Highlights of Psalm 37 in light of today’s world

Have you noticed that the world seems to be changing at an increasing speed, where wrong is proudly celebrated as right, right is violently opposed, systems and powers are roaring for control while at the same time shaking and breaking? 

Does all of this cause you to worry?

Today is July 7th. In keeping with our Psalms reading plan (that I don’t always keep, but come back to when not studying other things), today’s Psalms were Psalm 7, 37, 67, 97 and 127. My wife asked me to read Psalm 37 in light of our recent conversations about homesteading as a way to raise food and animals to the glory of God, as a means to connect with others, and share education.

This Psalm is perfect for the world we live in. Rather than my talking about it, I’m going to post the whole Psalm below with my highlights.

Key for Highlights

  • Commands not to worry, etc.
  • Commands to trust the Lord, etc.
  • God’s judgment of the wicked
  • Blessing of the Land
  • Blessings (other than land)

Psalm 37 (NKJV)

Of David.
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Our hope is truly, and only, in the Lord. Any hope that we place in our own efforts is a passing vanity.

His promises continually return to “the land”. As we return to the land we have wonderful opportunities to see God’s provision, how he is the one who sends the rains and makes things grow. The land gives a unique opportunity to experience our dependence on God and his provision.

It is now July 9th and several verses jumped out that relate to the above:

Psalm 9:15-16 (and all of Psalm 9)

15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
16 The Lord is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

Psalm 39:4-7

4 “Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. (Selah)
6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.
7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
Our hope is in the Lord. 

As Solomon summarized in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

And in 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul states, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Make Your Own Kombucha

Our more focused health journey started with healthy cooking and the importance of quality fruits and vegetables and convenient, inexpensive ways to get and grow them. This had great health benefits, but some continuing digestive issues opened our eyes to the world of fermenting, which has been tremendously helpful. It is amazing how much power God put into the things we eat and drink and the world around us… much of which has been lost to the modern mind. 

As we pursue the path to healthy living, may we grow in our awe of the God of creation! As the song goes, “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.”

MATERIALS:

  • SCOBY 
    • This is the key ingredient of kombucha. Making Kombucha creates more SCOBYs, so you only need one to get started.
    • If you live near us, let us know and we may have a SCOBY for you. :o)
  • Black Tea (bags or loose leaf – I use loose leaf and have a filter to get it out later)
    • Not flavored tea, which has other flavors, oils, etc. which could damage the SCOBY
    • Preferably organic
  • Green Tea (Gunshot – to have caffeine)
    • This is optional to mix 50/50 with the black tea
  • Organic Pure Cane Sugar
    • Costco has this
  • one gallon glass jar
    • I recommend having two (or more) to help with the process and to alternate start weeks.
    • This could be any large glass jar with a wide mouth.
  • Smaller bottles for 2nd fermentation
    • Need to have:
      • airtight seal
      • strong enough for some pressure build up if you plan to allow for carbonation
    • Old Kombucha bottles should work
  • Optional Items
    • Heating Mat – If you will be making Kombucha in cool weather (lower than around 80F)
      • I like the mats that wrap around the jar more than those that are underneath.
      • Some heating mats have adjustable temperature.
      • The temperature can also be adjusted by putting chopsticks/pencils between the mat and the jar. (Add more chopsticks as needed.)
      • You can also store the Kombucha in a warmer cabinet, etc. as long as the temp is between 76-85 (warmer is better).
    • Thermometer (There are choices for this)
      • Temperature Strips – These are nice to check the temperature at a glance
        • Note: A heating pad should come with a temperature strip
      • Temperature Gun – This is nice if you want to be able to check many things, not just a Kombucha jar. 
        • Hint: Put some masking tape on the jar to shoot with the temperature gun.
  • Materials that you may already have

DIRECTIONS: 

Notes before starting:

  • Making kombucha is really quite simple. 
    • I highly recommend the video “How To Make Kombucha – First & Second Fermentation” from DaddyKirbs Farm to see the whole process.
    • My directions below have a lot of details and comments (to answer questions that may come up from the video), but it’s really quite simple.
    • Basically: Make sweet black tea > Let it cool > Add the starter tea & SCOBY > Cover and put in a dark spot > Wait 7-21 days > Bottle and drink!  (It’s also fun to watch the SCOBY grow. :o)
    • The first two times, I was figuring out what to do so it took more thought and time, but since then it is quick.
  • Let me know of any questions and comments and I can then use those to clarify these directions.

Directions:

  • First Ferment
    • Prepare 1 gallon of tea
      • Boil 1 gallon of water (remove from heat)
        • Let it boil for a few minutes to off gas chlorine (if you have chlorine in your water).
        • If you have purified water, you can boil 3+ cups of water to make tea, and then mix with cool water later to quickly cool the tea.
      • Add 2 Tbsp (6 tsp) loose leaf tea (black and/or green) (or equivalent tea bags)
        • Steep for 10-15 minutes
        • Note: The SCOBY eats the caffeine from the tea. The tea needs to be black tea, Gunshot Green tea, or a mix of the two.
      • Remove tea (run through a sterilized filter if using loose leaf)
      • Stir in 1 cup Organic Pure Cane Sugar
    • Cool the sweet tea to 75-85 F
      • If you boiled 1 gallon of water, let it sit for a few hours.
      • If you boiled 3+ cups of water to make the tea,
        • Fill glass jar ⅓ full of cool filtered or boiled/cooled water
        • Add tea
        • Top off with cool water, leaving room for the starter tea and SCOBY (apx 3-4 in)
    • Add starter tea and SCOBY
      • Note: pH should be below 4.5, BUT I don’t check our pH. I simply use more than the minimum amount of starter tea as mentioned below. The pH will drop as it ferments.
        • If the pH is too high, some people add distilled white vinegar (some say to never add white vinegar)
          • I have never added white vinegar.
          • You could also add more of your recently finished batch of kombucha.
        • Most commercial SCOBYs come with ~2 cups of starter tea and most directions recommend setting 2 cups aside from the previous ferment. I prefer to set 3-4 cups aside to make sure that the acidity is low enough.
          • The benefit is that the pH is low enough and I don’t need to think about it.
          • The negative is that we have less of each batch to drink (but still have plenty).
    • Set aside for fermentation
      • Secure cloth over jar
        • I like a coffee filter or solid knit, non-shedding cloth.
          • Personally, I just use a coffee filter.
      • Place in warm area (75-85F)
        • Notes:
          • Cold = mold
          • Try not to shake the jar, etc. while fermenting
          • Dark locations are best
          • If they SCOBY floats, it will get larger. If it sinks, it will form a new SCOBY on the surface. (It’s fun to watch form and is not mold.)
      • Ferment to taste
        • usually around 7-21 days
          • shorter = sweeter, longer = more vinegary
        • Taste by inserting a clean straw under the SCOBY. Plug the end of the straw and pull it out.
          • Can also push the SCOBY down with a clear punch spoon and scoop some out to taste.

  • Second Fermentation
    • Optional, to add flavor and/or carbonation
      • To only add flavor (not carbonation), do the second ferment in an open top bottle with a cloth on top (like the first ferment)
      • To only add carbonation (not flavor), follow the steps of the second ferment, but don’t add flavor.
    • First, prepare to start a new batch for first ferment
      • With clean hands or tongs, take out the SCOBY and put it in a bowl
        • You may want to wipe or rinse the yeast off to reduce alcohol production.
      • Put some of the finished kombucha that just finished fermenting in the bowl.
        • Many recommend 2+ cups of starter tea. I prefer to use 3+ cups to make sure the acidity is low enough in the new batch.
        • Scoop from the top to avoid the yeast to reduce alcohol production.
      • If you won’t be starting a new batch in the next few minutes, put a cloth over the SCOBY bowl.
    • Pour the Kombucha into smaller bottles for 2nd ferment and serving.
      • The bottles need to be strong enough to stand the pressure of carbonizing.
      • Optional: Add flavoring to smaller bottles
        • Flavoring can be: Pure juice, fruit pieces, ginger pieces, etc.
      • Pour the rest of the finished Kombucha (that wasn’t set aside as starter tea) through a filter into the smaller bottles.
        • Leave space at the top for expansion.
        • Use a funnel.
        • The filter removes any big pieces of SCOBY and yeast
    • Optional: Prepare to carbonate
      • If you want to add carbonation, seal the bottle.
      • If you don’t want to carbonate, leave the bottle open with a cloth on top (as with the first fermentation)
    • Store in a warm, dark place (as with the 1st fermentation) for 1-3 days.

  • Start a new first fermentation
    • Rinse the now empty fermentation jar 
      • water only, no soap
      • I rinse with tap water, then put in boiled water to sanitize.
    • With the SCOBY and needed starter tea aside
    • Follow the directions for the 1st fermentation.

As you make kombucha, you will start to have extra SCOBYs. These can be used for many things, including sharing with a friend to spread the joy!

I hope that you enjoy the process and benefits of making your own Kombucha. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to Contact Us.