Remember when you were young, and one of the questions you would ask when you met someone new was “What is your name and where do you live?”

Even as adults we ask the same questions, although we often add “What do you do for a living” and “How long have you lived in our city?”

I have been going through hundreds of slide pictures taken by my father before his death and I came across several that prompted thoughts about houses in which my forefathers lived.  My grandparents’ house in California, for example.

Grandparents’ house in California.

Or my grandparents’ house in Wisconsin.  I loved that front porch!

Grandparents’ house in Wisconsin.

But then there are houses that I can’t even contemplate living in … houses that are so big that I don’t think I could count the rooms.  This Louisiana plantation house is one such building.

Louisiana plantation house.

To top it off, there is the house that is currently for sale in our city … a house with its own name, Villa Collina.  The newspaper says that it is “glorious” with over 50 rooms and is 37,000 square feet.  I simply cannot wrap my head around a single family residence that size.

But, all these houses are here, they are material, they are temporal, they are subject to rust and decay.  While I don’t live in any type of house like that, I am confident that I will live in a truly glorious house one day … my Savior says so:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:2

Jesus is telling his disciples that he will be leaving them, not for a frivolous purpose or to get away from people who just did not get his mission in this world.  No, He is going home to His Father and he will prepare a place for them in heaven.

This place will be massive because there is room enough for all the believers in the world.  It is a place for those who shall be saved, who were ordained unto life through belief in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross.  These mansions were to be sprinkled with His blood just as the tabernacle and all the ministry vessels were sprinkled by the blood of the sacrifice.  Hebrews 9:21.  By His resurrection from the dead, by His ascension into heaven as our forerunner [Hebrews 6:20], and by His sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us, He prepares our place in heaven.

Just pause for a moment and imagine the glory that will surround these dwellings and the incredible sound of millions of voices singing praise to the Father for the work that He did through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior, and to the Holy Spirit who sealed us for our salvation.  Glory, power and praise is due to our God and we will participate in giving that glory to Him in eternity.


I pray that the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” as sung on the album Hymns for All Saints: Adoration, Praise, Comfort, from Concordia Publishing House was a blessing to you.

I don’t know if we will sing this in heaven, but I am sure that singing songs of thanksgiving  that give honor to God will be as natural as breathing.

So, “Where do you live?”  Or, more importantly, “Where will you live for all eternity?”  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and your answer will be certain … you will live in the place prepared for you before the foundation of the world together with the saints from all ages.  Praise God for such hope and grace.

Father, if there is one who does not know You or your Son, I pray that the Holy Spirit would use these words to convict of sin and to comfort those who fear death.  Thank You for sending your Son as our Savior and your Spirit to effect salvation in your people.  Thank You too for the sure confidence of faith in Scripture and the truth of Your words. 


Scripture tells us at the very beginning of Genesis that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. The six days of creation are all itemized in Chapter 1 of Genesis.

Light — and the light was good.

Dry land and the seas– and God saw that it was good.

Colorado mountains, where earth and sky collide.
Colorado mountains, where earth and sky collide.
Oregon ocean waves and beach.
Oregon ocean waves and beach.

Vegetation, plants and trees – and God saw that it was good.

Yosemite Giant Sequoia Trees
Yosemite Giant Sequoia Trees

Lights in the heavens – and God saw that it was good.

Super Moon in Mississippi.
Super Moon in Mississippi.

All creatures that move, in the sea and in the air – and God saw that it was good.

Hummingbird getting a drink for nourishment.
Hummingbird getting a drink for nourishment.
Florida Spiny Lobster seen in aquarium along Florida's coastline.
Florida Spiny Lobster seen in aquarium along Florida’s coastline.

All beasts of the earth and all that creep on the ground – and God saw that it was good.

Caribou with large rack in Denali National Park, Alaska.
Caribou with large rack in Denali National Park, Alaska.
Pet pooches are under His care too!
Pet pooches are under His care too!

Then, in Genesis 1:26-27, and 31, God said:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. … And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

Everything that He had made was very good. Simply put, God’s creation is good and it gives glory to its Creator.

Looking at the creation of God, it is clear that beauty is an attribute of the Creator God. David speaks of it like this:

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4 [ESV]

God’s desire for beauty is also expressed in Exodus 28:2 where God is telling Moses what garments the priests were to wear when conducting worship before Him even in the wilderness tabernacle.

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. [ESV] (The emphasis is mine)

A review of the construction of the tabernacle is way beyond the scope of this post, but it was clearly a pinnacle of beauty, shining with gold, bronze, silver, precious jewels for the objects to be used in worship, and even for the thread used to create the curtains. The directions were explicit and detailed, and they were dictated by God. Beauty is an attribute of our Creator. Read Exodus Chapters 25 through 40 and see the incredible detail God directed for the construction of His tabernacle.  Then remember where it was built — in the wilderness.  Clearly, this was not the most beautiful of places, but His tabernacle was to be beautiful because it was to reflect our God and one of His attributes, beauty.

Beautiful music and singing are also part of God’s creation and an expression of His beauty.   Way back when David was king, we read that he appointed the priests to sing a song of thanksgiving to God. Read 1 Chronicles 16 aloud, to yourself or anyone else who would listen, and your spirit will be lifted as you, through David’s words so long ago, praise the Lord for His wondrous works. Verse 10 of this chapter directs that we are to “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.”

This past Monday evening, we were blessed to attend a concert sponsored by Ligonier Ministries for the performance of sacred music entitled “Glory to the Holy One.”  The concert was held in Nashville, Tennessee.

Downtown Nashville at night.
Downtown Nashville at night.

The venue was the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a beautiful building that is dedicated to the symphony.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee

The building was beautiful with marvelous craftsmanship evident throughout.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Inside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee
The symphony platform was ready.
The symphony platform was ready.

Of course, the acoustics were incredible. The choir was extraordinary and the symphony was wonderful. But the music touched your soul, heart and mind.

The choir and symphony ready for the music to begin.
The choir and symphony getting ready for the music to begin.

Our seats were much closer to the musicians than I anticipated … we were IN the music, not just listening to it! This picture was taken while we were sitting in our chairs.

Superlatives are inadequate to describe the event. The words to the hymns were written by Dr. R.C. Sproul and the music was composed and conducted by Jeff Lippencott. Tears streamed more than once as God’s glory was extolled in music and singing. The words to the hymns were beautiful and poignant, detailing the journey of faith and culminating when we see Jesus face to face.  Here is one of the hymns entitled The Secret Place, the words are below the link for your reference.

Excerpt from music on soundtrack of GLORY TO THE HOLY ONE

Who dwells within His most secret place

Is never far from His blessed grace

‘Neath His great shadow all will be well

No better place now for us to dwell



The secret place of God Most High

The shadow of our mighty King

The dwelling place where angels cry

Is where our praise will forever ring


Fear not the terror that comes at night

Nor flaming arrows by morning light

His truth is always our sword and shield

Against His power, all foes must yield




A thousand fall now at ev’ry side

Ten thousand more may have yet to die

Yet plague and sword can

Ne’er kill the soul

His angels guard us now safe and whole




Refuge and fortress for all who trust

No safer pasture for men of dust

‘Neath wings and feathers of Holy Lord

No great comfort can He afford




I pray that these words and the music will be a blessing to you this day.

Father, thank you for the gift of music and for the talents of those who can create, compose, sing and perform such magnificent works to your glory and honor. I thank you too for the truth of the words of this hymn. No safer place can find us than when we are in your care, now and forevermore.


During the last eight days we have prayed often for the two teenagers who were off the coast of Florida when their boat capsized. The news media showed their pictures repeatedly as search and rescue efforts were detailed.  The Coast Guard and family searched tirelessly for the boys but to no avail. The boat was found drifting miles away from where they were last seen, but there was no sign of the boys.

I am sure I am not the only one who thought of the horror and fear that these young men likely felt when they realized that they were drifting farther from shore, farther from their families, farther from safety, with no way to change their path.

These thoughts reminded me of a song I often heard as a young child when my father sang in a men’s quartet at church. Drifting Down. The song depicts where we are in our natural sinful state without the Lord … far from shore, drifting from the heavenly Father’s loving care. Daddy is with the Lord now, and I am long past being a “young child”, but I still hear that song in my memory’s tape recording!

Ocean waves and rock formations, Oregon coast
Ocean waves and rock formations, Oregon coast

Drifting Down was written by Jessie Brown Pounds and composed by W. E. M. Hackleman, in 1898. The words to the first verse and chorus are these:

You are drifting far from shore, leaning on an idle oar, you are drifting, slowly drifting, drifting down; you are drifting with the tide, to the ocean wild and wide, you are drifting, slowly drifting, drifting down.

Ocean with far distant shore
Ocean with far distant shore


You are drifting down, drifting down (You are drifting, slowly drifting, you are slowly drifting down); to the dark and awful sea; you are drifting down (You are drifting, slowly drifting,). From a Father’s loving care, to the blackness of despair, you are drifting, slowly drifting, drifting down. [Obtained from: http://www.freehymnal.com/lyrics/drifting-down/, accessed March 8, 2013] (Emphasis mine)

Atlantic Ocean Waves
Atlantic Ocean Waves

The definition of “drifting” includes the concept of being carried along by currents of air or water; moving unhurriedly and smoothly; moving leisurely without purpose; to wander from a set course. [http://www.thefreedictionary.com/drifting, accessed May 9, 2013] In other words, when you are drifting slowly, there is the implication that you are not struggling; you are not working to correct the situation; you are drifting. No concern, no recognition of imminent peril. The shore is becoming less and less apparent, the voices are more and more distant as you just drift away!             

What a dramatic contrast there is between the message of the old-time hymn Drifting Down and another age old hymn How Firm a Foundation. Beloved by millions of people through the ages, this hymn eloquently describes the foundation that Jesus Christ provides. I have not included all the verses here, but the words are taken from Isaiah 43:1-7 and, in its entirety, the hymn describes the foundation for the believer from birth through death.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, To you, who to Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health; In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth; At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,  I will not, I will not desert to its foes;  That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,  I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

[Words: From A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, by John Rippon, 1787; hymn attributed variously to John Keene, Kirkham, and John Keith]

In short, the hymn writer encompasses every condition of our life. Sickness, poverty, sorrow, deep waters, fiery trials, old age stating that in all cases Jesus Christ will be with His children. The hymn ending, “I’ll never, no never, no never forsake” is the complete counterpoint to Drifting Down.

Which song depicts my life? Your life? Are you drifting down, going away from the Father’s love and security or are you leaning on Jesus as your Savior?


Are you afloat without an anchor or are you confident in His saving Grace?

Certainly, there may be times that even the most secure in Christ feel that they are drifting. But, the remedy is not to lay hopeless in the drift away from Him: the remedy is to turn and cling to the anchor, His cross, where you will find restoration and forgiveness with the secure anchor holding you steady even as you endure the storm.

We must continue to pray for the families who are still searching for their sons off the coast of Florida and we must give thanks for those who so diligently conducted the search for the young boys all last week.  Pray that the Lord will be near to these families and rescue personnel and that His comfort and peace will overwhelm them during this time.

Further, let us also praise the Lord for the security and salvation He provides, that He is the answer to the drift that so many experience in their lives, and may we live always ready to explain how to obtain that security to those who may inquire.