And Saturday is upon us again. Dear wife had to be at work at the unholy hour of 05:00, so last night was a short one. She's been working a similar turn to mine this week, so we have seen more of each other than we had in some time. Working opposite shifts stinks. So we have been grateful for the time we get to spend together. Never seems to be quite enough of it.
I have been thinking this week about how the Lord brings us through some things, some times of heavy trial and struggle, in ways we can not fathom and for purposes we do not always comprehend, even later, and it is according to His plan. I don't understand it, do not pretend to understand it. In those moments, about all you can do is to just hang on to Him, trust His heart, and know that something good will come of it. And that took me to this song. ''Amazing Grace'' is probably one of the very favorite ones, certainly it rates highly with me. This little video gives some background to it that I had not known, and the performance is great too.
This morning we turn our attention to Psalms 28, 29, and 30. These may not be familiar to many, and they are not terribly familiar to me either. Yet, reading through them, we are reminded of the many times in the life of David when times were hard, were desperate, and in his distress he called upon the Lord. Many of us know that feeling, that when all hope was gone, when we felt that even the Lord had closed his ears to our pleas, just then He answers and there is hope beyond hope. David knew that situation, so do I, and so do many others. These Psalms are not, perhaps, as lyrical in the English as some others are. Yet they came out of a time and set of circumstances that were very real, and to some extent common to all of us.
Psalm 281 Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
5 Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.Psalm 291 Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
7 The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
10 The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.Psalm 301 I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
7 LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
8 I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
9 What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
This evening we continue in the Acts with verses 1 through 14 of the 21st chapter. Again, note that we are very early in what we call the church age, Paul is a major figure in those days of beginning, and now he is covering quite a lot of territory, heading for a confrontation with the enemies of the Gospel that he knows full well he may not survive. And that does not stop him nor slow him down. Would we do as well? Would we be here today without that level of commitment from those like him?
Acts 21:1-141 And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara:
2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth.
3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.
4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.
6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.
7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.
8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.