To celebrate Halloween or not?

Several years ago I had to make a choice between following God and celebrating Halloween. I had an opportunity to go to Cursillo, but it was the same weekend as the annual Halloween party.  I chose Cursillo, and it made a huge difference in my life.  While I have been to subsequent parties, I really am wondering about it this year.

I am part of a social group that really likes Halloween. And when I say really like it, I mean that they decorate their homes for Halloween every day of the year. They eat sleep and breathe Halloween.

Don’t get me wrong – I like October and the crisp fall air the same as anyone else. I love free candy and I love the idea of costumes. But every year I have to start thinking to myself is this really the best way to show that I am a Christ follower?

Some of the people in the group are starting to discover the darker side of their hobby. They’re constantly getting sick and having to go to the emergency room. The husband is constantly being attacked by wasps. He could lose his life because of these little tiny things because he is so allergic. I think the same thing is true of his love for Halloween. Something that he sees as small and innocuous is leading towards death. The wife is now having nightmares and believes there is a poltergeist in their home.

The devil can’t bite you if you’re not playing with his tail.

The Bible tells us that every day we have a choice between life and death. We are asked to choose life, but it is a choice.

In the Hebrew scriptures God tells Israel repeatedly to make themselves holy because he is holy. They must purge the iniquity for among them. They must separate themselves out in order to remain a distinct and distinguished people. They are not to take up the habits or worship the idols or follow the traditions of the communities that they stay in. Then Jesus comes along and associates with the outcasts. Jesus does not advocate that we spend our lives separate from everyone else.  Jesus identifies with those who are lost or broken, those who are unable to connect. Jesus touches lepers and heals them. He heals people by including them.

So as Christians can we go to Halloween parties or not? Will it be an opportunity to minister to people who are lost?  Or will we “catch” their sickness?

The apostle Paul says that there is no harm to us in eating food sacrificed to idols.  But he does point out that it might cause harm to new believers.  They might get the wrong impression from our actions.

The party this year was called “Doc Satan’s Halloween Hoedown”.  That alone made me think twice.  Is that something I should associate myself with? Jesus can return at any time.  I like to think of this as a very serious version of “Musical Chairs”.  When the music stops – what are you doing?

I have gone to their Halloween parties in the past, and I thought of that group as my friends, but then I realized that they don’t invite me to their dinner parties on their trips.  They never comment or even “like” my Facebook posts.

I kind of feel like I’m getting sober, and seeing who my friends really are. I’m also feeling like it is time to stand up for what I believe in.

I thought about the bare minimum idea of how to celebrate Halloween – that giving candy out is symbolic of appeasing the evil spirits. And yet, to even do that is to say they have power, when the only Power that exists is God.

I appreciate Dia de los Muertos and All Saint’s day. I like what they stand for – of remembering loved ones who have died.  These celebrations are about remembering a life, rather than celebrating death.  They are more like a family reunion.

I decided not to go to the party, and when I saw the pictures of the male host dressed as Baphomet, I knew I had made the right decision.  It isn’t a fun little costume party when you dress up as a demon.

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This decoration was at the party.  Is this healthy to associate with?

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This Scripture is important – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When you know better, do better.

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Return, not repent

I frequently drive by this train trestle on my way to centering prayer. I finally decided to take the time to stop and photograph it. This required that I drive past it and park at the entrance to a neighborhood and walk back.  There is no shoulder to the bridge I stood on so I had to be very mindful of traffic, and pray they would notice me.  I had not planned to do this so I wasn’t wearing bright clothing.  Army green is a neutral in my world.

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I admire the effort required to write this, and I love the colors and font. The word on it – repent – is problematic. The English word “Repent” has such weight. The original Hebrew word is “tshuvah”, which means “to return”. It isn’t about “paying for your sins” but turning away from them and walking towards life. Every moment of every day we have a choice – to choose life or choose death. And every time we make an unhealthy choice, we get the opportunity once again to turn around and get going in the right direction again. It isn’t about penance at all.

Consider when the Psalmist says in Psalm 103:12 –

“As far as the east is from the west / So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

– that the distance from east and west is simply a matter of direction, instead of distance.  If you are walking east, all you have to do to walk west is turn around.

God doesn’t care how far you are along the path of life – just as long as you are walking along it.  God cares which direction you are pointed.

When you notice that you’ve gotten turned around and are headed in the wrong direction (this is part of being human and happens to all of us) then all you have to do is turn back around towards Light and Life and the Lord.

Hidden pictures

You know those picture books where you’re supposed to find a hidden picture? There may be an elephant or a rabbit or even a cartoon character hidden within the picture. You know that you’re supposed to spend some time really looking deeply into this picture to see what is hidden there for you. Otherwise you’d pass right over it after just a glance.

What if life is like that? What if everything is a hidden picture and we’re supposed to slow down and look very carefully?

I like to think of that with God. I like to think that God is hidden within everything and that if we just look really hard will see God hiding in plain sight right front of us. Just like with those pictures. The elephant or the rabbit or the cartoon character was always there. We didn’t have to uncover anything. We just had to slow down and take the time to look, and the only reason we knew to do that was because of the title of the picture. It was there all along.

Try this with everything. Try looking for the hidden – this hidden beauty in everything. I promise that you will see amazing things.

A new era

Did the world end on September 23rd, as some had predicted? Obviously not – or has it? Was it the end of an era, and a time for a new one? Have we entered a different age?

I have noticed interesting bands of light in the sky since the evening where Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) started. Then I noticed different pictures from friends from all around the world in the week before that. The sky looks different – like God is using the sky to get our attention, that a time of change is upon us.

L. Banks took these photos at Rev. Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens on 9-16-17

T. Fishel took this photo in Africa 9-17-17

I took this on 9-20-17 – Rosh Hashanah is about to begin.

These were taken by me on 9-23-17 in St. Meinrad, Indiana

The light seems different – otherworldly. Do all these pictures simply show lens flares, or crepuscular rays? Maybe. But they also might call us to be awake and to turn towards God, and that is a good thing.

What does Jesus say about that time? When asked by his disciples, he replied in Luke 21:8-28. Read this all carefully. All these things have not happened yet.

8 Then He said, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. Indeed, these things must take place first, but the end won’t come right away.”

10 Then He told them: “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for you to witness.14 Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of My name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance gain your lives.

20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. 26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”

Pay special attention to verse 9, where he tells us “don’t be alarmed” and in verse 28, that we are to “stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”

Indeed, we shouldn’t be worried – but we should be mindful. Because Jesus goes on to say in verses 34-36 –

34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

In the end times God will decide between what is good and what is wrong – what is bearing fruit of the Spirit and what does not. Meanwhile, we have to be mindful and make good choices. Our decisions will affect what happens to us. It isn’t our religious practice that will save us. God doesn’t care how many times you go to church if you don’t learn the message and act upon it. You have to treat everyone with kindness and generosity and compassion – forgiving them constantly.

(All Bible translations are HCSB)

Written in stone

This quote from Psalms was engraved in stone over the entrance to St. Bede hall at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana.

written in stone KMassa

It says “I will bless the lord, who hath given to me understanding.” – Psalm 15.7

I like reading Bible quotes in context, so I went to look this up. However, there was a problem.
There is no Psalm 15:7. Psalm 15 stops at verse 5. So it isn’t even a numbering issue. Christians often number the Psalms differently, as well as change up the order of the books of the Bible from what is in the Hebrew Scriptures. Why this is done is a topic for another post, another day. But this wasn’t the issue in this case.

It reference has to be to Psalms 16:7, but only one translation says “understanding” – most say “counsel”.

It was the Douay-Rhiems translation that said “understanding”. No other one has that word, so I don’t think it is accurate. I did more research.

According to Wikipedia, “The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church.” It dates from 1582.

The translation is from a translation – so it is already suspect. You want to go to the original. You’ll always lose something in translation – especially from Hebrew which has so many layers.

So the only thing wrong on this is the citation, in terms of the stonecarver. I’m sure he was going by what he knew to be correct. It – however, is wrong. Should I tell them?  I have a strong suspicion that they wouldn’t care what a non-Catholic, and especially a  woman, has to say about this.

 

This discovery calls the phrase “written in stone” into question.  It implies that something is permanent and trustworthy.   And yet we see here that nothing should be left without examination.  We cheat ourselves when we accept everything at face value.  We need to use the minds that God gave us to dig deeply and learn truth.

 

I didn’t have a copy of the Psalms in Hebrew, so I looked up the word “counsel” in my Hebrew dictionary. The word is a verb and a noun, and has a slightly different form for each. I went with the verb, as that is how it is used in all of the other translations. I would look up “understanding” if I didn’t get anywhere with “counsel”.

Strong’s says the word is used in Psalm 16:7, so I could stop there.

The Lord gives us counsel, not understanding.  We are not ever able to truly understand anything, being limited as we are as mortal beings.  “Counsel” makes far more sense as a word, as Jesus tells his disciples that he will send the Counselor (also known as the Holy Spirit) to them, to instruct them in new ways. There were things he wanted to tell them that they were not ready to hear at that time. He wanted to make sure that they would be guided into truth after he was no longer with them.

John 16:5-13
5 “But now I am going away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.8 When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

Isaiah 11:1-3
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;…

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

 

Here are some various translations from Psalm 16:7, copied from Bible Hub – –
New International Version
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

New Living Translation
I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.

English Standard Version
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

New American Standard Bible
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

King James Bible
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I will praise the LORD who counsels me– even at night my conscience instructs me.

International Standard Version
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my conscience instructs me during the night.

NET Bible
I will praise the LORD who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn.

New Heart English Bible
I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I shall bless Lord Jehovah who counsels me and my kidneys teach me in the nights.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
I will praise the LORD, who advises me. My conscience warns me at night.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel; Yea, in the night seasons my reins instruct me.

New American Standard 1977
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I will bless the LORD, who gives me counsel: my kidneys also instruct me in the night seasons.

King James 2000 Bible
I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel: my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

American King James Version
I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

American Standard Version
I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel; Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me understanding: moreover my reins also have corrected me even till night.

Darby Bible Translation
I will bless Jehovah, who giveth me counsel; even in the nights my reins instruct me.

English Revised Version
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: yea, my reins instruct me in the night seasons.

Webster’s Bible Translation
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night season.

World English Bible
I will bless Yahweh, who has given me counsel. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.

Young’s Literal Translation
I bless Jehovah who hath counselled me; Also in the nights my reins instruct me.

Selah

The word “selah” is comprised of the Hebrew letters
Samech סֶ֫
Lamed לָ
Hey ה

So many translations say “Selah” is an unknown Hebrew word, possibly giving a musical notation, as it is most often used in Psalms. This makes sense, as they were meant to be sung.

However, Hebrew is pretty simple if you know that the letters are essentially pictograms – and the “images” spell out a simple sentence. Each word has its meaning within the letters themselves.

“Samech” means a prop – support, or turn. It can also refer to Satan / snake
It is a time to stop and check your path. Are you heading in the right direction? It is a warning and a chance to reform – re direct your path. Are you walking towards God? Are you walking with Jesus? Or are you following your own ideas?

“Lamed” means cattle goad, staff. Symbolically it means prod, go toward, toungue. It is the prodding stick used to move an ox. Sometimes we are like that ox and need a strong stick to get us going in the right direction.

“Hey” is a window or fence. It refers to revelation, to perceive. It is also the definite article “The”. It reminds us of THE God – not a god. It is sometimes used as a shorthand for referring to the Name of God. “Hey” is a way of focusing your attention – of keeping out what will distract you, lead you astray. Praise God the God the one, in silence and all. Turn from your own understanding. Awaken and turn towards life.

You praise God by taking this time to think about what you just heard. Inwardly digest it. Let it reorient you.

Be silent, and listen in your heart to the Words you just heard.

Stop – and praise God by meditating upon his Word.

Be still and know that I AM God.

It is like how Jesus would say “He who has ears to hear should hear.”

Essentially it means to give praise to God by being silent and contemplating what you have just heard in the Word. Your praise is not one of noise, but a contemplative silence.

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.