Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. 

~Psalm 137:1, NLT


You who are called Christians, if you be not criers, there is no spiritual life in you.

~John Bunyan

Psalm 137 is an account or recollection of the Jewish exile in Babylon. The Psalmist experienced the horror of the exile personally. He testifies that when the Jews arrived in Babylon, they sat down and wept. Sitting is the posture of a Jew in mourning. As you may recall, Jobs friends sat with him for seven days in absolute silence. Sitting is also a sign of resignation. My mother raised three sons and all three gave her grief. At age 15, I was in rebellion against both parents. I did not want their instruction or their correction. I was so filled with stubborn pride and anger that I stopped crying when mother whipped me. I just stood there and looked at her with contempt. I wanted to hurt her because she was hurting me. One day she just stopped whipping and sat down in the grass and began to cry. She had given up. I could see it in her eyes, I had prevailed, my will was stronger. This was exactly what I was aiming for but when she began crying, I began questioning…What have I done? The pleasure I expected did not come; the very opposite happened: I felt extremely guilty and even cruel. I vowed never to do such a thing again and by the grace of God, I did not. Matter of fact, I spent the rest of her life trying to make up for the grief I caused.

Hurting people cry out for sympathy. It may not be as obvious as it was in Mother’s case but there is a silent cry of desperation in the eye of those who are hurting. A lot of people are critical of Psalm 137 because it includes some imprecations but Charles Spurgeon defended these Jewish exiles. Spurgeon said, “Let those who find fault with these curses uttered by the exiles remember the pain they suffered. They saw their Temple burned to the ground, they city destroyed, their wives raped, their babies and small children dashed against the wall and their elderly trampled and left behind to starve.” Can you imagine the horror of seeing your grandchildren slammed against a rock wall until their brains came out or seeing a soldier rape you wife, daughters or daughter-in-laws? I pray to God I never see such an atrocity.

There are times in the life of a believer when we feel overcome by grief and sorrow to such a point that we have real difficulty mustering up a song. Granted, the saints should always praise the LORD but the sober reality is–there are times when it is difficult to sing. The Babylonians captors had no sympathy on the hurting exiles, they taunted them, “Sing one of your happy songs about Jerusalem.” The Jews were and are famous for their singing and dancing. They are very good. I know most of you do not share my taste in song and dance but the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is my all time favorite musical. I love the bottle dance. I can’t dance a lick but I enjoy watching those who can. There are only two musicals that I like, the Sound of Music is the other. The Babylonians did not want to worship with the Jews, they wanted the Jews to entertain them with song and dance. The Jews refused to oblige. Dr. Wiersbe defends the Jewish position and compares it to casting pearls before swine. Although the Jews have my sympathy, I believe there is merit to singing our Christian songs before a pagan audience. One reason I love this time of year is that pagan and worldly outlets play beautiful Christmas music. Many of these Christmas songs contain the gospel truth. Mary Did You Know is a great song with a timeless message and they play it on secular stations all over America. I am not being critical of the Jews or Dr. Wiersbe when I say, “I think the world is a better place for hearing our songs rather than our curses.”


John Hayes
Bill Cagle

I have a couple of veterans to honor God willing: it depends on this computer. John Hayes was a US Marine. Like Hugh, he came just after WWII and was a part of the mop up. John never talked to me about his military service. If I am not mistaken, John’s father, Jerome I think, served in WWI. I could be wrong about this; my memory is not what it use to be. Bill Cagle, like Roger Burcham, served in two different branches of service: the Army and then the Navy. I think with Roger, it was the opposite, Navy and then Army. I salute these brave men and I honor the memory of John and Bill for their service and sacrifice. I wish I had better pictures but this was the best I could do. For those who do not know, John is Dian Penney’s dad and Bill Cagle is Cyndi Wydner  and Andrea Boyd’s dad.

Larry Garner had a horrible day, pray for things to get better. Pray for his family, they are under a lot of stress. I can’t go see him due to a sore throat and being on antibiotics. I got two shots yesterday and I hope it clears up soon. I went to bed feeling great but woke up early with the sore throat. You never know what a day will bring.

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