They say in gambling circles that the number 7 is a 'lucky number'.
I don't know about that, but I'll be 77 on July 20 and I feel very BLESSED!
I'm thinking about an old hymn, 'Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us', that talks about God's leadership. As I tried to find the name of the author, I came across this interesting information about her.
'Dorothy Thrupp was a prolific hymnwriter for children; yet this hymn was never signed. This was common for Ms. Thrupp as she rarely signed any of her hymns, and the rare times she did sign one she used a psuedonym. This hymn was first seen in 1836 in a small hymn book Ms. Thrupp wrote called "Hymns for the Young". This is all the factual information known regarding the history of this hymn - yet look at the wealth and beauty the author left us.'
'Savior, like a shepherd lead us...
Much we need Thy tender care.
In Thy pleasant pastures, feed us,
For our use, Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are."
Parents often say to their children, 'Remember whose you are'. I'm sure that my parents felt that way when I left for college in 1946 at 18 yrs. of age. I went from a Senior class of 20 graduates to the University of Oklahoma which had the largest freshman class ever that year! I felt like a little duck in a big pond.....and mighty lonely!
The first sermon I heard from my college pastor, Dr. E.F. 'Preacher' Hallock here in Norman, was from I Corinthians 6: 19-20:
"You are not your own...you've been bought with a price and with the Holy Spirit in you, glorify God."
I go back to that Scripture often and I hope that you will too.
A song by Joseph Gilmore speaks to this subject:
"He leadeth me, oh blessed thought;
Oh words with Heavenly comfort fraught.
What'ere I do, where'ere I be....
Still 'tis God's Hand that leadeth me."
God has been so faithful to do this in our lives and the key is...
to have faith in His faithfulness.
The Bible emphasizes that God leads us as:
a Father, as a Shepherd, as a Potter and as our Best Friend.
In fact, the Gospel of John gives additional pictures of God and is a great study to see what 'picture' is given in each chapter.
By the way, if you don't believe in the Trinity
(God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), there are some good illustrations.
For instance: The Sun is fire, light and warmth.
Apply this to God, Who is the Source; Jesus, the Light and the Holy Spirit, Warmth.
Also water can be 'three in one' as liquid, ice, and vapor.
Psalm 107: 1-2: "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the enemy."
Verses 8-9 emphasize: "O that you would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works for He satisfies a longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness."
Did you catch that.....longing and hungry soul (your innermost being)?
My theme for life is 'The Joy of The Journey continues'. It does not mean that there have not been some difficult times, but He has brought us through and I do not magnify the bad, but try to magnify God and His goodness.
God calls and cares for us.....but the key also, is God in control?
During 32 radiation treatments for cancer of the larynx, La Moyne and I were away from my pastorate and our home for about 2 months. God renewed our vows to Him by giving us 2 Scripture lessons:
Malachi 3:8 says: "Prove me now, says the Lord of the Universe".
Galatians 3:23: "We are to be shut up to faith".
So in our seclusion, we dedicated then and forever, to prove God by being shut up to faith! I kept a journal during those 6 weeks of treatment......I hope that some of the excerpts from that journal will bless you.
Lord, I'm having trouble with this and I'm scared. I know what I have preached all of these years, but now I'm trying to practice what I preached. During my walk by the lake this a.m. you reminded me about Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 36-46)
....how Jesus suffered for a purpose, showing us that God's Will is not always easy, but always best.
Your creation this morning also reminded me that a great God is behind it....and that You would be behind me!
Also Lord, it means SO much to have Your love and support. We know that our church family (1st Baptist, Quanah, Texas) loves us and is praying for us. I don't know how people get by without the support of family and a good church.
During the 1st day of treatment, I thought of the song,
"His Eye is on the Sparrow and I Know He Cares for Me!"
First treatment went fine.
Every time the machine started up, I said, "Zap it Lord!"
....and I believe that You will.
Many times I have stood by a sick person's bed and prayed, 'Lord, heal directly from Your throne in response to prayer and faith...and use the miracle of modern medicine to the maximum'. I'm still praying that, Lord!
Genesis 1:31 says:
"God saw all that He had made and it was very good"
I claim this verse!
Also, Psalm 139:14:
"I praise you God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful and I know that full well." Thank you Lord!
Catherine Marshall's book, "Redeeming Every Situation" helped me to understand that even in this situation, God can redeem it.
One way this came about, was through what I came to call 'Comfort Comparison'. My cancer could have been more advanced....or in a more difficult place to reach. For example, the Dr. said that the larynx has very little blood supply so the likelihood of it spreading elsewhere was minimal. I was reminded of examples of people who had extreme difficulties, making the most of life. For example: Fanny Crosby, though blind from age 8 until she died at 95 yrs. of age, wrote hundreds of beautiful hymns.
One of my favorites by her is:
"All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well."
On this day also, I read the following in 'Streams in the Desert':
"Suffering is rough and hard to bear, but it hides beneath it:
DISCIPLINE, EDUCATION and POSSIBILITIES which not only leave us 'nobler'...
but PERFECTS us to help others!
Just get out of it all that you can, to minister and serve better."
This poem says it well:
"I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow (suffering),
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me."
---Robert Browning Hamilton
Pastor Travis Thanks for another inspiring article. As I approach 50 I wonder at times if what I have preached and believed all these years will keep me. As you know even preachers struggle at times. Thanks for reminding me that it's always true. Happy Birthday from one of your preacher boys.
God Bless You & and Happy Birthday also! This was such a blessing this morning as I read it. The references to hymns, the journal entries, the bible study...indeed, I feel as though I have had my devotional time today. This would make an excellant start to publishing a Devotional.
What a very Beautiful anointed writing full of Truth and Encouragement for the weary soul. God Bless you and your Wife and Family,and Have a Happy 77th Blessed Birthday on July 20th. I just want to express that I have been deeply touched by your Love for our Lord and your courage in the midst of your ilness with cancer and Yours and Your Wife's great Faith.
Thank you so much for sharing your heart and these jewels of wisdom and truths.'
"May God continue to Bless you and your Family!"
In Christ, your Sister Dee:)
Yes, I would like to stand with sister Dee here in saying this is such an anointed article that really touches the heart. I would also like to wish you a wonderful blessed, Happy Seventy-seventh Birthday. May God just give you a big hug for all of us. In His love, Sharon