Archive for the ‘Praise’ Category


Cotton isn’t harvested in a nice shady lawn, but anything can happen at my home; and ‘anything’ usually does. Today’s little mishap involved one of those mattress toppers filled with a few inches of soft, fluffy cotton. I thought washing it in a gentle cycle of cold water, then drying it on the outside clothes line, would not only clean and sanitize it, but re-fluff it as well. Despite my good intentions, however, the underside of the topper ripped, spilling some of its contents. I knew something had gone awry as soon as I spied a handful of cotton in the washing machine, but I carried it outside regardless and gave it a shake. Let’s just say that the rip was bigger than I thought, and picking cotton fluff was my next task.

Though I was tempted to let the next big gust of wind carry the cotton away, I knew gathering it was the wisest thing to do. Dogs will eat anything, and I didn’t want my little Maltese thinking some yummy manna had fallen from heaven for her dining pleasure. Had she noshed on the cotton, her little tummy would have been stuffed with fluff, and the results could have been life-threatening. So there I was, already in a hurry, with one more cotton-picking thing to do.

It was then that I realized how truly grumbly I sometimes am. The weather was hot, but I  certainly wasn’t stooped low in sweltering southern fields, plucking cotton from plants that can slash and cut. No, I was outside gathering up handfuls of soft, fluffy cotton from the grass, and I was in the shade to boot. Even so, I didn’t like picking that cotton one little bit.

The Spirit of the LORD spoke to me during those moments. He reminded me of the blood, sweat and tears that soaked the fields of the cotton plantations during the evil days of slavery. From the very old to the very young, from sun-up to sun-down, gentle souls toiled, with a burden too great to bear, in slavery too inhuman. They had no choice.

Migrant workers have also toiled endlessly in those punishing cotton fields. They may have earned some money, but never enough. In some ways, these migrant workers must have felt just as enslaved.

No doubt, the drudgery of those hot cotton fields birthed many a dream of freedom for most of the folks who toiled there. But they birthed something else as well; praise and thanksgiving. Countless numbers of Negro Spirituals –songs of praise– were birthed right there in those fields, under the harshest of conditions, many of which are still sung today. And thanksgiving; the toil was long, hard and excruciatingly hot, but those migrant workers were very thankful to even  have work, something that too many of us take for granted.

In those few moments, I asked myself, was I thankful enough? Was I thankful that I had a nice shady yard to work in? Was I thankful to have a sweet little dog to care for and protect? Was I thankful for the nice house behind me; a house in which to escape the heat? And so on.

Those few short moments of frustration aside, my answer was yes. I had spent quite a bit of time earlier that day, and the one prior, thanking the LORD for all of the blessings He had bestowed upon me and my family. In fact, I have been replaying the hymn, Count Your Blessings¹, in my thoughts for quite some time now. Can you, dear reader, say the same? When was the last time you took the time to genuinely count yours?

Perhaps you often offer thanksgiving to the LORD for His many blessings, yet still feel enslaved by a heavy burden. I encourage you to remember afresh the following words, penned from this same hymn:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done…..

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

¹Count Your Blessings. Johnson Oatman, Jr. Chicago, Illinois: 1897.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this archived post: Danged Ole Yankees

Read Full Post »


These words are being penned from the gorilla enclosure at my local zoo. Sometimes, when I feel that my desire to write has been locked away in some inaccessible place, I come here for inspiration.

Lately, words just seem to elude me. What difference does it make? I asked myself. “All the difference in the world,” the LORD reminded me. “I called you to write,” He said, “to share with a frustrated world that I am very near to all; and I love them very much!”

Thus, I tucked away pen and paper, and a water bottle, and headed to my favorite place in this city, the zoo. I’ve heard others say that they hate zoos because they cannot stand to see animals caged in captivity, or mistreated in any way. I must say, however, that I am quite proud of my local zoo. The animals are truly cared for and they are, for the most part, far better off here than they would be in the wild. But that’s another topic altogether.

Entering the zoo today, I was immediately greeted by a beautiful chorus of flamingo song. It was as though these marvelous creatures, with feathers ranging from white to dark, vibrant pink, were welcoming me to their peaceful sanctuary where I could escape from the world for just a little while.

I had stopped at this very spot on many occasions, but this was the first time I paused to read the dedicatory inscription on the bench there. It read:

“Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner.” Henry Scott Holland

What an absolutely perfect sentiment for today! My thoughts revisited dormant dreams and desires. Though I have not yet seen their fulfillment, why should they be out of mind? Patience, I reminded myself; patience. I also thought of my great desire -an almost daily desire- for the LORD to quickly return.  He may currently be out of sight, but He is never out of mind.

Even the earth must remind herself of this. It is written, “…creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now….”  (Romans 8:21-22).  The LORD will, sometime soon, return to make all things new, to restore them to a state of perfection. Till then,  LORD, “I am waiting for you,” knowing that your return is “Just around the corner.”

As I write these words, I am sitting on bench, positioned on one side of the large glass viewing windows. Twice, a young gorilla came to this spot and sat down right behind me, on the other side, and intently watched me write. This was so intriguing to the other visitors, that they gathered around me to watch the gorilla watch me.

I smiled. The fact that a gorilla found my writing to be of such interest is a very great encouragement to me. I only wish he could have read this message. He, like so many humans, feels that their lives are lived in captivity, yet all we need do is look up, for our redemption is draweth nigh – it is ‘just around the corner.’
Praise the LORD!

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy a related, archived message by clicking on the following link: Light Down Under

Read Full Post »

photo: windandweather.com

Although quite windy, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I had several errands to run that day, but they would just have to wait a little longer. Nothing seemed as important, at that moment, than stopping to enjoy the arbitrary song of the wind chime.

The tune varied from gust to gust, but each was distinctly beautiful. I couldn’t help but think: Sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.¹ My heart swelled with joy as I breathed-in the fresh spring air and watched the trees dance to the song of the wind chime.

Then another pearl from God’s word came to mind: For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.²

It is true; we are living in very disturbing times. However, Scripture says: let all those that put their trust in thee [O LORD] rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. ³

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing for joy. My voice may not beautiful, and sometimes my songs are nothing more than spontaneous words of praise, but that which is not perfect can be beautiful too, like the arbitrary song of a wind chime.

¹Psalm 96:1
²Isaiah 55:12
³Psalm 5:11,12

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: