The Spirit of the Psalms: How Blest Are They Who Turn To God (Psalm 1)

God willing every Monday I will post a hymn, psalm or spiritual song for encouragement. They say we learn our doctrine through singing which aids in memorisation but I know from my own experience that I tend to focus more on the tune than the words, especially if I am more familiar with the song. So I thought why not take some devotional time every week to really look at the lyrics and the poetry of a spiritual song alongside the Scriptural passages that inspired it.

God willing every Monday I will post a hymn, psalm or spiritual song for encouragement. They say we learn our doctrine through singing which aids in memorisation but I know from my own experience that I tend to focus more on the tune than the words, especially if I am more familiar with the song. So I thought why not take some devotional time every week to really look at the lyrics and the poetry of a spiritual song alongside the Scriptural passages that inspired it.

The Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 1 Version 1

How blest are they who turn to God,
Forsaking sinful ways;
Renouncing haunts of worldly minds,
And unbelieving days.

They make the teaching of the Lord
Their quest and great delight;
And to its guidance daily turn,
With ever clearer sight.

Like trees they stand so full of life,
The living stream beside;
They yield their fruit, and strong endure,
No matter what betide.

But those who to this boasting world
Commit their hope and trust,
The coming Day shall drive away,
Like worthless chaff, or dust.

O mighty grace that we might stand
Among the sons of love!
When Christ the Lord, our coming King,
Shall lift our souls above.
Evangelical Psalter
From ‘Psalms and Hymns of Reformed Worship’ Hymnbook.

Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the LORD,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
New Living Translation (NLT)

A Teachable Spirit

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 1 John 3:1.

Last Sunday I attended morning worship after a very long time of absence. In a way I am ashamed of how long it has been since I regularly attended and at the same time I am thankful that I am not fully aware of how long it has been. I was warmly welcomed and happy to be back. It felt like my Sunday school days, a happy memory. I am very blessed to have grown up in a church my maternal grandparents attended so there remains a lot of people who know me, even if I am not always sure of who they are at first and that the building itself is familiar.

A few things prompted my return to worship. Our Father has been enabling and softening my heart, through private bible study and prayer, towards it for a few months now and there was a recent BBC article that I read which discussed Christian Syrian refugees being given asylum in Wales. The criteria provided by the government to see if they were genuinely coming here for religious freedom really stuck with me. The criteria included being interested in and preparing for water Baptism, regularly attending worship and prayer meetings and being known to the local leaders of their assembly. These people were facing being killed or having their families kidnapped back in their home country where Christianity is illegal and here I am professing the same faith and not risking my life or being overly persecuted. Not even thinking about what I can do for God only what He does for me. Thinking that all my private faith activity and prayer made up for my lack of public faith activity and prayer.

I decided to give up caffeine during Lent because I was starting to see that it was affecting my anxiety levels and I thought I would do that as a fruit of repentance before attending regular worship but Our Father had other plans and convinced me that I should come to Him after only a few weeks of being caffeine free and while I still could and in His power not mine. Not to be like the rich man who did not want to give up his riches to enter the Kingdom or Lot’s wife who looked back to the world but to press on and not wait for a ‘perfect or acceptable’ time determined by myself.

Our Father has been teaching me lessons in humility and reliance on Him. In January He taught me that through pain comes endurance and growth and in February He taught me that living in the present moment casts away discontent and worry. In March He is teaching me that in Christ alone means no compromise and a hypocrite does not get into Heaven or get to return to earth to reign with Him in His Kingdom. All this combined to convict me to get back to a balance of public and private worship, prayer and activity or service. What’s more He has provided it and readied it all for me I just have to go and keep going. Morning worship every Sunday, Prayer meeting every Friday, a Woman’s Bible study group once a month on a Thursday, and an opportunity to serve Fridays and Sundays at the community lunches washing dishes and gravy pots! These are opportunities for me to act on faith, love and hope. To show my love to my Heavenly Father, Creator and Redeemer by doing His will not mine. They are not saving works, they are works I am enabled to do because I am being saved to do them instead of doing things my old life and body wants to do, like never leaving the house, staying in my pyjama’s and listening to Minecraft Let’s Plays and worldly Vloggers.

A Prayer to Bless this Work

Heavenly Father.

We dedicate this blog to your glory and to the promotion of the good news of your Son Jesus Christ. Who came down from your side in Heaven and took on human flesh and temptation and lived a perfect life honouring you. He died for our sins, to save us from our stubborn and proud selves and an eternity in hell away from your presence, who willingly suffered utter injustice, humiliation and crucifixion but rose again from the dead on the third day by your great power. Please bless the work of our hands and the hearers and doers of your Word and Work. Please keep us humble and truthful and accountable in bearing your name and reputation.
Have mercy on us and guide us with your Spirit of Holiness every step of the way.
Amen.