm.  God is mighty.  I am thankful!

All-powerful God, we cry out in our time of need.
Be for us the power and salvation and love that is missing.
'Cause our world is so broken.
Damage and strife and pain are all that we know.
Everything seems to be broken.
For we are evil, even though you made us good.
Goodness and mercy seem far off.
How is it that you still love us?
I bow at your feet in repentance and honor.
Jesus, be our redeemer, our friend, our brother.
King of Kings, mighty God, Prince of Peace
Let us never forget your promises
May we live into your grace
Never may we forget the truths of your righteousness.
O Holy one, let us love like you do.
Protect us from evil, save us from ourselves, let us love.
Question us, search us, and find us good.
Revive us so we can be your mighty people, called by your name
Send us out into your broken world to be your healers
To leave your creation better than we found it.
Use us to love the lonely, heal the hurting, calm the storm
Very great are the tasks you set before us.
When we are tired, give us strength.
'Xamine us and make us holy
Your ways are the best, let us live into them.
Zoom back to our hearts and our lives.

Really?  Why does the alphabet have to end with z.  HA!

Hope you liked my silly "Psalm".


Thursday, June 7, 2012

How Majestic is Your Name!

I loved today's Psalms!!!

Psalm 7--
I love these lament Psalms.  When people feel hopeless or desperate, I often direct them here!  But verse 11 really stuck out to me today, "God is a righteous judge, a God who is angry at evil, every single day."

I wonder if I am angry at evil every day?  When I lie or cheat.  When others hurt or bully those in need.  Do I choose with my dollars to support businesses who help or those who take advantage of the weak?  How do I work for justice and righteousness in the world?

Psalm 8--
Verses 4 and 5 are questions I ask all the time.  How amazing is it that God actually cares about us?  That God loves us.  We aren't mighty or beautiful or even good.  We are lowly.  Yet God loves us anyway!

I'm going to leave today knowing I am loved, even when I don't deserve it.  I am going to go away knowing that God has always been mighty and powerful and loving.  I am going to take those lessons with me.

What will you take with you?

Pastor Emily

Dear God--Thank you for loving me.  Help me to love those you love and hate the evil.  Help me to see your promises and live into them.  Forgive me my sins.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Psalms 5 and 6 are what we call Individual Complaint Psalms.  Psalm 3 from yesterday was another example.  I have to admit, I struggled through these complaints.  I am all about hearing complaints.  I know that God loves to hear our complaints much the way he loves to hear anything we have to say, but I'll be honest, I didn't want to hear them.  I didn't want to hear the author asking for God to smite his enemies.  I didn't want to hear all the violence that was the Psalmist was attributing to God.  It made my stomach churn.  I read them a few weeks ago while I was sitting with Dad in the hospital room.  I'm sure my displeasure had to do with that, but it was hard for me.

It seemed odd to me that God "didn't enjoy wickedness" (5:4) but then God was asked to "condemn them" and to "Let them fail by their own plans.  THrow them out for their many sins" (5:10).   It was hard to read "Have mercy on me, Lord, because I'm frail.  Heal me, Lord, because my bones are shaking in terror" (6:2) in the same breath as "get away from me all you evildoers because the Lord has heard me crying!" (6:8-10)

What do you think?  Is it ok that this was a song used in worship?  What picture does this paint of God? How would you relate to this God?

Pastor Emily

Dear God--Hear our cries, no matter how selfish they may be.  But, turn our hearts to you, so that all we sing are songs of your praise.  So that all we want is the joy of your love.  So that all we do is find ways to love your creation and people more--even our enemies.  In Your name we pray--Amen!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finding Joy

So, for us to continue, lets look a bit at the book of Psalms in general.  In its most basic form, it is a hymnal.  A collection of the songs sung in Ancient Jewish worship.  Yes, traditionally King David was believed to have written them all.  However, scholarship can see how the Psalms were written through a much larger time frame than David's life.  They seem to have come together much like our own hymnal, a collection of music and song over time.  This doesn't mean that David did not have a huge influence on the writing of the hymns.  In fact, you will see many of the Psalms were written out of his story! 

The name "Psalms" comes from the Greek name of the book Psalmoi from the verb psallo which means to sing with the accompaniment of a lyre or harp.  The Hebrew name for the book actually means "Praises" and is similar to the root word for hallelujah, a word only found in Psalms in the OT.  Look for the Hallelujahs to signal the beginning or end of a hymn or the beginning or ending of a "book".

There are 5 books in the Psalms, much like there are 5 primary law books in the Hebrew Book of the Old Testament.  The books go like this:


Our own modern hymn/song writers have extensively quoted the Psalms in songs we sing all the time. While we go on this journey lets play a game.  If you see verses that corrolate to songs, point them out!  I won't point them out in my posts--I'll only point them out in comments to give everyone a fair shot at finding them!  Lets see how many we can find together!

Psalm 3--
Do you remember the story of David's son Absalom?  You can read about it in 2 Samuel 13-18 or a shorter version here.  The basic story is that Absalom got very angry after his half-brother badly hurt his sister and plotted revenge.  He even overthrew his father from the throne for a bit.  It was a terrible mess!  In the end, Absalom gets himself caught in a tree by his long hair and is killed by David's soliders.

Keep that in mind as you read this Psalm!  David was sad and mad and scared and hurting!  We all know these feelings!  When he says in verse six, "I won't be afraid of thousands of people surrounding me on all sides"--he really was surrounded by thousands of warriors on all sides.  Yet he still can praise God.  Can you praise God in the midst of such trials? 

Psalm 4--
This theme of praising God in trials continued for me into Psalm 4.  Did you see verses 6 and 7?  Here is my translation:

Many people say, "We can't find goodness anywhere.  The light of your face has left us Lord!" But you have filled my heart with more joy athan when their wheat and wine are everywhere"

That makes sense to me.  Sometimes I find more joy when I have less.  Because when things are good, I expect good.  I don't look for the little happiness or joy.  I don't spend time trying to seek out the happy. I get complacent.  What about you?  When do you find the most joy?

What stuck out for you this time?  What messages were these Psalms "singing" to you?

Pastor Emily

Dear God--Let us find ways this day to find happiness and joy in the small things. Let us praise you in the midst of trials.  Let us grow closer to you in love.  In Jesus' name we pray! Amen

Monday, June 4, 2012

Here we Gooooooo!!!

Day 1--
Psalms 1 and 2

Thanks to everyone for this new journey.  Here is the plan.  Every day, read two Psalms.  Then check in on the blog!  I will react to the reading, and then it will be your turn.  Maybe something I say will spark a thought.  Maybe you found a different verse that meant something to you.  Don't worry about staying on topic, just comment with your thoughts!

Psalm 1--
I love the image of the tree in verse 3.  That those who are planted in the Lord are stable, firm, rooted.  That they are evergreen.  I look around me and I see that to be true.  The people I know with the strongest faith aren't easily swayed by circumstance or temptations.  They stay strong even when the wicked around them try to hurt them.  When the winds of change blow.  I want to be that tree, but I fear sometimes my roots aren't deep enough.  That's why I love these summers in the Word with you all.  I love having each of you strengthen my roots.

Psalm 2--
How do you approach God?  Do you tell God your plans, or approach with "fear, trembling, kissing his feet" (verse 11).  I also love verse 4, "He who sits in heaven laughs".  Heaven laughs at our plans.  But, does that mean we shouldn't plan?  Does that mean our plans are wrong?

What do you think?
Closing Prayer--
Dear God--Strengthen our roots.  Show us your plans.  Let us fall in line, but never let us fall. Amen.