Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, every day is Thanksliving Day

November 26, 2020


We are in the “Thanksgiving season,” with an almost automatic association with turkey and dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (or sweet potato pie, depending upon your ethnic tastes). For Christians, however, thanksgiving is more than a holiday observed the fourth Thursday in November. Actually, “Thanksgiving” is always appropriate. “Thanksgiving” is the reason, not only for this season, but “thanksgiving” should be the reason for every season, even in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, especially during these unprecedented times of uncertainty.

When I use the term “thanksgiving,” I look at the word in its most literal sense, meaning “to give thanks” or “to show one’s self grateful.” It is an expression of gratitude, a form of prayer specified in I Timothy which speaks of “requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. . . .

As a Christian believer, expressing thanks to God for His grace and goodness should never be confined to a single period of time. God desires that we show ourselves grateful at all times. Scriptures remind us of this truth in a number of places:

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A similar reminder is found in Ephesians 5:20:

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God reveals that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Perhaps the most dramatic reminder to live in continuous thanksgiving is found in I Thessalonians 5:18:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. We can always find something to be thankful for something, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. We can begin by thanking God that we are alive and then adding to the long list of blessings we are enjoying at that moment. Each time we set our minds to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, the innermost desire of every believer.

We desire to do more than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, but we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” which some have called “thanksliving.” The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can we say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can we call
With all our being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of our heart?
We must do more than mouth a platitude–
To express our soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express our gratitude.
Our words are empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So, we must worship God with our spirit
And must give thanks well for all of our days.
To live is to give thanks with tongue and limb.
With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Beyond merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God, it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As we do so, we counteract the negative effects of “stinkin’ thinkin’”: thoughts of disappointment, discouragement, despair, and any other toxic emotions that seek to keep us from being all that God designed us to be.

We close with a music video described as the best Thanksgiving song ever, expressing the power of gratitude, praise, worship, and adoration:

A slice of bread from a “gratitude sandwich”

November 22, 2020


Colossians 3:15, the Verse of the Day for November 22, 2020, offers another reminder to be thankful. When we look at the context of this verse and read the two verses that follow it, we find a wonderful “gratitude sandwich.”

Colossians 3:15-17 (New Living Translation):

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

In this “Thanksgiving season,” we find that in its most basic sense, the term is the application of an essential principle of life: giving and receiving. When one gives, one receives, and always in greater proportion than one gives. Although many people think of giving and receiving in terms of tithes and offerings or of giving of material abundance within a church or religious context, the universal principle works in all aspects of life—particularly in “thanksgiving.”

As believers, giving thanks to God for His grace and goodness is a positive expression that reverses negative thinking patterns. A heavy dose of “thanksgiving” will counter the potentially crippling negative effects of fear, anger, disappointment, discouragement, despair, and any other toxic emotions of life. We cannot truly be thankful and feel fearful or disappointed at the same time, nor can we be angry or discouraged when we see all that God has done for us and express our gratitude to Him at the same time. Certainly, we cannot simultaneously sink to the depths of despair when we recognize how blessed we have been thus far, as we anticipate even greater blessings on the horizon, for the best is always yet to come with God, our beneficent Father.

Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and in despair or having other negative feelings we sometimes describe as “stinkin’ thinkin’” which can directly affect how we act. One of the critical factors in our physical and emotional well-being is attitude. Of course, we must remember that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.”

For believers, maintaining such an attitude of gratitude is our magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude” or “Thanksliving,” as some call it.

More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, we express our gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is always an appropriate time to give thanks to God. One of the songs I recall from years ago declares, “Now is the right time to praise the Lord!” No matter the circumstances, no matter the conditions, weather-wise, health-wise, or any otherwise, we are to follow this exhortation:

In happy moments, praise God.
In difficult moments, seek God.
In quiet moments, worship God.
In painful moments, trust God.
In every moment, thank God.


At All Times

I will bless the Lord at all times,
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psalm 34:1



When God’s goodness and mercy follow closely,
And we savor the ecstasy of victory,
When joy overflows and floods our souls, we will praise God.

When gripped by the devices of this transient life
And caught in the straits of rising conflict and strife,
During these difficult moments, we will seek God.

When we long to abide within a tranquil mood
And linger in moments of sweetest quietude,
From the depths of our souls, we will worship God.

Despite raging seas, stormy winds, and blinding rain,
When protracted pain strikes like a knife and numbs the brain
Till we can scarcely scream the Lord’s name, we will trust God.

All along life’s journey, no matter the season,
Through every why and wherefore, for every reason,
Every moment we draw breath, we will thank God.

We seek the Lord and ask ourselves, “What shall we do?”
“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”
“Give thanks: it is God’s will in Christ concerning you.”


We close with this musical reminder from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir: In Everything (Give Him Thanks).

Psalm 1: My Rite of Passage

November 19, 2020

The Verse of the Day for November 19, 2020, comes from the first two verses of the First Psalm (KJV):

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

When I think of the First Psalm, I recall the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory more than 65 years ago, back in the day, in what we called “junior high school.” I remember that Mrs. Little, the local undertaker’s wife, gathered kids from the neighborhood and told us to memorize Psalm 1.

About eight years ago, Apostle John Tetsola commented about the power of “The First Word,” and his remarks inspired this poem which makes reference to the First Psalm, the “First Word” for me:

The First Word

When you’re in a difficult situation,
go back to ‘the first word.’ It still works.

Apostle John Tetsola

Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.
Just like Samuel, I clearly heard God speak to me:
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

The desire to read and to learn by heart God’s Word:
Planted deep within my soul seeds of destiny.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

Early years of famine and drought God has restored.
My Shepherd ever sets a table before me.
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

From an early age, God became my shield and sword,
As the Psalms enflamed a passion for poetry.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord.

The sound words of the First Psalm could not be ignored:
“Planted by the rivers of waters, like a tree. . .”
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

Striving toward the finish, ever pressing forward,
I now fondly recall glimpses of God’s glory.
Though only a child, I heard the word of the Lord:
I still remember the power of “the first word.”

The Verse of the Day floods my mind with fond memories of the power of “the First Word.” Now that I think about it, that experience occurred around the same time as another related event when I asked if I could “join the church.” In order to become a member of the church, you had to be at least twelve years old. Shortly after turning twelve, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, I walked down the aisle at Carter Chapel C.M.E. Church in Gary, IN and shook the minister’s hand, but I recognized, even then, that something significant had happened that was more than just a formality.

In the Jewish tradition, there is a rite of passage called the bar mitzvah for young men and the bat mitzvah, for young girls. This religious initiation ceremony is conducted for a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and eligible to take part in public worship.

My experience with memorizing the First Psalm as an adolescent, represents a kind bar mitzvah for me connected to expressing my desire to “join the church” around the same time when I became of age. Psalm 1, which I still know by heart, continues to be a source of encouragement and strength, and inspiration, as reflected in this original psalm:

Talk about a Man
Psalm 1


Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first, I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters, the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.


In God, all His promises are yes and amen.

In God, all His promises are yes and amen.

I have been so blessed since I can remember when.

The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they are talking about in that First Psalm.

To close our time of reflection here is a musical rendering of Psalm 1 offered by the Sons of Korah:

Enlighten me: Open the eyes of my heart

November 16, 2020

The Verse of the Day for November 16, 2020, is a prayer request expressed in Psalm 119:18:

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

A corresponding petition is found in Lamentations 3:23

Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.

Most providentially, a corresponding Verse of the Day for November comes from Ephesians 1:18 (KJV):

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

In actuality, verse 18 is part of a prayer, an expression of God’s desire for His people written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1: 14-23. Verses 17-18 are part of the introduction, as indicated in the Amplified Bible:

17 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,
18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),

These two verses were the inspiration, in part, for the following poem:

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

Ephesians 1:17-18 (AMP)

God gives the Spirit of wisdom and revelation
That we might know Him and experience His great love,
Striving to know more fully total restoration
That flows from the wisdom that descends from above.
We walk as mature, not foolish offspring who rebel,
But we pursue wisdom and do whatever it takes.
We make choices, knowing what will attract, what will repel,
For each life mirrors a lifetime of choices that one makes.
We do not shun the Lord’s reproof but embrace correction.
God wants us to know the hope of His calling in this hour,
The riches of His heritage, the greatness of His power.
We press toward the mark, to reach ultimate perfection.
God floods the eyes of our understanding that we might see
And know intimacy with God to the highest degree.

The passage from Ephesians 1, along with the previously cited verses, brings to mind the words of the hymn “Open My Eyes That I Might See” which is, in essence, a similar prayer expressed in song. The lyrics to the hymn are displayed while Nathanael Provis plays the melody on the piano:

Another contemporary song offering a similar request is “Open the Eyes of My Heart” performed by Michael W. Smith.

Not only is our prayer to God like that expressed in Psalm 119:18 and Jeremiah 3:23: that God will enlighten us and illuminate our lives, but we also recognize that God’s prayer for us is the same: that by means of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the eyes of our heart may be flooded with light, as is expressed so powerfully in Ephesians 1.

What if. . . If it had not been

November 13, 2020

This morning I woke up and began my day in grateful praise to God to see another day. I have so much to be thankful for, and as I reflected upon the goodness of God, I thought of Psalm 124 which I read aloud in the New Living Translation. The Psalmist stimulates our thinking with one of those “What if. . .” questions:

Psalm 124
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1 What if the LORD had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat:
2 What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us?
3 They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger.
4 The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives.
6 Praise the LORD, who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!
8 Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Verse 1 in the New King James Version was the inspiration for this personal poetic expression:

If It Had Not Been for the Lord

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—

Psalm 124:1


If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,
I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.
I shudder to think just where I would be today.
I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,
But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,
My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.
He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,
But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.
Pressing toward the mark, the dawning of a brand-new day,
Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight, and pray.
The Lord is my keeper; in Him, I confide:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Esther Mui sings “Psalm 124 Song (NKJV) “Our Help is in the Name of the Lord.”:

We conclude with this comment—“ ‘No what-ifs, ands, or buts about it,’ the Lord is good.”

Veterans Day Tribute 2020

November 12, 2020

Each year on November 11, I pause to reflect upon Veterans Day, a national holiday of special significance to me. First of all, I am a veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience relates to my being back in the Washington, DC area where I lived from 1969 to 1971. Upon being discharged, I found a job as an information analyst working for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association in the Nation’s Capital. Most providentially, this is where I met my wife, Brenda. We were married in 1973 and returned to live in Arlington, VA, near the area where we currently live, right up the road from our older daughter, Melissa, and her husband, William, and our first grandson, Kingston.

Each Veterans Day, I reflect with the deepest gratitude upon my military experience, which first appeared to be a disaster but turned out to be a remarkable blessing and a time of great spiritual growth. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, subsequently becoming a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary, IN. While enjoying the “good life,” I received my “Greetings from Uncle Sam” in 1967 was drafted into the US Army. Back then I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given the option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians.

The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I chose to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching classes online at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and St. Augustine’s University.

My time of service as a pharmacy instructor began with intense training at the Medical Field Service School. During this time, I recall one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors, but there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indicating I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year, however, increased the likelihood of being sent to Vietnam if a pharmacy position needed to be filled there.

About nine months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until years later on Memorial Day when I looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a composition and literature class at the time at the Louisville campus of Indiana Wesleyan University when I saw my colleague’s death in a totally different light. In literature, we find a term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure representing Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of the most notable qualities being “self-sacrifice.”

I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor, in a sense, went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who took my place and gave his life that I might live. My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite verse in my favorite chapter of the Bible:

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. Each Veterans Day, I reflect with gratitude to God for my time of service in the military, recognizing the contribution that veterans have made and continue to make to secure the blessings of liberty that we enjoy, especially during this period in our nation’s history.

We conclude with this Veterans Day Tribute:

Once again, praying for all men

November 7, 2020

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for November 7, 2020, includes a heading that encourages believers to pray and introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God. This previous blog entry certainly has application today, as we acknowledge the truth: “There is always something to pray about”:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (New King James Version)

[Pray for All Men] Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Supplications

With these prayers, we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it. White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking, supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

Intercessions

To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provides protection. (Ezekiel 22:30).

Prayers

As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Ephesians 6:18)


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally, it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

________________________________________

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

In closing, we offer the following poetic reminder of the importance of prayer:

As We Pray

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we pray always for you,

Colossians 1:3


During these dark times, we focus on the Kingdom,
Established and grounded on a sure foundation.
As we diligently pursue Godly wisdom,
New paths of this Apostolic Reformation
Unfold as the sun rises on the horizon.
Even in turbulent times, we must stay the course.
Aware of the consequences of each decision,
We look to God our Father, bountiful resource.
As we renew our minds, we are transformed and change:
With a “kingdom mindset,” we now see with new eyes.
Beyond past narrow limits, our view is long-range.
We number our days with each sunset and sunrise,
As the Word commands: pray without ceasing, night and day,
Knowing that God always fulfills His will, as we pray.

Gateway Worship offers a musical selection with the same title: “As We Pray”:

Verse of the Day on Black Poetry Day 2020

October 17, 2020
October 17 is the birthday of Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in America was born October 17, 1711.

Today’s blog post spotlights a special celebration. Although not recognized as a national holiday, October 17 is designated as Black Poetry Day. During this time, we celebrate poets of African American heritage and their contribution to the literary landscape of the nation and of the world. Why was this particular day selected for the celebration? For the answer we go back to America’s literary beginning and the “Father of Black Poetry.”

Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in colonial America, was born on October 17, 1711. Publishing a literary work of any kind during this period was a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, but for a man born into slavery, writing and publishing “An Evening Thought” in 1761 was nothing short of a miracle.

Born on the estate of merchant Henry Lloyd of Oyster Bay, NY, Hammon was believed to have been a lay minister. As a devout Christian, he expressed his religious convictions in all of his poetry and prose. In addition to An Evening Thought, his works include “An Essay on the Ten Virgins,” 1779; “A Winter Piece,” 1782; “An Evening’s Improvement,” 1783; “An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York,” 1787. In 2013, a University of Texas at Arlington English professor, Cedric May, and his doctoral student, Julie McGowan, located an unpublished poem, “An Essay on Slavery,” handwritten by Hammon around 1786.


Today, October 17, 2020, is a special day of celebration for me as a Black poet strongly influenced by the Bible, and I think of Hammon as my literary forefather. Other than the Psalmist, David, no poet has influenced me more. I am revising and re-posting the Biblegate Software Verse of the Day for October 17, 2020, that comes from Psalm 25:14-15 and contains an original poem written in a similar manner as the poetry of Jupiter Hammon.


The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:


Psalm 25:14-15:


The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.


The reference to “He teaches them his covenant” brings to mind an account whereby David extends a covenant of grace to the descendant of someone with whom David had previously established a covenant, his beloved friend, Jonathan. Here we find Mephibosheth, the only remaining descendent of Saul, whom David replaced as King of Israel. David’s response to the crippled son of his friend occurred in a place called LoDebar, recorded in 2 Samuel 9:6-7.


6 His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”


The following poem refers to this account and speaks of

The Power of Covenant


When covenant relationships are re-established,
you enter into a place of safety and kindness.
Apostle Eric L. Warren


To redeem, restore, and then supersede is God’s plan:
To see His faithfulness, examine this account:
God’s favor extended beyond any earthly amount
That can be measured or assessed by the mind of man:
Mephibosheth displays the power of covenant
To children’s children, to countless generations–
First to Israel, then extended to all nations,
God’s loving-kindness above and beyond abundant.
Covenants demonstrate the faithfulness of God.
Spiritual covenants supplant natural relationships,
Beyond the authority of all earthly kingships,
For we know that in truth, “Spirit is thicker than blood.”
From LoDebar–barren place of nothingness–
He takes us to abide in safety and loving-kindness.

We seal our blog entry for today with “Covenant Song” by Caedmon’s Call:

On Black Poetry Day and every day, may we never forget God’s covenant made to His people.

A golden moment that took my breath away

October 10, 2020

This morning as I awoke and began my morning meditation, I opened an email from Kary Oberbrunner, who posted some words of encouragement and a breathtakingly beautiful photo of a sunset taken by his daughter. As I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation while reflecting on Kary’s comments, the words of Maya Angelou also came to mind:

Life is not measured by the breaths we take But by the moments that take our breath away.

Lately, I have come to appreciate the splendor of each morning sunrise and evening sunset and other scenes of Nature that move me to tears. I added this photo to the keep-sake gallery of my mind, as I savored another “golden moment” that left me speechless in the presence of God.

As a junior in high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Hortense House, required her students to memorize “Barter,” an exquisite poem by Sara Teasdale. I can still recall the poem by heart, and the words came to mind, especially the last stanza, as looked at the photo and thought about the quotation from Maya Angelou:

Barter

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale

Take a look at this video-clip of images related to the poem:


I also recall the lyrics to a song by Michael W. Smith with a similar title:

You Take My Breath Away

Glory so beautiful
The earth displays your majesty
How could you ever be
So mindful of someone as me
Your captive
Splendor I have never seen
Nothing else can compare
You’re infinite, you’re everywhere

(Chorus)
You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take my breath away
You take my breath away
See me, all I am
These empty hands are all I can give
That you would die so I’d live
Your sacrifice I can’t believe
You fascinate
You stole my heart, I can’t forget
And now that I’ve felt your love
No turning back, I can’t get enough

(Bridge)
With just one word
With just one glance
I’m lost in this divine romance
And every single day more than I can say
You take my breath away

(Chorus)
You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take my breath away
The morning breaks, my soul awakes
You are my one desire
And I here stand amazed
You take my breath away

Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
You take my breath away


Our lives are filled with breath-taking “golden moments” for us to savor and cherish each day.

Happy Birthday–My Beloved–BJ

October 8, 2020
Happy Birthday to My Beloved BJ
On your birthday and every day
This is all I have to say to you. . .
“If Only You Knew”