Georgetownrose

…from glory to glory

The Hunter and the Prey…

…A page from my journal

Years ago, my beautiful young friend shared a lovely poem on her Facebook site:

“Lover whispers to my ear, ‘Better to be a prey than a hunter. Make yourself My fool. Stop trying to be the sun and become a speck! Dwell at My door and be homeless… Don’t pretend to be a candle, be a moth, so you may taste the savor of Life and know the power hidden in serving’.”

[Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, Mevlana in Turkey, also known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273).]

      Delightful words are these. Still, when I ponder them, I recognize what is hidden away in them. We are all hunters in some ways; hunting for something to fill, to satisfy, to validate us to ourselves and to people–just look at the proliferation of electronic social media. Only one of many safaris.

But while we hunt, others hunt us–other people, other spirits, other cultural, societal influences hunt our lives, our souls. Some are garden variety hunters, unwittingly predatory in unintentional ways. Others are deliberate–spiritual predators, wily and devious, seeking to make fools for malice’s sake…All hunters are not trustworthy, all hunters do not love their prey.

Have you ever heard of a hunter loving his prey, a hunter for whom becoming a fool is finally the wisest surrender? Another question: Who is your hunter? Whose prey are you for whom you would wisely become a fool?

I’ve been a hunter, much like my beautiful young friend, on safari, drinking in all the sensations which abound and delight on this jungle planet hurling through a star jungle in galactic space. Exotic, erotic, intoxicating sensory delights. While I was on my safari, other hunters sought me; predators–seeking my soul, my being, my creative breath. I was prey for hunters not loving, not kind, only malevolent, selfish, capricious.

But there was one Hunter who surpassed all the rest. He who is The Hunter was once The Prey; He became a fool and served and bled and died at the hands of His predators to draw His beloved prey safely to His Flame. He validated His supremacy above all hunters, yet serving, submitting by His resurrection from the death for which He forgave His predators, to guide our wandering, hunting to dwell at His Door–not to be homeless anymore.

He hunted after me jealously, and found me in this celestial jungle. I am one among His beloved prey, His servant of great joy, tasting the Savior of Life Himself and knowing His power in my surrender to Him.

Whom you serve, and to whom you are prey is very important on this jungle planet careening through immeasurable space into eternity. If you could choose to be prey to any hunter, would it not be of the highest joy to be prey to the One who is both The Hunter and was once for all time The Prey now victorious over all evil predators? The Hunter who has known you before you were formed in your mother’s womb? The Hunter who has fashioned all your days before there were any?

He called me by my name for many years, and I, weary of my own hunt, only heard His call 40 years ago. My Hunter is The Lord Jesus–in Whom is all my Savor of life, pleasures at His Right Hand, into eternity. I am captivated and ravished by His premeditated love.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Preaching to the Choir

It seems so long ago when I was in my church’s choir. Teaching, aging, a change in churches and the pandemic (in that order) closed the door to my participation in the church choir. Truthfully, I miss being part of a fellowship of singers and musicians whose delight is to use their voices for beauty and for glory in this dusty existence. I always loved writing notes of encouragement to the choir, sharing with them my enhanced lens and  panoramic view of the eternal, cosmological significance of our corporate business. Being that I have not been posting much for many months, I looked through my journals and found this bit of musical exuberance which brings back beautiful memories, as well as prods my own heart to get on with the business of singing with all the unseen choir members here and in heaven. If any readers are in a church choir or sing as members of a worship team, I pray my wildly radical vista would encourage and impassion the expression of your worship.

Background Music

From my journal, April 2009: As I reflected on some passages of Scripture, a thought crossed my mind about our calling as choir and praise team ministers in times like these. Scripture records that Roman occupation of Israel during the time of the Lord Jesus’ earthly ministry was no picnic. The “background music” in the Land of Israel was suffocating in those times. Yet Scripture says that in those very days, the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; the lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: because the Sovereign Lord Jesus was there to deliver His people from the suffocating influences of their times. The authenticating signs of His sovereignty to accomplish God’s Plan were displayed in those who experienced His sovereignty in their lives. They no longer reacted to circumstances; they began responding to the certain knowledge of the Sovereignty, Presence and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ in and through and over and above and around all the circumstances of their times…

There is much background “music” in our lives; much of it reflects the despair of this culture. When we walk through the aisles in the marketplaces our brains are bombarded with the sounds of these times in tones and voices which resemble the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s an influence to which, if we are not paying careful attention, will leach into the recesses of our thinking, there to reside without our awareness and to suffocate our praise. We can find ourselves, as the world is doing, reacting to the circumstances around us, instead of responding to the certain knowledge of the Sovereignty and Presence and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ in and through and over and above and around all “circumstances.”

The Tongue of the Numb

If you are finding your heart and mind burdened and weighed down by the unexpectedly unseasonable heat added to the “headlines” and events around you, you may be looking for a retreat from it all. It may be suffocating your praise, so that your tongue has become numb. If so, make wise use of a call to stillness before the Lord, so that you may emerge from it breathing praise, hungry for worship, and no longer held hostage to the background music of this world…

In Concert with Heaven

Our calling as singers in the Body of Christ is to live as those who are awake in times like these, not influenced by the background music of the world. Our calling as singers in the Body of Christ is to live as those whose music is not merely “background music,” but which is worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and which is the voice of the Word of God heard in our congregation and in our spheres of influence. We are neither to be dumb tongues nor are we merely liturgical ornaments; we are ministers of the Word of God for His glory this side of Heaven. We are not merely the musical interludes in a liturgical drama; we are partners with those who preach the Word of God in our services, and with the saints and angels who worship before the Throne of God in Heaven. There is no room for pride or self-exaltation in this. This is our calling in and through and over and around all the circumstances, and against the numbing background music, in times like these.

The Glorious Yoke

Jesus is risen; Jesus is sovereign; and Jesus still feeds His flock like a shepherd. Instead of fleeing from His calling, take His yoke upon you and learn of Him, and you will find rest for your souls. In that rest, worship flourishes. In that rest, the yoke of His calling as singers in the Body of Christ is easy, and His burden is both light and LIGHT.

Imagine

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“Imagine” – John Lennon – Spotify

…lovely melody written by John Lennon so many years before we came to this day of remembrance. The sentiments vocalized in this piece yearn for a world where there is nothing of this kind of violence and sorrow and destruction.

Another musical friend of mine recently spoke of politics being the divisive element in humanity. He is right to a degree; politics is like birds of a feather which we all know flock together. So there is an element of unity in politics among those whose philosophy about how to accomplish social justice and the welfare of man follow the same track. But I digress; this isn’t about politics.

My musical friend went on to say that it is music which is the universal language. I agree with that to a degree, insofar as what different segments of humanity regard as music. Music, like politics, is like birds of a feather which we all know flock together. So there is an element of unity in music among those who like certain kinds of music. But I digress; this isn’t about music, even though I am firmly persuaded that music is “a fair and glorious gift of God.” I borrowed that quote from none other than Martin Luther, the historical figure most noted for the Protestant Reformation of 1517 A.D. in Europe.

What I am asking you all to imagine is the One who has the power to truly establish and fulfill our longings for a world where we will live as one in unending peace.

John Lennon imagined there is no heaven and no hell. John imagined “no religion, too.” I imagine he observed what history tells us that religion has the element of igniting wars. He is right to a degree. Religion, as a behavior born out of what people worship, has fueled religious wars on this earth. But I digress; this isn’t about religion, either.

John didn’t come right out and sing it, but I imagine he thought about imagining there is no Jesus and no Bible, too. I imagine that John imagined, as many people do, a Jesus who has no authority to judge between good and evil. I imagine that John imagined, as many people do, the Bible to be a collection of mere human philosophies and hearsay, with no authority to instruct, counsel, correct and convict humans about that which is objectively good, true and beautiful in every age of human history and forever.

“Never again…”

Imagine that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is good news if Christ has the ruling authority to deliver on all that the gospel promises…the power to reconcile us to God and renew all creation.

Now imagine there was never a confrontation between the Roman governor of Judea and Jesus of Nazareth:

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 18.37

Now imagine there was never an event witnessed by more than 500 people over 2000 years ago:

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

John 20.1-9

Now, imagine there was never a Jewish scholar and zealot for the established religion who was an eyewitness to the risen Jesus:

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

1 Corinthians 15.3-8; Acts 9

Now imagine there was never a Bible in any language which records the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ:

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

Revelation 21.4-6

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Before Jesus died and rose from the grave and ascended to His throne in glory, He said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Now, imagine what that means for us this side of glory… 

As another young musician wrote: “Could it be everything sad is coming untrue? I believe in the One who is making all things new.” (Jason Gray) So do I…

Everything Sad is Coming Untrue – Jason Gray – Spotify

Confessions of an American Voter – 2020 Edition

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I am revisiting my post of the same title posted in November of 2016.  So much has unfolded in our American landscape over the past four years of history. None of us could have known ahead of time the events over which we and our leaders have had no control, despite the frantic grasping for explanations for all our struggles, sufferings and losses…

I recently viewed an epic film entitled, “The Legend of 1900” about a boy born on the high seas aboard an ocean vessel. He was abandoned by his mother and raised aboard the ship where he spent his entire life, never stepping foot on land. A moment came in his life when he decided to venture off the ship into the sea of life in the land of New York City.

courtesy Medusa Cinematografica: “The Legend of 1900” (Italian: La leggenda del pianista sull’oceano, ‘The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean’)

When he viewed the immensity of the city scape from his place on the exit ramp, he could see no end to it. At sea, he could always see the horizon, even though the ocean, too, is immense… 

In our days, dear ones with me in the immensity of life adrift on the American “ocean,” we are all looking for the horizon…

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Here is another year in my voting experience where I am more keenly aware that I could not vote either for my selfish inclinations or upon my hopes for the American pledge of allegiance; I was forced to vote totally surrendered to the sovereign will of God—as a citizen living in a nation where some, at least, believe that we are a nation under God, but who now realize that we are not indivisible and where liberty is only for those who will submit to the sovereignty of the God of the Holy Bible, knowing that He alone is The Horizon to Whom–even in His immensely immeasurable, infinite Being–we can see the end of all these immense things which are too big for us…

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courtesy Medusa Cinematografica: “The Legend of 1900” (Italian: La leggenda del pianista sull’oceano, ‘The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean’)

If you are an American or aspiring to become a citizen of this nation, I pray that you wilbless-god-americal always honor allegiance to the republic for which our flag stands; but I pray you will do so recognizing that this land, its people and its leaders are subject to the sovereignty of the God…

that hath made and preserved us a nation…And this be [your] motto: ‘In God is our trust.’

–Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner” vs 4

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…and may He have mercy upon us all.

The Church and the State: A History Lesson

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I have been studying A Survey of Church History with Ligonier Ministries’ online study community. So far, I am halfway through the first segment on the Ancient Church which takes its students through the period between A.D. 100-600.  When I reached the lecture and discussion concerning the emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, I found the lecture enlightening and encouraging to my soul in times like these. The discussion questions on the content of the lecture made all my little grey cells rally to comprehend the implications of history and try to articulate for contribution to our study community.

In our times, many Christians are confused and troubled about the prospect of living in a world where Christianity is considered a hate crime in some circles, and at least something to be despised and rejected.

There are two parts to the discussion. I hope my observations and contributions will be enlightening and encouraging to those who trust in Christ Jesus as the Head of the Church and the Sovereign King over all things. My answers to the discussion questions are in block quote format.


Part 1: Why do some scholars argue that Constantine’s conversion injured the church? Why do some argue that it helped the church? 

Scholars who observed how Constantine’s conversion injured the church saw that this leader who was unschooled in Scripture and not discipled to understanding what it means to belong to Christ used his position of authority and popular appeal to make decisions in theological matters, binding his decisions to civil law throughout the empire he ruled. Other scholars liked that Constantine used his imperial position with connection to the Church because he favored Christianity throughout the empire. By the end of the fourth century, Christianity under Constantine had changed from being a persecuted people to a favored and protected religion of the empire. Both outcomes of Constantine’s conversion combined with his position as emperor have made the Church in Europe a government supported (and in some places, enforced) institution. Nevertheless, the cathedrals and majestic churches of Europe are now not much more than art galleries, markets and concert venues.

Part 2: Does Scripture provide any clarity on this matter? Why or why not?

I really had to put my “thinking cap” on for this answer. Jesus reminded His disciples that in the world we would have tribulation (John 16.33); that the world hates Him and it hates His own; that His disciples are not of the world, even while in it (John 15.18-19; 17.14); that we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God (Matthew 22.20-22). The apostles wrote to the churches and reminded them that there is one Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.21-23; Colossians 1.17-19). So, while it was merciful that for awhile the Christian Church had a breather from being hunted, captured as slaves and used in Roman arenas as blood sport for entertaining the Roman Caesars, and while it was grace that for awhile the Christians were protected under law from Jewish persecutions and pagan discrimination, as a Christian I would be thankful to God but not trust the emperor or the system “as far as I could throw it.” I would be using the period of grace for all it was worth to be in worship, study of the Scriptures, fellowship, prayer and instruction of my children (something America failed to do during its decades of grace).

In the Older Covenant Scriptures God exhorted Israel’s king to be in the Word of God day and night and to have his conscience and thinking informed by it and conformed to it (Deuteronomy 17.18-29). If Constantine did this; if Constantine had godly Christian leaders around him to counsel him and instruct him, then his leadership as a Christian emperor would have been exemplary—perhaps rivaling David’s or Solomon’s. As it is, I do not know enough about Constantine’s personal hunger for the Word of God or his employment of godly Christian men and adherence to the admonitions of the apostle Paul in the matter of his conduct as a Christian and his accountability to others in the Body of Christ. I could be wrong, but I would wager that Constantine neither approached David’s heart toward God nor the apostle Paul’s exhortations in the matter of accountability.

If there is any clarity in Scripture at all about this issue, it is the solid truth that God is able to use all the misguided attempts at a man-made “Kingdom of God” for His purposes. God is sovereign–always, over all things.


Lest there be readers who would use this text to justify all the political and social entities on this planet whose agenda it is to cut all ties between the state and God, you are grossly mistaken. While the state in this fallen world has never been commissioned to be the head of the Body of Christ on earth, the state has no authority apart from God. The state is irrevocably accountable to God for its exercise of the authority granted to it by God. Scriptural history bears out the truth that, The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21.1). And long before Constantine ever was contender to the imperial throne of Rome, Daniel knew and acknowledged:

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.”

Daniel 2.20-22

One Blood, One World…

…And other dreams

He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord…for in Him we live and move and have our being.

Acts 17.26-28

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Global community: is it a good thing or is it something to be avoided? Some on the planet are passionately nationalistic, resisting the unionization of nations under a common government which sells the promise of open borders and open trade with a unifying currency and communal privileges and benefits. Others on the planet are drawn to the concept of a global community and its dream of melting the iron barriers of ethnic and racial and political distinctions under what I described above. 

There is a song entitled, “Nella Fantasia” based on the unforgettable theme of “Gabriel’s Oboe” written by Ennio Morricone for the film “The Mission.” The lyrics set to this hauntingly beautiful melody speak of a dream of a fair world where everybody lives in peace and honesty. Sweet dreams…

I am not opposed to a global community living in shared and cooperative industry and commerce and care. I am opposed to man’s means of contriving it. Do not hear me saying that I believe our technological achievements to bring good things and mercies for humanity on this planet are evil. The way ambitious men use them is another matter. The extent to which they use them as tools to manipulate people and nations is evil. Fallen human history is strewn with the dead bodies and bitter legacies littering the planet in the wake of the big ideas of fallen human intentions to engineer what only God can accomplish perfectly in His way and in His timing…

Seriously. Does anybody remember the Tower of Babel? The outcome of that fallen  human enterprise was the result of egomaniacal human appetite to make a name and a kingdom for itself on this planet in direct opposition to God’s intention for man to make His Name and His Kingdom great upon the earth (Genesis 1.26-31)…

The apostle Paul tells the philosophers in Athens that God has made from one blood every nation to dwell on the face of the earth (Acts 17.26). Before we get all warm and fuzzy about this, let us remember that the common heredity we share on this planet is not only blood but also a radically fallen sin nature. Paul goes on to say that

city continent country destination

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God has determined the times and boundaries of nations and dwellings of nations on this planet. God sovereignly scattered humankind at Babel lest every contrivance of their fallen imaginings bring another occasion for another judgment upon mankind (Genesis 6.5-14; 10.1-11.4)…

Then Paul explains the key to open borders on the planet even with boundaries between nations: “So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17.27-28).

Nations are most united in perfect unity when their God is the Lord who made their peoples for Himself and for His goodness and glory, the God whom Paul explains to the Athenian Epicureans and Stoics who worshipped everything but the God who redeems men out of their corrupted condition by One Blood–the blood of His Righteous One, Jesus the Christ: “whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17.31).

SWEET DREAM? A genuine and true reality to come at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ…

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’.”

Revelation 21.1-5

The Lord Jesus is the One who will make all wars to cease. The warfare against God ends in every heart which turns to Christ Jesus in full surrender to His sovereignty as the Victor by His blood over all that ends in corruption and decay and death. By contrast, in every heart which persists in rebellion, the warfare against God and humanity as He meant for it to be will be crushed under the weight of His revealed glory. God’s way of recreating the global community is to work in the hearts of nations, tribes and peoples everywhere on this planet. God works for the coming global renewal in hearts of human beings to end the power of sin and corruption: person by person, tribe by tribe, nation by nation; He draws them by His grace to awaken them to the truth that no one but the Lord Jesus Christ–the Second Adam–came in the flesh for all who believe in His blood–One Blood, the pure sacrificial blood atoning for sin once for all time. By faith in His lifeblood and resurrection and sovereign kingship, redemption and deliverance from a dead conscience is the outcome. The iron borders of a hardened heart and hostility toward the God of the entire cosmos are laid waste under the glory of His indwelling grace. The foolishness of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect wisdom for all who believe in Him. Faith in Christ Jesus vanquishes the darkened mind and understanding so that all who believe Him may know Him in truth instead of an illusion of man’s contrivance.

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Matthew 24.24

The fallen human mission to strategize and manipulate economies and populations for global community and sustainability of the planet and ecological preservation, as well intentioned as it may be, is too small; and it will fail and disappoint and bring global disillusionment. Without a world view which is quickened by the knowledge of God’s will for His created kingdom, the human mission is myopic and insipid. The God who created us for the uninterrupted experience of His glory and saw us rebel against Him has not cast away His heart’s desire. He is at work and His agenda is to draw people from every generation in every age out of every nation, every tribe and every language on this planet, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ’s sovereign redemptive work; and through that gift of grace, He raises up for His glory multitudes who are new and incorruptible. And He prepares for His new community of redeemed mankind the new heavens and new earth for eternal peace and global community and perfect sustainability and ecological preservation. Under His righteous and glorious government, there are no iron barriers of the heart between people and no geographical borders and no incomprehensible tongues; and the second law of thermodynamics for all creation is cast into the lake of fire forever…

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true’.”

Revelation 22.1-6

Until the time of God’s fulfillment of His perfecting work, in an imperfect world, we must remember that we are but men and not gods. In our zeal for one world, in an imperfect world, we must not overstep what is reasonable to work for in cooperation between people and nations. God has been using and will continue to sovereignly use the secondary causes in this fallen world and on this fallen planet to work out His perfect, glorious mission. We who know His Name must trust Him, working and striving at respecting the distinctives among nations without exalting those distinctives above the truth of our shared humanity in all its imperfections and needs for God’s providential grace.

Until the time of God’s fulfillment of His perfecting work, in an imperfect world, we who know His name must trust Him and must allow for the sovereign “pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17.26-27) ordained by the wisdom of God to protect us from ourselves. Sweet dream… “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19.26).


Lord my God, in You I put my trust…Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart…

Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your  glory above the heavens!

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas…

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous  works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High…O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; even their memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You…

The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands...The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah

Psalms 7.1, 9-10; 8.1, 3-8; 9.1-2, 6-10, 16-20

“Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

Revelation 22.20

Psalm 39 – Reflections

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Reading the Psalms – McLean Presbyterian Church

Psalm 39

As of Passover/Resurrection this year, I have been living alive in Christ for 39 years this side of glory. Because of the sudden, acute onset of generalized anxiety disorder, for 16 of those years, I have been in the care of a psychiatrist and therapeutic counseling. I only admit that by way of introducing one of the medical components embedded in the care disciplines of these professionals. That component is a questionnaire which every patient must complete on a periodic basis to assess the advance or relief of their condition. One of the questions focuses on the patient’s level of thoughts of death and/or dying, chiefly whether they are thinking they would be better off dead. The questionnaire also probes whether the patient is considering ways to take the matter of dying into his/her own hands.

Long before I was ever assessed for anxiety disorder, there were times in my life as an atheist humanist that I considered how I might end my life; as a humanist, I was not actually wanting to leave a mess behind for someone else to clean up. As a humanist in the moment of realization that I was a total failure at being master of my own destiny and the highest form of life in the universe, all I really wanted to do was to cease to exist—essentially, to have never existed at all. Suicide did not fill the bill for accomplishing that, since it erases nothing and only adds more to the failure.

As I reflect on David’s lament, I realize that God was making me lament my folly to within an inch of my life, as he says in verse 9:  “…Because it was You who did it.”  It is God who opened my eyes to the truth that 5…Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor…Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them…”

I was loudly and profoundly awakened to the raw truth that human life, in all its attempts at autonomy and achievement, is the most vulnerable on this planet,  as David says in verse 11: “When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth…” because God’s holy gaze is directed at humanity.Psalm 11.4 reminds me: “The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyelids test the children of man.”

Since my re-birth in Christ Jesus 39 years ago, I have never given thought to ending my life at my own hands. Nevertheless, I confess that I have thoughts of death daily. As a Christian it is hard not to have thoughts of death, since in Christ, we are aware of the corruption of this flesh we inhabit. More days than not, I am keenly aware that I walk under God’s holy gaze, and the “kavod”—the weight of His glory is the closest thing I can think of to being either extinguished, or changed as carbon is pressed into a diamond. It is one of the most extraordinary total physical and spiritual experiences a person could ever know this side of glory; and I can only take so much that I must cry out as David did in verse 13:  “Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, before I go away and am no more.”

At 72, I am closer to knowing—even if vaguely—the measure of my days.  To be sure I know more keenly how frail I am, and I pray:  “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the reproach of the foolish… according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.” (Psalm 39.7-8; Philippians 1.20-22).

Soli Deo Gloria.

Re-discovering music…

…hath charms.

Music is a giftApril has been a challenging month for many around this world. Waiting is not something we humans do very well; and in the USA, we find waiting and being quiet especially upsetting, disquieting, and even a torment to the soul.

I am no stranger to waiting, but this month has tested whether I will truly discover the Providence of God even in unsettling circumstances. People who know me well know that I am an avid, daily student of the Word of God; many know of my unwavering labors of love in prayer for people whom I know and for fellow humans enduring temptations, testings, and trials this side of glory on a fallen planet. But not many know how much I value music for living well this side glory.

One of the most pleasant of surprises has been becoming re-acquainted with music and how it stirs up joy in my life. I am thanking Spotify for that pleasure; it has enabled me to develop playlists of music my husband and I have enjoyed from early in our life together, but which became eclipsed by the onslaught of much to do, and the demise of the best musical programming on broadcast radio.

We began our joint musical library back in the late 60s with vinyl discs and open reel tapes on high quality stereo equipment. (Although vinyl discs are emerging as a respectable medium for recording and playback, I reckon that only professional musicians nowadays know what open reel tape systems are.)


“Finding old MUSIC you used to love is like

getting back in touch with an old friend.”


As the media transitioned from vinyl discs and open reel to cassette tapes, we transferred favorite albums from our library to the cassette medium, and onward up the tech chain to digital media. We still own our audio stack comprised of stereo amplifier, stereo turntable, dual audio cassette recorder, and dual disc recorder/player, with two speakers which would make modern speakers sound pathetically anemic. However, operating all that equipment has become more like work than pleasure. Spotify to the rescue! Within a matter of a few hours of browsing, voila! Favorites galore in various genres from long ago to more recent artists.  And Spotify streams vibrantly through our laptop wired through our amp and stereo speakers.

Music never diesOne of the many joys of life this side of glory is beautiful music. The world of my mind and my heart is touched deeply by music.  I am moved to sing and to write and to live more deeply by the melodies and rhythms I hear. They must be melodic and lyrical to impress me as beautiful. They must have rhythm and resolution or I am left despondent, agitated and ill of soul.


“Music and Rhythm Find Their Way into the Secret Places of the Soul.” –plato


I am as gladdened by a stirring rhythm as any true music lover; I am known to dance and do a little controlled head banging to the beat of a great piece of rock and pop music performed well. I can groove and praise God at the same time.

There is, however, an entire genre of sounds which are peddled as “music” but which are nothing more than irritating harrassment and vexation to the mind and heart. Any musician who contrives the mischief of pointless cacophony and vain discord punctuating it with an unrelenting, stomping, jack-hammer percussive beating, leaves a harmful imprint on the human soul. Music ought not to be used as a weapon of a wrathful and vulgar spirit, but as the gift from God it is meant to be: good and true and beautiful. 


“Your heartbeat changes with the music you listen to.”


Since music is a fair and glorious gift from God…

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

Psalm 95.1-2 NIV

This is a time for us who are trusting in the sovereign providence of God over all things to be…

…speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5.19 NASB

and…

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3.16 NASB


Here is a link to a long ago favorite, newly captured on my Spotify playlist:

“Jalousie” – Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops

Here is a link to a old classic newly discovered and captured on my Spotify playlist:

“Classical Gas” – Mason Williams

Here is a link to a worship piece on one of my playlists:

“Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad” – Paul Wilbur


Note: I am not receiving any compensation from Spotify for my references and links to my playlists. However, you can sign up for a free Spotify account to listen to these shared pieces.  

I was young once…

Yorktown Rose2…and younger everyday

As I write this I am listening to music from my Spotify radio platform, taking me back to decades past when my love and I danced to the delight of Latin rhythms. Facebook has re-emerged in my life as a way to re-connect with friends and family enduring the long weeks of quarantine. With our church being forced to connect online via the benefits of ZOOM technology, I miss the sensory experience of “surround” love, the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit among us, and the exposure to the spectrum of inter-generational affection and interaction.

Ed and Pat at Springfield HiltonAmong the many interests I have pursued during this period of extended confinement with my love, I have found a few new FB “friends” on the planet who are young and beautiful and talented. Some of them have introduced me to their own exploration into what is enduring, and beautiful and excellent. I could be very jealous, allowing my mind to drift into bitterness at my own displacement from the rising generation in which these young virtuosos have distinguished themselves. Instead of dwelling on the loss, I am stirred to think about the decades ago when I and my love were what the world would call “young.”  In his advancing decline in his body, my aging brother-in-law’s heart craved the joy of socializing with us.  He called us “young blood.”

woman wearing pair of white and black pumps

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Now, in this season of my life in a vessel which no longer meets the world’s criteria for youth, where can I find the consolation for a heart that still conceives of youth and beauty, that is thrilled by beauty and vibrancy of what my deceased brother-in-law often called “young blood?” In this season of my journey from glory to glory, my memory abandons me momentarily at times as I chase after a word which has dashed through my gray matter like a jackrabbit, only to disappear through a hole in

my boogie shoes

my boogie shoes

my head. And the realities of the fall have devastated my fashion sensibilities. The second law of thermodynamics, from which no one can escape, has left me no choice but to decide whether I wish to walk on my own two feet in shoes which accommodate arthritic feet and high arches, or to wheel about in a chair, my feet adorned with the fashion to which my vanity and tastes still gravitate. So now I dance to Latin rhythms in my San Antonio Shoes and be glad for it…

Oh. My. God! (No blasphemy intended) All I can do is bow in wonder before God who is at the work of making all things new…

If I only knew then what I know now!  Then, in my much “lovelier youth” I lived in a dream detached from the reality of God’s power in a world broken and defiled by the rebellion of my ancient ancestors who exchanged their reality in the beauty of God’s presence and life for a dream of being the masters of their youth and beauty. Their dream of youth and beauty apart from God unleashed on the entire cosmos the nightmare of the second law of thermodynamics…

July 17 2018While I listen to the lilting rhythms and melodies of Latin music, I remember that in Christ, the second law of thermodynamics will have no hold on me. Ah, you say to me, “But your glory is fading.” I say to you what the Word of God says to those who trust Him alone for “dear life:”

according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4.13-18

While I walk in an aging vessel enlivened by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ Jesus, I no longer walk in a dying dream. In Christ Jesus, I am younger now more than I have ever been in my more lovelier years, because I am,  “with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [being] changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3.18).

I listen and I notice and I thank God for the beauty and excellence I find He is still cultivating in the “young blood” who still share with others, whether or not they know in their beautiful youth that their giftings are from God. I know; and I write for the glory of God to encourage readers to give glory to God for their youth, beauty and gifting…

Because…

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

2 Corinthians 4.7

Georgetown Rose D

Changing our glory for corruption…

man lying on brown dried grass

Photo by Gabb Tapic on Pexels.com

I thought this article worthy to pass on to readers. Rosaria writes it best:

Are We Living Out Romans 1?

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