Posts Tagged ‘If it had not been for the Lord’

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2020: April 30

April 29, 2020

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the American Academy of Poets has designated April 30 as National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Until this year, the idea was simple: people selected a poem that they loved during National Poetry Month and carried it with them to share with co-workers, family, and friends. People unfolded poems from pockets throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. In light of the current COVID-19 circumstances, the celebration can continue digitally.

Here are ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day 2020:

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 
  • Simultaneously participate in the Shelter in Poems initiative, and select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude. Share what it means to you and use the hashtags #pocketpoem and #ShelterInPoems.
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. 

Poem in My Pocket:

During times of crisis and personal upheaval, especially meaningful poetry comes from the Book of Psalms. David, my all-time favorite poet, has provided comfort, encouragement, and strength during my darkest days. The Book of Psalms continues to be a source of inspiration as well. Despite the devastating aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wake up each morning abiding in the safety of the Lord, thankful for life, health, and strength, being able to express in words my gratitude. In reflecting on where I have been and where I am now, I often say, “If it had not been for the Lord, I shudder to think where I would be.” I also think of Psalm 124 which opens with a similar statement, “If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side. . . .” Here is personal poetic expression, an original psalm, that I would like to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day:

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 our side,

We would have drowned in the sea from the tears we cried.

We shudder to think just where we would be today.

We would have lost our mind or turned and walked away,

But we learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when we were tempted and tried,

Our shelter from the storm where we could run and hide.

He was our deliverer—that is all we 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 us and turned the tide.

Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand-new day,

Through all our trials we learned to watch, fight, and pray.

The Lord is our keeper; in Him we confide:

If it had not been for the Lord.

We close with this musical reminder based on Psalm 124 from Esther Mui: “Our Help is in the Name of the LORD.” She causes us to think about where we all might have been, if it had not been for the Lord who was on our side.

Get it together

August 16, 2016

Psalm 124--1

Instead of looking at the Verse of the Day, as we so often do, our focus today is on a particular phrase or Word for the Day. On August 16, 2016, we are going to take a look at the phrase “Get it together!”

The expression is sometimes defined as “to get one’s life in order” or “to get one’s current state of mind in order.” McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs offers this definition: “to become fit or organized; to organize one’s thinking; to become relaxed and rational.” Another source defines the expression this way: “to make a decision or take positive action in your life.”

In thinking about this particular verb phrase, I happened to recall a statement by Donald Lawrence which provided an introduction to the following poem:

In the Fight for Your Life

“God will keep it together until you get it together.”

 Donald Lawrence

 

 

In the fight for your life,

Get it together and keep it together

God will strengthen you

So that you can weather any storm

God will keep it together

Until you get it together

 

No matter what happens,

Keep on watching and waiting

With outstretched necks,

Yearning, ever anticipating

Until Christ returns to gather us together

 

Until then. . .

In the fight for your life,

Get it together and keep it together

 

Despite my best efforts, there were countless times when I struggled to get it together, when I felt overwhelmed and seemed to be about to “lose it,” as I earnestly endeavored to renew my mind and maintain a state of mental equilibrium. During those times of turmoil, I now recognized that I would have “lost it altogether” had it not been for the Lord. I echo the sentiments of the Psalmist who made a similar declaration in the introduction to the following:

 

If It Had Not Been for the Lord


If it had not been for 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, 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.

 

Now I recognize that the Lord helped me to get it together and keep it together because he is my keeper, so sing Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir featuring Eric McDaniel in “Keeper.”

 

Psalm 118 and Psalm 124: The Lord is on my side

January 11, 2014

what ifPsalm 118:5-6

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

This morning as I read the Verse of the Day from Psalm 118:5-6, the phrase “The Lord is on my side” seemed to stand out, almost as if in flashing fluorescent lights that pulsated in my mind’s eye. I thought of Psalm 124 which uses the same phrase, but it is expressed in a different way. The King James Version states, “If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side. . .” I prefer, however, the New Living Translation which raises one of those “What if…”questions. Here is the psalm in its entirety:

Psalm 124

What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.

Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Verse 1 in the 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, 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.

Helen Baylor shares part of her testimony and sings “If it Had Not Been for the Lord on My Side.”

The Verse of the Day from Psalms 118 brought to mind Psalm 124 which really caused me to think about what might have been, if it had not been for the Lord on my side.

What if. . .: Reflecting on God’s Goodness

March 13, 2013

Psalm 124:1 in the New Living Translation opens with a provocative question: "What if. . . "

Psalm 124:1 in the New Living Translation opens with a provocative question: “What if. . . “

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.

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

Verse 1 in the 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, 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.

Helen Baylor sings “If it Had Not Been for the Lord on My Side.”

The essence of that message is reinforced with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, who remind me of “The Goodness of the Lord”

The Goodness of the Lord

I conclude this blog entry, as I reflect upon the past 70 years and metaphorically

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living these seventy years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folksong of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

garden 2