An Old Song

Sheet Music

I was asked to sing the special music for my church’s Facebook live service this week, which actually makes me more nervous than singing in front of people. So, I was running song titles through my head trying to figure out what to sing. I wanted something that would speak peace to the hearts of those listening. After mentally going through a list of more modern songs, I eventually came to a song whose words spoke directly to the current situation even though it is an old hymn. I debated over whether or not to sing it because it is an old hymn and it’s not a perfect fit for my vocal range. Let’s be honest, I want to sound good on the internet, but the message is more important. While I struggled to make a decision, I came to the conclusion that old has become a negative term in today’s society. It has come to mean useless and outdated, but it can mean priceless and precious.

 “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Jeremiah 6:16

Ask or seek the “old” paths sounds like going backwards in the context of modern society. Not all old things are bad just because they are old. Take literature, for example. Something becomes a classic because it is able to stand the test of time because it holds a universal truth. Many of the old hymns were originally poems that were eventually set to music. Even if the tune is not your style, the words still hold powerful truths. They are sermons in song that attest to the character of God.

The scripture verse also tells us it is a good way, and if we walk in it, we will find rest for our souls. Society is in turmoil right now. All their new ways are not holding up under the pressure of the pandemic. They are in a panic, angry, scared, and unstable because they were unwilling to walk in the old ways. Humanism says man can do anything if he puts his mind to it, but, if nothing else, this pandemic shows just how little control humans have in the grand scheme of things. There is peace in walking the old paths because we don’t walk alone. God walks beside us. I think the words of an old song sum it up best:

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – Gaither  (Click link to hear full song).

Joy in the Morning

Young Man 2

Young Man walked across me slowly and intentionally, making sure each paw poked my ribs or elbow with precise accuracy. He was fulfilling his self-imposed job of waking me up; however, his internal alarm clock was an hour or two off, so I tried to ignore him. He is not one to be ignored and not above using the cute factor to his advantage. This morning he plopped onto the bed where the sheets were folded back, curving onto his back and facing me. He tilted his head and then proceeded to wallow in the sheets on his back in what can only be described as pure joy. Then, he reached out a paw to me, so I reached back and petted him only to be rewarded with a nip. It was meant in love but it was still a nip. I pulled my hand back and rolled out of bed and stumbled to his food bowl, which was slightly empty, and refilled it. I was rewarded with happy munching, so I went back to bed.

When I did get up, I sat down on the couch with my coffee and watched as he strolled into the living room to settle down for a nap on the rug in front of me. I might have been more annoyed that he woke me up so that he could nap except for the fact that while I was watching him I noticed something. I couldn’t see his ribs. You see, for the last 6 months or so he had been sick and lost a lot of weight. He was finally diagnosed with IBS and after changing food twice and then switching to a daily oral medication, he had started to improve. Besides the obvious that he was starting to gain weight again, I could see it in the joyful wallowing in the sheets that morning. He felt good. That was a joy to me.

Besides the current issues we are facing from the Corona Virus, we also recently faced physical storms as well. I am reminded of Psalm 30:5 “For his anger endSunshineureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” The storms on Easter day were replaced by bright and sunny week. While we are still sheltering at home or abiding by social distancing, we know that this too will end and morning will come.

SunriseI am reminded of Good Friday when there was a lot of weeping. Yet, on that Sunday at the resurrection, there was joy. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Trials and tribulations are a given, but so is joy. Romans 5:3-4 says, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.” We have joy because we have hope for a better day.

Whatever you are struggling with today, you can know that we have hope and joy because we have a God that will go with us each step of the way. So, take a page from Young Man’s book and celebrate the little joys of the moment, whether it’s sheets fresh from the dryer, a cup of hot tea, or a beautiful sunset. It may be Friday, but Sunday is a coming. In the meantime, let’s make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in and look for the joy of His Presence wherever we may be.



A Time Such as This

A Time Such as This

It was Friday after Goldie, my Maine Coon of 13 years, had to be put down because of a brain tumor. My other cat, Meep, seemed to feel as out of sorts as I did. Our constant companion was gone. What were we supposed to do now? I decided that both of us needed a distraction, so I began looking for a kitten to keep Meep company and as a playmate for her abundance of energy. I was looking at shelters online and was about to schedule an appointment to meet a calico kitten when my sister texted me a photo. It was a calico kitten she had Sassyjust found abandoned in a parking lot, begging for help. She didn’t want another cat, and she knew I was looking for one. I made arrangements to get the kitten the next day. After a little hissing, the two became like sisters, which means when they weren’t being loving they were fighting, but they always made up. Sassy, as I named her, was just what we both needed. What I found most interesting was that my sister’s husband had found Goldie in that same parking lot almost exactly 13 years earlier. It was meant to be.

In the book of Esther, we find a young girl chosen against her will to become part of an elaborate beauty pageant, where the winner becomes queen. When Esther is chosen above all the women to be the King’s favorite, she has no real recourse but to accept. When a plot to wipe out the Jewish people is brought to light, Mordecai tells Esther that she has been made queen in order to save her people from destruction. God orchestrated events so that she would be in a position to make a difference at just the right time. This is a larger than life example of God at work in the universe, but I think God also works in the small things as well.

An article I came across tells the story of a dental group in Montana that accidentally ordered an entire container of masks not realizing just how many masks that would turn out to be. So, they were sitting on an excess of 700,000 masks when the pandemic broke out. They were able to share with local hospitals that were dangerously close to running out. A “mistake” led to a much needed supply at the perfect time.

Some crafty friends of mine were looking for ways to help while they shelter at home and started making masks from fabric to help. Many of them have stashes of material from doing quilting and sewing for years. God brought it to my remembrance that I had a small stash of cotton fabrics leftover from decorations at a birthday party. I had kept them with the idea of making doll quilts but never gotten around to it. I pulled the stash and donated it to the group along with another cutting of muslin and some elastic that I hadn’t used. My stash was there for such a time as this.

We may not be chosen as queen so that we can save an entire ethnic group from being wiped out, but we might just have something, like a stash or a skill, that can be used to help others. Take a look around and see what God has given you for such a time as this.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)



Stand and Face the Storm

Faith & Storm

Retrieved from Link

April 27, 2011 started off with a bang as straight-line winds blew through my area, downing trees and power lines. I thought the worst was over as I gingerly traversed a number of problem areas on my way to work, but it was only the beginning. I was already back home and watching the nightly news for a weather update when I saw a live feed of a tornado touching down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was shocking, but I figured it would blow out before it reached my side of the state, so I carried on as usual. An hour or so later the storm had not subsided at all and was headed toward me. I grabbed my cats and a blanket and pillow and hunkered down in the bathroom floor just before I lost power. My only communication for weather updates was through texts from a friend. The cats, who were normally jumpy by nature, were unusually calm. Meep, still a kitten at the time, burrowed under the bathroom rug at my side and was quiet. Goldie, my Maine Coon crawled into my lap and lay down in quiet dignity and purred. I felt my own fears subside as I waited for the coming storm. It hit with a fury of wind and lightning. I knew the minute it had passed because the cats got up and went to the door and looked at me expectantly. It was over. You see the cats had the right idea. I had prepared the best that I could by sheltering in place and praying for protection and peace. There was nothing else I could do except wait it out.

Storms are inevitable. Our first instinct is to run away from danger. We begin to imagine all of the possible negative outcomes, but riding the “what if” bus will get you nowhere because its route is an infinity loop. It just keeps taking on more passengers and going in circles. We don’t know what the future holds, and we weren’t meant to. Acts 1:7 says, “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Therefore, we can run or we can choose to face the storm. I recently heard a guest on a Dave Ramsey video discussing the different ways animals deal with storms. When cows see a storm coming, they try to run away from the storm, but eventually the storm will catch up with them. Buffaloes, on the other hand, run into the storm. In the end, they spend less time in the storm because it passes over them. When we face our troubles head on, then we spend less time in the situation. We can stand in peace knowing we have done what we can do, and leave the rest to God.

When the storms come, Ephesians 6:13 says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” The verses that follow describe the armor:

  1. Helmet of Salvation – When we have salvation, we know the end of the story (John 3:16).
  2. Belt of Truth – Be cautious where you get your information (John 8:32).
  3. Breastplate of righteousness – It is Christ’s righteousness we are putting on (Philippians 3:9).
  4. Sandals of the gospel of peace – Have the peace that God gives (John 14:27).
  5. Shield of Faith – Have faith that God will work things out (Jeremiah 29:11).
  6. Sword of the Spirit – The sword is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).

God has given us armor, but we have to put it on in order for it to be effective. Once you put it on, the only thing left to do according to the last part of verse 13 is just stand. In times like these we need spiritual armor even more than we need masks and gloves. The enemy wants to take your peace and turn you into the worst version of yourself through fear. Instead, put on the armor and do what you can do. Wash your hands, follow social distancing, and find a way to serve others. The armor only protects your front because God has your back. So, stand and face the storm secure in the knowledge that God will walk with us until the storm passes by.