Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

A Special Kind of Garden

A Special Kind of GardenGardening takes an abundance of hard work and dedication. It’s cultivating soil, planting, watering, weeding, careful tending. I’m working on a special kind of garden these days…

In many ways, my blog is like a garden. Writing a blog is one way I try to plant seeds of love and encourage to others.  I enjoy sharing facts, opinions, ideas, details, and truths through writing. I believe God started me down this blogging path as a tool for His glory and the good of others.

Those who truly know and love me will tell you that my heart is to encourage others and to glorify The Lord. There are times, however, when I have to approach some of those nasty, choking weeds of untruth. Today is one of those days…

I just get frustrated with this world and the way it treats My Lord. I know many people believe Christians should just sit down and be doormats without expressing their beliefs, thoughts, or frustrations. It’s usually the same people who believe in all of that old “Dr. Spock” express your feelings, don’t hurt the psyche psychological mumbo-jumbo which is completely contrary to the Bible. What they really mean is only express your feelings and opinions if they are the same as mine. We’ve seen how selfish society has become as result…

Well, I’m just going to give you a heads-up: as I mentioned previously today is probably not going to be one of those uplifting and encouraging posts. I am really feeling the need to stand up for Jesus against people who are trying to use Him for their political agendas.

I’ve seen a few popular articles and social media posts on how Jesus was a “liberal/socialist”. HA! I’ve also seen posts on how Jesus was a republican of sorts. Well I have news for you–He was neither of those! People should be ashamed of trying to equate Him to those parties or to even degrade Him down to their levels.

In today’s society you have republicans who are supposed to exhibit Christian Biblical principles and family values. For the most part the majority of republicans do just that, but then you have those who are lax in their conservatism. They are a terrible witness to God because they bend God’s Word to fit their own agenda. Then republicans preach all day long about how things are wrong, but then they don’t put their words into action. They have done nothing to stop the madness of sin in this nation. They defend our forefathers with their words, but it is just lip service.

I find it extremely odd that liberals will make fun of republicans for taking everything so strictly and seriously, but then in the next breath now they are faulting them for their lax and misguided decision to back Donald Trump. How hypocritical! (and conservatives are supposed to be the only Phariseees of today. If you ask me both parties fit that bill.)

You also have liberals who don’t hold strict to a Biblical worldview. They believe that people should be able to live their lives as they see fit, floundering to and fro with whichever way the wind blows this old world. They don’t believe the Bible is absolute truth, and they choose to ignore any convicting verses that discuss sin. They take one verse about judging (Matthew 7:1-2: “Don’t judge others, or you will be judged. You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.”) They take it out of context and say we are not supposed to even recognize whether something is right or wrong.

It is insulting and offensive that a lot of people believe Jesus was just a prophet and not Son of God. They also believe He was not sinless. Their whole political leg is wrapped up in not promoting Christianity and tearing it down. Yet, when they find one little string of His Word that they can distort or pull out of context for their agenda, all of a sudden they conveniently pull Him out of their little compartment and use Him. Then they shove Him back in when they are convicted of their own sin or don’t want to change their lives and give them to Him.

Then they choose to dissect and extract one or two verses from the Bible about the poor from the Bible and tell the whole world we are supposed to give all that we have. That’s the truth–we are supposed to give our lives and possessions to Jesus so that He is Lord over them. They skip that part and just talk of material possessions alone eliminating the spiritual nature of the verse. They also don’t do any of that themselves. They choose to state that only the rich are supposed to give up everything. The Bible says rich and poor alike are to give everything for God’s cause.  Even the widow in the Bible who was poor gave everything she had to Jesus. Jesus didn’t have a problem with the fact that the others were rich. He had a problem with the state of their hearts. He said the widow was righteous because she gave all she had. I don’t see many on either side doing that, do you?

They  brainwash people into thinking people who have are sinful. I know people who have more than I have but also give more than they keep. They sacrifice and God keeps blessing them with more. I also know people who have nothing and they continue to sit around and do nothing to help their situation. God gives them opportunities to be blessed and work, but they choose to continue to sit on their tails waiting for a handout.

Giving generously so that the government can indoctrinate our children, control our lives, control family size, force parents to enroll children in public schools, and compartmentalize or dissolve our faith is the way of the liberal, but it is not the way of the Bible.

The Bible is full of commands which both sides ignore like murder-abortion, God’s plan for families, lying, cheating, husbands leading families and wives submitting to authority, stealing what is not rightfully yours, coveting, adultery, the list goes on and on. And the Bible says ALL sins are against Him and are equal in His eyes. So someone’s “little white lie” is just as bad as someone’s greed.

Do you realize how many laws have been enacted by liberals and republicans alike which do NOT fall in line with God’s Word? Liberals are no more Christian than republicans and vice versa.

I am so glad Jesus was neither the definition of today’s typical liberal or conservative. Jesus spent time with sinners and loved them unconditionally. He NEVER once told them it was okay to live in sin. God hates sin. Jesus told them to go and sin no more. Liberals and republicans alike tell people it’s okay to be selfish putting self first by not giving, by murdering babies, letting filth come from their mouths, watching tv that is not pleasing to God, lying, stealing from those who have just because they have not, and a myriad of other sins. The hypocrisy is on both sides of the political spectrum.

How dare people write posts and articles attempting to compare my sweet Lord and Savior with any political party. Both are so far from God it is not even funny. There are people who claim to be Christians but don’t live the life of generosity, holiness and sacrifice which God calls them to.

As far as the results from the primaries, I’m disappointed to know that so many who claim to be Christians just tarnished the witness for Christ by voting for someone who clearly knows nothing about Christianity like Donald Trump, but I’m also disappointed in those who distort God’s Word and knowingly allow and make it easier for people to live a life that is going to put them in hell for all eternity.

I’m disappointed in the other side for spreading a love of money and greed that would encourage them to sell their souls to the devil in order to make decisions that make them “happy” or “feel good” or promise them they don’t have to pay for things they should be paying for as their personal responsibility.

Jesus cared about souls more than money and living for self. So should we. I also don’t believe we should associate ourselves with a political party or social group like feminists or any other title we know is not biblical. Do you understand my frustration?

Then I’ll post something in frustration and people think I’ve gone off the deep end. I haven’t jumped off a cliff. I’ve jumped into the arms of Jesus and joined God’s Army. I will not apologize for my faith, and I will follow God’s command to share it. One of the ways I accomplish this is through this blog. I pray the seeds I plant will flourish and grow through God’s powerful and loving cultivation. I want to be able to stand before Jesus and say that I tried my best to speak truth in love, that I tried to win souls for His Kingdom. How about you?

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling?

Overwhelmed by Homeschooling? Tips and advice for overwhelming the enemy instead of yourself. www.ruckusandrubies.com #homeschooling #faith

I wish I could say that after you homeschool for a while, you no longer feel overwhelmed. Many aspects of the journey do get easier, better, less stressful, but there are always going to be aspects of homeschooling that overwhelm us.

Whether it is Algebra, the science experiment gone awry, meltdowns over writing assignments, the phone ringing off the hook, non-supportive family members and friends, broken appliances, there will always be something that tries to ruin your homeschool journey.

We must remember: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

The enemy, satan, wants to steal, kill, and destroy our homeschools. He wants us to throw in the towel. Knowing this gives me a whole new perspective on my struggles. It makes me angry, but most of all motivated. It makes me want to “man up”, stop whining, and fight for my children and our homeschool.

When you feel overwhelmed, use these tips as ammunition against the enemy:

  1. Get into your prayer closet. Encourage your children to pray with you. I know it is an interruption to your homeschool schedule, but math problems can wait. Protecting your home from the enemy cannot!
  2. Reach out to your prayer warriors. Nothing bothers satan more than to hear the prayers of many saints fighting against him.
  3. Seek advice from your homeschool support group, accountability association, or fellow homeschoolers.
  4. Take a break from the overwhelming tasks, pray over them, and do something fun instead. You could take a field trip, go to the library, have a game day, volunteer, perform random acts of kindness in the community, or just take the day off and spend it cuddling and basking in His light.
  5. Speak to the enemy. Bind him in the name of Jesus. Grab your Bible and study scripture. Claim it against the enemy just as Jesus did. Include your children in this maneuver, because they need to know how to recognize who they are battling and how to defeat him.
  • And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Genesis 33:5
  • And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Hebrews 2:13
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The truth is that whether or not you homeschool, there are times of trial for everyone in this life. Hang in there! Remember God’s faithfulness. Seek Him first, and He has promised He will take care of the rest. God never breaks His promises!

Weight Loss Encouragement

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Was weight loss or a healthy lifestyle your New Years resolution? How is your journey going so far? I have to say I am doing much better than I was around the holidays. Unfortunately, I was stress eating. I was also overwhelmed by everything that I had going on that I didn’t prepare like I should have. I ate several off plan foods because I didn’t prepare any on plan alternatives.

This week, I was thinking about how grateful I am for Trim Healthy Mama. If you haven’t read previous posts about my journey, you can find them here and here.  I’ve had a lot of encouragement along the way from family, friends, other Trim Healthy Mamas, but mostly from The Lord.  I can’t believe how much closer I have gotten to God through this process.

If you are struggling in your journey right now, I would encourage you to spend lots of time in prayer and The Word as you go through this process. I couldn’t have gotten this far without it.

When I feel tempted or discouraged, I try to remember to grab my Bible and head to my prayer bench for some alone time with The Lord. Remember–don’t give up! That’s what the enemy wants you to do. He takes something essential like food and uses it as a weapon against us.

I’ve collected quite a few scriptures along the way that I would share with you today. Nothing makes the enemy flee faster than God’s Word spoken and saying the name of Jesus. I am praying for your journey, and I hope these scriptures inspire you to persevere.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. Deuteronomy 30:11

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:9

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Home Is Where the Heart Is

heart homeYou’ve heard that old saying: “Home is where the heart is.”  It’s so true–your home is wherever you long to be.

For encouragement for your heart and home, visit today’s post over at Raising Homemakers!  Thanks for stopping by!

Encouragement for Your Monday

His mercies are new every morning!

Well, folks, it’s a Monday. I don’t know about you, but I usually wake up on Monday morning feeling like I need another weekend. It was a busy one. I had a Saturday full of meetings, chores, and shopping. Yesterday I spent the afternoon helping my oldest daughter move back into her dorm after Christmas break. That time was sandwiched between two wonderful worship services.

I woke up feeling tired and wanted to crawl back under the covers. The Lord reminded me that today is another day just like all of the others. It’s an opportunity to serve Him and my family, and to be a blessing to others. He sent me a sweet Facebook message from a dear cousin, and then He sent me His Word to share with you, encouragement for your Monday:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”  Lamentations 3: 22-25

I’m praying you seize every God-given opportunity today through His strength and power! Happy Monday!

New Years Resolutions for Our Homeschool

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New Years Resolutions for Our Homeschool #homeschool www.ruckusandrubies.com

I cannot believe 2015 is coming to an end.  It seems the homeschool years fly by faster and faster with each passing year. Our children are growing up at record speed! There is so much to teach them about academics and life and so little time.

New Years offers a wonderful opportunity for life lessons with reflection and setting new commitments. We typically call them resolutions, but I’m not sure I like the flippant way society treats resolutions these days. These days resolutions are broken all to easily. If we look at resolutions on more of a spiritual level we realize they are more than just goals. They are commitments. Why settle for having just a good homeschool, when you can have the best homeschool? In order to accomplish this, we need to faithfully commit to the New Years resolutions for our homeschool.

Today I’m sharing with you the New Years resolutions for our homeschool for 2016:

  1. Keep God first in our homeschool. We need to stay committed to prioritizing our day by beginning, ending, and focusing on God through prayer, Bible memorization, reading and discussing His Word, faith-based curriculum, and homeschooling. If we seek Him first, He’ll take care of the rest.
  2. Be more like Christ. We are planning  to study our Bible more and plan more service opportunities for the second half of the year. We want our homeschool journey to be one of growth, outreach, and blessing to us and others. We can spend all the time in the world learning academics, but it won’t do our children any good in this life if they haven’t learned to be like Jesus. True success is measured by how many lives we change.
  3. Smell the Roses. The beginning of the year seems to be so rushed. We jump in with both feet and sprint through the first semester. Many times we miss opportunities for life lessons, cuddling on the couch, sweet discussions with our children. It’s true that they will be grown before you know it. We are so stressed and rushed.  We don’t want to pass these bad habits on to our children.  So take a slow down, take a deep breath, and smell the roses.
  4. Stay up-to-date on paperwork. Oftentimes we get lazy and push aside things that need to be done because we are just too tired. We fit our homeschool schedule around everything else in our lives. It should be the other way around so we are committing to keeping our grading and paperwork current.  That may mean we will need to say no to some opportunities, but it will be worth it in the end because we won’t have a pile of paperwork to do.
  5. More hands on activities, less seat work. By this time of the year, we are becoming weary and are ready for summer break. Livening things up a bit with activities will help us stay motivated during the second semester. Shake up the hum drum a little bit with games, crafts, and field trips.

If you are in need of an overhaul on your homeschool this year and want to start the New Year organized and prepared, check out this wonderful faith-based curriculum:

Sit down with your family and set some New Years resolutions for your homechool. I’m praying for you and your homeschool journey in 2016. May it be successful and fruitful! It is my hope that when summer break arrives, you’ll be able to look back on 2015-16 with little or no regret and an overabundance of blessed memories!

Whom Do We Follow?

Whom Do You Follow? #follow #followersIt’s Motivational Monday and today I am motivated to ask the question:  “Whom do you follow?”  Whom do I follow? That’s a good question!  Well, I guess it depends on what we are talking about.  I have a tab on on my blog for many of the bloggers I follow.  I have lots of close family, friends, distant family, former classmates, coworkers, and bloggers whom I follow on Facebook.  On Twitter, I follow fellow Christians, writers, Christian musical groups, Christian celebrities, bloggers, other moms, and homeschoolers.  On Pinterest, I follow more homeschoolers, bloggers, mommies, and friends who have the same interests as myself.

When I was growing up, I followed myself; I danced to the beat of my own drum.  I wasn’t in the “popular” cliques and I didn’t associate or fit in with any of the other 80’s or 90’s silly cliques we had back then, but I did follow pop culture.  At one point I did get swallowed up and began following the wrong crowd.  Thankfully, my sweet grandmama prayed faithfully for me and that crazy phase did not last long.

When I got married, I was more the leader than the follower as I grew up thinking the woman was supposed to take charge of things.  However, now that God has made me aware of His plan for marriage, husbands and wives, I follow God and the lead of my husband.  I still end up taking the lead on some things because it is a learning process, but little by little I am leading less.

Society seems to follow the wrong crowd.  Pop culture, people of worldly mind, celebrities, and politicians.  It is ridiculous the amount of sickening idol worship I see on social media. Someone will profess to me that they are Christians, yet profile pictures are lit up in symbols that are contrary to the Word of God.  They share and post with so much worship of politicians who lead our citizens contrary to God’s Word.  Their posts drool with celebrities, words, and pictures that are profane.  It’s so disgustingly sick that it literally makes me want to throw up.  It breaks my heart to see so many people who don’t follow truth.  In fact, I haven’t “unfriended” anyone on social media but there are many whom I have chosen not to follow in my feed.  I don’t want that junk coming up in my feed day in and day out.

Who do we think we are fooling?  We are lying to ourselves, our followers, and to God when we say we are God’s children–Christians (followers of Christ) yet we exhibit absolutely no signs of following Him.  In fact they never even publicly post anything referencing God or Christianity at all (probably because they don’t want to “offend” anyone or because they are ashamed or embarrassed).  Mark 8:38 says:  “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”   Our posts, speech, thoughts are consumed with everything but Him.  How much time do we really spend on the things of God?  How do we think it makes Jesus feel to see us praising and worshiping people and things?  I bet He feels even worse when our idols are working against Him.  I know how I feel when friends and family work against me, and I haven’t done near as much as Jesus has to deserve loyalty and faithfulness.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the word “follow” is: “to move or travel behind.”  If we are moving or traveling behind someone or something, then that would mean we are going down the same path.  If I am traveling a path of belief in values, lifestyles, and people who live contrary to God and His Word, then I can’t possibly be on the same path as God or His Son.  Jesus spent time with sinners to show them God’s love and the path of repentance and forgiveness, but He did not travel the pathways of sin.  He did not engage in sin.  So that leads us back to our initial question:  “Whom do we follow?”

On this Motivational Monday, I am compelled to follow Christ.  I want to travel as close to Him as possible and as far away from sin and this world as possible.  Let’s stop worshiping and following the dead end path of politicians, sinful lifestyles, ourselves, celebrities, pop culture, and the like.  Grab the hand of Jesus with me and let’s follow His path together.  Whom do you follow?

Fishers of Men – Motivational Monday

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Recently we stayed at a cabin on the lake with some dear friends.  It brought back some sweet memories of when my granddaddy used to take me fishing.  Fishing was just one of those things I only did with my granddaddy to spend time with him.  It wasn’t something I enjoyed, but it was something he liked to do.  He was sweet enough to let me tag along. He even put up with me getting grossed out by baiting the hook; I detested it!  In fact, he would just do it for me.

It’s been a long time since I went fishing.  Every time we go camping, my precious husband and my little man go fishing.  My lovely girls and I usually hang around the camp site for some worm-free girl time.

I was thinking the other day about the fact that I’m a lot tougher than I used to be.  I think now I could probably handle baiting a hook.  Growing up, being a wife and mother, it toughens you up a bit.  In fact, life is always about learning and growing, leaving our comfort zone.  God uses the life lessons and skills of motherhood to prepare you for something more–something bigger than yourself and your little corner of the world.

It reminds me of the story in Matthew 4, where Jesus uses the life lessons and skills of Simon and Andrew, two simple fishermen, for something bigger than they could have ever dreamed.

Matthew 4:18-20:  “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

Sometimes Jesus calls us to leave our comfort zones in our little corners of the world.  He calls us to follow Him, to serve Him, to serve others, to help others find God, to be fishers of men.  We need to take these life lessons and use them the way God intended–for His glory.  The disciples did not hesitate.  The Bible says “at once” they left their nets and followed Him.

Everyday we encounter strangers, loved ones, acquaintances, neighbors, and friends, who are floundering around without God.  Let’s get out there, get our hands dirty, bait those hooks, and be productive for His Kingdom.  The time is now–it’s time to be fishers of men!

 

 

Praising The Lord – Woohoo Weekend

Praising the Lord Psalm 98:8 encouragement faith www.ruckusandrubies.com

It’s been a week of ups and downs, but God is good all of the time.  This weekend I just feel like praising The Lord:

Psalm 98

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.