Let the People Rejoice!

Psalm 147:1-20

Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. 
The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

Rejoicing and Reflection

According to The Pulpit Commentary and F. B. Myer’s Through the Bible Day by Day, this psalm was written in Nehemiah’s day for the dedication of the wall. When I read Psalm 147, I hear rejoicing and reflection as the writer remembers all that God has done and is doing, still.

Those acquainted with the story know the heartaches, delays, and challenges they faced while rebuilding the wall. At one point, they had to work with a sword in their hand!

Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows (Nehemiah 4:13).

BUT GOD…

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days (Nehemiah 6:15).

Jacob’s children did not allow their circumstances to dictate their lives. They fought and worked until the job was finished. They gave thanks and rejoiced for the great things He had done. So should we!

Giving Thanks

I awoke with praise on my lips and the following chorus playing in my heart. I had to laugh because I’m not a fan of the music. Curiosity sent me to my hymn book for the verses. After reading the song, I searched for a video containing the words to share with you. I hope it puts joy in your heart too!

I love that Crosby took the focus off the singer and placed it on the One worthy of all praise and glory.

To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, 
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
Words by Fannie J. Crosby. Music by William H. Doane

This Is Love

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13: 34-35 KJV

When thinking about a Valentine’s Day post, I decided to talk about love for one another. After this past year, I think it would be a good idea to review what the Lord’s definition of love truly is by revisiting the Gospels and reading about His love, life, and sacrifice.

How are we to love?

In the above scripture, the Lord states, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

We find His example, “as I have loved you” in the 34th verse.

The world will know we are His disciples if we love one another as He loves us.

Not by knowledge of scripture.

Not by piety.

Not by miracles.

Not by good works.

But by our sacrificial love for one another.

I’m not saying we should turn a blind eye to wrongdoing but conduct ourselves as His children in word and action.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV

Winning Others

The disciples were fishers of men. If we are to win others, then we must love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us. Men, women, and children must see a united people (John 17:21) filled with the gifts of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be a noisy nuisance (1 Corinthians 13:1).

May we be true disciples of Him during this month and the months to come!

Trail of Evidence

The wildlife was abundant during our first years on this farm. It wasn’t unusual to step into the yard and find 6-10 deer standing outside the yard eating acorns. One year, I sat on the carport and watched an eight-point buck and two does drink from our goldfish pond. 

As the years passed, the neighboring farm cut their timber, causing many deer to leave. Eventually, the only sign of them was the rare hoof print along my walking trail. Imagine my joy when I’d find a little fawn hiding in the palmettoes, or a young deer standing beneath the oaks.

This year the deer returned. I’ve not only seen hoof prints but deer also!

All this made me ponder the evidence of God in my life. Many times, I’ve focused on what I couldn’t see until I could not recognize the evidence in front of me.

For instance, no one has seen the face of God, but the evidence of His care is all around us. We can refuse to believe because we can’t see Him, or we can trust His Word and follow the trail of evidence.

Following the trail of evidence is what I’ve been doing during my hiatus.

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, small knots formed on my pinkie finger. Soon it became hard to straighten, so I took a break from typing. Each day I looked at my hands. Worry crowded my mind as the past crashed down around me. (If you’ve read my book, you know the index finger on the same hand became misshapen years ago because of surgery and arthritis.)

The idea of being unable to play piano or type ricocheted inside my head. I remembered I couldn’t use my index finger for almost a year because of stiffness and pain. Then friends prayed for me. God moved gloriously on my behalf. Although not perfect, it works. And it testifies to me every day!

As the truth of my past battled with the doubt in my present, I remembered the former pain and the hours of physical therapy. I recalled the disappointment when nothing worked, the sadness when I came home defeated, and the inability to discern God’s blessings in my life. Somehow my past gave strength to my future. God would do it again. The gray skies parted, and the Son shined through.

Hope.

There is hope for me. Hope for you. Hope for this nation. Hope for this world. There is evidence of this Hope traced back to Adam if we open our eyes and follow the trail through the Word. Our pasts also testify of this Hope. It is this Hope I’m clinging to.

This coming year will be a year of hope and more rest for me. And though I’m not ready to stop blogging, I am trimming down my social media.

In closing, I want to say that I’ve missed you guys! I am praying for blessings as we endeavor to fulfill our purpose. Meanwhile, let’s follow the trail of evidence.