The Perfect Summer to Study Psalm 37

“Fret not because of evildoers.”

As I’ve studied Psalm 37 with my sisters in Christ this summer, I’ve quoted the above verse often. Opportunity upon opportunity for anger and worry rolls my way, but the truth always wins out.  

This is a summer where one headline can make your heart heavy for hours. Friends of mine are facing a clear and present danger as they seek to escape from evildoers. We’re surrounded with those who are prompt to call good evil and evil good. From Olympic platforms to the offices in D.C., the wicked are spreading themselves out like luxuriant trees in their native soil.

This earthly soil is the wicked’s turf . . . for now.

Can I draw your attention to Psalm 37 for the encouragement carrying me today? There’s nothing better than a soul-watering reminder from the One in charge. God won’t leave His throne for one moment of break or flee the scene when “the wicked have drawn their sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct” (Ps. 37:14).

The wrongdoers are quite busy prospering. They’ve plotted and eagerly carry out violent schemes. Teeth gnashing, they gather in envy-worthy abundance, borrowing without paying back, spying, and certainly seeking to kill.

Their future?

Though they appear to have the strength of a Redwood, their roots are like a dandelion. They’re making themselves at home in the earth’s soil, reaching their roots in all directions, but the LORD laughs at them.

He sees the day coming when they’ll be no more. Cursed. Cut off. Broken bows. Perishing. They’ll vanish like the smoke from wildfires finally snuffed out. They’ll wither like autumn grass, fade like the herbs, shrivel like a neglected garden. The Lord loves justice and giving us visuals for it.

Not only will God one day destroy wickedness, but He is protecting the righteous with unending promises. He is One who gives the desires of our heart and honors our trust in Him. As sure as the noonday, right judgment will be seen.  Our King sustains us. He knows our days, each of them. Establishes our steps and delights in our way when we keep His. He holds our hand so we won’t be hurled headlong. He’ll never forsake His godly, but preserves and exults us a gift of inheritance. He is our saving refuge.

Psalm 37 also addresses the righteous in this war-torn world.  We are described in this way:

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of God is in his heart…”

We’re not to be busy taking up revenge, but dwelling in the ground we’ve been given. Our role is to boldly utter wisdom and speak justice amidst the chaos. This won’t be easy, but He sustains us.

Instead of fretting, we cultivate faithfulness. May we be faithful in prayer, in cleaning the kitchen, in worshiping God through the ordinary, in sharing our faith with unbelievers. The passage calls us to do good, delight in the Lord, and commit our way to Him as we keep His way. Cease from anger – vengeance is the Lord’s.

Our friends close enough to hear the gnashing of the wicked’s teeth hold these same promises. We can rest that He won’t forsake His righteous saints who are in danger, nor their children. Our descendants do not need to beg for bread. They will have nothing to be ashamed of in this time of evil. We are inheritors, holding the hand of a Kingly Helper and Helping King, who won’t allow our steps to slip.

Can we forsake wrath against those who desperately need the righteous robes we wear? Can we wait patiently as God unfolds His Sovereign plan, responding graciously to others? Can we trust and wait when we wish we were the ones prospering? Can we wait in meekness for the Lord to bestow our grace-purchased inheritance? Will we speak the words of wisdom and justice we have from hiding God’s law in our hearts? In God’s strength, yes.

As we picture the blameless man, the upright and the afflicted in the line of the enemy’s fire, may we stand boldly for them and uphold them with faithful prayer.

And let’s not forget:

The wicked seem to have the center stage. But God’s eyes are on His people, delighting in our way, and we delight in Him. One day soon we’ll look for the evildoers, and they’ll be no more. We won’t find them in all our searching.

The evildoer and the righteous couldn’t have a more perfect diamond-cut contrast in Psalm 37.

So fret not. Wait patiently and rest in the Lord, because we know that the little of the righteous is much better than the wicked’s temporal abundance. Today we carry on with God’s law in our hearts, deliverance in our futures, and strength in time of trouble.

View from Below

I enjoy heights. Even though I’m no hardcore hiker, I love a good vantage point. I first learned this when I helped my dad tear off old shingles on our three-story house.

There is something indescribable about an elevated view which lets you collect a tiny swath of a larger perspective.

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7 Book Reviews // Plot Twist Tuesday

We’re a quarter of the way through 2020?! Are you revisiting your new year’s resolution to “read more this year” with all the extra time we’ve been given? Same here.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” (Mason Cooley)

Speaking of having to stay where we are, this weekend I color-coded my bookshelf and reminisced about the days when my décor signs “Gather” and “Let’s Have a Grand Adventure” were applicable.

Anyway, if you’re scouting for some new reading material, you’re welcome to browse my 7 book reviews of 2020 thus far (and also 7 blog posts I enjoyed). They aren’t hot-off-the-press titles, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts because I think book or article discussions are almost as exhilarating as springtime.

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2020: All That Concerns Me

Looking Back

Of course, it wasn’t always picture perfect. But once again it’s a January where I can say with confidence, “Yep, God was faithful.”

When I think of our 2019, I think of intense indoor soccer games, dating through the winter months, engagement in the spring, and weddings galore in the summer. In the fall we set up our apartment, while enjoying getaways to the mountains, and then Christmas brought sweet time with our families.

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

(Psalm 138:8)

The ESV says it, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” Through life or death, sorrow or triumph, God’s purposes will be accomplished this year. As I think of our plans and prayers for 2020, I’m glad the the best is still yet to come in eternity.

Looking Forward

Our personal long-term plans unfold a month at a time, so we just take the next right step. Luke’s faithfully completing his masters of divinity with Hebrew and missiology classes; I’m working at an office whose mission is to reach geographically isolated people with the gospel. We’re blessed.

When friends of mine ask me my goals for the year, I usually begin with, “Ummmm….good question.”

I have a lot of informal resolutions, intentions for organization and new habits, but my goals generally fall into three categories.

One Thing Necessary (Time with God)

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

The core of new year’s resolutions for me is always more Scripture and prayer and a re-look at my other spiritual disciplines (I desperately need these “habits of grace.”) The tension is always between my desire to be more deeply in the Word but wanting to savor every last moment of sleep in the mornings.

My question — how do I arise from sweet dreams, pull meat from the freezer, say goodbye to my husband, make coffee and a healthy breakfast, make the bed, meet with Jesus — all before 7:45 AM?

A few tips for the battle:

1) The Dwell app. This has been a way to track and listen to Scripture while getting ready in the mornings.

2) Accountability. Our church small group is studying I Thessalonians together, and this is an encouragement and motivation to get deeper.

3) Prioritization. Let’s re-remember that seeking the Lord is better than anything. Luke 10 tells the story of Martha (busy about her work) and Mary (sitting at Jesus feet). Our Lord commended Mary for choosing the better part … one thing is necessary. Sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Health

GREENS! Not pictured: the desserts we also consumed

Another core category is more exercise and more kale! (We’re doing good so far. See pic on left; a couple of those dishes are made by my sister).

As for educational health, I set a goal to read at least 20 books in 2020. As we were sitting in a cozy, well-lit living room for small group last week, I had a bright idea (pun intended). Perhaps Luke and I would choose to read more if we had more soft light in our house? So, Luke and I spent our free time one evening shopping for a floor lamp, and after three stores we found our prize. It’s already working.

Writing

Fun fact: this is the church building author L. M. Montgomery attended

I probably shouldn’t announce my creativity plans, because they are never set in stone, but here we are. I hope to post here about twice a month, and I also have a couple other writing projects in the works. I’ve joined a writing community called Hope*Writers and it has been an encouraging experience.

Coming soon: One of my desires is to write a series on something that I’m passionate about — loving Christ’s bride, the church.

Grace is too expensive to waste it on NOT loving the Body of Christ well. In 2020 Luke and I have committed to tangible church goals (like arriving to Sunday service EARLY…not late) and heart-level church goals (like diligently giving and like supporting a brother in Christ whose January baptism is a steep cost beyond just plunging into chilly waters).

Mobilizing others to pursue Christ and worship with a church body is near and dear to our hearts, and I’m excited to write about this from my little vantage point.

Can you see how your goals this year piece together to bring glory to God? It’s the reason we’re here. Whether it’s making a salad or wrestling in prayer in the mornings, we must bring Him praise. Maybe it’s writing a paper or reading a good book. Trying to plug into a church or planning a getaway to the mountains. The heart of it is — how can we sit at Jesus’ feet and worship Him in all that we do?

Thanks for following my site and HAPPY 2020!

Beautiful, Dangerous Remoteness

My husband and I got lost on our way to my grandparents’ cabin a few weeks ago. The adventure resulted in a lesson in communication, new tires for my car, and a return trip to the cabin the following weekend (bummer, right?). It also dawned in me a new appreciation for mission aviation…because we were alone and remote.

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