Psalm 119

As noted in my last blog post published on August 13, 2021 on this blog, I’ve been reading through a devotional titled, Praying Through the Most Beloved Psalms in 30 Days,” by Dolores Smyth, a nationally published faith and parenting writer, and contributor on Crosswalk.com. I thought I would share today’s reading (for the 12th day of any month) and short prayer from the devotional which is on Psalm 119 that includes a short prayer available at this link. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in Book of Psalms and it is also the longest chapter in the Bible. It contains 176 verses. Her complete 30-day devotional is available at this link.

Psalm 119 “is divided into 22 sets of eight-verse strophes, or sections. Before each section, a word and sometimes a symbol appear. These words are the English names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The symbols represent the Hebrew letters. So what is their meaning?” You can find their meaning along with the source of this quote at this link.

Before I quote Psalm 119 below, here is what we can learn from this psalm from GotQuestions.org:

Containing 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest single chapter in the Bible. The author of Psalm 119 is unknown, but most scholars agree that it was written by David, Ezra, or Daniel. Each of these proposed authors suffered serious difficulties in his life, and the author of Psalm 119 reflects that in descriptions of plots, slanders, and taunts against him (verses 23, 42, 51, 150 ), persecutions (verses 61, 86, 95, 110, 121, 134, 157, 161), and afflictions (verses 67, 71, 143, 153). The persecution and affliction of the man (and woman) of God is a major theme of Psalm 119.

Another prominent theme in Psalm 119 is the profound truth that the Word of God is all-sufficient. Psalm 119 is an expansion of Psalm 19:7–9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.” There are eight different terms referring to the Word of God throughout the psalm: law, testimonies, precepts, statues, commandments, judgments, word, and ordinances. In almost every verse, the Word of God is mentioned. Psalm 119 affirms not only the character of the Scriptures, but it affirms that God’s Word reflects the very character of God Himself. Notice these attributes of God ascribed to Scripture in Psalm 119:

1. Righteousness (verses 7, 62, 75, 106, 123, 138, 144, 160, 164, 172)
2. Trustworthiness (verse 42)
3. Truthfulness (verses 43, 142, 151, 160)
4. Faithfulness (verse 86)
5. Unchangeableness (verse 89)
6. Eternality (verses 90,152)
7. Light (verse 105)
8. Purity (verse 140)

The format of Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic, meaning that the first letters of each line in Hebrew follow through the alphabet, 8 lines per letter, thus 8 lines x 22 letters in Hebrew = 176 lines. One message of this psalm is that we are to live a lifestyle that demonstrates obedience to the Lord, who is a God of order (hence the acrostic structure), not of chaos.

The psalm opens with two beatitudes. “Blessed” are those whose ways are blameless, who live according to God’s law, who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. The author of the psalm is a man who has known great trouble in his life, but also one who has come through it with a deep and passionate understanding of God’s unfailing love and compassion (Psalm 119:75–77). Throughout his affliction, the author clings to the truths he learns from the Scriptures, which are eternal and “stand firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89–91). His love for the Word of God and his dedication to remember it and live by it is a theme that is repeated over and over (verses 11, 15–16, 24, 34, 44, 47, 55, 60, etc.).

These are the lessons for us in this great psalm. The Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15–17). The Scriptures are a reflection of God’s nature, and from them we learn that we trust His character and His plan and purposes for mankind, even when those plans include affliction and persecution. Blessed indeed are we if our delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law we meditate day and night (Psalm 1:2). (Quote source here.)

Here is Psalm 119 (NKJV) taken from Biblegateway.com:

PSALM 119

א ALEPH

Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently.
Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes!
Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments.
I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
I will keep Your statutes;
Oh, do not forsake me utterly!

ב BETH

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

ג GIMEL

17 Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
19 am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments at all times.
21 You rebuke the proud—the cursed,
Who stray from Your commandments.
22 Remove from me reproach and contempt,
For I have kept Your testimonies.
23 Princes also sit and speak against me,
But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 Your testimonies also are my delight
And my counselors.

ד DALETH

25 My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
28 My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
Your judgments I have laid before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies;
Lord, do not put me to shame!
32 I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.

ה HE

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 [f]Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.

ו WAW

41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord
Your salvation according to Your word.
42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
44 So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.
48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

ז ZAYIN

49 Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.
51 The proud have me in great derision,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
52 I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord,
And have comforted myself.
53 Indignation has taken hold of me
Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I remember Your name in the night, O Lord,
And I keep Your law.
56 This has become mine,
Because I kept Your precepts.

ח HETH

57 You are my portion, O Lord;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
59 I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
60 I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
61 The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
63 am a companion of all who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.

ט TETH

65 You have dealt well with Your servant,
Lord, according to Your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
68 You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
69 The proud have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
70 Their heart is as fat as grease,
But I delight in Your law.
71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
72 The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

י YOD

73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
Because I have hoped in Your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.
77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed,
For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts.
79 Let those who fear You turn to me,
Those who know Your testimonies.
80 Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes,
That I may not be ashamed.

כ KAPH

81 My soul faints for Your salvation,
But I hope in Your word.
82 My eyes fail from searching Your word,
Saying, “When will You comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in smoke,
Yet I do not forget Your statutes.
84 How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
85 The proud have dug pits for me,
Which is not according to Your law.
86 All Your commandments are faithful;
They persecute me wrongfully;
Help me!
87 They almost made an end of me on earth,
But I did not forsake Your precepts.
88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

ל LAMED

89 Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
You established the earth, and it abides.
91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances,
For all are Your servants.
92 Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.
94 am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me,
But I will consider Your testimonies.
96 I have seen the consummation of all perfection,
But Your commandment is exceedingly broad.

מ MEM

97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments,
Make me wiser than my enemies;

For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

נ NUN

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
106 I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
107 I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
108 Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings
Of my mouth, O Lord,

And teach me Your judgments.
109 My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.
111 Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.
112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, to the very end.

ס SAMEK

113 I hate the double-minded,
But I love Your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God!
116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
117 [u]Hold me up, and I shall be safe,
And I shall observe Your statutes continually.
118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes,
For their deceit is falsehood.
119 You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

ע AYIN

121 I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the proud oppress me.
123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation
And Your righteous word.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy,
And teach me Your statutes.
125 am Your servant;
Give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
126 It is time for You to act, O Lord,
For they have regarded Your law as void.
127 Therefore I love Your commandments
More than gold, yes, than fine gold!
128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things
I consider to be right;
I hate every false way.

פ PE

129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
132 Look upon me and be merciful to me,
As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
133 Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes,
Because men do not keep Your law.

צ TSADDE

137 Righteous are You, O Lord,
And upright are Your judgments.
138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded,
Are righteous and very faithful.
139 My zeal has consumed me,
Because my enemies have forgotten Your words.

140 Your word is very pure;
Therefore Your servant loves it.
141 am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.
143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
Yet Your commandments are my delights.
144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding, and I shall live.

ק QOPH

145 I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O Lord!
I will keep Your statutes.
146 I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.
147 I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
148 My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
Lord, revive me according to Your justice.
150 They draw near who follow after wickedness;
They are far from Your law.
151 You are near, O Lord,
And all Your commandments are truth.
152 Concerning Your testimonies,
I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

ר RESH

153 Consider my affliction and deliver me,
For I do not forget Your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.
156 Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord;
Revive me according to Your judgments.
157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies,
Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.
158 I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,
Because they do not keep Your word.
159 Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
160 The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

ש SHIN

161 Princes persecute me without a cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your word.
162 I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.
163 I hate and abhor lying,
But I love Your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
165 Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
166 Lord, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments.
167 My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.

ת TAU

169 Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
170 Let my supplication comes before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
171 My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation, O Lord,
And Your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

I’ll end this post with the words from Psalm 119:105Your word is a lamp…

To my feet . . .

And a light . . .

To my path . . . .

YouTube Video: “Thy Word” sung by Amy Grant:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

This Season of New Beginnings

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”Jesus Christ (John 20:29).
While it might not be common knowledge, the Easter season actually extends for 50 days beyond Easter to Pentecost, which will be celebrated this year on Sunday, May 23, 2021. These 50 days are referred to as “Eastertide” or a “season of Pentecost”.

In an article titled, Why is the Easter season 50 days long?” (the content of this article was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications), the article states the following:

Easter for Christians is not just one day–it’s a 50-day period. The season of Easter, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (see Acts 2).

Easter season is more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of these new Christians.

Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms and how, through this sacrament, we are “incorporated into Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.” As “Easter people,” we celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost), and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.

Many churches use these weeks to teach the theology of the sacraments and help people discern their spiritual gifts and callings. Congregations may have a service of commissioning laypersons into ministry as part of their Pentecost celebration. (Quote source here.)

An article titled, What is Pentecost?” by Dr. Ray Pritchard, author, speaker, and President of Keep Believing Ministries, describes the significance of Pentecost to Christianity, and it is available at this link. A brief explanation is found in an article published on May 29, 2020, titled, When is Pentecost This Year? Why Do Christians Celebrate It?” compiled and edited by the Crosswalk.com editorial staff:

Pentecost is a Christian holiday, observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter, that celebrates the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-31). The day of Pentecost is known in the Christian Church as the day on which the Spirit descended upon the apostles, and under Peter’s preaching, so many thousands were converted in Jerusalem.

Why do Christians celebrate Pentecost?

According to Ray Pritchard from Christianity.com, “Modern Christians observe Pentecost as a holiday, not to celebrate a wheat harvest, but to remember when the Holy Spirit invaded the Church in Acts 2.”

The description in Act 2 states that, after Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus’ followers were gathered together for the Feast of Harvest (aka Pentecost), and the Holy Spirit “filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4). This unusual event drew a large crowd, and Peter stood up to speak to them about repentance and the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:14). By the end of the day that the Holy Spirit came, the Church grew by 3,000 people (Acts 2:41). This is why Christians still celebrate Pentecost… (Quote source here.)

In an article published on June 17, 2017, titled, The Grand Diamond of the Psalter (Psalm 119: 1-16),” by Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, professor of World Christianity and President of Asbury Theological Seminary, he states:

The season of Pentecost has always been a season in which the church instructed new believers. So, I thought it would be helpful if over the next eight Sundays [note: this article is part of a sermon series], our Daily Text focused entirely on Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is the grand wisdom psalm of the Bible. With 176 verses, this psalm is to the rest of the psalter [Book of Psalms] what the Grand Canyon is to all other canyons. Psalm 119 is not only the longest psalm in the Bible, but also the most extensive acrostic in the psalter. Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are called forth to offer eight verses of praise. Each of the eight verses under each of the headings begins with that letter, making it the grand acrostic of wisdom. Even most English Bibles seek to honor the exquisite construction of this psalm by retaining the name of each Hebrew letter at the heading of each of the eight verse sections.

This psalm’s intricate plan is designed to aid in memorization and thereby help train young people in the nature and content of God’s Law. Like a wise grandfather with his grandchildren at his knee, this psalm seems to gather up all the wisdom of the Scriptures and turn it into a glorious act of praise and an ever rising crescendo of instruction and catechesis which makes it one of the great treasures of the Bible. This psalm is like a precious diamond with multiple facets, and it will take us eight Sundays to complete just this one psalm!

The opening insight of Psalm 119 is that this psalm is a celebration of God’s Law. In the Hebrew world, the number seven was considered the number of perfection. So, one might expect to find seven different words for the Law. We actually find eight different Hebrew words repeated throughout the psalm. This is because it is an act of praise. Seven may be the number of perfection, but eight is perfection with a superlative. It is the addition of joy. It is like a baker’s dozen, which is 13, as an added dose of joy to the standard twelve. For the same reason, we have divided Psalm 119 into 8 separate meditations, as our own kind of superlative of praise. None of the 22 stanzas of this psalm ever contain fewer than six of the eight words, and six of the stanzas contain all eight.  Remarkably, only four of the 176 verses do not contain (in the Hebrew text) at least one of these eight words for God’s revelation.

In singing or reading through the first two stanzas of this psalm, just let the words flow over you. We will discuss the meaning of the words next week, but for now, just sense the exuberance and joy of this psalm. As Christians, we sometimes see God’s Word (one of the terms for law) as burdensome. This psalm is the great liberation from that perspective. It is his word that allows a “young man to keep his way pure” (vs. 9). Notice how he joyfully memorizes and cherishes God’s word: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (vs. 11). So, may the grand psalm of 119 transport you to that delightful place of joy. May you find yourself saying with the psalmist: “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches” (vs. 13). The psalm is like a rare and perfectly cut diamond, and all eight of these terms become the various facets or cuts in the diamond which allow us to see its beauty and majesty. Welcome to the joyous journey of Psalm 119! (Quote source here.) [Below are the first two stanzas, “Aleph” and “Beth,” of Psalm 119 (verses 1-16)]:

Psalm 119:1-16 (NIV)

Aleph

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

Beth

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

The rest of Dr. Tennent’s 2017 series on Psalm 119 can be read at these links:

Taking some time each day or week to read and study Psalm 119 is a great way to journey through these next few weeks leading up to Pentecost.

And here’s one last an article for this blog post that was published today, April 5, 2021, titled, 6 Prayers to Pray the Week After Easter,” by Lysa TerKeurst, speaker, author and President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She writes:

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.'” —Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

I don’t think Easter is quite done with me yet.

I know what glorious things this Holy Day says to the world at large.

But what does Jesus want me to know, to think about, to wrestle through at this time of year? This season of new beginnings.

So, I’m lingering here a bit longer.

I feel like the girl who wears the same outfit to school two days in a row. Easter is done now. Time to put it back in the closet. Only for me it isn’t. I want to wear it again today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows.

After all, Easter is no longer a ritual to me. It’s a revelation. A time where Jesus splits my soul along the fault line of a scar deep within: I was an unwanted child to my birth dad.

Unwanted.

But to Jesus… I was wanted so much that He gave His life for me. It feels so personal. Even though I know God so loved the world, He gave His son, it becomes very individual if we let it.

Be personal.

With Jesus.

Yes.

So, in the midst of a world putting Easter away, might we let it sit with us for just a bit more?

I keep my Bible open to the place where the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. And I tangle my thoughts around His words from Matthew 28 as six prayers emerge….

• “Do not be afraid,” – God, I hand over to You those things that make me so afraid. Resurrect the parts of my faith squelched by fear.

• “I know that you are looking for Jesus,” – God, when my soul is searching, help me know the answer to every longing can be found in You.

• “He has risen,” – God, the fact that Jesus is risen should lift my head, my heart and my attitude. Help me to live today as if I really believe this with every part of my life.

• “just as he said,” – Jesus, You keep Your promises. Help me live as though I believe that with every part of me. Help me trust You more, obey You more and resemble You more.

• “Come and see,” – Jesus, You had the angels invite the women in to see for themselves that You had risen. You invite me into these personal revelations every day. Forgive me for sometimes rushing about and forgetting to come and see for myself… You, Your Word, Your insights.

• “Then go quickly and tell his disciples,” – Jesus, I don’t want to be a secret keeper with my faith. I want to be a bold and gracious truth proclaimer. For You. With You. Because of You. Me, the unwanted girl whom You loved, redeemed and wanted.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Yes, let this miraculous Easter be personal. And prayerful. And linger a bit longer.

Dear Lord, I want to let Your Truth sink deep down into my heart and soul today. Help me stay focused on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (Quote source here.)

I’ll end this post with the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls…

For my yoke is easy . . .

And my burden . . .

Is light . . . .

YouTube Video: “The Father’s House” by Cory Asbury:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here