Short quotes from Psalms

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 3:5-6

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Psalm 4:3

Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

4:8

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

5:11-12

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

 

7:10

My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.

7:17

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

8:9

Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

9:1-2

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

9:9

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

10:14

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.

11:7

For the Lord is righteous,

he loves justice;

the upright will see his face.

12:6

And the words of the Lord are flawless,

like silver purified in a crucible,

like gold  refined seven times.

13:5-6

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.

16:5

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

you make my lot secure.

16:11

You make known to me the path of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

17:6-9

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;

turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Show me the wonders of your great love,

you who save by your right hand

those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;

hide me in the shadow of your wings

from the wicked who are out to destroy me,

from my mortal enemies who surround me.

18:1-2

I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

18:6

In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.

18:16-19

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

18:28

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.

18:30

As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

19:1-2

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.

19:7-9

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

20:6-7

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

25:4-5

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

25:10

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

25:16-18

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.

26:8

Lord, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.

27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

27:4-5

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

27:13-14

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

28:6-7
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

29:1-2
Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

29:11
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

30:1-3
I will exalt you, LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 LORD my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

30:11-12
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

31:24
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

32:7
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

33:6
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

33:20-22
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

34:4-5
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

34:8
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

34:22
The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

35:28
My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long.

36:5-9
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

37:3
Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

37:23-24
The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

38:21-22
LORD, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior.

40:1-3
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.

41:13
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

42:8
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

42:11
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

47:1-2
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.

48:9
Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.

50:14-15
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

51:17
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

52:8-9
But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.

54:4
Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

55:16-18
As for me, I call to God,
and the LORD saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.

55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

56:3-4
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

57:1
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

57:5
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

57:9-10
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

59:16-17
But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.

60:12
With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.

61:1-4
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

62:1-2
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

63:1-4
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

64:10
The righteous will rejoice in the LORD
and take refuge in him;
all the upright in heart will glory in him!

65:4
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

65:5-8
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

66:1-2
Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.

66:8-9
Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.

66:16
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

66:20
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

68:3
But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

69:16
Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me.

69:34
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them…

70:4
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The LORD is great!”

70:5
But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
LORD, do not delay.

71:5-6
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.

71:14
As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.

72:12
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.

73:23-26
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

73:28
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

74:12-17
12 But God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.

77:13-15
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

80:3
Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

81:1-2
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2 Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.

84:1-2
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

84:10
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

84:12
12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

86:5-7
5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.

89:11
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it.

90:12
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

91:1-2
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

91:3-7
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

91:9-13
9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

92:4-5
For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, LORD,
how profound your thoughts!

93:4
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

94:14
For the LORD will not reject his people;
he will never forsake his inheritance.

94:16-19
16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17 Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.

95:1-2
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

95:6-7
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

97:1
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.

97:11-12
11 Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.

100 (all)
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

102:11-12
11 My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
12 But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever;
your renown endures through all generations.

102:18-20
18 Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the LORD:
19 “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high,
from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death.”

103:1
1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

103:8-12
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

104:24
24 How many are your works, LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

104:27-28
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

104:31-32
31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

105:4
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.

105:43
He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy…

106:2-3
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
3 Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.

107:4-9
4Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
6Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.

8Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
9for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

107:13-16
13Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
14He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
15Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

107:20
20He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.

107:29
29He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the seab were hushed.

108:3-4
3I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
4For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

108:13
13With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.

109:21-22
21But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.

109:30-31
30With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

111:2
2Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.

111:10
10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

112:1
1Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.

112:4
4Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

113:5-8
5Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.

115:14-15
14May the Lord cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
15May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

115:17-18
17It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
those who go down to the place of silence;
18it is we who extol the Lord,
both now and forevermore.
Praise the Lord.

116:1-9
1I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

118:5-6
5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

118:8
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.

118:13-14
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.

118:22-23
22The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

119:9-11
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

119:33-35
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

119:61
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.

119:71
71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.

119:132
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.

119:143
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.

120:1
I call on the Lord in my distress,
and he answers me.

121:1-2
1I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

121:7-8
7The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

124:8
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

126:3
3The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

126:5-6
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

127:1
1Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

130:3-4
3If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

133:1
1How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

134:2
2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.

138:3
3When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.

138:6-7
6Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.

139:13-14
13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

140:12
12I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor
and upholds the cause of the needy.

141:1-4
1I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
2May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
3Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.

142:3
3When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.

142:5
5I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

143:4-6
4So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.

145:8
8The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

145:13-14
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
14The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

145:18
18The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

145:21
21My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

146:5-9
5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

147:2-6
2The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.

All verses are NIV.

The last trip home.

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Fouad rode his bicycle to the souk every day, except Friday, of course. Then, if he had to, he walked, carrying just the essentials of his trade. All week long he sold gold jewelry that he had made, but on Fridays he only did repairs, and then only by appointment. Otherwise he was at the mosque along with most of the town. Sure, there were some who went early in the morning and were done for the day, but not Fouad. He spent all day there.

He wasn’t especially virtuous or vile. He just liked being there, seeing the men in their best djellebas, hearing the drone of the chanted prayers. He’d be there every day, all day long if he could, but the only way to do that would be to get paid by the mosque, and this mosque didn’t pay anybody. The imam wasn’t hired in his town and the imam wasn’t even a particularly noted scholar. It was whoever the congregation decided upon for the month. It was always a man who was learned, for sure, and respected, someone who was comfortable leading the congregation in the prayers.

They all knew the words and the postures, sure, but it was important to have someone set the pace. A prayer service was a lot like a musical performance. Every musician knows his part, but still needs a rhythm, a framework to rely upon for all of them to work together. For a band, that was the drummer. For a mosque, that was the imam. The imam set the pace, and his demeanor determined the experience. Some were nervous and went too fast, others were more hesitant and self-conscious and waited too long between movements. The mark of a leader was to be decisive, even if the decision was sometimes wrong. You could always fix it later but you had to have something to work with. Fear of making any decision at all was death.

Fouad had no worries about ever being picked as the imam. He was liked but nobody ever would mistake him for a leader. He could barely keep his own house together. It looked held together with twine and hopes. Everybody knew that leaders had something extra. They had more than enough. People who were just barely getting by weren’t leaders.

And then one day this all changed. It had been raining for a week by that point, and the roads were all but impassable with a thick mud that grabbed at the ankles. Most of the townspeople stayed home the whole week. Either the mud was too much to negotiate with or they were bailing water out of their first floor. Friday found only three people at the mosque – Fouad, and two old men who lived just two houses away. The men went to the services there every day to get out from under their wives. They learned early on in their marriages that it was best to give a wife some space every day or the household didn’t work as smoothly as you might hope.

The two men were so old that they could barely speak above a whisper, and they couldn’t even remember the order of the Salat if asked to recite it. They had performed the ritual movement so often that their bodies remembered them more than their minds. They both chose Fouad to be the imam for the day, and he agreed because, well, somebody had to do it, and it would be rude to refuse the request of your elders.

His performance was flawless. Every bow, every recitation, every note was impeccable. He enacted the role as if he was born to it. The two old men could hardly believe it. This was Fouad? Fouad the goldsmith who never said a word unless absolutely necessary? He was an untapped treasure! He wasn’t a diamond in the rough – he was already cut and polished, ready to be shown to those with the most discriminating tastes. And here! In their little town! It would never be the same.

And it wasn’t. After much explaining to the rest of the congregation once the roads improved, it was decided that they had to ask him to be the imam for a week as a trial. They had just as difficult a time believing it was true as the two old men – and they had heard for themselves! A week would be plenty of time to discern the truth of things. Maybe the old men were mistaken? Maybe it was a fluke? But they had to know.

It took a lot longer to convince Fouad. He was quite shy by nature, and very modest. This is part of why he was a goldsmith. Per Islamic law, he was only allowed to charge by the weight of the gold and not his artistry. He never had to worry about overinflating his prices because of the time and effort involved, or of underselling out of modesty. Charging by the gold’s weight meant he was just a middleman, getting to play with the magical metal in the meantime. Imagine if the Western art world did this with paintings. A paint-spattered piece like a Jackson Pollock would cost the same as a Rembrandt.

Another reason Fouad was hesitant was that he’d have to take a week off from selling his wares at the souk. He had no other source of income, but he’d saved his dirhams over the years. Yes. He could take a week off. It would be good practice to not worry about money for a while. He was serving Allah, after all, so who was he to worry about money? If he was following a true calling, the money would sort itself out.

The elders of the community were skeptical until they saw it for themselves. Even then, they were sure there couldn’t be a repeat performance. Every day for a week they were surprised. They decided that they must make a way for this hidden treasure to be their imam for as long as he would allow. Even though they’d never paid an imam before, they knew they’d have to do something different now in order to keep him.

There wasn’t enough money to have an actual salary, per se, but there was a way to cover his basic needs. Fortunately Fouad was a man of simple needs. They selected a corner storeroom inside the mosque to be his new home, and every day grateful congregation members brought him his meals. And as for his bicycle? He no longer needed it, so he rode it to his old ramshackle home and left it on the front stoop for anyone to borrow if they needed. That walk to the mosque was the last one he’d ever have to do from that direction, so he savored the sights.

 

(This story came about because my friend Doug S. posted this picture on his Facebook page.  Another friend commented “That’s strangely beautiful” to which he replied “Yeah, it’s kind of like a picture of a story that you haven’t been told yet.”  I commented “Maybe I can help with that…”  And so I did.  I asked him to give it a name without seeing the story I’d written.  It was a good name, but I had to adjust the end of the story a little to make it fit.)

God keeps me sober

I’ve known people who have mocked me for my religious practice.  Some have been coworkers. Some have even been friends.

What they don’t understand is that if it weren’t for God, I’d be still stuck in the hell that is addiction.  My religious practice helps me to remember that, to give thanks for that, and to keep connected with God to keep the healing happening. Recovery isn’t a one-time thing, but a daily (sometimes hourly) struggle.  You have to keep doing what you did to get sober, or you will quickly regress. If you aren’t going forward, you’re going to go backwards.  There is no staying still in sobriety.

I have a tattoo of Raphael the archangel on my calf as a testimony to how God has helped me.  When people ask about it, I tell them how Raphael’s name means “God has healed” and I tell them about what I’ve been through, and how God has pulled me out of it.  They don’t get it – they say that I did the work.  I tell them that it is God who gave me the strength to make it happen.

Part of my religious practice is to say blessings. There are hundreds of things to give thanks over according to Jewish practice.  Food is just one category.  There are blessings to be said upon seeing a rainbow, for hearing thunder, and even for buying new clothes.  There is a blessing for almost any kind of human experience you can think of. Some rabbis state that you should say 100 blessings a day, and while that may seem excessive, just being on the lookout for that many things to give thanks about is the best game of hide-and-seek you will ever play.

 

When I say a blessing,

I’m not blessing the food

(or the event).

I’m reminding myself

that I am blessed

to have the food

(or experience the event).

I’m reminding myself

of the One

who made it possible.

 

It is modern to talk about mindfulness.  Most people who practice mindfulness run as far away from religious practice as possible.  However, I say that you can’t beat saying 100 blessings a day for a mindfulness practice. Looking for things to be grateful about and to give thanks over to the One that gave these gifts to you helps keep depression at bay.

I leave you with a traditional Chassidic Jewish saying – “When a man suffers he ought not to say, ‘That’s bad!’ Nothing that God imposes on man is bad. But it is all right to say ‘That’s bitter!’ For among medicines there are some made with bitter herbs.” Attitude makes the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.  It is your choice.  And my choice is to have a religious practice to keep me on the right path.

Reap and sow

Jesus told his disciples that “You reap where others have sown” – but it is also true that you will sow where others will reap. You may never see the fruit of your efforts, but do them anyway.

Do not be jealous for fame or attention – it may never happen in your lifetime. Or at all. Do good deeds anyway. Do what God calls you to do without attachment to outcome. If God calls you to the task, it will reach fruition in God’s time – not yours. God is meant to be glorified – not you.

We may be “standing on the shoulders of giants” – but even giants have to stand on the earth. Be humble enough to be earth – to provide a stable footing, a sure foundation, for those who build after you.

Used-bookstore favorites

Here are some gems I’ve found at used bookstores –

A Late Phoenix  Aird, Catherine
Forbidden Sanctuary  Bowker, Richard

Web of Everywhere  Brunner, John

The Stardroppers  Brunner, John
New Writings in SF-7  Carnell, John

Under the Green Star  Carter, Lin

The Dreamstone   Cherryh, C.J. *
Childhood’s End  Clarke, Arthur C.

 
Spock, Messiah!  Cogswell, Theodore R.

Duende Meadow  Cook, Paul *

 
The Cloud Walker  Cooper, Edmund

Sea-Horse in the Sky Cooper, Edmund

Transit  Cooper, Edmund

The Overman Culture  Cooper, Edmund

 
A.I.s    Dann, Jack *

 

The Alchemist’s Pursuit   Duncan, Dave

Swimmers Beneath the Bright  Easton, M. Coleman
Iskiir  Easton, M. Coleman

Star-Anchored, Star-Angered  Elgin, Suzette Haden

The Stone God Awakens  Farmer, Philip José

The Unreasoning Mask  Farmer, Philip José

By the Time I Get to Nashville  Fenn, Lionel
Cyber Way  Foster, Alan Dean

Copernick’s Rebellion  Frankowski, Leo

Plainsong: A Thomas Dunne Book  Grabien, Deborah

Vengeance For A Lonely Man (Hawk & Fisher, #4)  Green, Simon R.

The Silver Bear (Silver Bear, #1)  Haas, Derek

The Mind Brothers  Heath, Peter

The Sleep Eaters  Lymington, John

The Seekers of Shar-Nuhn  Mayhar, Ardath

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld  McKillip, Patricia A.

A Place Beyond Man: The Archives of Varok  Neeper, Cary

Virtual Zen  Nelson, Ray Faraday
Protector (Known Space)  Niven, Larry

The Crystal Gryphon (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #5)  Norton, Andre

A Plague of Pythons  Pohl, Frederik
The Cool War  Pohl, Frederik

Stepfather Bank  Poyer, David

The Tears of the Singers  Snodgrass, Melinda M.

The People Beyond the Wall   Tall, Stephen

 

The blue door. Abandoned project #2

The door was locked. I expected nothing less. Every day for three months I’d tested this door, every day since I’d first noticed it. Why hadn’t I stepped down this alleyway before? What was it about that Tuesday in July that had made me take a different path? My walk to the university had been boring, predictable even, up until that day.

Had I even seen that alleyway before – really seen it? Certainly it had passed before my eyes, but just as certainly it had not passed before my mind.

A new path, once taken, changed the path-taker forever.

A part of me wanted to drink in every nook and cranny, every crease and crevice. I wanted it to stay new, stay fresh. I was wary of this new path becoming worn like my old one, so familiar and comfortable that I didn’t even see it anymore. Of becoming just a way to get somewhere, instead of a destination in and of itself.

But this door was different. I’d tested it unthinkingly that first afternoon because of the aromas wafting through the gaps created by a century of settling. I was certain it must be the gateway to the side courtyard of a restaurant. Only when the portal did not budge did I take the time to look for a sign on the wall. Finding none, I halted. If this was a home and not a restaurant, I should not persist.

The next day I chose to walk down that alleyway again, noticing even more than I had the day before. How much I had missed! Yet again I was drawn to this door. This time I could hear a child’s laughter and the sounds of a fountain. What treasures lay behind this ancient door? What Paradise was hidden just beyond these walls? To imagine that just a few inches of stone and stucco separated me from this treasure! A hand’s breadth away from the dirt and grime of this forgotten alley-street lay another world. I would have to check this door every day from now on until it yielded to me.

 

(The image is from Pinterest – copyright belongs to the photographer.)

The Pickers

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Charlie and Rex played together every day, but not like most. Little boys and mutts were usually fast friends, playing tag or chase or tug-of-war. But not these two. Charlie’s dad got him the banjo the same time he got him the dog. Sure, the banjo wasn’t child-sized. Mr. Jason Reinsch didn’t have enough money to buy something that Charlie would outgrow soon enough. So he got him an adult one at a used musical instrument store. He got Rex from what he liked to think of as the used dog store.

There were a lot of choices of instruments there – all castoffs from the hundreds of hopeful people who came to their city every month, trying to become the next big star. Trouble was that very few of them had much talent, and even fewer had the discipline to make anything of it. There were instruments in there that had been bought and sold a half-dozen times, all at a small profit to Zeke, the owner. He didn’t want to charge too much, but he had bills to pay the same as anybody else, so he did what he had to do.

Charlie had never met Zeke or anybody else in the music business before then, but things changed. Once word got out about his act with Rex, he met nearly everybody who was attached to the music business. It seemed like that was most of the town in one way or another. If they weren’t actual musicians, they were songwriters, or producers, or agents, or roadies, or fans. Everybody wanted to see Charlie and Rex play. It hadn’t been like that at the beginning.

Charlie first learned bluegrass songs because that was what his dad knew. Why try to pretend to be an expert in something you know nothing about? That was a sure path to ruin. No, best to stick with what you know and build up on that. It wasn’t long before he was picking out a passable rendition of such classics as “Muddy Road to Ducktown” and “Dream of a Miner’s Child”. The latter was especially well-received because he hammed it up with a little soot on his cheeks to play the part.

He wasn’t a miner’s child, of course, but there were some similarities. His dad, Jason, dug out precious gems in a way – he was a picker. He never could see a way to having a full-time job, even when he had a wife and five children to support. He was too independent for that. He wasn’t one to submit to a boss, especially one who thought he could tell Jason how to complete the task he’d never even personally tried. Why did so many businesses think it was a good idea to have a supervisor who was a stranger to the task at hand? He had bosses try to tell him what to do in his first couple of jobs, thought better of it, and decided that as soon as he could, he’d never have anybody above him

Times were sure lean when he was married with children. All those mouths to feed and backs to clothe! A few years ago his wife and the children had wanted a dog and he put his foot down. He couldn’t see clear to how that would even be possible. It was hard enough making do with the earnings he made from up-selling his finds to antique malls and consignment shops. Did they expect him to rent a booth at the flea market as well to pay for the dog’s needs? That was too much like what he was trying to avoid.

Spring left him and took four of the kids one afternoon to her sister’s house and never came back. Jason had taken Charlie to the hardware store to get some chicken wire. He had the idea that raising his own chickens would save a lot of money in the long run, what with not having to buy eggs or meat ever again. He didn’t know anything about raising chickens, but he hadn’t known anything about raising children either and hadn’t done too bad. Or so he thought.

Spring was fed up with his get-rich-quick schemes that always turned out to be get-poor-slow ones instead. He never gave up, which in some situations is an admirable trait. But sometimes it is good to know when the time has come to move on and let go.

Like now. Spring was through with his promises that never work fulfilled, his dreams that seemed more like nightmares. Without even leaving a note, she left. Sure, she missed Charlie, but four other children were plenty enough to keep up with, and Charlie had been Jason’s favorite after all.

Jason noticed the quiet first when he got home. It seemed so peaceful. He couldn’t ever remember a time when the house didn’t have at least some noise from some child banging on something or his wife complaining about something else. He then noticed why it was so quiet. It was just him and Charlie there. This was unusual for his wife to leave without saying anything.

He was so grateful for the quiet that he decided to take a nap right then and there in the middle of the day. The last time he’d done that he’d been in kindergarten. It was just as delicious and just as needed now. Jason decided he’d take a nap every day from now on out. This was yet another reason not having to work for “the man” was a great idea. He could nap anytime he felt like it.

What did Spring know anyway? Always whining at him about how he needed to grow up and be a man. What did she know about being a man? She wasn’t one. She had no idea how hard it was to carry all this responsibility. It was a miracle he hadn’t snapped like some guys did and started killing people. Mass murder and road rage came from the same root after all – unexpressed anger. Jason figured it was best to not get angry in the first place, so he avoided everything and everyone that made him angry. Well, except for his wife of course. He meant it when he said his vows. Divorce wasn’t an option in his mind, no matter how hard it got.

Things were easier now that it was just him and Charlie. Less to keep up with. Sure it was harder without Mary to keep on top of the household things, but he could manage. He did before he met her, didn’t he? If the dishes didn’t get washed for a week, who would it bother? It seemed a waste of time to have to do it so often. She was always nagging about every little thing. He was better off with her elsewhere. He kind of missed the other kids, but Charlie really was his favorite. This meant they got to spend more time together, undisturbed by everyone else.

Of course, with Mary gone, he had to keep up with Charlie all the time now. He was too young to leave alone at home, like you could with a dog. That was how Jason came up with the idea of getting a dog and teaching them both to sing for their supper. This way he could set them outside on the curb to perform while he was doing the grocery shopping. The home farm hadn’t yet taken off like he thought, so there were still carrots and broccoli and potatoes to buy. Even when his crop did come in, he’d still have to go get milk and fruit. No way was he going to raise a cow or fruit trees. Too much work, and Jason was all about putting in the least amount of effort. If he could get someone else to do the work for him, all the better.

Charlie took to the banjo like a duck takes to water, and Rex was happy to howl along. Jason hadn’t figured having him as part of the act but it was sure funny to see him crooning in more or less in the right pitch. His timing was a little off but practice would fix that. Plus, he soon realized, people weren’t as likely to call the authorities when they saw them together. It was as if they thought the dog was a suitable guardian for Charlie, little as he was. Alone, they thought he was abandoned or had wandered off and tended to call the police to check up on things. But the dog there? That was okay somehow and they let them be.

Jason was through trying to figure out why people thought and acted the way they did, so as long as things worked out in his favor. His wife leaving him was certainly working out, better than he’d ever expected. Not like he’d even imagine she’d leave. But he certainly wasn’t one to pass up a good thing that came his way. That was part of the picker mentality, after all.