Start the next part of your journey. Go far close to home at McDowell Tech, the 6th best community college in the USA

Marlene’s Meditations

What Does a Cabasa and Hebrews 11:32-33 Have in Common?

By Marlene Houk

Burke County

Hebrews 11:32-33 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.


Has your attention ever been completely caught by something? My mouth drops open, hanging in mid-air. My body freezes, not moving a muscle. And my brain brings thoughts to a laser point.

That happened to me recently with this discovery. I had known the person for 31 years who showed this to me, and it was my daughter. But she never mentioned it. Do you know the definition of a cabasa and can you recognize it? Is it the ancient section of a North African city, a winter melon, or a musical instrument?

This little story reminds me of the Bible’s ability to capture our complete attention with its rich and colorful content. Our familiarity with the story blinds us to the fact that we sometimes are unaware of its depth and intricate nature.

For years I thought I knew Psalm 23, the happy place for Christians, the retreat for weary soldiers in God’s army, and the promise of eternal life. But when my husband’s sermon spoke of a journey, it dawned on me that this is a new way to focus on perhaps the most famous Psalm of all. He described the ruts in a journey, the different kinds of travels, and the types of scenery along the way. Mesmerized, I drank it all in, realizing that my earthly life was, indeed, a planned-by-God adventure filled with lavish spiritual jewels and vibrant experiences of faith.

The Bible is filled to the brim with astonishing insights into human nature. The Word flows through the pages, intricately weaving the 66 books into one magnificent glorious tapestry that reveals Jesus, a loving Savior. And the ancient pages spring to life within our daily walk with the Lord.

As we discover its messages, the Bible becomes a powerful tool, able to crush our enemy much better than we could ever hope. And yet, soothing verses reach down into the darkness and gently rescue us from the pit of despair and hopelessness. Even better, the stunning heights to which it lifts us reveals the Son shining brightly above our storms. But, more than that, when we read, study, and meditate on the unknown tucked within the 788,280 words, the Lord honors His Word, and we are enriched, made wiser, and prepared for life.

Read the Bible constantly. Compare Scripture with Scripture. Look through many lenses until you find your own nuggets of golden truth. Study your career in the chapters. Read about people with the same personality, gifts, and skills as yourself. Search verses for patterns and the relationships between people. Plumb the extent of unique and unusual stories that are filled with majesty and wisdom. You will never be the same!

Like learning about the cabasa did for me, let the Bible bring you to a sharp focus of concentrated study.  Marvel at the Author and His boundless desire to share Himself in a deep and satisfying relationship with you. Allow the wonder of His love to wrap you in soft velvety blankets of peace and anticipate His challenges to bring brisk courage to your life.

What is a cabasa? Here is the answer:

  • Casaba: a winter melon of a variety with a wrinkled yellow rind and sweet flesh
  • Casbah: the area surrounding a North African citadel, typically in the old part of a city.
  • Cabasa: a modern-day Latin percussion musical instrument invented in the 1950s. The ones today look like a metal serrated cannister surrounded by metal beads on a necklace. It has a handle and the player shakes it, rubs the metal beads against the serrated part with the hand and uses combinations of these movements to create an unusual rhythm. To hear how it sounds, go to

Be totally immersed in the Bible as I was with the cabasa. His Word can satisfy your soul and absorb your