Encouragement from Psalm 73

Psalm 73

God Is My Strength and Portion Forever
A Psalm of Asaph.

1Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

18Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Enjoying a BBC Classic

In my search for some new videos to watch, I came across the BBC classic mini-series, To Serve them All My Days. Based on a novel by by R. F. Delderfield, the film deals with the journey of a young WWI veteran from the time he leaves the service through his career as a schoolmaster at an elite British public boarding school. Even though the young man, David Powlett-Jones, does not have a degree when he applies for the position, the likable headmaster, Algy Herries is impressed by him and gives him a chance to prove himself. David goes on to finish his degree and teaches at the school for many years. He weathers many personal trials and enchants the audience with his passion for teaching and for guiding his students through life.

The film itself is simply made. There are no frills here. But the script and the acting give what might sound like dry material for a film come to life with a lot of dramatic flair. I especially liked the actor Alan MacNaughtan who plays an older colleague to Powlett-Jones. MacNaughtan is a dry-witted curmudgeonly bachelor who befriends PJ, and endears himself to the audience with each episode of the series.

We still have one more disc left of the 4-disc set, and I am waiting anxiously for it to be delivered to our local branch of the St Louis County Library so I can see how David’s career ends. I can already tell I’ll be sorry when it is over, and I’ll have to check out the book to read it, too.

The Earth Shifting Under our Feet

It’s all over the news now, so most of you have heard about our little earthquake in the mid-west. The epicenter was about 130 miles east of St Louis, but I woke up to the earth rumbling under our house. I even felt a little post-earthquake seismic activity. I had trouble getting back to sleep, so I looked up earthquake stuff on line and reported my experience of the tremor to the government’s official earthquake tracking office. I decided to report it because, at the time, there was nothing showing up on the Internet about it when I searched. Right after I submitted my report, I found the page at the USGS website that showed all the other people who had reported the quake and their zip codes. I found it all very interesting, even though it wasn’t yet 5:00 am.

When we lived near Seattle nearly 9 years ago, we had 2 earthquakes within a day or two . (BTW, I remember the date because I had just delivered my 3rd child, and my MIL was still with us helping out with the kids.) So with that experience under our belts, Mark and I felt sure today’s rumbling was an earthquake. This morning, I am feeling a little crummy after getting to bed too late and then having my sleep interrupted. Hopefully, my coffee will kick in soon, and I’ll be up to the tasks ahead.

We are also feeling a little shaky about life lately. We know God is in control, but our faith is being tested–at least mine, I don’t want to speak for Mark. A series of client losses and having hours cut at his part-time job have made us very vulnerable economically. We are considering a move for another bi-vocational call to a church plant, and Mark is very diligently seeking full-time work as well as projects to keep us afloat until we have something more stable. Please keep us in your prayers.

The Upstairs Neighbors are Fighting

I’ve been desperately working on bookkeeping stuff for our church (my part-time job) today. Admittedly, I am easily distracted by any number of things. But today, it’s our upstairs neighbors that are driving me, well, batty. Our upstairs neighbors are a family of birds who have set up housekeeping in our eaves. I first noticed a few scratching noises a few days back, and I thought it might be mice. But that must have been moving day for the bird family. Now, they are tweeting away, and every 5 or 10 minutes I hear what must be a bird squabble, or shall I say, squawk. It sounds like someone is very upset with someone else. Maybe Mr. Bird didn’t pick up the right worms for the kids.

So how do we get rid of the birds? To get the answer to this question, I did what any industrious American does, I went to the web and googled “birds nesting in roof.” I found quite a few suggestions, but the site that caught my eye was this one. It says it is illegal to send birds packing. If you want to get rid of them, you have to wait until the next winter when they have vacated to seal up any holes where they might want to nest to keep them from coming back. Thankfully, this is a British law, not an American one.

Seriously, though, if you have any good ideas of how to evict the noisy neighbors, please share. Oh, and if you see our church treasurer, tell him I blogged that I worked on the stuff he asked me to do.