Saturday Soliloquy: Miscellany

I’ve been sick for at least two full months, starting in January. Finally have some hope that my present slough of despond is starting to dry up. In retrospect, it’s hard for me to understand where the time has gone. One day just kind of melts into another. I’ve been getting a glimpse of what it means to be a shut-in, and I’ve decided I don’t like it.

At least the people who make paper hankies are happy with me right now ūüôā

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Only 6 1/2 days left in March. April always seems to bring a feeling of hope. I love it that it’s not completely dark until close to 7:30. Just a little extra daylight has lifted my spirits.

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Terry’s been battling a cough, too. He doesn’t seem to feel as miserable as I’ve been, but I know he’s sick when he’s still in bed this late in the day. It’s 11 a.m., and I haven’t seen him yet. He’s always been a morning Tigger to my morning Eeyore, so I know he’s not feeling terrific.

What’s that? You don’t know who Tigger and Eeyore are? Oh, dear–you’ve missed a valuable part of your childhood!

They are from the classic Winnie the Pooh stories, with Christopher Robin, Owl, Rabbit, and other well-loved characters. I highly recommend the books, but you can also find them online.

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Terry the Tigger. Years ago, before he grew older and wiser, he thought it would be fun to wake me up at 5 a.m. He bounced the mattress, sending me several inches into outer space, saying, “Wake up! Wake up! It’s a beautiful day!”

I’m afraid I rained on his parade. disabusing him of the idea that I should be awake just because he was. Of course, he was running out of energy by 7 p.m., at which point I was ready for something to do. And it’s been this way for 53 years

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You know, February is a short month–which makes March seem inordinately long. That’s just a random observation. You can ignore it if you like:)

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I have returned to my blogging, after a six-week absence. I think that’s a record for me. WordPress tells me I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now, and I’m just barely scratching the surface of the Bible even though I post nearly every day, My other blog, http://www.lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com, gets less attention from me but has still been at least a weekly exercise. I enjoy writing, and I especially enjoy studying God’s Word. It never gets old.

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And that’s about all for today, folks. I feel a nap coming on.


Curses on the Wicked

Psalm 58: 3-8.

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;

Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.

Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

In this unusual psalm, we hear and feel David’s weariness, discouragement, and anger over the constant pursuit of his enemies. They never let him rest. Even when his worst enemy, King Saul, is dead and gone, his own son rises up against him and tries to overthrow him. Absalom’s great vanity had been his long hair. One could say that his vanity killed him, I suppose. In any event, as he hung there by his head, his donkey ran away and left him. And David’s men used him for archery and spear practice. Not a pleasant way to die.

In v. 3, David says that the wicked are what they are “from the womb.” It is born in them to be wicked, and they speak lies right from the beginning. This statement would seem to contradict the “nature vs. nurture” theory, in which someone or something else is blamed when a child’s wicked temperament begins to manifest. It is true that the sinful nature may be exacerbated by circumstances, but then how do we explain the child who has been abused from birth, but who overcomes his circumstances and goes on to live a productive life?

David’s weariness and frustration are clear in these verses. He is begging God to relieve him of the pursuit and power of his enemies. Was it sinful of him to want them gone, powerless to continue to harm him? No, I don’t think so. By this time, he had lived long enough to understand the power of evil in this world. He did not underestimate it, nor did he excuse it. He simply wanted to be able to rest.

Be Thou Exalted!

Psalm 57:1, 5,and 11.

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth.

Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Thy glory be above all the earth.

I love this picture. The mother swan bends her neck to keep a close eye on her chicks, while opening her wings of shelter for them. So many songs come to mind, but I’m going to use a different one today than the songs this picture brings to mind.

Twice in this psalm, David repeats words of exaltation to God. He was living under the danger of death at the hands of King Saul. He hid in caves, asking the protection of God’s wings to cover and shelter him. King Saul was searching desperately for him, consumed with fear and jealousy that the people would choose David instead of himself. David was aware, every moment of every day, that his life hung in the balance.

So he turned to God. He sang, “Be Thou exalted!” instead of “Lord, please exalt ME over Saul!” David understood that his life was in God’s hands, and that Saul could be defeated and his own life preserved only if God so ordained.

We are living in troubled times. When I see the inexorable movement toward a one-world government, losing our hard-won and beloved Constitutional freedoms, I wonder how much longer God is going to allow it to go on before He intervenes. And then I remember David’s words, and this song: words by Fanny J. Crosby; music by Alfred Smith.

Look and Live!

Psalm 56:13. “For Thou hast delivered¬†my soul¬†from death:¬†wilt¬†not¬†Thou deliver¬†my feet¬†from falling,¬†that I may walk¬†before¬†God¬†in the light¬†of the living?”

What an appropriate verse for this first Bible study post since March 4! Not that I was anywhere near death, but I really was quite ill. Still not 100%, but I can feel the bronchitis releasing its grip a little bit each day.

David may have been referring to physical death in this verse, but I believe the application can also be made to spiritual death. He could have been speaking prophetically. This is only supposition on my part–please understand, I am not reinterpreting scripture. We do know, however, that Jesus did indeed deliver the souls of mankind from eternal death when He gave up His life at Calvary. Those who look on His sacrifice and believe in Him are delivered from eternity in Hell.

I’m thinking of the story of the Israelites during their wandering through the desert. They had sinned yet again, complaining and griping against God and His servant Moses. God sent “fiery serpents” among them. So venomous was their bite that death was certain. God instructed Moses to erect a pole, and to make an image of the serpent to be lifted up on the pole. If someone was bitten, he had only to look at the pole, and he would survive. You can read about it in Numbers 19, and especially verse 21.

Catching Up

I haven’t posted here since March 4. That’s a new record of absence for me. I’ve been very sick with bronchitis. Terrible coughing, not much sleep. I think I’ve turned a corner over the last couple of days, so thought I’d stop in here just to let you all know that I haven’t gone to heaven just yet.

I have been watching my stats during my absence, and am quite surprised to see that they’ve been fairly consistent in spite of my long absence. So thankful for that. I’m also thankful for those of you who have contacted me to see if I’ve quit blogging. No. Just taking a little break.

I’m hoping to pick up on my journey through the Psalms tomorrow, and to get back into a normal routine. My house is in a mess, desperately needing a pick-up, dusting, floor-cleaning and bathroom scouring. If it hadn’t been for Terry, there wouldn’t be any clean laundry! And now, he’s coughing and has gone back to bed for today.

Someone recently said that old age is the gift that keeps on giving.

On a much brighter note, it’s the first day of spring. The sky is a lovely blue, with a mild temp of 47 degrees. The down side of that is that we have a wildfire warning until 8 p.m. tonight. Low humidity, lots of dry ground debris from winter winds. I hope no one decides to be stupid with a fire today. Not a good idea to burn debris.

All right. I need to rest. So wearying to write just a little bit ūüôā

Saturday Soliloquy: In Like a (small) Lion

It’s very windy here in my corner of PA. We had a little spatter of snow this past week, but nothing that has stayed. Moderate temps for this time of year.

I truly do wish the wind would blow away all the gunky germs! It hasn’t been cold enough to freeze them to death. Both Terry and I are dealing with heavy coughs and stuffy heads. First time he’s been this sick in a long time, but he seems to be coming out on the plus side. He started it! It’s his fault!

Tomorrow afternoon after a church lunch, a little girl in one of our church families will be celebrating her first birthday! This is a very big deal, because her mommy and daddy waited a very long time before they finally got a positive pregnancy test. It’s been a delight to watch her grow this past year. A beautiful, healthy baby is such a delight! This little one has brought a lot of joy to her parents, grandparents and church family.

I’m all over the place this morning. I just glanced out our living room window because our American flag is blowing in the wind. I know other countries value their flags, and so they should. I love our flag because I’m old enough to remember the stories of its beginning, and to know the history of our nation before the revisionists started poking holes in patriotism. I was about six years old when the words “under God” were added to our pledge of allegiance. I don’t remember anyone getting all wrapped around the axle over that. I do remember our teacher saying, “If these two words, under God, are a problem to you, then you don’t have to say them. But you do have to respect the rights of others to have their beliefs, and the freedom to express them.”

I remember being amazed that anyone would object to the addition of those two words to our pledge. I was only six, and it had never occurred to me that anyone would be against saying under God.

The other day, I saw a post of a combined band/choir of four arms of the military performing the National Anthem before a Super Bowl Game. There was total respect among all the players. No kneelers, no protests, no extreme vocalizations. Goose bumps. This was the 39th Super Bowl, I believe.

I Trust in Thee

Psalm 56: 3, 4, and 13.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.

In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

Many of David’s psalms were prayers to God during times of battle, or of running away from enemies who wanted him dead. He was a warrior, mighty in battle; that did not mean, however, that he did not experienced fear. What he learned, over time, was that he could safely trust in God no matter what the danger was. From bears and lions, to giants, to a moody and jealous King Saul, even to his own sons who wanted the throne, David had many occasions in which fear was a part of his life.

We all experience fear. For some, it is the monster in the closet or under the bed when we are children. For others, it is a serious illness, broken bones, or death of a beloved parent. As we grow older, we tend to fear any life experience that is new to us, including the good ones. I was excited and happy about my wedding day, but there was also an element of fear. Being married was something I had never experienced before! Having that first baby was the same–great anticipation, but a certain amount of fear in this new experience. I went on to have three more, and learned that the sense of fear may not have been as strong as with the first one, but it was there.

Learning a new job can create fear. Sometimes that fear stops us from doing something we’ve thought about for years. That’s fear of failure, fear of criticism.

Then there is the fear caused by sin: The fear of being found out; the fear of having hurt someone we care about, fear of losing a friend or, worse, a family member.

One fear I no longer have is the fear of death. It’s just the gateway to heaven! I do not look forward to sickness or pain, but I have plenty of pain to deal with right now. I’m learning that pain can be tolerated. It may slow me down, and at some point it will probably put me permanently in a wheel chair. But with heaven as my ultimate goal, I can enjoy the rest of my life without that fear of pain and death.

I first memorized Ps. 56: 3 when I was very young. It’s a simple verse for a child to learn, but it has stayed with me for over 70 years. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee!”

Wings of a Dove

Psalm 55:6. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

I’ve always wondered where this song came from, yet as many times as I’ve read through the Psalms, I don’t remembering noticing this particular verse before. David was in that season of life when he was running, always running and hiding, from his enemies.

Haven’t you ever wished you could just fly away? I certainly have. And here’s the song I’m thinking of. Another one that’s not in my usual repertoire, but I remember it from very long ago.

Sunday Morning Coffee: God’s Brain

I saw a picture yesterday that just left me amazed. It was a photo of a human cell under the highest magnification possible.

Isn’t that something? The caption under the picture says that is the most detailed model of a human cell to date, obtained using x-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryoelectron microscopy data sets.

Is it amazing that scientist has developed the ability to see this incredible picture? Sure it is! Our brains are wondrous and endlessly fascinating.

And yet—I’m pretty sure that, as detailed as this is, there is even more to be seen in each tiny detail than we can imagine. After all, I remember being taught in either physics or chemistry–maybe both–that the molecule was the smallest particle ever until we discovered protons and neutrons and all sorts of other things in that tiny molecule.

Take it to the other extreme. We are developing telescopes than can see almost “to infinity and beyond.” Whole galaxies that shouldn’t even exist if the Big Bang Theory is correct (it isn’t). Distances our minds cannot understand compel us to keep going in our need to figure out the amazing creation of which we are nothing but a tiny speck.

All of this has led me to thinking about the mind of God. Does He have a brain, like we do? The Bible says He is a spirit (John 4:24). Philippians 2:5 says we are to let the mind of Christ dwell in us. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells that His thoughts are higher than our thought. It is clear that God thinks; that He plans; that He knows so far beyond our knowing that we can’t even begin to fathom His mind.

God engineered our brains. The human brain is magnificent! But in comparison to God’s mind, His brain, if you will, we are insignificant. His creativity is infinite. He simply spoke, and the heavens and the earth came into being. The only part of creation that involved His hands was the forming first of Adam, and then Eve. Everything else, He simply spoke into being. Amazing. God said, and it became!

I don’t know if God has a literal brain. What I do know is that throughout all of eternity, to which there is no end, we will have the privilege of His infinite knowledge, creativity, and love. Our brains are limited. His is not. In heaven, we will be as He is. Infinite learning, infinite joy, infinite grace.

Here’s a very old song that’s been playing in my head as I write. It’s a little different than what I usually post. The songwriter is Stuart Hamblen: