Friday, July 4, 2014

He Surprises and Reveals in His Living Word

God repeatedly lifts up in unexpected ways, when I least expect and when He knows the need.  Most Psalms are not this lengthy, but it is a holy and perfect message especially after confirmation that my senses have been correct.  There are those out there who seem obsessive and intent in discrediting my soul's unfolding and spiritual essence, and in my delight in His Real Presence.

While weeding and watering yesterday, the thought came to mind to expand my sharing with those who might be put off by the descriptor,"Catholic" hermit.  It was suggested that I duplicate posts as labeled "Christian" hermit, and in that remove some words that are alien to non-Catholics.  

So I have cast the net, and it will at minimum be interesting to discover which, over time, is more helpful to others, if either at all.  Regardless, it is expanding my own view and is a reminder to be a follower of Christ, a Christian, first and foremost, above all other distinguishing or differentiating labels.

While mowing I thought of calling a "couple-friend" with whom I don't often speak--she edits long hours, and he suffers from illness.  But the wife of the couple-friend called me, first, before I finished the thought of calling her!  She had been thinking of me, she said.  Well, I had just then been thinking of her, too.  The Holy Spirit arranged it as He willed.  

My friend was aware of some detraction against me and discussed possibilities as to why others would discredit and try to take on discussing that which they have no personal experience or God-given authority.  Why do I continue to be such a threat this person, she wondered?  Why is the person not secure in own status?  We proposed some reasons, and we tried to give benefit of the doubt.  We are praying for those who persecute for they know not what they are doing and most likely think they are somehow justified to some good end.  

It is humorous irony when people judge others, for most often the very things they assume are exactly their own issues, such as deception.  Yes, remain lighthearted, and trust in God.  Let His Word be a lamp unto our feet.

Regardless, my friend was adamant that I keep writing, keep sharing, and if others cannot do better with their thoughts and efforts than to react and make assumptions on another person's spiritual journey, then that is their fruit to bear and to display before Jesus and less vitally, to others.  Who risks in God's judgment?  What about those who implied, inferred or outright disparaged Jesus with various, negative insinuations?  Where are their souls now?  

We don't know, but we know they were not charitable nor accurate.  At the time they thought they were correct but could not see beyond their own assessments.  And, I am reminded that Jesus told me that I would be criticized but to pay no attention.  The Lord knows with us, that it is not easy when we are made aware of detraction.  But I won't have to know further specifics, going forward, thankfully.  We can avoid such.  I must think on that which is above.  That, too, is not easy for any of us because we are so very human, but we are called to holy truth and Christ's ideal.

This morning Psalm 119 was most appropriate, and I emboldened the lines emphasized within my heart as I read them silently.  We can see that the Psalmist knew well:  persecution.  He also knew the antidote: God's rules of life for everyone--not just hermits.  

I am sure this Psalm speaks to many Christians because persecution can come from a spouse who resents the other spouse's desire and delight in Jesus, or from other family members, or from employers or employees, or governments, or systems, or anyone individual or group who may think they are saving some aspect of their ideal or status, when in reality they are overstepping charitable bounds and taking upon themselves God's mantle as Judge and Savior of souls. 

We are to keep our nose to the humus and to the narrow path as best we can try, and continue on in love, truth, and freedom to seek after and follow our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We are to remain in His Loving Real Presence:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We are to fear not proclaiming His wondrous presence in our lives and the lives of others.  

God bless His Real Presence in all of us imperfect creatures who have nonetheless given our fealty to Him! 

Ps 119:2-131

Happy are those who keep his decrees,
   who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
   but walk in his ways.

You have commanded your precepts
   to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
   in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
   having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
   when I learn your righteous ordinances.

How can young people keep their way pure?
   By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
   do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
   so that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
   teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
   all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees
   as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts,
   and fix my eyes on your ways.

Deal bountifully with your servant,
   so that I may live and observe your word.
Open my eyes, so that I may behold
   wondrous things out of your law.

I live as an alien in the land;
   do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
   for your ordinances at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
   who wander from your commandments;
take away from me their scorn and contempt,

for I have kept your decrees.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
   your servant will meditate on your statutes.

My soul clings to the dust;
   revive me according to your word.

When I told of my ways, you answered me;
   teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
   and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow;
   strengthen me according to your word.
Put false ways far from me;
   and graciously teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
   I set your ordinances before me.
I cling to your decrees, O Lord;
   let me not be put to shame.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
   and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
   and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
   for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
   and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
   give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
   which is for those who fear you.

Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
   for your ordinances are good.

Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
   your salvation according to your promise.
Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me,
   for I trust in your word.

Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
   for my hope is in your ordinances.
I will keep your law continually,
   for ever and ever.
I shall walk at liberty,
   for I have sought your precepts.

I will also speak of your decrees before kings,
   and shall not be put to shame;
I find my delight in your commandments,
   because I love them.

Remember your word to your servant,
   in which you have made me hope.

This is my comfort in my distress,
   that your promise gives me life.
The arrogant utterly deride me,
   but I do not turn away from your law.

When I think of your ordinances from of old,
   I take comfort, O Lord.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
   those who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs
   wherever I make my home.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
   and keep your law.

The Lord is my portion;
   I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favour with all my heart;
   be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
   I turn my feet to your decrees;
I hurry and do not delay
   to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
   I do not forget your law.

At midnight I rise to praise you,
   because of your righteous ordinances.

I am a companion of all who fear you,
   of those who keep your precepts.

You have dealt well with your servant,
   O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgement and knowledge,
   for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was humbled I went astray,
   but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
   teach me your statutes.
The arrogant smear me with lies,
   but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.
Their hearts are fat and gross,
   but I delight in your law.

It is good for me that I was humbled,
   so that I might learn your statutes.

Your hands have made and fashioned me;
   give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
   because I have hoped in your word.
I know, O Lord, that your judgements are right,
   and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort
   according to your promise to your servant.

Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
   for your law is my delight.
Let the arrogant be put to shame,
   because they have subverted me with guile;

   as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.

Let those who fear you turn to me,
   so that they may know your decrees.

My soul languishes for your salvation;
   I hope in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your promise;
   I ask, ‘When will you comfort me?’
For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
   yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
   When will you judge those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pitfalls for me;
   they flout your law.

All your commandments are enduring;
   I am persecuted without cause; help me!
They have almost made an end of me on earth;

   but I have not forsaken your precepts.

The Lord exists for ever;
   your word is firmly fixed in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
   you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand today,
   for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
   I would have perished in my misery.
I will never forget your precepts,
   for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
   for I have sought your precepts.

The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
   but I consider your decrees.

Oh, how I love your law!
   It is my meditation all day long.

Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
   for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
   for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
   for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
   in order to keep your word.

I do not turn away from your ordinances,
   for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your word is a lamp to my feet
   and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
   to observe your righteous ordinances.
I am severely afflicted;
   give me life, O Lord, according to your word.

Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
   and teach me your ordinances.
I hold my life in my hand continually,
   but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
   but I do not stray from your precepts.

Your decrees are my heritage for ever;
   they are the joy of my heart.

I hate the double-minded,
   but I love your law.
You are my hiding-place and my shield;
   I hope in your word.
Go away from me, you evildoers,
   that I may keep the commandments of my God.

Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
   and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
Hold me up, that I may be safe
   and have regard for your statutes continually.
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
   for their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;

   therefore I love your decrees.

I have done what is just and right;
   do not leave me to my oppressors.
Guarantee your servant’s well-being;
   do not let the godless oppress me.

My eyes fail from watching for your salvation,
   and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
   and teach me your statutes.
I am your servant; give me understanding,
   so that I may know your decrees.
It is time for the Lord to act,
   for your law has been broken.

Truly I love your commandments
   more than gold, more than fine gold.

Your decrees are wonderful;
   therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
   it imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant,
   because I long for your commandments.

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