MORE ON BEING FULL! Read Psalm 57: 1-3

When my wife finished reading the last ‘Reflections Out of Time’ Posting she wondered about that connection of being full with being in the shadow of God’s wings? She’s right.  Where is the connection?  I did say that more would come with this posting.   Must admit that driving a good part of the day is tiring and then to write at the hotel we’re staying at is just not the best for me.  But here goes…nothing?  No way!  You remember that in Psalm 57  young David  was in a cave  hiding out from King Saul  pleading with God for protection and mercy.  That’s when David prays that he will take cover in just the shadow of God’s wings.  Just His shadow was enough for Him.  Just knowing the Lord’s promises were  good enough.  Not seeing directly, not having all the answers  but having a faith that sees and discerns  will get us through whatever in life.  Then he says in verse 2 that ‘I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.’  My translation (the NIV) has brackets around ‘His purpose’, which is the way the translators tell us that the words inside the brackets are not in the original Hebrew (in this case) but are words that the translators feel make the most sense of the original language.  Whenever I see those bracketed words,  I invariably just remove them and read the sentence without them to sense extra meaning.  Hear what David is saying then–‘I cry out to God…to God, who fulfills for me’.  David is saying from the inside of a cave, a place of the dark unknown , of uncertainty and anxiety and claustrophobia and utter terror; that even there he is filled with God, with the Lord’s being right there with him, in the shadows of His shadow.  When everything is gone, all taken away, even then we can feel full, filled with the Holy Spirit of God’s love and faithfulness. I’m not going to trust God only when He performs for me.  I don’t love God because of all the goodies I get from Him. No, and  I’m not hinging my faith on the uncertainties of life, but on His promises that will always be trustworthy.  Nothing else.  Nothing more or less.  No one or no thing.  Only Him. Only the Lord–for who needs more?  What or who could be more, after all?  His love and His faithfulness–‘…who fulfills for me’.  And twice David uses the words ‘faithfulness’ in this Psalm (verses 3 and 10)–another ‘full’  feeling but not from food certainly.  Full from His loyalty.  Full of faith in Him.  Not in me but in Jesus who will never let us down.  The old saying “Jesus Never Fails” that was upfront in the Torrey-Gray Auditorium at Moody Bible Institute  in Chicago when I was an undergraduate student  is still true…then and now and for the future and for all eternity.  Full in Him!  Just the Shadow of His Wings!  Who could ask for anything more?

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COULD I HAVE EATEN TOO MUCH? Read Psalm 57

For those who  know me rather well, please do not answer that question?!  My wife Sue and I have been away from home since February 20th after retiring as pastor of the United Christian Church for almost 14 years.  We’ve been away  well over 3 months now, and it’s just plain time to head home.  We are taking our sweet time driving at a leisurely pace, seeing small towns in Virginia,  West Virginia and Kentucky.  We’re spending extra time in Kentucky as it’s such a beautiful  state before we head to Branson, Missouri for lots of wonderful music productions.  Then we drive way too far for a few days until home at last mighty exhausted and fatigued needing yet another break!   But today we’re in Corbin, Kentucky, home of the very first restaurant owned and operated by Harlan Sanders.  Yes, good old Colonel Sanders!  His first place is still here with his home behind it– the current owner  is the same one who bought it from the Colonel back in the early ’50’s.  Quite fun place but I ate way too much, which probably comes as no surprise to those who know me!  I feel quite full at the moment.  Reading Psalm 57 today, I noticed that King David used the word ‘full’ in a couple of places, in different forms.  David has fled from King Saul and is hiding in a cave.  He pleads for God’s help, crying out for His mercy and for a  place of refuge.  He prays, ‘I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.’ Read that again and think of what David just said.  His help will come not directly under God’s wings (figuratively speaking, as you know), but just under the ‘shadow’ of His wings.  Just His shadow will give him the needed help. Just His shadow.   Think about it a moment.   Things just aren’t clear in life. We can’t make out the beginning and the end, the rhyme or reason for everything.   We see through a glass darkly, St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13.  Much of our life is just  not easy to understand this side of heaven.  It’s as if we’re wearing sunglasses in a darkened basement.  We can’t see His wings but it will only take their shadow.  Just the passing over of His presence  is all we need.  Just a smidgen of faith, a tiny mustard seed, a small amount of active yeast in all that flour.  Just His shadow is all I need.  Just to know that He’s always with me no matter what.  I can’t see Him but His shadow is all around me every day. Can you sense His shadow?   Just look and see and marvel at the Lord who loves you and will never leave you. Just takes a little faith to hold onto Him whose shadow can be felt  through the eyes of faith.  Whatever the ‘disaster’ of today, whatever the trouble we’re in, whatever the fears that clutch us, remember, ‘I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.’  Say it over and over when darkness comes, ‘Just His shadow’, ‘Just His shadow’, ‘Just His shadow’…It will help for He will help us.  After all, we have His Word.   More on this fullness next time.

WHAT A CONTRAST Read Psalm 52

The weather is quite a contrast  this morning here on the New Jersey shore.  Last night we have a ferocious thunder and lightning storm with a soaking downpour to boot.  Didn’t get a lot of sleep, needless to say.  And this morning, calm breezes, lots of sun and warming up nicely to the upper 70’s at least.  The beach is calling out to us!  Our last day here before taking a leisurely 2 week drive across the United States getting home who-knows-when. (Blogs for the next few weeks will be short and infrequent but we’ll get back on track by mid-June at the latest).  Enough about the weather and travel plans!  Read Psalm 52 for an amazing contrast of a godly life with one quite the contrary.  King David paints a very vivid picture of 2 totally different people.  Verse 1 describes the ungodly as a ‘mighty man’.  But he’s mighty all in himself.  He’s a boaster, a braggart, an image maker and spin doctor trying with all his evil might to come out on top no matter what, no matter who…gets in his way.  His tongue can cut you to shreds.  His deceit and lying know no ends.  He’s in love with evil, anything false, saying whatever he can to hurt you and make you feel  less of a person raising up himself in his own eyes and with others.  David continues in this Psalm to say that this is by far the worst road to take in life.  Don’t take it.  It leads, he says in verse 5, to ruin and destruction…forever.  He’ll be judged by God Almighty, torn from his home and security and just plain uprooted.  He has  made a fatal mistake–not making God his stronghold and foundation.  No, he trusted in his wealth, as great as it was (verse 7).  And he’d stop at nothing to get what he wanted out of life and if he had to destroy others in the process,well, so be it.  Sounds like someone we’ve just read about in the newspaper this morning or on a TV news program, not just a politician either!  David has spent 7 of the 9 verses in Psalm 52 describing the ungodly person, but only 2 verses for his contrast, the godly one.  Maybe it’s because a sinful life is just so complicated and convoluted and twisted and messed-up; where for those who seek to follow the Lord,  the way is quite a bit clearer, lighter, and lighted.  David says the godly are like olive trees, so useful and productive and  good for so many purposes for others.  ‘Flourishing’–knowing that giving is always more rewarding than taking.  And flourishing… in God’s house, a place of safety and security and purpose and variety and joy in the Lord.  Nothing of the ungodly or their ways here.  A place where you can trust in God’s love, a love  that never runs out; the oil of His gladness never dries up, a love that never fails to fulfill.  A place of praise for what the Lord has done, all that He’s doing and all that He will do.  Nothing of the ungodly or their ways here.  Praise…and hope because His name is Wonderful, His name is good, His name is Jesus, that name above all names.  And I really like the very last phrase of this Psalm. We get to praise the Lord not in some isolation chamber or ward but ‘in the presence of your saints’.  Being with God’s people,  all who  have bowed the knee to Him, all of us singing in unison making the most beautiful harmony ever heard, no debates or arguments or divisions over there.  What a contrast indeed!  Have you made that commitment to Jesus Christ, asked Him  into your heart… simply asking Him– that you want your life with the ones who flourish and praise and hope all buoyed and fed by God’s love unfailing?  Have you?    What a contrast!  Make the step of faith–you’ll never,ever be sorry!

SOMETHING YOU CAN TRUST IN Read 1 Samuel 3

Trust seems to be a rare commodity in our day and age.  Who can you trust?  When I was a college student, it was no one over the age of 30.  Now, it’s just plain old no one.  Presidents, Congress, judges, school teachers, pastors…all lower than low  on the trust-scale.  Maybe I’m just getting older ( who said ‘no maybe about it’?!), but didn’t used to be that way, not at all.  I remember getting all excited about an autograph from the vice-president–no, not of the United States but of the New Jersey chapter of the Kiwanis Clubs!  Ok, I was desperate!  Have pity on me, already! I’m from New Jersey.  But I thought he must be a special guy.  My teachers, all of them, were worth respecting, they worked hard, taught well  and I did not want any bad reports to come back to my parents from any of them. No way, Jose (I took Spanish too!)  My pastors…in a league all their own in my estimation. Giants of the faith.  The police?  We didn’t call them ‘cops’ or worse, they were police officers, they were doing what was right for all of us.  Judges were next to God in their way of dispensing justice in a fair and even-handed way looking to the Constitution for the common good.But  today? We’re suspicious of all of them.   Is my age catching up with me?  Who said it IS my age and that I can’t even catch up with that!  But all kidding aside, trust seems to be  very rare commodity in our day and age.  We’ve lost so much…decency, moral compass, kindness, focus on others, tolerance, (everyone is so offended by everything they don’t like),  defending someone’s else’s right to disagree with me.  Good old freedom of speech. Are you with me?  I heard an ‘amen’!   Here’s the place to read 1 Samuel chapter 3 in your Old Testament of the Bible.  We’re in the period where everyone is doing exactly whatever they want or feel like doing.  No restraints…feels right, do it.  That’s where the Book of Judges ends.  Now 1 Samuel begins with the story of another leader of the nation Israel, a judge and priest, and his name is Eli.  Eli’s a godly  man, a priest and judge for God’s people, who let his 2 sons,also priests, just run wild and crazy,totally out-of-control and completely out-of-sync with God and what matters to the Lord.  They could care less, and Eli just kept his mouth shut.  For there was a bigger problem lurking in the shadows…’in those days the word of the Lord was rare…’ (verse 1).  Nobody was listening to God’s Word. It was rarer than penny candy today.   Self moved to the head of the class while the Bible was sitting in a darkened corner wearing a dunce cap.  When that happens, trust flies out the window.  The moral barometer  broken, the compass smashed;  and all hell breaks loose in our lives,  our families, our churches, countries, even the world. But there’s hope.  Along comes a young boy named Samuel, of godly parents.  Samuel serves alongside old Eli… and hears from the Lord.  Verse 7 says that ‘…Samuel did not yet know the Lord.  The Word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.’  I guess, in a sense, Samuel had an excuse.  Nothing had been revealed yet from the Lord. Maybe he had an excuse.   But we don’t. I don’t.  The Word of the Lord couldn’t be easier for us to find, discover and hear.  Just pick up that Bible of yours,you can buy one for a dollar and find enough loose change out on the parking lot to repay yourself if needed; open it up, dive in  and hear the Word of the Lord.  Support mission groups that translate the Bible and get the Bible out to people that have never had one.  Give money to evangelical, Christian groups sharing God’s Word with people in need of salvation and the truth of God.  Pray for our leaders, people in authority that they too will hear and heed the Word of God.  Trust won’t be far behind, then.    The trust- temperature will be rising, certainly in the One who will never let us down, who will never lie to us, who keeps each and every one of His promises…just as His Bible says.  And Samuel?  Read verses 19-21.  Especially verse 19: ‘The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he (Samuel) let none of His (God’s) words fall to the ground’.  Not one of God’s Words did Samuel just drop to the dirt and sand.  Each one he held onto, each one he palmed close to his heart with arms crossed over his chest.  When you need it most, how handy to have your Bible close at hand and in your mind and heart, beating fresh life of trust in the Lord no matter what!  Rare no more, not with us…but roaring with trust and hope and confidence in Jesus, the Lion of Judah!

SUCH A BIG DEAL! Read Psalm 50:14-15

Do you think that God just expects way too much of you?  All those commandments, all the giving, all the do-this  and do-that of the Christian life?  It’s discouraging realizing  just how many the expectations and how little our performance. Fall short all the time.  I do.  I don’t even come close.  I’m actually more discouraged when I consider how little of the Lord I seem to mirror in my daily life even after 50 years being a believer in Jesus Christ.   Know what I mean? Is anyone out there?!   I was reading Psalm 50 today and 2 verses just grabbed my heart.  Encouraging words…about a simple life of faith.  A life where measuring our progress is less important than just being real and transparent and honest with ourselves and God , just being in relationship with the Lord.  Verse 14 says to ‘sacrifice thank offerings to God…’ Saying thank you to God is not such a big deal, is it?   Being grateful to Him.  Being content with what we have and where we are with  the people He has given us to love;  the opportunities we have to serve Him sharing Him with those in need.  Thanks to God…Thanksgiving Day not just one  Thursday in November. Not anymore!  Like eating 3 meals a day or breathing all the time totally unaware of it even happening ,or our beating hearts that can keep working and pumping  without interruption for over 100 years.  So much to be thankful for…such a big deal?  I don’t think so, but you would think so if you could count up how many times I thank Him for this or that during my day.  Not good enough.  Could do better.  Will do better, Lord willing.   The next part of verse 14 says to ‘fulfill your vows to the  Most High…’ In other words, just do it!  Not just talk, but action.  Feel like thanking the Lord today? Of course you do.  Be specific. Be intentional.   And then just do it!  Throughout today…no matter what, sometimes in spite of the circumstances (as He says in verse 15–‘…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me’).  Thanking God …such a big deal? No, such a great joy!  Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to share reflections out of time with my friend around the world, our church family and our family…with YOU!

A TEAR-DOWN TOWN! Read Psalm 49

The town we’re staying in for 3 weeks is a lovely New Jersey shore town.  Ever since 1959 I’ve vacationed here always with such great anticipation and joy.  Lots of good Bible-teaching churches, a dry town which keeps the bar scene far away, but  very upscale making it hard for the average person to afford to live here.  I’m just glad to be able to rent a condo for a few weeks every couple years or so!  My wife and I have noticed over the past decade, even with the real estate crash that seems to have eluded this place,  that homes here are quite expendable, they come and go.  A nice house across the street and one down a few houses–both demolished and debris carted away each taking no  more that one work day to produce an empty lot ready now for a duplex or 4-plex to replace that nice, older single family home.  Now the rents can be doubled or quadrupled with property taxes flowing full-bore into the government coffers making way for even more vacationers in this sardine can of a barrier island in the summer weeks.  But those cute, Victorian summer cottages–going, going, almost gone.  With no end in sight.  Yesterday was just the worst.  We were driving by a ‘tear-down’ -in- progress and we could see into the living room being destroyed by heavy equipment and there on the old bookshelves were a line-up of books.  No one had even bothered to get them out beforehand when there was plenty of time.  Give them to the local library for their Friends book sale?  Or the local nursing home?  Or even the used-book store in town?  Or the schools or a neighbor?  No, just torn down, thrown out in our disposable society, junked and forgotten.  I don’t think we’ll ever forget those books on the torn-down shelves here at the shore of my home state.  Psalm 49 is a wonderful reminder of ‘…the fate of those who trust in themselves’, and ‘…those who trust in their wealth and boast in their great riches…'(Psalm 49: 13 and then 6).  The Psalmist calls them ‘sheep’; where ‘death will feed on them’;and  ‘he will take nothing with him when he dies’; ‘he will join the generation…of those who never see the light’;  and ‘a man…without understanding’.  And we peddle after riches?  All those TV shows about the ‘almighty dollar’?  Could we as a society be barking up the wrong tree?  Guess so…the answer? Feels like I’m being harsh here.  Pointing the finger maybe with a tinge of jealousy over what others can have but I can’t.  But I know that pointing the finger puts 3 more aiming right back at me.  And all of us being poor(and we’re not, we must admit)  and striving for that least common denominator in life?  No, of course not.  So, read verse 15…here it is:  God’s Word for us today and every day no matter where we live or how much money we may have or have not–‘But God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself.”  Redeemed by God through faith in His only Son, Jesus Christ.  Trusting in the riches of His unlimited love and forgiveness and grace and mercy.  And then, one day, not too far off either as fast as life goes by, we’ll be with Him, just to see Him, just be close to God Almighty and with those others who love Him as we do..  Talk about being rich and those mansions over the hilltop!  Not a tear-down among them!  For the books over yonder, safe and secure,  will be open with our names clearly written-down in glory!  Won’t that be something?  Guess that’s why they call it heaven!

EVERYTHING IS… Read Psalm 47

We were watching the 1980’s movie ‘Popeye’ a few weeks ago, and one of our favorite songs from it is entitled ‘Everything Is Food, Food, Food’.  As a  matter of fact, we can’t stop singing it!  And we’re starting to bug each other!  Just kidding, maybe!  Reading Psalm 47 brings a different emphasis to my life than food, which would be a step in the right direction.  Time to think about something else, even though lunch is not far off!  And it’s pizza too!  See what I mean!  Back to the Psalms and everything is praise…praise…praise!   Five  times in verses 5 & 6 we’re told to praise Him, to sing praises to our God.  And then in church this morning so many of the hymns and songs centered in praise to the Lord, and even the pastor’s message was from Ephesians 1:14–‘…those who are God’s possession–to the praise of His glory’.  Let me challenge myself today–and I’d never leave you out–to praise the Lord all day long.  Now, don’t go shouting it out in the middle of a sleepless moment tonight or when someone says they can’t make it to dinner tonight.  Say it quietly, to yourself even, but focus on praising God. Everything is praise…praise…praise!   But you know what the problem is?  Maybe you can anticipate what I’m going to say next.  I get so distracted in my prayers.  I praise the Lord  for something and immediately my mind tracks off in several unrelated directions.  Like this…I thank the Lord for the beautiful day we’re having and then I start to wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow when we take a day trip or what it was like last fall on our River Cruise in Europe or how’s the weather back home admitting that if it’s nice home we’re not as happy as when it’s pouring their and we’re tanning here!  See what I mean?  Praising God for our family and start trudging down the most worrisome personal roads you could imagine.  And then praise just deteriorates into just begging God for something or other or planning something to help or to get out of something or whatever to get some relief.  See what I mean?   I started out by challenging myself to praise…praise…praise and look what happened.  Way off-track, multitasking and multiworrying when I should be praising the Lord like I really want to. So, let me challenge myself again  to get  back on track in praise to the Lord. May I include you too?   But if you fall off, dust yourself off, hike yourself up,  get right back on…and praise…praise…praise the Lord.  Don’t worry–God knows we’re made of clay.  Just keep at it…and keep at it again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow! Sing praise to Him!

WHAT A CONTRAST! Read Judges 21 and Psalm 46

These were 2 of my Old Testament readings for my quiet time today.  Wow–what a contrast indeed.  Like the weather we had yesterday and today here at the New Jersey shore.  Fierce winds and pelting rain with flooding  yesterday leading to blue skies, no wind and lots of sun and surf for today!  What a contrast indeed!  Back to the Bible–when I finished reading both chapters, I couldn’t help but think of the contrast between heaven and hell.  Psalm 46 is so reassuring, so helpful and beautiful; while, Judges 21 is just all hell breaking loose on earth, and among God’s people(maybe they are His people, possibly not, doesn’t seem like it to me, but then again I’ve seen the best and worst of God’s people and sometimes I hate to admit it,  the enemy  is me!).  What a contrast indeed!  Psalm 46–where God is our refuge and strength, our helper who removes our fears from us even when and especially when everything is falling apart all around us.  God is all this… and lots more.   It’s not me, but it’s Him.  He’s like the river that Jerusalem never had.  Yes, a major spring runs through the city even today, but unlike almost all major ancient cities,there was  no river.  But now there is one, and it’s the Lord Himself.  God is there, there’s now no fear, no failure and no falling.  Those of us who’ve been to Jerusalem know how steep the streets are and how slippery they become with the slightest of moisture.  Easy to lose your balance and fall crashing down on a very hard stone surface.  Not in heaven with God–no falling there.  Not ever.  Not with Him right there next to us, holding real tight to both our hands.  Verse 10 of Psalm 46 says it all–‘Be still and know that I am God…”  ‘Be still’ in the original language means to put your hands at your side.  Take a defenseless posture.  Nothing to fear or raise your arms to protect yourself from.  Why?  Because God will be our ‘refuge and strength’…’our fortress’.  That will be heaven…and more forever and ever!   Now the contrast. Judges 21 and the few chapters before with murder, rape, kidnapping, inhospitality of the worst kind, coveting, foolish vow-making, promises then broken, everyone doing what ever they want and to heck with everyone and everything else especially God, and to top it all off blame Him for the mess their in.  ‘…the Lord has made a gap in the tribes of Israel’ (Judges 21:15).  Easy to blame the Lord when we refuse to look squarely in the mirror.  It says they ‘had no king’, chaos reigned, self was on the throne, do your own thing bumper-stickers on their carts, if it feels right do it ( and even if it doesn’t, do it anyway).  I don’t know about  you but sounds a bit modern this ancient Old Testament book of Judges.  What a contrast with Psalm 46.  Like heaven and hell.  Aren’t you glad that we’re heaven bound?  I sure am!  Wish others were as well, especially among our families and friends. Keep praying and keep looking up…

THE FACE THAT WILL NOT GO AWAY Read Psalm 44:1-4 again and Numbers 6:22-27

That wonderful verse in Psalm 44, that third verse about ‘the light of your face, for you loved them’–God’s face, loving and caring and affirming and encouraging…you can read all about it in the Bible and on His face.  I was thinking about a course I took at Princeton on childhood development.  As this was the seminary, the class approached child development from a theological perspective.  We were studying the development of trust in an infant.  Not necessarily trust in God but the development of the ability to trust and believe, to have confidence beginning with reliable and loving  parents.  We studied ‘Peek-a-Boo’!  That’s right, you read it!  Now, stay with me–I have a point to make, and it’s not the top of my head either!  When you play ‘Peek-a-Boo’ with a baby, you cover your face with your hands as if you disappeared, then you open your hands to reveal your smiling face saying reassuringly (and I don’t know why these words!) ‘Peek-a-Boo, I see you!’  And your baby laughs, and so do you, and all is well.  Play this game enough and the theory is that your child is learning to trust that the face that goes away will come back.  What’s hidden behind your hands that’s fearful opens to reveal a loving, smiling, laughing face that feels so very good to baby building confidence in your child allowing them to trust, to have confidence in life, knowing the face that will not go away for long.  When this natural process in life is disturbed, interfered with or traumatized, it’s that much harder to trust…parents, friends, yourself, those who really love you(or so they say) , even the Lord Himself. I know what I’m talking about, unfortunately.   Trust is very hard for me.  Distrust–like  second nature to me. When I accepted the Lord into my heart at the age of 16, that started the best journey of my life, for sure.  A child of God.  Forgiven.  New life and new birth.  Wow!  But along with it came years, I mean years of unsettling and terrorizing doubts that led me to wonder ad nauseum if I really was a Christian. ‘He loves me, He loves me not!’  Satan really had fun with me.  Almost all the joy of salvation was flushed out of my Christian life.  Almost all.  I now think, over 50 years later, that this enervating spiritual struggle within my heart began when I contracted polio in 1949, when I was 2, and was in isolation for a period of time.  I don’t know how long that was, but I still have some terrifying memories of that experience even though I was so young and impressionable.  I didn’t see my parent’s faces.  I may have caught the polio virus but I really caught the impression that those who loved me, that their faces had gone away.  My mother, my father, my brother and sister were all gone; and I was alone on my own in a horrible place of hot packs and exercises and strangers manipulating my legs, metal beds and darkness at night and crying, crying, crying.  Any wonder I found it hard to trust… even God? How about you?  Maybe I’m not the only one?  But here’s something else I’ve learned… that God knows all about it.  He doesn’t hold my tough-to-trust tendency against me… or against you.  He understands…after all, it says His face is a loving One.  And from the Old Testament book of Numbers chapter 6, the great benediction says that the Lord wants to bless us, His face shines on us, He’s gracious to us, He opens His hands to us, not saying ‘Peek-a-Boo’, but shalom, peace to you, even to me.  Yes, His is the ultimate loving face that will not go away.  Never, no never, no never go away from us who believe in Him, even with a faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.  ‘…the light of your face,  for you loved them.’  Thank the Lord that it’s His loving face and not my feeble faith that gives salvation to you and to me.   It’s Jesus’ gift and my hand that has reached out to receive it…thankfully, gladly, humbly…laughing even a little bit!  He understands you and me through and through.    His face…that will not go away!

HUMMING IT ALL DAY LONG! Read Psalm 44:1-4

I never know when a thought or phrase from the Bible  will just jump off the page I’m reading  and hit me right between the  proverbial eyes of my heart.  Well, it did once again this morning during my quiet time, a period of meditating and reading and listening for that ‘still, small voice of God’.  I’m sure you also have such experiences, probably more than I have had.  For years now I’ve begun my devotions  by asking the Lord to show me something in His word that I haven’t seen or noticed before, a word or thought that will linger with me throughout my day.  I knows He’s with me always, but I just, want to be more aware of Him, more in tune with and on a similar wavelength with my Lord.  Maybe you feel much the same?  The Psalmist, actually one or more of the sons of Korah who were assistants in the Temple worship, recounts how the Lord had given Israel great victories giving them  the promised land when he says in verse 3 of Psalm 44, ‘it was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;  it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.’  Hear what the Psalmist is saying, really singing?  All we have comes from the hand of God.  His powerful arms protect us and provide for us.  But more than that, just the light of His face, the love that’s felt– that’s what means the very most.  When we are  away from home for months on end as we are now, just to see the faces of our children and their spouses , to see the smiles and laughs of our grandchildren, the happy faces of friends coming in for dinner at our home–oh, what joy for us!  Just to see their faces.  Just that alone.  Not buying me a thing, not giving me anything at all–just to see their faces.  Just that alone.  And that’s what verse 3 says to me today.  Just to be with the Lord, just to see His face, just to stand or sit or bow before Him in all His majesty and power and beauty but most of all, His love for me…and you, all of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  All of us.  Just to see the love on His face! Think about that all day long.   Oh, how I love that Bill and Gloria Gaither song, ‘It Will Be Worth It All’, where it says ‘it will be worth it all, just to see His face, when He claims us for His own, Then 10 million years to sing Amazing Grace, it will be worth it all when we get home.’  Just to see His face, and all the love that’s out of this world beaming down on you and me.  That will be worth it all!