Posts Tagged ‘Israel Houghton’

An unforgettable concert

July 23, 2014

John 4--24

Last Friday night, July 18, 2014,  my wife Brenda and I attended a concert in Fayetteville, NC where Martha Munizzi and Israel Houghton blessed those in attendance with an amazing time of worship and celebration of the goodness of our God.

Martha, along with her musicians and singers, offered a worship medley that ushered those in attendance into the very presence of God, where we lingered in glorious worship. It seems as though most of Martha’s music was devoted to worship. During her time of ministry, she mentioned a remark that someone whose name I don’t recall had made that went something like this:

“God can trust His worshippers to go through the valley of despair because He knows that they will turn it into a resort.”

Israel Houghton also provided a powerful time of ministry, as he mentioned the phrase “Don’t count me out!” which the Lord seemed to be emphasizing as he spoke. The entire worship experience with both of these outstanding musicians and worship leaders was unforgettable. It was the inspiration for the following poem:

Through the Valley of Despair

With gratitude to God for Martha Munizzi

and Israel Houghton


5What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

Psalm 84:5-6 (New Living Translation)


God can send His worshippers through the valley of despair,

Knowing that they will turn a valley place into a resort.

As long as Jesus goes with us, we will go anywhere.

We will go where He sends us and bring back a good report.

We do what we have to do, for the Lord will bring us through.

He makes a way in the wilderness, where there seems to be no way,

Even rivers in the desert where He makes all things new.

Some said we wouldn’t make it, but we don’t care what they say.

The daily pressure mounts, asking how much more can we take.

True worshippers rise and boldly proclaim, “Don’t count me out!”

We know God’s sovereign plan for our lives is not a mistake.

Praise God! We shout with a voice of triumph on the way out.

Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning,

Transforming the Valley of Weeping into refreshing springs.


Here is also a video of the lyrics to one of the songs that Martha Munizzi included in her worship medley: “Because of Who You Are.”

Psalm 86:5–The Lord is good

January 31, 2014

Psalm 86-5

This morning I begin my time of prayer and meditation, thinking about the Verse of the Day for January 31, 2014, which brought to mind the goodness of God. I recall that I first became keenly aware of God’s goodness and mercy during a critical period of my life when I was drafted into the Army in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam War. The members of my home church Carter Chapel C.M.E Church in Gary, Indiana presented me a small Bible with a zipper and with my name embossed in gold on the front along with the words “Holy Bible.” I still have the Bible, but the zipper has pulled away from the binding and has not worked for years, and the first two letters of my name are barely visible with the rest of the letters having long since been worn away.

When I open to Genesis, the first few pages were missing as well as the pages where I recall there was an inscription. The first pages are not only worn and discolored from notes that were written in ink that has not only blurred the frayed pages, but the edges of some of the pages have been eaten away by some kind of microscopic insect or parasite. Whenever I look at this particular Bible, my mind is flooded with wonderful memories of my tour of duty in the military when I became more keenly aware of just how good God is, as I was introduced to reading and studying the Scriptures in a much deeper way than previously. In reflecting upon that significant period in my life, I recall writing this poem:

More than My Necessary Food

“Who stole the cookie out the cookie jar?”

  Childhood Song


Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips;

I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Job 23:12


In thinking of God’s goodness over the years, I found

A cherished Bible received almost fifty years ago

When I met God through His Word, an encounter profound

And life-changing, as I recall the debt that I owe

To the members of my home church who expressed their love

With this precious gift that from constant use is so worn.

I open and find missing pages and some of

Them eaten away, devoured by a strange bookworm.

Like that insect, I found God’s Word and I did eat it,

And it was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart:

A child who steals the cookie with delight, I admit

I consumed it, hiding it in my heart’s deepest part.

Looking back, I have tasted and seen that God is good

And esteemed His Word more than my necessary food.


The poem opens with the lines from a children’s song that I recall singing way back in the 1960s. The Jeynetts offer a lively version of this children’s song sung so often at church camps or during pre-school activities or at other times when children gather.

As I completed the poem I also recalled the lyrics to an original song that I composed when I coordinated a summer children’s summer program ten years ago and used music as a means of memorizing scripture, in this case, Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Oh, Taste and See


Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Verse 1

Partake of the Word of God,

Taste and see that it is good.

It will fill you up

More than any kind of food.


Verse 2

Partake of the Word of God,

Let it richly dwell within.

It will help you grow.

It’s better than a vitamin.


Verse 3

Partake of the Word of God,

Read the Word and put God first.

It will feed your soul

And satisfy your thirst.


Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.


Israel Houghton and New Breed reinforce the message with an energetic rendering of “Lord, You Are Good.”

I thought I would share some of my reflective thoughts on the goodness of God that came to mind while reading the Verse of the Day.