I’ve said this before, but I want to repeat it now because of what we have had to endure over the past several weeks and how I have had a lot of time to really reflect on life — its trials and tribulations and its joys. The application in present times seems appropriate.

I listen to music frequently; sometimes just for pleasure, but more often, for relaxation, motivation, or inspiration. There are four songs that I especially enjoy because they say so much about life and my need for total reliance upon the LORD.

Josh Turner (the “other” Josh, with just as powerful, but much deeper, voice) sings two of my favorites. One, “Long Black Train” contains these words: “There’s a long black train coming down the line, feeding off the souls that are lost and crying, rails of sin only evil remains, watch out brother for that long black train. Look to the heavens you can look to the sky…find redemption staring back into your eyes. There is protection and there’s peace the same…Cause there’s victory in the Lord…Cling to the Father and His holy name, and don’t go riding on that long black train.” The other song is “Me and God” (okay, teachers and writers, remember song writer’s lyrical license): “There ain’t nothing that can’t be done by me and God. Ain’t nobody comin’ between me and God, one day we’ll live together where the angels trod…early in the morning…late at night talking it over, Me and God…I am weak and He is strong…He forgives me when I’m wrong…He’s the One I lean on when life gets hard…He’s my Father, He’s my friend…we’re a team, Me and God…”

Josh Groban (the artist more familiar to most of us) sings “You Raise Me Up,” which has only a few lyrics but says volumes about what God can do with, and through, us: “When I am down and, oh, my soul so weary, when troubles come and my heart burdened be, then I am still and wait here in the silence, until you come and sit a while with me. You raise me up so I can stand on mountains…to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when I am on your shoulders, You raise me up to more than I can be.”

             “The Prayer” sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion contains these inspiring and comforting lyrics: “I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go, and help us to be wise when we don’t know, let this be our prayer, when we lose our way, ‘Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace, to a place where we’ll be safe…when shadows fill our day…watch us from above, lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace, give us faith so we’ll be safe.’”

In reflection, some scriptures that come to my mind are: (1st Peter 5:8) “…be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (James 4:7) “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:8) “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”.     (1st Corin.15:57) “…God, Who gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ.”  I also think of: Mark 10:27, "…With people it is impossible, but…with God…all things are possible…”; 1st Thes. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing”; 1st John 1:7&9 “but…we have…the blood of Jesus…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”; 2nd Sam. 22:33 “God is my strong fortress. And He sets the blameless in His (my) way”; Heb. 11:1&6 “Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him…a rewarder of those who (diligently-NKJV) seek Him.”  Finally, in one of my favorite passages, John 14:1-3, Jesus says: “Do not let your heart be troubled…in My Father’s house are many dwelling places (mansions-NKJV)…I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.”

May our actions and words always be reflective of the great love we have for our God and each other (1st John 4:7-12) and may those who see or hear us see Christ living in, and through us (Gal. 2:20). I pray that the Good Shepherd and our God will continue to bless us all as we strive —

daily — to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to Him!

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