I sang in many church choirs during the last 50 plus years.
Churches had gifted choir directors, choir members and soloists.
Most directors were dedicated, cordial and appreciative. I remember only once being required to audition for a church choir.
Back in the early 1970’s, J. Lamar Alexander was serving as choir director at the First Baptist Church of Lake Providence, Louisiana. He had me sing notes of the scale. I’m surprised that I got up the courage. I’d say he was a master at his craft…
He mastered the traditional form of worship service.
Lamar Alexander believed in call to worship opening selections. To this very day I recall the holy hush following our offerings of ‘The Lord is in His Holy Temple.’
“But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him (Habakkuk 2:20 KJV).”
The lyrics, based on Scripture, called us to worship, submission and praise.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (Psalm 146:1-2 NKJV).”
My help, my hope is in the LORD; in HIM.
“How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free (Psalm 146:5-7 NKJV).”
How do I define eternity?
Is it fact or fiction?
Eternity is a heart reality.
“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NASB).”
God’s work spans from beginning to end.
Ponder eternity; can we comprehend it?
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity (Micah 5:2 NASB).”
Days of mankind…
“So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12 NASB).”
Trusting the LORD…
Do you: do I?
‘Trust and Obey’ by John H. Sammis 1887 (Public Domain)
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey. [Refrain]
But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]
Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]
photo credit: sylvar <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124401501@N01/847720104″>A nearly empty closet</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
I have a riddle.
Are you ready?
What was it?
It wasn’t one size fits all.
We didn’t buy it at a department store ready to wear department.
It was never hung in our bedroom clothes closet and was not handed down to the next child in our family.
What was it?
Answer: Our birthday suit!
“As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand (Ecclesiastes 5:15 NASB).”
photo credit: Chancy Rendezvous <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40510080@N04/28658410188″>Some Flag-Waving</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
From sea to sea …
“May he also rule from sea to sea
And from the River to the ends of the earth (Psalm 72:8 NASB).”
Atlantic to Pacific…
“From sea to shining sea!”
‘America the Beautiful’ 1911 version
[Lyrics: Katharine Lee Bates/ Music: Samuel A. Ward/ Public Domain]
“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
photo credit: mariateresa toledo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87063841@N00/49160028333″>Devi e lo specchio</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Mirror, mirror on my heart…
What does God see?
“As water reflects the face,
so the heart reflects the person (Proverbs 27:19 HCSB).”
Is my reflection in the mirror distorted by sin?
“Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:23-24 HCSB).”
Lest I forget…
“Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 HCSB).”
photo credit: ThiênLong <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/136682034@N03/26086288495″>Praying woman hands</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:10-11 NASB).”
“When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers (2 Chronicles 33:12 NASB).”
“When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God (2 Chronicles 33:13 NASB).”
“Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah. He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. He set up the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it; and he ordered Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel (2 Chronicles 33:14-16 NASB).”
photo credit: Working Image Photography <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44791826@N08/49907239871″>Night light at Prettyboy Dam.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Are you afraid of the dark?
Maybe you fear what could be in the nighttime darkness.
The darkness is only temporary!
“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5 NASB).”
The War Between the States, (north & south) holds a place in America’s history.
In scripture, (1 Kings 12-16) we read of conflicts and separation between northern Israel and southern Judah.
“When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying,
‘What portion do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel!
Now look after your own house, David!’
So Israel departed to their tents. But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day (1 Kings 12:16-19 NASB).”
North or south, God is in control.
“The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them (Psalm 89:11-12a NASB).”