But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalms 1:2
I am traveling this week. On Saturday morning I picked up “Encouragements For Others” at Beacon of Truth ministries in Florence, SC. More about that later. I arrived in the Washington DC area in moderate traffic, but the opposite way, heading south, was bumper-to-bumper. There were patriotic rallies in the city on Saturday and they were apparently over or wrapping up.
I will be in Maryland through Thursday morning, staying with a long time “buddy,” whose husband happens to be the pastor that baptized me in 1988. Dr. Creed played an important part of solidifying my faith in God, by teaching and preaching in such a way that I knew I was hearing important truths that would change the course of my life, though I did not know how.
June, his wife, and I became buddies almost immediately. We shared many of the same interests and we still do. Although being busy with ministry and much travel, she is a homemaker at heart and loves her husband. What an example she is to Christian women in following the paths God has for them. She is the kind of woman I want to be. Her friendship surely shaped who I am today.
While traveling I began thinking about David. Part of his testimony, reputation is that he praised God. He praised God when he marveled at His works. David praised God when He delivered him from precarious and dangerous circumstances. David praised God as he fled from his son Absalom. He prepared to worship God as soon as his son died, accepting the decision of God.
As I considered the various times I decided to do do a study about the times when David praised God in the throes of great difficulty. We often offer a sincere praise of gratitude to God when He blesses us in obvious ways or when a prayer is answered. Do I genuinely praise Him while I am suffering?
As these thoughts and discoveries develop I will share them here. Perhaps I can develop a lesson series for the ladies in India. Within the past week, I decided what I want to teach next. Whether it will be virtually or in-person is to be determined but I am grateful for options we have today. I am grateful for technology and the ability to use it for good. The subject will be Philippians! Paul taught about real joy in the midst of real suffering. Perfect challenge for today’s world.
Traveling alone need not be lonely. I learn. I pray, I think. During this 2 days of travel, I listened to the Psalms, which is probably what got me to thinking about David’s praise life. I listened to my girl’s latest Christmas CD, but I also listened to several hymn CDs that I have not and sensed new appreciation for their beauty and encouragements. (Not really CDs; my music is loaded onto my phone, which play through my car. An example of positive technology!)
I talked to the Lord, and I praised Him. Each time I shut my car off, I said a short prayer for the safety, provision and pleasures of the journey.
I caught up on a favorite podcast. Eleven2One is the name. As I listened I had several thoughts: It is human nature to choose to listen to “entertainment” that requires nothing of us, to music that gets our minds psyched and hyped up. If we are selective in what our ears hear, we will remain cheerful and optimistic longer and more deeply. Until we develop a taste for God’s music and His teaching we may prefer the offerings of the world. Not everything the world has to offer is bad.
But! I will never forget something my pastor’s wife said while teaching. I think I have made it one of my battle creeds. Don’t choose what is good; choose what is best. Simplicity and profundity in one. I believe that filling my mind with superior content helps me to maintain a longer lasting contentment than with things that stimulate temporarily. Think potato chips versus a salmon filet. The fish yields pleasure and health. The potato chips yield pleasure and …. Well; you get the idea.
Back to this podcast: It is wonderful because it is a radio broadcast interspersed with music that I already love and songs I don’t know. This podcast is geared for women and the things that concern us. It is uplifting and rich in nuggets to ponder. The radio show is a local program in Indiana. Choosing to listen to better things has never been easier. A little bit of tech savvy and you will have it. If you read this and feel stumped, just drop me a line and I will walk you through it. My honor.
Back to what my little ears listened to. I spent several hours listening to 2 books, one was a fiction book. It was ok. Since I started it, I finished it. Mindless entertainment for part of the journey, but I’d not recommend it. The other was a book I’d never sit down to read, but was one I was interested in. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I am not a detail person, but the book had my interest by the unexpected introduction.
For blocks of travel time, I shut all noise down to think and pray. I may be reaching the level of badgering God about a couple of things. You know, Harry was a great decision maker and I miss his input and strength in helping me shape thoughts. God is certainly not a second thought, but it is true that when we do not have that person with skin on, our relationship with God can strengthen mightily – if we choose it. And that is best choosing!
Wishful thinking doesn’t change reality. Lee Strobel