The heart of a father

“My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands;” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:1‬


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Songs of Ascents (15) – By night!

Psalm 134

Call to Evening Worship

A song of ascents.

1 Now praise the Lord,
all you servants of the Lord
who stand in the Lord’s house at night!
2 Lift up your hands in the holy place
and praise the Lord!
3 May the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.

To be honest, I am not standing although it still is the night hour! While lying in bed, even with a heavy heart about the fact that there is no ‘Praise in the Lord’s House’ in the near distance, I am typing this post!!

It does not sound right, the fact that the passion can so easily fade and get substituted with the ‘justified’ excuses!
As the verse of the day showed up while I turned to my Bible app, it helped me even to not make it this glorious end of the ‘Songs of Ascents’ series!
Better an open reprimand than concealed love. The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭5-6‬ HCSB)

Please read this article:
Set Apart Motherhood | PART FIVE | Choosing True Fulfillment Over Temporal Distractions

https://setapartmotherhood.com/

Just a little part as I suggest you to read the whole article!

From that time forward, we began to experience the words of Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Turning to the counterfeit pleasures of the culture had only brought us temporary distraction. But when we learned how to turn to the right Source for our strength, refueling, and refreshment, we gained a joy that was both real and lasting. It’s not that I’ve never watched a movie or read a novel since that season of shifting my focus. But my approach is far different than it used to be. I’ve learned not to turn to worldly entertainment to find the rest, joy, peace, rejuvenation, and fulfillment my soul needs. I have come to realize that the only place where I can find those things is at the feet of Jesus. If I turn elsewhere for comfort, I’m settling for a cheap counterfeit of the soul-level satisfaction that Jesus desires to give me.

To close down:
And even the confirmation in your heart about this truth and the upcoming thought: “This is so right”, is just a lazy substitute for “standing in the House of The Lord at night”!


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Songs of Ascents (14) – The Art of Dwelling

Psalm 133

Living in Unity

A Davidic song of ascents.

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell together in unity!
It is like fine oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down Aaron’s beard
onto his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
falling on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord has appointed the blessing—
life forevermore.

Hermon: The tallest mountain in the region, noted for its abundant precipitation.

133bluewide

Out of all the chapters and verses of the Bible, I can honestly say, that this is my absolute favourite in the category of LIFE and FELLOWSHIP! In the same time it is the Psalm that gave me the most sadness in the misunderstanding of church and brothers and life. The absence of it speaks even more than the presence.
I have learned, that like tact (skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues), dwelling only is noticed when it is absent!
People come and it creates expectations and, through experience, you have learned that the hardest part of life is the part where we practice the DWELLING TOGETHER! We have even created environments that represent our interpretations of fellowship! Visiting is something totally different than dwelling, living together, living from each others presence! But still, the promise that is included in the Psalm is that THAT is the place of God’s appointed blessings and His Eternal Life!
And then there is this new wonderful development happening all over the world where young people ‘hang-out’ just for the sake of hanging out together. They start singing, talking, sharing and with the passion to (re)connect, they create those new environments that reflects their longing for real life!
I was thinking of the concernment from the older generation, reflected in Haggai 2:
Encouragement and Promise
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through Haggai the prophet: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and to the remnant of the people: 3 Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing to you?, 4 Even so, be strong, Zerubbabel” — this is the LORD’s declaration. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land” — this is the LORD’s declaration. “Work! For I am with you” — the declaration of the LORD of Hosts. 5 “This is the promise I made to you when you came out of Egypt, and My Spirit is present among you; don’t be afraid.”
6 For the LORD of Hosts says this: “Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations so that the treasures of all the nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the LORD of Hosts. 8 “The silver and gold belong to Me” — this is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts. 9 “The final glory of this house will be greater than the first,” says the LORD of Hosts. “I will provide peace in this place” — this is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts.
What a great word, what a beautiful encouragement to continue seeking the dwelling, together as a representation of the New House, the New Environment for His Presence!
Please watch this wonderful example:


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Songs of Ascents (13) – Resting Place

Psalm 132

David and Zion Chosen

A song of ascents.

Lord, remember David
and all the hardships he endured,
and how he swore an oath to the Lord,
making a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
I will not allow my eyes to sleep
or my eyelids to slumber
until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

We heard of the ark in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us go to His dwelling place;
let us worship at His footstool.
Rise up, Lord, come to Your resting place,
You and Your powerful ark.
May Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and may Your godly people shout for joy.
10 Because of Your servant David,
do not reject Your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore an oath to David,
a promise He will not abandon:
“I will set one of your descendants
on your throne.
12 If your sons keep My covenant
and My decrees that I will teach them,
their sons will also sit on your throne forever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His home:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
I will make My home here
because I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless its food;
I will satisfy its needy with bread.
16 I will clothe its priests with salvation,
and its godly people will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn grow for David;
I have prepared a lamp for My anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but the crown he wears will be glorious.”

This is My resting place forever; I will make My home here because I have desired it.
So, the news is all about a world that has destroyed and is destroying even more the places of old that remember us about  the existence of God! By now, all the forces are joined together to get ride of the physical expression of Christianity and of the Root of it: Israel! The anger that is in the heart of those who represent the violence of Islam is mostly the same as that from those in the gay community. Laws are designed to limit or eliminate the way we Worship our God! With a forceable effort, society is ‘freeing’ itself from the laws and values that stood for ‘the fear of the Lord’!
This is a war beyond understanding and while many still live in the ignorance, other are thinking: How did this happen?
I hope, by now, that we understand that this is beyond Islam and gay communities and communism or whatever manmade ‘weapon’, but that is the clash between darkness and Light, between the God of Heaven and the demonic forces. It is a battle between ruling the minds of the people or declaring freedom! It makes clear more than ever that religion, rules, weapons, prisons, laws and sectarian thinking are all from the same pitt of hell!

The great thing of course that we know the outcome and the Light will always win from darkness!

So, what is our answer?
“I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
I will not allow my eyes to sleep
or my eyelids to slumber
until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
And where better can we do it, than in the place of our authority: Our Houses!


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Songs of Ascents (12) – A Childlike Spirit

Psalm 131

A Childlike Spirit

A Davidic song of ascents.

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.

And just for the record, I did not write this Psalm!
I can easily get involved in things that are too great or too difficult for me and I still have to deal with the proud heart and the haughty eyes! I have to calm and quiet myself constantly when the pressure gets too high and the battle is so intense!
But, I can say with an honest heart, in the midst of all those errors, my Hope is only, but only on the Lord while my spirit deals with the movements of my soul!

My deepest longing, besides the great visions that I carry and pursue is, to be like a little child, and to fully live with the Childlike Spirit!


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Songs of Ascents (11) – Traveling together

Psalm 130

Awaiting Redemption

Songs of Ascents

1 Out of the depths I call to You, Yahweh!
2 Lord, listen to my voice;
let Your ears be attentive
to my cry for help.

3 Yahweh, if You considered sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with You there is forgiveness,
so that You may be revered.

5 I wait for Yahweh; I wait
and put my hope in His word.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning—
more than watchmen for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord.
For there is faithful love with the Lord,
and with Him is redemption in abundance.
8 And He will redeem Israel
from all its sins.

Do not forget the scene…. The Ascents traveling together singing the songs!

And then, suddenly there is this awareness: What are we doing? What were we thinking? Going up to the House of the most High, with all the errors of the past month?
So in the midst of this enthusiastic journey there is this full stop! Do I qualify, can I stand before the Lord, will He forgive and redeem?
I can image the scene where the people, in groups, travel and where the one doubts and gives words to that, through breaking his inner silence, someone reacts with the encouragement: For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with Him is redemption in abundance.

Traveling together holds the beauty of comfort, strength, encouragement and… Arriving together!


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Songs of Ascents (10) – Blessings on the Chosen

Psalm 129

Protection of the Oppressed

A song of ascents.

1 Since my youth they have often attacked me—
let Israel say—
2 Since my youth they have often attacked me,
but they have not prevailed against me.
3 Plowmen plowed over my back;
they made their furrows long.
4 The Lord is righteous;
He has cut the ropes of the wicked.

5 Let all who hate Zion
be driven back in disgrace.
6 Let them be like grass on the rooftops,
which withers before it grows up[a]
7 and can’t even fill the hands of the reaper
or the arms of the one who binds sheaves.
8 Then none who pass by will say,
“May the Lord’s blessing be on you.”

We bless you in the name of Yahweh.

The only thing I want to add to the Psalm today is the title they choose by the translaters. To me, this is not a psalm about the oppressed, as much as there is a protection for those who experience oppresion!
To me, this is a Psalm about the elected, the chosen ones, the set apart as the Psalmist declares: Since my youth they have attacked me…!
When God set you apart, hell breaks loose and comes agains the Zion’ dwellers!
But, whatever they try, their seed will not grow on the rooftop and it will not becomes harvest in the arms of the ‘reapers’!


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Songs of Ascents – Reflection

So far, 9 amazing Psalms with the understanding that each of these Psalms is a song, sang by the thousands, going to the House of the Lord!

And this day many go up, in silence, after arguments or even having arguments or closed hearts.

It are those songs -sang on the way to, not in the House of the Lord- that prepared the people of God for the ‘entering the House‘ with the right attitude as they sang the songs and with it ‘formed’ the people. Alining the hearts by corporate singing! Reminding, remembering, correcting false motives, so when they entered the Temple, the sacrifice was pure and effective!

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Songs of Ascents (9) – Fearing God

Psalm 128

Blessings for Those Who Fear God

A song of ascents.

How happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in His ways!
You will surely eat
what your hands have worked for.
You will be happy,
and it will go well for you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house,
your sons, like young olive trees
around your table.
In this very way
the man who fears the Lord
will be blessed.

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Songs of Ascents (8) – Building the House

Psalm 127

The Blessing of the Lord

A Solomonic song of ascents.

1 Unless the Lord builds a house,
its builders labor over it in vain;
unless the Lord watches over a city,
the watchman stays alert in vain.

In Vain

2 In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food—
yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.

3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
children, a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
Such men will never be put to shame
when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

Some of My thoughts

So when we ask ourself: How come we don’t see results, how come they still attack and conquer, how come there is still lack? The legal, obvious question would be: Who is Building Your House? Who watches over The City?

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Songs of Ascents (7) – The Lord Restores

Psalm 126

Zion’s Restoration

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like watercourses in the Negev.

Those who sow in tears
will reap with shouts of joy.

…reap with shouts of joy!

Though one goes along weeping,
carrying the bag of seed,
he will surely come back with shouts of joy,
carrying his sheaves.

So, how does the Lord restore? What process can we observe to see Him working on the Restoration. How come they saw it, recognised it and start laughing out load!

And the result?
It was noticed by the nations and the said: “The Lord has done great things for them.”!

So, our focus is…? Restoration in a way we can never ever make it happen so the world has to acknowledge that He is God!

Watching the sharing of Wendy Alec on GodTV, the vulnerability of her personal life, the sowing of tears and even in the process, the prospect of harvest, we cried with her and in the same time (with the anger against the principalities) we knew this is bigger than just personal sorrow. This was a potential: Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”!


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Songs of Ascents (6) – Unshakable

Psalm 125

Israel’s Stability

Jerusalem_Hills

A song of ascents.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.
It cannot be shaken; it remains forever.
Jerusalem—the mountains surround her.
And the Lord surrounds His people,
both now and forever.

The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous will not apply their hands to injustice.
Do what is good, Lord, to the good,
to those whose hearts are upright.

Do what is good, Lord,

But as for those who turn aside to crooked ways,
the Lord will banish them with the evildoers.

Peace be with Israel.

So, where is the foundation, the assurance of PEACE?
Not in numbers, not in reasoning, not in allies, not in elections, not in negotiations, not in United Nations, not in ‘the majority thinks’ or in Marching for Truth or whatever…

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Songs of Ascents (5) – Sound of the Day

Psalm 124

The Lord Is on Our Side

A Davidic song of ascents.

If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
If the Lord had not been on our side
when men attacked us,

when men attacked us

then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us.

in their burning anger against us

Then the waters would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us;
the raging waters would have swept over us.

Praise the Lord,
who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net;
the net is torn, and we have escaped.

the net is torn, and we have escaped

Our help is in the name of Yahweh,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

In the midst of the turmoil of this world, where the tide is turning and “the burning anger” becomes more visible everyday, the Songs of The Ascents is like a Sound of the Day!

For me, the greatest truth in these Psalms is that in no way, David and his people become a victims!
Each one of these Psalms are about analysing their reality, reviewing their identity and moving forward to their Destiny!


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Songs of Ascents (4) – God’s Favor

Psalm 123

Looking for God’s Favor

A song of ascents.

1 I lift my eyes to You,
the One enthroned in heaven.
2 Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand,
like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand,
so our eyes are on the Lord our God
until He shows us favor.
3 Show us favor, Lord, show us favor,
for we’ve had more than enough contempt.
4 We’ve had more than enough
scorn from the arrogant
and contempt from the proud.

Just an extra word as my heart reacts on the title “Looking for God’s Favor”! As we stood there in this wonderful office like every Monday morning, overlooking our beautiful Lake Vättern, the prayer was about Favor, about moving forward, about being blessed for the sake of!
Having enough of the contempt, the feeling of beneath worthiness, as we see the company where we have our weekly prayer of great worth in His eyes. While pushing on, moving forwards with declaring, proclaiming prayers, we were experiencing a Favor moving in, a Yes from above and then I remembered that Psalm 123 was next in line.

Show us favor Lord, show us favor! Just for the sake of a City, a nation, Your Kingdom!

Please be encouraged today with the Favor of The Lord…


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Songs of Ascents (3) – Prayer for Jerusalem

Psalm 122

A Prayer for Jerusalem

A Davidic song of ascents.

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
within your gates, Jerusalem—

Jerusalem, built as a city should be,
solidly joined together,
where the tribes, Yahweh’s tribes, go up
to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.
(This is an ordinance for Israel.)
There, thrones for judgment are placed,
thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you prosper;
may there be peace within your walls,
prosperity within your fortresses.”
Because of my brothers and friends,
I will say, “Peace be with you.”
Because of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.


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Songs of Ascents (2) – Toward the Mountains

seven-sisters2

Psalm 121

The Lord Our Protector

A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.

The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Song of Ascents is a title given to fifteen of the Psalms, 120–134 (119–133 in the Septuagint and the Vulgate), that each starts with the ascription Shir Hama’aloth (Hebrew: שִׁיר המַעֲלוֹת‎, meaning “Song of Ascents”). They are also variously called Gradual Psalms, Songs of Degrees,Songs of Steps or Pilgrim Songs.

About the picture: The Seven Sisters, part of the Holyoke Range and located within the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts, are a series of basalt ridgeline knobs between Mount Holyoke and Mount Hitchcock (there are actually more than seven distinct peaks). The knobs offer scenic clifftop views interspersed with oak savanna woodlands. The highest “sister” has an elevation of 945 ft (288 m) and stands 800 ft (244 m) above the valley below.


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Songs of Ascents (1) – A Cry for Truth and Peace

ascent |əˈsɛnt|noun [ usu. in sing. ]
a climb or walk to the summit of a mountain or hill.
• an upward slope or path that one may walk or climb.
an instance of rising or moving up through the air.
• a rise to a higher social or professional rank.

ascending

Psalm 120

A Cry for Truth and Peace

A song of ascents.

In my distress I called to the Lord,
and He answered me.
Lord, deliver me from lying lips
and a deceitful tongue.”

What will He give you,
and what will He do to you,
you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows
with burning charcoal!

What misery that I have stayed in Meshech,
that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
I have lived too long
with those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak,
they are for war.