Daily Riches: The Transformational Power of the Psalms (Philip Yancey, Anatoly Shcharansky, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Walter Brueggemann)

“In 1977, at the height of the Cold War, Anatoly Shcharansky, a brilliant young mathematician and chess player, was arrested by the KGB for his repeated attempts to emigrate to Israel. He spent thirteen years inside the Soviet Gulag. From morning to evening Shcharansky read and studied all 150 psalms (in Hebrew). ‘What does this give me?’ he asked in a letter: ‘Gradually, my feeling of great loss and sorrow changed to one of bright hopes.’ Shcharansky so cherished his book of Psalms, in fact, that when the guards took it away from him, he lay in the snow, refusing to move, until they returned it. During those thirteen years, his wife traveled around the world campaigning for his release. Accepting an honorary degree on his behalf, she told the university audience, ‘In a lonely cell in Chistopol prison, locked alone with the Psalms of David, Anatoly found expression for his innermost feelings in the outpourings of the King of Israel thousands of years ago.'”  Philip Yancey

“The psalms wonderfully solve the problem of a praise-deficient culture by providing the necessary words. We merely need to enter into those words, letting the content of the psalms realign our inner attitudes. Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggests that the psalms are God’s language course. Just as infants learn the mother tongue from their parents, Christians can learn the language of prayer from Psalms. …Walter Brueggemann has coined the term ‘psalms of disorientation’ to describe those psalms that express confusion, confession, and doubt. Typically, the writer begins by begging God to rescue him from his desperate straits. He may weave poetic images of how he has been wronged, appeal to God’s sense of justice, even taunt God: ‘What good can I do you when I’m dead? How can I praise you then?’ The very act of venting these feelings allows the authors to attain a better perspective. He reflects on better times, remembers answered prayers of the past, concedes favors that he may have overlooked. By the end of the psalm, he moves toward praise and thanksgiving. He feels heard and cleansed. The psalm, or prayer, works out the transformation.” Yancey

“Holy Scripture is the table of Christ,
from whence we are nourished,
from whence we learn what we should love
and what whence should desire,
to whom we should have our eyes raised.”
Alcuin

Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth
Psalm 119:107

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What do the Psalms mean to you?
  • Have you prayed through them lately?
  • Will you let them teach you what to love, what to desire, and to whom to raise your eyes?

For More: The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey

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I hope you’ll follow and share “Daily Riches.” I appreciate your interest! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

 

Daily Riches: Faith (Nadia Bolz Weber, Romero, Tillich, Stott, Packer, Edman, Bounds, LLoyd-Jones, Yancey, Cook, Brueggemann, Merton, Willard) *

“Catholic theologian James Allison [talked] about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters, calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices, doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing. Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us. We don’t have to strive around them and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free. Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us that we just …relax”. Nadia Bolz Weber

“Faith consists in accepting God without asking him to account for things according to our standard. Faith consists in reacting before God as Mary did: I don’t understand it, Lord, but let it be done in me according to your word.”  Oscar Romero

“Faith is the courage …to accept that God loves me as I am and not as I should be, because I’m never going to be as I should be.”  Paul Tillich

J. I. Packer – “self-abandoning trust in the person and work of Jesus”
Raymond Edman – “trusting in the dark what God told you in the light”
Martin Lloyd-Jones – “the refusal to panic”
Philip Yancey – “trusting in advance, what will only make sense in reverse”
Bob Cook –  “expecting God to act like God”
Thomas Merton – “convinced of the reliability of God”
Dallas Willard –  “confidence grounded in reality”
Walter Brueggemann – “openness to wonder and awe in glad praise”
Oswald Chambers – “unutterable trust…which never dreams that He will not stand by us”
Martin Luther – “permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see”
John Stott – “a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God”

“Though He slay me,
yet will I trust Him.”
Job 13:15a

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you relax with God like you do with your best friend?  Does he love you “as you are and not as you should be?”
  • Are you “seized by” things unseen? trusting what will often only make sense later? refusing to ask God “to give an account?”
  • Can you “abandon” yourself to God like Martin Luther, Oscar Romero and Job did? If not, why not?

Abba, I will trust in you. Only you have the words of life.


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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Faith (Nadia Bolz Weber, Romero, Tillich, Stott, Packer, Edman, Bounds, LLoyd-Jones, Yancey, Cook, Brueggemann, Merton, Willard)

“Catholic theologian James Allison [talked] about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters, calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices, doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing. Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us. We don’t have to strive around them and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free. Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us that we just …relax”. Nadia Bolz Weber

“Faith consists in accepting God without asking him to account for things according to our standard. Faith consists in reacting before God as Mary did: I don’t understand it, Lord, but let if be done in me according to your word.”  Oscar Romero

“Faith is the courage …to accept that God loves me as I am and not as I should be, because I’m never going to be as I should be.”  Paul Tillich

J. I. Packer – “self-abandoning trust in the person and work of Jesus”
Raymond Edman – “trusting in the dark what God told you in the light”
Martin Lloyd-Jones – “the refusal to panic”
Philip Yancey – “trusting in advance, what will only make sense in reverse”
Bob Cook –  “expecting God to act like God.”
Thomas Merton – “convinced of the reliability of God.”
Dallas Willard –  “confidence grounded in reality.”
Walter Brueggemann – “openness to wonder and awe in glad praise.”
Oswald Chambers – “unutterable trust…which never dreams that He will not stand by us”
Martin Luther – “permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see”
John Stott – “a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.”

“Though He slay me,
yet will I trust Him.”
Job 13:15a

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you relax with God like you do with your best friend?  Does he love you “as you are and not as you should be?”
  • Are you “seized by” things unseen? trusting what will often only make sense later? refusing to ask God “to give an account?”
  • Can you “abandon” yourself to God like Martin Luther, Oscar Romero and Job did? If not, why not?

Abba, I will trust in you. Only you have the words of life.


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Thanks for reading!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)