On the Wings of a Dove

The quote in my last post reminded me of this country gospel song, Wings of a Dove. It was written by Robert Bruce Ferguson in 1958. Two years later, pioneering country music entertainer in the 50’s, Ferlin Husky, took country music onto the pop chart with his recording of the song. It is based on the Biblical story Noah’s Ark, particularly the passage Genesis 8:6-12. After 40 days adrift on the flooded earth, Noah sent out a dove to find out if the water had dried up from the land. After a couple attempts, the dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth, so Noah knew the water had begun to recede from the earth. The image of the dove carrying an olive branch became an enduring symbol of peace in Christian art.

In other areas of scripture, the dove also represents the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:22, and John 1:32-33 recount Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan River. After Jesus prays, heaven opens and the Holy Spirit comes down in the form of a dove. The moment is linked to God the Father’s love as a voice from above says, “You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you.

It’s a wonderful song to listen to during challenging times, a reminder that God is with us, and His plans for us will prevail.

For more gospel music see these quotes:

Just a Little Talk With Jesus

God’s Coloring Book

This Little Light of Mine

Grow Through Surrender and Trust

“Is there no way of escape for us when in trouble or distress? Must we just plod wearily through it all, or look for no relief? I rejoice to answer that there is a glorious way of escape for every one of us, if we will but mount up on wings, and fly away from it all to God. All creatures that have wings can escape from every snare that is set for them, if only they will fly high enough; and the soul that uses its wings can always find a sure ‘way to escape’ from all that can hurt or trouble it. What then are these wings? Their secret is contained in the words ‘They that wait upon the Lord.’ The soul that waits upon the Lord is the soul that is entirely surrendered to Him, and that trusts Him perfectly. Therefore we might name our wings the wings of Surrender and Trust. If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls ‘mounting up with wings as eagles; to the ‘heavenly places’ in Christ Jesus where earthly annoyances or sorrow have no power to disturb us.”

by Hannah Whitall Smith

Hannah Whitall Smith((February 7, 1832 – May 1, 1911) was a lay speaker and author in the Holiness movement. She and her husband were descended from prominent quakers. This quote, which is from my daily devotional is based upon these two verses:

“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest!” Psalm 55:6

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” Isaiah: 40:31

For more of Hannah’s quotes see these posts:

Are You a Spiritual Person?

The Great Pope, Self

What Does Piety Look Like #2

Stay Awake!

As I read prayerfully through the book of Mark, what stands out for me in Chapter thirteen is this phrase: Stay awake! Rather ironic for me, since I suffer from insomnia and staying awake is not what I want to do. However, in this context Jesus is not telling us to refrain from sleeping; He is saying we must be alert, be observant, pay attention.

It’s easy to get caught up in our daily lives and routines. The expedient often becomes the important in our human minds. Things like our jobs, our work at church, taking care of our families, even vacationing and hobbies. It’s not that these things are wrong, but here Jesus is warning us not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

All of this in in the context of the last times. Most Lutherans say we’re in the last times now — they started when Christ ascended. So now is the time to stay awake. Bad things will happen (they are happening) — wars, false teachers, persecution, earthquakes, famines. This means we need to remain strong in our faith. We need to study the Bible and know what it says; we need to be firm and not give in to heresies that may seem to make sense in our culture; we need to prepare to be persecuted by maintaining strong Christian communities.

The end of all time is coming. We clearly don’t know when. All we can do is be prepared. STAY AWAKE!

“But concerning that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” Mark 13:32-22

For more lectio divina study on the book of Mark see:

He Said This Plainly

Rest a While

Why Are You So Afraid?

Martin Luther Quote #2 on Facing Challenges

“Suffering is the school in which God chastens us and teaches us to trust in him so that our faith may not always stay in our ears and hover on our lips but may have its true dwelling place in the depths of our hearts. Your grace is now in this school.” Martin Luther

For more quotes by Martin Luther see these posts:

Martin Luther on Hope

Martin Luther on Baptism

Martin Luther on God’s Victory Over Death

Dare to be Kind by Lizzie Velasquez–Book Review

Lizzie Velasquez has learned to grow through life’s challenges She was born with a rare genetic syndrome which makes it impossible for her to gain weight; but she is more than a person with a disorder. She is:

Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World
  • A motivational speaker
  • A Christian
  • A daughter and sister
  • A person with the gift of compassion
  • A dog lover
  • A friend
  • A college graduate
  • A anti-bullying activist
  • And so much more

Her message is that each of us is more than any one quality that may make us feel inferior or insecure. She says:

“Making the decision not to let anyone else define us and then choosing how to define ourselves and what we’re all about –these are essential steps in life ….And they have everything to do with moving forward on a path toward kindness.”

Although her appearance causes others to stare, and she has been cyber-bullied with a video describing her as the “world’s ugliest woman,” Lizzie remains a positive person. Connecting with and inspiring people is her passion, and her condition gives her a platform for doing that. She believes that::

“Those people who are fueled by hatred and anger to lash out against others, what if they had experienced more kindness, compassion, and acceptance in their own lives? In many cases, their outcomes would have been different.

If each of us does our part in spreading even small acts of kindness, there will be a ripple effect. She has some practical suggestions like giving compliments, smile, hold a door, tell those you meet to have a wonderful day, and so on. Let people know that you see them and value them. It can make a difference. We’re all responsible for creating a culture of kindness.

Finally Lizzie has learned to quell her doubts about the future because God in in control and His plan is bigger and better than anything we can imagine.

I don’t agree with all of Lizzie’s views, but I applaud many of her general premises: be kind; don’t judge others by their appearance; value your family and your past; pray and trust God, don’t be afraid to ask for help and be vulnerable.


There is also a documentary about Lizzie’s life, “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Vasquez Story, which I plan to check out of the library and may review. Lizzie is also on YouTube and has a podcast.

For more posts on kindness see:

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft–Book Review

A Quote on Kindness

When I Hold You by Ashley Huffstutler–Book Review

The feelings in this book will resonate with all new parents. Each page contains a Bible verse celebrating God’s love for His children ( that’s us!) accompanied by the tender thoughts of a new mother caring for her baby. Nurturing a child who is so small and miraculous is a time of wonder, awe and feeling close to God who is the ultimate creator. It would have been especially poignant for author Ashley Huffstutler, who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor during her second pregnancy.

When I Hold You

Kudos to illustrator Airin O’Callaghan for the lovely depictions of mom and child.

This is a board book, intended for children ages 0-4 and it is truly beautiful. My only concern is that the content will be above the understanding of toddlers. They may enjoy the pictures of being rocked, held, cuddled and fed, but it will appeal more to the grown ups who purchase it than their children.


If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

When I Hold You – B&H Publishing (bhpublishinggroup.com)

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For other reviews of books for children see:

Flashlight Night by Elisabeth Hasselbeck–Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

The Challenge of Small Things

My devotional reading this morning reminded me that we can grow through the challenge of the smallest circumstances in our lives.

It is small things that, just because of their smallness, distress and overset us. I mean the weight of daily care, which in their small details of personal expenditure, and in the careful routine of a household, and in the rearing of children, and in the society of friends, and in the outside duty, and in private affairs, singly and separately is sufficiently burdensome; but altogether, and on one set of shoulders, is sometimes felt to be more than the strength can bear. Those anxious lives, tempted to be fretful, and hasty, and self-important, and fussed with their incessant activities, may, if rightly interpreted, and manfully grasped, settle down into round and sunny centres of regular, and peaceful and fruitful activities. Where there is prayer, there is peace; and God, who makes every duty possible, knows, helps, and cares. Anthony W. Thorold

Anthony Thorold (1825-1895) was an Anglican Bishop of Winchester. For more of his quotes see:

More on Fruit of the Spirit

When Things are Unclear– Trust God

Two Quotes on the Sacrificial Life

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

You Are Not Swayed by Appearances

As I continue reading and praying with the book of Mark, I am struck by what the Pharisees have to say about Jesus:

“For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” Mark 12:14b

It hurts my heart to think how often I (and probably you) are influenced by how people and things look on the outside. How easy it is to judge the homeless man who looks disheveled and dirty, or even the friend who is overweight. How quickly I am impressed by somebody’s beautiful home or adorably dressed grandchildren. This is wrong. I don’t and can’t know anyone else’s full story. The one person who does is God, and the Bible tells us in the book of Romans:

 God does not play favorites.” Romans 12:11

We can’t impress God with how we look, or what we have. What is in our heart is much more important. When Samuel was about to anoint a new king for the Hebrew people, God rebukes him for assuming that Eliab, one of Jesse’s older sons was the best choice :

“… Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

In truth, God’s choice often confounds us:

” … God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Jesus Himself said:

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32

Regardless of how good we seem to be superficially, we’re sinners (No One is Good Except God Alone). We’re all lucky to have a high priest who looks into our hearts and has compassion on our failings ( Our High Priest). If we’re His followers, we should do likewise. Be quick to love and slow to judge. Don’t be swayed by appearances.

Be Still My Soul

In the latter half of the 17th century a new revival was breaking out in Germany. The revival was pietism and the themes of this new movement were: “Living the Christian life versus doctrine,” and “Real conversion versus the appearance of godliness.”
Be Still, My Soul” was written by a German woman, Katharina von Schiegel during that time, but it really took three people to put it together as the hymn we sing today. Katharina wrote the words, originally in German. One hundred years later the hymn was translated into English by Jane Borthwick. The final contributor was Finland’s greatest-composer, Jean Sibelius. One movement from his “Finlandia” is used as the tune for our hymn. God used people from three countries to create this hymn. It teaches us that God is in control and to wait on Him when enduring challenging times.

It is based on Psalm 46, particularly verse 10:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

In the Valleys I Grow

This poem was shared at a conference for church women I attended years ago, and I think it fits well with this month’s theme. It was very meaningful to some of the ladies I was with that day, maybe it will be for you, too.

It’s In The Valleys I Grow

by Tracy Mayfield

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble, and woe,
It’s then I have to remember,
That it’s in the valleys I grow

If I always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love,
And would be living in vain

I have so much to learn,
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow

I do not always understand,
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through

My little valleys are nothing,
When I picture Christ on the cross,
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan’s loss

Forgive me Lord, for complaining,
When I’m feeling very low,
Just give me a gentle reminder,
That it’s in the valley I grow

Continue to strengthen me Lord,
And use my life each day,
To share your love with others,
And help them find their way

Thank you for the valleys Lord,
For this one thing I know,
The mountain tops are glorious,
But it’s in the valleys I grow!