“Oh Lord, Establish the Work of Your Hands”

“Oh Lord, Establish the Work of Your Hands”

“Standing up from crags and clay
The peaks of earth
In full display
They break the lines
That break the sky
That’s full of life
Full of life

The chaos of creation’s dance
A tapestry, a symphony
Of life himself
Of love herself
It’s written in our very skin”

“To set aside as holy”

Susan, stop thinking about all the things you have to do and all the things you want to do today and tomorrow, and the weekend.

I know you like being in that headspace, but I’m telling you there’s something more greater and worthy of the time in your head, and you’ve got to be still for that.


 

“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?”

At the height of my lows, these thoughts were all my mind made space for.

“You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us”

And I held onto the promise of that chorus.

In hindsight, the offer at hand was so much better than “survival”.

God didn’t and doesn’t exist to merely serve as a mechanism for survival or for meeting pressing needs. You are missing out on something great if that’s all you are looking to get or look for in God.

God is so much more than that. It’s like trying to put a rainbow and 300 unicorns in a 5ft x 5ft box. It just doesn’t work that way, the belief in my God, the belief in a Jesus.


Psalms 66 (ESV)

10: “You have tried us as silver is tried”

13-14: “I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble”


Working thoughts:

“Compassion in place of anger”

“Self control” particularly over tongue.

Killing Ego

On Psalms

I am embarking on a reading journey through Psalms, and I’ll update this post here as I find words daily that resonate with me in some way or potentially for where I am at a given point in time.

 

Feel free to check in and follow along:

Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

 

Psalm 2:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

Psalm 3:

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.”

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. 

5I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

 

Psalm 4:

O men,[a] how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry,[b] and do not sin;
    ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 5:

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
    will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
    make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouth;
    their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
    they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
    let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
    for they have rebelled against you.

Psalm 6:

Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

 

Psalm 7:

Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;

    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
    rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.

Lord my God, if I have done this,
    if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my friend[b] with evil
    or plundered my enemy without cause,
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
    and let him trample my life to the ground
    and lay my glory in the dust. Selah

Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
    lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
    awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
    over it return on high.

The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.

 

Psalm 8:

O Lord, our Lord,

how magestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Psalm 9:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

 

Psalm 10:

The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

 

Psalm 11:

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
    but the wicked, those who love violence,
    he hates with a passion.
.

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For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.

 

Psalm 12:

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
    and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
    “By our tongues we will prevail;
    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold[c] refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

 

Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

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lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 14:

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,[a]
    who seek after God.

Psalm 15:

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

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who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 16:

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 17:

With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

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10 They close their hearts to pity;
    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

Lord, I pray I may be so, and that I too avoid the temptation to be arrogant for the sake of humor and laughs

Psalm 18:

He rescued me from my strong enemy
    and from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the Lord was my support.

Psalm 19:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 20:

May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

 

Psalm 21:

For you make him most blessed forever;[a]
    you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord,
    and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

 

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Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
    We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 50

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

How To Fall In Love With Art

How long has it been?

Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.

I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.

At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.

Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.

Hu Jieming, Casual Status, 1992

I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.

During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.

A pic I snapped years ago on another trip to Pace Gallery.

I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.

 

So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.

I was falling in love with art then.

I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.

For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

For some reason, Surrealism and Dada works get me.

Man Ray, Ingre’s Violin

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.

Mark Ryden, the father of Pop-Surrealism

I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :

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Toyin Ojih Odutola, Above all else make it look effortless, 2012. Pen ink, marker, and varnish on paper.
Chad Wys, Sculpture with a Spectrum 2, 2014. Collage on paper.

It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.

I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.

And the more I do that, the more I understand this:

Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.

They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          (on my best days- taha.)