The first phrase in “Come Thou Fount” shows us three reasons that there is such tremendous power in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. “Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.” There is the power of:
The Holy Spirit (Flaming tongues)
Here is your assignment, outstanding class, for the next week, for it is long. Take a question or two a day.
1. Learn the first and second verse of “Come Thou Fount.” Listen to Amy or suggest other renditions. Savor the lyrics and share your meditations on them.
2. Look at the power of music: How was music present at creation (Job 38:4-7)? What happened to music at the fall? (Romans 8:19-22) How did music appear again at the birth of Christ? And who will sing when Christ comes back? (Isaiah 55:12-13)
3. I want you to consciously sing more psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs throughout the day. Tell us what you are singing — how it is impacting you.
4. What did you learn in The God of All Comfort about the power of music?
5. Poetry differs from prose in that it is meant to penetrate the heart, to tap into the right brain, and bring the love of God alive. You must read as a lover reads. Meditate on the word pictures in Jeremiah 2:13, which is the scriptural basis for the phrase “Come Thou Fount” Draw it, memorize it, linger over it. Tell us how it penetrates your heart and how to apply it.
6. Meditate on the word pictures in Psalm 91:1-10. How can they comfort you in your pain right now? Read as a lover reads.
7. What did you learn from The God of All Comfort about the power of poetry?
8. Write down some of the phrases from the first two verses of “Come Thou Fount” and meditate on them. Find their scriptural basis if you can. If one leaps out at you, slow down — because those flaming tongues are quickening you — He’s talking to you. What do you see?
CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR FROM THIS WONDERFUL GROUP!
I’m off to Atlanta to speak and covet your prayers.
Dee, I just wanted to say, I had planned on doing the study on your new book, but my life turned upside down. My daughter had surgery, and must be off her feet for 6 weeks. I homeschool her two boys alone now, and as they are type 1 diabetic, it takes a lot of my energy to take care of their house, take care of my daughter, and homeschool and take care of the boys. So I am printing off all the blogs, and when I can get my head together, I will do the study. I am praying for you, and all those doing the study. Melva
We give you grace and prayers, Melva. That’s a lot! Stop in when you can, but if you cannot, we’ll see you when you can. Love to you
Dee, I must say this is absolutely breathtaking. I came to the blog because I wanted to share a few things that have happened with me. I am captivated by this picture and the first 4 questions.
1. I’ve been thinking about the first and second verses for the past few hours. They are packed with food for thought. One of the lines that stands out to me is “Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” The word “tune” reminds me of tuning a musical instrument (or even tuning a radio). First, my heart needs tuning to sing God’s grace and His praises. A musical instrument may need to be adjusted only a little bit (and that little bit can’t even be visually detected); but playing an instrument that is not in tune distracts from the music and makes it less pleasing. And when several people simultaneously play instruments that aren’t tuned, the result is annoying. Similarly, my attempts to worship God with a heart that hasn’t been tuned by Him are distracting or annoying.
The other line that I’ve been thinking about this evening is “Here I raise my Ebenezer: Hither by Thy help I’ve come.” I read the first several chapters of I Samuel to better understand “Ebenezer.” I Samuel 7:12— “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us.'” Although I can say “The Lord has helped me this far” about my whole life, His help has been very dramatic following a couple VERY dark periods of time. But Samuel’s stone was more than a reminder for himself; it was a public reminder. I don’t know what sort of public reminder I’d choose, but a private reminder would help me focus on God’s faithfulness.
Check out the original text on Wikipedia (some verses I’ve never heard): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_Thou_Fount_of_Every_Blessing
Dee, I’m praying for your speaking and traveling — and that the Holy Spirit will quicken those who hear you.
Renee: What a blessing! The word “tune” jumped out at me for the same reason. I also thought about how we can’t “tune” our own hearts. We must ask our Lord to “tune my heart to sing thy praises.”
And I also found my way to the link you posted about all the different versions. Amazing.
Thank you for your insight on “raising our Ebenezer.” I haven’t gotten that far yet, but you’ve got me intrigued!
“Come Thou fount of every blessing” makes me think of a beautiful city fountain with a large spout of water shooting up and fanning out as it begins its fall back into the pool below. The pool of blessings sparkles in the sun as the blessings one by one make their way into the center and burst forth in a glorious shower. The water is alive … Living Water. I can choose to stand at the edge and admire the fount -safe, dry, untouched- or I can choose to get wet. Same choice as the woman at the well. Wet is messy. All the things that I use to adorn myself, things that make me look better than I am, get soaking wet, making me look worse than I would without them. Lord, with all my heart I choose to jump in the pool!
“Tune my heart to sing Thy grace” brings to mind the grating, piercing sound of tuning a stringed instrument. While the end result is harmony, getting there can be quite painful to the ear. Asking Jesus, the Fount, to tune my heart is a plea for disharmony as I seek harmony. It will be painful. Yet, to reach the goal it is necessary.
“Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise” makes me chuckle in this meditation. I love to sing in the shower. My current shower music is Bryan Duncan’s “My Utmost for His Highest.” It begins with “When I Turn to You” moves into “Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go”, a song someone mentioned a few days ago, then on to “I Surrender All”. By then I am out of the shower and dry (I Surrender All takes on a hard truth when naked in front of a mirror!)
“Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.” My shower music then goes into “Come, Holy Spirit”, a Gaither tune sung beautifully by Bryan Duncan. I can do nothing but close my eyes, raise my hands to recieve and be washed by the power of the flaming tongues of this melodious sonnet.
“Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.” So many pictures come to my mind. I see Maria twirling on the mountaintop, her arms spread wide, singing praises that “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” I see Victoria Falls, that powerful surge of water flowing from high up the mountain. I anticipate the glory of riding the river in the Grand Canyon and looking up to the top which is at ground level, yet a mountain when you are down so low. (This trip is going to do a spiritual number on me. It’s already beginning!) And I think of Psalm 121, “I lift mine eyes unto the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing – Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen.
Hi Janet & Renee, I’ve been out for a while but I’m back and getting excited to participate in this weeks’s lesson. Thanks for what you wrote about being tuned Renee. And Janet, I loved your post. Already I feel like my heart is readjusting to embrace God’s quiet peace and His musical grace. I’ll share more later. 🙂
Glad you’re back 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Janet! You’ve said it so beautifully! Such vivid word pictures! Love it!
All day yesterday I kept thinking about the first line: Come, thou Fount of EVERY blessing.
Every blessing? Every last one? Then the Holy Spirit brought James 1:17 to mind, “Every good gift, every perfect gift is from above.” Why, oh, why do I look anywhere else for fulfillment?! Come, thou Fount of every blessing! Praise His holy name!
And AMEN again!!
As I study this picture I see a widow dressed in her mourning, surrounded by the music and the clouds of heaven. The rest of the congregation has faded until barely visible and she is in complete surrender, lifted up to the heavens…beautiful!
I love to ride the waves at the beach and was disappointed when I noticed in Revelation that in the new earth there would be no sea. When I thought about it I realized that there is very little good about the ocean. It is treacherous, fickle and completely dark in it’s depths with horrible creatures swimming about. I know of a woman who had a dream in the days approaching the death of a friend. Her dream was of heaven and she said the praise was like waves in the ocean, carrying her along. What a thought, instead of waves in the ocean we will be immersed in and ride the swells of praise!
I try not to get off of the subject of the study but I think I should share the points God has given me to pray for my son, Alfred who turns 25 tomorrow. It has been my heart to pray for him to be drawn by the cords of love established in childhood. I first prayed Hosea 2:6&7 for him. ‘Therefore, this is what I will do: I will block her way with thorns; I will enclose her with a wall, so that she cannot find her paths. She will pursue her lovers but not catch them; she will seek them but not find them. Then she will think: I will go back to my former husband, for then it was better for me than now.’ When that didn’t get results I moved on to Hosea 2:14&15. ‘Therefore, I am going to persuade her, lead her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Achor into a gateways of hope. There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of the land of Egypt.
Now I have received these points: 1. Conviction of sin, God’s righteousness and coming judgment. John 16:8, the Spirit will convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.2. Revelation of who Christ is and what he has done for him. 3. Open the eyes of his understanding, Eph 1:18, that he may know what is the hope of His calling and the glorious riches of His inheritance. Remove spiritual blindness, 2 Cor 4:4, for the god of this age has blinded unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. 5. Bind Satan from him. Guard from the Word being stolen from the path that seems to be his heart. Mt 12:19 He will not argue or shout, and no one will hear his voice in the street. Satan fills this world with noise and business so that God’s voice will be drowned out. When reading in Mt I found twice the statement by Jesus that with only a small amount of faith we can move a mountain. This statement has always gone over my head because to move a mountain from one place to another seemed useless and why would I ask God to do something just for show. Then I realized that this mountain is sitting on my son! He is completely buried by it! How deep is it to the heart of a mountain? So with my little bit of faith I know that I pray in God’s will for Him to remove this mountain and cast it into the sea which is where Satan’s stuff belongs! Then 6. I pray for mercy and grace to surround him and fill the space left by the mountain. 7. Help me to be the means by which You save and deliver him. Lord, show me how to lead him back to You. 8. Send people across his path to bring him a witness of You.
As I said, I know this is off your subject, but I know the power of God inhabits these prayers and I would so appreciate my precious sisters praying with me!
God is at work in our midst!
Anne, You may be more “on” the subject than you realize. One of the verses of “Come thou Fount”:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
The cords of love that you’re praying would draw your son are mentioned in the verse above (so you’re a little ahead, but not off the subject!). Seems like this verse might be based on Hosea (and various websites indicate that the guy who wrote the hymn was a “wanderer” himself. He wrote it when he was in his early 20s and “wandered” after that).
Is there a name for God Who weaves tapestries from broken and confused lives? The God of Romans 8:28.
There are plenty of examples in the Bible of God redeeming broken and confused lives, but the closed I could find for names of God were Creator and Rapha (healer). The references to weave, weaving, woven etc were interesting, but the ones I saw were about people doing the weaving.
I just had this “duh!” moment related to “raising my Ebenezer.” I don’t have to look for some new “thing” to use as a reminder/as an Ebenezer stone. God can transform memory-laden places or pictures into “Ebenezers” that both remind me of God’s faithfulness. In the past (and sometimes in the present), interacting with some places, pictures, or other things has been very painful — and has resulted in tears, feeling overwhelmed, etc. Cleaning out someone else’s “stuff” (when that person is someone I love who is gone) is hard. It’s so painful that I don’t make progress very quickly.
During the last couple of hours, I’ve made more progress in getting rid of some of that “stuff.” Right now, I’m taking a break for lunch and blogging. This is an example of God’s timing. A few months ago, I couldn’t work longer than a short time without giving up in tearful exhaustion. Although I’m still sad, I also am hopeful, because I see that God is beginning to transform those reminders into “my Ebenezers.”
“Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”
As I’m about to return to this sometimes overwhelming task, I can view it as an opportunity to raise my Ebenezer, acknowledge God’s faithfulness, and hope in Him.
Re: Psalm 91 -The images of God providing a place of shelter and safety for His beloved children comfort me immensely. His fingertips are all over the images of tenderness in this Psalm. I feel the feathers soft against my skin, the shaded relief of shadow, His protection against the flying arrows that seek to destroy. I am guarded and strengthened by His fortress, forever safe within.
It is easy to read this as a lover reads because these images are so personal.
I’m still on question #1, meditating on Vs.2 of Come Thou Fount:
“Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come;”
Though I didn’t know to call it my Ebenezer, several years ago I wanted to make a public statement that said I belonged to Christ. I wanted to be “marked as Christ’s own forever”, not just symbolically but literally – a mark I could not deny. So I had a ring tatooed on my finger, a stained glass cross. When people ask me why, which they always do, I can simply answer, “I am marked as Christ’s own forever.” Of course, the next question is, “Did it hurt?” “Yes, becoming Christ’s own is not without pain. But the pain is short-lived and it’s worth the price.” Young people speak to this grey-haired lady when they see the tatoo. It’s been interesting…and now the tatoo has a name to add to the story…my Ebenezer!
“And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.”
A part of wanting this tatoo came with the Oklahoma school shootings and the strong young woman who would not deny her faith. Would I have the courage to face certain death for standing by my faith? I needed a reminder of the hope of where my “home” is…something visible when I am under extreme pressure…something that is always with me, an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.
“Jesus sought me, when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.”
Jesus, the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Janet, a sheep. Another thing I had been wondering – just what does it mean to be a sheep? The explanation had always been that sheep are stupid. So, does that mean that God sees us as stupid? In exploring this and living on a farm, I decided to get a sheep and see what shepherding a sheep was like. First thing I learned from my sheep source was that I needed to get two sheep because sheep are flock animals, they live in community. They get lonely and need a friend. Then I learned that they eat until there is nothing left to eat. They need a shepherd to provide the proper nourishment. But the thing I learned that left the greatest impression on me is that sheep are defenseless. They can’t kick or buck. Their eyes are on the sides of their face so they have excellent periferal vision but can’t see what’s right in front of their face. So when they feel threatened all they can do is run to the nearest corner and hide, clinging to the wall, cowering…or out in the open just run. But they do have highly tuned hearing. That’s why they can learn the sound of the shepherd’s voice and trust to follow she who cares for them.
So, Janet the sheep, needs to learn and trust the voice of her Shepherd who will monitor her feeding and help her to see what’s right in front of her face. Janet, the sheep, needs to do this in community as there is safety in numbers and life is lonely without friends. But, mostly, Janet the sheep is defenseless and needs a Savior Shepherd.
Come, Lord Jesus, shepherd me. Amen.
2. Power of music at creation: Job 34:7 “. . .the morning stars sang together. . .”
At the fall: Rom 8:22 “the whole creation has been groaning. . .”
Birth of Christ Luke 2:13-14 “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ ” (the Message uses the word “singing”)
When Christ comes back: Isaiah 55:12 “the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Look at all the singing in Revelation 5!
In these verses, we see singing at creation, groaning again at the fall, singing at the birth of Christ, singing when Christ returns. This reminds me of the line from Joy to the World “and heaven and nature sing.”
I have a zillion questions about this (but won’t ask all of them!):
Are the stars still singing? Do they sing in English? 🙂 Even though we have lots of evidence of the fall (groaning), we also see God’s work of redemption in people on earth. How about in the rest of creation?
Romans 8: 20-21 “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
The creation (including people) is in “bondage to decay.” But decay doesn’t mean completely dead! Since we (believers) are made alive in Christ spiritually, how is Christ’s victory over death impacting the rest of creation?
How does a singing star sound? What are the sounds of the earth’s singing/groaning? (waves, wind in trees, earthquakes? OR. . . .) This question isn’t quite as “off the wall” as it sounds! I know that some peoples are more “spiritual” than many in the West. That is, some see and hear things that I don’t see and hear. My reason for asking these questions is because I’m wondering if I should be hearing more.
Related question: Sometimes I don’t know which verses are poetic and not to be taken literally. I can tell that God doesn’t have wings or feathers, but how about the singing and groaning of creation??
Wow, Renee, good questions! I think the stars still sing together, though their language is probably Starish, a sparkling sound that glistens off the tongue! 🙂 I would say that the harmonious song of the stars continues as they maintain their assigned seats and enter and exit the chorus on time. And the stories they tell are the stories of that one glorious night when one of their own was called to burst forth in great glory(become the Star of the Show, if you will)at the re-creation of their Creator as THE Morning Star.
Just as we see God’s redemption in people on earth, we can see his redemption of the earth in dry lands made fruitful once again. Wells springing up in the desert. Water pouring from a rock. Multitudes of fish filling the nets for Peter, James and John in today’s gospel lesson. Or a rock becoming Ebenezer, something more than a rock, a sign of faith.
Since I’m one of those who tend to make more of a word than its literal meaning, let me take a stab at this for you. If, as you implied, “singing” means a melodious flow of sound with words that make sense in the language you speak (English or some other), then “all creation singing” would be a pleasant blend of sounds with words understandable to all creation, all at the same time. A foretaste of that happened at Pentecost. I think we can take that literally, just not narrowly. Not all creation sings in contemporary English, and especially not in the King’s English. So, literally speaking, I would hear songs in midwestern American English. My dog would hear “songs” in dog language. The trees would hear singing in tree-song. Etc. That doesn’t mean I would hear the trees singing in midwestern American English. Tree-song might be the sound of summer leaves rustling in the breeze. To me it is the sound of the wind in the trees. But perhaps the trees are singing to each other!?! Does that make any sense?
One of my favorite Joan Walsh-Anglund sayings is, “Just beyond my wisdom are words that would answer everything.” Won’t it be exciting when we get to know those words!
Wow, Janet! Thanks — great responses. I can’t wait until I can understand Starish 🙂 I like your description of “all creation singing.”
Good quote —haven’t heard that one before.
I’m back from Atlanta and thank you for your prayers. It was good and growing to me as well as to women. I loved the group and it’s always good for me to have my stereotype on a particular denomination shaken — and Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta surely did that! I’d recommend that church to those looking for a home. I loved their music, teaching, and great welcome to ex-convicts. Megachurch doing a whole lot right.
It’s been wonderful to read your contemplations on:
Here I Raise My Ebenezer
Psalm 91 (Welcome Tracy!)
Renee’s good questions about metaphors and Janet’s creative answers
Come Thou Fount (good thoughts from Anne)
I know many reading this blog have some of the same questions — especially when it comes to heaven. Are gold streets metaphors? (I hope so!) My sense is that heaven is better than our earthly minds can conceive, and that gold stands for the best. I will alert you when Moody plays my interview with Sara Groves about heaven for I loved the things she shared. Renee made me smile when she asked about stars singing in English. I liked Janet’s response — about the wind in the trees being music… I am always mesmerized by the sound of waves — yes — that is music. When the trees clap their hands one day, I see that as a kind of dance…
I love how you are challenging, reflecting. Look at the questions again, and keep it up. Please be singing and let me know how that is impacting you. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing with your children, teaching them these great lyrics.
Eager too for more reflections on Psalm 91.
Blessings to each of you as you continue opening His living Word, to see how those flaming tongues awaken you.
1. As I began meditating on “Come Thou Fount”, the word tune leaped off the page at me. I cannot play a musical instrument but I have watched a piano tuner do his thing. I see the phrase “tune my heart to sing thy grace” as meaning God must first prepare my heart before it can be properly used. He began the fine tuning process when I was first covered with the precious blood of Christ (day of salvation). The process continued with redemption (freed from slave market of sin), justification (freed from penalty of sin), sanctification (freed from power of sin). I daily ‘tune’ my heart when I ask for cleansing of sin so I can boldly approach His throne of grace and fellowship with Him.
The other phrase which intriqued me is “He to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.” I must confess I did not know what interposed meant. When I read the definition moments ago, I realized God gave me a word picture during yesterday’s morning sermon. My pastor made the point that we have no ability on our own to protect self from Satan. That’s why we need to be covered with the ‘protective’ blood of Christ. Bro. Vann then shared an illustration I have never heard before. I’ll never sing this song again without thinking of this picture.
A mother bird was observed taking care of her babies in her nest. She flew away for a moment in search of food. When she left a snake, who had been watching from his hiding place, began making his way up the tree to get himself a meal. The mother bird came back, saw the snake, and flew away. Those observing the scene thought she must have abandoned her babies in order to save herself. They were surprised to see her return with a twig in her mouth which she laid over the top of her nest. She perched above on a limb and watched the snake continue to make his way to her nest of babies. The snake had not seen the mother. When he reached the nest and lifted his head to strike the babies he stopped, turned around, and slithered back down the tree. God had created this bird with the instinct to know to get a twig from a certain hedge which snakes cannot cross.
Those who belong to Jesus are covered with His blood and Satan cannot touch them. He can roar and try to make us think he can destroy us, but he is quick to run as soon as the name of Jesus is proclaimed.
2. Job 38:4-7 When God created the morning stars, they sang-shouted with joy. How do stars shout with joy? I looked up the meaning of the Hebrew used here for stars and discovered it means blazing. I think this means that as the stars blaze in the sky they praise their Creator.
Romans 8:19-22 What happened to music at the fall?
When I first read this question I thought of the song (can’t remember the title) with the phrase ‘the day the music died.’ I realized the music of creation did not stop after the fall. The tone changed. Instead of singing joyful songs, creation began singing mournful songs. Songs crying for deliverance like the slaves in days of slavery.
Isaiah 55:12-13 The angels sang Christ’s birth announcement. When He returns the mountains/hills will sing the lead and the trees will be the back-up singers.
3. As I walked this morning the song “I am Thine, O Lord” played in my head. When I returned home I got my hymnal out and sang it all the way through. The words of the chorus is my prayer. I want to draw nearer to my blessed Lord. To the cross where He has died. To His precious bleeding side.
I read a John Wesley quote last week. I meant to share it sooner. I believe it sums up what Dee wants to teach us in this study.
“Every private affliction is doubtless the voice of God, whereby, He is calling upon that person to flee to Him for safety and comfort and strength.”
Dee I thank you for giving the assignment to consciously sing more psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. The day you posted this blog, a woman I shared a special bond with was found dead in her home. Because the scene did not look right to police, she was sent to the crime lab in Atlanta. I have assurance she is with Christ. Singing to Him is helping me not to dwell on what may have happened. God has provided the comfort I need at this time.
Thank you, Tammy, that is a powerful visual picture of the blood! I appreciate the reminder.
Thank you for the beautiful story of the mother bird. It is a powerful reminder to this mother that God has planted within us the knowledge we need to protect our own. I am going to hold onto the picture of mama bird perched above her babes on her special snake-repelling stick. This mama’s stick is an old rugged cross.
I, too, thought of “the day the music died” (it is from “American Pie” by Don McLean)
As I was meditating on Ps. 91, my heart was once again captivated by V.4: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…” That brought to mind the wonderful, old song, “Under His Wings.” It was written by William O. Cushing. After being a successful preacher for 27 years, he suffered paralysis & lost his ability to speak. He cried out to God who gave him the lyrics of this song:
1. Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Tho the night deepens and tempests are wild;
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
2. Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.
3. Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.
Beautiful picture of mother bird. I love that hymn too, Marlys — though these young gals have probably never heard it! 🙂 I had not heard the background.
Loving your reflections, how you are reading as a lover reads, really looking. Each morning is a delight to read.
Keep it up!
I relax and calm down when reading this passage— and that has happened each of the times I’ve read it during the past few days. The Psalmist paints a picture of absolute safety in the Lord. Nothing can touch me that God doesn’t allow: not other people, Satan, illness, war . . .at any time during the day or night. And He is faithful. His promises aren’t “sometimes” or “when I feel like it” or “until I have a better offer.” When the Lord is my refuge I AM SAFE. (During the last 25 years, I have developed hyper-sensitive “radar” to detect lack of trustworthiness. I don’t need that radar with the Lord!)
When reading this passage, I was reminded of how rarely I experience that deep relaxation that comes with trust. But to rest in Him is to be healed. Though gradual healing seems to take so long, I know that God’s timing is best. Sometimes I wish I could be “zapped” and live happily ever after, but I really don’t think that would help me grow to know and love the Lord more or to become more like Him.
I was curious about v. 8 “You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” For some reason, the verse felt different from the verses before and after it. I was wondering if “only observing with your eyes” meant seeing, but feeling detached from what I was seeing. Either being happy that others “got what they deserved” or feeling grief on their behalf would upset feelings of rest/safety. Even if “the wicked” are spiritually enemies, I would naturally tend to become emotionally engaged. Maybe it’s an “I need to be on guard/react to protect myself.” But God is my protector, and I can rest in Him. Nevertheless, Scripture commands us to be on guard, to watch . . . so??
Anyway, I’m still resting 🙂
I’ve been pondering on v.8 myself and remembered what a pastor once told me after I asked him the question ‘when I get to heaven how will I see events on earth’? He believed we will see them from God’s perspective.
As I’ve been reflecting more on Ps. 91, I can’t help picture a mother hen. I was fortunate to be raised on a farm where we had “laying hens.” Those are chickens kept to give eggs. Most chickens just go in the nest, lay an egg & go about their business. It was our job to gather the eggs for our use or to sell if we had extra.
Sometimes, however, there would be an old hen who got possessive of her eggs! She’d sit on them & peck at me as I attempted to gather her eggs. My Mom called those hens “sitting hens.” Once in awhile, Mom would tell us to leave her eggs for her to hatch into baby chicks. That was an exciting time!
After the chicks were born, they followed closely behind their mom wherever she went. If she perceived a threat, she would stop, spread her wings & gather all the baby chicks under her. Then she would sort of “squat down” and try to look like nothing was under her. The chicks new enough not to make a peep, and if you hadn’t seen her gathering them up, you wouldn’t know where they were! The mother hen would sit this way until the danger was passed.
Ps. 91:4 says, “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…” I need to remember to be like those baby chicks, and stay in the protective shelter of his wings…and not to move until HE says it’s safe. So often I argue with God about what is “safe” and what isn’t. How foolish!
Dear Lord, help me to trust You more!
Very cool about hen and chicks 🙂
Come thou Fount #1…
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
3. O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
When I ponder “Come thy fount,” I am reminded that he is the river that flows eternally and eternally sends blessings my way. I don’t recognize them at times, but am reminded gently by his grace. “Tune my heart to sing thy grace.” So often my heart goes to the negative. I have never considered my heart as a musical instrument that can be tuned. We are bent to think “off key.” I will pray that my heart be tuned to your grace and that I will by default turn to your mercy. “Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.” When I think of his mercies, never ceasing my heart is designed to sing praises loud and strong. I am reminded of that one and you know them too, that sing loud and strong and can’t necessarily sing, but can be heard above the rest. How He (God) is pleased with their melodious song more than the rest because it comes from their heart. Let me be fixed on praises from above.
“Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.” It amazes me how he searched for me and found me. I was a lost sheep that felt all alone in my darkness. I discovered His lovingkindness when I was 12. He has never ceased loving me and drawing me close to him, even when I became angry and lost my hope. The cross of Calvary was the place that he found me and saved me by his blood.
in•ter•pose ( n t r-p z )
v. in•ter•posed, in•ter•pos•ing, in•ter•pos•es
a. To insert or introduce between parts.
b. To place (oneself) between others or things.
Wow, I didn’t know the definition of this word, but when I looked it up I found that Christ, through His blood, has inserted himself between us and Satan, the master of sin. Christ, because of His blood has redeemed our sin and weaknesses. Wow, Wow! Thank you Savior! I am saved because of YOU!
Wow, as you all know, I have been “challenged” with going back to older posts to meditate on responses. I just figured it out and are so moved by those of you who have placed me on your prayer list and left beautiful prayers for me. I just received these! It has been difficult for me to admit that I need help with dealing with my son (CP), emotionally and physically. I hate asking for help. This has been prideful, but God is gracious to helping me overcome.
Dee, you will NEVER know how much this study has helped me. I know that it deals with loss of loved ones, but loss is the focus for me. I have searched and searched for self-help Christian books dealing with loss with special needs children only to be left empty handed. Other studies of loss have been so specific to death, that it didn’t apply and I left them by the wayside. I love the way you have left the questions and assignments to deal with other situations of loss. This has been a true Godsend…He knew my desperation and time of need. When I saw your post on facebook, I knew this was meant for me.
Thanks again to all my sisters that have lifted me up in prayer and love. Robin
Robin, I have a 27yr old daughter with C.P. and last year my husband died. I had a very trying time with her over the loss of her dad.There was no help out there. God was our only source and believe me I have never seen such or been in a greater,deeper pit than her depression. There has been such changes in her.Her “normal” will never be the same. Thank God for his grace and mercy.With His help I will continue to care for her,love her and try to help her through the changes.
God Bless You!
Wow…you have faced the adult years that I am looking into.. How did you deal with the losses that faced you in the adult years? Marriage, grandchildren..just getting out? 🙂
Robin, here is my email addy. If you would like i will answer as many of your questions as possible.I surely do not have all the answers and she and I are still taking our new life one step at a time.But God is our help and assurance that we can continue to walk out this journey knowing that we are loved and not alone by any means.
God Bless You!
Thank you! I will!
2. Power of Music…Music was present at creation by the stars singing! When I went to college and took a science class about space, I learned so much about stars and their role in the universe…
“That expanding sound wave originates from all points in the universe, like you’ve taken a handful of gravel and thrown it in a pond,” says Eisenstein. The outward ripple from each sound wave grew to be 500 million light years in length because of the expansion of the universe, he says. The birth of galaxies tended to occur at the leading edge of the ripple, where matter was slightly denser and gravitational forces slightly stronger. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6871
I do not believe in the Big Bang theory that living matter exploded into being, but I do believe that stars explode and there was surely a big bang…thus the stars sing to the God of their universe…wow, we serve a great God and even nature sings His glory! Starsongs… I know that a 1/3 of the Angels fell with Satan. Satan was the leader of worship and so uses song to spread his message as well.
Romans 8:19-22 When I read of the groaning of this earth, I am reminded of the tragedy of Haiti. This earth is groaning, twisting and changing as a women in labor is bringing forth a child. The twisting, devastation brings pain to the woman and to this earth. I pray for those in Haiti now suffering from the terrible earthquake. It is definitely a sign of His soon return.
Isaiah 55:12-13 The mountains and hills will sing when Christ returns. The trees will clap.
According to science again, the mountains and hills are formed from glaciers that came down across the land a long time ago…During this stretching and pushing, the earth had to sing (groan) to the ever changing landscape. Also, mountains have a constant flow of lava well beneath the earth that continues to be moving, changing and if we were there, we could hear that. It’s amazing His nature and the science behind it. It fascinating!
I like the science stuff, too!
This is wonderful, Robin. Thank you!
As I read Ps 91 I thought of an eagle sitting on it’s nest. I recently watched a program on PBS about American Eagles. A couple of eagle experts put a hidden camera in the tree to film an eagle couple over the course of the four seasons. I learned that the couple take turns sitting on the nest. One will go get something to eat and then return to relieve the other. When an eagle senses danger the wings spread out immediately over the nest. What was also interesting to see was an older male eagle who, after the death of his mate, courted a young female and began a new family with her. When she would arrange a twig or something in the nest, he would go behind her and move the twig to where he wanted it.
I like what Maryls stated at the end of her post. We think we know what is best for ourselves. I’ve thought alot about the foolish choices I have made and how God waited until I was ready and willing to fully obey Him. Now that I am safe in His presence I don’t want to live foolishly again. I have learned (the very hard way) there is much safety in obedience.
Like Renee, I have been pondering v.8. I remembered a question I asked a pastor years ago. When I am in heaven how will I see the events happening on earth? He stated that he believed we will see everything from God’s perspective. If we see everything from God’s perspective will we react with emotion? Are our emotions limited to our physical bodies?
Tammy, I like your questions! Now I have more questions on my “burning questions” list.
Our perspective is so clouded…we see through a glass darkly here on earth…Good thoughts, Tammy!
I love music and praise and the thought of creation singing. I also love science because it reveals so much about God. From genes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtZEqQ1cpmk to galaxies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e4zgJXPpI4 His signature is there and I sense that somehow as each thing does what it was created to do there is a blending of beautiful mathmatic equasions and dance and I’m at a loss for words. What I sense is that as created things do what He created them to do a song is sung, one that we only catch faint glimpses of and a shadowy sense of something we can’t quite see. Stars shine, leaves rustle and birds sing. Sandi Patty sings a beautiful song that I am reminded of, Was It a Morning Like this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpIC0d_3bWo.
Anne, I watched about Laminin..Everyone needs to see this! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU so much Anne for sharing this!!!!! What a blessing it brings to my heart…I will never forget LAMININ!!!
I shared this on my facebook page. It has blessed so many people. I sent it to all my friends…wowowowow
Oh my, oh my, oh my! Anne, I just watched it, too —and right at a time when I needed to be reminded that He holds everything together, through the cross. Thanks for posting this. And thanks to those who posted the term LAMININ, because that grabbed my curiosity.
How can we not all love Psalm 91 since we know it so well from the song “On Eagle’s Wings”! Every time I hear that song I am lifted … really feel lifted up, soaring on eagle’s wings, and oh so loved. To me, verse 8 is the point of the whole psalm. Because we love the Lord and put our trust in him, when bad things happen we will see them, even feel them, but we will not be destroyed by them. That is the power of calling on God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us. That is Job’s story; his troubles were difficult to live through but they did not destroy him. He held on to his trust in a loving God who was much bigger than his troubles.
Having said that, we get to vs 10, “then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” My tent is the place where I dwell. I live in a house on a farm in rural Ohio. I dwell in the love of God. That is my place of security and rest. That is the place where I go to seek shelter from the storm and comfort when weary. The Lord is my dwelling place, my tent.
5. Jeremiah 2:13
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2 paints a picture of God’s heart, and when v. 13 is read in the context of the rest of the chapter, it is heart-breaking (reminds me of Hosea).
At first, I focused on the “two sins,” but I didn’t FEEL the meaning of the passage until I looked more carefully at the first two words, “my people.” God is speaking to his people who once was devoted to him, loved him as his bride, followed him through the desert (v. 1), and were holy (v.2). They/we are HIS people who had a close relationship with him.
Then they wandered from God, didn’t think about the One who had delivered them. Not only did they stray from God, but they went to idols that were worthless and powerless. (This reminds me of the phrase “adding insult to injury”). This went on for generations. Verse 13 summarizes the verses prior to it.
God’s people had committed two sins. I sin at a fast enough rate that two sins doesn’t seem like very many. But these “two sins” seem to be two overarching categories of sin that are the root of all other sins. The first sin was abandoning God; He remained faithful, but His people have wandering hearts. I’m “prone to leave the God I love.” Not only do I have an adulterous heart, but that adulterous heart isn’t too bright— because I leave the “fount of every blessing,” the “spring of living water” and replace it with dehydration or poison.
So often, I forget about God and try to live independently. Not only have I left the source living water, the source of comfort (who doesn’t need a cistern!), I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy digging a cistern. Worse yet, any cistern I dig is broken and does not/cannot hold water. And I don’t know where I’d get the water anyway — it doesn’t rain a lot in the desert. Sometimes I even try to get water from the “spring of living water” and store it in my (broken) cistern for later. I try to obtain comfort from things/people “related to” God (books, nature, people). Even if I could save up living water in my cistern (an attempt to grab some water and wander at the same time), I’d still be hurting myself, in addition to being unfaithful my groom. The spring of living water, God’s comfort, is always there for me. Why do I often settle for thirst, dehydration, or poor substitutes for water? (like Hosea’s wife)
God of All Comfort
3. The song that I have been singing ALL week, I discovered on Youtube looking up worship chorus’ for our church. It is by Kari Jobe…I know that You are for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tCXObtC_fk
This song has touched me soo much this week. We have recently found out that as many other businesses and schools that we will be facing lay offs. I have been teaching for 2 ½ years and it’s never a good time to lose your job. We may be called back, but it is sooo stressful.
This song has been helpful in dealing with my son. Sometimes it just seems that everything is going against us and if I can be transparent, there have been times I have felt forsaken. This song is so fitting with this week because it states that He loves to hear us sing.
You are For Me
So faithful, So constant, So loving and so true, So powerful in all you do
You fill me, You see me,You know my every move,You love for me to sing to you
I know that you are for me,I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness, I know that you have come down
Even if to write upon my heart,To remind me who you are
So patient, So gracious, So merciful and true, So wonderful in all you do
You fill me,You see me, You know my every move, You love for me to sing to you.
4. Jeremiah 2:3 It is hard to believe that we can forsake this well, but I am guilty of going my own way and looking for other places to feed my soul. I have been guilty many times of leaving my wellspring Jesus, but thank God, He continually draws me back. (Don’t get me wrong, I have never walked away from God, but many times have had dry spells that relate to this word picture.)
There is a cystern that people hewn out that is now broken and does not provide water and essentially is broken. The visual helps me realize which is best for me. Obviously His living water…
Robin — I’m so very glad you shared this. I was blessed and I think it will bless others too. I do pray that unless God has a better idea that you won’t be laid off!
Robin, I appreciate your honesty and I will be praying for your work situation. The song was so encouraging.
Your posting gave me perspective. Usually, I like (most of) my job, and I had a good day at work today — until the last few hours. Then some “more of the same” interactions occurred, and I forgot that I had ever liked my job. I forgot about the “Fount of every blessing,” so desperately needed the “streams of mercy” and definitely wasn’t singing God’s praises. Being reminded that my job could be cut makes me appreciate it more.
I am so blessed to come back to this Bible Study and ask God to tune my heart.
6. Psalm 91: This is the chapter that comforted me during my storm in the night upon the birth of my child….Matthew Henry Commentary says the if we trust in God, this chapter assures us that we will be safe from the snare (temptations of Satan) and from the noisome pestilence (sin). If we choose God, we will be protected from these. He promises that He will be our refuge. Wisdom will keep us from being afraid without cause and that no matter what happens, we have no reason to fear.
“Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous.” ~Quote from Matthew Henry.
Wow, this really helps me the most!!!! Good or bad, trouble, affliction, not for my hurt but for good. The present situation may not be joyous and may even be grievous, but is for our good. It’s hard to swallow, but deep for thought. Further down MH states (in my words) that we all have tribulations, but with Jesus it makes it bearable. For he will carry our yokes.
7. O that day when freed from sinning,
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Ps. 11:7 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.
Clothed then in blood washed linen
Rev. 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
I Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
I Cor. 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
I Cor. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I felt compelled to look up this last scripture since death is seemingly man’s greatest fear. Once again, I look to Matthew Henry for input and this is direct from his commentary:
Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it.~Matthew Henry Commentary
When I read the following this morning I knew it was for you and all moms of children with CP. It’s from the devotional “Fill Me With Hope”. (I highly recommend it. I got mine from CBD)
Give to the winds thy fears, Hope, and be undismay’d:
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears:
God shall lift up thy head.
Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears
Wait thou His time, so shall this night soon end in
Still heavy is thy heart? Still sink thy spirits down?
Cast off this weight, let fear depart, and every care be gone.
Thou seest our weakness, Lord, our hearts are known
Oh, lift thou up the sinking hand, confirm the feeble knees.
Let us in life, in death, Thy steadfast truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath, Thy love and
Paulus Gerhardt (German hymnwriter b.1607 d.1676)
John Wesley, Translated
We were writing to each at the same moment. How cool is that?
Thank you Tammy! I am tearful as I read these precious words. It just seems so fresh, the wounds at times. The words minister to me greatly. Thank you for sharing. Yes, it is soo cool we were writing to each other at the same time. 🙂
I’ve been musing over Jer. 2:13 for a few days. The words purity and pollution flowed through my mind this morning. For many years I relied on broken people (cisterns) to fulfill my needs. As I have learned hurting people hurt people. Emotionally damaged people are not capable of loving as God intends. When I returned to the Fountain of Living Water-God’s Word-and began drinking on a regular basis, His healing springs flowed through my soul. It is my opinion that God’s Truth is the purest ‘water’ on this earth. Drinking His water daily keeps my soul from being polluted with what the world offers.
I wrote the following in Dec of 2009. I’ve been wanting to share it and I sense now is the right time.
Lies pierce the heart.
Devours the soul.
LOOK…HERE COMES MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR!
Rescuer of souls deceived.
Balm for a battered and bruised mind.
True Lover of the heart.
I love your poetry…What great word pictures of the difference between light and darkness. Thank you for sharing!!!
I agree with Robin!
I got caught up in an illusion this afternoon, and your presentation of the contrast between the difference between truth and illusion spoke to me. I like the image of the skewer/piercing — and am reminded that the Knight, the Truth has/is a sword, too— the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂
Thanks Tammmy! That blesses my heart a bunch!
Come Thou fount of every blessing…what a thought…I live near Chicago and whenever I see Buckingham Fountain…these fount thoughts come forth. It is so forceful and beautiful. In contrast to my Fount of every blessing, I keep thinking about the Jeremiah passage.. Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)
13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Forsaking Him, my Fount of every blessing creates an emptiness that must be filled. So, I go to the world and drink muddle puddle water (Thank you SCF for that picture or Dee) instead of going to my Fount for living water. And then I put it my cistern, which is broken and will not hold anything,,,thus it requires more and more mud puddle water. Yuk!!! But this is what it looks like when I am in charge of the filling and the fixing. So then I must return to Psalm 91:1…He who dwells…will rest…
It is that constant choice, to dwell and abide in His presence and what helps me is His Word and those great hymns He puts in my heart and mind. What a good prayer…Lord, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Lord, show us you constant grace, that we may sing it forth.
Thank you to all who share…I am blessed.
The song God gave me for today:
I SURRENDER ALL
All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender;
now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!
Here’s a great site I’ve found:
Thank you, Marlys! Through you, God gave me the song too 🙂 When I saw the word surrender, and the melody and lyrics went through my mind, I burst into tears. It’s tiring to resist or fight instead of surrendering (and I’m so used to resisting that I’m not usually aware that I’m doing it).
I love this song. I am always working on my surrender. Thanks for sharing.
Beautiful sharing and encouragement, sisters!
I think we are ready to go on!
What a wonderful hymn and devotion. Its one of my fav’s and I love the Psalms too ! There is such comfort in them. I will tuck your thought & heart probing questions on this hymn for a soon future assignment. Thank you. I read some responses to those who thought about the words to this hymn and it was very encouraging. 💛 Ty