Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper! (republished, remembering Leonard Nimoy 1930-2015)

'Iv Sornav je ta'taH ghobe' wither. Whatever ghaH ta'taH DIchDaq chep.
whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper Psalm 1:3b

podcast version

Vulcans are not Klingons. The Klingon language's words for hello (nuqneH) and goodbye (Qapla') translate to "what do you want" and "success." Compare that to Vulcans in whose language the peaceful salute is:



tich tor ang tesmur / Live long and prosper
That sentiment, not often expressed in Klingon, is a good summation of Psalm 1, verse 3: The person who is blessed, who relies on God completely, will live long: ('Iv Sornav je ta'taH ghobe' wither: whose leaf also does not wither). Not having a word for "leaf," we use a compound here Sor (tree) nav (paper). The imagery calls to mind a tree, ever growing, yet never shedding its leaves - the Hebrew, lo yibool, says this tree's leaves  don't wilt or fall away.

And this blessed one "prospers": whatever ghaH ta'taH DichDaq chep in all they do, they prosper (NLT).

I think this is an interesting shift in the psalm. We've started speaking of a blessed person, then compared him to a tree and now we hear about "in all they do." Trees don't DO much of anything - they grow, and bear fruit. But they have no plans or tasks to carry out - it is clear we are talking about a person, and what it means for the person who seeks to follow God's word every day.

These verses echo the words of the book of Joshua that promised prosperity to the person who kept God's word always in mind and heart: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

Now, we must tread carefully with promises like this. It is easy to measure prosperity by wealth or possessions. This is not intent of Scripture. As Jesus said: "what does it profit a man if he gains the whole  world, and loses or forfeits his own self?" (Luke 9:25).

And we cannot measure a "long" life by a simple tally of years. Just because I've lived longer than someone doesn't mean my life surpasses theirs. A life can loom large with an impact that far outlasts the days numbered on a calendar. Believers look forward to something more - an existence in eternity, surely the promise that lies behind the psalmist's words.

So, as a Vulcan would say: tich tor ang tesumur - live long and prosper.

This is the path this psalm, indeed all the Bible draws us towards. And, to live long and prosper, we need to seek out the blessed life, a full life that leads to real prosperity: the riches of God's kingdom - forever.

Though a Klingon might not be inclined to say it - if they did read this Psalm, and find these promises here, they might indeed say:



tIqjaj yInlIj 'ej bIchepjaj

Live long and prosper

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

His Compassion Doesn’t Fail.

'oH  ghaH  vo'  joH'a'  muSHa'taH kindnesses  vetlh  maH  'oH  ghobe'  Soppu', because  Daj compassion  ta'be' fail.

 It is of the LORD's loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassion 
doesn’t fail.   Lamentations 3:22




Matthew Henry notes:

The prophet relates the more gloomy and discouraging part of his experience, and how he found support and relief. In the time of his trial the Lord had become terrible to him. It was an affliction that was misery itself; for sin makes the cup of affliction a bitter cup. The struggle between unbelief and faith is often very severe. But the weakest believer is wrong, if he thinks that his strength and hope are perished from the Lord.
Having stated his distress and temptation, the prophet shows how he was raised above it. Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse. 

In the worst moment, when we realize this, that "Bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse" we may begin to have hope. On that, I reflect on Viktor Frankl's words:

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.  (Man's Search for Meaning)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

God works in you.

vaD  'oH  ghaH  joH'a'  'Iv  vum  Daq  SoH both  Daq  DIchDaq  je  Daq  vum,  vaD  Daj  QaQ pleasure.
For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

God works. 

God works in you.

Matthew Henry puts it well:

It is the grace of God which inclines the will to that which is good: and then enables us to perform it, and to act according to our principles. Thou hast wrought all our works in us,Isa. xxvi. 12. Of his good pleasure. As there is no strength in us, so there is no merit in us. As we cannot act without God's grace, so we cannot claim it, nor pretend to deserve it. God's good will to us is the cause of his good work in us; and he is under no engagements to his creatures, but those of his gracious promise.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Daq lIj tIQDu' vegh HartaHghach / In your hearts through faith

vetlh Christ may yIn Daq lIj tIQDu' vegh HartaHghach; Daq the pItlh
vetlh SoH, taH rooted je grounded Daq muSHa',
may taH strengthened Daq comprehend tlhej Hoch the le' ghotpu'  
nuq ghaH the breadth je length je height je depth,
je Daq Sov Christ's muSHa' nuq surpasses Sov,  
vetlh  SoH may  taH  tebta'  tlhej  Hoch the fullness  vo'  joH'a'.  KLV


And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.   Ephesians 3: 17-19 (NLT)




This comes from a passage of Ephesians that I love 
(in fact I've memorized it from the NLT translation.)

and I really appreciate how the Life Application Bible describes it:


God’s love is total, says Paul. It reaches every corner of our experience. It is wide—it covers the breadth of our own experience, and it reaches out to the whole world. God’s love is long—it continues the length of our lives. It is high—it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep—it reaches to the depths of discouragement, despair, and even death. When you feel shut out or isolated, remember that you can never be lost to God’s love.

God's muSHa', his love, surpasses Sov, our knowledge.  And he gives it freely to all of us.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Water of Salvation

 vaj tlhej Quch SoH DIchDaq draw bIQ pa' vo' the wells vo' toDtaHghach.
Therefore with joy you will draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Our life depends on water.  From the quenching of thirst, to the growing of crops, to the climate that keeps us alive - water is our life.  So it's a an apt parallel to speak of God's loving care as bIQ pa' vo' the wells vo' toDtaHghach - water from the wells of salvation.

Even now we need to express our gratitude to God, thanking him, praising him, and telling others about him. From the depths of our gratitude, we must praise him. And we should share the Good News with others.  (Life Application Bible)

The assurances God has given us of his love, and the experiences we have had of the benefit and comfort of his grace, should greatly encourage our faith in him and our expectations from him: "Out of the wells of salvation in God, who is the fountain of all good to his people, you shall draw water with joy. God's favour shall flow forth to you, and you shall have the comfort of it and make use of the blessed fruits of it."   (Matthew Henry)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Things that are above


cher lIj yab Daq the Dochmey vetlh 'oH Dung, ghobe' Daq the Dochmey vetlh 'oH Daq the tera'.


Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth - Col 3.2


Perspective matters - and the things, the Dochmey, that we focus on will draw us along.   That is, what we attend to will give us direction.  As the Life Application Bible notes:


truth gives us a different perspective on our life here on earth, looking at life from God’s perspective and seeking what he desires. This is the antidote to materialism; we gain the proper perspective on material goods when we take God’s view of them. The more we regard the world around us as God does, the more we will live in harmony with him. We must not become too attached to what is only temporary.

Where are you looking for what matters?


Monday, August 12, 2013

the earth was formless and empty
the tera' ghaHta' formless je
chenHa' chIm je

Lately I've been reading Matthew Clarke's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Henry) complete commentary on the Bible. It's a classic work and I found I could get it for my Kindle for a remarkably low price - it makes a nice source for reflection in devotional reading and study. (You can also find it online at CCEL.org). I appreciate sources like this - they provide interesting insights and they aren't encumbered with controversies or concerns of our particular age.

I love this reflection:

The Creator could have made his work perfect at first, but by this gradual proceeding he would show what is, ordinarily, the method of his providence and grace. Let us learn hence, That atheism is folly, and atheists are the greatest fools in nature; for they see there is a world that could not make itself, and yet they will not own there is a God that made it. Doubtless, they are without excuse, but the god of this world has blinded their minds.

What I appreciate about that is Clarke looks at creation and recognizes, it's NOT done. God works carefully, taking his time. And he still does.