There is a River

Psalm 46:4. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

It’s a short post this morning–I have a busy day ahead and need to get ready for it.

The first line of this verse put this song in my head. I hope it blesses you as it does me.

Our Refuge and Strength!

Psalm 46:1-3.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Because I have an inquiring mind, I did some research this morning before starting to write. Verse two of today’s passage made me stop and picture what it would look like if the whole earth moved, and all the ranges of mountains around the world were moved into the water.

It’s hard to imagine such a calamity. We talk about the strength of the high mountains. Can we imagine that strength being simply swallowed up by the roaring waters of the earth?

I knew that islands are, with very few exceptions, the tops of mountains that are largely under the water. That concept was hard for me when I first learned it, because some island are quite mountainous. If their visible landmass is so high and broad, what must the rest of that mountain that is under the water actually look like?

And all those islands are connected to the earth, way under the water. You can’t swim under them (there are, of course, always a couple of exceptions–just giving you the broad outlines here.) So, I asked myself, what is the difference between an island and a continent? The answer is simple, but boggles the mind: The only difference is size.

That means that continents, too, are simply above-water land masses supported by massive underwater eruptions of the earth. If all of this fascinates you, as it does me, there is a wealth of information available. I think, however, that a lot of the formation of islands and continents occurred during the Flood, when we read in the Bible that the fountains of the earth broke forth. I don’t think we can begin to imagine the violence that took place as massive underwater fountains broke open and spewed unimaginable torrents of water upward to meet the curtains of water descending on the earth from above. There is also the possibility that some of those fountains of the deep spewed magma, forming what we know today as the surface of the earth.

Here’s something else around which to wrap your mind. This vast globe, encircled by vast amounts of oceans and mighty mountain ranges, is going to be completely consumed. It will burn with a “fervent heat” (II Peter 3:10-12). Lots of people want to explain that passage away with the event of nuclear warfare. I don’t think so. Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He will not need man’s assistance in fulfilling prophecy. He, after all, created everything without man’s help. When the time comes, He will also destroy what man has defiled without man’s help. I’m not talking about pollution and “climate change” here. I’m talking about the sin in the hearts of all mankind; the sin that turns our hearts away from God and denies His power and His very existence.

God is our Refuge. He is our Strength, He is our very present Help in time of trouble. Think of that (Selah!)

God Blest Forever!

Psalm 45:1-2.

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.

According to Strong’s numbers, the word inditing in Hebrew means to keep moving; to stir. So David is saying that his heart is moved about something good.

The introduction to this psalm would seem to indicate that it is a song of praise to some unnamed king in Israel. Some commentators believe it was for Solomon when he married the Princess of Egypt. Almost all agree that it also foresees the coming of the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is fairer than all the fairest.

I especially love the statement, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Some point to this sentence as David claiming a special inspiration in writing this psalm. His heart was moved, stirred, full of something very good, and he was ready to sing this song of praise, perhaps knowing that his words would be preserved down through time.

Who else but Jesus is fairer than all the children of men? Who else has grace pouring from His lips? Who else can be said to be blessed by God forever? Lily of the Valley, bright and morning star, fairest of ten thousand.

I believe that when David sang this psalm, he was overwhelmed with the beauty, love, grace and majesty of the Lord.

God My Rock

Psalm 42:9-11.

I will say unto God my Rock, Why hast Thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

I love mountains. I was born in Colorado, and though I grew up mostly in Minnesota, I loved going back to Colorado on vacations and seeing the vastly different landscape of those immense mountains. There is such a sense of changelessness, strength, and protection in those massive ranges.

In these verses, David repeats his questioning of the disquiet of his soul. He then responds to that disquiet in the same way he did in the early verses of this Psalm. He trusts in God, his Rock, his Fortress, Who is unchanging no matter what trials may come.

I couldn’t find absolute confirmation, but I wonder if these last few verses of this psalm are prophetic. I think of Jesus crying out from the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” He knew, of course, that God would never forsake Him, but in the worst of His suffering He felt the burden of fear and despair as He bore the sins of all mankind.

Later, after He had died, a soldier thrust his spear into Jesus’ side, confirming that He had already died. Before He died, they had mocked Him, asking Him where His God was now? Both of these events are reflected in v. 10.

Deep Calleth unto Deep

Psalm 42: 7-8.

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.

Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

When I was 10 years old, we moved from Minneapolis, where the Mississippi River held sway, to Portland, OR. For the first time, that summer, I saw an ocean. I was speechless. although I did try to write a poem to express my complete amazement. I was overwhelmed with the power of so much water! I remember, possibly on that first trip to the coast, being on my stomach on a high overlook. I watched the huge waves crashing into the rocks that were possibly as high as a 10-story building, thankful it was all happening far below me. I thought of stories I had read, like Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson. Those stories included accounts of broken ships that were picked up by mighty waves and cast like toys against the cliffs and rocks. The height of the waves and the depths of the troughs they crashed into were beyond my experience, for sure.

I’ve wondered exactly what “deep calling unto deep” actually means. I can tell you that the ocean, along the coast of Oregon, can be louder than I ever expected. When the wind is wild, so is the ocean.

I used Strong’s numbers and learned that “deep” refers to “deep (of subterranean waters)” or “the sea, abysses (of sea).” We know that there are places in the ocean that we have measured for depth only recently. The deepest place so far known is Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, as far as we know now, it is 35,876 feet in depth. That is equivalent to 6.794697 miles.

The actual word used in v. 7 is better translated as waterfalls rather than waterspouts. So think, now, of that incredible depth of the ocean. Think of the power of a waterfall (a strong wave, perhaps?) that is so powerful that it plunges all the way to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, carrying everything it has picked up along the way, down to the very depths of the sea.

Remember that David was a poet–an artist who used words to paint a perfect picture of the despair and helplessness he felt as he was plunged into the depths by a power too strong for him to resist.

Then, consider the next verse, in which he acknowledges that no matter the depths of his despair and trouble, His lovingkindness will preserve David in the daytime, and His song will encourage David in the dark night of his suffering. David will always remember to pray, and find comfort in knowing that God hears him. God will give him a song in the darkest night.

As usual, there is music in my head:

Sunday Morning Coffee: Sigh!

Well, I’m not as “over it” as I thought I was. Cold symptoms are gone, but this lingering fatigue is driving me nuts. And I don’t want to focus on that, so I decided to switch my perspective. It is often helpful to focus on the positive 🙂

I have the freedom to rest and sleep when I’m sick. No children to care for. No job demanding my presence. A comfortable house and well-stocked freezer and pantry. A husband who is willing to step in when I just don’t want to cook. Family and friends who check in on me and pray for me.

I have my laptop, my Bible, and handwork to occupy my time–between catnaps. Along with a stack of other reading I need to do. Of course, reading tends to make me sleepy 🙂

I also have good medical care, with good insurance, if the need arises.

So I can handle being extra tired, for however long it takes. My Father knows all about it!

12:09 p.m: PS:

A friend of mine has a granddaughter who is in the hospital for a bad case of mono. The penny dropped when I read that. I’ve had mono before, and that’s what this feels like. Not bad enough to see a doctor, so it’s not a definite diagnosis, but it makes me feel better just to think I have an answer 🙂

Saturday Soliloquy: I’m Back–I think :)

Just stopping in today to say “please don’t forget about me!” It’s been most of a week since I posted anything. I had a nasty cold, but the worst of it is over. I’m left feeling just tired, as if I’ve put in a week of hard labor. Good thing I’m retired–no alarm clocks bossing me around!

I should be back to my regular routine, though, and will resume our walk through the Psalms on Monday.

I’m told that many, many people are dealing with bad winter colds. Please, if one of those colds roosts in your nose, throat, or chest, don’t just ignore it. Treat the symptoms. Drink lots of fluid. Sleep. Rest.

This too shall pass!

O My Soul!

Psalm 43:5-6.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

Didn’t David have some perfectly understandable reasons to be “cast down”? And what does that really mean?

Another way to say it would be “my soul is brought low.” I’m discouraged, unhappy, defeated, without hope. Let’s take a look at what is really going on here.

Yes, David had cause to be discouraged:

(from David Guzik, BlueLetterBible.com)

From the context, it would seem that David, while he is discouraged, is also reminding himself of how often God had saved him from danger; from enemies; and from his own despair. I believe that David’s question is one that challenges his own thinking. He had learned that when he succumbed to his Eeyore tendencies, things did indeed not go well.

So he reminds himself to trust God; to seek God; to praise God for his salvation.

I had a young friend who died of cancer when she was only 36. The last time I saw her was just a couple of days before she died, and she remained steadfast in her attitude of looking forward to heaven. She knew it wouldn’t be long, and she was willing to go. The last thing she said to me was, “I’ll see you in heaven.”

That is the best attitude to have, even when you’re in trouble. Always looking forward, knowing that God is indeed in control.

Sunday Morning Coffee: My Newsfeed

I did a quick scan of my newsfeed. I don’t spend a whole lot of time there on Sunday morning. It’s like a sponge that absorbs time!

I came across two memes to which I responded. One asked how much I received as an allowance when I was a teenager. Simple answer: If I wanted money, I could babysit for a family in the church. Everything else was supplied by my parents. Expanding on that answer, there are pros and cons about giving a child an allowance. I don’t think my parents were against it, really. There just wasn’t extra money anywhere. What we were given was, in my opinion, more valuable than being handed money every week.

We learned that everyone was to contribute to the family. Cleaning, cooking, doing the dishes, ironing our own clothes, helping in the garden, keeping our room orderly, helping out with my baby brother–all this taught us the value of each member contributing to keep the family running smoothly. Over the long term, I was totally prepared to run my own household when the time came. I even knew how to take care of a baby. And none of those chores were done with an eye to getting money. It was just the natural contribution to living in the household. One thing that is important is that all these things took place before the era of having to haul one’s children around to all their various activities after school. We went HOME after school! Those were my good old days 🙂

The second meme centered on an “anti-bucket list,” What is something you will never do again?

The first thing that popped into my head? I’ll never, ever eat eggplant again! Nasty stuff that shouldn’t even count as a food. Blech. Nor will I ever eat scrapple again. I don’t care if Great-Great Aunt Matilda was famous for her secret recipe. I’ve tried. I don’t like it. Tastes like liver, which is the third food on my anti-bucket list.

Isn’t there anything besides food that I will never, ever do again? Sure, but they’re things I don’t run into at all these days. I don’t get around much any more :). I will probably never ski again. I absolutely will never, ever go into a snake/reptile section of any zoo or animal shelter. It’s not likely that I will ever see the Grand Canyon from a helicopter again, although I would take that opportunity in a New York minute! That was an indescribable experience, right near the top of my favorite things to do.

I won’t garden any more. Can’t get down on my knees, can’t bend over. You’d be surprised how those two things affect your “to do” list.

Well, anyway. I really had no idea what I was going to write about this morning, so I’m glad I saw those two memes. Got me to thinking about what’s really important, and especially about the importance of teaching our children how to live their lives as responsible adults.

God instituted the family. He knew we would need structure in our lives. A life lived without structure is a live lived without purpose, without forethought, without planning. It’s fun to follow one’s impulse on occasion, but always flying without a purpose and a plan leads to a lot of dysfunction.