What Is SOUL CARE?

What Is SOUL CARE?

Transformation of the soul is what we’re all after
o    God intends it for ALL of us
o    involves the whole person
o    Involves self denial (Matt 16)
o    Must have a desire to change and be open to it
o    Need plenty of courage
o    Need a community to surround you

OBVIOUSLY
We must get to know God
“What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about you.” Tozier

What is Christian Spirituality ?

1.    Set of beliefs: doctrine/creed
2.    Leads to set of values (emotion)
3.    Leads to way of life (behavior)
A Christian life is the ultimate result

We must have “Apprehension”
o    To deepen our relationship with God, we must deepen our knowledge of God and His attributes.
o    Relational intimacy presupposes intimate knowledge.
o    Spiritual victory over sin is always related to our knowledge of GOD

“Appreciation”
o    The degree that we understand God will determine how we appreciate God. We must have LOVE and AWE
o    (Eph 1:3-14)
o    (Heb 12:28-29)
o    (1 Pet 1:17)

Then “Approaching GOD”
(We must do this and it’s up to us)
o    We have a promise of a personal relationship
o    We have a promise of the savior
o    There are different paths (Spiritual disciplines)
o    We must abide (John 15= crux)

o    Therefore w/o knowledge of self, there is now awareness of Go

THEREFORE WE NEED TO CARE FOR OUR SOULS AND ENCOUNTER OURSELVES:

What is the purpose of Soul Care? (Gal 4:19)
o    process of being conformed to the image by the HS for the sake of others. Heaven is not the goal but the destination. Christ formed in you is the goal (Gal 4:19)

What is our part?
o    Our cooperation through the spiritual disciplines
o    Phil 1:6 (will complete work in us)
o    Phil 2:12 (we must be active)
o    1 Tim 4:7-8 train self (gumnazo = gym): Train like Jesus..don’t try, train.

What is the goal of soul care?
•    First, understand what the soul is:
What is the meaning of “soul?” (nepesh)
o    Assertion of “wholeness” or totality of being human
o    Nephesh is a metaphor for the neck which connects the head (intelligence); it holds us together. Without soul we are a jumble of disconnected parts
o    Genesis 2: if God’s breath was gone, human beings are gone (P.

•    We must form Christ in us; not to just “feel better”

Jesus says:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me.
Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life
I’ll show you how to take a real rest
Walk with Me and work with me-watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

2 core elements
♣    encountering self
♣    encountering God

Understand Self
♣identity formation

“Be self aware not self absorbed”
Being vs. Doiing:

Key to start being “spiritual”: Now view your identity from a biblical sense

Our most life changing choice is to begin to live out of the reality of our new ID in Christ (remember our goal is to be conformed into the image of Christ)
Here are the order of events: 
We are:
Formed
Deformed
Reformed
Transformed
Conformed

♣understand personality/ temperment

♣One cannot be fruitful if he/she neglects the source.

Role of scripture KEY
Self examination KEY

But need:

Spiritual Friendships
Centering prayer
Solitude
Simplicity

Make sure you are staying balanced in these four areas. I need to stay reminded of this   constantly! God Bless You

Thoughts on Friendship

What can explain this growth of BLOGGING? Perhaps people are hungry for intimacy and connection. What has happened to real friendship?

Here are some of my thoughts:

 

  1. CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein used to seek each other out to debate. They had an incredible friendship and were not afraid of disagreement. In fact, they spent countless hours discussing things and become closer as friends. What happened to this?

 

  1. The idea of friendship is exemplified in David and Jonathan, yet they were NOT gay. Men need friends. Do they have them without being labeled homosexual?

 

  1. Women cannot be friends if they disagree. It seems to tear them apart. They take it personally. What happened to working things out? What about the Proverbs version of a friend. “A friend loves at all times.” (Prov 17:17)
    1. We don’t take the time to nurture a friendship and especially after a disagreement. Now it is too easy to walk away because the time was not built on the onset. Back in time, people spent time together. They had to work it out because they had nowhere else to go. Sitting around the table, discussing, disagreeing, debating, sharing..this was all part of daily life. Now, we have email to help us run from confrontation. We have voicemail and cell phones to screen calls and avoid talking to the person. We have little need to have a conversation because we have so many electronic devices to keep our mind occupied. We also have no direct contact with people in places of business also. Hence, how can one ever LEARN to healthily debate, let alone have a CONVERSATION?
  2. Also, people need people. We don’t really do much conversing now, and so therefore look at the mental health of the society. It is filled with anger problems, depression, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders… I think all this stems from a lack of intimacy with people: Friendships.

 

  1. If people get too close who are the same sex, they become fearful. What does it mean to have a TRUE FRIEND? Is there confrontation, accountability, challenge, and disagreements involved? This needs to occur and be worked out. It is what truly brings people closer.
    1. Joseph McCarthy attacked people because if they did not agree with all of AMERICAN ways, they were therefore a “Communist.” Edward R. Murrow suggested that discord and disagreement does not mean DISOWNERSHIP. This healthy debate led to the freedoms we have today. Why don’t we treat friendship the same way?
    2. In terms of same sex: Friendship has to occur before any kind of intimacy can. How can two people create a bond if they don’t allow challenge? Conflict resolution is vital to a friendship, or it is not such.

 

  1. Our society has an overabundance of electronic stimulation: Everywhere we go we are bombarded by screens or noise. If there is silence, there is a discomfort. Kids say, “I am bored,” because they have nothing to entertain them. What happened to good ol’ fashion conversation? Or perhaps reading a book? An intimate friendship or stimulating discussion soothes the soul and sates the fear of isolation. People don’t even know they are hurting anymore. Unfortunately, what I am witnessing is children growing up relating to screens and video people. They have no “give and take” exchanges. Communication needs to be developed. It does not come naturally. It is a TWO-WAY street: Listening and responding properly.

 

  1. Studies have been done and have shown that people get more out of reading a book than working on “worksheets.” What does this say about interaction with stories and lives? This says that people are yearning for connection/relationship.

 

  1. “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion” People are yearning to be in relationship. Why should they follow the pack and be “obedient” if they have no motive to do so. A sense of morality is missing because LOVE is not exemplified in our daily lives. As an educator, I strive to relate to each student and exhibit LOVE, be it tough or graceful. IF this is not my philosophy, nothing else I do will be heard or learned and what good is it?

 

  1. Thomas Friedman wrote in THE WORLD IS FLAT: “People are wired to want to connect with other people and they find it objectionable not to be able to do so. That is what Netscape unlocked.” (p. 63) Flattening is occurring because of there is a hunger for RELATIONSHIPS and DEEP NEEDS FOR CONNECTION.

 

  1. Teachers may be the only ones left who can provide a role model for learning to communicate and develop friendships. I strive to interact with each student as a human being. This means LISTENING to them and responding. Cooperative Learning in the classroom also teaches them these skills. Conflicts arise, but they must deal with them because they are to work with the same team throughout the quarter.

 

 

Thoughts on Happiness

Thoughts on Happiness

 

Have you ever struggled with how to be happy? Who hasn’t? It’s one of the deepest pursuits of life. I seem to find I obtain happiness through constantly striving to be and do more. When I consider this struggle, I think I am misguided. I feel like the “struggle” should be more about the feelings I attain through my day which occur through my tasks and interactions. I have often believed that I have to have a purpose to be happy. We all do. However, living a purposeful life and making meaning out of each hour of the day requires constructive (as opposed to destructive thoughts) which leads to our happiness on this earth. Since thoughts originate from feelings, it is imperative to look at what we do with the feelings which come and go through the day. If we have the contentment, joy, and happiness (which I feel to be synonymous), we will live more giving lives which what Jesus asks us to do in Matthew 28: 19 and that is to make disciples and build His kingdom. Isn’t being happy, then, a principled obligation to our fellow man?

 

So with this said, I would like to look at some lessons I have learned about the whole “Happiness” concept.  It is important to differentiate between what is happiness and what is pleasure. Happiness is like love. It cannot be defined in a dictionary. Pleasure can be, however. Pleasure is short term, spikes of excitement which can come and go throughout the day. Many people seek pleasure only to find that it is futile and short-lived. In fact, many become addicted to the “feeling.” If we are guided by our “feelings” then  we are in for major disappointment since feelings change as fast as the moment of the day. It has been said there are 20,000 moments in the day, ergo, it would be quite tiresome to let our feelings rule our moments. So perhaps happiness has to come from a habit of mind, and not a habit of feeling. This is to say, the use of our minds and intelligences is essential to achieving happiness.

 

Does it sound strange to say,” I am in pursuit of happiness?” Did God ever say that we are to be happy and that we are put on this earth to be happy?” I would surmise that that it is not our ‘purpose’ per se, but it is an obligation to be happy because this is what occurs when our focus is on God and His glorious gifts he gave to us undeserving souls. He did not have to pursue us to create a relationship with us, but The WORD exemplifies a tremendous love story between God and His human creation. He chose to save us and build in an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him through the sacrifice of His son (He paid the sin price for all of us). That seems the first step to finding happiness: GRATITUDE. In that way, I do think God would like us to be happy. It is difficult to be unhappy if we are full of gratitude for our existence, no matter what our circumstances. I mean, we as humans, are forgiven! We are being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that one may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks. (Col 1:11)

 

Joy is discussed often in the Bible. Joy and contentment are great synonyms for happiness. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24). How is this possible when human nature is to always be satisfied? Human nature is working constantly against us and this is  the greatest obstacle to finding happiness. This is  probably one of the primary reasons we need to have a relationship with God. He gives us the ABILITY and POWER (through the Holy Spirit) to battle our human nature. (“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” ) -John 3:5-7. It is not possible “by” ourselves to be happy although it has to come to us not from outside forces, but from the power of God “within” us. “But now I (Jesus) come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they (Us) may have My (Jesus) joy made full in themselves. (John 17:13).

This verse corroborates the point of not being able to seek it from another person or “event.” It must be sought from OUR work, not someone else’s work upon us.

So how can this be? Circumstances constantly change and life is hard. What happens to us when we fall victim to our feelings? If our feelings become thoughts, then we must have discipline to overcome the natural tendency to become deeply troubled. “And bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) This means it is a discipline or HABIT of the mind to extinguish a negative thought (which erupts from a negative feeling). It is not our hearts for which we can trust because our feelings are misleading. If we don’t do this, our thoughts potential become bad decision and sinful behavior. This IS part of the plan of God which again makes it a biblical concept, that we may not sin. In that case, happiness, being part of our disciplined mind’s activity, must be sought in order avoid sinful activities. The genesis of this has to come from an attitude which must be adopted.

This is why I argue for gratitude. Imagine, if we walk around with an attitude of gratitude? We avoid these pitfalls which inevitably steal and rip apart our joy and happiness.

The first one is the comparison game. Most of the comparisons we make are based on false assumptions of others. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “If only I looked like that” of “She has the perfect life” or “They have no problems.” The list is endless. It is totally in our imaginations because virtually all people put on some sort of mask when they are around others. If all people do this, then it is inevitable that others will make assumptions based on those masks. This is why it is so key to have intimate relationships with others. First, it enables you to talk out your misguided thought which then can become quenched once you realize we all have similar issues. Also, it allows us to become more real which in turn makes people want to be around us. No one likes to be around someone who is perfect and has no faults. It’s not reality!

 

The second one is IMAGES. Yes, comparing others is a form of image worship, but when we have it in our minds as to the expectation of what the “perfect” marriage is..or the “perfect” body..or the “Perfect” career”, we set ourselves up for failure. The only perfect person is Jesus. It is important to understand that hope is different than holding an idyllic image in our head. This is why being a follower of Christ, we know that this world brokenness and trouble does exist, but it won’t be “perfected” until we are glorified in Heaven and Jesus reigns supreme.

 

The third one is a “What is missing?” problem. Is it not so easy to focus on what is not there than to see what is? This is sabotages our happiness because there will ALWAYS be something missing. The “Most Important Thing” in our hearts changes like our feelings…constantly! Think about it. When you woke up this morning, you had your mind on the LATEST issue in your life. Two weeks later, you probably can’t even remember what that was but at the time it was MIT! With a grateful heart, we can deal with our issues but keeping a healthy perspective which says that it’s not as important as we may give it credit. Have you ever thought how much energy and time it takes for things to go RIGHT? Why don’t we celebrate those days. “Gosh, my body has not aches today!” or “My mom is alive and doing sell.” We maybe should look at what is “good” in our lives for a change instead of constantly seeking out what is not.

 

Finally, the opposite of gratitude is expectation. If we hold expectations or feel entitled constantly, it’s pretty impossible to be grateful. When we start to expect perfection from people, or when we feel certain things are “owed” to us, we basically lose control. That’s it and authority is handed over to others to make us happy. That means we are waiting on others (And GOD) to give us love, gifts…whatever.

 

Life is hard. It takes work. It takes discipline. But pursuing a habit of mind when feelings come along  (which breed misery), we can actually control those feelings to be extinguished and focus back on the reality. This reality has to be an attitude of gratitude. This is not easy as life throws us punches which seem unfair. However, with  a deep, personal, intimate relationship with God, (which has to stem from gratitude since (“He loved us so much that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall NOT perish but have eternal life”-John 3:16), we can actually take our feelings to God, ask for help in turning these feelings into constructive thoughts which lead to a closer relationship with Him. This does not mean a “Pollyanna” existence. It does mean acknowledging the feeling through the dilemma or issue, working through it with intimate friendships and with God, and creating a Habit Of Mind to remain content and happy through the storm.

 

Can you pass the SOUL EXAM?

Everyone loves to pass tests. But what’s the secret?

 

My life verse is Roman 8:28: “In all things, God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

This verse is thrown around like a loose scarf and many seem to forget the last half.

My dear friend, Pastor Bobby Brewer, spoke on this topic on Sunday, July 29th , and I thought I would reflect on some of his comments.

 

Have you ever been tested? I mean really tested to where you really thought this was a big joke and maybe there was a hidden camera to see if you were going to fall on your face? I go through them daily. Now, it’s important to realize that temptations are not from God, but are enticements used by Satan to disobey God. Temptations come daily, too, but those are put in our way to get us off track.

Tests, on the other hand, are circumstances that God allows into our lives to see if we are capable of moving from one level of spirituality to the next….or to reveal our maturity! They also are designed to show our true character.

Hmmm…if that is true, I can think of daily interactions which put me to the test.

 

Have you ever been in a casual conversation and all of a sudden the person to whom you are speaking starts to gossip or say something which is hurtful about something or someone? What do I do? Well, that is the “test.”

What about when I get a bill in the mail which I did not expect? Do I curse the situation and freak out? Do I call and yell at the company? How do I handle to conflict?

What about if at work, I do not get any credit for all the hard work I do and my partner, who did not do much, gets all the accolades? Or I get blamed for something which is not my fault? Do I seek revenge? Or do I understand that God is in control and this could be a test of my character.

 

This is where the rubber meets the road.

 

The verse which I live by, has some definite “fine print.” Does that part ever get discussed? Yes, all things do work out and are for His good (and ultimately for mine), HOWEVER, not if I don’t LOVE God. Well, heck, one can say, I love God! But, are you obeying Him!? John 14: 15 says if you love God, you’ll KEEP His commandments. I know one of his commandments is to love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s not to loving to gossip or to talk negatively to or about someone. I’m not LOVING God then, am I?

I need to treat people the way Jesus would (Mat 25:40)

 

So, in order to pass the test which come our way and truly trust in this verse, there are four keys, which Bobby so eloquently discussed.

The way I see it is that the moment I open my eyes in the  morning, I am under this exam. So let’s say I get to school and a student is rude to me. First, I need to see it from God’s perspective. How would He handle this and how can I glorify Him through this test and with other kids who don’t act becomingly.

 

  1. I need to acknowledge that God has interest in me and how I can use this for His glory. The day He’s laid out for me is for my best interest and how I react to rough situations is the test!
  2. Next, when I can’t trust His head, I need to trust His heart. I am reminded of Paul returning to Jerusalem in Acts 20: 22. He had no idea what he was about to enter, but He knew God had His back. Do I trust this when I enter the mission field every day in this neighborhood? Do I throw caution to the wind and trust His best? I might not “get it” at the moment, but God does. Trust… in the test…..

 

  1. Asking for help is hard when we’ve been programmed to be so “STRONG!.” I remember how Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, not to bug him, but to rely on GOD!! Maybe these tests are put in our way so we’ll throw up our hands and say, “HELP!” John 14: 6 tells us that HE sent us ANOTHER counselor! I don’t need me to counsel me, or the “phone call,” but the THRONE! THE HOLY SPIRIT! The PARAKLEET.

 

  1. Finally, I cannot quit. Perseverance leads to character development. “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-56). It ain’t easy! But it’s simple with Him with me. Shoot, it’s hard in the mine field daily! It’s hard to trust that all these tests are for His glory and for my spiritual maturity, but it’s true…like it or lump it!

 

What a glorious gift, these tribulations. Is that your attitude? All things do work together. That word is “WORK,” not hang around and play. Work means the work of my salvation is being pursued daily, by Him. If I have this heart and mind attitude, I can take anything. “Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ…NOTHING. “ (Romans 8: 35)

 

 

Thoughts on Psalm 1

                                    PSALM 1

 

  1. 1.     Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

  1. 2.     But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

 and on his law he meditates day and night.

  1. 3.     He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

           

  1. 4.     Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

  1. 5.     Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteousness.

 

  1. 6.     For the Lord watches over the way of the righteousness,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

 

I.               Introduction

 

Psalm I is an introduction to the rest of the Psalms. It has a general and basic subject matter as two subjects are touched upon. “Certainly it stands here as a faithful doorkeeper, confronting those who would be in the congregation of the righteous.”[1] The righteous shall receive blessings while the wicked shall receive misery.

It is a wisdom psalm and reminds the reader of the Book of Proverbs. Historically, the psalm was probably not for formal usage. It is more of a reflective type of poem. “It must be viewed as a literary and poetic composition, expressing with remarkable clarity the polarity of persons and their destinies.”[2] It may have been combined with Psalm 2 at one time and the overall impression is that it represents a latter stage of Old Testament religion. In this regard, it must have been written after the exile.

The structure of the Psalm is of two parts. Part one, which is verses 1-3, discusses the enticement of the godly life, while verses 4-6 depict the worthlessness and ultimate despair of a godless person and his choices.

 

II.             Exegesis

 

Verse 1 Analysis

“Blessed is the man..”

First, as one looks at the word “blessed”, it is noted that it is plural in Hebrew and literally means “Oh, the blessedness.” The Hebrew word for blessing is a^shr. One can paraphrase to mean, “Oh how happy is the one..” The description of the happy man is not addressed to only males. “Woman and children are included because, in the Israelite views, part of man’s true happiness is his family-a good wife and many children-and so his blessings are shared by the whole family.”[3]

This has been known to be beatitude because it promises blessings to those who live with faith and a relationship with God. The man who is blessed must avoid certain things. The description of the happy man in verse 1 includes 3 phrases and progress to an acme: 1. Three degrees of conduct (walk, stand, sit), 2. Three degrees of involvement (counsel, path, seat), and 3. Three degrees of evilness (wicked, sinners, scoffers). “On the other hand, the three clauses form a synonymous parallelism, and therefore the corresponding terms merely repeat the same thought in different words without any intentional grading of the godless and their actions.”[4]

“who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked”

“Counsel” in Hebrew  is u@s>h which means, “purpose or way of thinking.” The mental attitude that one has determines decisions that one makes. “Wicked” in Hebrew is r`sh`u which means to be loose or unstable. One who is wicked is controlled by his own desires and emotions rather than by those of God’s Word. The psalter describes the wicked here as the foes of God and the enemies of his people.

“nor stand in the path of sinners”

 

“Stand” in Hebrew means to stop and be firm. It refers to the development of habits and patterns. Being in the path makes one think that one is on a journey or direction to somewhere. “Sinners” miss the mark and deviate from what is true. Standing with sinners means that one shares their way of life. We are all sinners. However, the psalter is referring to deliberate sinners who have chosen this particular way of life.

            “nor sit in the seat of mockers.”

“To sit in the seat of the scoffers amounts to making light of God’s law which ought to be one’s delight; it also means identifying oneself with the thinking and planning of the godless.”[5] Sitting among these folk provides negative association and the person in turn becomes like his associates. “Scoffers” are mockers and ridiculers. They put down the things of God and his word. Scoffers are the most scandalous of sinners thus the farthest from repentance. The happiness of a man is not automatic, however. It is a direct consequence of his activities. “The righteous person avoids all the dimensions of the way of the wicked; therein lies the source of blessedness or happiness.”[6] This section leads to what the righteous shall do which is covered in verse 2.

Verse 1 Summary

In order to experience blessedness, one must avoid the wickeds’ advice,

sinners’ habits, and association with mockers.

Verse 2 Analysis

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord…”

The 3 negatives of verse 1 clear the way for what is valuable. The emphasis is on the “law of the Lord.” The study of God’s Word is to be the key purpose of one’s life in which one receives delight and gives thoughtful attention. “In the law of the Lord,” referring to the Torah, means instruction of which God gives mankind as a life guide. This law stands directly opposed to the ‘counsel of the wicked’ which implies that whatever one studies or thinks about, will frame his life. “This ‘law’, far from being a burden or an unbearable yoke, is the ‘delight’ of the godly man. Perhaps we should render ‘his delight..’ as ‘his concern ( or ‘preoccupation’) is with the law of the Lord’; this might give a slight better parallel to the following line.”[7]

“and on his law he meditates day and night.”

This leads to why the author talks of meditating day and night. “Meditates” literally means “to moan, speak, plan..” In this sense it could mean to study and apply to one’s life. “So this ‘meditation’ not merely an intellectual exercise but, above all, it is a study of the will of God for the purpose of doing it.”[8] Day and night is an idiom which means constantly and regularly. To be blessed and righteous, one must constantly study the Torah.

Verse 2 Summary

The blessed man delights himself in constant regular meditation of God’s Word.

Verse 3 Analysis

“He is like a tree..”

A tree is a simile for man. A tree may fade or die depending on it’s locale and it’s irrigation. As one pictures a watered, healthy tree, one sees 3 things: 1. A tree has deep roots and is sturdy (stability), 2. Substantial growth takes time, and 3. A tree bears fruit and shade.

“planted by streams of water..”

“Planted” actually means “transplanted” which means taking plants out of their environment and planting in another aiding growth, production, and stability. “This may imply that the happiness of the godly man is entirely due to God’s action”[9] The righteous man will be transformed from a barren condition to producing fruit from a rich root. Another theological point must be made about the tree and the stream of water. A person will be like this tree if he is constantly in the word (verse 2). The Word of God is constantly flowing and is never ending. We, too, will endure if we get watered by this stream daily and continually. “The state of blessedness or happiness is not a reward; rather, it is the result of a particular type of life. Just as a tree with a constant water supply naturally flourishes, so too the person who avoids evil and delights in Torah naturally prospers.”[10] It is the believer’s responsibility to respond to God’s provision (Torah) and plant himself regularly in the seat where he can receive water (life).

which yields its fruit in season…”

First root, then the fruit. The fruit is the blessings. The order here is important because if one roots himself in the Word (like the watered tree), he will bear fruit. “The phrase its fruit in its season emphasizes both the distinctiveness and the quiet growth of the product.”[11] The fruit is proof of the root where one is dwelling in truth and not error. “In season” means at the proper time or when opportunity knocks and without fail.

and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. ”

A picture of vitality is seen from this verse. A plant by water endures.  “The point of the metaphor is to stress the fruitfulness and vitality of life of the godly man, as well as its stability, rather than to provide a symbol of immortality.”[12]. The idea of the prosperity of man is somewhat of a summary statement for the first half of the psalm.  The life of the righteous man will in effect produce prosperity. Not in the financial sense, but rather in the spiritual sense (i.e. godly character.) The man of blessedness prospers first because he first seeks to operate in God’s will (for his will is for man to prosper.)

Verse 3 Summary

The blessed man is like a watered tree. He will bear much fruit since he is constantly in the Word hence prosperity follows.

Verse 4 Analysis

“Not so the wicked!..”

A continuation of verse 3 is seen here. The wicked shall not prosper like the blessed righteous. This word “wicked” is repeated 4 times in this psalm hence the psalter must be trying to describe the unrighteous with this key word. One may assume that not only are the wicked apart from God but are guilty of restless activity. They are out of touch with God. It is a contrast to verse 2. To illustrate,

the righteous, 1. Cling to God and 2. Love his word. Therefore he is stable and prospers. The wicked, on the other hand, 1. Forsakes God, and 2. Ignores the Word. Therefore he is judged.

They are like chaff..”

The wicked are summarized briefly in the simile with chaff. Chaff is “fine, dry material, such as husks and other debris, that is separated from the seed in the process of threshing grain. In the Bible, chaff symbolizes worthless, evil, or wicked persons that are about to be destroyed.”[13] Chaff describes both man and his destiny. “They are thought of as having become worthless in themselves, and their life as empty and without permanence, as long as they continue their present way of life.”[14]

“that the wind blows away.”

Chaff will blow away just as the worthless man. He is rendered useless. The focus then moves to a future judgement.

Verse 4 Summary

The ungodly man shall not prosper, as he will be rendered useless and worthless.

Verse 5 Analysis

“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,”

This verse looks ahead to this future judgement. It elaborates on the wicked and therefore provides some answers. ‘The two lines of verse 5, in synonymous parallelism, reflect essentially the same thought, namely that the wicked hold no weight or influence in the important areas of human society.”[15] Judgement may be both the continual divine judgement and the end time judgement. The wicked hold no part in the resurrection because only the righteous will endure and remaining standing.

 

 

“nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.”

This is the parallel linked to the understanding of first part of verse 5. They both carry the same message.  The assembly is the worshipping community and later the new Messianic world.

Verse 5 Summary

As a result of God’s judgement, the unrighteous will be excluded from God’s eternal blessings which will be enjoyed by those who stand in relation to God.

Verse 6 Analysis

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,”

The word “watches” connotes the word “knows” which means more than informed. It’s in the protective sense-God’s care and love for man. It is the security of believers. The issue here is the basis of God’s judgement. The first half of this verse about the Lord watching over the Godly is antithetically parallel to the second half of the verse dealing with the way of the wicked perishing. “Way” makes one picture a path which is known by the Lord.

but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The way of the wicked is the “other path” which is fleshly and of man. “Perish” is used here as a road which comes to ruin. It is the road for the lost filled with hopelessness. “The doom of the wicked, as it is expressed in this psalm, is not primarily a punishment, any more than the happiness of the righteous is a reward. Each is presented as the natural outcome of a way of life which has been chosen.”[16]

Verse 6 Summary

The way of the wicked perishes but the Lord protects the righteous.

 

III.            Exegetical Outline

Exegetical Idea

 

Psalm 1 is about 2 ways of life- the righteous and the wicked. The key is the importance of God’s Word to life and the fruitfulness of the righteousness who delight in his Word. The way of the righteous produce everlasting life as opposed to the ways of the wicked which produce eternal doom.

Exegetical Outline

  1. The Godly man and his way of living (1:1-3)
    1. Negative things to avoid (1:1)

In order to experience blessedness, one must avoid wicked’s advice, sinners habits, and association with mockers

 

  1. Positive behavior- guide to blessedness (1:2)

The blessed man delights himself in constant, regular meditation of God’s Word

 

  1. Creation and motivation-consequences of blessings (1:3)

The blessed man is like watered tree. He will bear much fruit since he is constantly in the Word and will live a prosperous life as God wills.

 

  1. The Character and Destiny of the Wicked (1:4-6)

 

  1. What the wicked are like-instability (1:4)

 

The ungodly man shall not prosper as he will be rendered useless and worthless

  1. What the wicked cannot do-inability (1:5)

 

As a result of God’s judgement, the unrighteous will be excluded from God’s eternal blessings which will be enjoyed by those who stand with God.

  1. What the wicked will encounter- perishability (1:6)

 

The way of the wicked perishes but the Lord protects the righteous.

 

IV            .Homiletical Outline

Two Ways of Living-It’s A Choice

 

  1. First  choice- Live life in a godly way (1:1-3)

 

  1. Three things to avoid from the ungodly
    1. advice
    2. fellowship
    3. habits

 

  1. What is the key to a godly life as well as finding the meaning of life?
    1. finding enjoyment in God’s Word through

a. regular bible study

b. constant focus on God’s Laws and provisions

 

C.    The inevitable results of these positive behaviors
  1. fruitfulness
  2. endurance
  3. prosperity

 

  1. The Only Other Choice-The way of the wicked (1:4-6)

 

  1. What the unrighteous are like
    1. forsake God
    2. negative to God’s Word
    3. separate from the righteous
    4. worthless and useless

 

  1. What will happen to the wicked
    1. excluded from God’s eternal blessings (cast out)
    2. separated from the righteous in eternity

 

  1. God’s shield for the Godly and the lurking doom for the unrighteous
    1. The Lord will protect those who choose the first choice
    2. The damnation of the unrighteous is inevitable based on their choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Anderson, A.A. The New Century Bible Commentary. Psalms 1-72, Marshall,

Morgan, and Scott, 1972.

Craigie, Peter. Word Biblical Commentary, Psalms 1-50, 1983.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72; An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Press,

1973.

Youngblood, Ronald F. Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, 1995



[1] Kidner, p, 47

[2] Craigie, p. 58

[3] Anderson, p. 58

[4] Anderson, p. 59

 

[5] Anderson, p. 59

[6] Craigie, p. 60

[7] Anderson, p. 60

[8] Ibid, p. 60

[9] Anderson, p. 60

[10] Craigie, p. 61

[11] Kidner, p. 48

[12] Anderson, p. 61

 

[13] Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, p. 254

[14] Anderson, p. 61

[15] Craigie, p. 61

 

[16] Craigie, p. 61

You can do it

As I neared the finish line, I wondered: Why is it so easy to gain speed near the end, yet my legs feel like steel mallets in the midst of the race?
I ran a 5K on Saturday with my buddy, Maria. She’s a precious 4th grader who I was paired with for Girls on the Run. This is a race sponsored by New Balance to encourage young girls to get moving.

 

It made me realize that in the middle of the journey, it gets hard. Life is a race, but much slower than a 5K, and at times, I can question why is it so hard? Yet, I fully understand that I must continue to run, even though my legs feel like steel mallets. Slowing down, or speeding up..it is not the problem. The problem is stopping and staying put.

 

I thank God every day for the ability to run, and the where-with-all to continue even when I can’t. He can.

Discovering Me

I haven’t been good to myself. Especially my body. I have reaped the consequences of too much on not enough. Becoming whole means not only taking care of the heart, but his temple as well.  What amazes me is how I got through all the schooling and work on only 1/2 brain power? I don’t think I fully realized I wasn’t feeding my brain.  The concept of eating right and taking care of the temple has been a misguided concept.  I am finally realizing that the body is the vehicle needed to do God’s work. Without this, I am ineffective.

 

I started a new workout regimen, and I think it’s pretty balanced. It feels good to not be a slave to the gym anymore. I want to find that “balance” in working out and staying fit. Doing a full body workout three times a week is much better than six! This way I can get outside and do more fun things.
I need to perfect my golf game! This is my next goal.