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.

She came out of the forest.

she came out 3

She came out of the forest, laughing, singing. She was unafraid of the crowd that was waiting, unafraid now of their jeers and taunts. She’d gone in alone, afraid, untried. She emerged a month later, at the next new moon.

If you survived a month with no supplies, alone in that unmapped place, you were never taunted again. The people who called you scaredy-cat to your face or behind your back had a new name for you if you emerged, whole and intact a month later. Wisdom-woman, perhaps, or keeper of the flame. Seer. Prophet. There were many names to be had then.

Women and men both ventured into those woods to prove themselves. It wasn’t required, and it wasn’t expected. About half returned. About half of them that did were never able to speak again, never able to even feed themselves. They’d returned, but in body only.

The others who never walked out of the woods? Forgotten. Their names were never mentioned again. Did they die? Run away to another village? Start a camp? The only ones who might know were those who returned, and they never said.

(Written 3/27/15)

The Primary Commandment

The Pharisees went to where Jesus was when they heard how he had refuted the Sadducees. An expert in the Law challenged Jesus asking him, “Which commandment is the most important?”

Jesus answered, “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second commandment is like it -‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these two. All the teachings of the Prophets and the Law base their foundation upon these two commandments.”

The man who questioned him said “You are correct, Teacher! You spoke the truth when you said that there is only One God, and that we are to love God with all of our being, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These practices are far more important that all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Because of the wisdom of his answer, Jesus said to him “You are not far from entering the kingdom of God. You have answered correctly. If you do these things you will live. ”

The authorities did not dare to challenge him any further.

MT 22:34-40, MK 12:28-34, LK 10:25-28

Cleaning out the Temple complex and authority challenged.

Jesus went up to Jerusalem because it was nearing the time for the festival of Passover. When he reached the Temple complex he found money changers and people selling the animals that the Jews bought to sacrifice there to atone for their sins. He made a whip of cords and drove everyone and their animals out, even overturning the money tables. He would not permit anyone to bring in anything to sell there. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, (56:7) he said “‘My house will be a house of prayer for all people,’ but you have made it into a den of thieves! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Seeing this, the disciples recalled this verse from the psalmist “Devotion for God’s house will consume me” (PS 69:9)

He was teaching and healing there every day. Children cheered out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The temple leaders said “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus answered “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? ‘From the lips of children The Lord has called forth praise’ (PS 8:2)?”

The chief priests, scribes, and elders started looking for ways to undermine him. They were afraid of him because the crowd of people there was captivated by what he taught.

All the Temple leaders challenged Jesus, saying “Who gave you authority to do these things?”

Jesus said “Answer me this, and I’ll tell you – was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They debated amongst themselves, saying “If we say from heaven, then he’ll challenge us, saying ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say it was from men, the crowd will get angry with us because they thought John was a true prophet.” To be safe, they said “We don’t know.”

Jesus said “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Jesus also told them “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will restore it in three days.” The Temple leaders looked at him like he was crazy. “This Temple took 46 years to build! Who are you to say you can do all this in three days?” But Jesus was talking about the sanctuary of his body. Later, after he was resurrected, his disciples remembered these words.

MT 21:12-17,23-27 MK 11:15-19, 27-33 LK 19:45-48,20:1-8 JN 2:13-22

Many people believed in Jesus while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival because of the miracles he was doing. Jesus, however, did not fully reveal himself to them because he knew mankind’s’ true nature.

JN 2:23-25

“Our cabin”

My husband and I have discovered the ideal home away from home. We’ve found out that nearby state parks have cabins that people can rent. This is genius. We get all the fun of a cabin, without the worry.



We don’t have to fool with a mortgage. Not like we could afford another mortgage anyway, unless we inherit a lot. We are both government employees. They pay us in benefits, not in actual salary.

We don’t have to worry about somebody breaking into it while we aren’t there. There are rangers around, and hey, if one is damaged for some reason (vandals, wild animals, or by bad weather) we can just pick another cabin.

We are starting to think of it as “our cabin”. We tried it out once and it was a nice retreat. It is just an hour away. We can get there not using the freeway. Just driving there is like going back in time. The drive alone is part of the fun.

The interesting thing for me is that the place we have chosen is a place I went many years ago when I was active in the SCA, a medieval reenactment group. In a way, it was a test to go there. The last time I was there I wasn’t quite well.

That was before I was diagnosed as bipolar, and more importantly, before I learned how to take care of myself. Just taking the pills that I’m prescribed isn’t the same thing. I didn’t know how important it was for me to get a good night’s sleep and enough water and food. I didn’t get enough of any of those things when I would go to events, and there was a lot of stimulation. There are a lot of people and a lot of things going on. This is a recipe for disaster when you are bipolar.

I was a little concerned the first time we went that I’d remember that bad experience and relive it a little.

Here’s the field where I started to notice that something was up. This time I was fine.


The sunset was very pretty.


I’m always mindful of going off the deep end. But I’m also mindful that I don’t want to live my life in fear of another episode. If I avoid anything that I think might trigger another period of strangeness, I might as well just hide away at home right now. It is important for me to push myself and stretch.

Otherwise, I’ve let this disease win.

I’m constantly pushing myself, in all areas.

It is why I took classes in pastoral care. They were every week for months, and I had to drive myself downtown to go to them. I knew it was important to take this class and I was grateful for the opportunity, but I was afraid. I was afraid that I’d get lost, or the car would break down, or the stress of being in downtown Nashville traffic would be too much. People aren’t very nice drivers here, and I try to avoid being behind the wheel in busy traffic as much as possible. But for this, I did it, and I’m glad. I proved to myself that I could.

And I’m using that as a stepping stone to more things.

So for the same reason, I’m going to this cabin. It isn’t just any cabin. I love going, of course. It is like a little retreat. But this particular one has this field in view. While we are eating breakfast, lunch, and supper I can see it. And every time I see it I remember, and I think how grateful I am that I’m OK. And I’m mindful of how fragile “normal” is, and how much work I have to put in to it to keep it going.

And then I look out the bedroom window and the trees look like they are making an archway, just like in a medieval church entrance.


Maybe a some of my recovery is where I put my attention. Look at the past, at the old field where I realized I was losing my grip on reality – or look the other way, and see a doorway?

I’m glad I went, and I’ll go back. It is important to face my fears.