ETL.024: Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know, But Should, About One of the Most Popular Psalms—119

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Psalm 119 is well known, but for an oddity rather than for what it should be known.  This Psalm is commonly recognized as not only the longest of the 150 Psalms, but also the longest chapter in the Bible.  It is 176 verses long.  But there is a reason a very specific reason for its length.  The structure of this Psalm makes it a literary marvel.

But not only is the structure of the Psalm an incredible fete, its message is delivered in a remarkable fashion as well.  Employing both repetition and variation, this Psalm essentially says the same thing 176 times and in 176 different ways.  Beginning with, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” this lengthy Psalm goes on to extoll the virtues of God’s word; it’s beauty, value, importance, and desirability.  Seven primary synonymous terms are used to refer to Scripture. These are law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, and rules.  Two others are also used, but much more sparsely: promises and faithfulness.

 

Some of the best known and beloved statements from Psalm 119:

  • “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (11).
  • “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (24).
  • “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (72).
  • “Forever, O Lord, you world is firmly fixed in the heavens” (89).
  • “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (103).
  • “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (104).
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (105).
  • “Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.  Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way”  (127-128).

Links and email addresses for this show:

Jenkins Institute Podcast
http://thejenkinsinstitute.com/tji-podcast/

Contact us with comments, observations, or whatever you might like to say:
feedback@ireadtheword.com

 

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ETL.022: What You Don’t Know About the Most Beloved Book of the Bible: Psalms

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In our “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interviews the truth has been borne out that Scripture has played a vital role in handling not only the hardships and constant struggles of life, but the bombshells sometimes dropped on us.  That fact, coupled with a class that I recently began teaching brought my attention to a particular book of the Bible, the Old Testament book of Psalms.

The book is unique in the Bible in that its made up entirely of poetic material, the words of songs (roughly speaking), that were collected over long period of time in Israel’s history.  The fact that the content of this book are of this nature (as opposed to history or laws or doctrine) have led some to have an attitude that views the Psalms as somehow less valuable or less important.  What a mistake!

 

The Incomparable Value of Psalms

We most of think of things like poetry and praise and songs when we think about the book of Psalms; and that’s with good reason.  But there are some things about Psalms we may not know.

For instance that the book of Psalms is actually a collection of five smaller books.  Notice in your Bible before the title for Psalms 1, 42, 73, 90, and 107.  You’ll probably see the words Book 1, Book 2, and so on.  What is more each of these books ends with a “doxology” ( a word of praise). Notice Psalms 41:13 and 72:18-19 as examples.  We also discuss some other “collections” within the book as well.

Another feature of the book you may not know—I failed to cover this in the podcast, so this is bonus material in the show notes!—is that though the book is attributed to David, there are many other authors covering a very long time span.  The earliest Psalm was apparently written by Moses (see the heading for Psalm 90).  The latest that can be identified is Psalm 137 which obviously comes from the time of Babylonian captivity.

 

Historically valuable

• In the Bible itself—it’s the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament
• In the history of Christianity it has been cherished and valued
• Today as evidenced in it’s influence in our hymns (look at the Scripture index of a hymn book.

 

Teach us how to praise God

• Modern worshipers sometimes make a false distinction between worship and praise. They designate a certain worship assembly as a “praise service.”  All worship is praise, all praise is worship.
• We learn the language of praise from the Psalms. The very vocabulary and expressions we use to praise God ought to be heavily influenced by the Psalms.
• A common failing of modern praise songs is the lack reasons why God is to be praised.  The Psalms not only praise, but tell why God is to be praised.

 

Expressions of faith and praise from all perspectives of life

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons we love the Psalms is that they are expressions of faith and praise from all perspectives of life; even when things are difficult and we may be struggling.  In this way the Psalms can speak not only to us but for us as we go through all the highs and lows of life.

 

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God bless!

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ETL.019: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Gilbert Howe; An Enthused Life From a Wheelchair

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691726How does a nineteen year old react to a life changing injury?  One that leaves you a triplegic (with the use of only one arm)?  How does one keep a positive, enthusiastic attitude while living life with so many physical limitations?

Gilbert Howe shares his fascinating story of how so much more of his mind and personality were able to emerge following his accident, how carrying Christians lovingly shared Jesus with him and how that changed everything for him.

Just listening to Gilbert with his enthusiasm for life and for the Lord is infectious!

 

Pics:

Gilbert

Gilbert

Gilbert at home

Gilbert at home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Turner Falls (Davis, OK); the area where Gilbert's accident happened.

Beautiful Turner Falls (Davis, OK); the area where Gilbert’s accident happened.

 

Gilbert’s Favorite Scriptures:

Gilbert’s “Trio of 8’s” from Romans 8

  • v. 18—For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
  • v. 28—For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
  • vv. 38-39—For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

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These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
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Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

 

God bless!

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ETL.014: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” Interview with Ronnie Crocker; From Drug Addiction to Prison to a Christian Rescuing Others

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This interview…

is with Ronnie Crocker, founder and directer of Project Rescue, an addiction recover (primarily drug and alcohol) program that has turned around the lives of literally hundreds of individuals and provided help and hope to countless others through the resources they provide.

Ronnie’s unique perspective and qualification for leading this program is not any particular educational or technique training he’s received.  Instead, it is  but his own personal experience of recovery following fifteen years of drug abuse; being in and out of jails and rehab programs, countless “this is the last time” experiences, and finally landing in prison for having kidnapped a police officer.

Ronnie’s approach is an unabashed spiritual approach—you have to reclaim and fill the emptiness of your life (and this could apply to anyone, addict or not—with God.  Project Rescue’s success in hundreds and hundreds of lives argues strongly for its validity.

 

Two things MUST happen:

1) The only thing Ronnie says that will finally break the addiction, or the addiction—rehab—addiction—rehab—addiction cycle, is to hit rock bottom.  The pain of what has been destroyed has to finally be great enough to overcome the power of addiction.  Sadly, Ronnie says, most people die before this ever happens.

2) The emptiness that is left in one’s life—the emptiness that comes when the drug, or whatever, is removed having previously taken total control of one’s life and crowded out everything else out—must filled with God.  No therapy, no techniques, no program can ever fill the spiritual void in the addict’s life; only God.  This involves an ongoing five step process:

  • pray
  • read
  • study
  • do
  • teach (help others)

Ronnie’s poem,

written from prison in Florida, 1986:

Bricks and bars do not a prison make alone,
A prison there is also stronger than steel and stone.
Created is this bind,
By the working of our own spirit and mind,
And the way out no one can find,
If they choose to remain blind.

Ronnie’s arrest:

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Project Rescue has a success rate over double that of the national addiction recovery average (from Project Rescue website).

Ronnie’s phone number, offered to anyone who is in need of help right now:
256-616-1522

 

Project Rescue website:

www.projectrescue.org

 

Submit a Bible question
These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

Click below to subscribe to this podcast via:
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Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

God bless!

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ETL.011: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” Interview with Chuck Shaffer (Part 1) on the Downward Spiral that Landed this Christian Man in Federal Prison

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In this episode we continue with our new feature: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” Interviews. This episode is our third interview.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview:

In this interview (part 1) Chuck Shaffer speaks very candidly about his mistakes of allowing the pressures of his professional, family, and ministry life to lead him down a destructive path that landed him in federal prison.  How these same pressures are very common to us all and that ignoring them or inappropriately responding to them can cost you what is most precious to you, including your career, family, and faith.  Chuck speaks to issues many Christians and churches are unwilling to address but that permeate, to some degree, virtually every congregation and how local churches can easily, though unintentionally, contribute to the problem and ways to change that.

The chilling part of all of this is that where Chuck was (the pressures he faced and feeling powerless to address them) is where many, many Christians are today.  Is hitting rock bottom the only way to finally begin to turn things around?  Surely not!

Listen to hear as Chuck…

  • Gives advice to Christians who are feeling the very same kinds of pressures he faced and failed to address
  • What fellow Christians can do to perhaps intervene and avert a horrible tragedy in someone’s life
  • Recommendations for local church families to stop inadvertently contributing to the problem (and YES the problem is there) and start helping

In Part 2  of the interview (podcast episode 12) we will hear how Chuck began to rebuild from nothing.  His journey of rebuilding his faith, his family, and his entire life.

Scriptures referenced (though the specific texts were not mentioned)

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • James 5:16

 

Submit your own Bible question

These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

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Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

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