A hearty welcome to our sisters from “across the pond” our neighboring Canada, and every corner of the United States. We are so glad, whether silently or actively, that you are joining us in a month of thanksgivings!
We will continue with verses 2-5 of “For The Beauty of the Earth” to help us thank Him. Try memorizing a few or all of the verses of this great hymn to sing throughout the day!
We will begin with:
For the wonder of each hour!
This picture is from last week in my hometown, a tourist spot on the thumb of Wisconsin that juts into Lake Michigan. I love this picture for I often think:
“beauty shared is twice the joy.”
A few of our longtime sojourners sent me pictures of the
“wonder” of their corner of the world.
This from Susan in Akron, Ohio
Susan hiked in a nearby park and then meditated with her Bible on a bench. She reflected:
The leaves from so many kinds of trees… make a mosaic of different colors, sizes, and shapes. I read this quote recently: ‘The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf.” And because we’ve still had warm days and not a deep freeze at night, the crickets are still singing… God could have made a soundless world, but He gave us birds that chirp and even insects that make music. I can go to the park feeling empty, and come away feeling full.
This from Sharon in Morehead, North Carolina
Sharon experienced the power of God through a hurricane that caused her family to leave their home for a year. She recently was able to return, so appreciating the peace and calm that she has now, and the preservation of her loved ones. When she awakens she always says, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” She is thankful simply to be alive and to have the health to enjoy it.
This from Rebecca in De Soto, Kansas
When it is warm, Rebecca sits on her porch to have her time with the Lord. When it is cold, she gazes outside her window in wonder at the transformation of her world.
Nila, hiking with her little ones in her state of Montana
Diane, from New Brunswick, Canada
Diane lives in the wide open spaces of Canada, often camping and kayaking, or driving through the beauty.
This is from Patti, a silent follower from Seattle
Creation should fill us with wonder,
but there is so much more.
In Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, Emily, who has died,
is allowed to come back to see earth again for a day,
and she has a fresh appreciation
for the wonder of each hour.
Before Emily is taken back to heaven, she cries:
Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?
The saints and the poets — they do, some.
We have a few poets here, but all of us are saints, so should learn to seize “the wonder of each hour.” Waking up, fresh brewed coffee, the quiet of the morning, the ability to hear and see, and the realization that “in Him we live and move and have our being.'” Let’s ask Him for eyes to see and a heart to appreciate “the wonder of each hour.”
- What stood out to you from the above and why?
- Pray here for the Lord to open your eyes to the wonder of each hour.
Monday: For the Wonder of Each Hour
Here is the 2nd verse from For The Beauty. Sing it and learn it, if you can.
For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.
3. Here are some verses with the word “wonder” in them — see if any of them spark a specific memory or thought for which to thank Him.
- He is the one you praise, he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. (Deut. 10:21)
- Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. (Job 37:14)
- Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18)
Tuesday: For the joy of human love
Prepare your heart with this:
Indeed, we have a family here and experience “the joy of human love” both with our individual families and with one another.
I wish I could post from everyone — but this gives you an idea of how many of our longer sojourners know “the joy of human love.”
(Many of us have prayed for Diane’s daughter Krista who had such a hard first marriage and custody battle. Last weekend she became engaged to a “kind Christian man.”)
(Jill from Montana with her family: her husband Marc, whom she says loves her better than she deserves, and her sons Desmond and Jaxter — all doing what they love.)
(Dawn from Michigan with her family)
(Nila with two children of a friend)
4. Meditate on the following verses and then share any comments or specific ways to praise God for the gift of a a particular person. Being specific is good!
A. Proverbs 27:9
B. Psalm 127:3
C. Proverbs 17:6
D. Ecclesiates 4:9-12
5. This verse also praises God for “all gentle thoughts and mild.” Meditate on this and comment.
Wednesday: For Thy Church Forevermore
One of the great evidences to me that Christianity is true is the bond we can feel with someone who is different from us in so many ways: age, nationality, education, and even language. I felt it two weeks ago when giving a retreat for The Manhattan Bible Church which has all ages and social classes and was about a third Hispanic, a third African-American, and a third Caucasian. There was simply no segregation by age, race, or anything that often separates secular people — just a great bond of love because of Jesus. Two friends particularly delighted me: Tammy and Heather, who had been thrown together as roommates at an exclusive girls’ school. Heather’s mother was not sure about Tammy, a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Yet it was Tammy who kept Heather on the straight and narrow at college, and Heather’s mother eventually thanked Tammy. And now Tammy was bringing Heather to a retreat where Heather was truly experiencing God and wanting more of what she saw: believers who truly loved one another because of the Spirit of God binding them together. Blest be the Tie that binds!
6. Thank God for the bond of love you share with a believer or believers who are really quite different from you. Be specific.
7. Often the bond of Christ’s blood is stronger than the bond of biological blood. Have you experienced this? If so, share, and give thanks.
8. Read Psalm 133 and share the main point.
9. Read the following short blog post and comment. https://artandtheology.org/2017/08/15/aarons-beard-by-eugene-h-peterson/
Thursday-Friday: For Thyself, Best Gift Divine
If you have a favorite version of this great hymn from You-Tube — please share! (Let’s skip the Mormon ones however!)
For Thyself, best Gift Divine.
To our race so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in Heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.
10. In the Song of Songs, the daughters of Jerusalem ask the Shulammite maiden: “How is your Beloved better than others?” Name the ways Jesus is better than the founders of other religions, or, than any of your idols. Be specific.
11. Our own Laura asked, “What does ‘to our race so freely given” mean. Comment?
12. Work on memorizing a verse or two or more from “For The Beauty.” Report what you have learned and keep singing!
Saturday: What Stuck?
To find out if spaghetti is done, you throw a piece and see if it sticks to the wall.
13. What stuck from this week’s study and why?