The Sidney Psalms

I’ve been reading a fascinating book. A wonderful professor introduced me to the writings of Sir Philip Sidney in a 16th Century Lit class, but it wasn’t until I was chatting with a friend about Shakespeare’s influence on the language used in the King James Bible that I remembered Sidney and his sister, Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, translated the psalms.

The Sidney Psalter contains of 43 psalms translated by Sidney before his death in 1586, which were then edited by Mary when she finished translating the remaining 150 psalms. Though 16th century writers knew the Psalms were poems, it wasn’t until the 18th Century that an English scholar discovered the rules which governed Hebrew poetry. That didn’t stop several writers, including the Sidneys, from trying out translations in meter and rhyme.

According to Hannibal Hamlin (who taught at The Ohio State University and wrote the introduction and notes for the Oxford World Classics edition), the Sidneys stayed close to the original meaning of the psalms and focused their creativity on the poetic form. “The Psalter contains 150 Psalms,” Hamlin writes, “including the 22 sections of the long Psalm 119, and among these 172 poems the Sidney’s repeat only one form (both stanza and meter) exactly.”

I’m so impressed with these translations. They’re the psalms I love, written in a way that reminds me of my favorite Romantic poets (who were undoubtedly influenced by the Sindeys’ writings).

Psalm 23

The Lord, the Lord, my Shepherd is,
And so can never I
Taste misery:
He rests me in green pastures His:
By waters still and sweet,
He guides my feet.

He me revives; leads me the way
Which righteousness doth take,
For his name’s sake:
Yea, though I should through valleys stray
Of death’s dark shade, I will
No whit fear ill.

For Thou, dear Lord, Thou me besettest
Thy rod and thy staff be
To comfort me:
Before me Thou a table settest,
Even when foe’s envious eye
Doth it espy.

Thou oilst my head, Thou fillest my cup;
Nay more, Thou endless good,
Shalt give me food.
To Thee, I say, ascended up,
Where Thou, the Lord of all,
Dost hold thy hall.


Malachi’s Message

In most Bibles, Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, leading directly into the Gospels. It’s an intensely personal book where the Lord challenges His people regarding the way they worship Him. This happened some time after the temple rebuilding described in Haggai and Zechariah — long enough for the spirit of revival to wear off and the people to grow lax in their worship.

Malachi’s call to return to God comes before the first coming of Christ, but it’s equally relevant as we wait for His second coming. Like Israel at this time, we could slip into lax, lukewarm worship that doesn’t honor God and won’t qualify us to live in His family.

Malachi's Message |

Honoring God

God opens this book with the words, “I have loved you.” He’s writing a letter to Israel, and that’s the first thing He says. The very next thing is Israel’s question, “In what way have You loved us?” (Mal. 1:2). It’s a common, heart-breaking theme in the scriptures — God loves us, but we don’t love Him back and we won’t even admit the problem is ours.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” says the Lord of hosts. (Mal 1:6-8)

When we offer God our time, money, and/or efforts on a level that wouldn’t be acceptable to other humans, we’re demonstrating contempt for God. If you rush through prayer in a way that would be rude if you called up your Dad on the phone, then you dishonor God. If you volunteer to help out with something at church and turn in a performance that wouldn’t be good enough for your boss at work, you dishonor God. He deserves our best, not our leftovers.

You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ and you sneer at it,” says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! should I accept this from your hand?” says the Lord. “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished — for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations. (Mal. 1:13-14)

We know from the story of the widow’s mite that God respects sincere offerings, however small. But we also know from the story of Ananias and Sapphira that pretending to give God one thing and then trying to slip in something of lesser value is abhorrent to Him.

Warnings for Priests

I think about this when I see a minister stand up in front of his congregation and say he just pulled an old message out of his files for today. A message about one of your old messages, which you freely admit you just cycle through every once in a while, just doesn’t seem like giving God your best. It’s something we all have to beware of — any time we set things we’re doing for God at a lower priority we’ve fallen into a dangerous attitude.

“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.” (Mal. 2:1-2)

These messages to priests can apply to all of us. After all, Peter tells use we’re a “priesthood” being built up to serve God (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). However, the warnings are more serious the more responsibility a person has in the household of God. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law.” (Mal. 2:7-9)

God has little patience for leadership that fails His people, as evidenced by Jesus Christ’s reaction to the scribes and Pharisees. He even said if we can’t do better than the religious leaders of His day, then we will not enter God’s kingdom (Matt 5:20). These were people who memorized the Old Testament, tithed regularly, and were held in high regard for their religious learning, yet Jesus said that people like them won’t be part of His family because their attitudes were wrong.

Doing Better

So much of the minor prophets’ messages to ancient Israel put me in mind of our nation today. We started out with at least the intention of being a Godly country, but we don’t even a have that any more. In addition, many of the churches have become slack in keeping the law of God.

Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ in tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.” (Matt. 3:7-9)

When we turn away and refuse to render “to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21), we bring a curse on ourselves. To do better and “return to God,” we have to turn completely away from sin and start serving God.

We live in a world that says evil is good (Mal. 2:17), that boasts of pride and wickedness (Mal. 3:15), oppresses the innocent, and regards not God (Mal. 3:5). Our lives as part of God’s church — His temple — must be a sharp contrast to this attitude.

“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3:1-3)

God’s not going to let His people stay polluted by the world. I believe this prophecy is being fulfilled now — that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is in His temple right now purifying His servants. If we learn through this refining process to serve God in righteousness, we will be part of His family. We have to acknowledge our shame and guilt, turn around, and begin serving God as we never have before. We need to stop being scared and live boldly for Jesus, meeting together to encourage each other and built up the temple.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. (Mal. 3:16-18)

A Faith For Me

A couple weeks ago, Personality Hacker released a podcast about personality types and religions. They spent much of their time talking about faith traditions in the United States and how different personality types gravitate towards different religious expressions. As an example, they talk about the personalities attracted by Baptist and Presbyterian faiths. FP types are more likely to gravitate toward the Baptist faith, which values “personal faith expression.” Since Presbyterians are “more organized as a collective” with “codified belief systems,” that tends to attract FJ and TJ types. TP types are the most likely to leave a religion, and don’t fall neatly into either of these example categories.

It’s a fascinating topic, though at first it seems rather obvious. Of course different personality types are attracted to different types of religions. Someone who isn’t comfortable without outward displays isn’t going to join a Pentecostal group. Someone who hates rules and ritual won’t become Catholic. At Personality Hacker, they boiled it down to a question of whether or not your faith encourages and allows you to use the dominant aspect of your personality.

“If your driver process is not being respected, honored or allowed to manifest … you will eventually leave” — Antonia Dodge

ESFJs and ENFJs lead with Extroverted Feeling, and they’ll leave a faith tradition that doesn’t encourage harmony among the members. INTPs and ISTPs lead with Introverted Thinking, and they’ll leave a faith that doesn’t make rational sense. And so different types gravitate towards different religions, or move away from religion, when they aren’t allowed to be themselves.

A Faith For Me |

Let’s switch gears for a minute. One of the core aspects of Christianity is the belief that we’re right and everyone else is wrong. That’s overly simplistic, but if you’re a worshiper of the Christian God, then you also have to believe that He’s the only true God. Even the demons know this (James 2:19). There are other things that people worship as a god, but the Bible is very clear that 1) Christians shouldn’t run after other gods and 2) those “gods” aren’t on anything like the same level as our God.

You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Ex. 34:14)

Know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other (Deut. 4:39)

This might be the least talked about truth in Christianity. We don’t want to offend non-Christians and we’re not sure how to handle doctrinal conflicts with other Christian groups. So we talk about finding the religion that “works for you,” or a “faith tradition that expresses who you are.” If really pushed to admit it, though, I think most Christians will say they believe their particular brand of Christianity is more right than the others.

Jesus Christ isn’t the Head of many different churches, though. He’s the head of one true Church which is composed of His called-out people scattered throughout many different groups. There are many groups out there who claim to be part of this one true church, but are they? What does a true church look like?

A Faith For Me |

As I think about the topic of personality types in religion, I’ve reached a sobering conclusion. If your brand of Christianity is driving a certain personality type away, there’s something wrong with it. We tend to assume that if people are leaving church there’s a problem with them, and in some cases that may be. However, if all INTPs and INTJs (or any other personality types) are leaving that means this particular church is failing to engage a group of God’s children.

God created all personality types, and He wouldn’t command a worship style that excludes some of His children. Any religion claiming to be true worship of the one true God must have room for all personalities, just as it has to include both men and women. God wouldn’t give people a personality type that isn’t compatible with worshiping Him, so if certain types are driven away because they are not “respected, honored or allowed to” use their gifts, then there must be something wrong with how we humans are constructing our churches.


How many people do you really open up to? Even if you’re an “open book,” there are probably things you don’t share with everyone. There are secrets, aspects of our personality, and thoughts that we only show closest friends, family or a spouse. You may have parts of you hidden so deep no one sees them.

not sure who to credit; found on Pinterest

What about in your relationship with God? Even though He knows everything about us, we can still chose to hold things back from Him. We can tell Him to stay away, keeping Him at arms length and refusing to let go and surrender to His work in us.

Opening up and letting myself be seen is a challenge I face in human relationships, and in this fall holy day season I’ve been thinking about whether I try to do the same thing with God. I think that I’m more open with Him than with anyone else, but are there still things that I’m trying to hold back or hide?

Open To Me

Jesus is supposed to be our friend and lover. He wants to know you more thoroughly than anyone else ever will, but He wants you to chose that relationship. He won’t force Himself into your life, though He will knock.

I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” (Song 5:2)

The woman in this part of the Song of Songs has “slumbered and slept,” and now Christ is outside asking to come in. “He sues for entrance who may demand it; he knocks who could easily knock the door down” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary). He doesn’t upbraid her for shutting Him out — He just wants her to let Him in. Have we also locked Him out? perhaps through carelessness if not deliberately?

she did not say, I will not open, but, How shall I? Note, Frivolous excuses are the language of prevailing slothfulness in religion; Christ calls to us to open to him, but we pretend we have no mind, or we have no strength, or we have no time (Matthew Henry)

Matthew Henry talks about this as “The slights which careless souls put upon Jesus Christ,” and which actually demonstrate “a great contempt” for their savior. When we ignore Jesus’ request to come into our lives, we reject His work in us.

Here, in the Song, the woman finally opens the door when she sees His hand at the door. Unfortunately, she waited too long for welcoming Christ in to be easy.

I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. (Song 5:6-7)

If we aren’t willing to open ourselves up to Christ when He knocks, He will be harder to find. If we don’t unveil ourselves to Him, we might find ourselves lost, alone and stripped of our covering pretenses before we find Him again. This can happen multiple times in a Christian’s life, just as this pattern is repeated in the Song (Song 3:1-4). Our lives are often a dance of drifting away and coming back to Christ.

Torn Veils

Unveiled | marissabaker.wordpress.comVeils keep us from fully experiencing God. The veil in the temple separated the Holy of Holies — where God’s spirit appeared — from the rest of the temple complex. Prior to Christ’s sacrifice, only the High Priest could enter, and only once a year (Heb. 9:1-8). The moment Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). His death removed the most visible separation between God and His people.

There was another veil mentioned in the Old Testament that Paul talks about in the New. After Moses spoke to God, he shone so much with God’s reflected glory that Israel feared him. Moses wore a veil to hide his shining face before everyone but God (Ex. 34:29-35). Paul wrote about this veil in his second letter to Corinth.

But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor. 3:14-16)

Christ has torn away all the veils between the Lord and His people. The temple veil which tore at His death opened the way into His sanctuary, and when we turn our hearts to Him He takes away the veil shielding true understanding of the Torah.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:18)

We have to unveil our faces if we want to see His unvelied face. To know Him, we must want to be known. He took the first step — will we be equally open with Him?

Being Seen

Psalm 139 talks about God knowing us thoroughly — all our thoughts, every part of our personality. It also includes a very important line where David invites God into this deep, intimate relationship.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24)

David’s willingness to be seen by God, and his request that God know him, are key to the sort of closeness described earlier in Psalm 139. Today, we can have that same sort of intimacy with our Lord if we let Him in.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)

Our Beloved is knocking on our doors, asking us to let Him in. Turn your face to Him, take off the barriers you’re putting up between you and Jesus. See, and be seen.

Unveiled |

Credits for photos used in blog images this week:

  • Veil” by Dan Thoburn, CC BY via Flickr
  • Red Drapery” by Sherrie Thai, CC BY via Flickr
  • Diamond Samples” by Seth Lemmons, CC BY via Flickr
  • Song 7:5” by Raffaele Esposito, CC BY via Flickr


I woke up this morning and reached for my water bottle. It wasn’t there, of course, since today is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and we started fasting last night as the sun set. What struck me was how automatic the gesture was — I always have a bottle of water nearby, and grabbing it when I feel thirsty is almost unconscious.

So I asked myself, “Do I long for God the way I crave water when fasting?” Jesus called Himself the “living water.” Just as we need water to survive physically, so we need Him to survive spiritually. And yet somehow, I don’t think we are as attentive about drinking Him in as we are physical water. We should keep Him even closer than I usually keep my water bottle, and turn to Him at every reminder just like we take a drink whenever our throats feel a bit dry.

The Jews consider Yom Kippur the most solemn and holy day of the entire year, and I’m inclined to agree with them. This isn’t to belittle any of the other holy days or the weekly Sabbath, but God does seem to put a special importance on this day. For one thing, it’s the only day when He strictly specifies “you shall do no work at all.” The other holy days are also days of rest, but He uses a different phrase for that: “you shall do no customary work” or “No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.”

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:26-32)

On the Day of Atonement, everything stops. We stop eating, we stop drinking, and we stop doing any work. Usually, my morning routine goes like this: pray, feed fish, make breakfast, read a book, Bible study, yoga, then start working. On the Sabbaths, I usually only do the first three and then head off for per-services dance practice. But today, the only thing I have to think about is thirsting after God. I took a minute to feed the aquarium fish, but that’s it. I don’t have to worry about making breakfast or scheduling my day. I can listen to Hillsong music, pray, study, and turn my thoughts into this impromptu blog post.

I wonder if my younger self would have believed she’d learn to look forward to the Day of Atonement. Fasting doesn’t make me terribly ill, but it’s not really easy for me either, and I often thought of it as something we just had to get through before the Feast of Tabernacles. But, God be praised, I’m starting to learn more about how amazing this day is and why He considers it so important.

I pray each of you has a blessed, refreshing Yom Kippur that draws you closer to God.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah -- traditional greeting for this season. Literally," A good final sealing" or idiomatically, "May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good"

G’mar Chatimah Tovah — traditional Hebrew greeting for this season. Literally,” A good final sealing” or idiomatically, “May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for good”

Learning from Our Stress Function – Inferior Thinking

When we’re talking about someone’s personality type in the Myers-Briggs system, we usually talk about their primary and secondary functions (also called mental processes). An ISFP, for example, leads with a process called Introverted Feeling (a judging/decision making function), which is supported with Extroverted Sensing (a perceiving/learning function). An ENFJ, on the other hand, leads with Extroverted Feeling, supported by Introverted Intuition. Using Personality Hacker’s car model, we can compare our primary function to an adult driving a car, and the secondary function to a second adult navigating in the passenger seat.

Each type also has a tertiary function (the opposite of their secondary function), and an inferior function (the opposite of their primary function). These are less well developed. In the car model, our tertiary function is like a 10-year-old sitting behind the co-pilot, and the inferior function is like a 3-year-old sitting behind the driver. The processes you use most readily are the ones typically visible, and they define your personality as others usually see it. Our less developed functions play a significant role as well, though. Today, we’ll be looking at types which use Thinking as an inferior function.

Learning from Our Stress Function - Inferior Thinking |

Everyday Life

Inferior functions often show up in the type of hobbies people choose. INFPs and ISFPs, for example, may enjoy strategy games or something like crossword puzzles to engage their Thinking side. More than other types, though, dominant Feeling types often choose careers that tap-into less dominant functions (Quenk 149). An ENFJ might use their thinking and intuitive sides to work with computers, or an ISFP could work in engine repair using their sensing and thinking sides. In this case, they’d be using their dominant function in hobbies and play, and their less-developed functions at work. ENFJs, ESFJs, ISFPs, and INFPs in this type of situation often retreat into nature or opt for a more social activity to relax.

Characteristics of Inferior Thinking

ESFJs and ENFJs use dominant Extroverted Feeling, which makes Introverted Thinking their inferior function. It’s their least developed function, and has different characteristics than the Introverted Thinking used by types like ISTPs and INTPs. Naomi Quenk says inferior Introverted Thinking displays the following traits (I’ve put the traits of dominant Ti in parenthesis):

  • Excessive criticism (Impersonal criticism)
  • Convoluted logic (Logical analysis)
  • Compulsive search for truth (Search for accuracy and truth)

ISFPs and INFPs also lead with a feeling function, in this case Introverted Feeling. This makes Extroverted Thinking their stress function, and it looks different than the Thinking used by ENTJ and ESTJ types. Here are the traits Quenk associates with inferior Extroverted Thinking (and their counterparts in Te-dominant types).

  • Judgements of incompetence (Competence)
  • Aggressive criticism (Truth and accuracy)
  • Precipitous action (Decisive action)

Stress Reactions

Inferior Thinking types are sensitive about how other people perceive their intellect. They’re very careful when handling facts and can become irritated or defensive if people question their competence (or if they feel someone might question them). When stressed, they’re quick to point out other peoples’ errors and judge them as incompetent, often aloud. Normally, dominant Feeling types value peace and harmony, but when stressed they are much quicker to voice their criticisms.

They can also turn this “excessive” or “aggressive” criticism inward. I have several good friends who are ExFJ types, and they are very hard on themselves whenever something goes wrong or pulls them into depression. It’s very frustrating to outside observers because it’s almost impossible to talk them out of self-criticism. When working out of their stressed function, Feeling types, especially ESFJs and ENFJs, often insist on solving problems alone and fall into a pattern of “convoluted logic” (Quenk 154). One ENFJ that Naomi Quenk interviewed talked about coming up with a plan to break her leg in an accident so she wouldn’t have to participate in a sporting event that had her stressed out (she didn’t actually go through with it).

Stressed Feeling types often feel compelled to take some kind of action to correct a problem and regain control. The introverts, whose stress function is extroverted, usually try for outward action without thinking it through (Quenk 108). Extroverts, with their inferior introverted function, are more likely to take internal action and seek out books or lectures they think might help (Quenk 155).

Getting Out of Stress

All Feeling types benefit from alone time away from everyday routine to process stressful situations. Introverted types especially say that their “grip experience” needs “to expire on its own” (Quenk 115). They need time to process what’s going on without other people trying to interfere too soon. Some INFPs and ISFPs, especially women, want to talk eventually but not right away.

ESFJs and ENFJs do need alone time, but they also need someone to bounce ideas off of much more than the introverted types. They need a friend who is willing to listen without criticism, take them seriously, remind them of their good qualities, and reassure them that they’re a good person (Quenk 163). Many Extroverted Feelers also appreciate someone taking the time to involve them in a low-pressure social activity.

Learning From the Inferior

For many people, the side of their personality that’s related to the inferior function stays a mystery throughout their lives. Type theorists say that most people who successfully incorporate their inferior function do so around middle age, but you can start working on it sooner. Isabel Meyer suggested that every type can, and should, exercise all their functions on a regular basis when making decisions. Dominant Feeling excels in weighing how much you care about different options, takes into account others’ well-being, and seeks the most authentic and harmonious solution. Making a conscious effort to incorporate Thinking adds a level of impersonal analysis that helps when working with facts and making long-term plans (Meyers, Gifts Differing, 197).

Naomi Quenk says that ENFJs and ESFJs who successfully incorporate their inferior functions learn to take better care of themselves rather than always putting others first. They’ll often dig into their inner lives more fully and give themselves permission to explore interests they’d pushed aside when younger — like one ENFJ who left a successful law practice to become a minister (Quenk 165). The introverted types also become more comfortable with themselves, and more confident when making decisions. Incorporating their inferior Thinking helps INFPs and ISFPs cope with their own shortcomings and relax (Quenk 117, 118). It also helps both types learn to deal with outside criticism effectively.

Learning from Our Stress Function - Inferior Thinking |

credits for pictures used in blog images:

Shabbat Shuvah

The fall holy days are yearly reminders that this world isn’t permanent. Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) pictures Jesus Christ’s return and signals preparation for His arrival. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) reminds us of the price paid to redeem us and points to a day in the future where Satan is finally locked away. Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) looks forward to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.

Peter talks about this day of the Lord’s return in his second epistle, and asks a very important question.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (2 Pet. 3:11)

We know what’s coming, at least in part. We don’t know when, but we know the world isn’t sticking around. We also know that God expects certain things from His people if they want to receive a reward of righteousness in the final judgement.

Return To God

Shabbat Shuvah | marissabaker.wordpress.comIn traditional Jewish teachings, this Sabbath between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur is known as Shabbat Shuvah — the Sabbath of Return. It also plays on the word “teshuva,” meaning repentance, since that’s a central theme of these days. This is a topic dear to Zechariah, who comes next in my study of the minor prophets.

Like Haggai, where we spent so much time a few weeks ago, Zechariah wrote his book of prophecy during Zerubbabel’s temple rebuilding. More than Haggai, he also writes about future events pictured by these holy days. Even with a focus on the future, though, the first thing recorded in this book is a plea for immediate action.

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, “The Lord has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.”’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord. (Zech. 1:1-4)

God is telling these people, and us along with them, that it’s not too late to learn from past mistakes. They can still wake up and turn their lives around by returning to God. They don’t have to repeat the mistakes of past generations who ignored God’s warnings, and neither do we.

How to Change

Peter answers his question about what type of person we ought to be in the verses following what we already quoted in the introduction.

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2 Pet. 3:13-14)

This is a description of who we can become in Christ — a goal to strive for. If we go back to Zechariah now, we find some specific instructions for how to become holy, blameless and at peace.

In Zechariah chapter 7, the Lord reproves Israel for a number of sins. They did everything for themselves rather than to exalt the Lord (Zech 7:5-7). They ignored God’s simple commands and outright rejected His law (Zech. 7:9-12). This rebellion resulted in punishment, but God planned to turn it around to blessing when Israel returned to following Him.

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the Lord.” (Zech. 8:14-17)

If we want to get right with God, we can’t keep doing things He hates. We have to turn our lives around and get rid of deception, squabbling, unrighteousness, vengeance and all forms of evil. These are simple commandments, but truly keeping them can seem like a tall order. Thankfully, we don’t have to do this alone.

By God’s Spirit

Like ancient Israel, we’ve spent far too much time looking to something other than God for answers. We try to fix ourselves with self-help books, center ourselves with meditation, protect ourselves with prepping, and listen to talks about all we can accomplish on our own. None of things I used as examples are inherently wrong, but they always have to come after our relationship with God. If we try to use them as a stand-in for things only God can supply or look to them first when we need help, they become idols.

Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone. For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. (Zech. 10:1-2)

All we have to do to start seeing results is return to God. He’s eager to give us good things if we’ll only ask Him. This doesn’t mean everything will start going right and trials will disappear immediately, but God does promise to work good in your life if you’re walking with Him. A relationship with God always yields better long-term fruits than seeking answers elsewhere.

A couple weeks ago, we talked about obstacles we face today when trying to build up God’s temple — both the church as a whole and ourselves as individuals. Like Haggai, Zechariah delivers a message from God of encouragement to Zerubbabal to persevere in building the temple. It’s a famous verse, and applies just as much today as it did back then.

So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” (Zech. 4:6-7)

If we, too, are walking in the spirit of the Lord and following His will, we can fill in our names here. Jesus told us faith can move mountains, and I don’t think He was joking. Whatever your “mountain” is, stop trying to shove against it by your own might and power. Turn back to the Lord, and He’ll turn that thing into a plain — even ground so you can move forward to keep building and singing His praises.

Shabbat Shuvah | marissabaker.wordpress.comCredits for photos used in blog images:

Heart of David


A good friend just released his first album. I may be a little biased, but I really like it. My favorites right now are “Smokey Mountains,” “Make Me Real,” “Psalm 70,” and “What I’m Waiting For.” Why not click over, give it a listen, maybe download it and let him know what you think?

Originally posted on Corbin-is-me:


This is my first album that I’ve produced. While it’s not professional quality, and I have no formal training in music, recording, or producing, I have a joy and passion for music! I wanted to give “my firstfruits” to God, so this album contains songs that are peaceful, calming, and songs that speak of God, and the desires of my heart. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was important for me to publish these songs first as I strive to put God first.

Currently available for download at the following links

Will be available soon-ish on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, Spotify, etc…

View original

Updated “God’s Love Story” E-Book

In honor of the fall Holy Days season, which we kicked-off yesterday with Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), I’m re-releasing an updated version of my “God’s Love Story” booklet. It’s now available in multiple e-book formats through Smashwords and Amazon (the book is free on Smashwords, but Amazon doesn’t have that option when you’re setting up a new e-book).Updated "God's Love Story" E-Book by Marissa Baker

Throughout history, God calls out to His people asking one simple question, “Do you love Me?” Christianity isn’t a boring “let’s go to church and sit in a pew for an hour” sort of religion. It’s a romance with the creator of the universe; a “fairy tale” staring the Prince of Peace, Who laid down His life to rescue His bride from captivity to sin.

Click here to download “God’s Love Story” for free on Smashwords


The Bridegroom Cometh

I love weddings. Smiling faces, happy tears, white dress, flowers, everywhere, dancing, true love … *sigh*. But even the best wedding I can imagine won’t be as wonderful as the heavenly wedding after Jesus Christ returns to claim His bride.

We’re fast approaching the fall holy day season. Yom Teruah/Feast of Trumpets is on Monday, September 14. It’s the day that pictures Christ’s triumphal return, which closely connects it with His marriage.

The Bridegroom Cometh |

Building A House

In the marriage customs of Christ’s day, at least among the Jews, there were strong parallels with God’s plan. After a betrothal ceremony, the bridegroom went away to build a house. In the mean time, the bride got ready and watched carefully because she wasn’t sure when he’d show up again. The timing depended on the bridegroom’s father saying the house was complete and the bride’s father agreeing that the bride-price had been properly paid.

Jesus told His disciples He didn’t know when He was coming back — that was something only the Father could decide (Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32). He did, however, tell us what He’d be doing in the mean time.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (Jn. 14:1-3)

Christ’s house-building functions on two levels. One is mentioned here – His preparation of a dwelling place for us in His Father’s heavenly realm. Another involves us more directly.

For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Heb. 3:4-6)

We just spent the past four weeks talking about our status as God’s temple, how we can build up each other, what obstacles we face in temple building, and how to clean a spiritual temple. The common thread in all this was the key role of Jesus Christ as Foundation, High Priest and chief Builder of His temple.

having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:20-22)

Bridal Preparations

We are built on and in Jesus, by Jesus, so we can be fit dwellings for God. While He is preparing a place for us, He is also preparing us to dwell with and be indwelt by Him and His Father. Still, He isn’t the only one working on getting the Bride ready.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)

This verse describing the bride as “ready” is in the future. Since that’s the case, the Bride today should have started preparations if she wants to be ready by the time this marriage takes place.  Yet how can we possibly prepare to marry Jesus? How can we hope to be a suitable helper for Him? Well, we couldn’t if all this preparation was done on our own.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13)

We have to work on ourselves, but that’s all made possible because God is working in us. Since He’s already adopted us into His family, He fills the Father-of-the-Bride role as well as being the Bridegroom’s Father.

Paul wrote to Timothy that if we purge ourselves form ungodliness and iniquity, then we’ll be “a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). That’s what we want to become — purified for use in the temple and prepared to do good works.

The Bridegroom Cometh|

Claiming The Bride

The time between formal betrothal and when both fathers gave the go-ahead for the groom’s return could stretch into years. Like some of those ancient brides, the church has waited a long time for her groom to come back. We know He’s coming, and we’re working on getting ready, but are we waiting eagerly for Him? Do we anticipate His arrival?

But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ (Matt. 25:5-6)

Now we get to the part involving trumpet blasts — they signaled the bridegroom’s return in an unmistakable sign that he was close at hand. It’s enough to wake you up, but doesn’t give you enough time for panicked last-minute preparation. If you aren’t ready when the trumpet sounds, you miss His arrival.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)

Once He’s here, we’re out of time. Either we’re ready to go with Jesus into the wedding feast, or we’re left outside like the five foolish virgins (Matt. 25:11-13).

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  (1Thes. 4:16-17)

This is what Yom Teruah — the Feast of shouting and trumpet-sounding — pictures. It’s a yearly reminder for the Bride of Messiah to get ready. Your Bridegroom is coming! Do you hear the trumpet?


Credits for photos used in blog images this week: