the world's story

Books1"A child may ask, 'What is the world’s story about?' And a grown man or woman may wonder, 'What way will the world go? How does it end and, while we’re at it, what’s the story about?'

"I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one, that has frightened and inspired us, so that we live in a Pearl White serial of continuing thought and wonder. Humans are caught — in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too — in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last, and this despite any changes we may impose on field and river and mountain, on economy and manners. There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?"

- John Steinbeck

Books2


@FCP studying Psalm 136 (Evening edition)

@FCPAttending church with Sis on Sundays has me thinking about alternate times to get away, find my "pew" at FCP, and continue my study times. I took an evening to see if such a thing in possible - and it wasn't too bad. Other than it be being super busy the night I was there, I like the ambience with the little overhead light to illuminate my study area when the sun sets. Add a pair of ear buds to drown out the sound of the kitchen and the crowd with waterfalls, crickets, and singing birds, and I could be out in a small cabin in the woods studying God's Word.

On this night I was in Psalm 136 - one of those psalms that truly seems to show how the psalms were used for group worship. Some suggest it is an antiphonal psalm in which priests would sing the instructive verse, and the congregants would answer with the repeated verse - "For his mercy (steadfast loyal lovingkindness) endures forever."  What an innovative and efficient way of instructing and worshipping together. You learn or are reminded of spiritual truth ("To him who alone does great wonders" v.4a - the priest's line) and then I as a worshipper respond, ("For his mercy endures forever" v.4b). Would it be marvelous to have a worship service like this!

As for outline, this seems to be the general pattern most commentators share: Thanksgiving is tied to remembrance; worship should have that quality of remembrance and response; Prelude (vv. 1-3); 1. Remember His creation (vv. 4-9); 2. Remember His redemption (vv. 10-12), 3. Remember His guidance (vv. 13-16), 4. Remember His strength (vv. 17-22), 5. Remember His protection (vv. 23-25).

Woods


the fall of Legos

Autumn begins today! Yay! Made it through another summer.

So now my thoughts turn to autumn - and what to do on those days and evenings when the weather outside is nasty. And those thoughts seem to always focus on some quiet music or a football game -- and doing Legos.

I have a bunch to do, some small and simple, others ambitious and lead to questions like, "Where will you put it?"

If I build it, I'll find a place for it.

This might be my next set to build. I have always like these little vehicles. My best friend in college had one and I loved riding around in it with him.

 


one grand complicated piece of celestial machinery

Planets

"There are no iron tracks with bars and bolts to hold the planets in their orbits. Freely in space they move, ever changing but never changing; poised and balancing; swaying and swayed; disturbing and disturbed, onward they fly, fulfilling with unerring certainty their mighty cycles. The entire system forms one grand complicated piece of celestial machinery; circle within circle, wheel within wheel, cycle within cycle; revolutions so swift as to be completed in a few hours; movements so slow that their might periods are only counted by millions of years."

 - Charles H. Spurgeon

NOTE: I found this quote while studying Psalm 136, in reference to God's creation of the worlds by wisdom.


wisdom on Wisdom

My pastor is preaching a series of theme sermons from Proverbs. I found this among my emails; I'll just stick it here...

Wisdom Owl
Wisdom is more than mere intelligence. There are plenty of intelligent fools.
Wisdom is the ability to make sound decisions.
It involves empathy and compassion.
It involves real world experience.
It involves imagination.
It involves the ability to connect dots across multiple disciplines.
It involves the ability to break complex situations down into simple ways of understanding and application.
And above all, it involves self-knowledge and self-control.


How Do You Keep The Music Playing (tuneful tuesday)

Ahhhh… Old songs and old singers that still have that spark of greatness. I fell in love with this song by Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett when I first heard it. The soulful sound of Aretha and the vocal smoothness of Bennett makes this one amazing song.  And keep your eye on Bennett's face just before the song ends ...

 

Continue reading "How Do You Keep The Music Playing (tuneful tuesday)" »


@FCP studying Psalm 135

Mosaic

Psalm 135 is often considered a "mosaic" psalm since it is composed of pieces of other psalms. "...like the collection of certain favorite flowers from various other floral arrangements to make up one new bouquet." (Alexander Maclaren) It begins and ends with a command - "Praise the Lord!" And it is in our nature to answer such a command with a question - "Why?"  The psalmist then proceeds to fire away reason after reason to do so: "for the Lord is good", "for it is pleasant", because of God's choices, because He is great, "Whatever the Lord pleases, He does," both in nature (v. 6-7) and in Israel's history (v. 8-12). This active and acting God is contrasted against "the idols of the nations" (v. 15-18) with a jab at those who trust in these do-nothing gods (v. 18). "Dead idols cannot speak, see, hear, or breathe, and they cannot give life to their worshippers. Because Jehovah is the living God, He speaks to us in His Word, sees us in our every circumstance, hears our prayers, and comes to us when we need the help that only He can give. (Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Exultant (Psalms 90-150): Praising God for His Mighty Works )

 


the blessing of the helping hand (repost)

TBTI first posted this on September 29, 2006 - the first year of my blog. The friend hasn't contacted me since finishing the college he was attending. From what I know, he went to the West Coast, attended seminary, and now pastors a church in Maryland. It was difficult to lose his friendship, but I still believe in the blessing of the helping hand. Granted, in the end the friend moved on, but I still remember how wonderful it was to have been of help to someone, if only for a moment...

Continue reading "the blessing of the helping hand (repost)" »


@FCP studying Psalm 134

Picture1The last of the Songs of Ascent.

The psalmist commands worshippers to "Bless the LORD." (v. 1)

He speaks of SERVANTS (v.1) in the SANCTUARY (v. 2) and of their SALVATION (v. 3).  Salvation?  Yep. "The LORD bless you from Zion = Jersualem."  And PTLwhat happened in Jerusalem intended to bless the world?  The sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (NOTE: See Psalm 133: 3 "...Zion, from there the LORD commanded the blessing - Life forevermore.")

What does it mean to "bless"?  It means "to bestow favor upon"; some like to suggest "to make happy". I like that.

How do I bless/make happy the Lord? Service and Worship "...stand by night in the sanctuary" = service  "...lift up your hands" = worship.  Did you realize that your service and your worship can make the Lord happy?

How does the Lord bless me? He is called the Creator ("...made heaven and earth...") AND He has given us salvation ("...bless you from Zion." - see above).

And notice the cycle of blessing in this verse. We bless/make happy the Lord with our service and worship. The Lord makes us happy with new beginnings and with new life!

So much to see in such a little psalm. So much to do.