November, 15, 2017: “Cold”


Cold (cool, refreshing) is to life, like silence is to music.
There is more to music than sound; there is also silence. The sound of music is not just the measured vibration of the notes:

  • A-440, the standard pitch, is a note sounding at exactly four hundred forty vibrations per second.
  • Half that, A-220, and the note sounds an octave lower.
  • Double it, A-880, and the pitch sounds an octave higher.
  • All other pitches vary in relation to this standard, each with a precise number of vibrations per second.

In theory.

Real live people making music on real instruments make their own imprecise versions of the pitch.  The standard is seldom an exact match to the sounds musicians make.  It is called being “out of tune.”  Playing “in tune” is the mark of a fine player.  It isn’t easy and requires the constant attention of the musician.

Silences are also precisely measured in terms of time:

  • 1 beat,
  • one half of a beat,
  • one third of a beat, or
  • 1 measure or more.

Rests are counted just as carefully by the musician as the notes.

How is cold to life, like silence is to music? 
Life is heat but living requires periods of cold.  Like an immature musician who skips the rests and practices only the notes, we tend to focus on the heat we need to stay alive:

  • body temperature,
  • spiritual temperature,
  • circumstantial heat in the trials of life, and
  • the chosen fires of discipleship.

Sometimes we need to cool down.
As we play our life’s little sonata, we begin to produce music that makes sense when we learn to count the rests as well as the notes.  We do not panic when we feel ourselves cooling a bit, knowing that we cannot live long with constantly elevated temperatures.  We also know that when the “rest” is over, the “notes” will be there again for us to play.

All in all, God never forgets that we are human beings, not divine ones.  We need heat to live and we need cold to rest.  Like the tall and strong hardwood tree that braves the northern winter without its covering of leaves, we rest during the cold seasons.  We can rest because we know that the God of the winter is also the God of the spring.  Warmth will come again as surely as grace flows like a River of Life from the Throne of God, and these bare branches will soon be hidden by the green of new leaves.

As our calendars cool, it is important that our hearts retain their heat for the Kingdom of God. Our music will be measured and comprehensible because the notes we play will be ordered and defined by the rests we count.

Genesis 8:20-22
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Psalm 103:6-18 NKJV
The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,  to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.
Proverbs 25:25
Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.

Lord Jesus, life keeps the heat on for. Sometimes it feels I will be overcome by the details, exhausted by the demands, and discouraged by the defeats. I know You are working all things together for my good and I look forward to those resolutions. As I follow Your will for my life, help me not to miss the rests, the cooling off times You also provide. Help me find moments to take deep breaths and relax in faith, knowing that You have me. Protect me from those who would steal my rest. And, Lord, as I cool down from time to time, keep my heart warm for You! For Your Glory, Lord. Amen.

The Haven of Rest
Words: Henry L. Gilmore; Music: John R. Sween

1. My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying,
“Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

2. I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.


3. The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest.”


4. O come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Belovèd is mine.”


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

November 4, 2017: “Wings”


The neighbor across the street put out corn and birdseed.
The result was a group of sand hill cranes, (see photo) noisy year-round natives of Florida. They are strikingly tall and walk carefully as if the bottoms of their feet are sore. The males wear a natty red cap and are larger than the females. They fight and argue with each other while the lady crane keeps pecking at the seeds and corn as if she were disinterested. They are fun to watch, especially when they decide to fly. Like an old fashioned carrier plane, they need a runway to gain airspeed. When they lift off and circle above the neighborhood and head out to some distant wetlands, the miracle of wings comes to mind.

We have all felt the desire to fly like a bird. It was this passion that led 20th century man to finally master self-propelled flight. Now the phrase, “taking wings” applies to us.

There are so many reasons to take wing:

  • Travel to distant lands,
  • The adventure of defying gravity,
  • To get a higher view of creation, and
  • To escape.

This is the desire of the psalmist:

“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”

Situations here on earth press upon us, seemingly increasing the downward pull of gravity. If we could only do what the birds do—take wing and fly!

But this type of flight remains a metaphor, a fantasy unfulfilled. Birds have wings; we do not.

Or do we?

Is there a way the soul can take wing?

Is there a dove whose wings we can borrow for a while “to fly away and be at rest?” Of course there is. The Heavenly Dove of the Holy Spirit can lift us above the tortured plane of difficulties. To pray in the Spirit is to take wing. To enter the lofty realms of truth in the Word of God is to soar in restful restoring flight. To gather with the saints to worship in Spirit and Truth is to be lifted to the heights of Mt. Zion where God lives and rules. There is found peace, real peace, a peace resting among the promises of God, not the circumstances of earth.

So let us practice our taxi for takeoff—prayer. Let us consult the pre-flight checklist, like any well-trained pilot, making sure all is in proper working order. And let us take wing and soar on the rushing mighty winds of the Spirit. We can travel to distant lands in effectual fervent intercession. We can defy the earthly gravity of circumstances for a while. From these heights, let us get a wider view of life. This escape is restorative, preparing us to land and face the challenges of the day.

Psalm 55:1-9
Hear my prayer, O God; do not hide yourself from my petition. Listen to me and answer me; I have no peace, because of my cares. I am shaken by the noise of the enemy and by the pressure of the wicked; For they have cast an evil spell upon me and are set against me in fury. My heart quakes within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come over me, and horror overwhelms me. And I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee to a far-off place and make my lodging in the wilderness. I would hasten to escape from the stormy wind and tempest.”
Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the Dove of Your Spirit! Let me borrow His wings for a while this morning. Lift me above circumstances, good and bad, to see Your higher purpose in me. Help me take the wings of this morning for a flight to Your heavenly chambers. Let me carry the strength and beauty of Your Presence through this day. Though I am earthbound, Your lofty promises carry me forward, fearlessly into this day. Thank You, Lord, for these wings. Amen.

On the Wings of a Dove
Words and Music: Bob Ferguson

1. When troubles surround us, when evils come
The body grows weak. The spirit grows numb
When these things beset us, God doesn’t forget us
He sends us His love.

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love,
A sign from above On the wings of a dove.

2. When Jesus went down through the river that day
Well, he was baptized in the usual way
And when it was done God blessed His son.
He sent him His love On the wings of a dove.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

September 28, “Providing”


Jehovah Jireh
At one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of Old Testament history God revealed one of the most heart-building covenant names—Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Will Provide.

At the summit of the mountain of testing, Mt. Moriah, Abraham was resigned to the demand of God.  Perhaps he had sharpened the blade of his knife to reduce the pain he would inflict on his only son, Isaac, to bring about a quick and merciful death.  Just as Abraham raised his strong arm to plunge the knife into his long awaited promise, the voice of an angel stopped him and spoke for God—

“Do not lay a hand on the boy!”

Abraham had passed the most demanding test imaginable. 
Another voice split the wind at the summit of Moriah: the bleating of a lamb caught in a thicket.  Jehovah had indeed provided a lamb, fulfilling the promise Abraham had made to Isaac as they climbed the mountain trail.  Abraham learned something more about this God who met with him and spoke with him—He was the God who provides.

Today so many of us will go off to work like we do every weekday. 
In this we are following the image of God in us—we are those who provide.  This provision goes far beyond paychecks and retirement accounts.  Those who work outside the home provide resources needed inside the home.  Those whose work keeps them in the home provide resources needed outside the home as they send out their family members rested, clothed, and fed—ready to meet the world.  As we work, we are providers.

However, our provision to the needs of others does not flow from our own capacity—we are sharing with others what God has shared with us.  Abraham brought the wood, fire, and Isaac, but God put the lamb in the thicket.  We provide what we can because God has already provided what we need.

The Psalmist said that God-Who-Provides does so for all of creation.

Psalm 145:13-16
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.   The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

It is said that the one who provides for the family “brings home the bacon.”  True enough, but God made the pig, the pig farmer, the pig processor, the pan and the gas or electric to cook it on, or the microwave to nuke it in.

There is a flow to all of this, a flow of grace and provision.  And the whole thing makes the Father smile.

Luke 12:32NKJV
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom…”
Genesis 22:9-14
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Matthew 6:11
Give us today our daily bread.
1 Timothy 5:7-8
Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Lord Jesus, the Holy Scriptures tell the story of Abraham and Isaac—You lived it. Somehow, Your Father restrained His mighty hand as cruel men abused You and nailed You to the cross. A multitude of angels held their weapons in check as Satan had his day. Though each angel wanted to, none cried out to stop this murder. The knife that Isaac was spared became the rusty Roman nails that pierced Your hands and feet, the bits of iron in the whip cut Your back and the poison spear that tore Your side. All the while, You, Father God, were providing: love for a world that hated You; forgiveness for a humanity soaked in sin, and life for those living in a culture of death. I rest amazed in Your provision. All I will ever need is found in You! Thank You, Lord. Amen


Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above you heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

September 9, 2017 “Safety”


It has been said that the three basic needs of people are food, clothing, and shelter.
Safety comes under the category of shelter. The room in which we sleep must not only be heated or cooled to our liking, it must almost make us feel safe.

The same is true for everything in our lives from our cars to our food to our shoes. When we feel safe, we can give ourselves fully to the work that must be done or the fun we want to have.

  • A wife wants a husband who makes her feel safe and a husband wants a wife to provide for and protect.
  • A father wants to give the gift of safety to his children so that the child doesn’t even think of the danger in world beyond the locks on the doors.
  • When a small child senses danger, all the child needs to feel safe is the nearness of his/her parent.

This Dangerous World
Since the angel with the flaming sword took his post at the gates of Eden, we have lived in a dangerous world. For this reason, promises of safety have always been a part of the covenants God has made with mankind. Because the world hasn’t changed, Old Covenant promises of safety still apply to those who live under the New Covenant.

The House Built on the Rock
In the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us a spectacular image of the safety of covenant living with God. He said our life would be like a house built on the rock, standing firm no matter the violence of the storm or the depth of the flood. God has promised to keep us safe from storms and circumstances and even the schemes of evil people.

  • Storms will come.
  • Evil or unthinking people will attack us.
  • The roaring lion called Satan will send his imps to howl and growl against us.
  • The armies of darkness will assault the church.

But in this dangerous world, we have a Father whose strong arms can hold us safe even while the storm roars and the battle rages. Like the child hiding behind its father’s strong presence, the Father’s presence is all the shelter we need.

As we prepare for another day of serving God, we can leave the safety of our homes and venture out into the world fully confident that we are not leaving the safety of the Lovingkindness of God. We can face whatever the day may hold knowing that no foe has more power, no trial will be too great, and no promise of God will fail.

Matthew 7:24-27
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Psalm 91:1-2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 27:5; 37:3-3
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Proverbs 18:10
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Isaiah 43:1-3
But now, this is what the LORD says–he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Romans 8:35-39 NKJV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord Jesus, I am safe in You today—I will rest! Thank You for the all the safe places in my life. Thank You for being my sure Foundation. No matter what storms may rise, I am safe in the midst of them. You are my Rock! You will keep me in my home, on any road You lead me to travel, in any temporary dwelling for the night, any place of business, and at any fun-stop along the way. You send Your mighty angels to stand guard over me and to act as sentinels and defenders from any foe foolish enough to attack. My hope is built on You, Lord, the Solid Rock! Amen!

The Solid Rock
Words: Edward Mote; Music: William Bradbury

1. My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.


3. His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.


4. When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

September 2, 2017 “Serenity”


To us the storm of the Sea of Galilee is a metaphor; to the disciples it was a storm.
At the rebuke of Jesus, the waves went flat and the rain, lightning, and thunder ceased and a great calm ensued.

For the disciples there was no serenity in the calm. A different fear gripped Jesus’ followers as they considered the power of the One they were following. For Jesus there was no fear in the storm; He slept in the boat while the storm raged around Him.

That is serenity—peace while the storm does its worst.

The dictionary defines serenity and serene this way:

Serenity – the state or quality of being serene , calm, or tranquil; sereneness.
Serene – calm, peaceful, or tranquil; unruffled:

When you have a day of rest and recreation, may the Lord grant you serenity. May you be calm, peaceful, tranquil and entirely unruffled. The serenity that comes from God is not an illusion—it is a deep reality.

It is a gift of grace but it is not a mystery.
Serenity of the spirit is a choice we make. It is based on the character of the Heavenly Father. His Word is true and He is always true to His Word. The serenity of the worshiper of the Lord Jesus is composed of equal parts faith, confidence, and trust.

  • Faith—we see everything through spiritual eyes; we see beyond the storm of the moment to the serenity of the future.
  • Confidence—we know that with the passing of time we will see the blessing in each storm.
  • Trust—we take a deep spiritual breath and calm ourselves knowing that no storm is more powerful than Jesus and no storm lasts forever.

We believe in the promises of God. 
We know what they are. Our expectations of life spring from our knowledge of the Word of God.

  • We read His Book and commune with the Lord in prayer regularly.
  • We make choices based on the truth of God, the principles of the Kingdom, and the complete mastery of Jesus over all storms, circumstances, and enemy attacks.

We know that just as Jesus rebuked that storm, He will rebuke the storms we face. While we wait for the sea to go flat and the rain, lightning and thunder to cease, we can serenely sleep below decks just as Jesus did.

That is serenity.

Mark 4:35-41
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Acts 3:19-20
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus
Ephesians 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 37:3-6
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Psalm 52:8-9
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
Isaiah 12:2-3 NKJV
Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'” Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.
Isaiah 26:3-4 NKJV
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in the LORD, is everlasting strength.
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Lord Jesus, You are my peace, my serenity. I have anchored my life in Your character. I have informed my mind with Your Word. I have calmed my heart with confessions of the promises You have made. Oh I know the winds will rise against me. The rains will pummel me and seem never to stop. Circumstances will cry out for me to despair that perhaps this time You have forgotten me. But deep in my mind I know better. Your promises have been written there by the Holy Spirit. The rains will stop. The winds will shift and settle down. The noise of the storm will subside. I know that when the storm has done its worst, You will still be standing and I will be safe in You. You are my peace, my serenity. Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Till the Storm Passes Over
Words and Music: Mosie Lister

1. In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by


2. Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies


3. When the long night has ended and the storms come no more
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

July 20, 2017 “Midnight”


The darkness fell hours ago. The morning light is hours away.
Midnight—the suspended time in the middle, the dissonant chord without a resolution, the question as yet unanswered, the song without an ending, repeating, repeating.


Most nights we sleep through midnight, our long slumber breaths undisturbed, our eyelids dancing to a tune we will never hear in the daylight.

But there are those other nights when sleep is far away. The mind relentlessly runs a race to nowhere like a small animal on a cruel treadmill in some heartless laboratory. On nights like this there is usually another midnight in play, some unresolved dilemma robbing us of rest.

God knows about time—it is His invention. He created the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. He knows the beginning from the ending and He also knows the middle. He is with us at midnight, whether we are asleep or awake, and He has something for us—a song!

A Song in the Night
Not an unending beat or an unresolved chord pattern, but a song of rest and peace, a song of praise. It is a song made for the midnight hour for it turns our unclosed eyes heavenward, away from the trial before us to the victory ahead of us, from the darkness of the unresolved to the promised dawn of resolution. It is a song about Him and not about us, about His power and not our weakness, about His success and not our failure, about His Word and not our worries.

The song in the night must be sung—it demands action—a deliberate transfer of thoughts from nightfall to morning light. As we sing of the faithfulness of God and rehearse in our minds the promises of God, a gentle smile will reassure us that all is well, even in the darkness.

“Why be downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God!

The Midnight Cry
Soon, at some undisclosed midnight to come, we will hear a cry—not the weeping of fear, but the Midnight Cry of the Bridegroom. Jesus will return or His church. Then for us a day will break that will never end and the last midnight will have passed.

Psalm 119:49-64
Remember your word to your servant, because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in my trouble, that your promise gives me life. The proud have derided me cruelly, but I have not turned from your law. When I remember your judgments of old, O Lord, I take great comfort. I am filled with a burning rage, because of the wicked who forsake your law. Your statutes have been like songs to me wherever I have lived as a stranger. I remember your Name in the night, O Lord, and dwell upon your law. This is how it has been with me, because I have kept your commandments. You only are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to keep your words. I entreat you with all my heart, be merciful to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and turned my feet toward your decrees. I hasten and do not tarry to keep your commandments. Though the cords of the wicked entangle me, I do not forget your law. At midnight I will rise to give you thanks, because of your righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all who fear you and of those who keep your commandments. The earth, O Lord, is full of your love; instruct me in your statutes.
Psalm 42:5-8 NIV
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me —a prayer to the God of my life
Psalm 32:7 NIV
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 77:1-6 NIV
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night.
Psalm 16:7-8 NIV
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Acts 16:25-26 NIV
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
Matthew 25:6 NIV
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Lord Jesus, each morning the midnight hour seems far away, the one that is past and the one yet to be. Help me remember the song You gave me in the night all through this day. Let my song of praise be constant, just as is Your care. In Jesus’ Name! Amen.

You Can Have a Song in Your Heart

Traditional Chorus

You can have a song in Your heart at night,
After every mile, after every trial.
Anyone can sing when the sun’s shining bright.
But you need a song in your heart at night.

The Midnight Cry
Words and Music: Charles and Greg Day

1. I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind and
It’s closer now than its ever been
I can almost hear the trumpet
As Gabriel sounds the call
At the midnight cry we’ll be going home

When Jesus steps out on a cloud and calls God’s children,
The dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air.
And then those that remain will be quickly changed
At the midnight cry When Jesus comes again

2. I look around me and the prophecies fulfilling and
Signs of the times their appearing everywhere
I can almost hear the Father as He says son go get my children
At the midnight cry The bride of Christ shall rise.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

June 29, 2017 “NightWatch”


We cannot imagine the world before electric lights. It was, shall we say, dark.
Each time the sun slipped over the western rim of the world, a gathering darkness crept across the land from the east. Only the thin flames of candles, the withering wicks of oil lamps, and an inconstant, silvery moon challenged the night. The stars, more than we can see these nights, decorated the darkness but did little else.

With darkness came fear and with the fear came the night-watch.

Someone had to stay awake through the night; it was filled with danger.
Evil people did evil things in the dark. In the military, in industry, in cities and in towns, watchmen take this job: police, firemen stationed near the alarm, emergency personnel on duty around the clock, and other folks who have trouble sleeping.

Mark Twain paints a poignant scene of the 19th Century night in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Huck and Jim are running downstream aboard a raft on the huge Mississippi River. They traveled at night, keeping time by the lights on the shore. Most of the candles and lanterns went out after midnight and when they started reappearing it signaled the approach of dawn. Some candles burned through the night, “Where there is sick folk, maybe.” Huck said.

Setting the Night-Watch is an ancient practice.
In the scriptures the watchman makes a powerful metaphor for an important aspect of pastoral leadership and priestly leadership in the home. There had to be a constant awareness while the town or the home was unaware and vulnerable to the villains and villainy of the dark hours of night. Someone would sleep in daylight so those who slept in darkness could do so in safety.

Still today, the darkness is real and it is an encroaching darkness. Parents and Pastors must be vigilant on the NightWatch for the darkness wants to steal the light in our homes and churches.

The problem is: we are only mortal and cannot go long without sleep.

Who can be our Night-Watch? The Lord and His friendly angels, of course.
We can rest and wake up rested. We can dream and wake to follow those dreams. Families can bond together and the Family of God can enter into that rest because Jesus and His mighty angels have the NightWatch.

Psalm 119:145-152
I call with my whole heart; answer me, O Lord, that I may keep your statutes. I call to you; oh, that you would save me! I will keep your decrees. Early in the morning I cry out to you, for in your word is my trust. My eyes are open in the night watches, that I may meditate upon your promise. Hear my voice, O Lord, according to your loving-kindness; according to your judgments, give me life. They draw near who in malice persecute me; they are very far from your law. You, O Lord, are near at hand, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your decrees that you have established them forever.
1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
John 3:19-21 NIV
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
John 1:3-5 NIV
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Revelation 22:3-5 NIV
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Romans 13:11-14 NIV
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Isaiah 21:11-12 NKJV
“Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” The watchman said, ‘The morning comes, and also the night.

Evening Prayers from the Book of Common Prayer:
Against Perils
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in Your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of Your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
For the Presence of Christ
Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know You as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of Your love. Amen.
For Rest
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give Your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.

All Through the Night
Traditional Lullaby

1. Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night;

2. Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,
All through the night.

3. Angels watching, e’er around thee,
All through the night
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
All through the night

4. Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,
All through the night

5. While the moon her watch is keeping,
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping,
All through the night

6. O’er thy spirit gently stealing,
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling,
All through the night.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer
For more on Pride: “The Invisible Mountain”

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

June 27, 2017 “Good”


Not a Comparison—a Quality
Good—not in a comparative sense of good-better-best—but in a quality sense, a character sense of good-not-evil. It is the song of the ages: “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever, to all generations” and it is the underlying theme of all worship. We sing the power of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, the Great Faithfulness of God and well we should for He is all those things and more. When we sing His Goodness, we sing all of that all at once. It is a great yet simple summation.

It must not go unspoken for it is our hope for today, for this week, for this chapter in our life’s story.

No Expiration Date
Suppose there were an expiration date on the Goodness of God, a cosmic clock ticking, or a digital clock clicking and His mercy was running out. If this ridiculous scenario were filmed, there would be a panic that would make a run on the bank seem a sweet summer outing.

But it cannot happen.

  • The coffers of kindness are full to overflowing.
  • The mercy mills are still turning.
  • The Gospel is still Good News.
  • The love of God lights the sky again today.
  • There is no shortage of goodwill toward men, even if there is a lack of peace on earth.

Isaiah provides the order of the day: “Arise! Shine! For your light has come and the glory of the Lord shines on you!”

  • God’s Word is good; no academic assaults on His veracity succeeded overnight.
  • God’s Promises are good; no council of brilliant men has found a way to negate them.
  • God’s Love is good; no political force can institute evil in its place.
  • God’s Mercy is good; no nefarious schemers can void it with small print.
  • God’s Peace is good; no military might can make a dent in it.

God is good and He does not change.
Today we put on God’s Goodness as armor for the battle. We cloth our minds with His truth and brace our backs with faith in His name. We cannot know what the day will hold, but we know that He knows and He is Good. His mercy is in effect all around us, forcing all things to work together for our good.

When events fall out against us, when people who should be helping us hurt us instead, when it seems all of creation is our enemy, we will remember the song of Jehoshaphat’s Singing Army:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

We will sing again the anthem of the Temple:

“He is good; his love endures forever. “

And as we sing the song of the ages, we will step out under a cloud of Goodness and Mercy, falling fresh upon us today.

Psalm 106:1-5
Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever. Who can declare the mighty acts of the Lord or show forth all his praise? Happy are those who act with justice and always do what is right! Remember me, O Lord, with the favor you have for your people, and visit me with your saving help; That I may see the prosperity of your elect and be glad with the gladness of your people, that I may glory with your inheritance.
Psalm 34:8 NIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Psalm 100:4-5 NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
2 Chronicles 5:12-14 NIV
All the Levites who were musicians …stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord . Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever. “Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.
2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NIV
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord ,for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
Jeremiah 33:10-11 NIV
“This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without men or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV
Because of the Lord ‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, I honor Your inherent goodness. You inherent goodness was proven by more than thirty years of sinless life on this earth, normal human life for You laid aside Your Godhood. Your goodness, thus tested, is my portion today. I walk into this day with confidence in it. I will lay my head on my pillow tonight in peace because of it. Through You can resist evil today. Through You can do good today, good thoughts and good deeds and I can be good. Thank You that Your mercy and goodness has never expired. They are new with today’s sunrise and will cover me through the coming night. I have hope because You are good. Amen.

The Steadfast Love of the Lord
Words and Music: Edith McNeill

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord,
Great is Thy faithfulness.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

June 23, 2017 “Continually?”


The sea—it never stops.
On the surface the waters never stop moving inland to crash on the beach. Underneath, the same water never ceases to slide back into the sea only to regroup and make another run.

It never stops. It is continuous. The sun is motionless but to us it never stops moving. Every single moment of time is sunrise somewhere and sunset somewhere else. The rotation of the earth is continuous.

“Continually” and “Continuously” are not synonyms; they mean different things:

  • Continually means to do something regularly and often.
  • Continuously means to do something without ever stopping.

Even though modern translations of the Bible use the word, “continually,” the Greek word actually means “continuously”—without ceasing.

The Poet instructs us, “Search for the Lord and his strength; continually seek his face,” but the meaning is “continuously,” without ceasing.

At first these biblical injunctions to do something continuously seem completely out of reason. Is there anything we can do continuously? I suppose good discipline allows us to do good things continually, that is, frequently, regularly, and so on. But continuously? Without ceasing?

The difference in the two words helps us understand two great sources of strength:

  • Those things we can do continually and
  • Those things we can do continuously.

Things We Can Do Continually
These are the activities of life, the things we do and then stop doing.

  • Reading,
  • Writing,
  • Arithmetic,
  • Making music
  • Exercising,
  • Resting, on and on we could go.

Things We Do Continuously

  • Breathe,
  • Think,
  • Listen, and
  • See.

It appears to me that these very human activities are continuous.

  • If we have stopped breathing, we are dead.
  • We never stop thinking. Even when we sleep the mind does not.
  • In the same way, we never stop listening.

If we extend the concept of sight beyond the recognition of light, to the recognition of images, when the lights go out or we close our eyes to sleep, we keep on seeing. The imagination is a widescreen technicolor film that never stops running.

In these miraculous continuous things we reveal the image of God in us.

The Lord is wonderfully continuous in His care for us. He never sleeps or slumbers, the Bible says, and His ears are always open when we pray the psalm says. His Spirit is the breath of life we breathe. His continuous heartbeat is the rhythm of the universe and of our bodies. The differences between continual and continuous help us understand the Christian life.

There are many things we must do continually:

  • Worship privately and publicly,
  • Read and live by the Word of God,
  • Be led of the Spirit in daily work and witness.

These things we do frequently and regularly:

There are few things that we must do continuously

  • Pray without ceasing—we must live in an attitude of thanksgiving and devotion to God.
  • Seek the Lord—this should never stop! We must live with all our antennae up and trained on the voice of the Spirit. God speaks through all creation.
  • Depend on the Lord—at all times in everything!
    These activities are not things we do often and regularly; they are life processes we do constantly.

For us, the sea will roll in and then it will roll out again, ceaselessly. The sun will faithfully rise to warm the earth each day. These are reminders of God’s constant care. As we breathe and pump blood, and think, and see with eyes of sight and imagination, we can continuously know the love of God.

Psalm 105:1-4 NASU
Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.
Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Luke 24:50-53 NIV
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Psalm 121 NIV
I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip —he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 34:15 NIV
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.

Lord Jesus, In You I live and move and have my being. Sometimes I forget to take note of Your continuous faithfulness. Forgive me. Your love and care are the true constants in my life. Lord, help be faithful in the things I can do continually. As Your Spirit enables, I will do the continuous things: live in an attitude of prayer; listen at all times for the voice of the Spirit, seek Your face in all things, and look for Your truth in the details of each day. I want to serve you continually and live for You continuously. By Your Spirit, Amen.

Constantly Abiding
Words and Music: Anne S. Murphy

1. There’s a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
A peace it cannot take away.
Though the trials of this life may surround like a cloud,
I’ve a peace that has come there to stay!

Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine.
He never leaves me lonely,
Whispers O so kind:
“I will never leave thee,” Jesus is mine.

2. All the world seemed to sing of a Savior and King,
When peace sweetly came to my heart;
Troubles all fled away and my night turned to day,
Blessed Jesus, how glorious Thou art!


3. This treasure I have in a temple of clay
While here on His footstool I roam.
But He’s coming to take me some glorious day,
Over there to my heavenly home,


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer
For more on Pride: “The Invisible Mountain”

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

June 20, 2017 “Hidden”


From time to time everyone feels like he or she is socked in by heavy fog.
I have two dangerous experiences with heavy fog:

  • A Ferry across the Mississippi In the early 1950’s my family and I were taking the car ferry across the big river from Helena, Arkansas to see mother’s family in Mississippi. Before we reached the eastern bank of the river a heavy fog enveloped us. The captain of the boat could not locate the landing on the Mississippi side. I was just a little guy but it really frightened me. I’m sure the fear I saw on the adults’ faces was part of my fear. I remember fingers of light, the searchlights on the ferry, reaching into the dense cloud trying to locate the landing. We missed it several times. Each miss required another trek upstream against the power of the mighty river, to make another run. Now I understand that the night was filled with fog and the river was packed with large sets of barges pushed downstream by towboats. A collision in the fog would have been a disaster.
  • A Fog on I-40 Decades later after a Christmas trip home to Arkansas, we made the long trek back to North Carolina. We started out at midnight intending to drive all night and part of the day to get home. (I was a young man in those days!) At Little Rock a heavy fog settled over everything. The visibility was zero. Driving the speed limit with zero visibility is not easy, even for a young man. I prayed and noticed a big truck in my lane. Without getting too close to him, I could barely make out his running lights. I held that position all the way across the Grand Prairie of Eastern Arkansas. When we crossed the Big River at Memphis the fog stayed behind and the rest of the trip was under a starry, winter sky.

When it seems God is hidden…
And so it seemed to be for the Psalmist.

“How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?”

The pain in this question is not some misty fog, easily penetrated by even a candle’s slender flame. His pain is real, substantial and, dare we say it?—unjust. Yes, the truth is—the righteous suffer.

  • Even if our God is Jehovah Who Provides, sometimes we go without.
  • Even when we serve Jehovah Rapha, The Lord who Heals, we still get sick and some of us live with disease.
  • Even when we are sure of His presence, sometimes it seems like He isn’t there at all.
  • There are times when we cannot feel the peace of Jehovah Shalom, or the victory of Jehovah Nissi, or the nearness of the Hosts of Heaven than surround Jehovah Saboath, or even the precious nearness of the One called Emmanuel.

This fog is real, too.
It is no mist or misunderstanding. Wrong has happened instead of right. Others have sinned and we are hurting for it. I cannot explain this fog. Like you, and like that boat on the river and that truck guiding me through the winter night, I can only go on,

  • step by step,
  • mile by mile,
  • chugging upstream for another try at a landing,
  • calling out to Him all the while
  • trusting God all the time for a safe journey and a secure landing, even when it seems He is far away, hidden from all my senses.

Let us hear the words of the Psalmist from deep in the fog, “Praise be to the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen. “

The Lord-Who-Provides will provide. Like the lights on that big truck we have a dependable light to follow. The Lord-Who-Guides will guide us. Like the brave captain of the Mississippi River ferry boat, our Captain will see us safely across any river, through any fog.

Psalm 89:46-52 NIV
How long, O Lord ? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men! What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave? O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O Lord, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one. Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.
1 Peter 2:19-22; 4:12-19 NIV
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. … So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Psalm 51:10-12 NKJV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Lord Jesus, You are my Light, my Guide, my Captain. There is no fog so dense as to hinder Your radiance, Your leadership, Your command. Though life may threaten me, You will keep me safe. When It seems You are hidden from me, I know that it is just a feeling. Your name is Emmanuel—God with Us and it is always true. When darkness closes in, I know I will see a light—Your light—to guide me.. You said You will never leave or forsake us and it is true, no matter how thick the fog may be. Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

Jesus Is the One
Words and Music: Adgar Pace and Gertie Rast

1. When the day is dark before you,
And the clouds are hanging low.
There is One who watches o’er you,
Ev’rywhere that you may go.

Jesus is the One, Yes, He’s the only One,
Let Him have His way until the day is done;
When He speaks you know, the clouds will have to go,
Just because He loves you so.

2. Oh, if you are sad and lonely,
Life is but an empty tomb.
Breathe a prayer to Jesus only,
He will drive away the gloom.


3. When you come to cross the river,
He will be your Friend and Guide.
You can live with Him forever,
Over on the other side.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Related Article: “The Rock Is Still Solid”