Sing, Make Music, Ponder, Walk

Today is Monday, the tenth of May, 2021, in the sixth week of Easter (there are seven, in case you’re wondering).

Peace be with you!

Day 23,069

Only ten days until our much-anticipated Glen Rose weekend.

The weekend was busy, but it was good. After checking out of our Days Inn room in Mineral Wells, we swung by Subway on the way to my mother’s house, to pick up lunch. After eating lunch, we got busy again.

This time, while C put designated items back in the closet, I got some dishes down from the highest shelves in the kitchen. After Mama decided which ones she wanted to keep down, the rest were put back, along with a few from other places.

C made another trip to Walmart to pick up some jeans for my mother, and she also fixed the mailbox numbers at the house. We carried a bunch of stuff out to the car to bring home with us, some of which went directly into our recycling bin at the house. There were about a dozen record album price books that we brought home for recycling, as they would have been too heavy to put in the trash at her house.

I also brought home my dad’s old reel-to-reel tape recorder, which I plan to check out to see if it still works. My mother found a stack of old tapes, some of which were recordings of me and my father, made by my step-grandfather, many, many years ago.

There were few more pictures found.

1984 seminary graduation–Mama, me, and Daddy. We think C took the picture. C and Mama say that was the first time they met.
My father in front of the car, my Uncle Jamie next to it.
C, me, and Mama. March of 1985 at Grandmama’s house. The old well is barely visible behind us.

Well, enough of that. Need to get moving. Back to work, this morning.


"Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
(The prayer of St. Richard of Chichester)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
(Psalms 107:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend
  • that you have redeemed us from trouble
  • for singing and music
  • for Your steadfast love, which endures forever
  • for the possibility of abiding in You, that we may bear fruit

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:5-7 NIV)

I pause to consider the steadfast love of the Lord, which endures forever. My spirit sings a psalm of praise in the quiet of the morning.


A Psalm of David.

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
(Psalms 101:1-3 ESV)

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.
(Psalms 101:6-8 ESV)


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
(John 15:1-8 ESV)


As I quietly enjoy the presence of the Lord, I linger over these passages, asking His Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations.

Once again, singing is emphasized. “I will sing . . . I will make music . . . I will ponder . . . I will walk.”

This seems like a good order of worship, doesn’t it? I remember classes on music and worship from seminary (see graduation pic above). They always pointed to Isaiah 6 as a good “order of worship” example. I don’t disagree with that. But here . . . this psalm begins with singing and music, moves to meditation, which requires reading and teaching on God’s Word, and then finishes with activity. “I will walk with integrity.”

In a sense, the classic evangelical worship service pretty much follows this. When I was growing up, we had a few hymns, followed by Scripture reading and a sermon, and then we left to “walk” in what we had hopefully learned during the sermon/teaching.

I’ve been a student of worship most of my adult life, and it’s one of those things that is simple, yet complex. And sometimes we make it more complex than it needs to be. But too often, we fall into the trap of believing that it is just the music, just the singing. Yet, if we examine Scripture, we find passages such as this:

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
(Exodus 34:8 ESV)

By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.
(Hebrews 11:21 ESV)

There is certainly no mention of music or singing, here.

When I am walking in integrity, walking in the “easy yoke” of Jesus Christ, in His Kingdom, my entire life can, and should, be worship.

Segue to the John passage. This is also known as “abiding.” Without abiding in Christ, we can do nothing. We certainly cannot bear good fruit without abiding in Him. There is, in my mind, a great similarity between abiding and worship. Worship is certainly part of abiding, and abiding part of worship. And then there is that famous verse, John 15:7.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 ESV)

Father, my prayer today is simple. Help me to abide; help me to worship You today, all day, through everything that happens. May I sing, make music, ponder Your way, and walk in integrity.

Creator God,
garden my life -
turn it over,
cultivate it,
and make it ready for gospel seeds to take root.
And in quiet darkness let the gospel do its work,
slow but powerful, 
stirring up life in my heart,
increasing joy,
strengthening all your graces until shouts of new life rise and good fruit bursts forth on the branches of my life,
a life beautiful for you and a blessing to others.
(Westminster Larger Catechism 75)


Go and make disciples of all nations. . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
(Psalms 139:13-16 ESV)

Father, thank You for these truths. Thank You for the great diversity within the unity of Your Church. We are same, yet we are different. And we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Thank You for the life that You formed for me; may I continue to be what You have designed me to be. And may I draw even closer to You as the days go by.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Watch the Dog

“In times of storm and tempest, of indecision and desolation, a book already known and loved makes better reading than something new and untried … nothing is so warming and companionable.” ― Elizabeth Goudge

Today’s word of the day, from, is alfresco, which means, “out-of-doors; in the open air.” It is usually used in conjunction with “dine.”

Today is Pig In A Blanket Day. Whether they be wrapped in bacon, pastry, or pancakes (which I suppose might count as pastry, as well), they are little bites of deliciousness!

The concert went pretty well, I believe. It was a lot of music, though, and most of us trombones felt like our chops were spent before it was over. We managed to make it through the end, though. Good times. Monday night, we begin preparing for the July 3rd concert, but I will not be there. Christi is leaving Tuesday morning for the USBC convention in Las Vegas, and will be gone until late Friday night, so we want to spend Monday evening together.

We are getting ready to attend our worship gathering, this morning. I will be playing keys again. Our pastor is out of town, so a substitute will be preaching. That’s always interesting. We meet at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N Beach St., in Fort Worth, TX.


For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God.
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Psalm 55:12-23

The Psalmist’s best friend has betrayed him, but he still finds victory in his troubles. His trust is utterly in God, which gives him freedom from oppression. This is something that we can learn from Jesus.

“Dear God, when I feel betrayed and oppressed, instead of wildly casting about for a way out, lead me into your presence where I can cast my burdens on you and find the peace and renewal I need; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:24

In today’s reading, Stephanie Thompson relates how she gained a better understanding of the word “abide,” which is the theme of Guideposts this year, as well as the them for my devotional year.

She was pet-sitting for a friend, with a Boston Terrier named “Cinderella.” She threatened to rename the dog “Shadow,” as Cinderella would follow in her footsteps, wherever she went. The dog would sit in the chair next to Stephanie as she ate lunch, and get as near to her as possible, when she sat on the couch.

“The day before her owner returned, I was reading. Cinderella jumped into my lap and then climbed onto the arm of the chair. Pretending to ignore her, I watched as sh gingerly put her front paws on my shoulder and leaned her head close to my neck. She rested her face against my cheek, sighed contentedly, and closed her eyes.”

Is that not a perfect picture of how we should seek to abide in Christ? I have often thought of the way dogs seek to get as close to their owners’ face as possible. That is exactly how we should seek the face of God; exactly how we should abide.

Father, my abiding has not been good, lately. Teach me this example from a dog, that I should desire to always be as close to your face as possible.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Secret of Abiding

“What force is more potent than love?”~~Igor Stravinsky

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is hie, which means “to go quickly: hasten.” “Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’s cell; / There stays a husband to make you a wife.” — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1597

Today is As Young As You Feel Day. This is not necessarily a good thing. I’m not feeling very young, these days. In my mind, I’m still somewhere around 20-30. My body does not concur.

Band practice was fun, last night. We got a bunch of new music, in preparation for the May concert at “Art on the Square.” Most of it is pop music, an arrangement of Beatles tunes, a couple of movie theme arrangements, and some Elton John music. Sadly, the Elton piece reminds me of bad marching band arrangements of pop songs. I guess they can’t all be winners. I mean . . . out of all of Elton John’s hits, “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fightin'” seems to be the least likely concert band piece.

Today is Tuesday, so Christi has bowling after work (how cool is it that they have a bowling league where she works?), so I’ll whip up something for dinner while she bowls.

I got asked by a fellow band member if I wanted to play trombone at FBC Grapevine on Easter Sunday. Sadly, I had to decline, as I have committed to playing keys at our church. It would have been fun, though. I have been praying for more opportunities to play. I guess that’s being answered.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright;
their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.
But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;
for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalm 37:14-22

Hoarded treasure turns out to be useless, becoming “moldy stuff.” This is what the “wicked” wind up with as they tend to be turned inward. The righteous, in contrast, “expand outward.” They approach the world with open hands, not grasping things, but holding on loosely, always living in gratitude.

“Save me from the sin, Lord, that looks on your world as loot to be plundered. I want to be one of those who, by appreciation and praise, makes creation available and attractive to others, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Luke 24:32

Chambers writes, in today’s reading, “The Burning Heart,” “We need to learn this secret of the burning heart.” When Christ appears to us, “the fires are kindled,” and he brings us great visions. But we need to learn how to keep our hearts burning. “It is the dull, bald, dreary day, with commonplace duties and people that kills the burning heart unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.” (Emphasis mine.)

In truth, there is more distress on the Christian from being ignorant of our own nature, than comes from sin. Chambers writes that, when we are tempted to allow any emotion to “have its way,” we should stop and “see what the outcome of the emotion will be.” How much discipline does that take?? How many of us are far enough along the path to be able to stop before expressing an emotion and see if the inevitable outcome of this emotion would be pleasing to God or if he would condemn it?

Note that he does not eschew the “commonplace duties and people” in our lives. No, he says that we must learn “the secret of abiding in Jesus,” so that these activities and people will not kill the burning in our hearts. This is my theme for this year, abiding. I’m still working on it.

Father, please continue trying to teach me this secret of abiding. I think I have a good grasp on the concept, but still am not doing a great job of actually doing it. Teach me to abide in Christ, that I might bear fruit in my life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“We Are Far Too Easily Pleased”

Good morning. It is Friday, May 8, 2015. Two days until Mother’s Day.

Today’s Word of the Day, from the OED, is psephocracy. More than likely chosen because they just had elections across the pond, this word means, “The form of government which results from the election of representatives by ballot; the system of government by elected representatives.” Very interesting, as that is pretty much what we have in the U.S., as well.

Today is No Socks Day. I have a friend or two that would like this.

Christi is still coughing up a storm, it seems. She had a rough night, last night. At this point, I’m beginning to be concerned that something serious is going on, as it doesn’t seem to be improving. I’m guessing the antibiotics didn’t fix whatever it is, so it must be viral. The PA told her not to take Nyquil because of its effects on blood pressure. I’m thinking that we need to weigh which one has a worse effect; Nyquil or not sleeping! This brings to mind something that also concerns me about the medical community. Our doctor’s office told her to take Mucinex. The last time I was sick, I went to Minute Clinic and saw a nurse-practitioner, who said she doesn’t like Mucinex. You see, there really is no consensus in the community at all! You get one thing from one doctor and another thing from another doctor. Running is good for you. Running is bad for your back and feet. Well, which is it?? We’ll never know.

In the news of the weird category today, the Texas Rangers have won four games in a row.

Today is Friday, of course, but I have to work tomorrow. I’ll be going in at 7:00 AM, so if there is a blog at all, it will be more like a weekday version without all the weekend “bells and whistles.”


Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

Jesus, teach me to abide.

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus Sharpens Priorities.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

“Following Jesus demands that we sharpen our priorities.” As Jesus traveled around announcing the coming of God’s Kingdom, people had to learn how to focus on the things that were truly essential to life. This meant, sometimes, going beyond “what was good and acceptable behavior.” It meant not settling for good when the best was available. What did C.S. Lewis say? “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (Emphasis mine) Jesus should be our top priority.

In the first of the three passages above, several would-be disciples came to Jesus. He advised them of the cost. Following him might mean not having a bed to lay on at night. A couple of others wanted to give priority to other activities. They weren’t unnecessary activities, but, nevertheless, would have to take second place to following Christ.

In the second passage, seventy disciples returned from a “mission trip” with “glowing reports of successful ministries.” Jesus did rejoice with them, but then told them that they should not rejoice that they had power over demons, but should, instead, rejoice that their “names are written in heaven.

“How often have we ranked earthly success, even in spiritual warfare, above heaven itself?” Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we should “focus our hearts and minds on things above and give priority to where Jesus is.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

The last passage, which can be somewhat humorous, uses a “family spat” to sharpen priorities. Martha is consumed with household duties, sweeping floors, preparing a meal, and so on. She gets aggravated that Mary does nothing but sit at the feet of Jesus. But Jesus tells her that only “one thing is necessary.” This is “our clearest, sharpest guide for setting our priorities.” What is the “one thing?” “Jesus is it. If he outranks everything else in our lives, then we have discovered that one necessary thing.”

Jesus doesn’t want to stand on the “periphery of our life, accepting leftovers.” He wants us to choose the best over what is merely good. “Only one thing is necessary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and to enjoy him forever.”

Father, forgive me for having many things in front of Jesus. Teach me to make him my one thing. Teach me to seek that holiday by the sea, to choose the best instead of what is merely good.

I pray for this day. As we travel to and from work today, may our passage be smooth and safe. As we work today, may our work go smoothly. May we seek to follow you as we go about our daily activities at work. I pray for Christi’s cough to go away, Lord. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show yourself to her today. Lord, I pray for Rachel, that you would give her confidence in herself. Show your great love to her and Justin today. Keep giving strength to my mother, Lord.

May wee seek that “holiday by the sea” and stop making mud pies.

Grace and peace, friends.