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Tweeting about the Psalms – The first week

I have been following PsalterMark on Twitter for some time. He regularly uses the #Psalmtweets hashtag.  A few weeks ago he invited other people to join him in reading a Psalm a day and using the hashtag. We began tweeting on Sunday 27th August. (I have to admit I am reading a few days ahead and scheduling my Tweets in advance!)

For this project so far, I have been reading each Psalm and looking at its form, what we learn about the psalmist, what he teaches about God and what his concerns are. The psalms include some very honest writing, complaints, misery – no putting on a brave face, facing up to reality instead.

I thought it might be helpful (if only to me) to collect my Tweets together and provide links to the appropriate Psalms.

Psalm 1: There are blessings from seeking to know God’s ways of doing things – fruitfulness and protection. #Psalmtweets

I also posted a photo, but forgot the hashtag.

A tree planted by water

A tree planted by water

Ps. 2: Kings & rulers should be wise & serve God with fear, rejoice with trembling. Blessing for those whose refuge is God.

Ps. 3: King David tells himself his enemies tell lies – God answers prayer and sustains. David prays a blessing on the people.

Ps. 4: David speaks to God, then the people then God. His distress changes to joy, trust and peace.

Ps. 5: God listens, is merciful & righteous. David compares the wicked and the righteous. He prays honestly in the morning

Ps. 6: A prayer for mercy and deliverance. David has assurance that God has heard and will act.

Ps. 7: David would have understood “if you’re in a hole, stop digging”. Praise God instead.

While the book of Psalms is sometimes called the Psalms of David, he is not believed to be the author of all the psalms. So far in my reading all the Psalms have been attributed to David by the translators of the New International Version. Although he was not perfect and made many mistakes he is described as being a man after God’s heart. I know there is much I can learn from David in his attitude to God, to life and to prayer.

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Trust

It is over six months since I decided on my word for the year. In 2016 my word was Rest, but I ended the year very tired!

This year my word is Trust. I wrote about my reasons for choosing this word in an earlier post.

It didn’t take me long to realise that I find it very difficult to trust God. Although I am familiar with the promises set out in the Bible and the stories of God’s faithfulness, I find it hard to believe that God is working his purpose out and knows what is best for us.

Reasons to trust God

Reasons to trust God

There are many bad things happening, according to the news media. The good things are not reported. We begin to have a skewed outlook on life, when we only think about the news (which is available to us 24 hours a day). We need to look around us and notice the acts of kindness, the people working on behalf of others, the beauty of creation. We need to go on reading about the way God has worked in the lives of other people, not just in the Bible, but through the ages and in our own time.

If I say I trust God, but expect things to go wrong (a tendency I have), what does that say about my trust in God?

Recognising a fault in ourselves is the first step towards overcoming it. As I write this, I keep remembering words from the Anglican baptism service. The parents and godparents (or the candidate if he/she is old enough) are asked, “Do you believe in God?”

The question is asked three times – once each for each person of the Trinity.

Each time the response is, “I believe and trust in him.”

Thus a distinction is made between belief and trust. Trust is action based on belief.

Another phrase from the baptism service is, “With the help of God we will.”

Trusting God involves accepting that we need his help and that it is available to us at all times and in all places. He is ready to guide us and strengthen us, if we turn to him.

Each day we face choices. How do we spend our time?  How do we deal with situations as they arise? How do we interact with the people around us? How do we react to news? By turning to God and trusting him for strength and guidance, we are able to experience his peace.

We may find that we are able to refuse to do something that we might have done from a sense of obligation in order to rest. We may find we are able to do something we had not planned, because an opportunity arose. Perhaps others see us as less predictable if we are acting out our trust in God.

One exciting thing that happened recently was that I was able to take up a cancellation on a writing weekend, which had been fully booked for months. I don’t know who dropped out at the last minute, but I enquired about space and was able to go. While it is not always a good idea to leave bookings until the last minute, in this case it worked well. I didn’t worry about whether I’d be able to go as I only knew two days beforehand that I could.

I shall try to remember that this year I am concentrating on putting my trust in God.

 

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Prayer strands

Do you pray?

When I think about prayer I mean praying to the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Prayer is so easy a child can do it, but it can also be difficult. It can be difficult to be honest. It can be difficult to find time. It can be difficult to listen in case God is speaking or showing us a picture.

I recently had a half formed idea about the strength of groups of people praying. Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered in my name…

I wondered about a sort of plant rising from people towards God. We are supposed to be branches in his Vine – a sort of network. I thought about the strength of intertwined creepers. There is also reference in the Bible to a three-stranded cord.

Then I saw a picture on Twitter of wisteria in Kew Gardens. I have permission from Isabel Hardman to share it here.

Wisteria

Wisteria

I am not claiming to understand what happens when we pray. God wants us to treat him as our Heavenly Father and talk to him. We should expect to hear from him too.

Perhaps our prayers have substance, becoming a strong interwoven fabric or a tangle of creepers. Perhaps in praying for a person our prayers build up a barrier against evil. Prayer is something of a mystery. Does this picture resonate in any way with your experience? Can you shed any light on these tentative ideas?