Monthly Archives: July 2016

You’re the Psalmist!

Blind Faith (No. 30, 2016)
Weekly Devotional for July 28, 2016
You’re the Psalmist!

Welcome to the summer Blind Faith reality show edition! This
week the feature will be “You’re the Psalmist!” In this episode each
participant will be presented with a well-known expression of praise to God
from the book of Psalms. The challenge is to draw from your own everyday
experience to construct a contemporary paraphrase of the psalm. The result
will be your very own celebration of praise to God for elements in your
life. We’ll be right back after these words..

Reality shows have taken over network TV programming. Reality
shows began to appear about 15 years ago. The first generation of shows
typically featured cameras and microphones recording everyday actions of
people in natural settings. Recent Nielsen ratings reported that 77% of
viewers of the top 10 TV shows were watching reality shows. Many viewers
imagine what they might do if they were on the show . (um.) in that
situation.

Welcome back! The Blind Faith reality show edition seeks to
remain true to the original concept for the genre. You are the ordinary
person recruited as a full participant! The object of the episode is simple
and direct. You’re the psalmist! One of the best-loved books in the Bible is
the book of Psalms. This ancient collection of Hebrew poetry presents
treasures of impassioned prayers, memorable assurances of God’s goodness and
presence with us in trying times, honest cries of anguish, and exuberant
expressions of thanksgiving and praise to God. Recitations of God’s
salvation history and observations of the wonders of creation are also
included. Other books of the Bible record psalms, too, but the 150 poems
located in the middle pages of the Bible are easily accessible. Their
spiritual comfort and assurance are readily available to most readers
seeking a sense of God’s providence. Millions of people recite psalms as
they face everyday trials, or walk through dark shadows of grief, or
celebrate joyous miracles of life. So, you will be asked to reflect upon
your own experiences, needs, and awareness of God to construct your own
psalm for today. You’re the psalmist!

Your task will be to read a familiar psalm and to think about
how its words might be paraphrased to express your experiences in life today
and your responses to God. What rings your chimes, floats your boat, lights
your fire, makes your day, thrills your soul, lifts your spirits? The psalm
to use as a pattern is Psalm 150. Here is the psalm in two contemporary
English translations:

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his Temple; praise him in his mighty heaven.
{2} Praise him for his strength; praise him for his greatness.
{3} Praise him with trumpet blasts; praise him with harps and lyres.
{4} Praise him with tambourines and dancing; praise him with stringed
instruments and flutes.
{ 5} Praise him with loud cymbals; praise him with crashing
cymbals.
{6} Let everything that breathes praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 150 New Century Version)

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty
heavens.
{2} Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing
greatness.
{3} Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp
and lyre,
{4} praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and
flute,
{5} praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding
cymbals.
{6} Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
(Psalm 150 New International Version)

Look at what the psalm says phrase-by-phrase. The obvious focus
is praising God. Each phrase can be thought of as an answer to a question
similar to the basic “who?, what?, when?, where?, how?, and why?” questions
of journalism. In the case of Psalm 150 the order of the questions is: v. 2
– where?; v.2 – why?; vv. 3-5 – how?; v. 6 – who? What is your best personal
response – drawn from your own experience – for each possible question?
Where are you called to praise God: heaven; church services; your “quiet
time;” a favorite spot in nature? What do you praise God for: healing;
comfort and strength during grief; your family; specific blessings? How do
you praise God the best: music; other artistic expression; offering a “cup
of cold water” to someone in need; giving generously; sharing the gospel of
Christ? Who should join you in praising God: all creation; all people; your
family and/or church family; people who inspire you to praise God? These are
only examples to stimulate your own unique motivations to praise God. Think
of your own specific responses and write them into the pattern from Psalm
150. You’re the psalmist!

Praise the LORD! Praise God in _________________________;

praise him in his _________________________.

{2} Praise him for _________________________;

praise him for _________________________.

{3} Praise him with _________________________;

praise him with __________________________________________________.

{4} Praise him with ______________________;praise him with
______________________.

{5} Praise him with __________________;praise him with
________________________.

{6} Let __________________________ praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 150 “You’re the Psalmist Version)

Simon Cowell will not judge your version of Psalm 150! No one
else will, for that matter. The true reality is that each person is
emphatically urged to get personally involved by the Hebrew “Hallelujah”
(YOU praise the Lord) opening and closing the psalm. Praising God is not
just a good idea that somebody or another ought to do sometime. Praising God
should be our genuine response whenever we recognize God’s love and grace
showered upon us – and that’s all the time! Praising God should be
accomplished as we worship and serve and represent God to others in daily
life. Praising God should be your own personal heartfelt expression of faith
every day.

You are invited to another episode of “You’re the Psalmist!”
Choose your own favorite psalm and fill in the details with elements from
your own life. I would love to read some of your psalms. I invite you to
e-mail your psalm to me and indicate whether you are willing to share your
creation with other readers. You could be a featured guest psalmist! Praise
God, all you psalmists out there!

– J. Edward Culpepper

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