Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

103rd Psalm Part I: Preview

Posted by flyingbk on 10/11/2016

I’ve been a pastor for over a decade. I stepped down from my post as assistant pastor at my church in June, and used the summer to teach SAT’s at a local academy. (Cheap plug: I love the people I work with, and we possess a group of great teachers.) But the plan was to return to ministry at August’s end; I actually had my next role all lined up.

However, at the beginning of September, I just knew I needed some time and space. During a weekend trip in Boston (the same weekend this happened), I talked with a friend of a friend. He had been in ministry, but realized that he wasn’t in the best place emotionally to continue. Ministry can be quite the lonely place, and being single doesn’t help, either. So he stepped down from his church and took a break. Looking back, the seeds of my current path germinated in that conversation.

I chose to pull out of this future ministry opportunity. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I’m sure I could’ve grinded my way through it. Perhaps in another world, I’m involved in this ministry and I’m off and running. But I also know that I can always return at another time, and there will be other opportunities down the road. The sovereignty of God allows us to not agonize over every life decision and sets us free from the “What if?” game.


This year, I’ve been going through Tim Keller’s devotion on the Psalms. In the beginning of the book, he suggests a few ways to go through this it. Being the deep person I am, I opted for the most intensive prescription:

The third way to use the devotional is to get a blank journal to use along with it. Read the psalm portion twice slowly. Then ask three questions and write out your answers:
Adore— What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
Admit— What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Aspire— What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?

Once you have answered these three questions, you have your own meditation on the psalm.

There are certainly many reasons to do a daily devotional. One I’d like to stress today is that it gives us time and space to hear from God, and you never know how God will speak to you on any given day. On some days, it ends up being a simple meditation in which I’m just reminded of God’s goodness and the richness of the gospel. (Actually, that needs to take place everyday.) Other days, I’m convicted of a specific sin, and the devotion allows me to repent and consider why I do what I do.

On September 10, the devotion came from Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV):

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Since that fateful (er, God-ordained) day, I’ve adopted these five verses as my main meditation during this season of my life. Here’s what I wrote for my devotion:

9/10 PSALM 103:1-5
Adore: Amazing. Ridiculous. Awesome. I can’t believe the progression of this psalm, how it gets better and better.
Admit: Right now, I can’t believe it. It’s too good to be true, and my eyes are stuck to the ground.
Aspire: Open up my eyes, lift up my countenance that I may believe these truths once again. Amen.

The morning I meditated on this devotion, I was still smarting and licking my wounds over my decision to take a break from ministry. And the road ahead was rife with uncertainty; I didn’t have a job and had no idea how I should spend my time. As you can see from my ‘Admit’ portion, I was in a place where I knew that I did not truly believe what I was reading. That’s another good reason to do a daily devotion: We discipline ourselves and ask: Do I really believe what I’m reading to be true? Why or why not?

And as I wrote in the ‘Adore’ part, I read these five verses as a progression. It begins with praise and reflection, and then God moves ever so surely.

I also experienced nostalgia as I read this psalm. Back in the day, on 6/6/06, three brothers in Christ and I made covenant with each other: to love each other, pray for each other, to strive together for God. We redeemed this date, naturally, and it also happens to be the day that the best band in the universe released its debut album. (Also, countdown until I see them in concert on back-to-back nights: TWELVE DAYS.) So as you can see, it was quite a destinies-altering day in the history of the galaxy.

(NOTE: photo credit: ME.)

In one of our covenant gatherings, a brother suggested that we memorize Psalm 103:1-5. So it was easy for me to re-commit these verses to memory, and they’ve been ever strong in my heart for the last month. I will be breaking down these verses in the weeks to come. Part II: Praise will be next.

I have been witnessing the 103rd Psalm progression in my life. I’ve experienced the forgiveness of my sins and the healing of my diseases. I’ve seen my work schedule come together (also giving me time to practice my writing in this blog) and I’ve found the right church community for me. Thinking on such things only fills me with more joy because I know this psalm is telling me that the best is yet to come.


6 Responses to “103rd Psalm Part I: Preview”

  1. Anonymous said

    I am happy for you Bob. I ask the most high for Truth and my world has change.

  2. […] « 103rd Psalm Part I: Preview […]

  3. […] is part IIb of a series on Psalm 103. Part I here and Part IIa […]

  4. […] is Part 3 of my series on Psalm 103. See: Part I, Part IIa, Part […]

  5. […] are at part 4 of my series on the 103rd Psalm (Past entries: Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3). As I covered last time, we all have a dark side. And sadly, we each […]

  6. […] continue our look at Psalm 103 (Past entries: Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3, Part 4). We’ve been looking at this psalm as a progression that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: