shortbread

short, sweet, and to-the-point — by Keith Elder

Archive for the tag “Wisdom”

“Psalms…Up Close and Personal”

Psalms have always been special to me. Maybe because they came out of the gut of the writer—David for the most part. David and Psalms are a little like Billy Joel and “New York State of Mind” sung in Central Park, or Whitney Houston hitting the key change in, “I Will Always Love You.” Soul stuff.

Decades ago, I read that Billy Graham went through Psalms every month—all 150…five per day. That’s commitment—particularly when Psalm 119 rolls around. It may have been the original praise chorus as it goes on and on…and on. (Being a little ADD, I appreciate the short ones. 🙂 )

I tried the “five a day” approach for a while, but for me it was just too much goodness to savor at one sitting.  So I adjusted and have for many years now, read just one psalm a day—a sort of spiritual vitamin. But that one psalm a day has become the most meaningful reading I do. As my little quartz guitar tuner helps me tune my guitar to a standard “A=440” tuning, Psalms helps me tune my heart to God.

A couple of tips that, for me, have multiplied the power of Psalms.

1) Take it personally!  Read the verses as though you were the writer—not David or some ancient, at-a-safe-distance somebody else.  Yes, psalms were written about Jerusalem, or David vs. Goliath, or a monumental blunder with Bathsheba, or processing up Mount Zion to worship on holy days.  But for your devotional purposes, the psalm is all about you. Take it personally.

The second tip has to do with a sort of spiritual geography.

Assume “Jerusalem”–that all-important, center of the Hebrew universe, the Holy City–is your life, and  that “the Temple” is your heart..your soul.  “The wilderness” and “Babylon” would be those times and places you feel furthest from God–desperate times and lonely places.

And what about “the enemies”?  Well, for now, the enemies are not some invading army or an angry King Saul trying to destroy David.  For now, the enemies  are those real life forces that are out to do you in.  Fear… lust… loneliness… financial pressures… addiction… anger,… shame… grief… greed… pride… a physical malady.  The enemy may be real life attackers like terrorists or political adversaries, or perhaps, social ills such as racism or injustice.  

Has that devotional time been a little lacking of late?

Try reading Psalms “up close and personal” for thirty-days…or thirty years.  Just one-a-day. It might just be “the cure to what ails you.” 

Keith

4-11-2015

http://keithelder.com/

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“Something New, Something Old…”

The idea came to me one day when I was trying to attack a ridiculously varied list of unfinished projects and wanna-do’s.  Old wedding wisdom came to mind.  Remember, brides, on your big day, don’t forget to wear  “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

I tweaked the saying for the greater good.

For a better day, everyday, do “something new, something old, something borrowed, and something bold.”

For me the “something new” comes first thing in the morning.  It’s new song Ideas or book outlines or blog ideas.  For me, it’s a stream of consciousness thing.  Just let the new ideas run, unimpeded by the clutter of headline news and phone calls and interruptions.  What might be the “something new” for you?

For me, doing “something old” may be working to finish a song, or working on a book in progress.  It might be anything from washing the car to clearing the e-mail in-box, to having a long-overdue cup of coffee with a friend.  Call it “taking care of business.”

The “something borrowed” has to do with personal development.  It’s sharpening the proverbial ax.  It’s a morning devotional–i.e., borrowing from the reservoirs of God.  It’s reading a book or trade magazine, or watching a motivational video that grows your skill set.  For me it might be listening to and learning from songs by great songwriters.  In essence, we are “borrowing” from someone else’s library of life experience; learning from people who have walked the path before us.  In my experience, people are amazingly generous with their knowledge when they are convinced that we are sincere.

And “something bold”?   Here, I try to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I dive into a new recording technology that has intimidated me.  Maybe I try out a new song at a writers’ venue.  Maybe I make booking calls—always a scary prospect.  What would qualify as “something bold” for you?

So there you have it.  Your key to success.  If you turn it carefully, you will lose seven pounds in six days; get invited to appear on The Tonight Show; win the Powerball Lottery; or, at least, get a little more zippedy-doo-dah out of your day.

Keith   9/19/13

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