Sing Praise, God is My King, Psalm 9

Psalm 9

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back;
    they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
    proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
    in the gates of Daughter Zion,
    and there rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal. (Psalm 9:1-20, New International Version).

Today, for the first time since we began our study of Psalms, I felt a bit of writer’s block. There were a few verses in Psalm 9 that I kept feeling drawn to. Specifically those verses are 1-2, and 7-11. I started taking what I was hearing in those words and wrote a poem/song lyrics. I have titled this, “Sing Praise, God is My King.” I will work on a musical setting in the days ahead.

Sing Praise, God is My King

Why do we wait for thanks, you bless us each day Lord?
Yet we think we must wait for the one special day!
I cannot count my gifts, the gifts that come from you,
Stubborn am I, even when you touch this broken clay.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

Open my heart to You, that I might see your love.
I say I will thank you with all my heart, but fall short.
Open my eyes and touch my heart, all of my heart.
Have my heart before I enter your divine port.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

When I should tell the world of your love for each child,
Your deeds for your children are many and are great,
Open my mouth to speak of your love for the world.
Help me tell your people now Lord, this should not wait.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

Lord your love makes me glad, you live each day in me.
I sing a song of praise, I do rejoice in you.
You fill my heart with love, you bless my soul with grace.
You are the great I AM, your love I have known grew.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

I sing to you this day, I pray to you Most High.
Guide me in your ways so I will follow forever.
Establish your throne down in the depths of my heart.
Your bonds are tied to my soul, they can’t be severed.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

Your oppressed children, seek refuge this day in you.
In these days of trouble, be for us a stronghold.
Lead us to trust you and not forsake your children.
May all the world seek your face and live in your fold.

I will sing praise to the Lord, for God is my King.
Rejoice the Lord of Zion is here, with you and me.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Permission is given for the non-commercial use of this poem.

(727)

Feelings of Insignificance (Psalm 8)

French lighthouse of la Jument taken from a helicopter during a 2007 storm by Jean Guichard

Psalm 8

For the music leader. According to the Gittith. A psalm of David.

8 Lord, our Lord, how majestic
    is your name throughout the earth!
    You made your glory higher than heaven!
From the mouths of nursing babies
    you have laid a strong foundation
    because of your foes,
    in order to stop vengeful enemies.
When I look up at your skies,
    at what your fingers made—
    the moon and the stars
    that you set firmly in place—
        what are human beings
            that you think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you pay attention to them?
You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
    crowning them with glory and grandeur.
You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
    putting everything under their feet—
        all sheep and all cattle,
        the wild animals too,
        the birds in the sky,
        the fish of the ocean,
        everything that travels the pathways of the sea.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9, Common English Bible.

From the signal bridge (since the Navy doesn’t have the signalman rate (MOS) any longer, I have no idea what they call what we called the signal bridge) on a clear day, you can see 12 miles to the horizon. That is a lot of water. If you have been on a cruise you have a pretty good idea of the experience. To stand on that ship, which standing on a pier and looking up at it seems so large and you out at see it seems so small. Throw some 40 foot waves into the equation and you can’t help but realize how small you are. It brings feelings of insignificance.

I know I have said it before, actually just a few days ago, when you stand on the bridge at night and look at the night sky, I am not if you could see more stars at any place on the planet. There are so many stars. Without the pollution and the light pollution that clouds our atmosphere you can see so many stars. Even if you have gone on a cruise in the Caribbean or some where else, because they light those ships so bright, I am pretty sure you would not see as many stars. I think if you were somewhere out in the desert southwest you would probably have a pretty good idea.

Then think of the man standing in the lighthouse door in the picture above. The lighthouse, a structure built with human hands makes the lighthouse keeper seem like a small man. I have no idea if he is or not. The waves crashing into lighthouse of la Jument add the the idea of insignificance.

Think also about the vastness of God’s creation. I drive by ranches from time to time here in East Texas. To look across a pasture and see the horses and cattle, and thinking, “That is one pasture and the animals of one rancher.

Think of all the unwanted dogs and cats that wander our streets let alone those who are in shelters and then add on top of both the pets who have homes and are cared for.

Think of every tree in a single forest. Think about the wildflowers that grow in so many places around us.

The list is really endless. To think of all God did in creation. Then when God created the human creature with so much God given power and ability. I can’t help bu think, perhaps those feelings of insignificance are there to keep us from thinking we are bigger, more important, more powerful, than we actually are.

The psalmist had a pretty good idea about those feelings of insignificance too. Read these words of the psalmist again, “When I look up at your skies,
at what your fingers made—the moon and the stars that you set firmly in place—what are human beings that you think about them; what are human beings that you pay attention to them? You’ve made them only slightly less than divine, crowning them with glory and grandeur. You’ve let them rule over your handiwork, putting everything under their feet…”

With all God’s power, and though we abuse the faith God put in us to care for God’s creation, God has let us rule over the Divine handiwork and put everything under our feet. We may sometimes think we are insignificant but God does not. God continues to allow us to maintain our stewardship of God’s handiwork. But, more significant than that, through God’s omnipresence, through God’s power, God walks with us every day. God is always present in our lives.

Friend, if it were not for what God does for us, we really would be insignificant. But, because God walks with us. God gives us power and dominion.

You and I do have significance but it isn’t because of us. It is all about what God does for us. We are significance in spite of the ways we fail to live out God’s call on our lives. In spite of anything and everything we gave done, God looks on us and pushes us in the direction God would have us go.

Friend, never, ever forget, YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT!!! It isn’t because of you (or me), but rather in spite of you (and me). God loves you (us) and that makes all of us significant.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Permission is give to use this material for non-commercial purposes.

(726)

What in the Heck is a Gittith? (Psalm 8)

Psalm 8

For the music leader. According to the Gittith. A psalm of David.

8 Lord, our Lord, how majestic
    is your name throughout the earth!
    You made your glory higher than heaven!
From the mouths of nursing babies
    you have laid a strong foundation
    because of your foes,
    in order to stop vengeful enemies.
When I look up at your skies,
    at what your fingers made—
    the moon and the stars
    that you set firmly in place—
        what are human beings
            that you think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you pay attention to them?
You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
    crowning them with glory and grandeur.
You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
    putting everything under their feet—
        all sheep and all cattle,
        the wild animals too,
        the birds in the sky,
        the fish of the ocean,
        everything that travels the pathways of the sea.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9, Common English Bible.

From time to time, we encounter a word in the Bible and we don’t know its meaning. In reality, some of these words, we haven’t a clue as to what they might mean. When we encounter one of these words, it is my intention to pause and give you a background meaning I have found in my research of that word.

Today we encounter one of those words. The word Gittith is one of those words. It is believed to be either a musical stringed instrument or a certain style or genre of music.

Gittith can be found in three places in Scripture, Psalm 8, Psalm 81, and Psalm 84. In each case, Gittith is part of the instructions at the very beginning of each psalm.

The largest group of opinions states that word points to a stringed instrument. It easily could have been one that looks something like the picture at the top. I find that an interesting instrument. Much like an acoustic guitar, the body those sound holes are important. That box on the body of the instruments serves much like the body of a guitar. So the sound needs a place to come out of the body hence, the sound hole. I did find pictures of what some scholars to believe the instrument that did not have sound holes.

When someone strikes up a heavy metal song, Christian or not, they know the heavy metal sound. If a Gittith was a particular genre or styles, you likely would have known when the choir started singing the song.

These two opinions are not the only ones available. The word is often, as it is in the Common English Bible, left untranslated. Others translate it as we have already seen it, into a Hebrew word meaning “wine.” Another translation uses the Philistine city of Gath.

One final possibility says that Gittith might have been a popular song tune in the Hebrew world. Putting new lyrics to an old favorite is nothing new. I do that pretty regularly these days. I know others do that too. In the United Methodist Hymnal there is a hymn titled “The Gift of Love.” There is one other in the hymnal using that tune in they hymnal, “Where Love is Found.” The third is a pretty recent addition to songs going with that tune titled, “Hymn of Praise.” The fourth song is one I wrote. If you are interested, let me know.

We may never know what Gittith means this side of eternity. And I have a basic theory that when we get there we are going to be too busy with a gillion other things to even care. So who is right? Only God know.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Permission is given for non-commercial purposes.

(725)

Source: Bible Odysesey

Sell Your Stuff… Give to the Poor (Sunday Sermon)

17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”

18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother.”

20 “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.

23 Looking around, Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom!” 24 His words startled the disciples, so Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

26 They were shocked even more and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.”

28 Peter said to him, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you.”

29 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news 30 will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.” (Mark 10:17-31, Common English Bible)

               Your soul, not to mention your budget, is in mortal danger as you approach the grocery store checkout line.       

               You ask, “How?”

               You’ve carefully filled your cart with the needed outlined on your list. You patiently wait in line, always seeming to pick the one that’s slowest. Yet somehow, by the time the checker starts tallying the items in your cart, it has suddenly filled up with a pack of gum, a box of Tic-Tacs, a new TV Guide, a four pack of 9 volt batteries, three candy bars, a publication for inquiring minds, and a partridge in a pear tree.

               If your five-year-old is along, you may also have accumulated a Pez dispenser, a Mylar balloon with a Disney character on it, a plastic “cellular” phone filled with tiny pieces of bubble gum, and a children’s book.

               Stores purposefully pack this kind of junky, funky, consumer gunk into the narrow gauntlet, we must run to get to the check-out register. Things we would never intentionally have gone searching for are now right there at our fingertips. They are inviting us, no, insisting to us that we grab them and take them home.

               Although impulsively buying a pack of gum or a candy bar hardly seems earth shattering or soul-threatening, the truth is that the increasing voracious appetites of this consumer culture are being methodically nurtured and stimulated by a crass and crushing consumerism. The worldwide ramifications of such little things as a checkout gauntlet are ominous.

               After a bad day, some would sigh, “The world is going to heck in a hand basket.” Today we can sigh even more deeply on a daily basis that the whole world is going is “going to heck in a shopping cart.” For an increasing number of people, self-identity and life-purposes are summed up by the mantra, “I shop, therefore I am.” Raging consumerism has left Descartes’, “I think, therefore I am” sitting in the dust. Consumer culture has never even heard of, much less considered, God’s revelation to Moses, “I am who I am; therefore, you are.”

               Like the rich young man in today’s lesson, we know ourselves, we identify ourselves, we define ourselves, by our possessions, our things, our “stuff.” This young man was so possessed by his “stuff” that he couldn’t unstuff himself, neither for the sake of the poor, nor for his own sake and his quest for eternal life. Faced with the choice between his old secure, in control, in charge self and the unknown possibilities of life as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the rich young man clung to his human illusions of power and control.

               Who or what controls your life?

               I’ve spent some time contemplating that question. Of course, I would like to say that God does and at least most of the time that would be true. But, the same time, it is also true that I am accountable to other people. I am accountable to varying degrees to all of you. I am accountable to a district superintendent and a bishop. Though I have spoken to the various bishops in our conference, at least while they were still serving as a bishop, in only brief conversations over the past nine plus years, make no mistake, I am accountable to the bishop.

               I also know that while society may say I am the head of my household, I am also accountable to my wife. Let me spend too much money in the wrong place and the wrong time and I can promise you I will hear about it. And friends, you do not want to see her go redhead. It isn’t pretty.

               I am also accountable to various people that expect me to pay my bills. If I fail to pay my bills, it won’t take long before they are coming to me or calling me wanting to know when they can expect payment and if I don’t pay they don’t hesitate to let me know that there would be consequences coming my way in pretty short order.

               All of that led me to think, what would I do if somehow, someway, I knew beyond any reasonable doubt that God was calling on me to sell all my stuff and give the money to the poor. My brother-in-law told me Cindy and I could come and live with him and my sister.  I’m not sure that would be such a good idea. Anyway, I digress. Before a few years ago I think I would have answered that question without hesitation, “Yes, I would do what God was telling me to do.” But then after one move, Cindy had an incredibly difficult time finding a job. Having to live on less money than we previously had in a long time and seeing how difficult it could be to live that way, now, I’m not so sure. To be honest I rather enjoy the lifestyle to which I have grown accustomed. While I am sure we could live on less, I don’ really think I want to. So now, when I am honest with myself, I would have to answer the question, “I am not sure what I would do if God called on me to sell my stuff and give to the poor.

Jesus put rich young man on the spot. Though he obviously didn’t live in our consumer culture, the rich young man had the mindset of many of us today. He had the Jones virus, as in, “I’ve got to keep up with the Jones’.” Mark tells us what Jesus was asking was a big deal to the young man. Further, Mark goes so far as to tell us why. He had a lot of stuff. He saw himself in the things he possessed. We don’t know what he had. Perhaps it was nice clothing or jewelry. Maybe it was horses and oxen and a nice wagon or a chariot. Then again it might have been a three-bedroom two bath house with an attached two car garage. Oh wait, that would be us. I know those kinds of houses didn’t exist in those days, but you get my point. What he had may have been a nice house, more than a single room, with a barn to keep those horses and oxen. Or, could it have been that he had all of that and more?

Could it be that the rich young man had gotten used to a lifestyle where he walked out and got on a horse and went for a ride instead of walking everywhere, he went as most people did during that era?

If you stop and think about it, Jesus’ instruction to the rich young man is radical, even for that day. For most people back then, non-Romans living in a place controlled by the Roman Empire, they had little. The government wasn’t going to let most have much so the rich young man was an exception to the rule.

This young man was more attached to his stuff than he was to God’s promise. He wanted his stuff. He wanted to be in control of his life and what he had and he could not, would not let go.

I think the good news for us in this lesson is, I really don’t think God is calling on us to dispose of our stuff and give all the money away. Wesley did say, “Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can.” Most of us put priority on earning. A few less would apply the saving part to the equation. Unfortunately, not too many of us, not even we Christians have that giving part down the way we should. This sermon isn’t a sermon about giving. It is a sermon about priorities, but earning, saving, and giving should be a priority for all of us. I am reminded of something I wish someone had gotten through my thick head when I was a lot younger. It is called the rule of 80 and I believe it is both Wesleyan and would fit our priorities. Take your household income. Save 10 percent. Give 10 percent and live on the 80 percent. I puts everything a lot closer to where it should be.

It seems to me we miss a lot in life. We miss a lot because we don’t give. I believe God blesses cheerful givers in ways beyond what most of us can imagine. We miss a lot in life because we don’t always save as we should. For many of us, particularly when we are young. Saving just isn’t a priority. And, we miss a lot when we get caught up in the consumer culture and we are caught up in all our stuff. Always remember, it is just that, stuff.

Whales are some of the most amazing creatures God made. Fin whales can easily hear the bleeps of other fin whales 4,000 miles away, some scientists argue up to 13,000 miles. Humpbacks like to sing in rhyme, and the songs they sing are always changing while at the same time, they are passed from male to male, so that in any one season all the whales of a single ocean will be singing the same song.

In February 1928, a female blue whale who roamed freely throughout the Antarctic for decades was killed. From measurements taken at the time, some scientists are convinced she was the largest creature ever to live on Earth – bigger than any known dinosaur or leviathan.

But the people who had the privilege of seeing her never saw her. They were in such a hurry to harvest her blubber and find other family members of her huge species so they salvaged nothing – not a single picture, not a single bone. Nothing.

What are you missing in life because of the blubber? What part of God’s kingdom are you not experiencing because of the rush to make a living or just accumulate one more item of stuff? What good is “stuff” without the stuff of eternity? Will you give up the chaff for the real stuff… the stuff of life… the stuff of eternity.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

(724)

So From the Showers We Flee

And we have reached Saturday once again. I am sending you another of my song lyrics or poems. I hope you enjoy it.

Several years ago, early in my ministry I was in a used book store and bought a book I have long sense forgotten. When I got home with the book I did what I usually do with books I buy, at least for a while, it went on the shelf. When my next trip came along, I pulled the book out to take with me. Sometime between the shelf and my briefcase a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up and it was a newspaper clipping. It had about 10 hymn quotes, but they weren’t too much about the lyrics. I have no idea where the book went. I probably gave it away to another new preacher starting out. I have even less of an idea what happened to the newspaper clipping. I guess it got lost in one of my moves in the past.

Anyway, not wanting to forget any more than I already have, I decided to write some song lyrics for the hymn lines I can remember. These are intended to be funny but also get a little more serious at the end. I hope you enjoy.

In honor of all the rain we have had in East Texas in the recent past (when I walk the dog I sink in the mud), “We sing, ‘There Shall be Showers of Blessing’ and then won’t go to church in the rain.” Obviously, the tune for this song is, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.”

[Verse 1]
There shall be showers of blessing
From God a promise we gain,
We hear the blessings on roof-tops
It sounds a whole lot like rain;

[Chorus 1]
Showers of blessing,
Blessings God knows that we need
We think we’ll melt just like sugar,.
So, from the showers we flee.

[Verse 2]
There shall be showers of blessing,
Today rain will keep me in bed.
More sleep I’ll find it relaxing,
Skip church, read a novel instead…

[Chorus 1]

[Verse 3]
There shall be showers of blessing,
Raincoats may keep our clothes dry.
Wet is my head as the rain falls,
Lost that umbrella of mine…

[Chorus 1]

[Verse 4]
There shall be showers of blessing,
I pray the waters soon peak.
Blessings on blessings around me,
Rain hasn’t stopped here all week…

[Chorus 1]

[Verse 5]
There shall be showers of blessing,
The dog tries to shake his fur dry.
He raised his head to the heavens,
Barks at the rain in the sky…

[Chorus 1]

[Verse 6]
There shall be showers of blessing,
Today I stayed home on a lark.
Blessings are gone its just water,
I think I will build me an ark…

[Chorus 1]

[Verse 7]
There shall be showers of blessing,
Thunder won’t run me away.
We need some rain for a harvest.
Thank God I’m in Church today…

[Chorus 2]
Showers of blessing,
Rain will not keep us away.
We will not melt we’re not sugar.
Through showers we’ll worship today.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

In Search of the genuine,
Keith

(723)

Seeing God's Majesty (Psalm 8)

Seeing God's Majesty (Psalm 8)
Boundary Waters USA/Quitico Provencial Park Canada

Psalm 8

For the music leader. According to the Gittith. A psalm of David.

8 Lord, our Lord, how majestic
    is your name throughout the earth!
    You made your glory higher than heaven![b]
From the mouths of nursing babies
    you have laid a strong foundation
    because of your foes,
    in order to stop vengeful enemies.
When I look up at your skies,
    at what your fingers made—
    the moon and the stars
    that you set firmly in place—
        what are human beings
            that you think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you pay attention to them?
You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
    crowning them with glory and grandeur.
You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
    putting everything under their feet—
        all sheep and all cattle,
        the wild animals too,
        the birds in the sky,
        the fish of the ocean,
        everything that travels the pathways of the sea.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth (Psalm 8:1-8, Common English Bible)!

We have reached Psalm 8. I love this psalm. It is one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. I remember the first time I led a Disciple Bible Study class, one of the early assignments was to memorize Psalm 8. For those who are skeptical about the purpose of memorizing any scripture, think of it this way, the only Bible that is truly yours is the Bible you carry in your heart and in your head. Any Bible made of ink and paper can be taken from you. The Scripture you know you can lean on is the Scripture within. Anyway, that isn’t really what I wanted to talk about today.

Where have you seen the hand of God? I have seen the hand of God many places. As we celebrate the majesty of God, the majestic name of the Lord as David puts it in this psalm, I started to compile a list of what I think are the most beautiful works of God I have seen. A couple of things I would say up front, this is by no means a complete list. I think any of us could write a book of what and where we have seen the hand of God. Also, your list (which I home you will take the time to write, will likely be different than mine. I have seen things you have not. Likewise, you have seen things I have not.

I am going to share the place, a picture why it is on my list. In true David Letterman style, I will begin with number 10.

10. A calm as glass sea.

A Glassy Sea

The water is almost never completely smooth. When it does get very calm, it is so beautiful though at night the feeling can be pretty eerie. My experience with the perfectly calm sea was returning from Europe we caught the jet stream. We had perfect weather all the way home. It was beautiful and was easy to see God’s Hand.

9. Pike’s Peak Colorado

Pike’s Peak from The Garden of the Gods

Colorado and Wyoming are so beautiful and it is difficult to pick just one. I found this picture of Pike’s Peak taken from the Garden of the Gods. One of my favorite memories is seeing Pike’s Peak from my Uncle’s living room in Colorado Spring. At Christmas when I was 14 I could see the ski slope on that peak. I think its name was Broadmore. Hey, its been almost 50 years ago. I really remember the beauty of Pike’s Peak.

8. The night sky at sea.

The Night Sky at Sea

The picture doesn’t do it justice. At sea, hundreds of miles from a coast, on a cloudless night and no light pollution from coastal (or if inland cities there) cities, it is an amazing sight. It lets us know how hard God was working with the creation of the heavens. The stars at sea must be seen to know their beauty and to see God’s majesty.

7. Dolphins Playing with the Ship

Dolphins and a NOAA Ship taken from the deck of a US Navy Ship

The dolphins would have great fun with the ship. They would come up from behind and race the ship. When they would pass they would settle back into the water, let the ship pass them, and then race them all over again. They would do this for an hour or two at a time. They are beautiful creatures and again, God’s hand is clear.

6. Whales and Eagles – San Juan Islands, Washington

Whales Taken in San Juan Islands – Washington
Bald Eagle at San Juan Islands – Washington

n 2007 I went on a mission trip working with the Nook Sak Indians in Washington State, North of Seattle. After we finished our work, before heading home we had an opportunity to see whales and bald eagles during the same excursion. They are both truly majestic creatures.

5. The Grand Canyon – Arizona

Grand Canyon – Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the great wonders of the planet. It is amazing how God used wind and water to create this from what was flat ground. On my most recent trip here (I have been twice), my parents joined Cindy and I on the trip. We talked about what a shock it would have been for the first settlers moving west to be on relatively flat ground and then encounter this giant hole. To see the sunset over the canyon (first trip) is magnificent. The way God colors the sky has to be seen to understand.

4. Waterfalls – Yosemite National Park – California

Waterfalls – Yosemite National Park, California

Most people I have known who have visited Yosemite, the thing they remember and want to talk about is El Capitan, a vertical formation of rocks more than 7500 feet above sea level and 3600 feet above the Yosemite valley. While El Capitan is impressive, make no mistake about that, these waterfalls were the first I had seen in person. I was fascinated. The beauty of God’s work is truly amazing.

3. The Fjords of Norway

The Fjords of Norway

I saw a lot during my time in the Navy. I have already talked about a glass ocean, dolphins, and the night sky, all at sea. And, while I saw many beautiful things, they were mostly, at best, humans having a hand in God’s work. Copenhagen Denmark is a beautiful city, but it is human work. God may have played a role, but clearly there was human work playing a major role. I could have used 40′ seas in the North Sea (This post is about God’s work and majesty. I will save God’s power for another time.) The Fjords of Norway are a great example. When my ship entered the Fjords, it was night. We were unable to see the magnificence. We sat in a small bay at anchor for a week. It was dreary and foggy most of that week. We couldn’t see the beauty. The day we weighed anchor and left the sun came out. You would see these cliffs rising out of the water more than 2000 feet. Working on the ship’s bridge, I also knew how deep the water was from which these cliffs were rising. It also was as much as 3000 feet deep. The Fjords of Norway are awe inspiring.

2. Crater Lake – Oregon

Crater Lake – Oregon

Because of this beautiful place, when I was a 12-15 year old kid, I wanted to move to Oregon. This lake inside a dormant volcano, with another dormant volcano inside the lake (Wizard Island), is much like the calm sea, like looking at a sheet of glass. Most of the time the wind cannot get to the water because of the sides of the outer volcano. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Again, I know it gets redundant, God’s creation brings us beauty we otherwise would never know.

1. Lake Silence – Boundary Waters, Minnesota/Quitico Provincial Park, Ontario

Lake Agness – Boundry Waters, Minnesota/Quitico Provincial Park, Ontario

After all the others this one might seem anti-climactic. Lake Silence to me (The picture is of Lake Agnes. Silence is much smaller and closer to the US border. On this trip I did spend time on Agnes and I could not find a pic of Silence). We were on Silence the day before we would be crossing the border back into the US after 10 days and more than 100 miles. I am not going into a lot of detail here. I will just say, after completing my evening duties, I pushed out in a canoe and paddled to the middle of the lake and sat and watched the sunset. As I watched the lake lived up to its name. In the distance I could hear our camp if I paid attention but mostly it was quiet. As the sunset for the first time I felt God reach out and touch me. It was not something like my profession of faith or my call to ministry. It was, for the first time, a very real feeling that God was there.

Well, those are my ten majestic scenes, ten things where I see the majesty of God. What are your ten. Where do you see God’s majesty at work. You don’t have to go into detail but I would love to see your list in the comments.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth (Psalm 8:9).

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Permission is granted to use this work for non-commercial purposes.

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Your Hand to Us Display (Psalm 7)

I take refuge in you, Lord, my God.
    Save me from all who chase me!
    Rescue me!
Otherwise, they will rip me apart,
    dragging me off with no chance of rescue.
Lord, my God, if I have done this—
        if my hands have done anything wrong,
        if I have repaid a friend with evil
        or oppressed a foe for no reason—
    then let my enemy
        not only chase but catch me,
        trampling my life into the ground,
        laying my reputation in the dirt. Selah
Get up, Lord; get angry!
    Stand up against the fury of my foes!
Wake up, my God;[b]
    you command that justice be done!
Let the assembled peoples surround you.
    Rule them from on high![c]
The Lord will judge the peoples.
    Establish justice for me, Lord,
    according to my righteousness
    and according to my integrity.
Please let the evil of the wicked be over,
    but set the righteous firmly in place
    because you, the righteous God,
    are the one who examines hearts and minds.

10 God is my shield;
    he saves those whose heart is right.
11 God is a righteous judge,
    a God who is angry at evil[d] every single day.
12 If someone doesn’t change their ways,
    God will sharpen his sword,
    will bend his bow,
    will string an arrow.
13 God has deadly weapons in store
    for those who won’t change;
    he gets his flaming arrows ready!

14 But look how the wicked hatch evil,
    conceive trouble, give birth to lies!
15 They make a pit, dig it all out,
    and then fall right into the hole that they’ve made!
16 The trouble they cause
        will come back on their own heads;
    the violence they commit
        will come down on their own skulls.
17 But I will thank the Lord
        for his righteousness;
    I will sing praises
        to the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7, Common English Bible)

Your Hand to Us Display

A poem based on Psalm 7 by Keith Broyles

Lord, what did I do wrong?
Those who accuse me lie.
They believe they stand strong.
You and truth, they defy.

Scream and shout, blame, blame, blame,
Their fingers point to me.
Lord you know me, my name.
You are truth, help me see.

O God, you know my heart.
You know me, your servant.
You have blessed from my start.
Blameless, I am fervent.

Show my accusers their err.
Teach them truth, show them love.
I am wronged, I shall be fair.
I will show and rise above.

May they see their error.
Let the ground not collapse.
Allow not hands of terror.
Bring no pit in earth’s gaps.

May we show love to you.
From faithful hearts today.
Joy, grace, and praise be true.
Your hand, to us, display.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Permission is given to use this material for non-commercial purposes.

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