You gave eleven answers.
I wanted to know how to live a life that you would fill with your presence and holiness.
You told me these eleven things.
1. To make my foundation a consistent dedication to the way of the LORD with my whole life; not sinless perfection but consistent dedication.
2. To wear my heart on my sleeve. “To speak the truth in the heart is to be so integrated that inner thought and audible speech agree. (Gerald H. Wilson)” To be transparent in my words and deeds.
3. …so that distortions of truth would never leave my lips.
4. To do no knowing harm to those I know.
5. And not to judge unjustly or hastily those I don’t yet know.
6. To recognize wickedness as ugly. To hate what is hateful, and condemn what is damnable.
7. To recognize virtue as beautiful, and honor holiness and righteous living.
8. To keep the covenants I make. To recognize the sacredness of a promise.
9. To keep my promises, even when it hurts. To be self-sacrificial in my virtue and fully committed to my words.
10. To give plainly without strings attached or unspoken expectations.
11. To never be persuaded that injustice is justice because of financial pressures.
These things will keep me grounded in the presence of God, infecting my whole life with worship.
by S. Jewell S. McGhee
Quotation taken from Ps. Vol. 1 page 299 by Gerald H. Wilson, as part of the NIV Application Commentary Series
Do I say or act in my heart of hearts as if there is no God? Do I enjoy watching corrupt and scandalous stories on TV?
There is no one good, but God.
God I know you see me clearly, you know my thoughts and motivations. You know that all too often I chose to relax rather than discipline myself in seeking you.
There is no one good but God.
We have all joined together with Adam and Eve and ignored your bountiful gifts in order to lust and lie over the forbidden and ungiven.
Do I call to God when I need help, or do I make a phone call?
Do I use my friends and use them up? Do I act swiftly on my selfish desires?
There is no one good but God.
When I think of God’s righteousness and his requirements, does it fill me with dread? Am I overwhelmed by how God asks me to live?
Do I work with or against those who are acting righteously?
You are my guide, your Spirit plants goodness in me.
Your fruit grows in my heart—kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control
—and your salvation is near.
Restore me. Restore my heart and restore my actions to align with your goodness
and the good you’ve done for me.
I was challenged in looking at this Psalm to see myself as the wicked and not righteous. Because I really didn’t want to, I thought I should. And as usual, I am glad I did.
1. How long, God? I feel oppressed by my circumstances, my emotions, my relationships, my neediness. When will there be peace in my life and in my world?
2. When you are near me you make things clear. You give me rest even when things are hard, but right now I feel like I am on my own. How long until I just break? Sometimes I feel so sad I just want to give up.
3. Come back! Look over here! Pay attention to me! Answer me God. I know you are in control. What are you doing? Give me some insight. Give me some light in this dark place. I can’t see what to do nest. I keep tripping and falling.
4. Everyone expects me to fail, show them all that they are wrong. Show them that I am right to trust in you, God. That you are good and that you are near to me.
5. I trust in your love. I believe that you will not fail me. I will rejoice in your salvation.
6. I will sing to you and praise you because you have been good to me and I will continue to trust that you are good.
By S. Jewell S. McGhee
1. No one cares about morals or promises or faithfulness. No one cares about religion or even thinks that God could be known. Religion has become myth or superstition.
2. Because we have no respect for God or any acknowledgement of his rules, there is moral chaos. Everyone lies and cheats and steals.
3. May the LORD in his strength and his truth bring respect to his laws, may he cut off lawlessness and thwart the boastful.
4. May he frustrate those who say and act as a god unto themselves, as if they make the rules for their own universe and rule their own lives.
5. The LORD speaks, the LORD moves, the LORD will arise on behalf of the poor and oppressed. He gives strength to those who are weak and he proves the weakness of those who think they are strong.
6. There is no impurity in God or in his words. If he promises, he will act.
7-8. You LORD are our safety and our protection even in this godless and amoral world even though our culture honors what is vile and celebrates wickedness and depravity.
Psalm 11 - By S. Jewell S. McGhee
I have decided to trust God and what he says.
But what about what others say?
But what about those who belittle me and make fun of me?
But what about those who target Christians, they play dirty and shoot from the shadows?
But what about when my world and stability is shaken to its core?
What do I do? What does trust and surrender look like then?
The LORD is stability.
The LORD is holy, he is god, he is God.
The LORD is the ruler of every realm.
The LORD is above and beyond and outside of the world.
The LORD is within and active and a part of the world.
The LORD sees.
The LORD comprehends.
He looks on the righteous with favor
He hates wickedness and violence.
He will judge them and bring justice.
Hardship and pain will follow wickedness
The LORD is righteous
The LORD loves justice.
He will be seen by those who seek his face.
I will trust God and what he says.
S. Jewell S. McGhee
Jewell is an artist who has come to be known also as an author. She often writes a reflection to go with her art pieces and has been paraphrasing the psalms for many years.
About the Artist
S. Jewell S. McGhee likes to call her art “painting with pencils.” She first started using colored pencils to help her mother write names on lunch bags for school. “My mom would pick matching themes for the names on our bags; all balloons, or sunrises, or sometimes just geometric shapes. She always made them so beautiful; a plain brown bag lunch was, all at once, a love note, a story, a hug, and simple colors to enlighten us for the rest of the day.” These bags also became a constant reminder that art was simple, attainable, and a necessary part of every day.
“I always start with a story.” Every time you hear a story you have a physical (tears, a chuckle, or a smile) or mental (confusion, contentment) reaction which is unable to be explained in words alone. “I like to use abstract art as a medium to dive deeply into the complicated mess of a story and discover something more about it and about myself.” She follows the flow of a story and finds the shapes and colors that express its fundamental emotions and questions.
Jewell uses her art to interpret the stories of Shakespeare, the newspaper, the Bible, and her own life. “As I grapple with Hamlet, I see lines-sharp and violent-cutting through relationships and into love. There is red: obviously for blood, but also for love (a riddle itself). A golden crown, a golden son; a golden sun breaking through ghosts, clouds, and lives to reveal blackness and blood.” How black is the blackness of hate? What texture is grace? What shape is confusion, or desperation, or promise? These are the questions these pieces ask.