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July 30, 2023 - #4898 Music & the Spoken Word

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Conductor: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Brian Mathias
Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“On This Day of Joy and Gladness”
Music and lyrics: Leroy J. Robertson
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“We Thank Thee, Lord, for This New Day”
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyrics: David Warner

“How Firm a Foundation”1
Music: Attr. J. Ellis
Lyrics: Attr. Robert Keen
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

Prelude on “Pisgah” (organ solo)
Music: Dale Wood

“He, Watching Over Israel,” from Elijah
Music: Felix Mendelssohn
Lyrics: words from Psalm 121:4; 138:7

“Be Thou My Vision”2
Music: Traditional Irish hymn
Lyrics: versed by Eleanor H. Hull; trans. Mary E. Byrne
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Press Forward, Saints”3
Music: Vanja Y. Watkins
Lyrics: Marvin K. Gardner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

  1. From the albums Then Sings My Soul; Called to Serve; and America the Beautiful.
  2. From the albums Heavensong and America the Beautiful.
  3. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

On Good Days and Bad

July 30, 2023
Lloyd D. Newell

We are blessed to live in a world of ups and downs, light and darkness, good and bad. We rejoice in the good, but it can be a bit disorienting when, despite our best efforts, accidents happen, mistakes are made, and bad things happen to good people.

Sometimes we might be tempted to conclude from all this that life is meaningless, haphazard, or chaotic. At such times, we need the reassurance that the Choir just expressed, with words adapted from the Psalms: “He, watching over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps."1 Yes, much of life is unpredictable, but we can count on this: the God of the universe notices us, cares about us, and is willing to guide us along the winding path of life. That doesn’t mean He determines every detail or outcome. He’s not the Great Micromanager. But He is the Great Parent, who loves His children and wants us to learn and grow. So He sends us to a world of ups and downs, light and darkness, good and bad, and He lets us choose.

Along with this power to choose, God has given each of us a spark of hope, an inner light of truth and goodness. It’s a reminder that He’s there, even when life is hard, and that because of Him, everything will ultimately be made right.

Of course, with the power to choose comes the possibility of making both good choices and not-so-good choices. But the Lord never gives up on us, even when we make mistakes. If we turn to Him, He will help us. Although He doesn’t take away all our problems, He also doesn’t leave us to face them alone. Even during dark times, we can trust Him and know that He desires to lead us to happiness and love. His all-encompassing love can breathe hope into even the darkest moments of our lives.

Just as a parent stays up late waiting for teenage children to come home—anxious to know that they’re safe and eager to hear about their experiences—our Heavenly Father is always watching over us, on good days and bad. Because He “slumbers not, nor sleeps,” we can rest assured of His constant love and care.

  1. Felix Mendelssohn, Elijah; see also Psalm 121:4.