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Showing posts from October, 2006

The motivation of true worship

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The worship workshop will take place tomorrow evening and thankfully, I am already tying up loose ends in my preparation of materials and slides. Daniel I. Block’s article on the “The Joy of Worship: The Mosaic Invitation of the Presence of God (Deut 12:1-14),” has been most helpful. One of his points really impressed upon me about the God that we worship, though I did find that he was not very clear in his delivery sometimes. The pagans’ motivation of worship is for physical prosperity and numerous progeny. In contrast, Deuteronomy 12 provides an exciting series of reasons why future generations should be motivated to worship Yahweh. Whereas Moses had repeatedly grounded Israel’s ethical conduct in God’s past actions of deliverance, covenant, revelation and providential care (Deut 4), here he highlighted the Lord’s future actions on the nation’s behalf as the grounds for worship: 1. He would give them the land promised to their ancestors (vv. 1, 10) 2. He would bless the Israelites

Psalm 62

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To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. 1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; .... from him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; .... I shall not be greatly shaken. 3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, .... like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. .... They take pleasure in falsehood. .... They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. .... Selah. 5 For God alone, O my soul, .... wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; .... I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; .... my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; .... pour out your heart before him; .... God is a refuge for us. .... Selah. 9 Those of low estate are but a breath; .... those of high estate are a delusion; .... in the balances they go up; .... they

Draw me close to you

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Draw me close to You Never let me go I lay it all down again To hear You say that I’m Your friend You are my desire No one else will do ’Cause nothing else could take Your place To feel the warmth of Your embrace Help me find the way Bring me back to You You’re all I want You’re all I’ve ever needed You’re all I want Help me know You are near Copyright © 1994 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. Maeghan Picture by M Nota

A Thousand Words #9

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Maeghan Picture by Sebastian König

When you go over

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Moses in Deuteronomy 12 gave charge to the Israelites laws and statutes relating to the worship of God. When I read Deut 12:8-12, it impressed on me as a message to us as Christians, awaiting the day when we will be in heaven with God. So while we are here, 8 "You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, 9 for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you. 10 But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, 11 then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD. 12 And you shall rejoice before t

Worship

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Our worship team were invited to give a short training session in another church and I have been working on a rough framework to begin work with. 1. What is worship? Worship is the act of paying divine honour to God; an act of or feeling of adoration or loving or admiring devotion or submissive respect; to perform religious service to; to reverence with supreme respect and admiration. (The New Elizabethan Reference Dictionary) 2. Worship Flows from Theology, Worship Shapes Theology Worship is significantly bound up with the religious beliefs of the believer but the converse is equally true: one’s worship shapes one’s theology. 3. A Biblical look at Worship a. Deut 12:1-14 - who is the object of true worship? - who are the subjects of true worship? - where is the place of true worship? - what is the motivation of true worship? - what are the characteristics of true worship? b. Romans 1:18-25 - the attitude of false worship - the doctrine of false worship - the practice of false

Lebuh Armenian!

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When we arrived in Penang on Sunday, we went looking for the best Char Kuey Teow (Fried Rice Noodles) in the world and got lost. But we found Armenian Street ! Today, before we head back to KL, I made my husband drive back so I could take a picture. He kept asking me, "Why?" And I keep saying, "Because it absolutely bloggable!" No, we did not find Calvinist Street. Don't think there is one. You may want to check this out - Street Names of Penang . I am myself amused that there is a Downing Street and a Drury Lane . We took the ferry back to mainland this time, on Calvin's insistent really. It was fun and the beauty of it was that, of all places to meet, we met our church friends on this very ferry we took! The Pulau Rimau . The drive back was thankfully unevently. We thank our most gracious God for keeping us safe throughout the trip, and we thank Him for a great trip. Maeghan

He's contented

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After a good outdoor day out yesterday ending with a nice time at the pool and the beach, we brought Calvin for movies, popcorn and fries today. Such a contented look, eh? The movie was Open Season . He really enjoyed it. I am just okay with it - not so much of a wow. To me, The Incredibles is by far still the best for an animated movie. We also dropped by the supermarket to pick up a couple of small buckets and a shovel - there will be castle-building later on. Maeghan

Penang Hill

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The Penang Bridge We arrived in Penang yesterday at about 3.00pm. We consider that not too bad for a 5-hour drive from KL, considering the heavy traffic due to the holiday season. The journey was smooth-flowing other than a 1-hour traffic jam. The jam happened because the police had stopped drivers using the emergency lane as a "fast lane", and the jam caused the drivers to take the emergency lane - a vicious cycle it is. We took a trip to Penang Hill today. A place I have not been in more than 30 years! The only way to get to Penang Hill is through this cable train. I am not sure when the tracks were laid, but the trains, at least the one that we were in, were constructed in 1977. Tickets are cheap - at only RM4.00 return. Penang Hill is about 701m above the sea level. Train departure is every 15 minutes. There are 4 trains and the journey takes 30 minutes. Transit takes place at the Middle Station. It reminded me of Middle Earth! Here is the train track up to Middle

Woohoo!

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I have attended The Exegesis of Ephesians module almost one and a half years ago and finally, I got my results (my lecturer had taken some time with grading the papers due to his own thesis paper deadline) - I got an A! I am thoroughly elated - after so long, I was sure I barely just made it. There were 2 papers and 3 take-home but close-book exam questions. 1. The first assignment was a free choice of any 3 to 8 verses from Ephesians. I was quite bold in choosing Eph 1:4-6, " For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. " The lecturer had warned me not to delve too much on the argument of predestination. These were his exact word: ... be careful not to be caught up with the predestination issue in your paper. You need to

Island of the Betel Nut

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We are going to have the next few days off - today being Deepavali and Hari Raya Aidil Fitri will be this coming Tuesday. As such, we will be heading off to Penang a.k.a Pulau Pinang (Island of the Betel Nut) for a vacation tomorrow. We usually stay home during the festival holidays to avoid the traffic congestion due to the exodus of people back to their hometowns but this time we thought it would be fun to go for a holiday and get into the crowd. And Penang will definitely be congested. So I suppose there will no blogging for these few days until I am back on Wednesday. I am really looking forward for a long due family vacation! Maeghan

It is well with my soul

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I am sure most of us are already familiar with the sad story behind the lovely hymn, It is Well with My Soul , written by Horatio Spafford. I was preparing for an upcoming training on worship when I come across it again and it brought tears to my eyes. I told myself, how dare I complain. O Lord, have mercy on us. Horatio Spafford was a lawyer born in 1828 who had a close relationship with D.L. Moody. Tragedy after tragedy struck him so gravely that it is a wonder how he would have survived it all. The only person who would really understand him could very well be Job himself. Spafford’s only son died, and the Chicago fire of 1871 wiped out his real estate holdings, which he invested heavily upon. Wanting to go for a vacation with his wife and four daughters, he sent them by ship to Great Britain to join D.L. Moody. Spafford was delayed due to last minute business arrangements and as he was making preparations to join his family, he received a cable from his wife that read, “ Saved a

Psalm 40 I waited, I waited ... My God, do not tarry!

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I had posted Psalm 40 a week ago. I used it again as a prayer during my devotion this morning. It is such a beautiful psalm. Terrien in his commentary divided the psalm into 2 parts: Part One (v.1-12) with 5 strophes and Part Two (v.13-18) with 3 strophes. (This post is dedicated to Noel who gave me Terrien's commentary on the psalms as an early Christmas gift. Thank you Noel, God bless you!) Part One Strophe 1 I waited, I waited for the Lord; ... He inclined toward me, and he heard my cry. He draw me from the pit of roaring waters, ... From the mire of mud, And he set me standing, my feet on a rock, ... With my steps secure. He placed in my mouth a new song, ... A hymn of praise for our God! This strophe deals with praise and thanksgiving, rather than lament but the background of the entire psalm is dire indeed. I particularly like Terrien's interpretation of the first verse: " I waited, I waited for the Lord ." The psalmist has been in a pit and in mu

Faith Seeking Understanding

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I have spent quite a lot of time today updating my book list . I must build the habit of updating it as I purchase them. I have finally completed it and I am quite glad to say that most of them are accounted for except several of which I will need to find out who has taken them. I had once read a very interesting article about books in www.msnbc.com (too bad I can't find the article now). It talks about how we often find good books, pay good money for them but ended having them sitting on the shelves unread (I have too many of such!). But in time to come, these books will surely find you and find you they will. This I have experienced many times over, which feeds on my habit of buying more of them everytime I go to the bookstore. Anyway, I used to call my book list my list of Faith Seeking Understanding . Maeghan

God's working ground

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I had a very good discussion with a friend this afternoon about how God moves and works in our lives. We may wish for clear and verbal directions from God – “do this”, “do that”, “go here”, “go there” – but to most of us, that does not quite happen. This reminded me of Abraham. When God called him to move out of Haran, though He was verbal, He was not too clear in His instructions either. He gave just enough information: “ Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you, ” (Exo 12:1). We may not hear God as directly as Abraham did, but if we look back into our lives, chances are that we do see that He has been working out good things for us, that we had not seen then. Things which at that time seem bad and situations we find ourselves in which we had rather not, turned out to be stepping stones to things that are better. The good that we find ourselves in now is the fruit of our obedience to Christ and the bad we are in right now is

Extend a hand to the lonely

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Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~ The Qoheleth (Ecc 4:9-12, ESV) Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. ~ Sir Francis Bacon Maeghan Picture by Laura Kennedy

Love, Knowledge, Prayer

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Phil 1:9-11 (NIV) 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. We have a guest speaker today from Seremban Chinese Methodist Church. He spoke on Love, Knowledge and Prayer from the Phil 1:9-11 text. Some interesting points: - There is certainly space in our lives to grow. There is definitely space in our lives to increase in substance. - In the passage, Paul is not really praying for love only but that the Philippians would have the ability to discern what is best for them. We not only go for what is right but what is best. Being human, we do not go for the right or the best naturally, we have to purposefully work for it. - It is also not enough to just love but it has to grow more and more in knowledge and depth of in

Been cleaning today

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Been spending the day cleaning and as a result I have bags and bags of stuff to throw away. I marvel at the way things gets collected through the years. There are bound to be things that I tend to keep even though I know I do not need them. Maeghan Picture by Liton Ali

The Holy Spirit in the Holy Scripture

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Hans Hübner presented in his 1989 article, “The Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture” in The Ecumenical Review, an interesting look at the most significant aspects of biblical pneumatology. He studied the Holy Spirit from different parts of the New Testament with their relevant reference to the Old Testament: Luke 4:16 with Isaiah 61:1, Acts 2:16 with Joel 2 and Romans 8 with possible parallels in Ezekiel. Luke 4:16ff – pneumatology and Christology Luke 4:16-21 (ESV) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the

I'll sing a new song!

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Psalm 40 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; ... he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, ... out of the mud and mire; ... he set my feet on a rock ... and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, ... a hymn of praise to our God. ... Many will see and fear ... and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man ... who makes the LORD his trust, ... who does not look to the proud, ... to those who turn aside to false gods. 5 Many, O LORD my God, ... are the wonders you have done. ... The things you planned for us ... no one can recount to you; ... were I to speak and tell of them, ... they would be too many to declare. 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, ... but my ears you have pierced; ... burnt offerings and sin offerings ... you did not require. 7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come— ... it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will,

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Hermeneutics

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Following my post yesterday, Julia and I were discussing about the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to understand the Word of God. I happen to have a journal article by Roy B. Zuck which is quite good in addressing the issue, because I think that as much as the Holy Spirit is active in revealing to us the Word of God, many issues do arise. Zuck in his "The Role of the Holy Spirit in Hermenuetics" ( Bibliotheca sacra 141 Ap-Je 1984, p 120-130) highlights amongst others these issues: If true learning comes by the Spirit’s inner working, does this mean that one’s understanding of Scripture is ultimately a subjective matter If a person senses the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, does he automatically know the correct view of a Bible verse? If the Spirit interprets the Word privately to individual believers, how can one determine the correct view among several conflicting interpretations? If two people profess to be taught by the Spirit and yet hold differing views o

Acts Assignment 2

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I have started to gear up for my Acts Assignment 2. I have these 3 questions to choose from. What were the issues facing the Council of Jerusalem and how were they resolved? What do we learn about Paul’s missionary strategy and the message from the second half of Acts? Discuss the role of the Holy Spirit in Acts. During class several weeks ago, I had wanted to do the 2nd one but now I think I am quite decided on the 3rd. With only 2,000 words, it will be a challenge to present the points while being thrifty with words. I do not have any good books on the Holy Spirit but I have managed to obtain quite a few relevant journal articles that will be of great help. The recommended book on the Holy Spirit, which the lecturer refers to as the book on the Holy Spirit is really too expensive to be purchased. Max Turner's Power from on High: The Spirit in Israel's Restoration and Witness in Luke-Acts costs US$79.96 in Amazon.com. Very pricey for a paperback, eh? Some interesting art

Hebrews 2:1-4, Therefore …

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Hebrews 2:1-4 (ESV) 1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. The message in Hebrews 2 is so clear – we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away from it, for how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Now, what would the author mean by “paying closer attention”? It certainly would mean to: • Read God’s word more frequently – as often as we can • Meditate on it closely – think about it, mull over it, remember it • Have it close to our heart – so close that it is t

Hebrews 1:4, Much superior to angels

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I was wondering why the author in the book of Hebrews compared Jesus to the angels. According to Vincent, "the informal and abrupt introduction of this topic goes to show that the writer was addressing Jewish Christians, who were familiar with the prominent part ascribed to angels in the O.T. economy, especially in the giving of the law. "Clarke said that it is "another argument in favor of the Divinity of our Lord". Jesus is clearly superior over man, as lived out in his life with the disciples, his resurrection and ascension. In comparing Him to the angels, the author is affirming His divinity, that not only is He superior to man but also to angels because He is God. Maeghan Picture by Liam Odowd

The Trinitarian God

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Hebrews 1:5-8 (NKJV) 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: ... “ You are My Son, ... Today I have begotten You”? And again: ... “ I will be to Him a Father, ... And He shall be to Me a Son”? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ... “ Let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says: ... “ Who makes His angels spirits ... And His ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But to the Son He says: ... “ Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; ... A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. ... 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; ... Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You ... With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” I was so marvelled with Heb 1:8, But to the Son He says: “ Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. Inadvertently, it is God who addressed God. It will be odd to address oneself and He is clearly speaking to Jesus. So isn't it amazing that He is calling Jesus, God,

A Thousand Words #8

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Maeghan Picture by Bianca de Blok

Free Hugs

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I had wanted to blog further on Hebrews but Jewels posted this great video on Tuesday and I gotta post it too: click here for a video that might bring tears to your eyes. Meanwhile, I have not been checking out my blogger friends and it is time I do: Doug's Weapons of Mass Deduction , Julia's Kingdom Jewels , Codepoke's The Familyhood Church , The Milly Times and Danny Kaye's Nothing Important to Us . I will continue with Hebrews tomorrow, God willing. Maeghan Picture by Matin Dadfar

Hebrew 1:1-3, Wow!

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Doesn’t it happen to you that God’s word is new every time you read it? His Word is indeed living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, bone and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intention of heart (Heb 4:12). Since I was so touched by Romans 8 and Hebrews 4:14-16, I began reading Hebrews. And just reading the first 3 verses blew me away! Hebrews 1:1-3 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Here is what I find so wow. Jesus is: • Appointed heir of all things (I therefore have no worries) • Through Whom the worlds are

A slap in the face from Romans 8

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I have not been Greeking at all lately and have fallen back profusely on my Romans class. I had wanted to forgo class this evening after it has been put on hold for almost 2 months, if not more. I had to literally force myself to go for class today. I am so very thankful that I did. I am in a juncture of life where I keep telling myself, "I know" but yet it didn't help me feel better. (If you have been following my daily posts, you might have noticed that I have been brooding a lot lately.) I am again humbled because just an hour ago, you can say that I got a slap in the face: I don't know a lot of things . It was an awakening for me, and I would like to put down in words what I have just learnt. Romans 8:1-4 (ESV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sen

1 Thessalonians

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I found myself seeking for encouragement mainly in the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms, and so I thought I'd try the New Testament. My thoughts went to 1 Thessalonians by virtue of 5:16-18, " Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus " (NLT). I ended up reading the entire letter, which isn't too long really, and was much encouraged by it. Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians approximately in 51AD, one of the earliest letters he wrote. He wrote it to strengthen the Thessalonian Christians in their faith and give them the assurance of Christ's return. We know that God loves you, dear brothers and sisters, and that he chose you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what was said was true ... so you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in

He heals the brokenhearted

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Psalm 147 1 Praise the LORD! ... For it is good to sing praises to our God; ... for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; ... he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted ... and binds up their wounds. 4 He determines the number of the stars; ... he gives to all of them their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; ... his understanding is beyond measure. 6 The LORD lifts up the humble; ... he casts the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; ... make melody to our God on the lyre! 8 He covers the heavens with clouds; ... he prepares rain for the earth; ... he makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He gives to the beasts their food, ... and to the young ravens that cry. 10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, ... nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, ... in those who hope in his steadfast love. 12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! ..