Praise and Prayer

Psalm 31:1-3.

 In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness.

Bow down Thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong Rock, for an house of defense to save me.

For Thou art my Rock and my Fortress; therefore for Thy Name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

This psalm is a combination of praise and pleading. Spurgeon says it better than I could:

Charles Spurgeon rightly said regarding the title of this psalm,“The dedication to the chief musician proves that this song of mingled measures and alternate strains of grief and woe was intended for public singing, and thus a deathblow is given to the notion that nothing but praise should be sung.” We have no definite marking place in David’s life for this psalm because he was so often in trouble. It resonates with deep and personal trust in God in the depths of difficulty.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

David was constantly on guard against those who desired his demise. His own son, Absalom, attempted to overthrow his father and kill him; that attempt did not end well for Absalom! The point here is that David often turned to God to rescue him from those who desired his downfall.

It is noteworthy that this psalm is often quoted elsewhere in scripture: look at Psalm71; Jonah 2:8; Jeremiah 6:2520:320:1046:549:29, and Lamentations 2:22; I Cor. 16:13; Luke 23:46; and Acts 7:59. Men of God learned the scriptures well as children, and used them often in their given ministries.

In Ps. 31:1, David says “Let me not be ashamed.” I believe the meaning there is that David was not, and never wanted to be, ashamed to call on God for help. In the following verses, he called God his Rock, his Fortress, and his House of Defense.

He knew he could depend on God for guidance.

So can we.

Joy Comes in the Morning!

Psalm 30:5

For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 30 is a song of praise to God for getting David through a very difficult time in his life, in which his life could have been taken from him by his enemies, including his own son.

It is important to understand that night and morning are used here in a comparative sense. We all know that deep grief affects us for far longer than one night. We also know that after a night of sleeplessness and weeping, morning does not bring immediate joy.

David’s poetic meaning is clear, though. I have not endured the loss of my spouse–yet–but I have watched others go through this terrible loss. The weeping (night) is real, painful, and seems unendurable. But finally, there comes a time (morning) when the widow/widower begins to find peace and accepetance (morning) and the pain of the deep grief begins to heal just a little bit. Such a loss never completely fades into obscurity, but it does become bearable. The surviving spouse begins to dwell on the joy and love in the marriage, and memories become so precious.

The loss of a child was something David knew. The betrayal of his child was also a deep grief to him. David suffered terrible grief over his own sin ( I wonder, how many of us actually grieve and mourn over our own sin?) but he also experienced the overwhelming mercy and grace of his loving Father.

By the way, when someone you know is suffering deep, acute grief, please don’t tell that person things like, “You’ll feel better tomorrow!” or “Just pray it through!” or “Think happy thoughts!” Don’t start any sentence with the word just. Sometimes, it is better to simply sit with the person, cry with him, hold her hand, simply BE there. Words are not always appropriate. Placing a fresh box of tissues nearby or offering a cup of hot tea can be far more comforting than any verbal cliche we tend to use in such situations.


Psalm 29.

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His Name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in His temple doth every one speak of His glory.

The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.

This Psalm is full of the power and glory of the LORD. When LORD is written in all capital letters, it signifies that the Hebrew word used was the Name of God, Jehovah, pronounced “Ya-way.” I was taught that when the scribes came to that word, they would take a bath and put on clean clothing before they trimmed a new pen and dipped in into new ink to write the word. So sacred was that Name that any human pollution that could be removed was removed!

So sacred is that Name that I do not know of any child who has ever been named Jehovah. Nor am I aware of any society in which the gods of their religion are called Jehovah. I just did a short search, and could find no incidence of either of the above. It may be that I’m wrong. I’ve just never heard of it.

Verse two says we are to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The word beauty indicates glory, or holy. adornment. And holiness is set apart, sacred. We need to worship Him with joy, with gladness; and with the knowledge that He alone is God! Worship is serious business.

Thunder. I have a clear memory of walking home from school in St. James, MN, with a group of girls my age. I was 14. It was in southern Minnesota farm country, where storms can blow up in a hurry. It was spring. Always windy, on this particular day we could hear the wind whistling around buildings, and knew the darkening clouds meant a storm. We wanted to get home before we got soaked.

Suddenly, a BOOM of thunder had most of the girls running for shelter, screaming and covering their ears. If you’ve never been caught in a prairie thunder storm, you won’t understand how incredibly loud it was! I, however, was new to the area. I’ve always loved storms, and thunder didn’t scare me. I thought it was exciting. I loved the feeling of the wind making a mess of my hair 🙂 Of course, I knew that lightning was something to fear, but I was only 14, and I was enthralled with the power of the storm developing all around us. The other girls yelled at me to get under cover, which was probably good advice. The immense thunderhead clouds; the wind, the distant lightning–I was totally caught up in it all. I did make it home just in time as the clouds began to dump their load of rain.

When I read this verse this morning, that memory came back instantly. The voice of the LORD is like the loudest thunder you can imagine. His power can control the storms, because He is greater than His creation.

I would love to know what melody David plucked out of his harp as he sang this amazing psalm!

I hope you will carefully read the entire psalm, and find excitement, awe, and wonder in the words of His power, majesty, and greatness.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Happenings

It’s shaping up to be a (normal) busy December. Mike and Janan will have closing on their new house, delivery of their shipping container from the warehouse in New Jersey, and settling back in to their own routine in their own place.

In recent years, I’ve not done well at all with the Christmas card routine. I’m going to try to do better this year, starting tomorrow. I remember how my mother-in-law sat down with her list and her new cards every year on the day after Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure her cards were the first ones all her acquaintances received!

My Christmas shopping is under way. It’s not nearly as big a job as it used to be. I don’t decorate as much as I used to, either. With all the kids and (most of the) grandkids grown up and on their own, our house is pretty quiet. And that’s fine with me. The rickety old back doesn’t tolerate all that busy-ness very well nowadays.

I do love Christmas music, and have already started to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to a book of arrangements from The Piano Guys that should be coming soon. I’m continuing to enjoy my piano lessons, working on music I never would have tried without having an excellent teacher. Taking lessons and being a part of the Piano by Pictures Academy has rekindled my love of music and broadened my repertoire. Last night, I was playing through my favorite Chopin nocturne, and Terry commented on how much better it is now than when I first started working on it. Warms my heart 🙂 I love this melody. The video, obviously, is NOT me 🙂

All this to-do makes for a wonderful time of year with all the tradition and beauty and amazing food. I love it, but in a whole different way at this point in my life. I tend to value the quietness of the season these days more than I do all the hustle and bustle.

Seasons change. Life changes. Perspectives change. It’s all good.

May you all enjoy this last Sunday in November.

Saturday Soliloquy: “Tempus Fugit”

Time flies.

There are, though, days in which the hours seem endless. I remember thinking that each day before Christmas seemed twice as long as any other day of the year!

I also remember “old” people saying that the older you grow, the faster the time seems to go.

We know that’s just not true, but honestly, at my age I’m looking back on 75 years. I have children ranging from 44 to 52! My oldest grandchild is 25, the youngest 13. I was 25 just a few days ago! When did I become an OLD LADY?

You should see all the cartoons of old ladies that are available online. This particular drawing caught my eye:

That blue hair! Do older women still like to put a blue tint in their hair to make it look whiter? Of course, nowadays, young women use every color in the rainbow in their hair. I actually think it’s kind of cool, although I would never do it myself. I’m too lazy to keep it up 🙂 This one is just a tad too extreme, even for me!

Just to show you how I lose track of time: About ten years ago, I purchased a printer to use in my counseling office. It scans, copies, produces awesome colored prints of photos–oh, and it prints nicely, too. The other week, I was looking for ink cartridges for it. The salesperson who helped me told me that they wouldn’t be able to order that size cartridge, because that printer is obsolete. Very few people come looking for that size cartridge.

I was astonished. “But, I just bought that printer. . . . .well. . . . . oy. About ten years ago.” I still think of it as my NEW printer. But the world of electronics is always coming up with new stuff, so that sometimes it seems that the day after you buy it, it’s obsolete!

So, all this rambling has no particular place to go. Just thinking about time, and how dependent we are upon our clocks and schedules. Has to be that way, quite a bit of the time, or nothing would ever get done.

One of the things I look forward to in heaven is that time won’t matter any more.

With My Song I Will Praise Him

Psalm 28:7-9.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him.

The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving strength of His anointed.

Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Psalms so often trigger music; nor that the music in my head is from a much earlier time in my life. This wonderful old praise song, written by Fanny J. Crosby, dates back to the 1860s. I don’t go back quite that far 🙂

The three verses I’ve chosen from Psalm 28 are really not in need of explanation. I think what attracted them to me this morning is the joy they portray. There is peace, strength, joy, safety, and help in the Lord. All of those things led David and many other songwriters to pen wonderful words of praise to the Lord.

Wait on the Lord

Psalm 27: 12-14.

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

I love this wonderful song, attributed to Linda Lee Johnson, published in 1979. Beautiful words and music, it lifts the heart and soul.

I glanced at some political news this morning before I started my blog post. So much bitterness and anger spewed, Left to Right and Right to Left! Name-calling, accusation and counter-accusation; election mishaps–misdeeds? and very few candidates who have the good sense to stay out of the garbage pit. And then, of course, we have the strident voices of entertainers who seem to think they’re the ones who KNOW what we plebeians do not know or understand. I grow weary of all of it. This music spoke to my heart and soul this morning. I hope it blesses you, as well.

Looking at the last three verses of this psalm, we see a repeat of David’s plea for God to protect him from the enemies who “breathe out cruelty.” Isn’t it amazing how cruel we can be in wishing ill upon our enemies? I fear that even believers are sometimes guilty of hoping for bad things to happen to their enemies.

David’s enemies hated him because they hated God.

David says he wouldn’t have been able to stand against all that ugliness without the Lord. Hatred and ugliness do not come from God. They are evil, and their source is Satan. There is nothing that pleases Satan more than when God’s children destroy each other, with sword or word.

To wait on the Lord is to look eagerly for Him. I do! The older I grow, the more eagerly I look for His coming, whether that means I go to heaven to meet Him, or He takes me up to meet Him in the air when the trumpet sounds.

When we wait on Him, He gives us the strength to endure until He comes.

What a day that will be!

Sunday Morning Coffee: Celebration!

Today, at Calvary Baptist Church in Pottstown, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the church.

The church was an outreach of Calvary Baptist in Lansdale, PA, where E.Robert Jordan was the pastor. I believe Joe DeCandillo was the first pastor. If that’s not correct, I will have more information later today and will change whatever I need to.

We’ve been members at Calvary for about ten years, so we’re kind of the “new kids on the block.” But there are others who have been there since the beginning, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them today.

Pastor Jim Spears served as senior pastor for 25 years. He’s going to be there today. Pastor Josh Farr, who was assistant/youth pastor under Pastor Spears’ leadership, has been chosen to take the senior pastor position. Our new assistant pastor is Landers Reeves, who is a convert under Pastor Spears’ ministry. He and his wife have both been great blessings to our church already.

There will be walks down Memory Lane today; there will be a dinner, testimonies, music, and probably slides or videos.

We have grown to love the people, our church family. I’m looking forward to the day. I’m sure it will be a good one!

Saturday Soliloquy: Busy Day

I usually write these in the morning. Just now realized I never got around to it today. I’ve been busy. Not with anything out of the ordinary, but lots of extra conversation involved. Takes up time, talking does.

I gave Terry a haircut. He doesn’t have a lot of hair, but it seemed to take forever. I used to cut his hair once a month, along with our three sons. Now it’s just Terry. Which is a good thing. If it were still the three boys as well, I’d STILL be cutting hair 🙂

I don’t even remember, really, what all I did today, Which gives me pause. Shouldn’t I remember? I mean, there was nothing earth-shaking about any of it, I’m sure.

Well. What an exciting start for a blog post.

Truth is, life just wasn’t very exciting today. Not every day is exciting, and that’s probably a good thing.

Tomorrow should be a good one, though.

I’ll tell you about tomorrow. Sometime 🙂