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I glimpsed the mysterious pieces of God’s Kingdom coming together last weekend at a women’s retreat near La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Eight years before, to the day, Jen, the retreat coordinator, and I

had experienced God’s power across the ocean in a way neither of us will ever forget.


Each of us, as His children, are a part of the mysterious Kingdom

to which Jesus often referred, to the Kingdom over which He reigns,

to the Kingdom that will be forever and ever. 

Every once in a while, we are privileged to catch a glimpse of the big picture

and a thrill washes over us as we realize that we are not alone,

and that we join hands with millions who have gone before,

and with those from every tribe and nation, for

there is a great grand scheme.

Let me tell you the story.

 November, 2006. Christy (a former administrative assistant and close friend) and I were flying into Germany to do a five day women’s retreat for military wives in Germany with Protestant Women of the Chapel. Flying in, I thought about all the history of Christendom in Germany. I thought of its great music like Handel’s Messiah, A Mighty Fortress, and Silent Night. The Reformation had begun here with Luther nailing his thesis to the Wittenburg Door. Hitler had reigned here for a time with all his evil. The ten Boom family and Deitrich Bonhoeffer had laid down their lives in that fight because  they looked forward to an eternal Kingdom. And now we were coming to bring hope and healing to the wives of men who were stationed, many in dangerous situations. The peaceful and picturesque scenery was a contrast to the tumult and fears so many of those families were facing.

Beautiful Germany
Picturesque Germany

Jen and her husband were stationed in Spain and were going through a hard time in their marriage. Jen’s friends tried to persuade her to fly to Germany with them for the retreat. Jen dug in her heels, for she didn’t really enjoy groups of women, and certainly didn’t want to be alone with them for five days. So she thought of excuses, delayed signing up, and thought she had escaped. On the last possible day to register, her friend called her and said, “You need this, Jen. And you have to do it today.” Again, Jen went into all her excuses. Finally her friend said, “Let’s pray — then go home and ask your husband for permission — and whatever he says we’ll do.”

Jen was irked at the idea of “asking her husband for permission,” but was sure she could paint such a terrible scenario that he would say no. She told Marty how many responsibilities he would have to handle with kids, pets, house — and reminded him how ill his mother was in the states. “What if she takes a turn for the worse and I’m in Germany — then what will you do?”

“You should go,” Marty said. “I can handle this. It will be good for you. Go.”

Jen was stuck — right in the middle of God’s plan. 

No red eyes - Dee @ PWOC


In part, I spoke on the picture of Jesus in the book of Ruth. How Boaz, as a kinsman-redeemer, had rescued Ruth out of dire circumstances and redeemed her for a price, foreshadowing our kinsman-redeemer.

God began to remind Jen that her husband Marty had done this for her. She had been married before and her first husband had left her drowning in enormous debt. Marty used all of his earthly savings to rescue Jen.

Jen’s heart began to soften toward her husband. She caught up with me tearfully one night to tell me this. She also told me her mother-in-law’s name was Ruth. The dots were connecting.

The fourth day of the retreat, Marty called Jen to tell her that his mother had taken a turn for the worse and that they thought she was at the end. He had made arrangements so he could fly to the states. “You can’t make it in time — just come home tomorrow as planned.”

That final night we had praise and worship in the hotel lobby and in all the circling balconies. Over five hundred women stood with their candles singing the great hymns of the church, their voices echoing through the halls.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Silent Night, Holy Night


Jen left the worship time, her mother-in-law heavy on her mind, and went to her room to try to call her in the hospital. She wanted to tell her how thankful she was for her son, to tell her about Jesus, and to say good-bye. She left the door open, and the women’s voices floated in. When Jen reached her mother-in-law’s hospital room, the family answered, only to tell her that Ruth had slipped into a coma. “Please put the phone next to her ear — I have things I need to say,” TearfullyJen told her how thankful she was for Ruth and for her son. Then Jen shared the gospel and told Ruth she loved her.

Suddenly she heard, “I love you, Jen.”

A family member took the phone and said, “WHAT DID YOU SAY? RUTH HEARD YOU! SHE WAS NODDING ALL THROUGH THE CALL!”

Ruth slipped back into her coma and then into the arms of Jesus. God’s purposes had been accomplished. Marty arrived the next morning, but Jen was able to give him the assurance that his mother was with the Lord. I took this picture of the sunrise that next morning, and thought of Ruth reaching another country, even more beautiful than this.

Sunrise in Germany2

This last weekend, eight years after Ruth had gone to be with the Lord, I was able to see Jen again and meet her wonderful family in Wisconsin. When I met Marty I said, “The kinsman-redeemer!” He smiled and nodded.

The Marty and Jen Koop Family

When Jen wrote a year or so ago and invited me to do a retreat at her church, First Free Church of Onalaska, Wisconsin, I hardly had to pray. I sensed God was up to more than we could even imagine, for He has a grand scheme.

Even before I came, I sensed He was on the move. One hundred of their women did Idol Lies in book clubs this summer. Several of them came to where I live in Door County, put the names of their idols on rocks, and cast them off the cliff that I filmed in the curriculum.

stones for the Stonecutter
stones for the Stonecutter


Exchange my heart of stone for a heart of flesh
Exchange my heart of stone for a heart of flesh

The worship music was wonderful, my dear friend Twila came with me to pray, run the tech, and keep me company. We sensed the mighty anointing of God and were humbled to be a part of it. Women brought their rocks to the altar at the end while a soloist sang “Song of Solomon.” One woman took me aside with her rock  and said, “Is it okay if I throw this into the Mississippi on the way to work?” I told her that was perfect!

Some women said, “I will never be the same.” Hundred of rocks labeled: revenge, approval, gluttony, fear…all on the altar. We belong we belong to a great God who reigns, who calls us to be a part of his great scheme, and who honors us with His tangible presence. How can we not sing the Hallelujah chorus?


I told Jen I had the sense that there was more ahead somehow for us and her church — and we are praying. (Would you pray too, that we would know?) I’m not sure what. I am hoping to film a curriculum on Song of Songs and found out that their pastor sees Christ at the heart of The Song — and today, that is rare. They are also an E. Free church and we are endeavoring to plant an E Free church in Door County. So I have this sense, but do not want to get ahead of God. Yet how exciting it is to be a part of His grand scheme, to step into where He is already at work, and to know that no evil can prevail against this Kingdom, for this Kingdom will never end.

Psalm 47-7-9

Sunday Ice-Breakers

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.

Monday – Wednesday Bible Study on Psalm 47.

Prepare your heart with this — the sermon will refer to this actual event:

Derek Kidner says, “This is more than poetry, it is prophecy, whose climax is particularly far-reaching.

3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you.

4. Find repetitive themes. What are they?

5. Historically, the earthly picture may be when David brought the ark to the temple. Read about it in 2 Samuel 6:12-19.

A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.

B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence.

6. Read Psalm 47:1-4.

A. How far reaching is this Kingdom according to this passage?

B. Who will prevail against this Kingdom?

C. Why do you think the psalmist uses Jacob as an example of God’s people?

7. Read Psalm 47:5-7

A. What parallels do you see with the 2 Samuel passage?

B.  The root word for “gone up” in verse 5 is exalt. What parallel can you see with Christ?

8. Read Psalm 47:8-9

A. This is the climax to which Kider referred. How does the psalm now take a different tone?

B. How can you see that this is about Jesus, and about His covenant people, and His exaltation?

9. If God is sovereign over all the world, He is sovereign over you. Be still before Him and ask Him how you might submit to His plan for your life right now. Share, if you feel led.

Thursday-Friday: Sermon: Praise for the Great King: Richard Phillips

10. Listen and share your thoughts: 

      Praise for the Great King - Psalm 47


11. Share your take-a-way and why.




Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. The last few weeks have been hectic in the morning..I am dreadfully behind but for good reason. :)) I miss all of you.
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    God’s fingerprints, His beauty, Jen’s story and Dee’s church plant..ALL OF IT! On a side note, I had the privilege of working with Jen on this retreat and OH she is a gem. We talked and she mentioned in her history she was hesitant to be around groups of women and would rather not and now she is heading her women’s ministry and she didn’t desire to at first but God opened the door-another connected dot. The women at her church are blessed indeed!

    1. Missed you too Rebecca:)

  2. Happy Birthday Mary!! Praying for your appointment today. Love to you sister!!

  3. B. How can you see that this is about Jesus, and about His covenant people, and His exaltation?
    when I read the Psalm again this morning, it dawned on me that this verse is definitely Jesus…..
    “He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭47‬:‭4-5‬ NIV)
    Our inheritance is Jesus. Wow!

    1. Just want to Amen that statement, Laura, our inheritance is Jesus! That will boost me up through this day…with a shout of joy!

  4. Happy birthday, to you…happy birthday, to you…happy birthday, dear Mary…happy birthday to you!
    Hope you enjoy a great day with lots (LOTS!) of special moments and wonderful gifts (e.g., encouraging results)…may the Lord’s rich blessings be upon you!

  5. mary–singing along with Nanci 🙂 ! Praying you feeel His love overwhelm you today–so wish we could be there to share it with you–know that you are SO loved from ALL over–US and Canada too!

    1. Don’t forget Australia, elizabeth! LOL!

      1. oh yes, Kerryn too–thanks Diane! Amazing really how God can use the internet for His good and fellowship of believers~
        Side note–anyone else having trouble posting? I have for the last 2 weeks, didn’t want to mention it–not worth getting David unless anyone else is, I thought I’d check. I use Chrome and I can only post once and then have to close the page completely and re-open it to post a 2nd time…it’s cut down on my posts, which is a good thing, but wondered if anyone else is noticing problems? I’ll keep working on it on my end

        1.  Elizabeth I had a problem on Sunday. I did 2 posts and it said it was posting but never showed up. Could have been me though??? I just did not want to repost and have it show up twice. Different than what you were describing. I also do not use Chrome. I had other types of issues when I did and never went back. 

        2. I triggered security a bunch of times yesterday, but this is my first try since then.  So, if it goes through, I guess I’m okay!

    2. I want to join Nanci and Elizabeth  in a musical best wishes to you, Mary!    Praying for good results today (great birthday gift!).    Be sure to let us know right away.

      1. Singing “Happy Birthday”  to Mary here in Minnesota too!  Have been thinking of you and praying for your day often, dear friend.  

  6. I did some research on Richard Phillips because I had never heard of him. I think he is senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and is author of Jesus the Evangelist, published by Reformation Trust.  Perhaps, Dee, you should include a little information about the preachers you recommend to us.

    1. glad you mentioned this Diane–I noticed he also serves on the Gospel Coalition board–and he’s only 2 hours from me 😉

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!  I hope you have a wonderful day and am praying for you to receive good and encouraging news today, Mary.

  8. Happy birthday, Mary, from Massachusetts. May you feel loved and cherished this day.

    1. Hey Shirley! I’m in NH 🙂

  9. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY! Praying you will experience the fullness of God’s grace and peace (and I so appreciate how you share His grace with us)

    1. Amen to Renee’s appreciation of your graciousness, Mary.

  10. 3. Read the whole psalm out loud 
    4. Find repetitive themes. What are they?
    Invitations to praise, the proclaiming of God as king of the whole world, followed by reasons for praise.    This sequence in Psalm 47: 1-4 is repeated again in Psalm 47: 5-7.   
    5. Historically, the earthly picture may be when David brought the ark to the temple. Read about it in 2 Samuel 6:12-19.
        A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.   
    Because an earlier attempt to move the ark had resulted in one man (Uzzah) being killed (struck down by God), David was more cautious this time and sacrificed to the Lord before each advance of the ark.     I’m not sure about the priestly garments, as the scriptures state that David was wearing priestly undergarments only.     
        B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence.
    The ark represented God’s presence among the Israelites.   Having the ark with them made them more assured that God was with them, leading them, protecting them. The ark was the best symbol the Israelites had of God’s presence, because Jesus had not come yet to perfectly embody God’s presence with man.        
    6. Read Psalm 47:1-4.
    A. How far reaching is this Kingdom according to this passage?
    It is not limited – it includes all peoples, including both Jews and Gentiles.   The psalm is inviting a world-wide response of praise to God.    God is declared king of the whole world.     
    B. Who will prevail against this Kingdom?           No one can prevail against the Kingdom over which God is ruler.     
    C. Why do you think the psalmist uses Jacob as an example of God’s people?       Jacob was re-named Israel by the angel of the Lord (during the wrestling episode).  Actually in verse 9, Abraham is mentioned.     The covenant or promise of God had been passed down from Abraham through Isaac and on to Jacob.
    Abraham was promised that “all of the families of earth will be blessed because of you.”     Part of the promise given to Jacob (when he dreamed of the ladder into heaven with angels ascending and descending)  was “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you  and your offspring.”   Very much this was not a new covenant but an extension of the covenant to future generations.    

  11. MARY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

  12. This weeks study has been great and the image in Psalms 47, WOW!  I’ve been so blessed, The number one blessing I received was this picture of heaven. His throne and those who worship the Holy Trinity. I see the ark as a image of Jesus & the Holy Spirit. This great story playing out for the whole universe to see. What a prophetic Psalm of what is to come. Another blessing was I took a good look at David’s life and how Psalms 47 is an image of it. Not sure if anyone got this but I see David this willing vessel used as Gods tool to accomplish Gods plans. In verse 3 it says He subdueth peoples under us, And nations under our feet. I see the triumph of David, he expanded the borders of the land. David was the instrument the Lord used to subdue the Nations around Israel. Then the Psalmist says in verse 4 “He chooseth our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom he loved.” Jacob is Israel and the land was the peoples inheritance. The reference to Jacob in this verse is a direct correlation between the inheritance being received during the rein of King David. Jacob was the actual inheritance Jacob being Israel. The earthly promise Abraham, Isaac and Israel did not live to see but was carried from one generation to the next. Then in verse 5 God has Gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of the trumpet. David (Gods instrument) had subdued the nations. The inheritance has been received and now the Lord has gone up to the Tent. The tent representing the Promise of salvation in Messiah!! David has accomplish His task God can say well done my good and faithful servant. A perfect image of the worlds story- the devil stole the world Jesus promises to give it back and little by little starting in our heart moving forward to the whole world God is taking it back and when all is accomplished will dwell on earth with us!!!

  13. Hi everyone!  Thank you SO MUCH for the birthday wishes.  I’m home from my appointment.  My hopes/expectations were set pretty high for the results so I was just slightly disappointed at first, but really it is overall good news. My oncologist had told me in advance that sometimes things can look worse on the bone scan before they begin to look better because healing bones suck up the contrast they use to see the damaged areas, even more than damage sucks it up… and that is what happened.  They actually saw a few places that had not showed up in the original bone scan (4.5 months ago.)  And a new compression fracture of my vertebrae is present (where it has collapsed.)  BUT ALL of those areas (including the new fracture) show evidence of healing (sclerosis) so she says overall this is good.  The pocket of fluid on my left lung (pleural effusion) is still there and basically appears “unchanged” so I said, “Then why do I FEEL so much better?”  And she said these can just take a very long time to resolve and the CT image is pretty vague.  (I used to cough all the time and have some wheezing and all of that is gone, so I know I’m better, no matter what the CT says.)  So, I will continue with the bone strengthening injections every 28 days and probably be scanned again in another 4 months or so.  Thankfully, in the past few days, I have felt much better in terms of sleepiness, fatigue, depression, so I’m thanking God for that!
    And I am so loved, not only by Him but by so many.  What could matter more?  Thank you all so much for your prayers and love.

    1. oh Mary! I have “refreshed” this page 100 times today (feels like!) to see if there was an update from you–I am praising Him for this “evidence of healing”! And for your incredible model of humility and joy. I am moved to tears by His work and His presence IN you Mary. So thankful He brought you here to us. Praying continually for complete healing in your body. Love to you sweet sister~

    2. oops–this showed up double–so I’m editing out the 2nd–but really this deserves “double” praise 🙂

    3. Good birthday news Mary! Thank you Jesus for Mary feeling better! So glad for that 🙂 

    4. I ditto Elizabeth, God bless you so happy that you feel better. I will continue to pray!

    5. Mary, so glad you are feeling better. I hope all continues to heal and improve. Will keep praying.

    6. Teary here too, Mary.  And like Elizabeth, I came here and checked as often as I was able.  And I agree completely that you continue to model humility and joy….in ways I am quite sure I would not be able to do.  (only in God’s strength, I know…but it also takes a soft heart that responds to Him and you are doing that so often.)  And grace: Renee mentioned the grace you bring to this blog and she was so right.  So grateful for the good news you can take from this app’t and also for you feeling better.  I know that disappointments can come over and over as I would think it’s just hard to know what to expect.  So, prayers for encouragement as well as continued healing in your bones and overall. I hope you are eating some good birthday cake or something else delicious and celebratory tonight! 🙂  

    7. Oh Mary, Thanks for the update.  I was gone when you posted and have been praying for you today — and wondering.  Thanking God with you that you are feeling better.

    8. Echoing my blog sisters, Mary…
      praising Him for this evidence of healing and and continued prayer for complete healing…so good that you are feeling better and those yucky issues are subsiding …so VERY thankful for your witness of modeling humility and joy.  

    9. Mary, 
      Happy Birthday (belated).  And it was good to read encouraging words about you feeling better.   Grateful for the strength of heart our God has given you in the uncertainties of your health, and asking Him to bring continued healing.   

    10. Mary, I agree with Dee that the oncologist sees hope and shared that with you…I too am so thankful you are feeling better and bones showing signs of healing. We will keep praying for total healing…and the fact that you are resting in His love for you – wonderful!

  14. 7. Read Psalm 47:5-7
    A. What parallels do you see with the 2 Samuel passage?
    There are parallels with David leading the ark back to Jerusalem (Zion).  He was actually dancing ahead of the ark.  All of the people were celebrating.   It was a great time because God had given them military victory and now it was possible to reclaim the ark and bring “God’s presence” back to its appropriate resting place.  
    B.  The root word for “gone up” in verse 5 is exalt. What parallel can you see with Christ?
    I think there are parallels with the ascension of Christ to heaven.  I can just imagine the celebration of the heavenly hosts when He arrived – trumpets and songs of praise as in Psalm 47:5-7. 
    8. Read Psalm 47:8-9
    A. This is the climax to which Kider referred. How does the psalm now take a different tone?
     Kidner said  “This is more than poetry, it is prophecy, whose climax is particularly far-reaching.”    I think he was looking to the second-coming of Christ, and at that time it would be obvious that God is over all people.  This part of Psalm 47 reminds me of Handel’s Messiah:    “Lord of lords, and King of kings, and He shall reign forever and ever.”   

  15. A. This is the climax to which Kider referred. How does the psalm now take a different tone?
    It changes from the scene of exalting the Lord by his chosen ones (the pride of Jacob)  to God’s control over ALL the nations, all peoples, the whole world.  At first, I was thinking that when the Psalter was written sometime in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, that ‘the whole world’ didn’t encompass really all that many countries, so does this really say that He controls ALL the nations today? Over two millenia later when there are hundreds of nations and the incredible diversity of peoples ALL over the world?  Of course, I knew the answer but still had to ponder it and then I felt very assured when I read again,  ‘God is seated on His holy throne’ because that is a sure statement; and transcends demographic changes!  He is still on His holy throne today.
    B. How can you see that this is about Jesus, and about His covenant people, and His exaltation?
    I got pretty excited digging into this question this afternoon!  Let’s see if I can summarize.   Well, we know from Phil. 2: 10,11 that ‘at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” and from the revelation of John, we know that “Jesus’ blood purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”  (Rev. 5:9,10) and that “all nations will come and worship before you.” (Rev. 15:4) and ‘on His robe and on His thigh he had this name written: “KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS!” (Rev. 19:16)  It ALL fits with the descriptions of the Almighty God who is KING over all the earth in Psalm 47!  And then, there are all the wonderful prophecies in Isaiah that point to Jesus, the Messiah, the suffering servant.  It can’t be missed, that the descriptions fit JESUS.  “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our King.”  (Is. 33:22)  I especially love that verse that shows us that HE rules over all the branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) that we have set up for our nation.    Andthe nations will see your righteousness and all kings your glory’ (Is. 62:2). “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it” (Is. 40:5)  YES!  The suffering servant will come back in triumph and all will know that He is KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS.  (I feel an outburst of Handel’s Messiah ‘coming on’ right now.  Time to go crank up the stereo!)

  16. I think it’s Laura, who like me, likes to be able to read a sermon as well as listen-? In case anyone finds it helpful, here’s a link to the pdf: http://www.spcgreenville.org/learn/preaching?sa_action=&sa_search=praise–SPC–for–SPC–the–SPC–great–SPC–king

    1. Thanks Elizabeth!

  17. That link didn’t work for me, but I found the pdf here. http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/1212101534104.pdf
    Don’t know why it works for some people not others???

    1. Kerryn–I think I did post mine wrong–not working for me this morning ;)–so use Kerryn’s if anyone wants the pdf!

    1. Dee, God bless you and keep you safe as you travel and visit over the next week. Praying for you (and all of you) who are travelling. Did any here get pummelled by the huge “lake effect” storm that whomped western New York State?

  18. Verse 4  says, “He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah”
    This verse continues to draw me.  If God chooses my heritage, I don’t need to fret and strive for now or for the future. This is huge for me because we live financially on the edge and I, in my own humanness, worry about my children and grandchildren who seem to have no financial security now or for the future. I found this treasure from Spurgeon as I was researching the verse. This blessed me so much this morning. Here is Spurgeon’s comments from his “The Treasury of David”.

    Verse 4. While as yet we see not all things put under him, we are glad to put ourselves and our fortunes at his disposal. He shall choose our inheritance for us. We feel his reign to be so gracious that we even now ask to be in the fullest degree the subjects of it. We submit our will, our choice, our desire, wholly to him. Our heritage here and hereafter we leave to him, let him do with us as seemeth him good. The excellency of Jacob whom he loved. He gave his ancient people their portion, he will give us ours, and we ask nothing better; this is the most spiritual and real manner of clapping our hands because of his sovereignty, namely, to leave all our affairs in his hands, for then our hands are empty of all care for self, and free to be used in his honour. He was the boast and glory of Israel, he is and shall be ours. He loved his people and became their greatest glory; he loves us, and he shall be our exceeding joy. As for the latter days, we ask nothing better than to stand in our appointed lot, for if we have but a portion in our Lord Jesus, it is enough for our largest desires. Our beauty, our boast, our best treasure, lies in having such a God to trust in, such a God to love us. Selah. Yes, pause, ye faithful songsters. Here is abundant room for holy meditation—
    “Muse awhile, obedient thought,
    Lo, the theme’s with rapture fraught;
    See thy King, whose realm extends
    Even to earth’s remotest ends.
    Gladly shall the nations own
    Him their God and Lord alone;
    Clap their hands with holy mirth,
    Come, my soul, before him bow,
    Gladdest of his subjects thou;
    Leave thy portion to his choice,
    In his sovereign will rejoice,
    This thy purest, deepest bliss,
    He is thine and thou art his.”

    Oh, I pray that I will learn to do this more and more – to leave it in God’s hands and focus on honoring him. I LOVE THIS – “this is the most spiritual and real manner of clapping our hands because of his sovereignty, namely, to leave all our affairs in his hands, for then our hands are empty of all care for self, and free to be used in his honour,” and this, “for if we have but a portion in our Lord Jesus, it is enough for our largest desires.” “But a portion” is Spurgeon’s older English way of saying even a little is more than large enough to satisfy our deepest longings, even the ones we dare not dream! All I can say is “Wow! Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

    1. oh Diane–wow. this is ALL so rich, I started to copy so many parts–but loved what you put at the end too–so struck by this “to leave all our affairs in his hands, for then our hands are empty of all care for self, and free to be used in his honour”–and yes, “but a portion”! Oh this really blessed me this morning–thank you. 

    2. This was a great read this morning, Diane.  So many good thoughts, including your own.  Great words to ponder in this old hymn.  I love these:

      Clap their hands with holy mirth,Hail him MONARCH OF THE EARTH.

      Makes me smile!  I’m not very often good at ‘holy mirth’: usually too serious.  (Although, when I listen to ‘The Messiah ‘while driving, I have been known to get very excited and have a hard time keeping the speed limit.  🙂   I’m going to remember the term, ‘Holy Mirth’ the next time that happens!   

    3. Diane – I awakened this morning with the very thoughts you have shared at the beginning of your post!  Worries – ugh, no pretty way to paint the lack of trust that I sometimes default to.  The words of Spurgeon’s that you shared were precisely what I needed to hear in this moment….as I was reading, I was going to highlight the very same sentence that you went back to!!  So glad you were led to share this right now!  🙂

    4. Diane,
      Thank you for posting this.  Love Spurgeon.   Vital to speak this to our very soul – often.
      This thy purest, deepest bliss,He is thine and thou art his.”
      Reminds me of this song by Fernando Ortega (lyrics Charles Wesley) that I listened to on my road trip to be here with my precious new grandson.
      Jesus Lover of My Soul
      Blog Sisters ~  Thank you for praying for my travels.   Grateful.

      1. Nila…..  Congratulations on a precious new grandson!  I’m so glad you are with him and your daughter now! Enjoy….enjoy!  and soak up that newly born touch of God’s hand.  What’s his name?  and is this a first?   I love Fernando Ortega…..will listen to your link today too.  

      2. Nila–Fernando Ortega is one of my very favorites–thank you for this!Glad you’re back!

    5. Diane, I paused to read through this carefully while looking at the psalm…you are right, “Wow! Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” The clapping of hands takes on a new meaning after reading this…yes, how can I clap my hands in praise if they are full of my own affairs and concerns and worries? It made me think of when my hands are full, I ask, “Hey – could you help me? My hands are full, I can’t _____.” Thanks for sharing this, and for how it impacted you.

  19. Wonderful sermon!  I did take notes and I did locate the written copy.  I was stirred by a lot of it but especially find the 5 points of biblical worship at the end of the sermon very, very helpful.  This is just what I’ve been discussing with a friend and I will be sharing these thoughts with her.  Thanks Dee for finding these great resources for us!  

  20. My thoughts from the sermon–
    I like the emphasis on God’s sovereignty as the source of our greatest joy. I do think that to the degree that I remember God’s sovereign power over all, I can rest in peace and experience more daily joy–free from the heavy burden of worry and fear.
    And like Wanda, I too appreciated the 5 descriptions of praise:
    1.joyful and exuberant 
    2.reverent and awe-filled
    3.with skillful music
    4.thoughtful worship–I liked the explanation here–“we must approach God in terms of clear, biblical truth and therefore our music must be biblical in doctrinal content.” That is why I have come to love old hymns SO much. They are so rich in Biblical truth. 
    5.worship universally–“worship the king who is enthroned over all the nations”
    And I loved this he shared at the end “It is heart-warming for us to realize that a psalm that praises God for his sovereignty comes to its climax in the worship of God from the lips of sinners redeemed by his grace.”

    1. Dee, praying for safe travel for you…enjoy your time with your family!

  21. 5.B. What did the ark represent – and why was there so much joy?
    I did a little reading online – the ark represented the presence of the Lord. That explains why there was so much joy in bringing the ark into the city, into the tent which David had prepared for it. One thing that struck me is that David gave himself over with such abandonment when he danced “with all his might”…he was not ashamed of his great love and of being so emotional over the Lord. And that vertical love relationship then became horizontal as he extended love to the people by giving each person raisin and date cakes. His love for God spilled out onto the people.
    The ark was a place where God often manifested Himself and communicated with His people. It was a place where worship happened. The ark was the place where the Law was covered with the Mercy Seat. The source I read stated that the ark “was a symbol, not the Lord Himself. The presence of the ark in war did not necessarily mean that the Lord was present among His people. His presence was directly connected to covenant faithfulness. When the covenant was violated, the presence of the ark was useless, and God’s people were defeated.” This made me think that God’s presence, the Holy Spirit living within me, can be useless if I am living in disobedience or trying to live life in my own strength. His presence with me does not keep me from defeat – I get defeated when I walk in the flesh.

  22. Susan – I’m getting overwhelmed at how often this is happening…..your words posted here were the very thing that I have been pondering and looking at myself this morning!  So many of your words expressed precisely what I had been thinking about…..David’s unfettered worship of the Lord speaks so much to me.  And your entire 2nd paragraph runs along the same track that my thoughts were running this morning!  I smiled to see, as always with you Susan, how well you said it!  🙂  Just one other thing that I looked at a lot this morning – the ark being carried in initially in a way a little differently than God has prescribed.  Uzzah’s death and the need to always walk in awareness of the HOLINESS of our God is something I need to reflect on as well.  God’s GRACE and God’s HOLINESS are as true today and forever as they were in history! 

  23. Diane and Susan:   Both of your posts about the ark are so good.  Am thinking of the comment that the ark carried into battle didn’t necessarily mean that God’s presence was with them.  That was connected to their covenant faithfulness.  I think of how this applies to our churches and institutions today.  ‘A form of godliness’ does not necessarily mean that God is present and working in that situation.  I think of the politicians who say, ‘the Lord told me to run…’  (therefore vote for me). And all the churches that ‘look good’ from the outside, with discord and ‘cheap grace’ on the inside.  As always, it’s the heart that matter.  God’s faithfulness to our responsive hearts.  

  24. Takeaway:   I pondered the question about where I was resisting God’s plan.  I still ponder.  I wondered if my ‘peripheral’ church attendance was resistance. I’m still wondering.  But Dr. Phillips message and the 5 indicators of biblical worship really hit home to me.  As I ponder those, I have a hard time seeing that my local church really has all of them in place.  I especially see two that are consistently missing.  So, back to square 1.  I’m still pondering where I belong.  So, that’s one takeaway.  
    The other takeaway is again, a much better understanding of how this psalm fits into the whole scheme of the Psalter, the background, seeing parallels to Jesus and to His future coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords AND to see at the same time, that He is sovereign over the whole earth right now.  Such a good doctrine to solidify when I constantly see the fear that Christians have over day to day issues in the news.  We can be at peace.  He is on the throne! 

  25. The sermon was excellent!   It would have been excellent just as it was delivered, but it was even better as a part of this week’s study, because it sort of rolled all the aspects of our study into it.    Such a wonderful culmination for this week’s blog!  

     I sort of chuckled when Phillips told of the man who said he understood what Phillps was saying and what the Bible said about God’s sovereignty, but he wasn’t willing to accept that kind of God.   Phillips told him that, whether he accepted Him or not, He is that kind of God!      I don’t think the man in the story was particularly strange.  In fact, I think in all kinds of subtle ways we think of God and speak of Him as if He is a commodity that we can order up to specification.   Not true, of course!    

    I also liked Phillips’ comment about God being the sovereign of our lives, asking the question, “If not God, then who would you have in charge of your life?”   Phillips said he thanked God that he is not totally in charge of his own life.      Wow, that is sooooo true for me too!   

    Like others have mentioned already,  I found the five indicators of biblical worship to be very helpful.    In the case of my own church,   I feel a little sad, because I think in the days when we had a contemporary worship service we were closer to biblical worship, and it was certainly more joyful then.   I still miss it, and it has been about 8 years since the demise of our contemporary worship when we returned to “traditional” worship.   You would think that “traditional” worship would be closer to biblical worship, but I don’t feel it is that way in our church.   I think we lost something!

    I felt like I heard a great warning for the United States — I am not able to speak for other countries.     Phillips was saying that in the past, nations have risen and fallen, that they tended to claim their own kingship and sovereignty and that was where they went wrong.  Now they are around no longer!      He in particular mentioned the removal of the ten commandments from our courts and official buildings.    Of course, those things are only symbolic of what must go on in the hearts of the people in order for those things to happen.
    Twas a really good week,  Dee!      While I was listening to the sermon and writing this post, I would glance out into the backyard — it was a form of worship to watch all of the birds soaring and swooping in and out to the birdfeeders — four blue jays, a flock of about 30 sparrows, 12 male cardinals, and several others I couldn’t identify!     We only got a couple of inches of snow in NW Ohio, and it is melting away rapidly.    Praying for all those who are traveling!

    1. Deanna, if you come back and see this….I liked many of your thoughts here.  (and relate completely to the sense of worship of the Creator when enamored by his lovely creation of the birds.   Your feeder population sounds so much like mine…right down to the 4 bluejays! (same number we have had) and multiple cardinals.  At our peak, we usually have 15 or so; maybe 8 of them male.)  
      I had a question about Philips’ comparison of other nations that have risen and fallen in that I thought he stated that they all were great until they turned away from God but they actually were not ever looking to the true God ever in some cases.  But the way you stated it makes sense.  I have the written copy.  I’ll go back and read that part.   

  26. I posted my comments on the sermon, and I saw it right here on the blog.   Then I went to eat lunch, and when I came back, it was gone.    Dee could you look for it,  please?    I can’t imagine what I did to cause that.    I edited twice.     I have done that other times, and didn’t have any problems.   

      1. Thank you, Dee, for locating my missing post!!     Also thanks to Wanda for looking back on Sunday to read it and respond.

  27. My takeaway: This week’s psalm and study has been rich with history ,with praise and with prophecy!
    I loved reviewing the story of David and his joyous praise and dancing with the Ark of the Covenant coming to Jerusalem.
    I am reassured with the awesome sovereignty of God whose plan is coming to fulfillment daily. The worship of God and each element is beautiful and with
    understanding we praise him and express our gratitude for all He is doing in us and in his whole creation. It has been so delightful to read the words of Spurgeon, Diane. Also to listen to the beautiful singing of Jesus, Lover of My Soul, Nila.
    Yet, I am still excited over the initial spontaneous singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. Then to hear it tied into the sermon was wonderful. It’s a great lead in to our celebration of Thanksgiving. Safe travels, Dee and each one who will be traveling.

    1. Shirley,  I was also really struck by how he described the ‘flash mob’ so well (for anyone who hadn’t seen it, you could well imagine it) and then how he tied it in at the end.  Great illustration of the spread of the gospel!