Friday, September 10, 2021

Song of Solomon Bible Sketch

God loves passionately.

The Lord offers genuine relationship sealed with the promise of the Gospel.

Christ has intimate affections for the Church of all believers. 

The imperfect Bride [Church of all believers] is drawn to the perfect Bridegroom [Christ]. She receives the Holy Spirit and is filled with an undeserved gift of faith in the Bridegroom. Christ not only completely loves and wants His Bride, He treats her as a friend—smiles and sings over her! She honors Him, rejoicing in His reciprocate love which flows into and from her as He provides for Her while she serves and worships Him. 

He does not neglect, tyrannize, frighten, contemptuously reject, or condemn His imperfect Bride who loves Him. He protects His Bride from harmful evil snares, quiets her with His calming love, pursues, and fights for her. He gave her breath and gently embraces her for who she is—His created, beloved, fallen creature. He sacrificially gave Himself up in order to cleanse and heal wounds resulting from her own sins as well as from sins committed against her. In their mutual love, she is seen by her Creator through His Own splendidly beautiful Holy perfection which has purified her. 

She respectfully desires to please her merciful Lord as she seeks Him for wisdom and refuge. He cherishes communication with her, eager to listen to her every praise and prayer. He nourishes her hunger for His strength and satisfies her thirst for His forgiveness. Revealing to her His peace and pleasure, He graciously refreshes, comforts and encourages her within His deeply caring community. He is her only Way. His Word is enriching her Life now and promising her hope of Paradise with Him forever. He guides her to sow His seed—the living and active Word of God which builds up all who believe His Truth.

Song of Solomon 8:6a,7a

Set me as a seal upon your heart…Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:6a,7a
Set me as a seal upon your heart…Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:6a,7a

Unquenchable love Christ has for the Church 

The power of the Holy Spirit is poured upon each individual within the Church of all believers. The generous Gift of Holy Baptism provides saving Faith in Christ Jesus. Faith is

  • received by water with the Word
  • drawing those who receive it to nourishment, growth
  • maintaining itself through regular, frequent, study of the Bible and hearing it preached
  • constantly desiring to bring back ones who neglect, stray from, and reject it
  • teaching the proper way to live by treasuring the loving fullness of the commandments
  • encouraging humility which confesses failure, prays for mercy, and asks other believers to pray, also, for positive change
  • revealing God’s sovereign will
  • protecting believers—keeping them safe from being destroyed by threats, trials, tests of faith, even death
  • stirring the faithful to live life to the fullest by sharing the love and peace of Jesus
  • reminding the devoted of strength and contentment that comes with being in the Word rather than conforming to the patterns of this world
  • guiding followers to remain set apart in the promise of Grace
  • inspiring the congregations to actively worship together in Truth
  • answering Frequently Asked Questions about Doctrine
  • preserving those who hold onto Faith until the end
  • assuring certain hope of everlasting life in Heaven with the risen Savior

The Bible talks about the feast to come in the Old Testament—like an engagement. The feast that has come, mentioned in the New Testament, is in the bleeding dying Christ on the cross and the resurrection on Easter morning. The sacrifice points forward to the Last Day, pictured like the glory of the Church dressed in the righteousness of Christ—two become one—Christ and the Church!

God never changes

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds (listen) 

  1. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
    In a believer’s ear!
    It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
    And drives away our fear.
  2. It makes the wounded spirit whole
    And calms the heart’s unrest;
    ’Tis manna to the hungry soul
    And to the weary, rest.
  3. Dear name! The rock on which I build,
    My shield and hiding place;
    My never-failing treasury filled
    With boundless stores of grace.
  4. O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend,
    My Prophet, Priest, and King,
    My Lord, my life, my way, my end,
    Accept the praise I bring.
  5. How weak the effort of my heart,
    How cold my warmest thought!
    But when I see Thee as Thou art,
    I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
  6. Till then I would Thy love proclaim
    With ev’ry fleeting breath;
    And may the music of Thy name
    Refresh my soul in death!

John Newton, 1725-1807, Lutheran Service Book ‎524

Helpful links to listen, read and study the book Song of Solomon

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Ecclesiastes Bible Sketches

Living life backwards

Preparing to die will teach you how to live

In the brevity of life, ignorance is not bliss—it only fools us for a time. Ecclesiastes is God’s Word keeping it real. We learn life is not to be lived as for gain but as for the gift of God. Life in Christ is our wisdom which gives life and suffering meaning. The Christian experience understands the vastness of love. The more intensely you love, the more you hurt in loss. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[a] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? —Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Toil for gain leads to becoming a slave to it—controlled by meaningless vanity, we see weariness, broken mind, discontent, always wanting more—even human wisdom is futile; ambition can be a vice if not in Christ. 

God is the giver of life who provides meaning to it and ability to work for a living. Glory and gratitude to His mercies! Holy Spirit-given faith in Jesus’ work, finished for us on the cross—descent to hell, bodily resurrection and ascension—means grace and victory for repentant sinners.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,6b

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to keep, and a time to cast away Ecclesiastes 3:1,6b
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to keep, and a time to cast away —Ecclesiastes 3:1,6b

Cycles of life, from peace and building up to war and destruction, can’t be changed.

Often bad times follow good times; also, often good times follow the bad! Nothing a person does changes these revolving cycles. We know there is more to existence. We try, yet we cannot figure out God’s plans and purposes. By faith given to us, we receive humility to seek Him and ask Him to bless us.

Being caught up in cycles of oppression, envy-fueled labor, worry over wealth, and loneliness add to meaningless of life without God. 

Life is hard and messy; however, this does not mean suffering has no value and meaning. Pain and trouble help give perspective to joy, hope, and solace. Wisdom is gained in getting through it. There are abundant opportunities to grow in wisdom for life when we are confident it is in the Lord’s control through Christ. Christian prayer—giving expression to the fullness of emotion and repentance—gets at the completeness of who we are as creatures of God, brings healing, hope, forgiveness and consolation.

Life is not fair, it is corrupted by sin. Don’t set out to search the answer to “why?”—you’ll be disappointed and frustrated. Sin and the devil tries to suck joy from us by tempting us with power. How is it fair that One Man should have to take on the sin of everyone else? 

God has drowned sin to death in Christ. The communion of saints connects us to loved ones here and beyond. Repentance is the way to be satisfied and content, remembering the authority of Jesus never goes away. People who trust Christ crave His Word for cleansing, healing, and release. Christ suffered for us. He goes into death and explodes it. Repentant believers have present joy and certain hope of eternal life with Him.

We shouldn’t live in isolation (inward focus), but in relationship with other people who are in Christ (outward focus). 

It is not always what you speak but how you speak. You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are. Take self-diagnosis—ask yourself whom you spend most of your time thinking about.

We look for relief from fear, angst, sadness. Feelings aren’t our sole source of identity. 

“…Our value is determined by the God who created us and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who redeemed us. Our Heavenly Father is the Master Craftsman Who designed each minute part of us! Whether our hands are strong and firm or arthritic and weak, they can be folded to thank the God who created them. Whether our feet are long or short, narrow or wide, strong or no longer able to support us, they are able to walk in His ways…” Mustard Seed Devotions, August 07, 2021, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League

We find joy in faith; Christ’s obedience—love He has for us—let it settle in you. Knowledge about God is not the same as fear, love and trust in God. 

“…if it is peace you seek—true, everlasting peace, then look to Him who has broken down the ‘dividing wall of hostility,’ separating us from God. If it is new life you’re looking for, then believe in Jesus Christ and you will find it…” Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Honesty in the name of love and truth is good.

God knows. Think deeply, speak kindly. Be careful of using many words that don’t say much. Tune in to disordered passions, desires, pride, and spiritual laziness. Realize even wisdom can never attain the control over life we desire. Spiritual arrogance, haughtiness, legalism and demeaning actions leave others feeling damaged, hurt and frustrated. Satan wants us to be in despair when things aren’t going well.

Humility is helpful in all things—especially acknowledging your own sinful weaknesses while using wisdom to help others. We can plant seed, yet only God, the Master over everything we do can make it grow. Look at failure through the lens of Grace which has been given to support what God has given us in life.

Repentance calls us to put away selfish and bad thoughts; it brings us to fill time with prayers—specific petitions in a constructive way. When praying for others

  • Focus on thanksgiving for them
  • For faith—communion with them
  • For wisdom in discernment and reaching out

Worship our Creator and King without letting personal dreams dictate how we approach Him.

  • Do not rationalize sins.
  • Don’t try to tell God how things should be.
  • Remember bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit given in Baptism.
  • Don’t go through religious motions without taking it to heart (hypocrisy).
  • Don’t bargain with God—this is foolish talk.
  • Exercise faith—meditate and pray out loud (there’s something powerful in hearing).
  • If we don’t know what to say; pray, read and listen to God’s Word, Psalms, devotional materials, hymns, creeds and prayers written by faithful people, available in person at church, in bookstores and online by streaming radio and podcasts.
  • Flow thoughts into prayers which shape the doing and being.
  • Reflect the fact we don’t know how to do or understand that which only God knows. Many things are beyond our scope. We don’t know how to predict the future, the weather, or trees falling; exactly how the Holy Spirit works; or, how to guarantee success or avoid failure. 
  • Think about the undeserved reward in Christ’s victory

Faith keeps us mindful of who we are and Who is the Giver of all things. 

Experience teaches the difficulties of time where we are situated. God will bring judgement and we live shrouded by death. We have two choices

  1. be grumpy about it—as a curse, trying to push it away
  2. live in Baptism—in hope, we live in Christ and He lives in us

Seeing consequences for the reality of our sinful condition, even in the midst of it all, God’s grace is mightily alive. God preserves the heart of those who trust Him. Confession and absolution cleanses, fills with peace and patience. His Spirit brings contentment even in sadness—helps us hold pain and suffering tenderly and see brief moments of joy. 

He restores our soul. As we put trust in Jesus, we respond with thanksgiving and praise for

  • gifts of happiness
  • enjoyment of blessings
  • the promise of eternity with Him

Deeper into Ecclesiastes

Listen to conversations about Ecclesiastes: KFUO Radio—Christ for you. Anytime. Anywhere.

Bible studies series including Ecclesiastes: Life by His Word: Psalms and Wisdom Set

Friday, June 11, 2021

Proverbs Bible Sketches

Wisdom in Proverbs

God gives wisdom to remind me I can be absolutely sure Christ straightens my path which leads to Him

Life is like a road trip over an unknown number of days from hospital to home, church, work, shop, recreation, celebrations to funerals and many experiences in between. We go uphill, downhill, flat earth straight ways, curves, slow over speed bumps, slippery slopes, broken ice—bypass dangers of getting stuck in sand, snow, mud, roadblocks—on detours for times of repair and building up construction. Thankfully, we may give heavy baggage to the Lord and travel light!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV handlettered bible verse with sketch of cross
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3:5-6

I am not required to understand every detail of every turn on the road trip, nor is it in my power to control traffic or timing

God’s humble wisdom provides everything good and needed—direction, forgiveness, safety, healing, and assurance in His Word. No one will be lost unless they reject the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s Peace Source (GPS) points to Jesus—the way, truth and life. In my weakness, I’m perfectly strengthened to live with protection of angels commanded to guard my ways until the Last Day. The Comforter mercifully reminds me when I am empty, steers me to repentance, fuels me with forgiveness, navigates to wayside rest. My Savior washes me clean, renews by grace and restores confidence to go forward. God provides faithful friends who are praying God-speed for me. Sermons and various audio snacks feed me reminders that, in the death of Jesus, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Jesus rose to life, lives within me, gives Himself for me to taste and digest in The Lord’s Supper. Trusting Christ’s work, my final eternal destination will be with Him, eternally rescued from from sin and its torturous consequences. 

Sketch of ear and handlettering “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Proverbs 8:32-33 ESV
“And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Proverbs 8:32-33

Proverbs 8:32-33

My Creator gave me ears and an amazing sense to listen, hear His instruction, not neglect His wisdom 

Isn’t it wonderful that the God of the universe wants to communicate?! Praying out loud with others, group Bible studies, singing hymns, listening to sermons in person or video with my congregation as well as radio internet streaming and audio bible formats are designed to bless me habitually and actively encourage me to keep God’s ways. Along with other believers, I confess sin, meditate, pray—with thanksgiving—that the Holy Spirit will come upon me and give me desire to be faithful in the works that Christ has done in perfection for me.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Proverbs 15:1

I pray

Oh Lord, harshness coming from another person does make me angry and sad, especially when it is spoken from an unmerciful, ungracious, ungrateful and confused heart. Thank You for understanding me even when my communication with another falls on deaf ears, is ignored and interpretation is twisted or responded to with degradation. Keep giving me kind, soft answers and fill me with Your patience. Protect my heart when others abuse me with bitterly cold words and actions. I wait for charitable, mutual understanding during each opportunity for conversation You provide. Encourage me during difficult times when others tempt, reject, threaten, blame and shame me. Thank You that You know truth and help me grow and shine among darkness and doubt in this world. Help me love and forgive others, in Jesus Name—just as You assure me of forgiveness, good purposes and promises. Amen.

Smiley face lettering Bible verse: A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13

Proverbs 15:13a

My spirit is crushed; yet, I have hope!

Life is hard. Others express disappointment regarding their expectations of me. I can’t please them as I wanted and expected that I would. Everyone, including myself, falls short of the perfect people God designed and created us to be. I am sorry and sad when I see my own faults and inadequacies. The Bible teaches me that I’ve sinned, even in ways which I don’t even recognize in myself. I am thankful for the promise of hope in Jesus. This makes my heart glad—my face smiles, knowing Christ is near with His cheer, never will he leave me! Why should Cross and Trial Grieve me? (lyrics), (audio)

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Proverbs 16:24

I pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I want to treat others with healthy, sweet, gracious words, thoughts and deeds. Thank you for sweetness for my soul and health for my body which You provide though Your Son and by placing me among gracious brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Sketch of crown of the Triune God with handlettering: The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27 HCSB
The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27

Proverbs 17:27

I pray

Sovereign King, thank You for my brain, tact, insight, compassion and empathy for others going through challenging times. Increase patience for every process of Your plan for me. I am happy to be here sharing Good News. Amen.

Sketch of shining cross, ruler, person growing with hand lettering: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs 22:6

Trusting Jesus Christ is the way to the heavenly places He rules

I’m equipped in baptism. Mom lead prayers, devotions, read the Bible. Teachers filled me with knowledge and skills. Pastors and Christian friends encourage me in spiritual matters. By grace, I have been pulled back from straying, grown in faith to maturity; forever guided and sustained until my time in this broken world ends. Out of gratitude I seek opportunities God provides to share!

Metallic Sharpie sketch and hand lettering: Proverbs 25:12
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Proverbs 25:11

I pray

Lord, thank you for every person who communicates the authentic language of Your nourishing love. I appreciate the gifts of artistic talent You give Your dear ones to portray Your genuine mercy at the cross. Because You forknew fallen darkness in me and every person, You planned and carried out Your suffering, death and resurrection to save all who believe. Thank You for cleansing me from all sin—my own and those committed against me. Help me live in Your light to share the mercy and grace You have shown me. Amen.

Sketch of downward and upward pointing arrows with handlettering: Proverbs 29:23
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 29:23

Proverbs 29:23

Fallen human nature’s blind spot of arrogance, pride, and know-it-all attitude hides the truth that only God is omniscient, omnipotent and completely honorable.

Often, people blindly think salvation is accomplished by something good they do or by virtues they have. Such prideful attitudes as well as rude, grudge-holding behaviors and tendencies of entitlement, all lean on selfish power trips to domineer someone or manipulate a situation. Degrading ways infect and spread skepticism, sorrow, chaos, and confusion.

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye. Luke 6:41-42

Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. Proverbs 21:4

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6

Honestly, we cannot save ourselves no matter how much we think we can or how hard we try. Only Jesus saves us from our messes. He is worthy of our praise for His saving work! The Holy Spirit helps us show gratitude by leading us to use His gifts.

Sketch of open Bible, cross, handlettering: Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

Proverbs 30:5

Beautiful Truth for all people! 

God wants us to be consistently humble and gracious in all we think, say and do—with complete trust—giving all glory and honor to our Savior who died for the sin of the world. He provides faith and growth in the Word.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:30-31 

God cares! We may trust that Jesus took all sins upon Himself in His perfect holiness to save mankind from hell. Christ hears prayers of humble repentance and intercedes to rescue and shield all who believe Scripture is entirely true. Healing, peace, joy and praise belong to those who fear God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. In thanksgiving for His blessings and promises, we strive to love our neighbor as ourselves as we look forward to the endless day with Jesus in perfection beyond imagination!

More on Proverbs of the Bible

Go deeper into the gift of God’s Proverbs


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Psalms Bible Sketches

Inspired by the Psalms

Draw, listen to, read, meditate on, memorize, pray and sing the Psalms

Sketching Psalms draws me close to God who allows my body, soul, mind and spirit to absorb His Word. My desire is to

  • exercise artistic gifts God created in me
  • wisely use time He gives me to live and grow
  • receive the Holy Spirit’s work in me
  • share the Good News

Psalm 4:8

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Praise the Lord for sleep, peace, and safety.

Psalm 12:5

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” Psalm 12:5 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. Jeremiah 32:37
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” Psalm 12:5
Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. Jeremiah 32:37

We cannot trust and obey God by ourselves. Our Heavenly Father creates faith which supports faithful living. Belief in Christ saves us from hell. He sent the Holy Spirit who leads us through Scripture to learn of sin and to repent. Thank Jesus for defending His faithful—forgiving, providing safe places and protection.

Psalm 16:6

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

God provides His children an inheritance of paradise through the sacrifice and victory of His perfect Son.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

My gratitude goes to the Holy Spirit keeping me in His presence—through good and bad times—filling my life with joy and certainty of eternity with Him.

Psalm 19:1-2

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2

When I look at my unworthiness next to God’s expectations and promises in the Bible, it is obvious to me that our Creator is amazingly gracious and merciful. 

Psalm 19:12-13

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Psalm 19:12-13
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Psalm 19:12-13

I thank my Savior for knowing me better than I know myself; He forgives and protects me.

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Praise God for encouraging me to want my heart and words to be right, showing my need to repent, and forgiving when I fall short.

Psalm 26:3

For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. Psalm 26:3
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. Psalm 26:3

I praise the Lord for revealing that I can trust Him to love me unconditionally. God has called pastors and friends to not only remind me that I need Him, but also to reassure me how true and faithful His promises are.

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 29:11
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 29:11

Glory be to the Lord for blessings of strength and peace in Jesus.

Psalm 32:1

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

Perfect, innocent Jesus took my punishment for my sin so I can be forgiven. I am blessed when He says, “It is finished.”

Psalm 33:20-22

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22

While I wait, I rest at night in merciful forgiveness and wake up with newness each day. His gifts of patience, help, shielding, and gladness of an eternity to come are for all who trust Him.

Psalm 34:19

Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all; Psalm 34:19
Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all; Psalm 34:19

Praise God’s goodness! He never disappoints those who look to Him and He rescues them from danger.

Psalm 49:15

But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:15

I can’t save myself. There is a God and I am not Him. Praise Christ our Savior!

Psalm 50:15

and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15
and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15

Glory be to God who hears prayers through Christ interceding for believers.

Psalm 51:6,10,15

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. … O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:6,10,15
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. … O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:6,10,15

Jesus cleanses, renews, and gives me His power to repent and praise Him!

Psalm 56:8

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8

Praise our Creator for designing us with ability to cry and release our anxious tears of broken hearted sadness. Our loving Comforter hears prayers of those who trust Him. He cares about every single moment of our lives.

Psalm 62:1-2

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2

We can’t live perfectly—not even close to it (no one can); yet, God stands with those who are waiting for Jesus to return. He gives power and increases strength in His children (whom He purchased in Christ) who rely on Jesus in a life marked by repentance.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Thank the Lord for Christ’s strength when I am weak and fail. It is His power that gives me a contrite heart, mercifully forgives me, and guides me to forgive others.

Psalm 73:28

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28

God who cares for me in His perfection, works through me to take care of myself so I may bless others. I thank my Heavenly Father for those who helped and prayed for me. I pray He would guard and keep each of us to praise Him for eternity, yet I leave that to His providence, content to be in His care as I rest in Jesus’ name.

Psalm 90:17

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

God’s favor means approval or affection tied to the concept of grace. We thank Him that the burden of work, that comes from the first sin, is replaced with enduring service in His wisdom and name!

Psalm 94:19

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:19
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:19

Thank the Creator who will not stop loving His wounded people.

Psalm 108:4

For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 108:4

I boldly and courageously praise our worthy Savior who has forgiven past sins, remains with me presently, and promises to keep my steps steady in the future!

Psalm 118:5

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5

The Lord is on our side. We can trust in Him for enduring love and help. We take refuge—not in ourselves or in man and princes—only by grace we receive mercy through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 GW
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 GW

Jesus is the light and the way.

Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; Psalm 136:1-3
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; Psalm 136:1-3

Many thanks!

Psalm 139:9-10

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10

How precious and wonderful is my Lord who knows my heart and thoughts—He leads me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:13

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

Thanking our Creator for the gift and miracle of life.

Psalm 145:15-16

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16

I pray you will page or scroll through a Bible to read, or use the audio feature to listen to, more of the book of Psalms 150 chapters with 2,461 verses (someone counted them, according to my web search).

Jesus loves you. If you don’t go to church, I pray you will go—and by grace receive His gifts at the house of the Lord. God gives faith which assures those who are repentant that Christ’s death and resurrection saves from sin’s curse, forgives and restores. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower, comfort and give us peace as we trust our Savior’s finished work for us.

“The Psalms have a way of connecting with the daily concerns of our lives and guiding us in heartfelt prayer and worship. For these reasons, they remain the most devotional portion of Scripture and the inspiration for hymnals and prayer books. … They teach so much about the blessings and challenges of walking in the Lord’s ways.” The Lutheran Study Bible

During times of distress or uncertainty, remember Psalm 23: Christ Is Our Shepherd.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Job Bible Sketch

2020 is an example


By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.” Job 37:10 ESV Bible verse hand lettering marker sketch.
 

Life’s journey includes meeting and passing through unexpected experiences.


Expectations may happen as we plan; yet, out of the blue, we are sometimes surprised! Situations come up without warning, or they may creep in gradually—for obvious or unknown reasons—prompting us to redirect our steps and take a sharp turn.

 
Atrocious events of 2020 have been surfacing like never before. Covid pandemic, vandalism, and derechos made news headlines exposing worldly evil, injustice, calamity, lies, fears, confusion, weakness, frailty and uncertainty. Through thoughts and actions, people react or adapt to changes by
  • power trips to manipulate and control, fear or impose fear by abuse, numb with alcohol, indulge self-pity, self-isolation or mandate isolation, destruction, unfairly punish, blame-shift and inappropriate stubborn ways stemming from immaturity, pride, anger, and selfishness
  • prayer, volunteering, creativity, kindness, compassion, helping, encouraging, sorrow, confessing wrong doings/thoughts, repenting, gratitude, and receiving/offering forgiveness are ways to reflect love—not earning—celebrating mercy and salvation in Christ
Each person has a unique combination of positive and negative behaviors. Emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health conditions may be all over the place at various intensities. We may become carelessly stuck or we may grow stronger in adversity.

On Superbowl Sunday I went outside to wander. Leisurely passing time before a social gathering, I remembered Kansas friends who would be cheering for the Chiefs. Fishing is a common sport for food and fun on Minnesota lakes—from shorelines, docks or boats in summertime and through a hole drilled in thick winter ice. What a positive thrill it is to notice the bait nibbled and bit! To successfully reel in the catch requires knowledge and skill; yet, often bait is untouched and sometimes fish get away. Those of us who don’t hunt and fish still enjoy outdoor adventures all year. The day was exceptionally mild for February so I skipped snow boots and put on walking shoes instead. I began to seek nature photography when I spotted a breathtaking scene—the sun beautifully lit a little village of ice fishing houses out on Lake Waconia. Roadways were plowed through the snow to accommodate traffic on the lake. Unknowingly, I crossed a spot where a shack had been parked and accidentally stepped into a slush covered ice fishing hole. Yikes—my leg was suddenly submerged below knee and I was extremely startled!  

Generally in this world, embarrassing, difficult situations, pain and suffering are the result of our sin and the sins committed against us. We are ignorant, fail to watch where we’re going, we take the wrong path, we are confused about multiple problems that pile up, we lack will-power, we become complacent, lazy or apathetic, we react badly and make decisions that aren’t good for others and for ourselves. Sometimes the reason we suffer is obvious, other times, we have no clue why bad things happen and we must suffer. Sometimes it is easy see the reasons other people suffer, yet we are blind to what brings about our own suffering. Things don’t sync as we’d hoped they would. We make mistakes, fall, become ill and suffer. Many aspects of suffering and horrible complexities we are faced with cannot be naturally explained or controlled. Evil is not rational.
“God isn’t the cause and source of sin and death. Yet God Himself makes use of the curse of sin—suffering and death—for His good purposes. In doing so, He most often works in a  hidden way.” —Matthew Harrison in Does God Will Suffering and Affliction?

Amazingly, there are things to be thankful for during unpredictable hard times. Praise our Creator!

 
Gratitude exploded within when it dawned on me that my accident could have been much worse. Instead of venturing further out to get the perfect shot I’d envisioned, this was the turn-around point of my journey. I re-focused, changed plans, turned around and walked home in squeaky, soaked shoes with a bloody skinned shin under the fabric of my icy cold lake water drenched pant leg. I’d remembered the incidents I’d heard of where people have died from falling into open water. Thankfully, I’m safe, I didn’t drop my camera, the painful wound is cleansed, the garments washed and dried with the convenience of two appliances I often take for granted. I have a new appreciation for the person who invented a new kind of clear bandage sticker I happened to have on hand because several months earlier I’d accidentally burned my arm on the oven door. Like my bad arm burn, I was able to address the problem without a big expense. I had time to add more rest to my routine while my bad leg scrape eventually healed over a long period of time, leaving only a scar and a memory to share.
 

We need the Bible to remind us what lasts and what doesn’t. 

 
To God be glory—in church we receive the faith that assures us we can submit our difficulties, pain, fears, frustrations, scars, resentful hearts and sorrows to our merciful Jesus who totally gets it, took our sin and died to save us. Hope is found in His sacrificial work and Him presently interceding for those who humbly receive His body and blood. When do we seek Him most? It’s when we are suffering. More often than we realize, God’s angels are protecting and delivering people from evil spirits, dangers and temptations that are part of the brokenness of the world and our own sinful desires. 
 
We need God’s Word to feed and remind us that there are mysteries our Creator has not revealed. God is almighty and is in complete control. Whew—we don’t need to explain and know it all! We only need to be honest and trust our Savior in everything. He provides faith which offers the ability to admit faults, rebuild, nourish, and persevere—all that is needed to keep moving forward. 
 
The Holy Spirit fills us with awesome gifts of grace, patience and healing. Faith works within us to push us to try hard to build up others and ask for forgiveness when we cause problems or fail to do all that we could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done. Christ suffered on behalf of all sinners. Those who don’t reject this gift of faith are enabled to joyfully continue the journey with sufficient strength for one day at a time.
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. … He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. … He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?” Psalm 147:1,3,17 ESV

 

The Bible invites us to look deeply into the troubles of life through eyes that trust in the merciful hope we have in Jesus.

In the light of Christ, freedom to be truthful is enjoyed. Aspects of Christian life may be compared to figure skating choreographed to a theme. Easy? Not at first—it takes practice—it becomes easier, yet requires effort and endurance. Creative, skillful, graceful movements to a dynamic rhythm in musical harmony is observed, learned, practiced, performed, celebrated. This excellence is not self-taught, but beginning the day we are physically delivered into earthly existence until the the day we exit and pass into the next life, we depend on parents and others to teach us about Jesus, support and help us move honestly through life’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges. Christians need church in order to belong and remain devoted to God—to join in and participate within a supportive network.

“The Lord shows He is our Redeemer, despite what we may suffer in this life.” The Lutheran Study Bible on the book of Job

Not all receive the prize. Great power, justice and pardoning love belong to us only by grace.

Some are waiting for a man-made vaccine, a cure for covid-19, or a variety of things to go their way before they go about living on the terms they perceive as how things should be

Our Creator provides man with knowledge and means to come up with solutions sometimes, yet this is not always so. We don’t know if the Lord will or won’t provide a vaccine or cure before He returns. We do know He patiently directs our steps as we trust in Him. His broad plan is to bring sinners to the Light and how He accomplishes this is beyond our speculation. God’s goodness is incomprehensibly immeasurable. We either reject His gifts or we respectfully receive them, pray and go about life as the Lord wills.  

A team of judges at an Olympic figure skating competition determine who receives the gold metal. On the Last Day, God is the one and only judge for the fallen people he created. He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit; He rewards sinners who by Christ’s mercy and grace are eventually delivered into an eternal life with Him.

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Pray.

Dear God, replace our pride and fears with courage and Truth. Thank You for supplying Your perfect Son as our Savior and for faith to fully trust Your mercy. Amen.