Summary: God’s goodness allows us to surrender the fear we have of being open and honest in relationship with Him.

Many have expressed how much they appreciate the testimonies that have been shared in our gatherings. > In hearing the way others have experienced God. we find common process and can gain insight and inspiration…

> It’s with that dynamic of gaining insight & inspiration that this morning we begin a series from the Book of Psalms.

In particular, we come to the Psalms to learn what it means to have our souls centered in God.

Psalms provide a testimony and inspiration for centering one’s soul in God.

“At the core of the theology of the Psalter is the conviction that the gravitational center of life (of right human understanding, trust, hope, service, morality, adoration), but also of history and of the whole creation (heaven and earth), is God (Yahweh, ‘the Lord’).”

“We understand the psalms best when we “stand under” them and allow them to flow over us like a rain shower. We may turn to Psalms looking for something, but sooner or later we will meet Someone. As we read and memorize the psalms, we will gradually discover how much they are already part of us. They put into words our deepest hurts, longings, thoughts, and prayers. They gently push us toward being what God designed us to be—people loving and living for him.”

It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus, who lived the ultimate life centered in God… quoted the Psalms often… showing they had been a central part of his life.

For those less familiar with the Psalms… few pieces of background about WHAT the Psalms are.

This word means, as does psalm in Greek, either song or instrumental music, or perhaps song with instrumental accompaniment. More than a hundred psalms are prefixed with inscriptions that give a number of identifying particulars: directions to the musician, name of the author or instrument, the style of the music or poetry, and the subject or occasion of the psalm.

The book of Psalms contains 150 independent compositions… written by a number of authors.

Seventy-three of the psalms have been attributed to David. Other authors that are named in the superscriptions are Asaph (Psalm 50; Psalm 73-83), the sons of Korah (Psalm 42-49; Psalm 84; Psalm 85; Psalm 87; Psalm 88), Solomon (Psalm 72; Psalm 127), Heman (Psalm 88), Ethan (Psalm 89), and Moses (Psalm 90).

The psalms were written over a long period, beginning with Moses (Psalm 90) and ending sometime in the exilic period (Psalm 137). Psalm writing has a very ancient history in Israel and throughout the ancient Near East.

But the golden age of psalm writing in Israel was the period of monarchy, between David’s reign and the Babylonian exile. King David, who also organized the temple service (including musicians), made the psalm an integral part of Israel’s worship at the temple.

The Psalms became Israel’s hymnal, containing hymns that praise God for personal and national salvation. The book of Psalms preserves a poetic record of the ups and downs of personal and national experience.

Using Psalm 116 as an example, I believe the Lord can speak to our spiritual lives this morning.

Psalm 116:1-19 [NIV]

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;

he heard my cry for mercy.

[2] Because he turned his ear to me,

I will call on him as long as I live.

[3] The cords of death entangled me,

the anguish of the grave came upon me;

I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

[4] Then I called on the name of the Lord:

"O Lord, save me!"

[5] The Lord is gracious and righteous;

our God is full of compassion.

[6] The Lord protects the simplehearted;

when I was in great need, he saved me.

[7] Be at rest once more, O my soul,

for the Lord has been good to you.

[8] For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling,

[9] that I may walk before the Lord

in the land of the living.

[10] I believed; therefore I said,

"I am greatly afflicted."

[11] And in my dismay I said,

"All men are liars."

[12] How can I repay the Lord

for all his goodness to me?

[13] I will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the Lord.

[14] I will fulfill my vows to the Lord

in the presence of all his people.

…[19] in the courts of the house of the Lord--

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

This Psalm… characterized as a Psalm of thanksgiving… for deliverece.

Begins with those moving words “I love the Lord.”

= a passion …. we may sing more than we sense.

Yet this kind of love is what Jesus said was to be the priority of life… the greatest command..

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