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What I read in December 2017

Unusually I didn’t reach the end of any books in December apart from my regular reading, which doesn’t usually feature here. I have been using daily readings from the Bible Reading Fellowship for many years, with occasional breaks, when I have tried readings from other publishers, such as CWR or Scripture Union. New Daylight has been my usual reading matter since it took over from its predecessor – Daylight, I seem to remember – years ago. For the last couple of years I have also been reading The Upper Room, a publication written by some of its readers, rather than by theologians. I know one or two of the contributors. Both these booklets are published three times a year in January, April and September. Thus reaching the end of the year coincides with reaching the end of an issue.

I have not yet finished reading the French translation of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

The books I received for Christmas are in the photo, which shows what I may be writing about soon. (The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane, another in the French series of Harry Potter, a biography of C. S. Lewis and Jane Hawking’s book about her marriage to Richard Hawking, the physicist.)

My Christmas books

My Christmas books

Some of the reasons reading books has not featured much in December are that I have been busy knitting, taking part as a choir member in concerts and church services and doing my Christmas correspondence.

I have also been reading blogs, but again that is something I usually do alongside any books I may have started.

For Booklovers, if you haven’t already encountered the blog of dovegreyreader, I recommend it. Also for writers, More than Writers to which I contribute posts is usually interesting.

 

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#PsalmTweets weeks 18 and 19

The #PsalmTweets project continues. The final Psalm of my previous post really belongs with these as it is the first of 15 songs of ascents. A while ago I learned from New Daylight, a publication of the Bible Reading Fellowship, that the songs of ascents were used by pilgrims on their way to worship God in the temple at Jerusalem. Jerusalem is also known as Zion after the mountain it stands on.

Only a few of these Psalms are attributed to specific psalmists. One each by David and his son, Solomon.

These weeks included Christmas and New Year. I was economical in my Tweets and used these #psalmtweets to greet anyone, who happened to read them!

Ps. 121: A well-known psalm describing the help and protection God gives. #psalmtweets Happy Christmas!

Ps. 122: A beautiful psalm about Jerusalem – joyful anticipation of going to the house of the Lord. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Ps. 123: In this 4th song of ascents the psalmist looks to God in heaven as his master. He asks for mercy because of proud and arrogant mockers.

Ps. 124: A song of ascents suggesting what might have happened without God’s help. Praise to the Lord, who made heaven and earth for salvation and help. (There but for the grace of God…)

Ps. 125: A song of ascents with images from the landscape around Jerusalem. some thoughts about good and evil. “Peace be upon Israel.”

Ps. 126: A song of ascents remembering God’s work in bringing exiles back to Zion. a prayer for restoration. Verses about weeping while sowing and harvesting with joy

Ps. 127:Solomon’s song of ascents is well-known. He was responsible for building the temple, but knew God’s help was needed. ‘Unless the Lord…’ Also children come from the Lord – a blessing #PsalmTweets @JustCardsDirect

Psalm 127

Psalm 127

Ps. 128: A song of ascents with promise of blessing. A bessing. ‘Peace be upon Israel’. #PsalmTweets Happy New Year!

Ps. 129: A song of ascents about persecution. The final verse makes more sense to me in the King James (Authorised Version) than in the NIV

(Originally I made a mistake here, thinking it was two verses, but it is just verse 8, which I found confusing. Counting is not my strong point! However I was preparing this post in advance, just in time to correct my scheduled Tweet.)

Neither do they which go by say,
The blessing of the Lord be upon you:
we bless you in the name of the Lord. (AV)

May those who pass by not say to them,
    ‘The blessing of the Lord be on you;
    we bless you in the name of the Lord.’ (NIV)

Ps. 130: A song of ascents which rises from he depths of guilt to the assurance of forgiveness and redemption.

Ps. 131: A song of ascents by David, humble and childlike, urging his people to put their trust in God – always.

Ps. 132. The longest of the songs of ascents. Looking back at David’s vow to find a place for the Lord and looking forward to his kingly descendant – Christ.

Ps. 133: A song of ascents about brothers living in unity, compared with the anointing with oil of Aaron the high priest and with dew on mount Zion, where God blesses with eternal life.

Ps. 134: a song of ascents of praise and blessing. I remember a chorus using the first 2 verses. The 3rd (last) verse requests a blessing from God the creator of heaven and earth.

 

There are many versions of the chorus available on Youtube. I remember a variation on the tune in this one. When tunes are passed on by hearing rather than from reading music all sorts of differences creep in. Here is one link.

The next post in this series will reach the end of the Book of Psalms.

 

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#PsalmTweets Weeks 16 and 17

Here is the next post in the #PsalmTweets challenge. I discovered that I had forgotten to include a photo in my Tweet for Psalm 118. Perhaps I was too busy adding the hashtag #Advent! Anyhow it is included here.

Ps. 107: Thanks and praise to the Lord, whose steadfast love endures for ever. A reminder of his dealings with people for better or worse. #psalmtweets @JustCardsDirect

Psalm 107 from JustCardsDirect

Psalm 107 from JustCardsDirect

Ps. 108: David declares his faithfulness to God.He speaks of God’s dealings with the tribes of Israel. He feels that God has forsaken his armies, but will help them against their enemies.

Ps. 109: David ‘poor and needy’ prays against his enemies. He praises God his Saviour.

Ps. 110: David wrote this prophetic psalm, which New Testament writers quote with reference to Jesus Christ. #psalmtweets

Ps. 111: an acrostic psalm (in Hebrew) praising God for his deeds, his nature and his precepts. #psalmtweets

Ps. 112: Another acrostic psalm (in Hebrew) Praise precedes a list of blessings for individuals who are in awe of God and delight to obey his commands. Contrast with the futility if a wicked life

Ps. 113: A psalm of praise to the soveriegn God, who raises the poor and needy to sit with princes and gives children to the barren woman ( only sometimes from what I have seen)

Ps. 114: A psalm remembering God’s signs involving water during Israel’s journey from Egypt. The red Sea, the River Jordan and water from a rock. #PsalmTweets #GodWithUs

Ps. 115: Non nobis Domine. The glory is to God for his love and faithfulness. Comparison between ungodly actions and people who trust in the Lord. A list of reasons to praise God. #PsalmTweets #GodWithUs

Ps. 116: A psalm of love and thanks to God for healing and salvation. The response – a life of prayer, obedience, sacrifice and praise with all God’s people.

Ps. 117: Only 2 verses exhorting all the nations to praise the Lord, because of his great love and faithfulness. Hallelu Yah!

Psalm 118 from Images of Grace

Psalm 118 from Images of Grace

Ps. 118: His love endures forever. Imagery: Gates of righteousness, capstone/cornerstone. Phrases: the day the Lord has made, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Rejoice! #PsalmTweets #Advent

Ps. 119: A psalm with an 8 verse section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The theme is living according to God’s commandments.

Ps. 120: The psalmist is upset about the deceitfulness and warlike nature of the people around him. He calls to God for salvation and predicts punishment.