Geese on creek

Psalm 25

Psalm 25

Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  25: 4a





Psalm 25 is an acrostic poem, which means each line begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  But I wrote mine in English!

A lost soul am I, found by You, O LORD.
Being put to shame is not Your way.
Cursed and shamed are those who betray.
Do show me the path, O LORD.
Every truth and hope is in YOU,
From olden days till now.
GOD is good, GOD is love.
He instructs the sinners
In His ways.  He guides us to
Jesus, who is THE way.
Keeping GOD’s ways and paths.
Loving and faithful, beginning to end.
Man’s ways are not His ways.
Nor can we understand
Only follow and fear the LORD.
Prosperity will flow from Him, be we
Quarantined or free.
Release my feet from the snare of
Sin.
Turn to me and be gracious, O LORD.
Understand my fears and afflictions;
Vanquish my enemies who are of darkness.
Who loves the LORD is saved.
eXempt me from shame and fear
You, O LORD, are the GOD of
Zion.
Sunset over Chesapeake Bay

Psalm 19




“The heavens declare the glory of GOD; the skies proclaim the works of His hands.”    [p. 1075-6]


  1. Neither the heavens nor the sky nor the sun are divine. [ref. Gen 1:16].  Nor can they foretell the future nor control destinies. [ref. Isa 47:13 / Jer 10:2 / Dan 4:7]

  2. The sun is wonderful, keeping to the daily rising and setting, but we modern people know what David did not: that the sun is merely one of billions that God keeps in their courses.  Isa 60: 19-20 speaks of the sun as a metaphor for God; many pagans thought it was a god.  But we are aware of how puny the sun actually is in God’s infinity.  We know the meaning of the word “universal.”


“The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever”


  1. Fear of the Lord is the sum of what the Law requires.  God’s laws are the justice of the universe, written upon our hearts.

  2. “Those who honor God and order their lives in accordance with His will, because of their reverence for Him.” [p.1069]  [ref. Gen 20:11]

  3. There is a distinction made between sins of omission [hidden sins] and of commission [willful sin].


Barker, Kenneth L., et al, eds. Zondervan NIV Study Bible.  Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, c2002.
Carol Cyprus

Psalm 5

Psalm 5: as seen by CKB

King David sends this song
to the Levites to use in worship,
to be accompanied by flutes.

God, listen to my prayer;
Have mercy on the sayer
         Of this cry for redress.
On this morning, hear my voice.
I need your judgment and choice
         In this unholy mess.

I know that you are just and good,
And when men don’t do as they should
         They pay your coin.
I love your mercy and you grace,
And pray your Son shine on my face
         When with you I join.



Psalm 5: Responding to life-threatening falsehood II


  1. Translation.

    1. “wild people” was translated by St. Jerome as “wicked people”.  This has been a longstanding interpretation.

    2. “open mouths” may refer to the means of sacrificing children into pagan statues.


  2. Interpretation.  The psalm discusses how to react to deceit and fraud.

    1. Pray to God—MY God—and I can come into the house of the Lord.

    2. Trust God

      1. His faithfulness

      2. Expect His righteous punishment


    3. Take refuge in God, as He covers you with His “body shield” which is the large shield held by the warrior’s companion


  3. Theology.  Contrast with Luke 23:34 where Jesus tells us to love our enemies.  But when you ask God to render justice, leave it there and do not seek revenge.



[Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]
snorkel me

(no subject)

Psalm 4: as seen by CKB

King David sends this song to the Levites to use in worship, to be accompanied by lyres.

David prays to God to help him govern well;
for God to be merciful and faithful,
and to make a spacious place for him.

“Give me some space, God, from
the pressures of kingship!” he prays.

The people in the kingdom blame David for local catastrophes.
David tells them, “Sure this happened on my watch, but it’s not my fault.  You people should pray about this!  Be careful that your sin hasn’t brought this upon us all!”

David goes on to pray, “Make your Face shine upon us, O LORD.  This makes us happier even that having enough to eat and drink!  Please send me restful sleep and protect me.”


Psalm 4: Who shows us good?

  1. Interpretation

Goldingay and other scholars believe that Psalm 3 and 4 can be paired as a morning and then evening duo.  [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

  1. The content is baffling.  The key phrase come in v. 8, reinforcing the idea from Psalm 3 that in God comes peace, as only He is in control.

  2. The 5th century church father, Chrysostomos, [anglicized as Chrysostom, meaning  "golden-mouthed"] noted that the Psalm relays that God listens as I speak to Him, not I speak and then He listens.

  3. Consensus among scholars [if any!] is that the Psalmist prays for people to change their ways.

    1. Those actively listening to the poet

    2. Those known to the poet as sinners

    3. And any that “the shoe fits.”

    4. In my opinion, this boils down to everyone!



  1. Theology


  1. The psalmist is convicted that God will provide safety and well-being.

  2. The Psalm is more of a declaration of trust than a request for help. [Goldingay p.124]


For those who are Bible Journaling with me, I chose a simple floral pattern.  For a video on how this is done, watch:  https://youtu.be/iDbDQZM7-Pk

Psalm 3

Psalm 3: as rewritten by CKB

David, as God’s Annointed One, expects
and yet still implores God
to shield him from his enemies.

The horror of internecine warfare
shakes the kingdom,
but David sleeps in confidence
that God watches over him
and the nation.

The Psalm is generally headed “of David, fleeing from Absalom” but there is no real proof that this is so.  It is suitable for use by a nation facing civil war, by a nation facing invasion, or by anyone under any kind of attack, like Job.  I use it against my personal demons.

The Psalm can be interpreted as answering the question of deliverance.  [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]   Though sources call it “praises”, it begins with a lament.  But the praise begins soon, with the wonderful image as God as a shield.  The Psalm gives us the example of crying out to God and that he answers.  Because of this assurance, we can sleep at night, knowing that we are under His care.  I pictured someone wearing one of those “No Fear” t-shirts for the next verses, and remembered the 23rd Psalm.  Giving the enemy a slap on the jaw implies humiliating him and the smashing of his teeth gives the image of rendering him harmless  [literally toothless].

The theology of this short Psalm is enormous, however.  The poet cries, “Deliver me, my God!”  But God will answer with His judgment and in His time.  You might not be the wronged party, though you think you are.  The lesson here is that you have given the fate of your enemy into the hands of God, for God to judge.  Once that is done, you let go of the worry and can sleep in assurance.

For those who are journaling with me, I chose to paint a simple shield shape, of mixed browns, looking sort of beat up.  Then in more brown, I painted “GOD” on it.  You could use the same idea and paint a cross on the shield.  Or, choose a different shield:  here are 2 YouTube choices

  1. https://youtu.be/axnOf45VXhw

  2. https://youtu.be/c3M9uqezpUE

Cape May light

Psalm 18

“God’s acts and David’s acts.” [p.247]

I. Translation
a. David’s, who spoke the words to this song to YHWH on the day YHWH rescued him from the clutch of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.’ [p247]
b. Repeated antitheses of heights and depths.

II. Interpretation
a. The longest thanksgiving psalm; only Psa 78 and 119 are longer.
b. It is framed by couplets at the beinning and end that frame it.
c. In a nutshell
i. Mortal danger
1. 9 times the poem mentions enemies.
2. This is probably not truly David’s words, despite the parallel poem in II Sam. 22, but written for him [like presidential speeches], and probably during his lifetime.
3. It is both reflective and self-flattering; Goldingay thinks that David would not claim his heart was pure.
ii. David prayed
1. “I dedicate myself to You.”
2. Refers to God as a sheltering place in the wilderness [rocks, caves, crags], as well as a shield [military terms].
iii. God responded
1. 9 descriptions of God. Perhaps the phrase “You are my strength” v. 1 is better rendered “You are my strong one,” since all other descriptions are concrete terms.
2. God is here described in pagan terms. All of these allusions to the storm, clouds, rain and raining fire are used to describe Baal and other pagan sky gods. This similarity always makes me cringe a little, but I must assume it’s poetic.
iv. Delivered David
1. 11 times the poet mentions God sdaving.
2. Some of the terms are miraculous, such as the stories surrounding Moses; Deborah and Barak; etc.
3. “He saved me because He has delighted in me.” v.19
4. However, the implication is that God saved the psalmist because of the poet’s faith and integrity. This sounds more like court flattery than a poem by David himself.
v. Situation resolved
1. Refer to II Samuel 22 for the variant on this psalm.
2. There are many reflective verses on ways that God delivered him. Therefore, it is not a poem written at the time of the events, but toward the end of life.
vi. Closure
1. Confess God to all nations. This is the first time “all nations” appears in the psalms.
2. Make music for God
3. At the end, the third person reference to David and his descendants show that David probably did not write this himself.
III. Theological Implications
a. The psalm does not refer to salvation in the End Times [not eschatological].
b. It in no way refers to Jesus or His bringing of salvation [It is not Messianic nor Christological.]
c. Rather, it is “an expression of gratitude for something God has done for a military leader of Israel.” [p.253].
d. There is no doubt that God has aided David militarily, not spiritually. Christians must wrestle with the God of the Old Testament. [and do not forget that “Israel” means “he wrestle with God.”]
e. Ref. Romans 13:4


[Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

Corinth synagogue

Psalm 2

Listen to the Psalm on YouTube:  Psalm 2 - The Triumphant Messiah (With words - KJV)  < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBVVAwGT_n8>

It’s funny that PSA, meaning “Public Service Announcement” is the same as Psa, the abbreviation of Psalms.  Public service indeed!!

Following the format of the book I’m using to create these Small Groups studies, each study is broken into 3 topics of discussion.  [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

I.         Translation

A.   Goldingay classifies this psalm as “Promises to keep in mind, part 2”  Many scholars believe that Psalm 1 and 2 were originally one poem.

Be that as it may, the psalm is not exactly worshipful, but does help in standing firm in the face of troubles.

C.   In the Jewish tradition, the belief is that this psalm refers to the Davidic covenant, that is, God’s promise to David that his dynasty would last forever.

II.           Interpretation

A.   The poem seems to be an address to the nation of Israel by her king, probably David. 

B.   There are 4 sections to the psalm.

1.The plans of the surrounding nations, who babble like a disorganized throng, speaking incoherently.

2. God Himself laughs at their ambitions and then scorns them with His anger.

3. David’s [?] response is to show that his righteous anointment by God gives him legitimate power.

4. This King has the God-given right and the power to dominate the other kingdoms.

III. Theological implications

A.   Quoting Eugene Peterson [on page 104 of Goldingay], “At the center of history is no longer the struggle of the great world powers for existence, but God, whose relationship with the earthly powers will determine their destiny.”

B.   “Living in a post-Christian era in the West means living in an era When the culture has thrown off the constraints of Christian faith, but the psalm promises that this will not be the end of the story.” [p. 106]

A lesson by Charles Sturgeon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0XmcnJ2wM

Thus ends the lesson.

For those who want to Bible journal with me, I chose another lesson from Sandy Allnock, who, though illustrating another verse, painted broken shackles, as in the early lines of the psalm.  Find her lesson at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0pcGUgE8vA&t=227s>

Corinth synagogue

Psalms Small Group study

First, listen to

https://youtu.be/_JtWxTD9g-I.  While listening, really listen.

Humanly speaking,the Psalms are a collection of prayers, worship and praise, but only in 4th century Christian times was the canon set to 150.
The Psalms are in the center of the Bible and follow Job. You could argue that God knew we'd NEED this following Job and we'd need to be "centered"!
The purpose of the Psalms is to show people HOW to praise and worship.
Look up these verses for how Christians should use the Psalms: John 16:23 and Ephesians 5:18-20.
[Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

After listening to the Psalm [again], think about these things:
Delight. In the past, people could hear the Psalm and fit their life into it, with rejoicing. With our modern age, we want to interpret the Psalm until we understand it. We lose the delight and become lost in our brain instead.

Hebrew poetry is based on simile [things are like other things] and repetition [saying the same thing several ways.] In this Psalm, the poetry sketches a picture rather than prose, which would fully paint and possibly even frame the image. So, use the poetry to feel the tree as it soaks up the water of the stream, like we should soak up the vital nourishment of the Word of God.

The fruit of that tree will ripen to feed people. This creates a parable. The chaff blows away, useless. Picture it. Feel that bitter, empty wind. But the fruit of the tree will create seeds, creating more fruit trees to soak up the Living Water. And so on. Read Matthew 7:15

Finally, on Wednesday evening prayer time, listen to <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBO_f81OaYQ&feature=youtu.be>

For those who are Bible journaling with me, I chose a Ficus sycamorus from Wikipedia to paint. This is the Sycamore fig that was and is, an important food crop in the Near East. [Remember, your journaling is between you and God. Do not concern yourself with great art, simply use the art to "camp out" in God's Word.]

A wonderful YouTube artist to follow:
https://www.youtube.com/results…

Cruise the Med

New Newport News News: Cruise Wisdom edition


Here are a few of the things I've learned on my cruises:

  1. Always bring a power strip or hub.  Although newer ships and hotels have plenty of plugs, most do not.  It is tedious to have to share one plug between 2 or more electronic-age people.

  2. Although it is permitted, it is not worth carrying canned drinks aboard.  Even with these, it is hard to get enough to drink.  Make a conscious effort to drink.  Camping out in the Trough or a bar and refilling cup after cup is the strategy we adopted.  I took art or a computer and set up at a table for 2 hours drinking tea.  Onshore, you cannot be cheap.  Buy drinks, especially if you are swimming in salt water.

  3. Speaking of tea, the tea on most cruises is awful.  In future, I plan to take squirt sugar-freer lemonade and teabags.

  4. Never snorkel without eye drops in the kit.

  5. Do not bother to eat the lunch included in shore excursions.  Pack fruit, cheese and bread from your Trough breakfast.  Buy drinks.

  6. Always pack a goodly number of sandwich-size zipper baggies, for lunches and beach combing.  I collect sand from all my trips as well as a few shells, beach glass, etc.  (Be aware that if you do collect anything, it will be damp and should be left in the baggie open until the end of the cruise.)

  7. Apply sunscreen early and often.  The spray kind is much easier to deal with on the beach; pump spray rather than aerosol is best.  It’s up to you what level of protection, but if you’re in the tropics in winter, your skin is not ready for the intensity of the sun.  Take a tee-shirt or rash guard shirt; aloe burn cream is also a good idea.

  8. I pack 2 swimsuits.  Not only is this fun and lavish, but one can be drying while you wear the second.  Of course, they never really get dry, even hanging on the chairs on the balcony, but it’s less clammy at least.  Do not, however, bother to bring more than one coverup.  (It makes no sense to put on something clean if you’re beaching / swimming each day.  It’s another thing if you’re going to town, not the beach.)

  9. Pack your suitcase and then take out half.  If you're doing a lot of touring, you'll need clothes.  If you're doing the beach, fewer clothes.  It is lot of fun to bring something fancy, but everyday clothes can be held to a minimum.  However, you do need several pair of shoes: closed toes if you are going walking on an excursion (Behind the Scenes Ship Tour and Blue Holes tours require them); flip flops or beach shoes and nice shoes for formal nights.

  10. Pack plenty of toys for sea days.  The key to enjoying sea days is to be prepared.  Unless you like to drink and gamble, or play games with strangers, sea days can be a challenge.  I am into arts and crafts.  Ron is lost without a computer.   We usually indulge in a cabin with a balcony and spend the sea days playing and napping.  (But this is how you get dehydrated, without realizing it.)  We also bring ebooks and computer games.  The key is to have enough variety of things to do; and, if you are prone to seasickness, you might need to lie down doing them.  Gaming and reading might be nauseating, so be prepared with movies or TV shows. There is seldom  much to watch on ship's TV.  Motion sickness medicine often makes you drowsy and you might lose many hours napping.  Do not be upset about this!  Count it as part of your vacation and relax.

  11. Shows on the ship are always too loud, so bring ear plugs.  Shows vary a lot in quality, with some producers thinking volume can overcome lack of talent.  Still, the shows can be great fun and usually end a day nicely.  Often, there are 2 shows per evening, to follow early and late dining.

  12. Early / Late Dining vs "Your Own Time".  There are advantages to both.  With set-time dining you are seated at a table with 4-6 strangers with whom you can converse.  The service tends to be better.  With "Your Own Time" dining, you are usually seated with your own party, and will be seated in different places around the room.  This is nice for ogling other diners, but if you get tired of your cabin-mates’ conversation, you’ll be silent a lot.  [The dining room is loud, so conversation is a challenge in either case.]  Service can be painfully slow. with "Your Own Time" dining.

  13. Trough dining.  The Trough is good for breakfast and lunch.  Cruise ships are getting into small specialized restaurants, with different opening times.  There might be a pizza joint, hamburger place, Mexican, as well as extra cost dining options, like a steakhouse or sushi bar.  The only time I have ever paid extra for a meal on a cruise was when Ron and I went to The Chef’s Table, a very expensive multi-course meal with the head chef at the head of the table.  This was quite wonderful, and we are not even foodies.

  14. Take a walk around the ship.  Enjoy the decor, nooks and crannies, and games like ping-pong and putt-putt.  (Such games are truly pointless when the ship heaves and wallows.. therefore hilarious.)

  15. I have yet to try an onboard water park.  I must be too old.  You have to climb a lot to get to the top of the slide.  Pools are often too chlorinated to be enjoyable.  Hot tubs are usually very crowded.  But this is my personal hang up.

  16. Cruises often include evening movies on the pool deck.  Looks like great fun, seldom crowded, but the just haven’t shown anything I cared about seeing.

When it comes to booking shore excursions, there is a lot that goes into your choice.  Price, of course, but also value for money.  Some people arrange their own tours without going through the ship's excursions staff; I have never done this, because the ship usually guarantees that they will not sail without you if you book one of their tours.  We have had great times just walking from the ship around the port and have also been delighted with guided tours.  I find that it really pays to spend a lot of time making these choices.  The cost of a good guide book is paltry compared with a bad tour experience.

Any questions?

A VISIT TO THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851

My parents began to travel to England every year when I went to college.  My dad loved to travel and my. Mother loved England.  After I was married to Ron Buckles for 3 years, we managed to have enough money to accompany my parents on one of their trips.  We did the basics and they did their own thing, but we often dined together.  In addition to Whitley Court, a small mom&pop restaurant serving British fare and breakfast anytime, my parents also showed us the local food market for fruit and “American walnuts! (what we call English walnuts!).  But this day we four went together by underground to the outskirts of London, aka the City.  Here is a vintage piece from my father.

A VISIT TO THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851

In London, the Beth al Green Museum is an example of prefabricated cast iron and glass construction which was used for the Great Exhibition of 1851 (The Crystal Palace, which was the first World’s Fair.). This building was built in 1856 near the present site of the Victoria & Albert Museum as a temporary museum, but as the permanent building neared completion, it was taken apart, moved to Bethnal Green, and part together again on the present site, northeast of the City.  On the new site it was encased in brick and some slate was used on the roof.  On the outside the effect is much like any other brick building, but on the inside, the “modular” nature of the construction in 24 foot square sections with cast iron posts and beams, makes it easy to see how the Crystal Palace was constructed using as many “modules” or units as needed to get the enormous size.  The Crystal Palace was moved in a similar manner after the Great Exhibition and lasted until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire.

Bethnal Green Museum in 2019

         

In this museum, still a branch of the Victoria & Albert, the structure itself is one of the exhibits.  That was enough for me.  For Carol and Shirley, there were exhibits of doll houses, dolls and other old toys.  For Ron there was t he exhibit of Samurai swords and Japanese armor.  With all these attractions, we just had to visit it.

             In my aimless wandering over the whole place to inspect the bolted construction, I came upon glass cases filled with female figures dressed in dresses of olden times, in fact, the costume collection.  The eerie thought entered my head: “If these ladies are visiting the Great Exhibition today, I might as well do so too.”  So I set out to see the “wonderful manufactures of all nations.”  Soon I came upon a sideboard if elaborate design and nearby another not quite so fancy.  Alongside one were a couple of intricately carved and upholstered dining room chairs.  My Art Journal Illustrated Catalog described these sideboards as “Bookcases.”  Each was about 12 feet long and maybe 8 feet high.  The one made by M.M. Leister of Austria was given as a present from the Emperor of Austria to our Good Queen Victoria.  This one looked like a castle with very many towers and steeples of wood decorating the top.  The other less elaborate sideboard was not as high or as long, but still much too large for most village houses.

            As I moved along, continuing to inspect the Exhibition, I found things that didn’t fit.  The spell was broken and I was jerked back to 1974 from my little trip in time.
—Herbert J. Kerr