New Song #2

Behold Our God is another song I heard (and sang) for the first time at our AFLC Annual Conference. It was written at a Sovereign Grace Churches songwriting retreat by several friends: Ryan, Meghan and Stephen Baird and Stephen Altrogge. It’s based completely on the Word of God. Isaiah 40:12-14:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?
 Who can fathom the Spirit[a] of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
    or showed him the path of understanding?”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For more contemporary Christian music go to these posts:

Don’t Praise Me

God is Bigger

No Scars In Heaven

The Word Teaches

Of course, the best teacher, aside from Jesus Himself, is the Bible, the Word of God. In Isaiah, we read:

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

That means if we’re serious about being teachable Christians, we should be reading the Scriptures regularly, if not daily. When we read, it’s helpful to use a commentary or a study Bible that can put the Word into the proper historical context, explain what those words would have meant to the original hearers, link the words to other references in the Bible, and so on. Of course, you also need to make sure the commentary you are using is a good one. Ask your pastor for suggestions,or check out what is available at Concordia Publishing (, a safe source for Lutherans.

In addition, read slowly and carefully. Think about what stands out for you, and how it may apply to your own life. Bible study is not only about book learning, being able to spew out facts and information — it’s about allowing it to transform our lives.

Currently I’ve been using a tool called The M’Cheyne Reading Plan. It was developed by a 19th Century Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, (sometimes spelled McCheyne) who lived from 1813-1843. It takesreaders through the New Testament and Psalms twice a year, and through the rest of the Bible once each year. There are approximately 4 chapters per day in this plan. If you would like to give it a try, you can download a copy from this site:

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more about what the Word has been teaching me. Stay tuned!

For more about Bible study see:

The Greatest Bible Study

The CSB Worldview Study Bible

Study Resources for Ladies

Back in the Box

I’ve been reading through the letters of John, asking God to show me a phrase or verse from each chapter that’s particularly meaningful to my life right now (this is called lectio divina). What popped out in chapter 2 of 1 John is this:

“… the world is passing away along with its desires …” 1 John 2:17a

Years ago I heard a story told by James Dobson. He talked about playing monopoly with his family — he was winning, and he got really excited as he accumulated more and more money and property. At the end of the game, everybody else got up to go to bed and he was left to clean up. All that cash, all those buildings, all those “things of the world” that he was so pumped up about …. they all just went back in the box. The “rush” he experienced from acquiring them didn’t last very long.

Since my husband retired, I’ve been putting a lot of things back in the box (in my case, the box is the trash!). We’re cleaning out a storage locker, sorting through files and pictures, and in many cases wondering, why did I keep this? Why do I have hundreds of pictures of places I’ve visited? Often I don’t remember where they were taken! Why do I have file folders of notes and papers I wrote in college? Will my children care about these? Why am I holding onto books I read 20 years ago, even if they were really meaningful to me at the time? Wouldn’t it be better to pass them on?

The things of the world are temporary, and that doesn’t just apply to money and buildings. Even the things we read, the knowledge we accumulate, the things we create — none of this will survive for very long once we’re gone. So …

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions–is not from the Father but if from the world.” 1 John 2:`5-16

Love what lasts — God and His Word.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

For more about Lectio Divina see:

Philippians Chapter 1 — What Stands Out

And He Said This Plainly

Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ–Book Review

Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord

“Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5)

Walking in the light of the Lord — what does that mean? When we walk in the light, we experience the presence of God in our daily lives; we understand and want to follow His ways and His plan for us; our eyes are not darkened by false idols or worldly philosophies. While researching this short phrase from the Bible, I came across this little song for children about walking in the light. I enjoyed it and hope you will, too.

Walking In the Light Of the Lord (action song) – GBA Children – YouTube

For more songs for children see these posts:

Jesus Loves Me

I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

God is Love #2

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

Did You Call Dad?

One of my daughters was in an accident recently.  The road was a little icy, and a truck in front skidded, causing others to hit their brakes and pretty soon … there were quite a number of cars running off the road and spinning in circles!  Luckily nobody was hurt, but standing on the side of the road, Beth texted her sister, who lives in another state.  The first response she got back was, “oh no, did you call dad?” And she had. They laughed about it later — here they are, adults, one 40 and the other in her 30’s,  yet when trouble strikes, the first impulse is:  Call Dad!  He will comfort, he will be there for you, he will know just what to do.

The nice thing is, we all have a dad to call on.  Even if your biological dad is gone, not in the picture, or completely irresponsible, there is someone who can fill those dad shoes.  Someone you can always count on — God.  In the book of Isaiah, He says:

“fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God;  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Not only is God there for us, He cares for us with a fatherly compassion.  Thanks to the saving work of Jesus, we are His sons and daughters.  Listen to these verses from Galatians 4:4-7

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

So don’t stress.  Whatever the problem, whatever the emergency, call God.  Call out to Him in prayer, because He is always there and waiting to listen and to help you.Make that your first thought.  He is your Abba, your Daddy.

For related posts see:

The Potter, Abba

God Will Take Care of You

O God Our Help


Arrival of the Jubilee

Remember the familiar scene of our Lord teaching in the synagogue in His hometown, Nazareth?  He turned to the book of Isaiah and read these words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor;  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind;  to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

What we find in this statement by Jesus is the proclamation of Jubilee.  In a small synagogue of a small village, the Jubilee which had been ignored for centuries was now here, it was not time for its fulfillment.  In a very real sense we can say that Jesus Himself is the Jubilee.  While the shofar may not have been blown in ancient Israel, it sounds out daily in the lives of the followers of Christ.  It frees us what the things that oppress us.  It makes us strong in the face of adversity.  It promises us a secure future, a place in the Promised Land that God has prepared for us.  We live always and every day in Jubilee.

The sad thing is how very often we don’t experience that Jubilee.  How often we feel angry at God because we don’t get what we want here and now.  We get sick.  We lose our jobs.  Our children don’t turn out the way we hoped.  The people we vote for don’t get elected.  We feel rejected or ridiculed.  The list can go on and on.

Our eyes are blinded by our failure to look at the light that is Christ.  We peer into the darkness of this world, unable to find what we most want and so we miss what we have and what is true.  What is real can only be found in the light, not the darkness.  In the light, friends, it is now Jubilee, it is the year of the Lord’s favor.  We need only look to see that it is so.

For more on the Jubilee see:

Hoping for a Jubilee

Hoping for a Jubilee, part 2


The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn–Book Review

A friend asked me to read this book, and I had to force myself to finish it.  The author is obviously a clever man, well-versed in the Bible and history, and therefore able to come up with many connections that seem “amazing” on the surface.  He relates a variety of prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah to present day events starting with 9-11.  These are “harbingers” or omens of a coming judgement on the United States.

Do I agree that our country is going down sinful paths?  I do.  Do I believe that like other powerful societies ours will eventually end and that collapse may be brought about by our own pride and arrogance?  Very possibly.  What I don’t believe is that we need to discover exactly when and how it will happen by decoding secret information hidden in the Bible..  This smacks of Gnosticism, a heresy that obviously still persists.

There is no biblical reason to connect America with Israel.  The Bible is clear that the church has replaced Israel as the chosen people of God, not the United States or any other nation or ethnic group.  Scripture should now be read in light of that understanding.  We may like to think of the United States as a “Christian nation”  but in actuality that has never been the case.  Many of the first settlers did not come for religious freedom at all, and while some of the founding fathers were Christians, others weren’t.

In the final chapters of the novel, the main character is told by the prophet that he must “choose” his destiny before judgement day.  This goes against Lutheran belief that God chooses us.  In fact, the whole premise of the book, that we can repent and turn from our errors is wrong  The point of the entire Old Testament, is that the people of Israel couldn’t do this, not matter how hard they tried  Sin will always prevail in both national and personal life — that’s why we need a Savior.

I suppose, like some other books, it might be possible to simply enjoy The Harbinger as fiction, ignoring the glaring theological errors.  Fiction is not theology, after all.  In this case, however, the author specifically says in his introduction that while the form of his work is a story, the information contained is real.  It is not meant to be read as a fanciful or interesting tale.  Furthermore, in my estimation, it also fails as a novel.  It is repetitious, slow and has very little dramatic suspense or plot.

VERDICT:  No stars.  My advice is don’t bother to read this.

For see what Lutherans believe about the end times see:

Lutherans and the End Times



Trust the Process

We’re nearing the end of 2020 and what a rollercoaster ride it’s been! The virus with a restrictions and a whole new normal, rioting in our cities, turmoil over the election and more.  On a personal front, we welcomed a new grandson, found that our granddaughter, Hailey, is at risk for autism, and now my husband has announced he is retiring in April.  I turned 70 and have more aches and pains and trouble sleeping than ever.  I could really relate to this quote from my devotional:

“Though everything without fall into confusion, and though thy body be in pain and suffering, and thy soul in desolation and distress, yet let thy spirit be unmoved by it all, placid and serene, delighted in and with its God inwardly, and with His good pleasure outwardly.”

Gerhard Tersteegen

Most of the circumstances I listed are disturbing because the outcome is unknown.  How many people will die of the virus?  When will we find a vaccine?  Will our granddaughter learn to speak?  Will the church be able to find a new pastor and move forward?  Where will we go to church?  How much will the income reduction affect our lifestyle?  What unforeseen medical problems are lurking in our future?  You get the idea:   I could worry all day about these and other questions if I allowed myself to go there.  I know what a pastor friend of mine would tell me– trust the process.  All of these things are in God’s hands, and He has a plan that is good.  It may not be apparent to me now (in fact, it may not be apparent to me ever, in this life), but it is there.  I know this from my own experience, and I know it from this scriptural promise.

“… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Maybe 2020 has been a year of clarity for you;  maybe it’s been a year of confusion.  Wherever you find yourself, listen to this word from the prophet Isaiah:

” Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint…”  Isaiah 6:4

Trust in God.  Trust the process.


We’ll Never Know

Recently my husband and I took a trip to South Carolina to meet our newest grandchild, Bradley.  We spent a lot of time driving and listening to music in the car.  One day, after hearing the song, Go Rest High On That Mountain, written by Vince Gill, my husband mused, “I wonder if Gill knew while he was composing this song, that it would become such a hit.” (It won the BMI Most Performed Song Award in 1997).  Well, I doubt if he did, because his reasons for writing it were deeply personal.  He began this eulogic song after the death of country music star, Keith Whitley (1989) and finished it after the death of his older brother in 1993.

As we each go about our lives, we’re constantly creating, sharing, and interacting with others.  We’ll never know how many of those things will turn out.  Something that seems insignificant to us and which we quickly forget, may have deep meaning in the life of another.(Try asking your grown up kids what they remember best about their childhood — you may be surprised!)  The teacher who inspires, the parent who provides a good example, the friend who genuinely listens, may be doing so without imagining the effect of their actions.  Often they are just using their gifts, following the calling that God has given them.  Right now, ” we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Sometimes we are blessed to see the results of our work, but more often, it is uncertain.  What we can be certain of is this:

“…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:20

Just as God’s Word will accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:11), our lives have been ordered by Him, and cannot fail to fulfill His plan.  We don’t need to know the details, because we trust the One who is in charge.

For more on Go Rest High on That Mountain go to this post:

Go Rest High On That Mountain