Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Song: “Day By Day And With Each Passing Moment” by Carolina Sandell Berg

Earlier, I wrote how “It Is Well With My Soul” was one hymn that has held special meaning for me.  “Day By Day” is the other classic hymn that has encouraged me.  Our choir has often sung it.  In my journal, I had written about a particular instance in July 2003 when we were practicing it.  I wanted to mean the words I was singing, and the tears started to flow.  I tried to control it, but they just wouldn’t stop.  After excusing myself, I tried to leave the building and go home, but a friend spotted me and wouldn’t let me sneak out.  Instead we talked in an office, where she said she prays for me every day.  She encouraged me that day and made me laugh, too.

When our choir practiced the next Sunday as final preparation before the service, I realized I must not have been the only one down in my spirit.  Our music director said it wasn’t supposed to be a grievous, mourning song, so smile!  I thought of that the whole song through, and made it, praise the Lord.

“Day By Day” was written by Lina Sandell, the daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister.  She was stricken with a paralysis as a young child.  In 1858, at the age of 26, Lina was accompanying her father aboard a ship from Jonkoping to Gothenberg across Lake Vattern. The ship gave a sudden lurch, which caused her father to fall overboard and drown before her very eyes.  Sources often give this tragic event as the motivation for the writing of this hymn, which reflects a simple child-like trust in Christ and a deep sense of his abiding presence, despite adversity.

 ~

 Day by Day And With Each Passing Moment

Words by Carolina Sandell Berg

Tr. Andrew L. Skoog

Music by Oscar Ahnfelt

~

Day by day and with each passing moment,

Strength I find to meet my trials here;

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,

I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure

Gives unto each day what He deems best;

Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure,

Mingling toil with peace and rest.

~

Every day the Lord Himself is near me

With a special mercy for each hour.

All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,

He whose name is Counselor and Power.

The protection of His child and treasure

Is a charge that on Himself He laid;

“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”

This the pledge to me He made.

~

Help me then in every tribulation

So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,

That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation

Offered me within Thy holy word.

Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,

E’er to take, as from a  father’s hand,

One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,

Till I reach the promised land.

~

Day By Day by Maya Uniputty

Although only the first verse is in English, this woman’s voice is beautiful.

Day By Day piano by Mattias Nilsson

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Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Scripture

David gave us the example of encouraging himself in the Lord through solitude in prayer to God.  Because of his distresses, many of the Psalms were written.  When going through a difficult day or a trying time, this may be the only book I want to read.

 “This book (Psalms) brings us into the sanctuary and directs us into communion with God, by solacing and reposing our souls in him, lifting up and letting out our hearts towards him.”  Matthew Henry

I am sharing some of my favorite Psalms of petition, promise, and praise.  You need not be afraid of opening your heart to God.  He hears you.

Psalms of Petition

Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what wait I for?  My hope is in thee.”

Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

Psalm 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 102:2 “Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.”

Psalm 119:49 “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.”

Psalm 138:3 “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.”

Psalm 141:1-2 “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.  Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

Psalm 143:7-8 “Hear me speedily, O Lord; my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down in to the pit.  Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

Psalms of Promise

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

Psalm 30:5b “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 37:4-5 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 42:11, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?  And why art thou disquieted within me?  Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”

Psalm 112:7 “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”

Psalm 145:19 “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”

Psalms of Praise

 

Psalm 21:2 “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips.”

Psalm 30:12 “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

Psalm 86:10 “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.”

Psalm 106:1-2 “Praise ye the Lord.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.  Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord:  Who can shew forth all his praise?

Psalm 118:23 “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Psalm 126:3 “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”

Psalm 136:3-4,23 “O give thanks unto the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth forever.  To him alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth forever.  Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth forever.”

Psalm 145:3-4 “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”

My favorite Psalm of Promise and Praise!

Psalm 113:1-9 “Praise ye the Lord.  Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.  From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.  The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.  Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high.  Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth!  He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.  He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.  Praise ye the Lord.”

I Would Have Laughed, Too, Sarah.

Last Mother’s Day, I heard a lesson on Biblical mothers of the faith.  The teacher spoke about Jochebed, Sarah, Hannah, Mary, and Eunice.  But then he questioned whether or not Sarah deserved a place in that group because she doubted, referring to the story in Genesis.

“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.  And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind them.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is anything too hard for the Lord?  At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”  Genesis 18:10-14.

When I heard those words, I felt defensive on Sarah’s behalf and heartily disagreed.  Sarah is one of my heroes.  She’s been my example!  Although I didn’t actually speak up verbally, I asked confidently to myself, “Which of those mothers made it to the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11?  Only Sarah.”  I rest my case.

Who wouldn’t have doubted or laughed by age 90?  Haven’t we done so ourselves at age 27, 30, 35, or 42?

She probably approached each month with faith, but then when that menstrual cycle started, or when she no longer had a cycle, doubt crept in.  Time and time again, month after month, year after year, nothing.  Then there is a glimmer of hope – a delayed period, a twinge of nausea, some other “sign” and we want to believe again.  Could it be?

No, your period starts right after you take your pregnancy test, and your nausea came from a stomach bug.  If you don’t cry, you just laugh at yourself and say that’s what you get for believing, hoping.  I’m not falling for that again.  So who can blame her?  I would have laughed, too, Sarah.

Thankfully, we have Sarah’s story to learn from – how she overcame her doubts and insecurity to become a hero of faith in the God of great faithfulness.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”  Hebrews 11:1, 11-12

Matthew Henry gives us insight into her faith; faith we can relate to as well as learn from.

The difficulties of her faith:  Sarah was only human, just like us.  She didn’t believe; she laughed at the promise, as impossible to be made good.  Sarah also went out of the way of her duty through unbelief by giving her handmaid to Abraham.  Lastly, she focused on the great improbability – the fact that a child was promised when she was past age – 90!

The actings of her faith: Sarah’s unbelief was pardoned and forgotten.  Her faith prevailed and is recorded for us to see – for our example and for our hope.  She judged him faithful who had promised.  She received the promise as the promise of God; and being convinced of that, she truly judged he both could and would perform it, how impossible it might seem to reason; for the faithfulness of God will not suffer him to deceive his people.

The fruit and reward of her faith: She received strength to conceive seed.  The strength of nature, as well as grace, is from God: he can make the barren soul fruitful as well as the barren womb.  Sarah was delivered of a child, a child of the promise, and comfort of his parents’ advanced years, and the hope of future ages.  From them, by this son, sprang a great, powerful and renowned nation, above all the rest in the world; and a nation of saints, the peculiar church and people of God, and which was the highest honor and reward of all, of these, according to the flesh, the Messiah came, who is over all, God blessed forevermore.

“God Is Faithful” by Travis Boyd

“God Is Faithful”

By Travis Boyd

 

When you find to hard to understand,

and you’re just not sure you have the strength

to do all God commands.

When the task seems overwhelming,

you can rest within His hands,

For the One who called you is faithful.

 

God is faithful, He will not forget his own;

God is faithful, He’ll never leave you all alone.

He’s right beside you, waiting to guide you,

for the One who called you is faithful.

God is faithful when the valley is so low,

God is faithful, wherever He leads you to go.

Cast your cares on Him and rest

within His loving arms

For the One who called you is faithful,

God is faithful.

 

He is always there when human eyes can’t see,

So aware of all your hurts and all your deepest needs.

 

God is faithful, He will not forget his own;

God is faithful, He’ll never leave you all alone.

He’s right beside you, waiting to guide you,

for the One who called you is faithful.

God is faithful when the valley is so low,

God is faithful, wherever He leads you to go.

Cast your cares on Him and rest

within His loving arms

For the God whose work began in you

will be faithful to see it through.

Oh, the One who called you is faithful,

God is faithful.

 

I first heard this song performed by the Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma.  This men’s choir is tremendously talented and the message of the song really spoke to my heart.  It’s encouraging and it is true!  God is faithful.

And The Lord Remembered

When I finally became pregnant through IVF, we shared the glorious news with our immediate family members but cautiously waited until after my first ultrasound to tell a few close friends.  After all, I had gotten pregnant with the previous IVF cycle, but it did not continue.

Once I finished my first trimester, we determined the day had arrived for my husband to make the announcement at church.  The customary way to announce that one’s wife was pregnant was for the husband to request prayer at men’s prayer meeting for the expectant women of the church.  That Sunday was five years ago, but we remember it like it was yesterday.

Although I have shared some of my experiences with infertility and waiting and how it naturally affected me as a woman, I don’t exactly know how my husband handled it as a man.  I can’t imagine how many prayer meetings he sat through Sunday after Sunday, year after year, listening as men would stand and ask prayer for their expectant wives, perhaps wondering if one day he would ever get to make that prayer request.  Even though my husband was (and still is) my rock and had more faith (which in turn increased mine), I know it was difficult at times for him, too.  I can’t fully comprehend how big a day this was for him.

That morning, he told me he would quote I Samuel 1:19b, “And the Lord remembered her (Hannah).”  In verse 11, Hannah made a vow and asked the Lord to look on her affliction, remember her, not forget her, and to give her a son.  God was mindful of Hannah and her condition, and at His appointed time, he remembered her and opened her womb.

The word “remember(ed)” in Samuel 1:11 and 19 is “zakar”, which means to be mindful, to recount, to make to be remembered, think on.

God gave us a promise many years before this special day.  Even though we had to wait, we could look at His promise and confirm our faith.  We experienced many disappointments along the way.  Some obstacles even seemed difficult to overcome, but God showed His promise would prevail.  The longer we waited, the more doubtful it appeared to others – and even occasionally a doubt in my own heart – that we would actually have a baby, but the Lord continued to encourage us in His Word, in song, and through people.

And then one day, the Lord remembered!  We also remember.

“A Promise Kept” by Tammy

Where would I even begin to share?  How do I capture in words the awesomeness of my God?  His love and faithfulness are without end, even when I was undeserving.

My mother was an amazing woman.  She raised four daughters while surviving poverty, spousal abuse, and health issues.  She took us to church and taught us of the goodness of God.  She instilled the importance of a good education and reminded us daily that we could be anything we wanted to be, if only we believed.  All I wanted, for as far back as I can remember, was to be a mommy.  I cared for baby dolls and little sisters with diligence and tenderness.  I was quick to volunteer for every baby-sitting opportunity.  I knew that I was destined to have a house full of children.

I married at 19 and immediately began to watch for signs of impending pregnancy.  After a year of nothing, I sought the expertise of a doctor.  After my exam, he promptly told me that while he could not explain why I was unable to conceive, I definitely would not be able to get pregnant.  I thought, “How dare he speak those awful words to me?  Doesn’t he know how desperately I want to be a MOM!?”

That first doctor’s report disappointed me but did not dissuade me from my maternal goals.  I had drifted away from church in my teen years, but a short time following the negative report, my husband and I decided that God would be the missing factor in our failed attempts to become parents.  So, we returned to church.  Not long after, a prophetic word was given to me – the word – “You will conceive a child.  I promise you a heritage and I will keep my promise.”  Oh, the joy of those words!  I knew God was sovereign and my baby was on the way.  I began to watch fervently for signs again.  Every unusual thing that occurred with my body would send me promptly to Wal-Mart for a pregnancy test, and every test would reveal a very clear NO.

When God spoke of Sarah conceiving, she laughed (Genesis 18:12).  How rude!  “I didn’t laugh, Lord.  I readily accepted your promise.  And yet still no child.”  Had He forgotten His promise to me?  When Sarah did not immediately conceive, she deemed it necessary to help God to fulfill His promise to her; she sent in Hagar to lay with Abraham, and what do you know, a son!  So, when weeks turned to months and months to years with no baby, I too decided maybe I should take action.  I should help God with His promise.  Back to the doctor we went and another doctor and another doctor.  We tried tests and drugs and shots of every kind.  Surely modern medical science could enable me to conceive!  Right?  Wrong!

After about 10 years, I pretty much gave up.  I began to focus on my education and my career.  If no babies were in my future, I would busy myself with success!  I enrolled in college and started earning my degree.  I changed jobs.  After 13 years together, my husband and I divorced.  My life rolled along with direction but without purpose.  I successfully completed an associate’s degree, then a bachelor’s degree and then started working on my MBA.  I got promoted regularly in my job and was doing okay all by myself.  I wasn’t seeking God.  I didn’t have kids, pets, or men in my life to distract me from where I was going.  I was successful, but I was lonely.

Midway into my MBA and into my 30’s, I made the very positive decision to give in to the strong call of God in my life and returned to church.  I began to devour His Word and gave Him full authority in my life.  I felt strong inside, and for the first time in years, I experienced joy. (Nehemiah 8:10)  Shortly after this immersion into God, I met a handsome man who was insistent on sweeping me off my feet.  Although I had asked God for a companion who would love Him like I did, I spurned many initial advances.  One afternoon we discussed God and all that goes along with Him.  In my prayer time, God revealed that this man was indeed sent by Him.  Eventually, I agreed to a date.  We immediately discovered we were quite compatible, and within a month of dating, he presented a ring and a question.

Now, having been single and focused for so long, I was a little hesitant about this step in our relationship.  I prayed about it and waited.  God answered and I answered…YES!  Plans to wed were put in motion.  But I did not even consider a child with this man from God.  Even though I believed God’s Word and trusted that if He gave a child to Hannah, Rebekah, Elizabeth, and more, while they were thought to be barren, then He would do the same for me.  “I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for.”  I Samuel 1:27  One afternoon, just out of the blue, my husband said to me, “Tammy, you are going to have my baby!”  I reminded him gently that I was unable to have children and asked him not to bring it up again.  He was not fazed by my confession and said again, “You will have my baby.”  There is a lot of power in the spoken word: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it.”  Proverbs 18:21

I gave no more thought to his statement and we proceeded into a very happy life with one another.  A few months into our relationship, I started getting sick.  It wasn’t the type of illness that sends you to the doctor, but I was sick everyday, all day long.  This continued and grew progressively worse.  After more than two months, I decided to see the doctor.  I was sure that I had cancer or I was going through menopause.  Something was terribly wrong!  The doctor drew blood, checked me over, ran tests, and left the room.  There I sat all alone waiting for a dreadful diagnosis.

She returned some time later with a very funny look on her face.  She closed the door, looked at me with all seriousness and began to softly cry.  Oh no!  I am dying…I know I am dying.  Very quietly she spoke, “You are going to have a baby!  You are pregnant, Tammy!”  What?  Could it be true?  Praise God!  Just like with Sarah and many years passing between promise and conception, my nearly twenty years had passed and my baby was on the way!  “Is anything too hard or wonderful for the Lord?  At the appointed time, when the season for her delivery comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son.”  Genesis 18:14

I announced to the baby doctor on my first visit to him that he would admit by the end of my pregnancy that it was indeed ordered by the Most High God.  He smiled, saying nothing, and proceeded with the exam.  I was three months pregnant and had no idea.  Praise God!  There was no fear, apprehension, and no doubt that God had kept His promise.  I spent the next five months happy as a lark and loving pregnancy.

“Hannah became pregnant and in due time bore a son…because she said, I have asked him of the Lord.”  I Samuel 1:20  My son was born in January 2008.  He was a month premature but was healthy and beautiful and blessed.  After 26 hours of intense labor, followed by a c-section, my doctor came into the recovery room and told my husband, mother-in-law, and me, “Tammy’s uterus is not normal.  It is in the shape of a perfect heart, and therefore, it is medically impossible for her to conceive, carry, or bare children.  Brody could not have come by any other means than by the hand of God.”  We all wept!

God is faithful and He loves His children.  He longs to show us His goodness!  When we make the decision to give everything to Him and just trust Him, our world changes.  In Psalm 37:4, we are told, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”