As a teenager I became somewhat familiar with the Amplified Version of the Bible because Mom had it around and used it in her daily personal Bible study and prayer time each morning.
Nowadays, there are so many newer versions out that Christians don’t see or hear mention of the Amplified Version often.
During the ten years our young and growing family lived in Sucre, Bolivia, a large, old, beautiful and intensely historic town in the southern highlands , we belonged to a wonderful outreach to crosscultural workers that was called “Reader’s Service”. “Reader’s Service” would send us big mailbags full of used books for a nominal fee. These used books – some very well-used! – were donated to a large warehouse, by people in U.S. and Canada who no longer had a use for them yet still wanted to make them available to others, especially families serving overseas where access to public libraries and/or access to books in general in the person’s heart language might be limited or completely nonexistent. This was our situation during those ten years.
We LOVED Reader’s Service and, a couple times a year when the books arrived, it was like Family Christmas!
Early in our family’s Reader’s Service Sucre years, they sent us a battered, tiny, tatter-jacketed Amplified Version New Testament, which, following in my life mentor-mother’s footsteps, I used in my morning “quiet time” with God for at least a couple of years. After that we moved, and, a few years after that we had a major yard sale when our daughter graduated from high school in Bolivia. We lost the book.
Recently, on my beloved Kindle device, I downloaded an electronic version of the Amplified and this morning, traveling, was using the Amplified Version of the Psalms in my daily quiet time with God. This verse stood out for me and gave me strength and comfort: Psalms 9:10 “And they who know Your Name (who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy) will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You (on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity). (Ps. 42:1).”
Psalm 111: 2 – 3: Great are the works of the Lord, they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are God’s deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.
” Kings who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary people almost never gain an audience with them. Though (Jesus) is King of the universe, (He) is totally accessible to you.” – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, p. 281
Isaiah 50:4 (This is one of my favorite Bible verses!)
“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”
“And they (the seraphim) were calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory!”. Isaiah 6:3
….found this little poppy in early morning light, bravely sticking its head up amidst a cluster of crabgrass, weeds and trash, at the base of a light pole in the center of an old road, while i was walking and meditating of some passages of the Bible and praying.
“Nothing will enhance abundant life more than beginning our day expecting God and ending our day remembering God.” – Beth Moore, in her Bible study entitled “Believing God”.
Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”
Psalm 3: 5-6 “I lie down and sleep. I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” Psalm 63:6 “On my bed I remember You.”
I love the city of a million and a half people that I live in. I know it well by now, and I like to explore it on foot. One of the things I appreciate about living here is the way everybody walks places, every day. I love the people part of things. Every now and then I feel sad because the growth of my city seems to be coming at the expense of , in some neighborhoods at least, most every blade of green grass, every night moth or jumping toad or highland snake, every irridescent, multi-colored butterfly and songbird. I still get to enjoy nature in the city, since many parts of it have abundant flowering shrubs and trees and the mountains have eucalyptus woods all through them.
I liked the earthy green jungles of southern Cameroun, where I was raised, where wildlife and flora were abundant. I liked the misty, soft growing farmland of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, U.S.A. And, oh the PETS our parents let us have in Africa! I remember Dad helping my brother and sister and me build a large wooden warming box with a real light bulb in the roof to help us keep alive seven rare wild jungle woods ducklings we’d bought from a hunter who had shot the mother and was going door to door to the foreigners, trying to make some money. Those wild ducklings were gorgeous with their soft brown and yellow markings,tawny eiderdown babyfuzz, and delicate-veined webbed feet.
When I think of Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poem, “God’s Grandeur”, I revel in the way he manages to describe some of the sensory beauty and interest God gives each of us, wherever we are in the world, and I also think of the variety God allows us to enjoy in PERSONS, each person beautiful and (perhaps) intriguing, in her or his own way. I think of the “people” aspect of the variety God gives us in relation to the fact that so many of us are called by God to be working with PEOPLE. All these varieties of people, full of their idiosyncrasies, are all a part of God’s grandeur, also. How privileged we are, by God Himself, to be allowed to work with people! If we feel like we’re lacking love, and interest, in people (or in a particular group of people, or a person!) we can ask God to change that, in us.
In my quiet time with God each morning, I feel that the Holy Spirit often encourages me in this area, through various thoughts and readings.
I share two of them with you this morning.
1. Habakuk 3:18 – “I will take joy.”
2. A poem, “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell; the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness, deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there by any praise, think on these things.”
It was the Cochabamba “Water Wars” that month. The government of Bolivia had signed off on a deal with a multinational company that would turn over the rights to 96 percent of the gains from management of citizen’s water to a Britain-based multinational company and raise 9X the citizens’ monthly water bill overnight. Nobody had been consulted; the people were angry, demonstrating and blocking roads by the tens of thousands in the streets of Cochabamba. Bolivia’s president used his authority to try to force the measure through and called the military in, supposedly to bring peace and order but really to force his measure through.
The masses became highly inflamed and more intrepid in their cause when some “franco-tiradores” (sharpshooters), dressed in civilian clothing, caught multiple times on camera and later proven to be military personnel, started mingling among the thousands of civilian protesters and inciting additional fear and death by shooting several people under cover of the general rioting and confusion.
After two weeks of this situation, the food in our home had gotten low, since we had spent most of our time inside, unable to go out in the streets much because of the security risks.
Friday evening I sat up very late listening to the radio. (Television and other media channels had been cut for a few days.) The report was that the conflict was ended and much rejoicing took place; many verbal assurances were repeated that an agreement had been signed and the crisis was over. I went to bed with a little plan hatching in my mind to walk out early to the open air market across the road and buy some food for my children and myself.
Saturday at seven a.m. I grabbed my Bolivia bags, one in each hand, took my key, and walked out our property door, down the street and across the main road where , beyond and a little to the left of some knots of anti-governmental forces holding the bridge, who had been there for several days already, I glimpsed the white muslin portable awnings, bright pyramids of oranges, potatoes, broccoli and lemons and rustic striped burlap sacks of rice, wheat and flours. It looked so peaceful and happy in light of the cabin fever, stress and uncertainty everyone had been going through for two weeks.
I’d no sooner bought a kilo of rice and was in process of loading a dozen green fresh oranges into one of my Bolivia bags, and was chatting with one of my favorite fruit seller ladies when the drum of thousands of stamping feet, all tramping fast in unison, reached our ears. The soldiers were coming!
“Senora! YOU hurry up and run home right NOW,” my fruit seller friend said urgently. “It’s not safe out here for foreigners.”
I was already turning, saying goodbye and walking quietly but quickly toward the big open road that marked the bridge into the center of the city. Reaching it, I turned west and walked two blocks away from the bridge that now had many anti-government men on it, blocking it and holding it against provision of a driving way into the center of the city.
Day-dreaming a little, thinking of other things, I stepped out into the big roadway, to cross over into the blocks where our apartment lies.
Like a breeze quickening from one second to the next, the piercing sound of whistles, shouts, catcalls and jeers filled the air. I glanced up and toward the bridge. More than thirty men, each with a rock, small boulder, or log of wood in their upraised hand, were RUNNING toward me, eyes intent upon my solitary figure crossing the highway! They were all running to attack me, to stone me! In the same split second I realized there were no other pedestrians, and not one vehicle for miles in that wide roadway. I was all alone and, it looked like, about to lose my life in the middle of a Bolivian street riot. The closest of the running men were advancing rapidly – this whole event was going to end very fast now.
I prayed in my heart, just one word – there was no time for more. “Jesus!” I kept stepping forward, eyes ahead but at the same time, out of the corner of my eye on the side of the road I had walked out from, I saw a lone woman, small, dark, with a single braid of long black hair plaited at the back of her neck and curved forward over one shoulder. She had on old sweatpants and an old gray blouse. There were no other pedestrians in sight on that side of the highway; she stood there all alone. I had not seen her before.
The closest of my attackers, four or five stalwart young men running like the wind, were now within 12 feet of me. I kept walking forward; I was a little more than halfway across, so it made no sense to turn around. I realized I must be breaking some unwritten, unspoken Bolivian rule of riots, by crossing the main road that was being held against the government on that day. I continued to pray to God for His deliverance. All was happening within split seconds.
My would-be attackers were almost upon me. Suddenly I heard a low calm voice speaking. The dark small woman with plaited hair, standing behind me on the edge of that road was speaking to my attackers. I strained my ears to hear the words she said, but I could not quite make them out. Immediately the men slowed their running, lowered their arms with the rocks and huge sticks clutched in their hands, stopped running, turned, laughed and shrugged a bit with each other and began walking back toward their bridge. I continued crossing the road, gained the far curb, breathed my thanks to God and looked across the highway toward where the woman had been standing. There was no one there.
Psalm 9:9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and i will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him.”