Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Theme and Anthem

My grandmother is dying with cancer. Christmas Eve was the one-year anniversary of my fahter-in-law's death from cancer. Our dog recently died (again with the cancer...I hate that stuff). On the financial end, we had to replace our sewer line two weeks ago (that's a big chunk of change, by the way), and there are various other stressful issues that seem to mount up. Please don't think I'm complaining, just sharing a little of what's been on my heart. And last night I felt the weight of it, and I talked to the Lord about it for the umpteenth time

I don't normally share entries from my prayer journal outside of a very tight circle. Today, though, I'm going to share my journal entry with the rest of you, with a tiny bit of back-up information so you'll understand it. My prayer journal is a catch-all, a place where I write down my prayers (yes, I write them at times...I'm a writer, that's how I communicate best), where I converse with the Lord, occasionally take some sermon notes, and where I just journal. The only rule for my prayer journal is that it be related to my relationship with the Lord.

Today's entry is a short blurb about the conversation I had with Him last night:

"Last night the Lord told me to read Ps. 34 and Ps. 119 every day for the next two weeks. He said Ps. 34 would be my theme, and Ps. 119 would be my anthem. A theme is a main topic. An anthem is a hymn of praise or loyalty, which if you read it, is exactly what Ps. 119 is."I had to look them up, theme and anthem, that is, to really get the difference between them and understand why He assigned each one accordingly. The dictionary can be very useful at times.

Here is Psalm 34 in the New King James version:

1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

Isn't that lovely? My theme is now the Lord's praise because of His deliverance from all of my fears, His nearness, His provision and protection.

Psalm 119 is all about the Torah, the Law of the Lord, the life-giving properties of His Word, His promise. Doug and I are Torah-observant, and this psalm is beautiful and encouraging to those who embrace the Lord's teaching and instruction. It contains a stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, beginning with Aleph and ending with Tav. It's too long for a blog entry (or I think so, at least), so you'll just have to pull out your Bible or go to to read it. I will share with you one verse, though, toward the end, a verse that I read over and over today:

165 Those who love Thy law
have great peace,
And nothing causes them
to stumble.

Now, juxtapose that with my blog entry from yesterday, and you'll see why this verse is the theme of my anthem. He has delivered my from all my fears, become my provider, protector, and has given me great shalom.

Now if I can just get that truth deep into my soul.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I posted this once before, in an entry about Israel, but I want to revisit it today.


Peace, right? Well, no, not exactly. Yes, we typically translate the Hebrew word shalom as the English word peace. But just as with many other Hebrew words, there really is no English one-word equivalent. It would take an entire paragraph to fully flesh out the concept of shalom in English.

Shalom means “nothing missing, nothing broken, well being and completeness.” It’s also defined as “welfare, soundness, safety, health, prosperity, peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship (of humans and with God).” That's quite a bit lost in translation, isn't it? What a rich word! And His shalom can be ours!

I challenge each of you to grab a Strong’s concordance and look up the word “peace” in scripture. Then read all of God’s promises regarding peace and eagerly seek out your end of that promise (what He says you need to do to attain it). Who wouldn’t want His peace, His shalom?!?