On a whim, because I got an email with a discount code I picked up my first First5 study from Proverbs 31 ministry. I guess I had downloaded this app at some point, but clearly, I prefer SheReadsTruth because that’s the app that hasn’t left my phone. The only thing I dislike about SRT is that their books are SO EXPENSIVE, and they just encourage you to reflect. I really want questions that help me dive into the text. I love to study the Bible and learn context and how it all fits into God’s story. Turned out they were doing a sale on their newest study, “When Words Fail” and I got a digital copy once I bought it as well. I was so impressed by the digital copy, I bought the Pentateuch set right after. It really makes you dive into the text and asks you hard questions. I decided to reflect each week here, about things I’ve learned and how I want to apply it to my life, or just rambling.
I realized that I am really good at starting a relationship with God, but not continuing it. I can’t remember the last time I completed an actual study of my bible. I have been really impressed with myself so far though and seeing that every day I wake up excited to learn more. This week we covered Psalms 1-7. I’ve decided to post my reflections here once a week, this is the first one for the Psalms study.
We talk a lot, in everyday life, about the end result. Everything happens for a reason and all of that, but we forget about what it feels like to be in the middle of everything. To be waiting for God to respond. It’s fun to talk about how God showed up at 11:59:59, but it’s not so fun or inspiring to talk about the six months of waiting and tears and pain you went through to get there. People like to have a happy resolution to the story, so we’re so often quieted when we want to talk about how painful the waiting can be. Something I’ve loved discovering about the Psalms is that this waiting is what most of these psalms are about. The psalmist is crying out to God, sometimes in worship, sometimes in thanksgiving, but often in lament. One of my favorite Biblical things to dive into is lament. I went through an intense lamentation period but came out with an even stronger faith.
What was interesting was that Psalm 1 kind of laid out a roadmap to happiness and godliness. I’ve been struggling with diving into my faith more. I went to an Episcopal church for a while and enjoyed it, but the worship didn’t move me like I need. I’m trying to figure out what balance will work best for me, however, there’s a non-denominational church not far from where I’m living now (I moved!) and I think I’ll try it next week.
In Psalm 1 we’re given 2 disciplines, 3 instructions, and 4 powerful truths. From all of these, I got 1 powerful revelation. The first discipline is that the godly person “delights in the law of the LORD.” The law in this context is talking about instruction or teaching of the Lord. I don’t do this regularly. I condemn a lot of Christians for cherry-picking the Bible, but lately, I’ve been doing the same. I’ve been cherry picking what it means to love others the way Jesus loves me, and that’s not okay. I’m a firm believer that GLBTQIA people are loved by God and are not destined to hell (this belief will not change) and also that women are equal to men (this belief also will not change), however, I’ve been talking mad smack lately. It’s been so easy for me to fall into the trap of gossiping and not being the positive person who gives love. Clearly, I don’t delight in the law of the Lord when I do these things. In fact, I’m being righteous by assuming that the way that I’m doing things is right and everyone else is wrong by gossiping about other peoples actions. In fact, I’ve actively started to try and only be positive. I worry less about what others are saying about me when I’m not talking shit too. The second discipline is that the person “meditates on [the law] day and night.” Wow. I have really not been doing that. Like I said, I cannot remember the last time I finished a Bible study. I’ve decided to do two, so I have something to do or read every day, and most days both day and night. Yes, I took this pretty literally. I started the Genesis study from First5 today, and will be updating weekly on that as well.
Psalm 1 also follows with three instructions: walking, sitting and standing. The teaching I listened to today talked about how the way you do all three of those things impacts your thoughts, behaviors and belongings. What is valuable to me? What do I do when I walk or sit or stand? I don’t have a car, and the easiest thing to do would be to Lyft to work every day, but financially it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I often commit to walking to and from work but never do it. I really think this is something I need to do, to be more responsible. I want to honor God in all three of those ways in my life, and by spending time in his word more regularly, I think this will come naturally.
Finally, Psalm 1 presents four truths: I am planted, I am purposeful, I am protected and I am prosperous. God promises us all of these things, but when I heard the first one I cringed. I don’t feel planted. While I call myself a Christian, I know I’m no better than the people who just call themselves that but truthfully have no relationship with Christ. I don’t want to be that person, I want to have a relationship where I feel him within me every day. The First5 studies are really helping me on my way to that.
I also found that at the end of the day I really want to be more like David, and I’m working towards that already. David consistently takes responsibility for his actions before God. I still think I can talk my way out of things with God, and sometimes I don’t feel like I know how to apologize to God. I think because I know he loves me unconditionally, I feel like I don’t have to say sorry when I realize I’ve done something to wrong him. In Psalm 7, David consistently takes responsibility for the things he’s done wrong but also doesn’t hesitate to call out to God. I am hoping to grow in that area this week.
Goals for this week:
- Continue to read and study in the morning and in the evening
- Positively speak of others, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”
- Listen to more of “The Bible Project”
- Reflect on Genesis.
- Try the new church next Sunday.
- Act in a way that honors God.
- Do not take any Lyfts to work. Rides from others are okay, so is biking, but I am fully capable of walking.
- Apologize to God every day for something so that it gets easier.
I’ll update everyone on these goals next week.
Until next time,