I’m currently listening to a series from the Radio Bible Class “Discover the Word” program from several years ago. The study is working through a phrase-by-phrase study of the Lord’s Prayer.

Today’s study was focused on the phrase “…hallowed be Thy name…”. The discussion was centered around the idea of the qualities of a name – identification, qualification, Halloweddescription, attitude, impression.

There was also that troublesome word, “hallowed”. When I had the chance I looked the word up and was reminded that it means “holy” and that it is a past participle. What is a past participle? Once again, turning to the dictionary, it is a verb form used as an adjective or as the dictionary puts – “sharing the functions of a noun”. And so, a past participle is a verb that has been dressed up to serve as a noun and describing something which is completed action in the past but action that continues until now.

I guess it was the idea of “hallowed” that had me thinking – and its most recent usage in the Harry Potter novel about “The Deathly Hallows”. SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the novel, best to stop reading so as not to ruin the overall story of the book. 

In HP and the Deathly Hallows, readers were “introduced” (although they had been known since the very first book in the series) to three things that would allow the owner to escape the clutches of death: a wand, a stone, and an invisibility cloak – “the deathly hallows”. They were “hallowed” or considered things to be revered because of their power.

And so too the name of God. The prayer reminds disciples that God’s name is to be revered - now because His name is somehow magical. It is known to provide believers knowledge of the Father. His name is his identity throughout the Bible. And because of the phrase’s placement in the prayer, I am reminded that my hallowed, heavenly Father is to be revered, honored, loved, and obeyed.

It makes me cringe when I hear God’s name used so flippantly – like He’s not really real. No reverence. No respect. No devotion. And yet, as flippant as people are, I wonder if within them there’s that distant impression that what they’ve said is more than just an exclamation of amazement; more than just something thrown out to express disgust or anger or frustration.

I’m thinking that Jesus made sure that such an awareness and such attitudes are where my prayers should start – relationship, respect, reverence. That when I pray, it’s more than just whispers and thoughts. It's me, talking earnestly to One who loved and cared for me - and still does. 

@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).


@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. 

@FCP studying Psalm 133

@FCPThis psalm is one of the last Songs of Ascents; this one has the theme of "unity". It begins by DECLARING THE CONDITION of unity among believers ("good" = beautiful, a condition describing benefit; "pleasant"= harmony, a musical term calling to mind the aspect of how wonderful music can be when instruments play together; a condition describing agreement, concord.) When believers are unified, there are benefits and happiness. When believers are unified, it is only achieved when they are in sync, when they understand the necessity of and the function of harmonious operations. Brothers (relational) together (positional) in unity (conditional) That is our FOCUS.

To complete the understanding of unity, David uses pictures ("like") for DECLARING THE FEATURES of unity. 1. Like the oil anointing the head of the priest > abundant, fragrant, a testimony to his position and his purpose; reminder of God's presence. 2. Like the dew of Hermon (the highest mountain; constantly blessed with refreshment which it freely shares with the mountains below it [Zion]) > refreshing, contributing to fruitfulness, providing life.

So what? How unified are you in/to the community of faith? Are you a benefit to your brothers and sisters in Christ -- or a liability/problem? How obvious is your testimony of your faith in Christ? Are you a believer? If not, why not? If so, how so? Is your spiritual life abundant and obvious? Are others aware of your faith and encouraged by your faith in Jesus? How refreshing is it to others in the body? Is it a contribution to the fruitfulness of others in the Body? Does your life in Christ provide REAL LIFE to others - both to those who know Him, and to those who don't?

praise in every verse

Praise1Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California was once asked, "What will believers do in heaven?"

It's a fair question. After all, those of us who have placed our faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ anticipate an eternity of being with Him (John 14:3).

Dr. Jeremiah found an answer in such verses as Revelation 19:5 and Revelation 15:3. His answer? "...we are going to praise God in every conceivable way."

Continue reading "praise in every verse" »

The Depths of Woe (Psalm 130 - Luther style)

Tim Challies featured a hymn written by Luther and called it "The Best Worship Song You Don't Sing." 

And he's right... These are the types of hymns I love -- words that drip with meaning and cause a worshiper to ponder about the truths they present. But sadly, hymns such as this are rarely if ever sung in contemporary church settings.

Continue reading "The Depths of Woe (Psalm 130 - Luther style)" »


Quiet1I am convinced that the best measure of a church’s music is not what takes place on the stage, but what takes place in the pews. It is not so much the sounds and sights of a band leading, but the sounds and sights of a congregation worshiping. A church with a truly great music program is the one that could worship just as well on the day the power goes out and the instruments won’t play. A church with a truly great music program is the one that generates far more sound from its raw voices than its amplified instruments. A church with a truly great music program is the one where the people sing—they really sing.

Tim Challies, "A Church with Great Music" (@Challies, December 19, 2017)

I have long thought that the quality of a church's worship demonstrates the quality of a church. It's one of the main reasons I tend to avoid modern church services which are led by a praise band. The rise of this "entertain-ship" style of worship just doesn't seem to fulfill what I think should be a dynamic and engaging form of worship. As Challies points out, it's too easy for people to watch, to be entertained, rather than to be involved and inspirational to others.

Continue reading "SING!" »

when love was born

The voices of children in an old feed silo -- beautiful and brilliant. And the song?  Mark Shultz's "When Love Was Born."  Come - let us adore Him...

Starlight shines, the night is still
Shepherds watch from a hill
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

Perfect child gently waits
A mother bends to kiss God's face
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

Angels fill the midnight sky, they sing
Hallelujah, He is Christ, our King

Emmanuel, Prince of peace
Loves come down for you and me
Heaven's gift, the holy spark
To let the way inside our hearts

Bethlehem, through your small door
Came the hope we've waited for
The world was changed forevermore
When love was born

I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

the modern church?

PlaneI wrote about them before on my blog.

And yes, I've probably been too snarky about them, and should probably just ignore them.

But it bothers me when a church seems to go too far to scratch people where they itch - or seem to say, "Hey, we're no different than anyone else and we're certainly not as stuffy as that old-fashioned gathering of persimmons down the road."

Continue reading "the modern church?" »


NarrowApologies for irregular postings during the past few weeks.  It's that time of year when yard work and home clean up dogs at me - and although spring is a pretty time of year, it is for me one of the most tiresome times.

At the same time, with Easter I struggle with thoughts about church and my relationship to it and to my Lord. I stumbled onto an author this past week when I found myself wondering "Is Jesus Enough?". As I read his materials, I found myself thinking over the years since I accepted Jesus as my Savior (1970), to the years when I slowly exited the church (finding that much of the time I spent in church I felt I was disconnected), to now when I find I am becoming more and more content to consider my relationship with Jesus more of a solo pilgrimage.

I confess that many times along the narrow path I have detoured from the way that leads to life. Such is the nature of a solo pilgrimage. But I am finding my way back and determining that walking with Jesus is enough.

his favorite song of all

One of the great American choirs singing one of my favorite songs... Turn it up, and sing it out!

He loves to hear the wind sing
As it whistles through the pines on mountain peaks
He loves to hear the raindrops
As they splash to the ground in a magic melody
He smiles in sweet approval
As the waves crash to the rocks in harmony
Creation joins in unity to sing in majestic symphonies

But His favorite song of all
Is the song of the redeemed
When lost sinners now made clean
Lift their voices loud and strong
When those purchased by His blood
Lift to Him a song of love
Nothing more He'd rather hear
Nor so pleasing to His ear
As His favorite song of all

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/b/brooklyntabernaclechoirlyrics/favoritesongofalllyrics.html