Debra and I arrived at the Lake Barkley resort center yesterday around 4:00 p.m. The foilage painted a beautiful picture before us, along with the deer feeding alongside the road and the water fowl on the lake.

This has become an annual event as we travel to assist the International Women’s Ministries Department in one of the many regional retreats conducted by Cathy Payne and her staff.

As always, we met with old friends and made some new ones. People from places like California, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, North Carolina, Tennessee and even Montreal, Canada. What a lively crew! The theme of the weekend is “Awake” which is a continuation of our International General Assembly from Nashville this past August.

As I write today, I am sitting at the desk overlooking the falling leaves and the still waters of the lake, reminded of the beauty of God’s creation and His special purpose for all of us. I read from Psalm 33:1 in my daily devotion, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.

You see, the crown of all creation is mankind…that’s right, you and me. As that crown, we should have the marks of a joyous spirit. With the swift changes taking place in our world, it might be hard to find that type of joy, but it is not impossible. The great writer once said, “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Edward H. Plumptre was a graduate of Oxford University and a minister in the Anglican church. His peers recognized him as a brilliant scholar, and because of that, he was selected to serve as a member of the Old Testament Committee for the revision of the Authorized Version of the Bible. Beyond translating numerous Latin hymns, he authored a large number of scholarly works, and published several volumes of poetry.

One of his works was a hymn written for the annual choir festival at Peterborough Cathedral in England, in May of 1865. It was used as a processional when multiple choirs from different communities entered the cathedral. First published in 1868, his words still inspire us to give thanks and sing!

I am including the words of this great work for your enjoyment:

Rejoice, ye pure in heart; rejoice, give thanks, and sing; your festal banner wave on high, the cross of Christ your King.

With all the angel choirs, with all the saints on earth, pour out the strains of joy and bliss, true rapture, noblest mirth!

Still lift your standard high, still march in firm array; as warriors through the darkness toil till dawns the golden day.

Yes, on through life’s long path, still chanting as you go; from youth to age, by night and day, in gladness and in woe.

Then on, ye pure in heart, rejoice, give thanks, and sing; your festal banner wave on high, the cross of Christ your King.

Refrain: Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice give thanks and sing!

Yes! We have much to rejoice over today! God bless you.

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