Within My Heart ~ Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

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Lifted Up ~ Psalm 30

 

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I will extol Thee, O LORD; for Thou hast lifted me up,
and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried unto Thee,
and Thou hast healed me.
O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from the grave:
Thou hast kept me alive,
that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
LORD, by Thy favor Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to Thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise Thee? Shall it declare Thy truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me:
LORD, be Thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever.

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The Voice of the Lord ~ Psalm 29

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Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness;
the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve,
and discovereth the forests:
and in His temple doth everyone speak of His glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood;
yea, the LORD sitteth King forever.

The LORD will give strength unto His people;
the LORD will bless His people with peace.

Here in Florida we get a lot of thunderstorms. In fact, I heard the rumble of thunder every day last week, even though I did not necessarily always see the rain. And I hear the distant rumble of thunder even now as I write this.

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Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Flowers (23)

by E. A. Hoffman (1887)

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms. [Refrain]

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

REFRAIN:
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

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Elisha Albright Hoffman (1839-1929) was an ordained minister who served many years in various churches and chapels in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He also edited fifty hymnals and wrote more than 2,000 gospel songs in his lifetime, including “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

The story behind this song is a rather interesting one, and it actually starts with Anthony Showalter, the composer. He was well known for his singing schools in local churches in Georgia, and he was fond of keeping in touch with his students as the years passed. One particular evening he received two letters from former students, both of whom had recently lost their wives. Mr. Showalter immediately sat down and searched for a verse of Scripture to send to comfort them. He chose Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” As he meditated on the verse, the following words came to mind:

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Mr. Showalter sent his replies to each of his former students, then he took out an additional piece of paper and wrote a letter to his hymnwriter friend Elisha Hoffman, telling him of the chorus he had just come up with, but saying that he did not have the stanzas to go along with it. Mr. Hoffman promptly wrote three stanzas and sent them back to Mr. Showalter, who then supplied the music, and a new hymn of comfort was born.

God, the eternal God, is our support at all times, especially when we are sinking into deep trouble. There are seasons when we sink quite low…. Dear child of God, even when you are at your lowest, underneath are the everlasting arms. —Charles Spurgeon

Credits:
Information from hymnary.org

Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2003. pp. 218-219.

Photo taken in Brevard, North Carolina, 2017

 

Wait on the Lord ~ Psalm 27

This psalm is so rich! It is one of the most comforting of all the psalms to my heart!
Here are the highlights…

 

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Verse 1: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Just saying the words causes comfort to wash over me like the tide washes gently over the sand. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He is my light. Indeed, He is our light. We need not stumble in darkness. Darkness brings fear; light dispels fear. The Lord is my salvation. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they have it more abundantly.” Wow! Abundant life! Not just existing, not just getting by from one day to the next, but living abundantly. That is what Jesus gave me. And not just in this life, but in the life to come, eternal life. Again, He said, “That whosoever believeth on me shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The Lord is the strength of my life. Several verses come to mind. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” “Without Me, you can do nothing.” “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I can’t even get out of bed in the morning without the strength that God gives me.

Verse 4: One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. Even before I had a personal relationship with Christ, when I had only head knowledge of what He had done for me, I wanted to serve Him. From my youth I have desired only to be in the service of the Lord, regardless of what He might ask me to do. He has allowed me to serve Him as a missionary, teacher, and musician. Now my ministry includes writing. I praise Him for desiring to use me, a broken vessel, for His glory.

Verse 5: For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock. One thing we can all be sure of in this life is that trouble will come. But I have the confidence of knowing that the Lord will not feed me to the wolves. He will hide me and protect me. The last phrase seems like a contradiction. “He shall set me up upon a rock.” How can anything on a rock be hidden? The image I see here is a lighthouse standing tall on a rock, so high that the fiercest storm cannot knock it down, and I am safe inside the lighthouse. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “He is the Rock. His work is perfect, for all His ways are righteous. A God of truth and without iniquity. Just and right is He.” He is the light, the pavilion (i.e. lighthouse), and the rock. The storm rages all around me, but it cannot touch me, for I am sheltered safely inside.

Verse 8: When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said unto You, “Your face, LORD, will I seek.” God desires that I would seek His face continually. That is the reason I have so many problems, both big and small. If my life were always easy, I would have no need for God. Sure, I’d give Him thanks, but even my thanks would become trite right quickly. I find that I am much more thankful for His provisions after a period of doing without.

Verse 10: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. And not just my father and mother. But when my spouse, child, and friend forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. In fact, He has said that He will never leave me or forsake me. Others might. Correction: Others will. We are all human, and when the going gets tough, all too often we get going—to higher ground, leaving others behind if necessary. We are limited, but God is infinite. We are fickle, but God is constant. We are selfish, but God loves us with an everlasting, unconditional love.

Verse 11: Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies. I want to follow Christ, but distractions so often get in the way. These “enemies” of my soul may be wolves in sheep’s clothing. They may even be well-meaning people who simply do not understand God’s will for my life, though they think they do. There is safety in the multitude of counselors, but our ultimate counsel must come from God alone. He alone knows me inside and out. And He alone knows the plans He has for me. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

And finally, verse 14: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, but it does get easier with time. I am not nearly so impatient as I used to be, though I won’t say that I’ve mastered the grace of patience by any means. In some areas it is easier than others. Do you want to know the secret? Waiting is easier when you allow God to be God and learn to trust Him fully. And as for the areas of my life where I still lack patience, I remind myself once again to “wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

Photo taken near Luray, Virginia, 2009