Psalm Saturday: Psalm 49 Devotional

In this wisdom psalm, reflecting on the problem that the prosperity of the wicked presents, the writer asserts that he will not fear the rich enemies threatening him. He sees that many ungodly people enjoy many material blessings. Despite their wealth, the writer observes that they are only men who, like everyone else, will die one day. The psalmist is confident that the Lord will vindicate the godly, protecting them from their oppressors. He concludes that the righteous are better off because they have a sure hope for the future. Psalm 49 is a reminder to those walking with God that the power and riches of wealthy men have their limits.

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Psalm 49

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

1 Hear this, all peoples!

Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,

both low and high,

rich and poor together!

My mouth shall speak wisdom;

the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

I will incline my ear to a proverb;

I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.

Why should I fear in times of trouble,

when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,

those who trust in their wealth

and boast of the abundance of their riches?

Truly no man can ransom another,

or give to God the price of his life,

for the ransom of their life is costly

and can never suffice,

that he should live on forever

and never see the pit.

10  For he sees that even the wise die;

the fool and the stupid alike must perish

and leave their wealth to others.

11  Their graves are their homes forever,

their dwelling places to all generations,

though they called lands by their own names.

12  Man in his pomp will not remain;

he is like the beasts that perish.

13  This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;

yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah

14  Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;

death shall be their shepherd,

and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.

Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.

15  But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,

for he will receive me. Selah

16  Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,

when the glory of his house increases.

17  For when he dies he will carry nothing away;

his glory will not go down after him.

18  For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed

—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—

19  his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,

who will never again see light.

20  Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

In the opening prelude, the psalmist exhorts everyone to listen to the message of his poem, both rich and poor alike. The message contained in this psalm applies to the wicked as well as the righteous. To appreciate wisdom, a person must have eyes to perceive it. Spiritual illumination helps us see the truth.

Employing a rhetorical question, the writer points out the foolishness of the wealthy opposing the godly, introducing the idea that the rich enjoy a false sense of security. Riches cannot lessen death’s sting. None of us are able to buy our ticket escaping death. The modern quest for celebrity attempts to circumvent the hard truth that no one is promised tomorrow by fashioning the illusion of living on beyond our earthly life. But fame, like riches, does not prevent the inevitable.

Marveling at the foolhardiness and pride of the wicked, the psalmist points out the idiocy of only living for the present and for one’s self-gratification. Apart from God, the one with the most toys in the end does not win. Only God can make a way for us to escape the chains of our grave. The psalmist urges the righteous to remember to trust in the Lord and the Lord alone for salvation.

Since God works all things for good, there is no need to be jealous of those who have more worldly possessions and material riches then we might possess. Their prosperity is only temporary. None of us can take our things with us when we leave this earthly life behind. The righteous, the writer declares, can depend on the Lord to help the righteous endure while the ungodly shall perish. Those who fear the Lord can expect to enjoy a glorious future everlasting.

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Who were the Sons of Korah?

Psalm 49 is one of eleven psalms credited to the Sons of Korah, a group formed into an Old Testament version of a worship team by King David and employing song and instrumental music to prophesy to the people. The Sons of Korah are a story of God’s redemptive grace and mercy, demonstrating that the Lord is willing and able to raise beauty from the ashes. Their father Korah, son of Kohath, participated in an uprising against Moses and Aaron, garnering God’s wrath and ending in the fiery death of Korah and his 250 compadres. While this marked the end of Korah and his service to the Lord, but God spared his sons. Even though Korah had rebelled against the Lord, God still had a plan and a purpose for Korah’s descendants.

After seven successive generations, the prophet Samuel arose from the line of Korah. The Korahites served as doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle. Another group of Korahites fought alongside King David in different military excursions, winning a reputation for being skillful warriors.

But by far the most remarkable achievement concerning the sons of Korah is that they became superfluous leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle, playing an important role in the thanksgiving services and pomp and circumstance centered on the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

As modern believers, we can take comfort and gain confidence through the redemptive work that the Lord did in and through the lives of the Sons of Korah.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace and your redemptive power. You can turn good from that which was intended to harm us. You can raise beauty from the ashes. You can redeem a wretch like me. Help me live not in fear or wallow in foolish comparisons, but to trust in You and look to You for wisdom and guidance. Let me live each day gratefully and with a zeal for sharing the Gospel, both through word and in deed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Are You Committed to Writing Everyday?

Our guest speaker at the monthly gathering of writers hosted by the Writers Guild of Texas (of which I’m a Board Member),  gave the crowd a number of fabulous ideas geared to helping individuals write every day. Nathan Brown, former writing instructor at the University of Oklahoma and Poet Laureate of Oklahoma, shared a number of insights and helpful tips to help writers write every day.

Writing everyday may seem like an ominous task. In several one-on-one conversations I had before the Monday night’s meeting, a number of people in attendance expressed their daunting sentiments concerning sitting down and putting words on paper daily. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that they don’t want to write. To the contrary, they claim to have the desire, but lack two things 1) time and 2) ideas.

Nathan Brown definitely helped give each of us a means to write when inspiration seems to be avoiding us. He suggested making lists, exploring our memories, and recalling our senses. Through listing, you’ll always have something to write about. Think about those great family stories that get told at every gathering or better yet–what about those stories that nobody talks about but everyone knows. For inspiration, try recalling memories of your annual vacation spots, where you spent your summers, or where you grew up and writing them down. What are some of your strongest sensory memories? Maybe for you, it’s the smell of the apple pie that Granny baked or the taste of that first kiss. Mr. Brown’s pointers certainly were solid and offer opportunities for each of us to put pen to paper–or in our modern 21st-century–fingers to the keypad on our laptop. His insights prove useful if you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer.

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Carving out time, I think, is a bigger challenge for many of us, myself included. I find if I don’t set aside time to write, then it won’t happen. I’ve also had to schedule out blog posts an editorial calendar as a way of keeping me on schedule and posting regularly. I have to set daily word goals and make a point of finding time to write consistently. For me, that’s usually before I head out the door. But, I find myself writing at different times throughout the day, not just first thing in the morning. There are numerous nights that you’ll find me burning the midnight oil, sitting in the glow of my laptop screen, punching out words. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts—a lot of my writing the past several months has been academic in nature as I finish up my graduate degree.

I’ve found, the more I write and the more I focus on actually sitting down and producing material, the more opportunities to write present themselves. Writing is not for the faint of heart. There are days–even weeks–where it can be a very discouraging pursuit. Perhaps that’s why so many great writers simply write for themselves first, rather than an audience. Writing is something you have to do because you love it–and dare I say it—enjoy. This may seem like a rather sadistic endeavor–because in many ways it is. But there’s really nothing much better than someone being encouraged or entertained by the words you’ve written or by the story you’ve told.

Keep writing. Lord knows the story won’t write itself.

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Monday Morning Memories: Scarborough Renaissance Festival®

The weather the past couple of weeks has been a crazy rollercoaster. Sunday morning, Terri and I were blessed with a beautiful sunny day perfect for venturing down to Waxahachie to visit the Scarborough Renaissance Festival®.  We had a great time touring the fairgrounds, people-watching, enjoying turkey legs and sausages, laughing with the German Brothers, and exploring the Dungeon. Festival diehards were fully decked out in Renaissance gear, Lords and Ladies donning full regalia and decked out in beautiful costumes. The multitude of artists is almost overwhelming and covers unique ground.

The Scarborough Renaissance Festival® is an interactive experience for everyone, harkening back to the 16th Century. There are full combat armored jousts, Birds of Prey, and the popular Mermaid Lagoon. The festival grounds feature 27 stages and 200 village shoppes complete with artisan demonstrations. There are also rides, games of skill, and tons of food and drink.

Festival Facts

Began in 1981.

The festival runs 8 consecutive weekends and Memorial Day Each Spring (April & May).

One of the largest and most popular Renaissance festivals in the country.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival® is a Renaissance themed festival set in a re-created 16th Century English village.

The “village” of Scarborough is 35 acres (larger than most shopping malls) set within a 167 acre site.

More than 20 tons of the Festival’s famous Giant Turkey Legs are devoured annually during the eight week festival.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival® is one of the largest outdoor “juried” craft shows in the country.

Source: https://www.srfestival.com/

150 Members of the Scarborough Academy of Performing Arts (SAPA) make up the performing company that become the “characters” of Scarborough including Queen Margaret of Scotland and the Isles.

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Accolades

Best Place to Escape Reality – Dallas Observer

“Top (#2) Family Friendly Renaissance Faire in the U.S.” – Family Vacation Critic

Best Seasonal Event in Ellis Co – Waxahachie Daily Light

Top 5 Things to Do in D/FW – Dallas Morning News

Top 6 Events Not to Miss in D/FW – Dallas Child

Top 10 Things to Do – Fort Worth Star Telegram

Best Bet – Dallas Voice

Source: https://www.srfestival.com/

The annual festival is a fun adventure worth the drive and great for family-fun, a day out with friends, or the one you love.

Dates & Times

Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day Monday, April 7 – May 28, 2018 10:00AM – 7:00PM