In the Palm of His Hand

Grandma Jeanne, this is for you. (And anyone else who would be blessed by this lovely song.)

(From Psalm 91and Isaiah 40:31)

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
who abide in His shadow for life,
say to the Lord: “My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!”

Refrain: And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of His hand.

The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
and famine will bring you no fear:
under His wings your refuge, His faithfulness your shield.

Refrain: And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of His hand.

You need not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day;
though thousands fall about you, near you it shall not come.

Refrain: And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of His hand.

For to His angels He’s given a command
to guard you in all of your ways;
upon their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Refrain: And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of His hand.

Party Time

Emmy left for school today with a bag of Valentines she had prepared for her class and teachers and even the pastor. She also had packed a bag of chocolate kisses and boxes of candy hearts with messages on them for her fellow students. It brought back memories of being in first grade, and having the big party to look forward at the end of the school day with the pink frosted cupcakes and cards to read. Delicious.

Aunt Kris sent some heart socks that we decided would be an appropriate touch for the party. Emmy informed me that she would like to wear her Sunday shoes instead of school shoes, because the socks called for more celebratory footwear. (That was the gist of it anyway!)

valentine'sDay

 

 

An Obituary Full of Life

“So, I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.But, I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?”

These lines are taken from an obituary sent to me by a friend. The words that were penned by the woman before she passed away sum up a life rich in many ways, but most of all in love. She wrote, “I’ve always maintained that my greatest treasures call me Nana. That’s not exactly true. You see, the youngest of my grand-angels, Ella Ashley Kramer and Finley Christian Kramer call me “Grand Nana…”

I don’t care what religion you claim to possess, what creed you profess, if you don’t cherish your own children and grandchildren, your own brothers or sisters, you’re very poor.To be pitied. And your religion, if it doesn’t produce love for your own family, is worthless.

I read through this piece several times, it’s so full of life well lived. The gratitude for blessings received is exemplary. As the woman wrote, “How much more blessed can a person be?”

That’s why counting blessings ought to be a daily exercise.

Count your blessings one by one
When dawn appears and day has just begun
They will light your heart with happiness
Make each hour bright and bring you gladness

Count your blessings one by one
When twilight falls and toil of day is done
And in sweet dreams they’ll come again to you
If you will count your blessings each day through

Count your blessings while you may
For we are here but little time to stay
All around are hearts sincere and true
Lovely things abound just waiting for you

Count your blessings while you may
The big or small, whichever comes your way
For then you’ll find this world a place of love
If you will count your blessings from above

Reginald Morgan & Edith Temple

Little Things

Our little girl in ruffly socks and white shoes, ready for church. Sunshine pouring in at the window. An unexpected kiss on the cheek. They are the little things that make life sweet.

Happy Sunday.

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It’s the People

TomIngI saw a photo recently of a graduation party for a high school girl. The year was 1946. The scene was a crowded Brooklyn apartment, a third story walk-up. The small table was cluttered with dishes. Seated around the table were a mom and pop and four high school girls with huge smiles, their moment of laughter and happiness caught on film.

There were no granite counter-tops in that kitchen, no gleaming stainless steel appliances and Italian tile back splashes (as nice as those things are.) But there were loved ones and friends together, enjoying each other’s company as they marked a life milestone together. That was a very rich family in that photo. They were rich in people.

I have a sister and brother-in-law who make a point to come from over 800 miles away EmBirthdayfor our children. One or both of them have been here for nearly every important life event the kids have had. There is a sound that always signals that Mike and Kris are here. It’s the laughter that goes on—the reminiscing about school days and neighbors and all the good times that have gone by. I learn about my husband’s childhood by listening, and I enjoy hearing about all that has made him the wonderful man he is.

It’s the people who enrich our lives. The time spent together around birthday cakes and graduations, and yes, funerals and family catastrophes and loss. You cannot buy this. You can’t rent it or advertise for it. People who love you are a gift from God. Don’t ever take them for granted. They don’t have to be there in our lives. They choose to be there. That’s what makes them so special. The love we give in return could not begin to pay it all back.

Will leaves for college on the 21st. His aunt is coming up in a few days just to spend time with him before he leaves and to be there when we drop him off. If there is one message I hope all of our kids take with them in life, it is this: People matter. Value them. Cherish them. Never use them and discard them. They are a one-of-a-kind gift.

Tom and Will have been gone on a father-son weekend since Friday morning. They have gone jet skiing, parasailing, biking and kayaking. But back at this end, Emmy and I have found ourselves a little forlorn. I miss the people. They are coming home this afternoon, and (for a few days anyway) the organ will make the floors vibrate downstairs, the trumpet will sound in practice, and the dear faces will be back at our own small table. It’s the people. It isn’t the same without them.

Thank you, God, for kind and loving people in our lives. We recognize this is a gift straight from you. Amen.

Songs of Praises Lift Our Hearts

sunriseScripture records how David the shepherd boy played his harp and drove out the evil spirit of King Saul. What an incredible thing music is and what it can accomplish, both good or evil.

It can fuel hatred and alienation and violence, or it can sooth someone’s mind, lift their spirits, and as believers in Jesus Christ, it can help us to forget ourselves and move us to worship God.

The poet William Cowper suffered from severe, terrible bouts of depression at times in his life. Yet in 1779, he wrote these words:

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

Although he had a physical body and mind that gave him much torment in his life, he recognized the lifting power of singing of God’s mercies and salvation in Jesus Christ.

HPIM1336.JPGWhile looking for a hymn on YouTube this morning, I experienced the same encouragement. Having put to memory a number of hymns years ago, I enjoy (privately) singing along with them when I get to hear them. One hymn led to another and another. Both the Scriptural texts of these hymns and the music supporting the texts can lift you out of yourself and into heavenly places. This hymn here, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, really blessed me today. That kind of meaty, muscular, vital hymn singing is often missing in churches today, but thankfully, we can still hear it elsewhere. Also, reading the words of Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor, I was reminded of God’s great redemptive plan, and the offering on Calvary, once for all, for our sin. I wonder today if many of our young people even recognize the Old Testament references to Christ in rich hymns like this. Here are the words to this great Communion hymn.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

~  George Hugh Bourne, 1874

Our little daughter, Emmy, folded her hands over breakfast this morning and prayed, “O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. For his steadfast love endures forever!” We can sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, and as we do, we can often see our gloom fall away in the light of our Savior’s face.

Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving Day! We’re thankful here at the Schlueter house for a multitude of things. Ten weeks ago, one of our sons had a catastrophic fall from a truck at work, breaking his hip and femur in 2 places. They later discovered 2 additional fractures in the hip area, complicating the healing. He was in the hospital for 2 weeks and has been in a nursing home for 8 weeks for rehabilitation. He isn’t going to be able to go back to work for six months. What we are thankful for today is that he is able to leave the nursing home to have Thanksgiving with us and that he is up and using a walker now. It’s wonderful to see his improvement.

Emily woke up this morning and her first words to me were, “Happy Thanksgiving, Mama!” Yes, happy thanks to the Lord for so many, many things. For every meal, every friend, for every hug, for every laugh, and yes, for every tear and trial he sends, we can still be thankful, as God works all things out for our good and ultimately, for His glory.

I haven’t been able to write much here at the Hope Blog lately, but will hopefully have more to add soon!

Psalms 116:17 – I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

 

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