Archives for September 2011

Psalm 19:14

Tara Alemany, Author and Speaker

Psalm 19
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
7 The instructions of the LORD are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the LORD are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear,
giving insight for living.
9 Reverence for the LORD is pure,
lasting forever.
The laws of the LORD are true;
each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
14 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

When I considered what devotional to begin our first session with, Psalm 19:14 sprung immediately to mind.

I found it interesting, as I read the Psalm in its entirety, to gain the context for this verse, that these lines, written by David, are contrasted to God’s creation, which declares his glory without words. Their very presence speaks of His power and might.

Without words, through the course of its daily actions, the sun bears witness to all that God has done.
The law, which we were created to honor and obey, is perfect. It refreshes the soul, bringing joy to the heart.
The decrees of God are precious because they instruct Man in His ways.

So, as Creation honors God without words, what brought David to pray to God about his words and meditations? He recognized his own inability to identify all the ways in which he sinned, the hidden faults within his heart. He knew that his heart did not follow all of God’s decrees because his heart was fallible.

In verses 13 and 14, he pled to God to keep him from deliberately sinning in any way, asking that He keep sin from controlling David. He knew, as fallen Man, that he could not avoid it altogether. But he still sought God’s protection from deliberate sin.

As we seek to share our thoughts through the written word, what better way for us to begin this journey together than in the words of David, who recognized that all Creation worshipped God much better than he ever could, and yet still sought to please his Lord?

1 Corinthians 14:1

Tara Alemany, Author and Speaker

1 Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth. 
I recently attended a high school talent show. My daughter was in it, and I was eager to hear her sing in front of a live audience. Watching her, I knew she was in her element.
The neat thing was, so many of the other performers were too. Whether their acts were intended to entertain, inspire, mystify or move you, each of them were in their element, using their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.
The final performance was a teenage girl dancing with a friend to Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” a tired and worn-out song if ever there was one. Yet, what made this performance so exceptional, one worthy of the standing ovation it received, was that the girl who choreographed the dance was leading her friend in the movements. This friend has Down Syndrome. But in those moments on stage, she was free to embrace who she was and flaunt it for the world to see. The joy and excitement she felt shone on her face and was palpable to the audience.
How often do we find ourselves in the midst of our passion, abandoning ourselves to the joy of the gifts God has given us? No self-consciousness. No recrimination. Just living in the eye of God’s purpose for us?
I don’t know about you, but I hate to admit, it’s not as often as it could be or should be. I’m so busy living my life that I forget to spend time reveling in the gifts and talents God has given me, and using them to proclaim His truth and glorify His name.
Watching these kids share their various talents reminded me that I need to be more mindful about not just sharing mine, but enjoying mine.
How about you? What gifts or talents did God given you that are gathering dust on the shelf of your psyche?
God’s gifts aren’t intended to be received and then packed away for another day, put some place and long-forgotten. They’re intended to bring us joy, make us feel connected to Him, and through that to give us opportunities to share Him with others.
I know we’re all here because writing is one of the gifts we share. But if that were our only gift, we’d all be the same. We’re not. So, what makes you unique? What gift did God give you? And when will you make some time to spend with it, to enjoy it?
The gifts He’s given us don’t have to be front-and-center all the time. But the feeling they leave us with, feelings of fulfillment and contentment, carried into the world, set us apart from others in this hurried and discontented world, and give us opportunities to speak of His love for us.