Psalm of Gratitude

26 11 2015

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Shenandoah

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

(Note that the landscape art above is derived from a photograph in the public domain provided by the United States National Park Service.)

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The Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Praise

24 11 2015

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State





Watering the Earth

29 12 2014

clouds

Isaiah 55:9-11 

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways,
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For just as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    and they do not return there
except they have watered the earth thoroughly
    and cause it to bring forth and sprout,
and give seed to the sower
    and bread to the eater,
11 so shall be my word that goes out from my mouth.
    It shall not return to me without success,
but shall accomplish what I desire
    and be successful in the thing for which I sent it.

Lexham English Bible (LEB)2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software





Your Fruit

3 12 2014

cypress overstory

 

I myself have answered and looked after you.
I am like a luxuriant cypress;
    your fruit comes from Me.

Hosea 14:8  (LEB)





Beside Quiet Water

2 10 2014

Beside Still Waters

“He leadeth me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:2





True Love

6 09 2014

Before the JESUS film can be dubbed into any language, the essential work of translation into the mother tongue must occur. Our partners at Wycliffe Bible Translators are instrumental in the work of helping us translate JESUS into new languages. Because nearly every word that Jesus says in the JESUS film is taken from the Biblical book of Luke, we take seriously the importance of communicating clearly and accurately what Scripture says. The pursuit of just the right term for a theological concept is critical for a culture truly to understand the Gospel. Sometimes the treasure is present, but prayer and God’s directing hand reveal the awaiting gem.

Lee Bramlett and his wife are Wycliffe Bible translators in Cameroon who have been working on Scripture and the JESUS film translation into the Hdi language. Lee was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere *, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people? What clue had God planted to let the Hdi know who He is and how He wants to relate to them?

Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Curious, Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”

“Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved, but the love was gone.

“Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” Lee asked.

“Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?” Lee asked.

Everyone laughed. “Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes, and then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded. “Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love you because of Me and not because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand. One word. One vowel. All the difference.

Praise God for His Unconditional Love.

Reprinted from a prayer letter recently issued by Bryan Augsburger, Cru studio technician for The Jesus Film Project.

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John 3:16  King James Version (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

* For more on this concept, see Don Richardson’s book entitled Eternity In Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World, published by Regal Books in 1981 and in revised form in 1984.

D. Raymond-Wryhte





The Labourer’s Noon-day Hymn

31 08 2014

Up to the throne of God is borne
The voice of praise at early morn,
And he accepts the punctual hymn
Sung as the light of day grows dim:

Nor will he turn his ear aside
From holy offerings at noontide:
Then here reposing let us raise
A song of gratitude and praise.

What though our burthen be not light,
We need not toil from morn to night;
The respite of the mid-day hour
Is in the thankful Creature’s power.

Blest are the moments, doubly blest,
That, drawn from this one hour of rest,
Are with a ready heart bestowed
Upon the service of our God!

Each field is then a hallowed spot,
An altar is in each man’s cot,
A church in every grove that spreads
Its living roof above our heads.

Look up to Heaven! the industrious Sun
Already half his race hath run;
‘He’ cannot halt nor go astray,
But our immortal Spirits may.

Lord! since his rising in the East,
If we have faltered or transgressed,
Guide, from thy love’s abundant source,
What yet remains of this day’s course:

Help with thy grace, through life’s short day,
Our upward and our downward way;
And glorify for us the west,
When we shall sink to final rest.

William Wordsworth

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